OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Pivotal Moments

In basketball, it is a key movement of escaping an opponent’s attempt to block or steal the ball, so long as one foot retains its point of contact with the hardwood floor.  In the game of greater life, it is a moment, in contradistinction from a singular series of movements, comprising the culmination of a spectrum of events, which requires a decision of exponentially quantified significance, such that it may be considered metaphorically to be “earth shaking”.

It can seemingly be as minor an event as when the first confrontation occurred as a child, challenging one to a fist fight; but, in retrospect, win or lose, that moment was pivotal in the sense that it determined the future character of an individual’s make-up:  of courage or cowardice, of fight or flee, and of facing up or turning away.  Or, of greater relevance, at least on a memory and consciousness level, of a career choice, of which school to attend, of whom to marry, and of raising a family despite difficulties, or divorcing with impressionable regrets.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is just one of those “pivotal moments” — it is a point of reference, the proverbial “fork in the road”, and the Frost-like road less traveled.  For many Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, “sticking it out” and enduring the pain, the constant harassment and pernicious hostile environment, is actually the path of least resistance, precisely because the repetition of habitual comfort is often preferable to the unseen, unknown and unforeseen.

Like the basketball player who must maintain the point of contact with one foot while moving about on the other lest the referee’s whistle blows for a traveling violation, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that he or she is no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, remains within the “safety net” of the greater arena of life.

But within that macro-context of one’s future, whether one remains or takes an affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, will determine that future orientation where retrospective dismay may tether the soft landings of past regrets, when once butterflies fluttered like the dreaming spirits of yesteryear for pivotal moments once grasped at, but lost forever in the floating vestiges of our memories of yore gone and long forgotten.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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 Benefits for US Government employees: Consistency

Consistency, in addition to coherence, is an important element which must always be recognized and reviewed in filing an application for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.  Coherence of an application has to do with the element of “fitting all the pieces” together so that everything coheres in a rational, logical, and often sequential manner.  Coherence often has more to do with form, than with substance.  Consistency has to do with the substantive issues — the actually claims and statements made by a doctor; the opinions rendered in relation to the knowledge obtained; and whether everything “agrees” with everything else, in the very substance of the statements and claims made.

Inconsistencies are precisely what the Office of Personnel Management aggressively searches for, in determining the validity of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Coherence can often be ignored; indeed, in many Federal Disability Retirement applications filed without an OPM Disability Attorney at the First Stage of the process, I have often found that, when it has been denied and people come to me at the Second, Reconsideration Stage, that the application prepared by the applicant is almost entirely incoherent.

The narrative prepared is often illogical; the doctor’s report often takes a “shotgun” approach, without the coherence of a methodology of addressing the essential issues which OPM is looking for.  Either by form or by substance, it is always better to have problems with form, rather than substance.  But if you ask me, it would be “best” (good, better, best) if both form and substance are carefully prepared — meaning, that a Federal Disability Retirement application is both coherent and consistent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Coherence

A Federal Disability Retirement packet must be coherent.  This may appear to be “self-evident”, but there have been many disability retirement packets which, upon a denial and a review at the Second, Reconsideration Phase of the process, lack the coherent coordination which results in a credible disability retirement packet.  Coherence results from the simple review of the entirety of the information submitted to the Office of Personnel Management:  The applicant’s personal statement; the medical records and reports; the position description; any additional statements or attachments.

Now, there are certain elements of a Federal Disability Retirement application which cannot be controlled — such as the Supervisor’s Statement (SF 3112B) and the Agency Certification of Reassignment and Accommodation Efforts (SF 3112D).  However, while one may not be able to “control” the coherence of those elements which are the purview of the Agency, there are certain steps which can be taken to preempt such uncontrollable injections from the Agency.

Regardless, it is normally not the SF 3112B or 3112D which makes for the incoherence of a Federal Disability Retirement submission; more often than not, the culprit is the Applicant him/herself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire