Federal Disability Retirement: The Ledger of Life

The Ledger was once that oversized binder which recorded the economic transactions for various purposes — of maintaining income and outlays; of keeping an accounting of various details in one’s life, whether of activities in business or even of one’s habits and patterns of existence.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem the same as typing such information into a computer, or of buying a software that categorizes and makes everything neat and simple.

That old Ledger that had to be lugged from one place to another reflected the weight of seriousness just in the act of lifting it; and when you opened the front cover and turned the pages where the latest entry still emitted the scent of ink still drying, one sensed the permanency of recordation as a trait of relevance that could never be erased.

And what of the metaphor — of one’s “Ledger of Life” — a recordation of the transactions that one has engaged; of the weightiness of that placed on one side of the ledger as compared to the negative notations appearing on the opposite side; of the image of St. Peter as the gatekeeper reviewing the annotated columns to determine if you “made it” — all because “The Ledger” reflects the value of your actions during the course of a lifetime?

Do we even think in those terms, anymore?  Or, while the dusty old books that used to be kept beneath the wooden grains of counters in dark and dank workshops were left behind when first the technology of modernity made for obsolescence of such anachronistic record keeping, did we then just revert to making mental notes for the things we did or did not do?

Most of us, if asked if we are “eligible” to pass through St. Peter’s exclusive club, would respond thus: “Oh, all in all, I have been a pretty good person and so, Yes, I believe I would qualify.”  And so we approach most things in a similar vein: We give ourselves a “pass” and believe that the Ledger of Life would favor our eligibility status.

And so it is with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition and need to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Because you suffer from the medical condition and believe that the medical condition cannot but be proof of eligibility, so you believe OPM cannot but see what you see.  But filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is very rare that any Federal Disability Retirement application is a “slam-dunk” case, or even an “easy” one; and like the Ledger of Life that we have left behind in the dusty heaps of bookshelves long forgotten, preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application is not just a simple transaction to be annotated into columns of neat book keeping, but a bureaucratic process that must be proven and argued for — somewhat like the Ledger of Life that must be submitted to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Sound legal arguments

Arguments in general share a characteristic within the more limited field of those involving legal issues: soundness is based upon factors involving coherence, cogency, consistency and the application of the rules of propositional logic.  The latter — of propositional logic — can get lost in general arguments when they become wrapped in multiple compound statements, shouted with ardor and passion, and conveyed with a sense of unequivocal belief as to one’s “rightness” and doubtless self-righteousness.

Propositional logic within the field of legal argumentation, however, takes on a more limited and restrictive nature, for it normally is contained by the text of legal opinions and cases that have a value of precedence.  The “soundness” or its antonym — of an “unsound legal argument” — largely depends upon how much the legal practitioner will “stretch” the foundational apparatus involved: the analogical arguments used in citing legal precedents.

Future legal opinions — those evolving from the very attempts by lawyers to stretch those precedents into areas heretofore disallowed — are based upon the persuasive propositional logic argued at the appellate level, and even in the various stages of an OPM Disability Retirement case.  On an informal level, of course, one will want to cite legal precedents to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at the first two stages of the process — at the Initial Stage of the OPM Disability Retirement process, as well as the Second, “Reconsideration” Stage.

At both levels, sound legal argumentation should be employed — by “sound”, meaning that the basic and well-known legal precedents should be cited involving what constitutes meeting the burden of proof in a Federal Disability Retirement application; what meets the legal requirements of an “accommodation”; the importance of medical evidence and the criteria that must be applied in assessing and evaluating the content and substance of the medical evidence presented; as well as the foundational basis of “sound” legal cases which delineate, in a persuasive manner, the compendium of evidentiary documentation which comprises one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

At the “Third Level” of the process, of course — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (or more familiarly known as the “MSPB”) — one must take extra care in presenting sound legal arguments, because there, an Administrative Law Judge will be attuned to the “stretching” and “extension-attempting” arguments that citation of legal precedents may pose, and the “soundness” of one’s knowledge of “the law” is often a prerequisite in even trying to make one’s case before such an Administrative Law Judge.

For, in the end, sound legal arguments are not too dissimilar from arguments sound or unsound in general; they just require an extra component of legal training allowed that involves the proper and effective use and application of arguments by analogy based upon case-law precedents.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: “It would happen, anyway…”

This can be a catch-all excuse, of course.  Fatalism is a self-contradictory philosophical perspective; one cannot by definition remain in such a belief-system without experiencing the self-immolation of one’s own convictions.  What if we prefaced each and every one of our actions with such a statement. “It would happen, anyway.”

The operative principle falls behind the “It”, of course, and the remainder of the fatalism makes sense when once we identify the opening dummy subject that is otherwise left unstated, as a pronoun that remains unattended, often purposefully.  The “It”, of course, can mean many things, including: death; failure; a disastrous outcome; complete destruction, etc.

To conclude that X would happen regardless of the causal interventions of human resolve perpetuated by the will of a conscious mind, is to attribute to the universe a determinism that is without design or goodness.  Is there such an omnipotent being that cares not, perhaps similar to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover?  Of such a being, Aristotle of course did not conceptualize a meddling kind of god, good or bad, but rather where perfection caused others to desire reaching towards its apex of unperturbed immovability.

But why must fatalism always posit the negative?  Why must it always end in disaster, death or progressive decay, and not towards some optimism of a future yet to be determined?  Why don’t we hear anyone say, instead, “Oh, it would happen, anyway…”, but implying that the dummy subject of “It” is meant to connote greater fortunes for tomorrow, a happier life to be had, or better days ahead of health and joy?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are stuck in the rut of a negative outlook because of a medical condition that pervades and will not go away, it is time to replace the dummy subject of “It” with a pronoun or other grammatical subject that conveys a positive outlook upon life’s travails.

Filing an effective 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, is an important first step in filling in the “unknowns” of life’s tomorrows.  And, ultimately, that is the key point, isn’t it?

To avert, subvert and otherwise replace the negative with a positive — and for a Federal employee who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, it is the negative “It” that must be replaced with a positive and effective Federal Disability Retirement Application, lest fatalism lead to a determinism that undermines the positive tomorrows that are yet to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Verbosity

The word itself has an effective resonance — similar in tone and texture to “grandiloquence”, which implies a flourish of rhetorical verbosity; and if one were to combine the two, as in the sentence, “He spoke with verbose grandiloquence,” one need not say anything more about the subject, but the statement says it all.

Verbosity does not necessarily carry a negative connotation, for excessive use of words does not logically entail ineffectiveness.  For instance, if one is attempting to kill time for a greater purpose (e.g., a lecture to the entire police department personnel while one’s co-conspirators are robbing a bank), being verbose (and while at the same time, being grandiloquent) may have a positive benefit.

On the other hand, being either verbose or grandiloquent which results in providing too much peripheral information, or information which may ultimate harm the essence of one’s foundational purpose, may in fact lead to unintended negative consequences.

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must of course engage in the narrative prose — through medical reports and records; through crafting and submitting one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  In the course of the narrative statement of one’s disability, it is often the case that Federal and Postal Workers will tend to be “verbose”. But purposeful verbosity is the key.

Choose the words carefully.  And make sure that, if along the way, you are also being grandiloquent, try not to be bombastic at the same time.  Imagine that sentence:  “He spoke with a bombastic, verbose grandiloquence.” That says everything.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGil, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Narrative Recanted

The ability to expunge, extinguish or recant is only available to the extent that memory serves us well; for, as the last veteran of a war once fought follows to a grave avoided in the skirmishes and battles long forgotten, so the discarding of memorialized narratives will survive long past, or be placed upon the dusty shelves of books unread and periodicals unsealed.

Human memory itself, of course, is fickle and fraught with errors of judgment and contextual intermingling of past vestiges, present impressions and future anticipatory angst of what should be; thus do short stories and novels of Dickensian genres magnify the perspective from a child’s memory of slights and wrongs committed.  It is when the written form is completed, that we are locked into the truth or falsity of an otherwise remembered past.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the narrative Statement of Disability as propounded, explicated and sealed on SF 3112A becomes the foundation of one’s application.  For that is where the facts, figures and featured fellowship between one’s medical condition, the work one engages in, and the nexus between the two will determine the evaluative force and analytical judgment of the Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Once the Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania, and a CSA Number is assigned, the content of the narrative statement is accepted and ensconced in stone; medical conditions cannot be “added”, but they can follow the course of substantive inclusion; and nor can the narrative be recanted, despite differing memories diverging from the written Statement of Disability as submitted to OPM on SF 3112A.

As such, one must take care in the preparation, formulation and filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application, for the narrative recanted must be withdrawn, but the residue of past submissions may remain in copied form in the unforgiving files of a bureaucracy which never discards anything, even unto the dustbin of history.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire