Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Devotion

Must it by necessity have a “religious” component?  Devotion is an anachronistic concept – of individuals who have committed their lives to one involving (or devolving?) sacrifice and selflessness, where individual strivings for fame, wealth or power are forsaken and the plight of others is the focus of one’s resolve and vocation.

Certainly, there are subcategories of such descriptions, as when we hear about a parent of such-and-such being so “devoted” to his daughter or son; or of a scientist whose mother or father died of a certain rare disease and later grew up to “devote” his or her life to finding a cure.

But with those unique exceptions, the term itself was once applied to priests, nuns and (perhaps) non-Catholic preachers and ministers who had engaged a life of “devotion” – and the last vestige of such descriptions may be those attributed to Mother Teresa (that Saint of Calcutta, canonized less than 20 years after her death, and loved by all except perhaps by Christopher Hitchens, that cutting essayist who could state in a single sentence that which took paragraphs for most of us to develop).

And yet… There are dogs who are devoted; old men who have been married for decades to left caring for their ill wives, and vice versa; and Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, contrary to what the general public views about Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers.

That is why taking that “giant leap” into preparing 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 such a difficult step.  Does the concept of “devotion” apply, or do we now view such dedication and commitment to one’s vocation and career as foolhardy, misguided, a warped sense of priorities?

Certainly, wanting to do a “good job”, and be committed to advancing one’s career is considered having a “devotion” to a career in the loose sense; but should such a concept necessarily be sequestered only in the antiquated sense discussed herein?  How about its opposite – of having a devotion to such an extent that you continue to harm your own health?

For, that is what many Federal and Postal workers end up doing – of continuing to work despite its detrimental impact upon health, as opposed to taking advantage of the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement and focusing on that which one’s devotion should be centered upon: One’s health, one’s future, and the pathway towards securing both.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The direction of life

We are told from a very early age that we must have one; like winds that carry seasonal warmth and jet streams that bring unseasonable temperatures, we are ingrained to be purposive, teleological and focused upon the goal in mind.

Wisdom-filled proverbs echo beyond the history of instructional transference from parent to child, community to individual and generation to modernity: aiming for the target; sticking to a task; seeing things to their completion; being patient in everything you do; treating others fairly; 5-step, 10-step or multi-step plans for one’s life; we are admonished throughout of the importance of having a direction in our lives, as if the destination has been predetermined and arriving is merely being pointed in the right direction, traveling some distance and getting there without thought.

Some people clearly follow such a linear route – like the proverbial straight line from point A to destination B; then, there are others who never seem to get a handle on such a concept, while most of the rest of us meander through a confounding maze and are stuck somewhere “in-between”, like those kids in the middle of a brood of accomplishments lost in anonymity between the oldest who is the star of the family, the first born and who gets the greatest amount of attention, and the last one who is the “baby” whom everyone fawns over.  But what if a community, a society, the nation as a whole, no longer embraces a cogency of purposive goals?

It is like that “cause” we all live and die for; where modernity scoffs to expunge such lofty ideals, the residue of the populace must abide by its dire consequences, where echoes of past vestiges haunt in cave dwellings of paintings now faded and meaningless, lost forever to the history of silent voices.

Once, there were causes to fight for – of man’s manifest destiny; of fascism to defeat; of the great “Red Scare”; of the domino theory occluding freedom and resulting in totalitarianism; of patriotism and the flag upon a hill; and other images, all the while where the fighting and dying is accomplished not by the sons or daughters of the wealthy and privileged, anymore, but by sons of southern belles and minorities who die or get blown to bits.

Of what door does one knock upon to get one’s direction of life?  Where, in life, do we get a free pass to obtain the map in order to even know where we are, where we are going, and how to get there?

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 positional duties, the direction of one’s life becomes fairly linear whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

There are three “pathways” to steer upon: Stay in the job and suffer; Resign and walk away with nothing; or, the best direction in such a life, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  And, even as to the second of the three roads taken (Resigning) – remember, you have up until one (1) year from the date of separation from Federal Service to file a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.

It is, in the end, good to have a compass in order to lead onwards in the right direction of life, wherever that may be, however one may obtain it, and whenever it is finally achieved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fishes, Streams, Rivers and Ponds

They are, in the end, interconnected; yet the conceptual distinctions allow for separateness, such that we can value each independently.  And much of the waterways which filter throughout the ecosystem remain invisible and underground, via caverns and unconfined aquifers; but that which we see with the naked eye, we assume to be the reality of the entirety of that which we hold to encompass the universe of our existence.

Thus does Berkeley’s doctrine simply contained in the phrase, “Esse est percipi” retain a kernel of truth, but forever vulnerable to ridicule if misunderstood in the context of linguistic philosophy.  What is perceived is, indeed, the universe of one’s contextual concerns; but we all recognize that objects exist outside of the perceptual periphery of our immediate perspective.

Thus do fishes, streams, rivers and ponds exist beyond our vision of direct perception; but even upon encountering them,  we recognize that the depth of each, the variety of living organisms, and the corridors of natural flowing underground worlds reach well beyond that which we see.  The complexity of human beings comprise an entity of a similar nature, such that depth, encounters and unknowable reaches could easily be conversed and replaced as fungible goods and translated words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to become a problem at work, it is precisely this puzzle of being replaceable which often irks the ego.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often viewed as giving up or giving in; when, in fact, the truth of the matter is that it is a means of attending to the importance of one’s health and well-being.  But others in the agency and the U.S. Postal Service often view the potential Federal Disability Retiree as “that person” with a label and a superficial concoction of societal designation.

It is that limited encounter and confrontation which shows the lack of depth of certain people, while everyone wants others to know that, past the fishes, streams, rivers and ponds which one may see upon meeting the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is extenuating further, a vast depth of subterranean interest and an ocean of personality which others never cared to inquire about, and of which no one may ever know once the door closes and the quietude of life continues beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Uncharacteristic Behavior

It is the clash between an expectation and the actualization of an encounter, which determines one’s perspective of self-fulfillment of a belief, or a resulting dismay from failure of verifying the basis of a paradigm.  Characteristic behavior is thus that type of human encounter which meets with, or exceeds, one’s predetermined paradigm of what one has already believed to be so; to act out of that previously considered belief system, by definition makes it fall outside of the realm of such expectation.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the bureaucratic complexity of the entire administrative process of 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, is normally not a surprise, and meets with or even exceeds, the expectation of an already-formed paradigm of what constitutes the “characteristic behavior” of the system as a whole.

It is the anomaly of the century when efficiency, helpfulness and pleasantries prevail throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, where one hears with surprise and shock that it was “uncharacteristic”.  Sadly, that tells us something.  While somewhat unfortunate, we must always remember that the road of every bureaucratic process is paved with personalities of every type.  We tend to lump the entirety of an administrative process into a single cup and cauldron of judgment, but the reality is that there are multiple categories, just as there are different types of people throughout the universe, distinctly compartmentalized into:  helpful; friendly; efficient; nasty; backstabber; fair; unfair; loyal; unpredictable; just to name a few.

The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM can be a stressful one, if only because it is based upon an obvious stressor to begin with:  a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s Federal or Postal job.  But it is not the bureaucratic process itself which adds or detracts from the inherent complexities of the process, but the behavior — characteristic or not — of those who must help along the way or hinder the necessary transition of the Federal or Postal employee, from one of active Federal or Postal employee to that of disability annuitant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Life We Perceive

The state of having an epistemological privilege in the first-person singular, means that we occupy a unique position of knowledge, cognition, perception and viewpoint.  Concurrently, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that others have a similarly extraordinary vantage point, and that no matter how hard we may try, we will never truly understand the depth and complexity of the “others” who surround us, whom we encounter, and who pass by our field of vision in the greater context of life’s coincidences and happenstance meetings.

That we may never be able to fully understand another human being is not a sin; that we fail to care to at any given moment, is merely a fault; but that we callously disregard despite indicators of greater suffering and turmoil so evident that the trembling whispers of human frailty touch upon tears of sorrow, shows a misuse of that unique position of epistemological privilege.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal job, the impact is such that one must often consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus to end early one’s chosen career in the Federal sector.

One would expect, despite the unique position of epistemological privilege which everyone occupies, that some semblance of empathy or caring could, or should, be expected.  Instead, the Federal or Postal employee in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often encounters greater resistance and bureaucratic turmoil than statistically experienced in other similar administrative endeavors; and can this be attributed to mere mathematical calculus of acceptable differentials?

It is doubtful, because it is precisely in the recognition that perversity of intent is also found uniquely in the human animal, and even in cases of suffering and trauma, when medical conditions clearly present to the life we perceive a state of grief greater than simple sympathy, but beyond pain, suffering and turmoil of body and mind; even then, the complexities of jealousy, envy, spite and cruelty, overwhelms the soul who knows not the inner depths of depravity within the human makeup.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: At What Cost?

The introduction of the “cost-benefit analysis” (CBA) by the French (who else?) is a quantitative approach in determining whether to go forward with a given project.  There are other approaches, of course, but the popularity of such a utilitarian paradigm is especially attractive to Americans, precisely because it allegedly places a determinable value upon the project, endeavor or issue in question.

But not everything in life is quantifiable in monetary terms; and while the CBA approach can take into account complex factors and assign methodologies of evaluating such that otherwise unquantifiable terms can be converted into numbers, the question still comes down to a simple issue of self-reflection:  Is it worth it?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have 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 positional duties, a cost-benefit analysis is often taken with a singularly stark question:  Can I survive on the annuity proposed by statutory authority?

But this often ignores a parallel query, just as stark and similarly singular: What other choice is there?  If the medical condition arose as a matter of a work-related incident, certainly the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset should file for OWCP/DOL benefits; but even then, Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, and there will likely come a time when it is still necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The unquantifiable factors in any CBA are those more personal, intangible issues which we rarely desire to face:  What will happen if I ignore the present course of settings?  If I continue to work with my medical condition and somehow reach retirement age, what kind of shape will I be in to enjoy my “golden years”?  Will the agency tolerate my reduced productivity, and what will their next move be?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is never an easy decision, and should not be taken without a thorough and self-reflective analysis; but it is often an approach tantamount to negative-theology which will bring out the true answers to a dilemma — of what will result if one does NOT do X, as opposed to a quantification of values — and provide the necessary framework for a future reference of positive closure to a human condition which always seems, at the time and moment of suffering, to be a calamity beyond mere dollars and cents, and for which the famous Utilitarian Philosopher, John Stuart Mill noted, that actions are right “in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Another similar article previously published: Federal Disability Retirement pros and cons