OPM Medical Retirement: Putting it all together

It is the disparate and disconnected narrative that often remains deficient — just short of the finish line and like the runner who suddenly steps upon a pothole on the road to the ticker-tape parade, the discombobulation that ensues can throw the entire coordination off, where feet become entangled and the arms fail to swing in rhythmic motion.

Have you ever watched how some runners have perfect coordination — arms swinging in cadence, the effortless motion of the legs, like the “feel” of silk upon a windy day where nothing gets entangled and everything is in perfect synchronization of timeless beauty?  Or, what of a child who has just begun to walk, trying to run — are they not all legs and arms bundled into a web of discord?

Putting things “all together” is like the runner who must coordinate breathing, arms in motion, legs in cadence and eyesight in guiding — of a perfection reached in order to arrive at a destination point called “the finish line”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to a successful outcome is partly based upon coordinating all of the elements into a synchronized whole — of the medical records and reports; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (as reflected on SF 3112A); of the legal arguments to be made and referenced, both as a shield (e.g., of preemptively countering any claim by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that an “accommodation” has been provided) as well as a sword (e.g., asserting the Bruner Presumption where applicable, or the due consideration that must be given to VA Disability Ratings, etc.); and all of the other details besides.

Putting it all together” may seem like an effortless feat for an experienced runner, but for the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, who must put a Federal Disability Retirement packet all together, some assistance from an experienced “runner” — an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — might be in order.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Hypocrisy

What is it about carrying about one’s state of existence with the knowledge that there is a dichotomy between that which we declare and what we secretly harbor, or between the words we convey and the actions we engage?  Is it likened to the adage of, Do as I say, not as I do?  Why do we so relish with a sneer when failure of moral dimensions become exposed — of a priest who is “caught in the act”, the preacher who is seen to embrace episodes of moral turpitude; a moralist who denies the obvious inclinations of human desire, or the purist who pounces when the mere tinge of impurity spreads its imperfect wings?

Hypocrisy abounds, and has always throughout history, and the louder the volume of protestations, the harder the fall as the chasm between reality and the theoretical purity of ivory towers only reveals the baseness of human frailty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel like hypocrites because of a medical condition that continues to be denied, hidden and overcome by sheer will of concealment, there often comes a time where fatigue simply catches up to the fear of being “found out”.  No, it is not quite the same as your run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, like the preacher who falls from grace; but the tension is still there, nevertheless, and it is just as real as if your moral failings suddenly become unconcealed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have to “hide” their medical conditions and act “as if” everything is fine and dandy, ultimate pay the same or similar price as the hypocritical moralist who walks about with a puffery undeserved: the anxiety that continues to grow and fester remains so and grows beyond a bearable state of concealment.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in an admission of “failure” — but more importantly, of turning that failure into a success, by shedding the cloak of hypocrisy and facing the reality of a medical condition that needs priority of attending, in order to regain that balance that should be first, foremost and in the front of the proverbial line: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Battle of Spring

There are various “battles” of historical import, including “The Battle of Britain”, “The Battle of the Bulge”, and many others besides, whether popularly so named or forgotten within the annals of history’s short memory.  Then, every year, around this time where April and May meld into a battle of morning frosts and potentially damaging tug-and-pull between winter’s discontent and spring’s yearning for the robin’s call, we wake up one morning and realize that the desolation of winter has finally passed.

Isn’t that how life is, often enough?  There is that in-between period, where tension remains and uncertainty abounds, until the final resolution appears unnoticed, like the unwanted friend who stays beyond the welcoming time of twilight conversations only to finally depart, and the unpleasantries exchanged during conversations left imagined fade into the inglorious memory of yesterday’s sorrows.

Medical conditions, too, are a “battle” of sorts, and create a tension that will not let go, will not release, and will not give up despite every attempt to ignore, placate and shun.  The stubbornness of a medical condition cannot be ignored; its impact, unwilling to be forgotten; and its tension, unable to be released.

That is why, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the tension and anxiety formed by the very existence of the medical condition is likened to the many “battles” that we face in life.

Perhaps it is a metaphorical observation; and like the allegories that give life-lessons, maybe there is an underlying meaning that can be extracted from the trials endured.

In the meantime, what the Federal or Postal employee needs to do, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to release the tension that exists between work and life, work and medical condition, work and ….

The Battle of Spring will come and go, just like all of the other “battles” that have been fought throughout history; and this private battle against the medical condition itself is merely a private friction that also needs to be fought, on terms that create a more level playing field by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The power of words

The extraordinary nature of such conceptual constructs cannot be long or seriously refuted.  Whatever the anthropological origins of them; of the efficacy based upon quantity as opposed to quality; of whether some societies that lack the nuance of inflection, meaning or inherent force; and however they developed over time, incrementally building into greater heights of tenor, tone or tempestuous triggers of emotional upheavals —one cannot deny the power of words.

Words convey meaning, direction, instruction; touch emotions when utilized with sensitivity and care; and trigger images so powerful that they can break down the most stoic among us, and convey persuasion such that minds can be changed, actions can be reversed and lives can be altered.

One cannot say of them, “Oh, they’re just a bunch of words” and believe them without recognizing the times when a 911 call helped to save a life because of the calm “words” of the dispatcher, or of the marriage vow that cemented and elevated the mere utterances into a lifetime of fidelity; or of the baby’s first formations beyond the gurgling sounds emitted that identifies comprehension beyond an appetitive nature.

The power of words can uplift, denounce, alter the course of history and damage a young psyche beyond repair.  The power of words can persuade, explain, instruct and describe, of the beauty of a sunrise beyond the meadows where butterflies float and flowers begin to disclose the radiance of the morning dew-droplets in the chasm of a waking mind, or of the sunset where sunlight is replaced by shadows within the hearts of young lovers projecting what the future might yet bring, yet contented in the embrace of warmth and merriment.

It is by words that civilizations rise and fall, and by which man is elevated above the apes, but yet remain just below the angels; and it is the power of words that brought us Shakespeare, Milton, Faulkner and Hemingway, and the quiet subtlety of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s politeness of society.  Then, by contrast, there is life itself.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this contrast is known and appreciated.  Medical conditions betray the limitations of words; for, how can “pain” be adequately described?  What good is a “diagnosis” beyond that which cannot be cured?  How can one utilize the “power of words” to describe the despondency of Major Depression?  And more to the point: How can one adequately convey by the power of words, the impact perpetrated by the medical condition upon the essential elements of one’s job?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, remember always that there is a wide chasm between “having a medical condition” and being able to persuade OPM that the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job.

And such persuasion, ultimately, is accomplished through the power of words.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Claims: Hanging on a contingency

The metaphorical image representing such a phrase allows one to pause and reflect: the dichotomy between the physical world and the conceptual one — of a person “hanging”, as from a cliff, with his fingers turning white from gripping the tenuous life-line of a flimsy branch, a loose boulder or an outstretched hand of another; and of the technical term that possesses meaningful discourse only in a purely theoretical universe of conceptual constructs — denoting the idea of a future event or circumstance that cannot be relied upon with certainty, but may trigger a series of consequential future contingencies or further occurrences, etc.

Thus does the physical and the conceptual come together in an aggregation of a compound conceptual construct that may connote thus: You are in a tenuous situation where your physical well-being is dependent upon a future uncertainty that may result in events that may or may not yet happen.

Such a conditional circumstance is often how the Federal or Postal employee feels, who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may result in the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, it is indeed the “physical” part of the entire event — the medical condition itself — which makes one feel “as if” one is dangling from the edge of a cliff.

And it is the “contingency” — the uncertain triggering mechanism, such as the anticipated adverse reaction of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the tenuous reliance upon a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment; the growing inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — that makes the medical condition all the more magnified in its exponentially-exacerbated conditions of anticipated calamities.

Life is often an unfortunate series of having to hang on to a contingency, but when a medical condition enters into the fray, it makes it doubly more tenuous, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is at least a concrete step that allows one to grip the reality of one’s situation, and perhaps leave all future contingencies, tenuously anticipated, aside.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Simplicity revisited

We all yearn for it, though we defy the very thought of it by living in its corollary.  Simplicity is what we preach, that of which we dream and for which we strive; but, in the end, the clutter of life’s misgivings always seems to overwhelm, dominate and ultimately destroy.

Do people still run off in a crazed dash and join a monastery in order to escape the complications of life?  Are there such places, anymore — of a monastic order that welcomes strangers who have “lost it” and receive them as fellow “brothers” who will spend the rest of one’s days tilling a small garden, praying together, shunning material wealth and chanting deep into the night with echoes of lonely voices dripping like so many raindrops pitter-pattering upon clay shingles when once a career of complexity overwhelmed?

Or is simplicity merely a mirage, a dream never to be fulfilled, a yearning in the heart of man that remains forever a hole, a chasm never to be reached and a well of such depths as to never draw water?  Does the desk that reflects clutter represent a mind that is just as diseased?  Does accumulation of “stuff” make us happy, and when the king at the end of his life waves goodbye, is it the golden chalice that he hugs in the bedsheets of decay, or of a wife forlorn and forsaken because of mistresses left weeping?

Life is complicated, and simplicity, whether yearned for or revisited, is something that is sought in the hearts of all men and women.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the complications wrought from a medical condition cannot be denied.  The question is: How can simplicity, revisited, help?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an uncomplicated process; however, it is the end-goal that is sought, which will hopefully simplify the complications abounding, by allowing for a singular focus beyond work and financial insecurity: One’s health.

But that life itself were so unfettered, perhaps some of the stresses that incurably surround us might be lifted; but for the Federal employee or Postal worker who needs to at least untether the nexus between work and worry, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is at least a first step towards simplicity, revisited.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: In the end…

What is it about a phrase that predictably tells us about the mood, content or direction of the mindset?  If a person begins with, “Well, it all began when…” — we will often stifle a yawn, try to make excuses and begin heading for the exits.  Self-aggrandizing, prefatory remarks that set the stage for a narrative delineation that includes private details of individual lives often bore the pants off of most people, and yet many will “tell all”, as if such intimate details trigger a prurient interest within each of us.

Then, of course, there is the opposite, as in: “In the end…”.  What fills in the ellipses?  In the end…the world will all go to the trash bin of history’s footnotes; In the end…we all die, anyway?  Such opening phrases and closing remarks leave out the vast chasm of filling in “the middle”, of course.  How does a story begin, tell the narrative in an interesting manner in “the middle” and end with a bang?  That is the problem, isn’t it?  Most of us don’t have a clue as to how to tell an interesting tale.

And what about non-fiction — of a historical narrative or of a biography?  What makes for an interesting “telling” of it — of what details of a person’s life; what incidents should be included?  What peripheral, tangential details will make for an interesting and engaging read?  Is a biography incomplete if the author leaves out certain details, or does it matter?  What “events” are presumed and should therefore be excluded, and can it really be said that certain excluded moments are considered to be excluded at all?

For example, it is presumed that a person goes to the bathroom a few times a day, at least — but what if, during the narrative of a biography or a historical period, such activities are never mentioned?  Can we call up the author and demand to know why such historical “facts” were excluded from the biography of, say, an important figure?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be necessary to begin to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

As part of that “administrative process”, it is necessary to complete SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing the narrative story of one’s medical condition, it is important to convey the essential “story” — a historical account; a prefatory introduction; a “middle”; and an “In the end…”.

What details to include; the choice of words; whether in the first-person or 3rd-person narrative; of what legal arguments to include; whether to “exclude” certain details without being charged with “falsifying” a claim, etc. — these are all important considerations in the proper, complete and sufficient preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is vitally important to do it “the right way” when preparing SF 3112A — the core and essence of the Federal Disability Retirement application — which, in the end, is the story of your tale that needs to be told.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hope & Plan

It is the latter that gives rise to the former; and the former that remains forlorn and tattered until the latter begins to take shape.  Hope without its latter partner, a Plan, is like the proverbial boat without a rudder; drifting amiss amidst the torrential currents of directionless pathways, being guided throughout by the vicissitudes of uncertainty.

One can hope for many things in life, but hope without a plan is tantamount to allowing a child to wander through a candy store without instructions or restrictions; unfettered liberty leaves one to one’s own devices that more often than not leads to self-destruction.

Whether “the plan” is a good one, a well-thought-out one, or a flawed shadow based upon a rational discourse of options considered is less besides the point than to formulate one in the first place.  Plans can always be modified along the way; adapted to, altered and changed in order to “fit the circumstances”, as every blueprint is merely the rough draft of a finalized product.

For Federal employees who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who have begun to suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the person’s Federal or Postal job, the “hope” is that the medical condition will soon go away, health will be restored and the Federal or Postal employee will become fully recovered.

Sometimes, however, hope’s desire fails to become fulfilled.  In such an event, hope needs a plan, and the plan is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, the solitary hope without a developing plan is likened to a piece of driftwood racing down the river of time; what you do not want to have happen is to travel so far down hope’s uncertainty where the waterfall meets the lack of a plan that dashes any hope left.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire