Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Myopic view

One goes through life struggling just to get through each day.  Life is hard.  Yet, as parents we are scolded into feeling obligated to paint always the positive picture to our children:  That you can work hard and achieve anything; that dreams are there to be realized; that life is a bowl of fairytales waiting to be realized.

Then, of course, children take that viewpoint and filter it through selective and narrow life encounters: The recent Royal Wedding that purports to convey a fairytale-like romance blossomed into reality’s harsh discourse (so long as you don’t read the gossip-columns about the private lives of those involved); the Wall Street trader that makes her first billion; the internet start-up company that offers an initial IPO of a cool 5 billion; and the one who inadvertently wandered into a corner mart store, bought a lottery ticket with his last dollar and won a 50 million dollar jackpot.

We don’t delve into statistical improbabilities of such events actually happening to ourselves, let alone our kids; but there you have it — dreams are here to be realized, grasped, within the reach of a blink’s dream away.

Then, adulthood, reality and the daily grind sets in; the myopic view is the one that strives to earn a living for this day, next week, or even for the month; because, in the end, the “long” view — of planning ahead, thinking about the future or even about the day after the short term — are somehow out of one’s reach, leaving aside being too fuzzy to consider.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who must contend with a medical condition that no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the myopic view of life is the familiar one:  Get through this day; try to limit the pain or mental anguish; try not to make any waves at work; try and remain anonymous, or less noticed than yesterday.

It is the shortsightedness of our lives and the manner in which we live, that becomes the salt upon the wound of our own making.

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, is at least thinking about tomorrow, or the day after.  For, the problem with the “short-term” is that it keeps dragging into the “long-term” of our lives, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can at least turn the short-term of misery into the long-term of some semblance of future security, in order to attend to the priority of both the myopic view and the far-sightedness of our future: one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Distractions

They are the projects of life of which Heidegger recognizes, allowing for avoiding the inevitabilities of life’s challenges; of fate, mortality, future insecurity, and death.  What quantifiable slice of one’s life is governed by distractions?  Must it always be less than 50% in order to remain so, and if it exceeds that halfway point, does it then become something substantive and not merely the peripheral meaning of what it means to “be distracted”?  If a distraction is considered to be an aside – that which waylays a person’s attention by focusing upon a central project of life’s endeavor – what then defines an inversion of that perspective?

Take, for example, the following:  A mechanical engineer is working on a technical project that consumes one’s focus, concentration and attention to detail, but has a unique and eccentric ophthalmological condition, whereby the eyes are compelled to follow any and all red objects that pass by.

Now, the company has attempted to accommodate the medical condition by requesting that no employee shall enter into the mechanical workshop wearing red, but on this particular day, some investors are visiting, and a man in the troop of intruders is wearing a red tie, and a woman in the entourage is sporting a red sweater.  They go from bench station to the next cubicle, within the purview and arc of dimensional periphery of the eccentric man’s attention, and with each movement, every sidelong blur, his eyes are “distracted” by the red moving objects.

Out of every minute of work, fully 45 seconds are spent on focusing upon the red objects that detract from the necessary mental acuity attending to the project at hand, and indeed, while they are far enough away such that from an objective viewpoint, the objects are mere inches in proportion and are of a distance as to almost be unnoticeable to others in the group of engineers, for the eccentric mechanical engineer, it is the focal point of his attentions.

The distraction is such that it disrupts the sequence of testing conditions and interrupts the validity of the technical precision required, and a coworker finally declares, “You’ve been too distracted and the project has to be scrapped.”  Would we agree that, because of the numerical disproportionality of concentration attributable, “red-object observation” takes precedence as the primary project, and it is the engineering project that is the distraction?  Or, because it is a medical condition of which he “cannot help it”, do we excuse the distraction in its entirety?

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 positional duties, the central point made here is precisely how the Federal agency and the Postal facility views the issues significant in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service possess a myopic view of “work”, and even if the Federal or Postal employee is able to continue making valuable contributions to the workplace, they often see the differentiation between “work” and “distractions” as one quantifiable by time alone.  This is too bad, but a reality that must be faced.  For, medical conditions are not mere distractions; they are life’s interludes that can often be faced and overcome, if only outmoded ideas about what constitutes workplace contributions are set aside, and realize that even distractions delaying the central mission of a Federal agency or Postal facility are not the most important, or even of much significance, when it comes to the worth and value of a human life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Bastion and Refuge

The former is a fortress of protective repose; the latter, a shelter from pursuit or danger; in either case, both provide for an escape from harm.  And there are harms beyond physical danger, which count as “real” threats.  One need not be a refugee standing in line at the borders of Hungary or Croatia, hoping to be given asylum enroute to Germany, France or the U.K. in order to be considered a person of persecutory targeting.

Whether physical harm or by psychological demeaning, the need for safe harbor should never be determined by comparative analogies of differing circumstances, but via the perception of our needs and levels of tolerance.

In logic, there is the fallacy of mereology, where the relationship of part-to-whole can lead to conclusions wrong in substantive form, and dangerous in terms of truth and validity.  One’s own circumstances may be “merely X” in comparison to the greater encompassment of tragedies taken as a whole; but that does not necessarily invalidate the reality of the desultory situation one must face, and the loss of compass, meaning and circumference of relational considerations in determining the future course of one’s life.

Medical conditions have a tendency to skew one’s perspective.  To continue on without change or repose, because the rest of the world in comparison to one’s own microcosmic universe is merely that much worse off, is to deny the reality of one’s own hurt.  For Federal employees and Post Office workers who feel that giving up one’s career and applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step towards escaping to a bastion and refuge but one which fails to adequately compare to others in more dire circumstances, the need for a “reality check” is often required.

One needs to always start from the vantage point of the present.  What others do, where others are, and how comparatively one’s own situation is “merely X” in contrast to stranger-Y, are irrelevancies perpetrated upon one’s imagination through an overabundance of informational overload.  Once, there was a time when a local newspaper was the only contact with the greater world.  Now, with Smartphones and constant Internet access, we tap into the greater bastions and refuges of those in far-off lands.

But for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must confront the reality of the situation of contending with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the “here and now” is what must be faced, and whether one’s medical condition and the situation facing the Federal or Postal worker of today “merely” pales in comparison to others in unknown wastelands, is to concern one beyond the focus and centrality of concerns and problems encountered now, in real time, in the reality of one’s universe, today and this minute.

Other parallel universes will have to deal with their own internal problems; it is the bastion sought and the refuge take by the Federal or Postal employee of today, which matters in the most personal of manners, and what should concern the hurting Federal and Postal employee in the here and now.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Disambiguation

Aside from being an ugly word, it begins with the premise of negation and mistake.  As a reversing force, it clearly undermines the root word and takes away from the primary centrality of meaning.  It is the ambiguity which needs to be corrected.

In narrative forms, where stated purpose is important to convey, to begin with a lack of communicative clarity presents a problem of origins.  Where one begins; how one came to be formed; the historical context of one’s existence; these are all contained in the roots of the pretext of being:  “The beginning…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers embarking upon the voyage of formulating, preparing 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, the important lessons to be gleaned from such a concept is that the vehicle of the written word is best put forth at the outset without a later need for correction.

Arguing one’s medical condition, and the linguistic bridge between one’s positional description of duties for a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service job, requires a clear and linear methodology of logical argumentation.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application should not lead the reviewer at OPM to scratch one’s head in confusion; rather, there should be an unwavering “point-by-point” roadmap like an unequivocal teleology of straight and narrow discourse, without confusion, without puzzlement, and certainly without the creation of an endless maze.

There are times when convoluted discourse has an intended effect, and where lack of core clarity may have its advantages (look, for instance, at politicians who dissemble for obvious reasons on those sensitive “issues” during a debate); but walking on a bridge without railings on a thick misty morning has its dangers, and it is better not to have fallen, than to learn that the depths of the rushing waters below requires more than just an ordinary swimmer’s strength.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Explosions of Reality, Containers of Fantasy

Disability benefits for employees in the Federal Government

It is often the converse; as reality is that which constitutes the universe of the knowable, it is that which is contained and determinably set within the parameters of perception; likewise, we normally consider fantasy as that which cannot be contained, and therefore is unstable and likened to a detonated delinquency of diverted desires.

But in limited situations, of lost hope, where youth and the vigor of expectations yet unfulfilled, and anticipated future strivings are cut short by the tragedy of circumstances unexpected and of sudden termination unrealized, it is the very disintegration and deterioration of reality which constitutes the tragedy, and its mirror image of dreams unfulfilled.

Medical conditions tend to do that; at whatever age, whether in youth or near retirement, when expectations are bluntly severed and dreams are cancelled like plane reservations where the empty seat of an awaiting corridor on a tarmac in the stillness of a foggy night merely reveals a void and vacuity of that which might have been; it is the aggregate of life, its dreams and hopes, which reveal the true nature of value and worth.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties of the Federal or Postal position occupied, the need to cut short a promising career in the Federal sector constitutes an explosion of reality and a containment of dreams.

Suddenly, that project must be delayed; the expected promotion must be forgotten; that planned vacation must be canceled; the 3-day weekend with family and friends must be shelved.  Reality need not be the grandeur of paradigms, just as one’s fantasy of the utopia of one’s dreams need not include gnomes and pots of gold.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits may not seem like the granting of the singular wish one may hope for, but it is a benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and must be proven at either the administrative level at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or at the quasi-judicial forum of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  It is a benefit which allows for the important recuperative period of gaining back control of one’s life, by pushing a “reset” button and re-ordering one’s priorities in life.

It may well be that having a debilitating medical condition constitutes a metaphorical explosion of one’s reality, resulting in the containment of one’s fantasy; but the greater tragedy would be if the circumstances of one’s life explodes one’s fantasy and dreams for the future, with the consequence of containing forever the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire