Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of 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, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation OPM Disability Retirement: A good turn

At what point does a “good” turn transform into a negative?  Can one help so much so that dependency becomes the habit and negates the “goodness” that was once always a part of the deed?  Isn’t “going to work” a “good” thing?  When does it turn bad?  Is there ever a point where the quality of X becomes diluted so much so by the quantitative increase of the primary identifying ingredient of X to where the essence of X becomes negative-X because of too much X within X?  Can there be, in the simplest of terms, too much goodness where goodness itself turns bad because of the overwhelming goodness involved?  Why is it that the following syllogism doesn’t quite work, and where is the fallacy involved?

Water is a necessary component for life
Life requires water in abundance in order to survive
Therefore, the more water, the greater abundance of life

But we all know that consuming too much water can kill a person.  And, isn’t that the complaint that we have in almost all aspects of living — that we come back to Aristotle’s essential wisdom that there is a “mean” or a “middle ground” of moderation where the extremes on either sides — neither too much nor too little — is the balance in the life that one should always strive for.

That is the basic component of happiness reduced to its pure essentials: of the porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”; of leisure time that relaxes but doesn’t rob from sustained periods of productivity; of a nap that satisfies but doesn’t make one groggy; and of entertainment that borders just to the edge of credibility but stays within the boundaries of allowing one to suspend disbelief, such that one can enjoy it without sighing, turning to a loved one and declaring, “That just isn’t believable.”

But where technology comes into our lives, perhaps we have come to a saturation point where we no longer believe that the “next new innovation” is going to save us any more time or enhance the quality of our lives anymore than the last version of our Smart Phone give us the promise of nirvana that we all stand in long lines to attain.  And so the question again turns full circle: When does a “good” turn into a negative?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose medical conditions have come to a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the vicious circularity of the circumstances makes it into a paradigm where a good turns into a negative: Coming to work exacerbates the medical condition; the stress of being unable to perform the full essential elements of the Federal or Postal job further increases the stress; the Agency or the Postal facility begins to turn upon the Federal or Postal employee; and the job itself — once one of the many “good” things in life — now becomes a detriment and a negative.

It is then time to consider preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus turning that which was once a “good” but had transformed into a negative, back into a good turn.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Possibilities to pursue

In one sense, it is nonsensical to ask the question:  “Is it possible to…?”  For, is there any limitation to the concept of the possible?  Isn’t it possible that there are Martians on Mars, but in a parallel universe unseen and concealed from the human eye?  Isn’t it possible that the room you leave disintegrates molecularly, then reconstitutes itself the moment you reenter?  Isn’t it possible that it will rain tomorrow, despite the national weather service predicting otherwise (this latter example is actually not too absurd, as it is a regular occurrence experienced by most)?

Does it alter the significance and qualitative relevance of the query if, instead, we exchange the word with “probable”?   Does probability by numerical quantification of possibility negate the extremes and unfettered boundaries of the possible?  Does a statistical analysis make a difference – say, if a “scientist” asserts that the chances of Martians existing on Mars in a parallel universe unseen is 1-in-1 Billion (as opposed to 1-in-999 million – i.e., are such statements and declarations really accurate at all?) – to the extent that it somehow replaces with credibility the conceptual construct of the possible?

It is all very doubtful, and beyond some cynicism of puzzlement and suspicion that such statistical assertions constitute a perfection of any reasonable methodological approach, the reality is that for the person who is struck by lightening while golfing on a sunny day, that 1-in-a-trillion chance is negated by the 100% probability that he or she was, in fact, in reality, struck by lightening, no matter what the statistical analysis declares.

In the end, probability analysis places some semblance of constraints upon the fenceless conceptual paradigm of possibilities, but it is the latter which compels man to attempt feats beyond the probable, and it is the former which places a reality check upon the limitless creativity of fools, madmen and eccentric geniuses throughout history.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering the possibility of pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often constraining is the probability consensus of “success” – and, yes, that is a consideration that the reality of a bureaucracy and administrative process should face and take into consideration.

In the end, the possibility of a successful filing can be enhanced by the probability factors that are required by law:  A methodological approach; a supportive doctor who is willing to provide a narrative connecting the dots between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties; a systematic legal argumentation that provides a “road-map” for the Administrative Specialist at OPM; and an understanding that the possibilities to pursue can be qualitatively quantified by the probability of supportive documentation.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Language of Choice

There are certainly other “languages” for conveying information, including (but not limited to):  foreign, other than English (but in this cosmopolitan world, where technology has made such barriers a moot point, it becomes almost provincial to speak of one’s native tongue); body; emotive; forms, including written or oral; other body, such as facial; coded; and others not listed here.  The choice of language one uses, is often determined by the context and circumstance mandated for various reasons, not the least of which would be the efficacy of the option taken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have, for many years, had to endure the “language” of hostility from one’s Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service, it is perhaps a self-evident point that it is the “written” form of language which must be opted for in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  But it is not the obviousness of the issue which one must accept; rather, it is in the very transition from one’s milieu to filing with another bureaucracy which must be directly recognized and altered.

There is a natural tendency for the mistreated Federal and Postal worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to react to another bureaucracy and administrative process (OPM) in a similar vein as one is used to because of the mistreatment for so many years.  But one must mentally transition from the reactive methodology of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which one has become accustomed to, and approach the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a different light.

As such, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one word of caveat:  let the foreign language of professionalism prevail, and approach OPM with a singular focus of linguistic content which sets aside all of those wasted years of workplace harassment and hostility one may have experienced in a previous life, and adopt the language of choice — of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application devoid of the garbage of past malice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire