Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Life’s Muddle

We like to think that we are competent; but much of life is a muddle, where we try and plod along acting “as if”, when the truth is that we are winging it.  For the most part, that works; and the reason why it works is because the rest of the world, as well, is simply plodding along in the same manner and fashion.  Life is a muddle, and when a significant intervening event comes into play, the muddle becomes even murkier and the division between those who are truly competent, and those who have simply been “faking it”, come to the fore and become ever more focused.

Medical conditions, likewise, tend to do that: They bring out the best of people, as well as the worst.  They sharpen the divide between people who are empathetic and those who care not a twit except for times when it might be to their advantage.  And, as Federal agencies and Postal facilities are mere microcosms of people in general, the extent of an Agency’s efforts to accommodate a Federal employee’s medical conditions reveals the underlying character of the people involved.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the time to continue to muddle through the complex bureaucratic process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application should be left to the “experts”.  There are times to muddle, and times not to muddle, and the latter is one of those times when filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Consult with an OPM Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and stop trying to muddle through life’s muddle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Waves of Misfortune

Metaphors allow us to understand our circumstances; by relating the circumstance to the natural world around us, we feel a greater kinship when, in all other aspects of our lives, we have tried to alienate ourselves and artificially separate our lives from the origins of our own existence.  Similes, of course, always contain the comparative contrast that allows for a space between that which is compared and the reality of “what is”.

Thus, to say that “X is like Y” is quite different from saying that “X is Y”, even though we know in both instances that X is not Y, and that is precisely why we assert that there is a likeness between X and Y (because “likeness” is not the same as “sameness”) and also why we declare X to be Y even though they are not one and the same.  Thus is there a difference between “Waves of misfortune” (a metaphor) and “Misfortune are like waves” (a simile).

The comparative preposition creates a once-removed parallelism (simile), whereas the metaphor makes no doubt of the mirror image of one with the other.

Medical conditions are more like metaphors (here, we are utilizing a simile to describe a metaphor); there is no space or removal between the situations being compared.  To have a medical condition is not “like” something else; rather, it is the reality of one’s existence.  It is through metaphors, however, as well as similes that we describe the symptoms to our doctors and others, to try and help them understand what it is like to be in constant pain, to be depressed, to be profoundly fatigued.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition necessitates preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it must be understood that the Federal Disability Retirement “package” is a paper presentation to OPM, and thus must by necessity use both metaphors and similes in order to persuade OPM of having met the legal criteria of a FERS Disability Retirement application.

The “waves of misfortune” must be described persuasively, lest they become a metaphor for failure in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application that results in a denial as opposed to an approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire