OPM Disability Retirement: The Arbitrary Denial

A denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management of a Federal Disability Retirement application is disappointing enough.  For, after waiting for countless and seemingly endless months, exhausting one’s resources and relying upon the reality of one’s medical conditions and limitations thereby imposed in persuading OPM to draw and infer the conclusion that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is understandable how overwhelmingly dispiriting a denial can be.

Denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application often appear to be “arbitrary”.  Yes, there may be multiple paragraphs in a “Discussion” Section of the Denial Letter delineating a “reason”, but such explanatory posits are often non sequiturs where conclusions fail to follow upon selective extrapolations from medical reports submitted.

Clearly, “something” did not satisfy the reviewing “medical specialist” who came to the conclusion of a denial, and whether the Federal or Postal applicant believes that the denial is both unfounded and unjustified, it is an irrefutable fact that OPM possesses both the power and the authority to approve or deny a Federal Disability Retirement application, and whether a denial appears “arbitrary” or convincingly persuasive in delineating reasons for the denial, the process itself must be seen as an “adversarial” one.

Arbitrariness can only be countered by rational discourse, and the power to deny must be refuted by a reasoned rebuttal supported by convincing medical documentation.  Don’t fume over unfair, selective extrapolations that are intellectually disingenuous; instead, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of countering the arbitrary denial by mapping out a reasoned rebuttal.

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

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Service: By what right?

It is a question often posed in the dead of night by those who would undermine an assertion based upon an instinctive sense of fairness, but perhaps not able to be articulated in comprehensible form.  By what right do you enter these premises?  By what right do you express that opinion?  By what right do you think you can do that?

It is, as with many questions, one that has a sadly contextual background of a negative past – for, whenever a person, a populace or a segment of a greater society begins to assert a “right”, it was generally preceded by a breakdown of community and caring.  For example: A violation of another’s property where a fence has not yet been placed should be resolved by two neighbors discussing the infraction or infringement without resorting to a higher authority.  If that “neighborliness” cannot resolve the conflict, then a fence may be built and the right to build such a fence can be asserted by the fence-building-neighbor as a “right” of property ownership.  No one would, or could, dispute such a right to do so, but the mere fact that a fence had to be built is evidence of a preceding breakdown of the unspoken rules of a community, where resolution of a conflict could not be accomplished by discussing, caring, understanding and compromising for the sake of a community’s greater good, but instead results in a declarative reference to one’s “right” to do X, Y or Z.

Rights should have the insipid connotation of negativity to the extent that asserting them is something of a last resort and the last bastion of scoundrels and suspicious individuals seen in an unfavorable communal light; but in modernity, shouting out one’s “right” to do this or that, or standing on a soapbox and pontificating about how we (why does everyone assume that he or she has a “right” to speak on behalf of that undefined “we” in the first place?) have every “right” to be here, do this or that or be “in your face” because of the proverbial “catch-all” – the “Bill of Rights”.  By what right?

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it may well be that asserting one’s right to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits was preceded by a context of negativity – of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility failing to, refusing to, or otherwise not showing effort for, accommodating one’s medical condition, illness or disability, and that is when the assertion of declaring one’s “right” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes the inviolable pathway to an exit out of an untenable workplace situation.

To that extent, preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat akin to building that “fence” between your property and the next-door neighbor’s, whose dog keeps coming into your yard, digging up the freshly-planted bushes and vegetables, pooping all over the place and attacking your cat, and cares not a twit to try and resolve the issue; that, in many ways, is the Federal agency or the Postal facility you work for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Be Wary of the Non-Substantive

The evolution of words, their meanings, the subtle connotations and implications gained or lost over time — these are all of interest, if only because they reflect changes to society, often in tumultuous ways, as earthquakes which shatter and create fissures within human normative designs, and in the midst of the rubble, a sense of loss and shattering beyond the mere tragedy of linguistic ruins.

In Aristotle’s time, the term “substance” had a specific meaning; and any superficial reading of Plato and his concerns involving appearance versus reality, the mysterious substratum which follows upon the continuity of what we see, what we suspect to remain unrevealed beneath the surface of visual phenomena; and, indeed, the history of philosophy is a dialogue of content verses context, from Descartes’ search for certitude rendering the entirety of Philosophy impotent by turning inward towards the self; of Kant’s consolation of such self-immolation by bifurcating the universe into a known and unknowable void; and into the modern realm of Deconstructionism, post modernity, Derrida’s meanderings, and the modern hermeneutics of non-religious definition of truth, reality and the condition of man.

Within that greater context, we are left with the devastation of a simple truth:  The essence of man rarely changes; we merely make way for new window dressings.  But through it all, we must always be wary of the non-substantive, and harken back to Aristotle’s concerns; that which we create and leave behind, we want to ensure that it survives with some rock-gut matter that makes a difference and actually matters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a condition, such that the medical condition impacts the capacity of the Federal or Postal worker to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal job, it is often that sense of loss, the discontinuity of what they were accomplishing, and the “leaving behind” of unfinished business, which pulls them from filing for what needs to be filed.

We like to finish what we began.  We want to leave a legacy, a memory of who we are, what we were, where we ended and how we got there.  The unfinished fabric of unwoven material leaves a fluff of scattered cotton fibers scattered for the winds of time to disperse.

For the Federal and Postal worker who has dedicated his or her life to a career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, leaving is a trauma upon a trauma of medical conditions.  But the Federal and Postal worker must always remember, that the substantive course of life must always begin with the impetus of self-motivation, and within the shark-infested waters of the undersea in lands and foreign worlds where human calamity coalesce, the self-preservation of one’s health must begin first, and only then can one step forward into the universe of the next career, the next life, the follow-up inning of future legacies.

Taking care of one’s self by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the move of wisdom if one is to secure a future of accomplishment and actualization of any remaining potentiality.  We all have reasons for not doing something.  Be wary of the non-substantive.  Focus always upon the true meaning of who we are, what we have become, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement System: The Stradivarius

It has come to represent a superlative; a standard of excellence which cannot be exceeded, and considered as the penultimate achievement beyond which only angels and heavenly bodies can ascend to, or hope to touch like the light mist of dawn slowly rising to the tips of the alps wrapped in the greenery of nature’s untouchable paradigm.

The history of related intrigue is without match, as well; of the secrets protected within the family of instrument makers; of smugglers and thieves and the attempts by collectors to preserve the remaining authenticity of those made by the master of violins; and the keen eye ever wary of impostors and counterfeiters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it would be well to always keep the symbol of excellence in mind, as the goal to achieve.

The shabbiness of putting forth a half-hearted attempt at anything is demeaning; an achievement through error or accident is rarely of any consequence; but by reaching a height of excellence within the context of suffering from a condition which impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, is to recognize the worth of one’s capacity to still maneuver the winding complexities of this confounding world.

The gathering of proper medical documentation; the clarity of expounding the necessary bridges and legal argumentation in compiling an effective OPM Disability Retirement application; these all need to come together, like the master’s hand in constructing an instrument of heaven’s whispers.  The daunting task of facing a bureaucracy can always be disheartening; the goal of achieving a successful outcome, however, should always be the eye which guides, and excellence the key to that endeavor.

For the Federal and Postal employee who wants to file for Federal Disability benefits through OPM because one’s Federal or Postal career has now come to an end, the final step in creating the music of an orchestrated exit should be to ensure the excellence of an OPM Disability Retirement application, in order to step into the next phase of life, and to achieve the subsequent future for a Stradivarius achievement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire