Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Foregone conclusions

There are many; some, within the universe of a greater subset, are perennial by nature, and can never be altered but for some miracle yet to be considered (like the fact that the Baltimore Orioles will have ended its season sometime by early June of each year); others, of a more generic knowledge, assumed and forever predictable, ever to be presumed as a law of nature (as in, somewhere in the world a war will be started within the next year, or that a child will be born, or even that a medical condition will impact someone, somewhere).

Foregone conclusions are tidbits of knowledge gained from experience of life; and where the cynic will declare that they establish the circularity of repetitive reality that cannot be avoided or ignored, the idealist will counter that miracles and exceptions may yet prove otherwise such that what was presumed to be a conclusion is never foregone but merely imagined.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who harbor thoughts of foregone conclusions based upon the deteriorating health of one’s present circumstances — that you will be “fired”; that the PIP imposed will inevitably lead to termination; that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset will be defeated by one’s own Agency or the U.S. Postal Service — remember that it is up to the sole determination of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and not one’s Agency or the Postmaster of one’s Postal Facility.

All Federal and Postal Disability Retirement applications are submitted to OPM, and one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Service can only have limited influence upon the viability and persuasive effect of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Where there is a will to fight and an objective basis in which to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is never a foregone conclusion that there is not a chance for a successful outcome.

Now, as for those Orioles’ fans who think that there is hope for next year…well, you must truly be an idealist to avoid the foregone conclusion that, yes, the sun will rise again tomorrow, and set yet again later, but a season’s end that began in early May is not a great indicator of next year’s beginning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Quiet

Is “quiet” the same as silence?  Or, of lack of noise?  Is it a state of mind-body consonance, where the body can remain calm and unmoving, yet the mind remains racing with thoughts, and in that state of being, do we fool ourselves to think that the outer world will not impact the inner mind?  Or, in reverse order?

Quiet is that which we strive for, in a world where din is the normalcy of life.  Can medical conditions that betray that which we strive for be understood by those who do not experience it?

Consider Tinnitus – that condition where there is a constant “sound”, whether of ringing, hissing or clanging that disrupts any consistency of a person’s striving for quiet, and this, despite everyone else in the “objective” world being quite oblivious to the “hearing” of such sounds.  Or, of the person who is deaf or progressively losing one’s acoustic acuity – can the rest of the world understand such a state of reality?

We assume, as we operate throughout the world on a daily basis, that because others appear to act in similar ways, that their inner beings and states of minds are similarly situated.  To “think alike” is to remain comfortable; and to attain “quiet” is not just to avoid the constant rush of living, but to reach a plateau where life is consistent, predictable and somewhat boring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience the disquietude of a medical condition, where a combination of multiple factors come to the fore: Of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties; of “noises” from one’s agency, supervisors and managers of deficiencies in performance, attendance or quota goals; of being placed upon a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP); of receiving a “warning” memorandum concerning one’s use of leave, whether Sick, Annual or LWOP; of harassment even when one has invoked FMLA rights; or of the step just prior to the last one – a proposed termination, then a termination; it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

“Quiet” is not just a state of how things are in one’s home; one can lose that goal of quiet by bringing home the stresses of work’s harassment and adversarial environment, and it doesn’t have to be an actual medical condition such as Tinnitus or progressive deafness – although those may also be a qualifying basis upon which to file a Federal Disability Retirement application – but multiple other medical conditions, as well, that result in the disquiet of robbing one’s quiet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: ‘Can’ and ‘Have to’

The category of the latter has diminished in recent years, as the general populace has mistakenly misinterpreted the distinctive definitions of liberty and freedom, and reassigned meanings as license and anarchy.  The blank column of the former concept has come to be full, despite the reality of the economic downturn and the shift into a global economy that, we are told, is an inevitable consequence of human progress.

We were taught that the march of progress required the destruction of the American West, where a way of life needed to be trampled upon and destroyed in the name of advancement and civilization; that each step of innovation and progressive paradigms constitute an almost Hegelian fatefulness, and resistance is merely an act of futility within the aggregation of the Leviathan called “Progress”.  The modern parlance consists in the acceptance of every innovation of technology, to the extent that Orwell’s dystopian premonitions have been surpassed by a reality now accepted as mundane and commonplace, and we fail to realize that his magnum opus of a totalitarian future could have been heeded, but now is merely embraced with a yawn and barely a glance backward.

The more that society comes to believe in that which we ‘can’, as opposed to the obligatory mandate of ‘have to’, the less likely is there of a resistance to authority.  And, until the police raid in the middle of the night or the unquestioned stop and search on a highway where others just whiz by without puzzlement or curiosity, is experienced personally by a given individual, the onerous nature of laws passed in the name of safety, security and preventative measures, will be merely a conceptual haze masked by an obscure hypothetical.

Instead, we live day-to-day in the conundrum of being told that we ‘can’ do what we want, desire and fantasize about, and there is little that we ‘have to’ do.  Thus do infidelity and divorces occur; of abandonment of family ties based upon tropes of scintillating sensations; and goals set aside in the namesake of present pleasures.

There is a category of individuals, however, where the luxury of ‘can’ cannot be replaced by mere want of ‘have to’ – a person with a medical condition.  For Federal and 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 ‘can’ once relied upon transforms into an inability.

Once the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position becomes a reality, then the ‘have to’ is finally realized – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Do not let the muddle of incessant trope involving ‘can’ become confused with ‘have to’ – for, when one comes to a point of ‘must’, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The beleaguered soul

They walk among us.  In modern parlance, the metaphor is equipped with “zombies” and the popularity of such cultural fodder.  People tend to watch such shows and laugh with nervous chatter; but the truth is, there is some inner fear and trepidation that is reflected by such haunting tales, where comedy is fused with the absurd.

The idea itself reverberates with signification of a nervous reality.  It is likened to that old movie (the 1956 version, not the 1978 remake), Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which frightened the French Existentialists because of the denial of that one human characteristic that made life worth living – of the human capacity to love, hate, and experience the sensation of “being”, now deprived by an alien source of devastating consequences, left devoid of the essence of humanity and purpose.

We dismiss such antics of entertainment with the same nervous laughter; all the while, we somehow recognize that, yes, much of life itself comprises a series of insidious detractions that diminish the liveliness of our very souls, but we continue to allow for it to demean and deprive, until we become nothing less than that which we feared all along.

The beleaguered soul is one who has been harassed, intimidated and incrementally put down, to a point where the skeletal remains can no longer withstand the turmoil of life, the travails of daily living, and the constant barrage of plain human meanness.  That life has become so complex such that few can put up with the inherent stresses, is acknowledged by most; but what we avoid and fail to decry, is the lack of empathy that follows, where sheer cruelty has exponentially increased to a devastating effect.  Over time, the zombies and victims of those alien body snatchers become the greater population of society’s burdens.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the option to file 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 an “out” with a brighter future for tomorrow.

The Zombie genre and the movie predecessor leave little hope for the bleak predictions of a dystopian reality; but for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker whose medical conditions are such that the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the constant harassment and increasing violations of one’s rights and needs resulting from medical conditions suffered through no fault of the Federal or Postal employee, the effective preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application can allow for a brighter future where “tomorrow” may lead to another vocation, a second career, or at least some semblance of financial stability.

It is, in the end, the responsibility of the beleaguered soul to take a last stand against the injustices perpetrated, and to give one’s self a fighting chance that tomorrow is a better hope than the devastation of yesterday or today, and hopefully, that the lock on the door will keep out that pounding invasion, whether by a neighborhood zombie, an alien body snatcher, or a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service – sometimes mistaken for the other.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: A break from the quotidian

Is there ever a release from the commonplace?  We take it so for granted – those mundane occurrences of daily living – until the greater pain of life’s misgivings overwhelm and supersede.  The quotidian is a fancy term for the everyday; that routine which we engage in from the moment our eyes open, the sleepiness is cast aside, and the feet are sheathed into slippers or socks, or perhaps not at all; and all that was just described, as well, constitutes the quotidian.

How can we speak of that which occurs daily, is of the commonplace, and provides no fodder for interest or spark of fiery eyes?  Have you ever had a conversation that recurs almost daily, as in the general small-talk with the clerk behind the counter brewing the coffee, or the next-door neighbor who relishes the horsepower of a lawnmower just purchased – and wonder how the stifled yawn might unravel the boredom of life’s privacy?  Where are the gods who once ruled the earth, the mammoths of being who roamed the terraces of epic battles now lost in mythologies severed from the culture of vacuous minds?

Yet, it is by the quotidian that sanity is maintained, where interest is imposed and character is developed.  We often wish for that which we do not possess, yet, upon the embracing of that which we desire, we realize the ineptitude of life’s misgivings and hope for change where alteration of purpose is the last thing we require.  Like Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence, the reenactment of life’s quotidian muse will, with boredom and repetitive insanity, compel us all across eternity of time and limitless space, to relive that which causes us to become overwhelmed with somnolence of misbehavior.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is clearly bored, until a word is spoken, a thought conveyed, and a spark of life is seen in those dull eyes which dispossessed life’s gifts just a moment before, and suddenly becomes a burning fury ignited by an unknown flintlock exploding with colorful trepidation?  Perhaps you cannot even fathom what compelled it, but it is there, deep in the recesses of the window to the soul of a being, and suddenly, there is life where once but a moment before, death’s promise had overwhelmed and overtaken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, a break from the quotidian is often the search for that mundane part of life which seems forever lost.  For, when a medical condition begins to overpower, it is precisely the quotidian that is sought.  Others may not understand that, and many will never comprehend it.

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 often the first step in that journey where the quotidian is indeed the epic goal to attain, and when the greater historical deed would be traded for a mere good night’s sleep and a moment of quietude away from the anguish of one’s own medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire