Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Cat’s Cradle

It is the complex game of strings wrapped around the small fingers and thumbs of each hand (or a modification of that contorted vestibule of human appendages), and where each player turns the cradle of the strings into greater complexity with each move by the other.

When children play it, the ease with which each turn of transforming the cradle of strings is a fascinating experience to witness.  When grown-ups do it — or, more accurately described, mess it up royally and invert the design into a an ugly bundle of irreversible entanglements that can no longer be played — the “overthinking” begins, the hesitation blockades and the uncertainty overwhelms.

It is always the grownups who mess up the beauty of the world’s designs, while children play it effortlessly, without conscious thought and with an innocence of proceeding that reveals much about what happens to an individual when you “grow up”.

Of course, we all have to grow up.  It is a sad inevitability.  That is why when the stunted individual who never quite got over his or her high school years, and still to this day talks about that grand finale of his senior year where the glory days of football, parties and friendships that were promised to last forever — that these frozen images yet remain so many years later as the pinnacle of one’s life and achievements — we shake our heads sadly and wonder at the fragile nature of man’s folly.

Cat’s cradle is the metaphor for much of life itself — of how simple childhood is, and yet so complex like the strings that bind the hands that create.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal job, the time to “think” about the next move — like the overthinking grownup who is asked to take the next step in the game of Cat’s Cradle — may seem complex because of its very simplicity.

There is the future to think about, and all that comes with it.  One’s career, health and future security are all entangled within the strings that wrap around and throughout one’s life, but the question that remains is similar to the conundrum of a Cat’s Cradle — is it you who will make sure that the next design of strings will turn out “right”, or will you leave it up to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to determine your future course of actions?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a complex administrative process —much like the tangle of strings in a Cat’s Cradle —but it is the simplicity of deciding that will make all the difference as to whether the next move will be a successful one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Reduction and Emergence

The fear in most instances is that the latter will not follow upon the former; that the state of diminution will become permanent, and the potentiality promised by a subsequent stage of linear progression will instead reflect a downward spiral or, worse, remain in a state of stagnant immobility.   And, indeed, neither in physics nor in human living, is there a stated and inevitable law of nature which mandates that following a period of reductionism, emergence of a greater state of affairs will occur.

Perhaps personal experience even dictates thoughts and reflections otherwise perceived; for, why is it that inventions and innovations seem to occur in youth?  Or that the older populace wants to merely hoard and fend off losses, like the football team that tries desperately to hold on to a lead, and loses in the process because they have failed to play with aggression and abandonment of fear?

Federal Disability Retirement should always be looked upon as an opportunity for the future.  It is likely the most thoughtful paradigm formulated by the Federal government, precisely because it encourages the system of disability payments to be “self-paying”, by allowing for disability annuitants to enter into a different vocation even while receiving a Federal Disability annuity, thereby continuing to pay back into the “system”.

Federal OWCP/Worker’s Comp does not allow a person to work at another job at all, while concurrently receiving permanent partial disability benefits; and Social Security Disability has such a low threshold of allowable earned income that it discourages further alternatives in employment.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who receive Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal and Postal worker can make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays, and all the while continue to receive the Federal disability retirement annuity, and meanwhile, accrue further years of Federal Service while on Federal Disability Retirement, such that at age 62, when one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit is recalculated as “regular retirement”, the time that one was on Federal disability retirement counts towards the total number of years of service.

Thus, when a Federal or Postal employee first considers filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, there is always the fear involving the immediate reduction of one’s income; but such a limited perspective should always include the further possibility of the corollary potentiality — that of emergence in the near, intermediate or long-term future.

Regrouping sometimes takes some time; but whatever the specific circumstances which necessitate consideration in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, one should always be careful that a skewed perspective of future opportunity is not altered or quashed because of the medical condition from which one suffers.

As emergence is the natural consequence resulting from a period of diminution, and is the pink dawn of hope for the promise of a bright future, so reductionism is merely a temporary interlude in this brief visit upon the historical expansion of man’s infinite and limitless plenitude of potentialities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hug That Wasn’t

Regrets are priceless; they lack both a marketplace value, as well as a worth beyond applicability of accounting principles.  The conceptual void of negation; the paradox of non-existence and nothingness; the chasm of obsolescence and absence where once perceptual conformity allowed for the revelation of a thing; these are all within the imaginative mind of the human puzzle.

What possible evolutionary utility can be ascribed to things that did not happen, could have, but never did, and where the pit of void in one’s stomach leaves a dissatisfying wanting of that which could have been?  In the quietude of a sleepless night, when images of past concerns invade and prevent that final lull into a dreamworld of peaceful intent, those thoughts of missed opportunities, bumps in the night of moments forgotten by interludes of dusty memories once enlivened but now deadened with time and fading photographs darkened by degeneration of remembrances once clung to; in a twinkle of twilight, a sense of regret can pervade.

It has often been said that, on the eve of one’s deathbed, one never remembers the time of work unfulfilled; rather, we recount the time lost of things we did not do because we were too busy with work.  Regret does not cull the graveyards of memories lost about parallel universes involving work left undone at the office; instead, it reaches into the bottomless chasm of simple recollections, like the hug that never was.

Medical conditions often serve as a reminder of important priorities, and tend to impose the sequence of one’s lives, reordering them into a listing of priceless artifacts, like uncut diamonds lost in the sands of time.  Suddenly, one’s mortality is in question, and more than getting meaningless tasks done, the vitality of relationships come to the fore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly recognize that a medical condition is beginning to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the sense of regret often accompanies the realization, but is also and just as often a misplaced case of loyalty.  Why should fealty be sworn to an agency which is impervious to human suffering?  How can a guilty conscience pervade when the Federal or Postal employee has already given beyond what is required, for years and decades already lost?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit open to Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes continuation with an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a legal criteria of proof of preponderance of the evidence.  Guilt and regret should never be a part of the process.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an employment right, accorded by statute, and should be done once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that one cannot perform at least one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a benefit tapped into only through proof by evidentiary sufficiency.

And like the hug that wasn’t, the failure to file for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the negation of rationality when continuation in circumstances of employment only exacerbates the pain, prolongs the suffering, and extends the nightmare; leaving to wonder the capacity of the human animal, the quietude of regrets and the forlorn despair of the empty space left, when once we tried to embrace a loved one, but instead spent that time serving a master who had long since gone home to his family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire