OPM Medical Retirement: Consistency

For over twelve years, the lack of intervening language contradicting the narrative as put forth by the NBC news anchor allowed for an intended image to prevail; it was only when language from other sources began to intersect, and to refute or otherwise unravel, the factual underpinnings as propounded by the individual, that retractions, admissions and apologies had to be declared and conveyed.  But for those other intervening statements, the language game as played by the news anchor would have continued to dominate, and history would have been remained unquestioned.

Language games, as described and discussed by Wittgenstein, are funny animals; there are, of course, the “facts” and the reality as first encountered in the objective world surrounding us; but once that encounter has occurred, what is left is the correspondence and communication through the medium of our language.  It is through language that past historical occurrences are communicated; and so long as the language used by all others do not contradict or otherwise make misfits of the language game one is playing, all goes well.

It is like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; the longer one stays at it, the greater the picture becomes entrenched; but once a piece of the greater puzzle manifests a misfit, or it becomes clear that there are either pieces missing or ones that don’t belong, then the entirety of the whole begins to crumble. We tend to place all of such occurrences under the general aegis of “consistency“.

Submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker has a parallel effect.  You begin with a factual basis:  the medical condition.  Beyond the factual basis, one must then begin to formulate a “Statement of Disability” as propounded on SF 3112A, where the description and delineation must include the logical connection to one’s positional requirements and why you cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position.

Here, consistency is crucial; how one characterizes the nexus between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; the manner of one’s description; the consistency of application and bridge between the two elements of the case, the medical condition and the positional requirements of the job.

It is, ultimately, a language game precisely because a Federal Disability Retirement application is a presentation submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and whether the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the pieces of the puzzle which make for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application all must fit to make up the wholeness of that which matters most in any language game:  consistency.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Difficulty of Coordination

From the time one is born, coordination becomes a matter of survival: from maneuvering in the awkward ambulatory manner of humans on two legs as opposed to four; to trying to excel in sports and other competitive endeavors where there are always others who have greater physical abilities; to a world which demands multitasking and where singularity of performance is considered inadequate.

Then, when a medical condition suddenly hits, the learning curve of the individual takes on a magnified and crippling proportionality.  Suddenly, it is not a matter of attempting to coordinate two or more efforts; it is effort enough to accomplish a single task.

Further, for the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is the additional task — beyond the physical coordination of work and worry — to coordinate the multiple elements in compiling a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Thus, from acquiring sufficient medical evidence and documentation, to completing the proper forms in order to meet the minimum eligibility criteria, to meeting deadlines and all the while, for many, continuing to work in order to survive.

Coordination is an ability which must be continually learned. On top of it all, for an effective submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, reference to the prevailing laws governing Federal Disability Retirement issues should be made.

In the end, while the ambulatory beginnings of a toddler may have been the easiest to overcome, it turns out that it is merely the foundation for all future courses of challenges and obstacles to face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Words, Actions and Comparative Analysis in Federal Disability Retirement

The test of sincerity is determined by the actions which follow upon words.  Words themselves are merely malleable vehicles, subject to linguistic gymnastics, and can have interpretive chameleon-like characteristics.  Thus, a declarative statement issued by an individual, in the form of, “I will take care of it!” seemingly solves a problem — immediately, by the mere force of the statement, and in the very usage of the words chosen.

Indeed, in this world of Facebook, websites and technology-based apparatus of endless statements without the need to act, but merely to speak it; where words constitute the substance of an entity; and where a person can appear to be X merely by declaring X; a comparative analysis of sincerity is necessary.  It is ultimately the action which follows, which determines the sincerity of the words stated.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important that the documentary evidence provided to OPM in support of the Federal Disability Retirement application, reveals a comparative consistency with the Applicant’s Statement of Disability as declaratively issued in response to Standard Form 3112A.  For, that is the primary basis of a denial by the case worker at OPM in evaluating and reviewing a Federal Disability Retirement application — by comparing the statements made, and the medical reports, records, office notes, etc., which are provided.  That is why merely having the doctor send the records to one’s Agency, then forwarded to OPM, without first having an opportunity to see what is being sent, is tantamount to malpractice.

Words and actions — the test of sincerity, and the comparative basis for an approval in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Coordinating the Various Elements

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to coordinate the various elements necessary in its core formulation and preparation, to the extent possible.

Aside from simply declaring that there is “insufficient medical documentation” to warrant an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application, such that one’s case does not provide “compelling medical evidence”, the Office of Personnel Management will often cite various inconsistencies between the medical documents, including comparing what Doctor X stated as opposed to Doctor Y, or by noting internal inconsistencies where a particular medical note states “improvement” on a specific date, and contrasting that singular note with the body of the narrative report which the doctor has submitted for purposes of Federal Disability Retirement; or with the lack of performance deficiencies, or in comparison with what the Supervisor stated, etc.  

The problem with attempting to correct all inconsistencies, whether apparent, minor, or substantive, is that most issues in life contain inconsistencies.  Think about it — in normal situations of everyday life, do people act and speak in perfect narratives, where everything and everybody is coordinated in speech, action and motive?  Or are there always some inexplicable inconsistencies where one simply throws up one’s hands and says, Nevertheless, that is what happened?  Yet, the Office of Personnel Management will focus upon such inconsistencies and attempt to compare, contrast, and form the basis for a substantive denial.  

At the Reconsideration Level, of course, the Federal or Postal employee is given the opportunity to explain or to unravel such inconsistencies; but to the extent possible, the effort to coordinate between all of the various elements should be engaged in at the outset.  However, such coordination should be real, and one should never force an artificial coordination of efforts.  

Truth must always be the guide; but that the Office of Personnel Management, in reviewing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, would also be guided by the same criteria, as well as by a balanced approach of fairness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Basic Elements

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important for the Federal and Postal worker who is contemplating filing for such benefits to keep in mind certain basic elements before engaging in the entire process:  

First, it is a long and arduous process, involving multiple stages (potentially) and requiring a great amount of patience.  

Second, the Federal or Postal employee should mentally expunge from one’s mind any view that Federal Disability Retirement is an entitlement — it is not.  The conceptual distinction between an “entitlement” and a “benefit” should be clear from the outset.  The former requires one to simply satisfy certain requirements in order to obtain the benefit; the latter requires that one prove all of the legal criteria, and submit evidence showing that one is eligible by a preponderance of the evidence.  The former requires nothing more than meeting certain basic requirements, which are normally automatic (age, for example); the latter mandates that one prove one’s eligibility.  

Third, there is almost never a “slam dunk” case, where one merely gathers the most recent medical records and reports, fills out the forms, and sends in the application.  Yes, there are certain limited cases, perhaps — i.e., of a Letter Carrier or a Special Agent who becomes bedridden — but these are rare and unique cases, and even then, it is still possible that the Office of Personnel Management will find a reason to deny such a case.  

Fourth, one must always prepare a case both for success at the First Stage of the Process, while at the same time laying the foundation for subsequent stages of the process.  

And Fifth, one should attempt to avoid inconsistencies, both internal and external, in the application, as OPM always targets inconsistencies as the basis for a denial, and likes to extrapolate and use such issues to base their denials.  

These are just some basic elements to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire