Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Retirement: The chronic life

The chronic life is the one that burdens; and, yet, does not all of life present a challenge of burdensome trials and persistent provocations?  Or, are there elements within one’s life that makes it feel as if we are merely the donkey for others to place their weight upon, like those pack animals of yesteryears that always looked forlorn and ready to collapse?

Why do some appear “as if” they have not a care in the world, and flit about like in some ballet skipping and hopping, twirling and dancing from one scene into the next, never allowing for the concerns weighing upon like the rest of us?  Is it merely born of attitude, or having a “positive” thought process; or, are some blocked by the concerns of life such that we are always infected with the chronicity of angst and worry?

The democratic manner of a medical condition seems always to be the one factor that is the exception. Medical conditions do not discriminate; they impact everyone in the same manner.  Whether one is a carefree person, a worrier, a person who is serious, or who flits about life without a thought for consequences, the impact of a medical condition cannot be avoided.

There are those who live the chronic life – always meeting one’s obligations; always fulfilling promises; forever planning for the future; and then there are those “others” who seem to care not a twit about such matters.  And yet, whether of the chronic life or of other-hood, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s health, the treatment and response is all the same: and, all the more so, when the medical condition becomes one that is termed “chronic”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has been deemed “chronic” in the sense that it will remain with the Federal or Postal worker for a minimum of 12 months, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset.

It may well be that you have lived the chronic life, and that it is “unfair” given the seriousness of how you have lived your life.  Nevertheless, it is the chronic nature of things in general, including the medical condition that now must be attended to, that will have to be dealt with.

But the advantage is this: those who have lived the chronic life often “deal” with the chronic matters of life with greater success, and perhaps that is the reason the Federal or Postal employee who has dedicated his or her service to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service has been well-prepared for this newest fight – against the medical condition – in this chronic of all matters: the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employment Early Medical Retirement: That state of cognitive dissonance

For all other species, even a momentary state of unawareness can mean death.  Predators seek the narrow window of advantage; that is the evolutionary determinism which propagates death, and shows mercy of life for those who close all such seams of opportunities; or so the Darwinian theory goes.  Man possesses a peculiar capacity to become lost in thought; whether in daydreaming, deep in slumber; contemplation amidst conceptual constructs of word pictures dancing before one’s eyes; we can walk in a funk or a daze, and drive long distances on super highways and at the end of the trip, not recall a single moment of how we got there.

Do words promulgate action?  Does instinct necessitate reaction?  Does the plethora of informational datum result in the intermediary of thoughts, first, then of engaging with the objective world?  Most of us have periods of cognitive dissonance — that aggregate of formless thought not having a consistency of connections between mindfulness, decisions, actions and judgments; it is only when there arises a lobotomy of capacity to care for one’s self from the daily necessities of life, that suddenly it becomes important enough for people to notice.

How such a species of that of a human being can survive these centuries while increasingly expanding into cognitive dissonance is a mystery to behold.  Whether by loss of awareness through technology; of staring vacantly at computer and smartphone screens, or merely enjoying the fantasy of daydreaming; perhaps the disappearance of open predatory behavior has dulled the once-sharpened edge of instinctive survival mechanisms.  But, in fact, there are wolves around, and they abound in plenitudes of concealment.  They just don’t advertise themselves in that way.  Just ask the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s productivity and capacity to show up for work, whether or not predators exist in a the workplace.

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, can be a form of escapism for many who are threatened by the modern carnivore wandering through civil society.  The ruthless exploitation upon the preys of modernity are not necessarily limited to the impervious universe of wildlife in Nature; it can all occur before our very eyes, in those rare states of clarity and sagacity when our normal state of cognitive dissonance becomes momentarily suspended in order to see the reality of a circumstance which necessitates the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of true discourse and debate

A title immediately becomes “suspect” when the prefatory insertion of the word “true” is necessitated.  For, the noun which it is meant to enhance should be able to stand alone, without the reinforced embellishment that it is somehow more genuine than with the cousin’s uninvited presence.  It is like referring to a gemstone as a “valuable emerald” (what, one queries, would constitute an invaluable one?), or that such-and-such is a “very religious priest” (as opposed to an irreligious one?); and so to refer to the methodological approach of discourse and debate as one which is “true”, is to immediately undermine the very meaning of such a beginning.

But in modernity, where meaning has lost its efficacy and the elasticity of language has become epitomized by mindless You-Tube videos and an endless stream of nonsensical declarations preceded by a belief that, as pure relativism is rampant and presumed, it matters little who holds what opinion, the content of what is said, and not even the tone of intended consequences.

Once, in years past, there were “rules of engagement“, but three (3) foundational precepts needed to be followed in order to engage a valid discourse and debate.  First, that a distinction could be made between truth and falsity.  Second, that there existed a “superior” argument, based upon the combination of facts and rules of logical argumentation, in contradistinction to an “inferior” one.  But third — and this is the missing component in today’s endless shouting matches on television and radio waves — that each participant possessed a level of humility such that upon recognizing the inferiority of one’s one argument, a voluntary concession would be made, admitting to the superiority of the opponent’s argument.

While everyone recognizes and acknowledges the structural weakening of the first element, it is this last one which has devastated the entire process of today’s discourse and debate.  Of relevance to 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, is the extent, content and relevance of making a legal argument, and to what effectiveness and efficacy of substance, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

In the end, bureaucracies are based upon the power of its established conduit of administrative complexity, and OPM is no different.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is made up of ultra-competent individuals who take their jobs very seriously, as well as with a mixture of some who are less than stellar.  That is the general make-up of all such organizations and governmental entities.

The structure of the right to appeal, however, is why a cogent discourse and debate must be prepared.  If the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application twice (at the initial stage of the process, then again at the Reconsideration stage), then the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant can file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  There, the Administrative Judge will hear all of the arguments made, afresh and anew, and consider the lack of constructive engagement and “weak points” of OPM’s arguments.  That is where all true discourse and debate must begin — before an audience with a listening ear.  And there we have that complementing and undesirable cousin again —  the “true” X, as opposed to an untrue one?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire