FERS Disability Retirement: Having something to say

There are people who speak volumes in voluminous volubility, but of thinness of content and lacking of much substance.  Then, there is that quiet person in the corner, perhaps distracted by someone’s glancing comment or lost in his own thoughts who, when asked about a topic of general interest to all in a group, articulates in a single sentence what others have attempted to encapsulate in a paragraph, a page, or perhaps a Dickensian novel.

Having something to say is the linguistic equivalent of wanting to be noticed, needing to be relevant and asking to be loved.  The capitalistic rule of supply-and-demand works within other and foreign contexts, as well — that when the supply of articulation exceeds the demand sought, the diminishment of value in words is proportional to the content of relevance.

Of course, the general truism which becomes reduced to an inane thought is that we “all have something to say” — that is to say, each one of us can make a contribution to the general pool of solutions, ideas, thoughts, etc.  But if everyone can be everything to everybody, then nothing comes from nothing where something is devalued because everything is nothing — in other words, the diminishment of value because supply exceeds so much of a lesser demand.

There are times, of course, when — whether we have something to say or not — it becomes necessary to express something; to express it well; and to express it with clarity and conciseness of thought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point where filing for Federal Disability Retirement has become a necessity, “Having something to say” becomes important because of the requirement of filing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability as part of the FERS Disability Retirement packet.  The questions posed on SF 3112A appear simple; but do not mistake “simple” for “simplicity” — for, within the content of the simple are a jumble of complexities that are interconnected with legal precedents and court rulings.

Language is a funny animal; it requires thought beyond the pool of language one is familiar with, and it is the unfamiliar which can become the cliff over which one can fall, and to prevent the calamities which one may not be aware of, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to make sure that when you have something to say, it is posited with knowledge and legal counsel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Lost Illusions

In childhood, we retained many illusions; as adulthood came to fruition, such illusions were slowly stripped away, one by one, until reality hardened the sunlight of hope and replaced them with the gloom of daily existence.  Then, sometime later in life, when maturity formed the mold of contentment and latter-day fancies allowed for happiness to reside, we came to compromise with life’s misgivings, allowing that not everyone is bad, not everything is a failure, and not every regret has to be turned into a nightmare attributable to the fault of our parents.

In short, we finally grew up.  But what about those lost illusions?

We define an illusion as that which is wrongly perceived — in other words, it is our “perception” of X that is in error, and not the substance of what X actually is.  Encountering “Being” in the world is a scary matter [sic] in and of itself; for many, the elixir of living in a world of illusions is preferable to the ugly reality of pure Being; just visit any mental institution and one can get a sense of a universe where illusion dominates.

Throughout life, we must always adjust the world as we perceive it, the manner in which we desire to perceive, and the reality of matching perception with pure Being.  It is the game of expectations and the bumping into reality that is the hardest lesson to learn; and for most, the lost illusions of childhood yearning constantly battles to regain our need for a time past, a regret turned, and a desire snuffed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form 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 illusion that one’s Federal or Postal position was secure for a lifetime’s future engagement may be the first thing that needs to be shed.

Further, the illusion that your Agency or Postal unit will be cooperative during the long and complex administrative process — because you “earned it” or that your prior years of dedicated service should count for something — may also be an illusion that needs to be set aside.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will likely require the shedding of many illusions, and like those lost illusions once held by the innocent child that was once you, the illusions inherent in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is no different precisely because the encounter with Being is still the tumultuous affair that it always has been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Later editions

Later editions are never as valuable as the First Edition, unless of course something additional has occurred, like the author’s inscription and signature, or a typeset error which is limited in number, or perhaps a reissuance but for a “limited number”, and sometimes as an “anniversary” reprinting, especially and again, if the author or progenitor has signed such a copy.

People follow upon such objects of value; for, as such artifices are mere human conventions, the behavior towards such creations reflect the conduct of man towards his fellow man.  Thus do we treat “later editions” with reduced fanfare; the old are replaced by the new every day, and “first editions” — of a new employee, a rising star and other more recent arrivals — are accorded greater degrees of “oohs” and “ahhhs”.

One might counter that “First Editions” should instead be identified, as a metaphor for human beings, as those who have remained for the longer period of time, and not accorded such status to newcomers; it is those who “come after” who are the second or third impressions, and should be acknowledged as “less valuable”, and not more.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often the case that your “value” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility seems to have diminished as Second editions and Third impressions come upon the scene.

Look at the beauty of First Edition books, for example — often with some wear, and maybe even a tear, but it is the worn state of condition that is often compensated for by the years of experience for which the deteriorated condition can be valued, yet does the “bookseller” treats the later editions as more “valuable” than the stated First Edition?

Medical conditions are likened to the worn look of a First Edition book, whether signed or not, in this society where it is the Second or Third Editions that are too often treated with greater respect.  If that is the case, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Perhaps that dusty old First Edition will be better appreciated elsewhere, all the while receiving a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and growing in value.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Landmines undetected

Landmines, or other similar devices left undetected, whether improvised to explode and damage, harm or otherwise maim and kill, are constructed and implanted precisely for the purpose of being hidden until it is too late — until, unaware and unconcerned, the unwary enters into the foray of the device and suffers from the resulting potency of mayhem.

Landmines undetected do exactly what they were intended for: to catch the target unaware, and to perpetrate the greatest extent of harm and destruction possible.  Undetected, they lay in wait in camouflaged veils of surreptitious decoys meant to project an aura of innocence and harmlessness, until it is too late.

Then, of course, there are those landmines which could have been detected, or should have been; where the unwary should have been easily apprised of the potential harm, but for whatever reason — apathy, ignorance, lessening of one’s resolve or suspicion, or whatever the excuse or reflective rationale — failed in the process and suffered the consequences.

The term itself — “a landmine” — is often used allegorically and metaphorically, to emphasize a point of danger, potential hazard or other undetected potentiality, whether concealed, veiled or ignored as irrelevant and insignificant.  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 job, the landmines undetected in Federal Disability Retirement Law may become the very ones which lessen and diminish the chances for a First Stage success.

While most mistakes are correctible, the single greatest landmine that is left undetected, and which often results with the most dire of consequences, is the one that should have been known or otherwise thought of, but was left as a mere inkling ignored and unresolved.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is a good way to avoid those metaphorical landmines left undetected, and while the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may falsely believe that he or she is unable to afford an attorney to guide the Federal or Postal employee through the process, it is the very opposite thought that should be entertained — of failing to afford the prevention of a potential harm upon stepping on a landmine undetected — which should make one pause and reconsider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Methodological approach

We hear about the various approaches — of “quantitative analysis”; of systems created for a specific outcome-based determination; of numeric, qualitative, cost-benefits balancing, etc.; and all the while, we presume that there is a “methodological” underpinning that girds the analytical viewpoint, thereby systematizing the approach into a coherent consistency in order to limit and restrict human error.

That is the conundrum, however, is it not?  It is humans attempting to implement a methodological analysis that will expunge the very essence of humanity, by humans engaging in activities to erase that which makes humans for being so human — imperfection.

Analytical approaches without a preordained methodology presumes a flighty, ad hoc approach that fails to rise to the level of a vaunted “science”; yet, if a paradigm of a “methodology” is created and implemented by an imperfect being, how can it ever attain the level of mistake-free perfection that a “methodology” can promise?  The fact is, we are trained to be imperfect, but strive for the vanity of perfection in order to appease the gods of our own fears.

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 job, it is important to understand that there is, indeed, a “methodological approach” in putting together an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

One can enter into the administrative process by an “ad hoc” approach — by means of a proverbial “chicken with its head cut off” engagement and running about filling out this form, asking for that form, and bundling together whatever medical records one can obtain; but the better way is to have a “tried and tested” methodological approach to the entire bureaucratic morass.

Yes, human beings are imperfect; yes, the medical condition itself necessitates the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM; and, yes, the entire administrative process of such a bureaucratic procedure is maddening, disheartening and often chaotic.

However, from the ashes of such chaos, it is best to engage in the confusion and chaotic morass by sifting through the difficulties with a “methodological approach”, and to do so, consultation with an experienced attorney is likely the first best step — thus revealing the first step in the methodological approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file 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.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire