OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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 process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The worthwhile life

Is that what we are all striving for?  Is the myth that never occurs the one that urges us on?  There are multiple idioms and pithy sayings by which “wisdom” is extracted and thought to be a solid foundation for acting and reacting in certain ways.  “No one ever says at the end of one’s life, ‘I spent too much time with my kid’”.  “Live for tomorrow and you will regret a month of Sundays”.  “Time spent at work is time away from family.”

Yes, yes, all of that is true, but one must still make a living, be productive, “make something of one’s self”.  That last saying – of essentially having one’s 15-minute moment of fame (that was Andy Warhol’s generation, wasn’t it?  Today, it has been shortened by microchips and technological speeds into the milliseconds, so it is no longer applicable) – is what people do, work for, strive to attain and act without shame to achieve; and if so, does that make it all “the worthwhile life”?

What ever happened to those who made it on to some morning show or other, who were interviewed for some act of insanity, some bold moment of fame that captured someone’s imagination somewhere in some unknown sector of a now-forgotten universe?

Recently, there was a “lower-tiered” author who died, who shall remain nameless to maintain a sense of decorum for the dead; and a certain number of books of this now-dead author was obtained, which had been signed and inscribed.  Now, the inscriptions were clearly to her children, and were written with a fondness and private display of affection.  The question that is naturally posed, however, is as follows: Why were the books, inscribed by a “somewhat known” author to the author’s children with such love shown, sold to a used bookstore?  How did they end up there?

From a reader’s perspective, the author may have been deemed a person with a “worthwhile life” – for, to be published, to be well-enough-known, and to produce books that were enjoyed and read; these would, in the eyes of the world, be considered “making a mark upon the world” and deemed to have had a “successful” life.  And, yet – the sad fact of the sale of a book, inscribed to the author’s children, sold for a pittance; it harkens back the pithy saying, in whatever form, that “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I didn’t work too much’, but there are more than a few who have said with a last gasp, ‘I didn’t spend enough time with my kid’”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, that is the point, isn’t it – that to “hold on to” one’s job despite the increasingly debilitating medical condition because one considers the Federal or Postal job to define one’s identity as a “worthwhile” person, is mere folly in the scheme of life’s gifts.

Health, and maintaining one’s health, should be fame enough in pursuance of a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Let the others in posterity of hope determine whether the worthwhile life has been lived, and by whom, but more importantly, for whom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Motive and Motivation

The similarities are almost indistinguishable; yet, the slightly nuanced distinction makes for the differentiation between intent and desire, and while both are nouns, it is not the grammatical identifier by which we seek their impetus.  The former is often unknown, hidden, deliberately concealed, such that a kind gesture or an act of empathy may have an ulterior basis beyond the mere surface of revelation.  Think about Vito Corleone in the movie, The Godfather; when he granted a favor, did he ever reveal his underlying motive?  The latter constitutes that ethereal quality, unable to be grasped but which, if the secret ingredients were bottled as merchandise to be sold, would grant the inventor untold wealth beyond those who market pills to boost testosterone levels in a society overcome with virtual madness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the distinction between motive and motivation may be the difference between remaining static or advancing in life.  To remain in place and attempt to decipher the former in the impending or anticipated actions of one’s agency, the U.S. Postal Service, or of Supervisors and Managers who daily connive and consider in furtive whispers of confidential backbiting, is to forever waste precious time upon the unknowable and indeterminate.  To possess the latter, whether in spurts of ephemeral wisps, like time which once seemed as the fortress of youth but left behind in the residue of an angel’s wings fluttering into the universe of the fantasy of unknown caverns, is to release the last vestige of rational import and move forward into a life beyond a career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Sometimes, to accept less is to gain more.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM may not always seem like an act of advancement, especially given that one is giving up a career, cutting one’s income, and relying upon an agency for a lifetime annuity; but when a medical condition cuts short the presentation of alternatives to consider, 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 often the best motive in a universe constrained by the motivation of self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 Federal or Postal positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: For Want of…

It is the lack which often compels motion, and thus do we observe that “necessity is the mother of invention”, a proverb derived from a centuries’ old Latin phrase denoting that hardships result in unique ways in which to compensate for deprivation.  The opposite perspective — of plenitude and overabundance of indulgence — also reflects a lack, but one which which identifies the predicate based upon the negative subject:  of being spoiled and wanting of motivation and desire to succeed.

Necessity, indeed, is often a prompting and incentivizing force, as well as fear of the unknown, a desire to secure a foundation of predictability, and a motivating factor to escape from the destructive jaws of a hostile work environment.  Whatever the underlying force urging one’s intent, the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who finds him or herself within the confines of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, and one which impacts and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the dual-meaning of the phrase, “For want of…” is often the basis for action.

It can mean that there is an innate and compelling force or desire to attain something; conversely, it can denote the lack of a core need, which propels the Federal or Postal worker to begin to act, and in pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is necessary to begin by taking some affirmative step in order to begin the process.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can be a long and arduous bureaucratic process — one which depletes the soul, dampens the spirit, and denigrates the psyche.  But what are the alternatives?  We already know the destructive force of remaining where we stand, but it is precisely the incentivizing conditions of such deplorable circumstances which compels the Federal or Postal employee to consider filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement in the first place.

For want of future security (used in the positive sense) or for want of one’s health (used in the negative, “lacking” sense), the options are limited, but the end-goal can be rewarding, as wanting requires action and initiative, and want of one’s circumstances may be the compelling force necessitating alternate routes of inventive compulsions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Ballerina’s Pirouette

It is an awkward word to pronounce, and even more difficult to perform; but a full turn of the body on one’s toe or the ball of one’s foot, multiplied at dizzying speed while the world remains still or aghast with onlookers of disbelief, is but a day’s work for the stage performer.

Practice makes perfect, and the time, energy, pain and history of falls and mistakes preceding a single performance before an audience anticipating unsteady bouts of dizzying falls, where simple tasks of walking or standing are the only points of contextual reference and understanding, it is indeed an amazing feat of grace, balance, determination and pinnacle of human perfection.  It is a showcase of physical coordination:  the capacity to find the center of gravity upon a singular digit of extremity, and to twirl without falling from grace.

Human tragedies are like metaphors of such acts; for, as the world remains still, one’s own universe spins in a twist of timeless moment ensconced without empathy or consideration by others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the circumstance itself is likened to the act of a ballerina’s pirouette:  one’s own world is a twirl in time, while the greater objective universe remains impassive, dispassionate, unconcerned and mere observers of an inner sanctuary gone mad but from all appearances remaining the same.

It is difficult to convey in a persuasive or convincing manner such conceptual anomalies as “pain”, “depression”, “cognitive dysfunction”, “radiating pain“, “despondency”; words are not experiences, but they are the vehicle of transference for comprehension, understanding and relational convergence.  Watching the act of a pirouette is not the same as experiencing it; but finding the right words to describe it can come as close as possible for the necessary intersection of understanding.

For the Federal or Postal worker who needs 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, the ability to perform a pirouette is not a requirement, and it is not even mandatory that one can properly pronounce the word without a twisted tongue.

What is required, however, is to be able to convey effectively the spinning universe as experienced by one’s medical condition, such that the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can come as close to the experiential context of one’s deteriorating human condition as possible by a formulated convergence of concepts communicated via the greatest singular tool of Mankind:  the written word.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire