OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Of persuasive effect

What does it mean to possess “of persuasive effect”?  If a person argues in a debate for endless hours, and at the end of it all, various people from the watchful audience turn aside to one another and declare, “Well, he sure was persuasive, but I’m still going to vote for the other guy” — what can such a statement mean?  If an acknowledgment of persuasion nevertheless results in an opposite conclusion, can one still maintain that there existed any degree of the very element which was supposed to modulate otherwise?

And legal precedents which must be applied — say, in a Federal Disability Retirement case, where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is “required by law” to consider certain elements, such as under the Bruner case or the Simpkins case and subsequent case-law holdings which “mandate” that OPM consider the proffered evidence as cited by a Legal Memorandum — do they necessitate a certain outcome, or is it merely “persuasive but not determinative”, and what does that mean?  Is it that the level of persuasion was just “not enough”, and while it might have come somewhat close, it just didn’t have that final “clincher” to put it over the goal line?

And if we know beforehand that “persuasive effect” won’t necessarily result in a “determinative impact”, do we just not try at all, or is the mere possibility of “tipping the balance in one’s favor” enough to try and attempt to persuade?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, the impact of a Legal Memorandum — prepared and submitted along with the Federal Disability Retirement “packet” — is like traveling with Google Maps guiding one into unfamiliar territory.  Without it, the reviewing “specialist” at OPM will simply be presented with a stack of information with no indexing or cover sheet.

With it, the importance of persuasive effect is there to guide the OPM reviewer into seeing what is relevant and what is not; of the legal cases that are impactful and persuasive; and of the mandated requirements in applying the proper legal criteria, and not merely of empty arguments that seemingly possess of persuasive effect, but lead to conclusions otherwise left without direction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: The many tomorrows yet to come

Does hope lie fallow when the basket of tomorrows become numbered too few?  When endless tomorrows lay before one’s imagination, too numerous to count that one need not bother, does that purport to show that one has a great quantity of hope, or merely that youth’s folly allows for a carefree tomorrow where an eternity of tomorrows can never be reduced to a handful beyond a few todays?  Can time and incremental portions of divided moments be quantified in that manner?

That has always been an anomaly for the undersigned writer — the quantification of time, as in the manner that religious beliefs are scoffed at when it comes to the story of genesis.  For, those who hold to the strict construction and literal meaning of the timeline of how old the earth is, count the obscure generational extensions of people who lived in former times, and somehow declare that the world is X-amount of years old.  How one can calculate with precision that which is not explicitly stated is a conundrum in and of itself, leaving aside the issue of whether time can be quantified if the order of the planetary system and our specific galactic orbit had not yet been established.

Evolutionists, of course, contend that the world was clearly created billions of years ago.  To both, the question is:  Tell me the logical difference between the following 2 statements — 1. The world was created a long time ago, and 2. The world was created billions of years ago.  Do humans have the capacity to imagine time beyond the present moment, or perhaps yesterday or a couple of days ago?  What does it mean to say to a person, “A type of human being walked the earth 10 million years ago”?  One can barely remember where one has placed the screwdriver used last week, and yet people want to put some significance upon a belief-system that purports to quantify time.

Ultimately, the question of whether one believes that the earth is a mere 10,000 years old, or billions of years in the making, is not a factual or scientific one; it is, a political condemnation that categorizes a person’s religious belief into a bifurcated system of: Is he/she “scientific” or “religious”?  In the end, time cannot be so easily quantified; rather, it is a basis of hope and an anticipation of a future yet to be resolved.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, time often becomes paralyzed, much like our imagined world of dinosaurs and prehistoric images of those Pleistocene eras and beyond; and as time is unable to be made meaningful except in the here and now — by imagining the many tomorrows yet to come — preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application that lets you project a life beyond the present-day circumstances of pain, medical conditions and deteriorating health, is the singular differentiating way that humans can separate themselves from other species: with hope.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Life’s mortgage

We all know well the concept behind it – of borrowing against the object itself, in order to “half-possess”, occupy and enjoy it presently against a future promise that it will be paid over an incremental period of time.  Sort of like life itself, or at least of one’s health.  Borrowed time; life’s mortgage; banking on a better tomorrow; relying upon a promise being kept based upon today’s favorable circumstances over a lengthy period of time well into a future we can never be certain about.

Yet, because the collateral is the object itself – normally, the house that is being mortgaged – the loaning institution actually doesn’t take any gamble at all, even if the value of the collateral plunges below the agreed-upon amount to be paid; one is still obligated, no matter what.

It is sort of like life’s challenge itself – of the promise of a promising life based upon an anticipated health that will last until the day when one is suddenly gone.  But life doesn’t always work that way, just as the mortgage, lien and promise of financial growth doesn’t quite always fold out as planned, like the scrolled blueprint that keeps trying to roll back into an obscured cylinder with each attempt to lay it flat.

Sickness occurs; health deteriorates; the 30-year mortgage that was promised at the onset of the contract signed doesn’t unfold as anticipated, and sometimes a default occurs – like the health that deteriorates and the career that must be ended.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, based upon the idea that recognizes that while a long-term commitment to a career is reasonably anticipated, there are instances where such a commitment may need to be modified in the event of failing health.  Unlike the bank’s position in a mortgage-relationship as lender-to-borrower, however, it is not quite all that one-sided.  There are options still open.

Thus, because Federal Disability Retirement requires only that a person be unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position being occupied, the Federal or Postal employee is allowed to go out into the private sector and work at a job somewhat dissimilar (so long as there are “essential elements” which are not identical to the former Federal or Postal position), and make up to 80% of what the former Federal or Postal job pays currently.

For, in the end, life’s mortgage is unlike the home mortgage where the lender holds all of the proverbial cards; at least for the former, the great thing is that the reliance is upon the capacity of man’s ability, and not upon the fine print hidden within the banker’s contract.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Moral Code lost in pragmatism

Kant is the best example, and is used often.  Of that arrogance defined by universalization of a query; and if we are willing to apply it in all circumstances, regardless of individual differences that may matter in the context of exceptions recognized, we are to adhere to that which may harm our own interests.  Why is transcendence important?  Why do philosophers insist that any “valid” moral basis possess a metaphysical foundation, transpired in order to justify a cornerstone unsullied by the meanness of common life?  Is the fact of relative significance unacceptable merely because it is subject to change?  Do we not, in daily life, have to adapt in every circumstance, all the time throughout every encounter with experiences, and is this not the very essence of survival?

We bought the posit of Plato and Aristotle – those two old Greek men who provided the foundation of Western Thought – that either (A) a transcendent Form of universalized principle must exist, or (B) that a methodological argumentation must be able to be advanced, in order to “justify” the ethical groundwork telegraphed.  That is how laws, statutes, and societal foundations have evolved – from the implicit assumption that, somehow, principles above and beyond the pragmatic are necessary.  But are they?  In a world that embraces pure materialism and the genetic predisposition of all that exists, without the inconvenience of a creator or grand inquisitor, is not the approach of pragmatism – of that which merely “works” – enough?

That is how the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service operates these days; they care less about any “principles” of fairness in the workplace, or employment “codes” that allegedly overshadow the work ethic applied to employees, and instead, approach it with a view towards the bottom line:  Profitability.  For so many years, the Federal Government was incessantly being compared to the private sector – in terms of output, efficiency and investment-for-returns.  Such comparisons failed to recognize the obvious:  the two general entities served different purposes and needs of society, and forcing them to coalesce and reflect each other merely denigrated the essence of each.

It is not so much the attributable similarities between Plato and Aristotle which form the foundation of such thinking; rather, it is the contrasting approaches between Heraclitus and Parmenides that conform our moments of contemplative underpinnings:  between change and permanence, betwixt relativity and transcendence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 question often arises as to a conflicting sense between one’s “Moral Code” and the pragmatic need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  Often, such a conflict is merely a result of muddled thinking – that, somehow, it is not “right” or “fair” to file for benefits when one is so young, or where one can still be productive, but not at the same level as before.  But that is precisely how the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is set up – to allow for a retirement from one’s particular kind or type of work, yet presenting an opportunity to remain productive in the private sector, and potentially make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Morality is all well and good for the elitists of our culture, but in the common world of pragmatism, we must embrace that which we are given, like breadcrumbs dusted off at the dinner table of the behemoth called, the United States Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: The Chasm between Expectation and Reality

Expectation constitutes the anticipatory goal to be attained sometime in the near or far future; reality is the actualization of the potentiality of one’s imagination.  That anticipatory potentiality, however, can be formulated based upon numerous factors, including:  baseless imagination (more of a child-like quality); desire and hope (with perhaps some admixture of factual context and content, and somewhat of a more mature basis); or sequences of planned actions culminating in a realistic fulfillment based upon actual circumstances analyzed, deliberated upon and ascertained (a mature consequence of purposeful strategies formulated and initiated).

The chasm which exists between one’s expectation, and the reality of fruition, retrospectively reveals the state of maturity (or immaturity) of one’s soul.  That is why gamblers and lottery tickets abound; for, the play upon adolescent wants and desires portends of dreams unfulfilled, desires still unrestrained, and creative imaginations unbounded allowed to wander aimlessly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who expected one’s own agency to embrace loyalty and constancy of support just because the Federal or Postal employee showed such honorable characteristics for many years previously, and perhaps for more decades than the half of one’s lifetime, the chasm of reality often hits hard.

Medical conditions can often be “accommodated“, if only in a loose, non-legal sense of the word.  But it is amazing how people and organizations suddenly become quite “legal” in matters where honor should prevail; and in that sense, to be “accommodated” takes on a new and restrictive meaning.  Medical conditions often bring out the worst in people and organizations, and concepts involving the humanity of one’s soul no longer become relevant, but mere irritants to be legally sequestered in order to protect and deny.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, 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, is often the last bastion of hope — hope which bridges the chasm between expectation and reality, and one which sets the path for future security upon the solid foundation of a reality which one may want to shy from, but which one cannot escape in this world of love, hate, humanity and cruelty — the compendium of that complex animal called Man.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Uncharacteristic Behavior

It is the clash between an expectation and the actualization of an encounter, which determines one’s perspective of self-fulfillment of a belief, or a resulting dismay from failure of verifying the basis of a paradigm.  Characteristic behavior is thus that type of human encounter which meets with, or exceeds, one’s predetermined paradigm of what one has already believed to be so; to act out of that previously considered belief system, by definition makes it fall outside of the realm of such expectation.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the bureaucratic complexity of the entire administrative process of preparing, formulating and 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, is normally not a surprise, and meets with or even exceeds, the expectation of an already-formed paradigm of what constitutes the “characteristic behavior” of the system as a whole.

It is the anomaly of the century when efficiency, helpfulness and pleasantries prevail throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, where one hears with surprise and shock that it was “uncharacteristic”.  Sadly, that tells us something.  While somewhat unfortunate, we must always remember that the road of every bureaucratic process is paved with personalities of every type.  We tend to lump the entirety of an administrative process into a single cup and cauldron of judgment, but the reality is that there are multiple categories, just as there are different types of people throughout the universe, distinctly compartmentalized into:  helpful; friendly; efficient; nasty; backstabber; fair; unfair; loyal; unpredictable; just to name a few.

The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM can be a stressful one, if only because it is based upon an obvious stressor to begin with:  a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s Federal or Postal job.  But it is not the bureaucratic process itself which adds or detracts from the inherent complexities of the process, but the behavior — characteristic or not — of those who must help along the way or hinder the necessary transition of the Federal or Postal employee, from one of active Federal or Postal employee to that of disability annuitant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: The Cauldron of One’s Past

The oversized iron pot hangs over the open fire, and the gurgling of ingredients steams and burps the lid in predictable sequences of rhythmic timing; the aroma is an admixture of sweet and mysterious combinations of one knows-not-what; perhaps of bones, marrow and herbs, here a whiff of something which touches upon the dark recesses of one’s memory, and there a hint of harboring horrors, reminding us of past deeds and loathsome reminiscences.

The figure who stands hunched over the source of pervading uprisings, is covered in a dark shawl; a bony hand gripping the large wooden ladle, mixing, turning, crouching over to sniff and taste; and from the chasm of the figure’s hollow mouth, toothless and echoing a chamber of snorting chafes, the sigh of satisfaction emits, as the cauldron of one’s past is ready to be served.  And so the story goes.

Who among us would want the fullness of one’s past and history of deeds to be revealed?  What pot would hold the full taste of one’s misdeeds, private concerns and actions engaged?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the process itself sometimes feels like one is forced to partake of a witch’s brew — who will be in the mix?  What private information will have to be revealed?  When will the pot of information be ready?  Who will mix the ingredients?  The mysteries contained within the mixture of the witch’s brew is indeed terrifying.  Every process which is unknown and, moreover, unknowable, is one fraught with concerns and trepidation of purpose.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is like the witch’s cauldron — it must bring to the fore one’s current circumstances (the medical condition), the impact upon the future (finances, future job prospects, etc.), and potentially the confrontation with one’s past (agencies love to do that).

The key is to understand the complexities of the administrative process, and to maneuver through the bureaucracy of the witch’s brew.  In doing that, one must always be cognizant of the cauldron of one’s past, and keep out of the reach and grasp of those bony fingers which reach out to encircle one’s throat, lest you become an ingredient in the admixture of the skeletons found at the bottom of the pot.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire