Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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 position, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Forgetting for a moment

It is a game we play, or perhaps “have to” in order to retain our fantasy-world and “pretend” selves. We like to think that we gave up, long ago, those childish dreams and fantasies we engaged and tolerated as younger selves, and that as adults we must daily face the realities of problems encountered, difficulties arisen and turmoil challenged.  But we haven’t.  We have merely replaced it with another, more productive methodology of play-acting: Forgetting, for the moment.

Perhaps it occurs when we take a day off; or engage in a sports activity, like golf or a pick-up game of basketball where we can imagine ourselves in our glory days, not quite good enough to become pro or even semi-pro, but better than most by sheer force of will, practice and dominance of creative moves that would be whistled away as a travel violation by any half-competent referee, but in the imaginative world of concrete basketball, we can take those extra steps, much like Michael Jordan used to do under the “Jordan Rule” of play.

What we forget; how we forget; the technique of forgetting; whether and why; when and where; these all depend upon individual circumstances and requirements of the day, forged with dependencies, co-dependencies and enablers of time and leisure.

Perhaps it is by daydreaming; or sitting in a café fantasizing of having won the lottery; or in simply watching a television show or a movie where, just for a moment, you can forget everything and become consumed by the story, the special effects and the emotional upheaval of the actors and actresses on the flat screen of make-believe.  Then, of course, in the next moment, or sometime thereafter, reality sets in and we must go about the daily business of living.

The one component in life that makes the whole activity of “forgetting for a moment” difficult, is when you are suffering from a medical condition.  For, a medical condition never seems to “let up”, never allows for a moment of forgetfulness, and never ceases to remind.

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 position, not only will the medical condition itself not allow for forgetting for the moment, but it is also the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service that also disallows such momentary distractions.

Life is always a bundle of problems, but when you are a Federal or Postal employee, that bundle of problems comes with it a greater bundle when you are beset with a medical condition.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best option available, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement is probably the next best course of action to undertake in this long and complex road where, at the end of it all, you may be able to engage in that most pleasurable of activities: Forgetting for a moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Nascent knowledge

At what point does nascence become a maturity of device?  Is it linear time, or merely to exist within a pendulum of boredom where thoughts have moved on to other matters?  Youth, in general, is expected to engage in folly; but of nascent knowledge, where the appended concept of the latter connotes an established fact, a truism tested, and a hypothesis verified – but yet to be tested by time-worn principles and assimilated into the cauldron of society’s greater mixture of things working, defects allowable, and warts acknowledged as harmless.

For, newness itself should not be a basis for permanency of status, and as knowledge cannot be verified until tested, so nascent knowledge is the dangerous of all because it combines the defiance of dual categories:  Because it is new, it has not yet been tested; because it is “knowledge” unassimilated within the paradigms of commensurability like tectonic plates shifting to see what fits and what cannot be accommodated, so the lack of verification makes it that much more suspect.  Yet, we celebrate nascent knowledge “as if” the preceding announcement itself is as exciting as the introduction of a product advertised.

Don’t you miss those days of gangsters and badlands, when cell phones and close circuitry of images were missing, such that the detectives had to actually pursue the criminals?  Now, much of criminal investigation is reviewing of forensic evidence, and avoidance of conviction entails attacking the science of DNA analysis and the credentials of scientific application.

We have allowed for leaps and bounds over pauses of reflection, and never can we expect someone to evaluate and analyze an innovation and declare, “No, it just isn’t going to fit into the greater paradigm of our society”.  Why is that?  Is it because all souls are up for sale, and anything and everything that is deemed “new” becomes by definition that which is desirable and acceptable?  Or, is it merely a matter of economics, that the survival of a company or product is based upon the announcement of a more recent version, and vintage of merchandise is left for those with nostalgic tendencies, old fogies who lack the vibrancy of youth and the cult of newness?  That is, of course, where law and society clash; for, in law, the reliance upon constancy and precedent of legal opinions weigh heavily upon the judgment of current and future cases.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the acceptance of nascent knowledge should include the medical condition, the current circumstances, and the present impact upon the Federal or Postal employee’s job elements.  But as to nascent knowledge involving cases past and statutory interpretations of yore?

Those are the very basis upon which law operates, and for which nascent knowledge is anything but a folly untried and unintended for future use.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: A Return to Basics

Every few decades, there is a “new” movement which upholds the divinity of returning to the foundational core of one’s existence:  of going back to being a farmer; living a life of an ascetic; stripping away all “unnecessary” accretions and accoutrements deemed as vestries of comfort and “bourgeois” by definition (whatever that means); or, in common parlance and language more amenable to the ordinary person, living more “simply”.

The perspective that such a “movement” is somehow “new” is of itself rather an anomaly; but then, each generation believes that they have discovered and invented the proverbial wheel, and all such past epochs were mere ages of primitive imbecility.   And, perhaps, we are once more in that familiar circle of life, and such a movement has beset the quietude of modernity, again.  As such, let us return to the basics:

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “foundational” eligibility criteria needs to be met:  For those under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System — or the “new” system sometime around 1986 and thereafter), the Federal or Postal employee must have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service in order to apply.  For those under CSRS, the accrual time is 5 years — and, as such, anyone under CSRS would presumably have met that basic requirement, although a CSRS employee with a long “break in service” could potentially fall short, but that would involve a unique set of circumstances rarely seen.

Further, the Federal or Postal employee who sets about to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must either be (A) a current employee (in which case he or she would file first through the agency’s Human Resource Office, then to be forwarded to OPM, (B) if not a current employee, then separated from service not more than 1 year (as the Statute of Limitations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement requires that a former Federal or Postal employee file directly with OPM within 1 year of being separated from service), (C) if separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days, then to file with one’s former Agency, and (D) if separated for more than 31 days, but less than 1 year, then refer to (B) and file directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania.

These are some of the “basics” in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  There is much, much more to the entire process, but then again, if one were to expand too far astray from the foundational core of the “back to basics” movement, one would be a hypocrite for allowing the complications of life to accrue beyond the essential elements of life — of water, food and shelter or, for the Federal and Postal employee filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bridge between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Facts and Explanations

There is often a widespread misconception that “facts” need no elucidation or explanation, and somehow speak for themselves.  There are, indeed, times when self-imposed limitation of apparent eloquence and bombastic, grandiloquent and pretentious verbosity is of use; for, scarcity of adjectives and brevity of prose can leave the plains and tundra of a descriptive narrative’s call for less inhabitants, and not more, to reveal the beauty of the linguistic landscape; but even in such instances, facts still require explanation.

Facts without explanation constitute mere artifacts floating in a vacuum of a historical void.  It is thus the prefatory context provided by explanatory delineation, or the sentence next which elucidates the relevance and significance of an event before. Without the explanation, facts merely remain an artifice with a lack of architectural integrity, lost in the quagmire of historicity without dates, times or epochs of reference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the misunderstanding between the conceptual bifurcation of “facts” and “explanations” is often exponentially magnified to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant when one presumes that “medical facts” speak for themselves.

Thus does the Federal or Postal worker who is preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application simply bundle up a voluminous file of medical records and declare, “See!”  But such declarative intonations accompanying files of “facts” do not explain in meeting the legal criteria to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.  An explanation is in response to the query by a governmental agency and bureaucracy which requires that justification through explanation will meet the preponderance of the evidence test in being eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Yes, there are some “facts” which may not require explanation — such as the beauty of a morning dawn pink with a quietude of poetry, where words fail to embrace the peaceful mood within the serenity of nature; but such facts do not reflect the chaos of the paperwork being received by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and very few there care about the pink dawn of nature, but want an explanation as to why the Federal or Postal employee is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire