Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Preparations

Would you hold a dinner party without preparing?  Or attend an important meeting, host a regal gathering of accomplished celebrities or go camping in the wilds of winter’s ferocity — without making adequate preparations?

The elaborate extent of such preparations is often correlated with the importance, significance, relevance and complexity of the issue at hand, the engagement to be embraced or the event to be held.  Preparations are a vital component to the successful engagement of whatever one undertakes, and lack of it often guarantees a result of negative returns.

How does one prepare for the preparation, formulation and filing of 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?  Does one go out and ask the Human Resource Department of one’s agency, and thereby put to the winds which carry gossip about the Agency and allow the gods of the underworld to disseminate the implication that “X is filing for disability retirement”?  Do you dare test the oft-told adage in the Federal Government that “confidentiality begins with the Human Resource Office of one’s agency — and likewise, ends there”?

Or, perhaps “preparation” is merely of the ad hoc sort — of downloading the various forms (SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, at a minimum) and beginning to fill them out, and somehow sifting through the multiple instructions and packaging a Federal Disability Retirement application?

Preparation for the initiation of any worthwhile endeavor should, at a minimum, involve seeking some advice from an “expert”, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with and decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be a minimal step in such an important and consequential process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The facade of happiness

There are weather-related “fronts” — of “cold fronts” and “warm fronts” bringing in the freshness of change, a sudden modulation of temperature and a gust of windy hollows echoing through valleys and down into the chill of our bones.  They change the temperature of the air around us, and often moods are impacted as well.

Then, there are also “fronts” of human characteristics — of “putting on a brave front”; of making a “frontal assault”; and of these latter, we realize that there is always something behind, like the wizard concealed by the curtain undrawn.  We all of us put on “fronts” — and like the weather fronts that fool us at first that Spring may be nigh or Winter’s discontent may be around the corner, the “brave” front may be just a put-on, just like the “frontal assault” is likely a ruse to deploy one’s forces all at once to meet the enemy head on.

Of all the fronts, it is the facade of happiness that fools the most, even one’s self, into thinking that contentment is the amassing of objects surrounding, careers advancing and problems left avoiding.  The facade of happiness works well for a season, so long as the fool who buys the bridge of smiles never lifts the veil an inch to peer into the darkness of a soul in anguish.  Happiness is a fleeting state of existence; here for a moment today, it vanishes like the spirits of yesterday’s underworld where gods were chosen to wander the earth in ashen looks of greying days.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the facade of happiness has likely been an essential tool for survival in this past year, if not longer.

It allows for the Federal or Postal worker to put on a “brave front”, to fool the others for a time — somewhat like the cold front that descends upon the south in the middle of summer to remind one that change is in the air, or the “architectural front” that gives an old building a facelift and draws people inward as an inviting new asset.

But don’t be fooled; for the facade of happiness can never hide for long the suffering beneath, and for the Federal or Postal worker, preparing a 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 real step towards an abiding and real happiness, as opposed to the fake smile that conceals beneath the facade of happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Factors to consider

The universe of thoughtful decision-making shrinks exponentially and in direct correlation with the pertinent and relevant information gathered, and it is too often the case that factors not considered are the very ones which lead to a non-decision or, more importantly, to a wrong conclusion.

What factors should be considered when a Federal or Postal employee is going to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Certainly, age can be a factor — for, if OPM engages in a recalculation of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at age 62, and you are fast approaching that age, the factor of “how long it takes” to get an OPM Disability Retirement approved (about a year, give or take a few months on either side of the equation); whether you get any backpay once it is approved (back to the last day your Agency or the Postal Service has paid you anything); and whether the time you are on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards your total number of years accrued until the recalculation age at 62 (it does) — should all be factors to consider.

Further, even if you are still relatively young, should those same factors be considered?  The short answer is an unequivocal “yes” — and probably many others, besides, including: Do I intend on working at another job in the private sector while on Federal Disability Retirement?  Do I have Service-Connected disabilities that can play a factor [sic] in the factors to be considered?

The universe of factors to consider in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, are innumerable; and then, there are likely factors that you have not even considered, but which may be prompted by consulting with an attorney who has already considered multiple factors besides, and who may be able to guide you in this complex process called “OPM Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The prerequisite of thought

What constitutes “thought” and fails to satisfy the allegation that one has not engaged in it?

Take the following example: A young man who is courting a young woman buys a bouquet of flowers on his way home, but stops by at her place just to say hello.  She — seeing the flowers — declares, “Oh, how thoughtful of you.”  He sheepishly smiles and nods his head, but in reality the flowers were to spruce up his own apartment.  He explains this to the young woman, and she turns a smile into its opposite — a frown — and reverses her opinion, telling the cad how “thoughtless” he is being.

In reality, he had done no such thing — he had, in fact, “thought” about it, only not in the sequence that the young woman had desired.  Yet, he is charged with being “thoughtless” — and one could argue that such a charge is applicable in that he should have “thought about it” before stopping by her place, and instead should have gone ahead and followed a route straight home.

Or, of another example: Say you are debating a point with another individual, or a group of individuals, and someone during the course of your monologue says, “It is clear that you haven’t thought about it.” What, precisely, does that allegation mean and imply?  Would it have made any difference if you had previously taken yourself into a corner, sat for an hour or two reflectively posed like the famous statue by Rodin’s “The Thinker”, chin upon knuckle in a reflective pose of self-absorption — then come back to engage in the discussion?

What if your contribution to the conversation included as great an expanse of idiocy as if you had not “thought about it” — but the mere fact that you had sat for a couple of hours, or perhaps a weeklong sojourn of contemplative solitude — does it make a difference?  Isn’t “thinking about it” often done in the course of give-and-take, during the conversation engaged, as opposed to being lost in one’s own mind?

Further, isn’t singularity and isolation of “thinking” often the wrong approach, inasmuch as you may be missing something, have inadequate information, illogical in the process because of selfish interests unrecognizable, and therefore the best kind of thinking often involves debate, countering opinions and other’s input, as opposed to the isolationism of “The Thinker”?

Would it make sense to ask a dozen or so physicists to “solve the mystery of the universe” by gathering them together, then making each sit in a corner and “think about it”, as opposed to engaging them in a “give-and-take” brainstorming session?  Isn’t much of thinking “done” by engagement with others, as opposed to a soliloquy of isolationism?  If so, then why is there too often a prerequisite of thought?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have “thought” about 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, the first and most important step in making the “right” decision may not be by engaging in an isolationism of “thinking about it”, but by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

There is no prerequisite of thought in picking up the telephone and having an initial, free consultation with an attorney to discuss the particulars of your case, and engaging in the thoughtful exercise of considering OPM Disability Retirement by actively participating in the productive modality of thinking.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Losses

How many losses must one accumulate before being deemed a “loser”?

Was it just yesterday that Cal Ripken, Jr. won with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, after a mere couple of years in the minors, but with that World Series ring on his finger, would then see decades of losses mount as a result of poor decisions in trading players, acquiring “has beens” and being in the unfortunate AL East where the Yankees and the Red Sox seem always to vie for the top tier of the elect?

Can a team win a World Series one year, then go on for thirty-plus years without ever winning one again, and yet be deemed “a winner”?  Or, can one always pause, give a grin, and say, “Yeah, but we were winners in 1983!”

Does one win wipe out an avalanche of losses such that the singularity of glory negates the overwhelming statistical significance of unending disappointments?  Or, what of the person who once had a promising career, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances considered by most to be no fault of his or her own, cannot quite achieve that level of promises dreamed of but never materialized?

Do we, in our own minds, create conditions which are impossible to attain, and then deem those unreachable goals as “losses” despite the artificial nature of the criteria imposed?  Do losses mount and exponentially aggregate because failure seeks after failure, and somehow the subsequent one is a natural consequence, inevitably by inherent nature, of the previous one?

Does bad luck come in bunches because of some Law of Nature, or is it just in our imagination that it seems so?  Are much of losses artificially created — i.e., we set the proverbial “goal post” in our own minds, then miss the metaphorical field goal and become despondent over the “loss” created within our own imagination within contextual circumstances fantasized that have no connection to objective reality?

For Federal and 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, that sense of “loss” can be an admixture of both objective reality and subjective, artificial creations.

The medical condition itself is an “objective” loss; but the Agency or the Postal Service’s efforts to compound the adversarial circumstances can be created in an ad hoc manner, where there are no rules or criteria to follow except upon the whim of the supervisor or the department’s reactionary intuition.  The interruption to one’s career; the constant struggle with a chronic medical condition; of being forced to deal with deteriorating health — these are all real “losses”.

On the other hand, adversarial initiations by one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these, too, are “real” losses, though artificially created and unnecessary, in many instances.

Both must be dealt with when preparing, formulating and filing a 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 — but the fact that one must “deal with” so many “losses” does not, in the end, make one a loser.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire