Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in preparing, formulating and filing 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Being too kind

Can we be so? Is there a tipping point on the pendulum of sugary personalities where the spectrum of color-coded warnings tell us to be wary, for danger lurking within a context where one becomes suspicious of a conversation turning to an overabundance of kindness? Is there such an event, a personality, a characteristic and a trait of opposition as “being too kind”? On a spectrum or scale of revealing who or what a person is – does kindness turn about into an antonym of sorts, and become naked meanness or obstructive disregard in malfeasance by neglectful ignorance?

Can parents be charged with negligence or criminal neglect because they are “too kind” to their children by allowing them to do as they please?

Can a sugary-sweet conversation engaged in with a superior turn out to be a deliberate intent to elicit responses where safeguards are lowered and one’s instinctive inner alarms of suspicion are temporarily abandoned? If a person is truly “too kind”, does being so become a detriment, or a badge of honor that allows for one to pass through life with ever a smile on one’s face? Or, behind closed doors, in the dead of night when the darkness shrouds the turmoil brewing in ones’ inner thoughts, at what price does being too kind extract, like that pound of flesh diminishing the weight of relevance for each of us in a world known to be mean and unkind?

We all accept predators and other animals of wolverine intent; and there are surely angels amongst the population who wander throughout in order to touch the hearts for the pleasure of gods in the underworld of eternity; but of those who by personality quirks or some missing link in the Darwinian universe of survival instincts, do the opposites of kindness equal the mathematical rule and create the sum of meanness, or its very opposite, of angelic qualities rarely encountered in this universe of cynicism?

Then, of course, there is the dismissive wave of the hand of which no one wants to fall within that category: “Oh, he’s a nice enough guy” – a declarative which, when properly interpreted, means: “Irrelevant; not worth spending more than a few seconds with”. For, being too kind has two faces to it: Whether of a perennially naïve character, such that the person with that eccentricity can be trampled upon and yet remain so; or, there is an underlying and often malicious intent beneath the veneer of such kindness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, remember that there is always a history of repeated conduct by Federal Agencies and Postal Facilities, which should forewarn you about a person, an agency, a department of a facility, that suddenly is being too kind.

For, always remember the childhood fable about Grimm’s or Perrault’s eternal truth, as depicted by Little Red Riding Hood; and, depending upon the version written, you may not want to get into that bed with a grandmother who has a long and suspicious-looking nose, as well as other telling features that should ring the alarm.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The carousel of life

It is the easiest of analogies to ponder:  of a vision in the humdrum of circularity; different sizes, shapes, and images of artistry; of the choices we make and the alternatives offered; where we sit in life, of the approaches we take and the variable speed of the up and down motion; do we possess the fearless temerity to change midway from a lumbering, elephantine facade to the sleek and pathological ride of a cheetah?  Does the music have the concordant synchronicity such that it is neither an annoyance nor a distracting disturbance?  Or do we even take note of the loud cacophony of the blaring entourage, or merely as a backdrop to the excitement in the very ride we undertake?

Some recent intellectuals have argued that human beings comprehend their interaction, environment, place and significance in this world, only through the thought-process of analogical thinking; that the intersection of words, linguistic culpability and attachment of language games to encounters with the objective, impervious world of reality, becomes elevated to that Rorschach moment when the obfuscating inkblots of an objective universe otherwise indistinguishable from the insular parallelism of one’s own conceptual constructs suddenly explodes with insight and vigorous apprehension.

That was the problem with the nascent approach of existentialists; somehow, we all recognized that something was missing.  But instead of taking a right turn, that missing “something” took the wrong path down the corridors of Foucault and Derrida, and allowed for deconstruction to embrace the self-destructive charisma of nothingness.  How we understand the world; what we impart to it; the self-image of whence we came; and the walking pictures we carry about in the chasms of our psyche; they all matter, and the narrative of our lives become written the longer we survive in this anachronism called “life”.  We have become misfits in a virtual world of our own making.

The metaphors we establish within ourselves; the analogies we create to comprehend; the novel within each of us and the narrative of carefully chosen ideologies; all cumulatively define the essence of our being.  And thus as we ride the carousel of life, or watch ourselves ride from a distance, matters little to those who have decided to sit this round out; and yet, they, too — whether from afar or in a slumber of repose, must by necessity hear the music which plays regardless of whether one rides the circularity of the metaphor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such an analogy can be a poignant reminder of the current state of turmoil.  Perhaps the analogy takes on greater significance if we posit a mechanical failure — of stoppage of the rhythmic ride, and where the music also blares a discordant trumpet of shattered symphonies screeching with discomfort down the sensitive eardrums of the bystanders.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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 the Federal or Postal positional duties, have a clear choice to make:  Stay on the broken carousel; get off and walk away with nothing; or, of greater benefit and reward, to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and has the minimum years of service in order to become eligible, then it is time to consider that it is not the carousel of life that has broken, but merely failure of the operator to take into account the suitability of the particular vision with the individual embracing that concept.  It is not always the rider’s fault; sometimes, the faulty ride itself has miscalculated the algorithm of synchronizing the music to the roundabout.  Think of it in terms of the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz — but then, that is for another blog altogether.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Of spare things left in the world

We don’t seem to have a capacity to share of those things which we have no need, anymore.  Does scarcity of resources result in “doubling down” in ways formerly described as miserly in deed?  Does the free market principle of supply and demand explain the loss of social grace in responding to need?  What ever happened to the spare tire, the jingle of spare change, and the ephemeral absence of spare time?  Has society come to a criss-cross of contending forces, where the explosion of population growth, the rise of the middle class in developing nations around the globe, coupled with the exponential depletion of finite resources, have cumulatively coalesced to an incandescent compromise of character crisis?  Does the lack of everything mean that we can spare no more for others, or provide assistance in the event of need?

As for the spare tire issue, the fact is that modern technology has extended the wear of tires, and many people have lost the knowledge or skill to use a jack or a lug wrench.  This, combined with fear of scams and roadside robberies, in conjunction with the durability of today’s tires, has resulted in the widespread consequence of calls for help defined as a cellphone dial for professional roadside assistance.  Further, society has deemed that any caricature of a ‘damsel in distress’ is tainted with a misogynist attitude; and we certainly would never want to be charged with an ‘ism’ at the cost of helping another.  And of spare change?

Homelessness has been relegated to either a non-existent phenomenon until a different political tide rolls in, or has otherwise been linguistically redefined as an alternative lifestyle.  What remains, then, is our spare time — which we have no more of, despite the constant drumbeat to the contrary that the aggregate of modern technology is always supposed to ‘save us time’.  Isn’t that what we are told each time a new gadget is foisted upon us?  That it will save time so that we have more time for greater and more important things — like politicians who suddenly leave office or fail to seek another term in order to spend “more time” with family.  Right.

The fact is that we are left with very little of anything, anymore, other than to stare vacuously into the fluorescent chambers of computer screens and smartphone apps.  Yet, spare time, spare tires and spare change — while apparently mere arbitrary anachronisms of antiquity, alas, fading into the dim light of change itself — reflects a community of sharing now lost as art was once a defined form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the idea of sparing a person a break, has gone the way of other spare things.  Neither the Federal agency nor the U.S. Postal Service has any spare time to spare anything, anymore, and certainly no more than the rest of society can spare.

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, can be likened to the spare tire in the back of the trunk, which is always there but forgotten but for the time of crisis or need.  When the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to OPM is like getting out that spare tire.

The problem is, as most people have lost the skill to use the ‘other’ implements hidden beside the spare tire — like the jack and the lug wrench — so the proverbial roadside assistance may be required.  As for spare change and spare time?  Pockets are a requirement for the former, and future fashion will determine the necessity of an antiquated design, as will inflation and online banking for the need of coins or paper money at all; and as for the latter, we are told that we have more of that than ever before; just not enough to spare for others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability for Federal Employees: Waiting upon life

Being “pro-active” is a feature of modernity born of necessity when survival and the basic needs for human existence are essentially met; in days of evolutionary antiquity, when Darwinism ruled the moment and the growling pangs of hunger rumbled through the darkened streets of industrial ghettos and slimy slums of toxic waste dumps where hutches made of cardboard and corrugated tin put together effortlessly in a collage of unregulated stream of consciousness as a counterrevolutionary statement of defiance against pristine lawns and ordered houses designed by the evil eye of a home owner’s association — in those days of yore, being anything “less than” meant that you perished.

You see it in the eyes — Plato’s window to the soul — of shell-shocked dullness in a watchful glare of passivity, wide and seemingly alert, but failing to see beyond the fears and thoughts of angst like a permanent screen door shut and forever blocking.

If we bifurcate the world into doers and thinkers, it is the former who scoff and shrug their shoulders at the contributions of the latter, when it is thought which must precede action, where action performing too presumptively may leave a residue of meaningless accomplishments.  There is a middle ground, of course, where thinkers and doers coordinate and cooperate, in conjoined effort to plan, coalesce and complete a mapped task of purposive teleology; but that is a rare effort, indeed.  Most people wait upon life; it is not a criticism, but a reality which is reflective of a truism undaunted in this age of virtual reality.

The powerless grumble that there is a conspiracy of malevolent forces which hold the ordinary man down; the powerful, on the other hand, sip their wine and look condescendingly down upon the common populous, noting how they smell, think not, and must be watched lest the last true societal upheaval — not the American Revolution, but the French one where beheadings were rampant and horror became a mainstay for the ruling class — revisit the echoes of modernity.

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 positional duties, the cost of waiting upon life can be costlier than the cost of doing; for, to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “do the right thing” by you, is to wait upon the moon to drop from the sky in order to feed us cheese; bureaucracies, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities of empathetic concerns; they are what they are, and must be dealt with in the manner purposive to their existence.

Thus, if a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positioned duties, then the next logical step would be to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

To merely wait upon life is to petition for starvation, deprivation and declination of a rightful existence; to await a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to accommodate a Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition is to hope that democratic elections will be held by North Korea’s vaunted leader — but then, there may still be some hope, if you are either an accomplished barber or Dennis Rodman (if you are unsure of the references made as to either, look up (A) Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle, and (B) the strange travels of that former basketball star).

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire