OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement (FERS & CSRS): Computational Intentionality

Presumptuous intentionality will lead to an assumption which ultimately undermines one’s own argument; and in every endeavor, a computational approach based upon a general algorithm of life’s experiences will often leave out key factors and essential elements.

The problem with one’s own medical condition is that the person who experiences it is one and the same as the person who must convey the experiential factor to others.  That is what is often termed an “epistemological privilege“, in that the subjectivity of the medical condition, the pain, the psychiatric disorder, the cognitive dysfunction, one’s inability to focus or concentrate, etc., is ultimately reserved to the confinement of the person relating the factors.

There are, of course, objective methodologies in determining the subjective experience, by testing, diagnostic applications, manifested physical symptoms, etc.; but pain and other self-experiential factors are, by their very definition, subjective in nature.  A computational intentionality will take the experience of one’s own pain, consider the length and volume of medical treatment and records amassed, and presume that the compendium of the whole will make for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

One hears it all the time: “Mine will not have a problem”; “I am sure you hear it all the time, but…”  What is heard “all the time” is not necessarily shouts from success; rather, the voices heard are more likely to be in response to dismay and disbelief, as it is a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application which evokes the loudest sounds of discordant trumpets.

The information which is placed into a computer determines the quality of conclusions arrived at when a computational intentionality is formulated; what one does not know, and fails to include and assimilate, may in fact be the harmful error which defeats.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the compendium of evidence to be culled and calculated, then disseminated as an effective and persuasive presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not what standard government forms account for.  But that “forms” were the primary foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement, then all Federal Disability Retirements would be easily passed through.  But then again, if that were the case, Federal Disability Retirement would not be a benefit to be proven, but a right to be asserted.

Yes, Standard Forms are a “part” of the process, and so for FERS employees, SF 3107 and their sequential series must be included; for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees, SF 2801 and their sequential series must accompany the Federal Disability Retirement packet; and for all Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D and SF 3112E must be filed as well.

But in the end, be fully cognizant that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely based upon a computational intentionality of a mechanical nature; the “human element” is always pervasive and ever present, precisely because a medical condition itself is the ultimate revelation of the human condition, wrapped within the context of questions involving human frailty, empathy, sympathy, and the evocation of humanity within a universe of cold and mechanistic deliberations of silent computers.

And for those movie buffs, remember to pay homage to the HAL 9000.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Misfit

The herd mentality must of necessity have a survivability factor; otherwise, there is little to explain the illogical repetition of the historical recurrence of human folly for behavioral anthropology.  In the modern era, being “different” is a sign of rebellion, and the cultural tidal wave of the Sixties in altering the normative landscape of music, art, religion and social customs, revealed the pinnacle of self-destructive behavior — until it became clear that being a misfit itself was merely the convention.

Behaving “normally” means that one does not make “waves”; in a highly bureaucratized society, the importance of non-innovation and complete compliance is regarded as sacrosanct.  Loud, boisterous behavior; conduct outside of the normative inflexibility of societal perspectives; that which is acceptable as quirkiness or eccentricities, as opposed to destructive explosions of tendencies bordering upon insanity; the invisible line between the misfit and clinical commitment to a psychiatric facility is a thin reed, indeed.

Often, however, it is uncontrollable circumstances which impose upon an individual the unwanted label of being an “outsider”.  Medical conditions often have a tendency to promote such a state.  It is like being labeled a plague-carrying contagion by the CDC; once whispered, the rumors begin to spread.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, being labeled a misfit becomes a “given”. Others begin to shy away from an association; some are told bluntly not to have contact with “that one”.

Loss of normative acceptance within any community or society is an important factor for success; somehow, despite all of the legal safeguards, EEO regulations and protective statutes applying to disabled individuals, the herd mentality of yore nevertheless prevails.  For Federal and Postal workers, the only pragmatic exit is to file 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.

Is it a retreat or an escape?  Not really; rather, just a means of looking out for one’s own best interests.  The medical condition itself should always be paramount in considering one’s life; attending to it properly means that one must have the time and energy to treat the underlying malady; and continuing in an employment atmosphere where acceptance is avoided, and empathy is rare, is also an unstated definition of engaging in self-flagellation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Making the Legal Argument

Legal arguments are merely a subset of ordinary ones; as variations of the facetious quip goes, if the facts are not on the lawyer’s side, then he will argue the law; if the law is not, he will argue the facts; if neither, then he will attempt to confound and obfuscate both.

By sequence of logical argumentation, it is self-evident that “facts” must be the first order of presentation; then, persuasive discussions concerning those facts, forming and molding a given perspective (for there is surely a distinction to be made between that which “is” and that which “is seen” by a particular individual, bringing in the subjective component of interpretation and conveyance of information); and only after the facts have bespoken should persuasive efforts follow; and then, the legal argument to be made.

Thereafter, the question of how aggressive a legal argument; of pounding like a hammer, or the subtle tap of the constant but insistent drumbeat, guiding the listener with a roadmap as to why a decision should be made pursuant to persuasive force, or threats of further legal action.

For the Federal and Postal worker who is trying to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved, the art of persuasion, the effective use of legal argumentation, and the delineation of factual roadmaps must be coordinated with the utmost of care.  Administrative processes are often replete with frustrating procedures to follow, and it is a dangerous endeavor to allow for one’s frustration to erupt when dealing with a bureaucracy which is rarely responsive, and normally unaffected by the most dire of circumstances.

Thus, in sequence of logical argumentation: The facts as portrayed in as objective a manner as possible; the interpretation of the facts, such that the subjective perspective is insightfully applied, but without the overuse of the “I’ or “me”; argumentation; then, and only then, the applicability of the law.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees who meet the minimum eligibility requirements of time in Federal Service, age and a level of medical evidence which must be carefully and thoughtfully presented.

As such, for the Federal or Postal worker who intends on filing for the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the art of factual and legal argumentation must be presented with persuasive force, often like the slow dripping of an unconstrained faucet, as opposed to the break of a dam.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire