FERS Medical Retirement: Judgment and Discretion

In many ways, the two are inseparable; for, to make good judgments is to necessarily have the proper discretionary approach, and to possess the quality of discretion is the foundation for making good judgments.  It is discretion which allows for good judgment; good judgment that is dependent upon discretion.  To lack discretion, however, does not mean that one will necessarily make a bad judgment; but then, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is “right” twice in a 24 hour period.

The judgement to prepare and formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, should be based upon sound discretion in determining the available resources: Is there supportive medical documentation? Is the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service initiating proceedings to make staying in one’s job untenable? Has one’s medical condition come to a point where the Federal or Postal employee can no longer continue in one’s position?

These and many more questions are often at the heart of considerations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and consulting with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often the first test in determining whether one possesses the judgment and discretion to proceed on a path which will lead to a successful outcome.

For, in the end, judgment and discretion is just as much about understanding one’s limitations in knowing about something, as it is about knowing enough about something to have the judgment and discretion to seek good counsel and advice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Venn Diagram of Life

Venn diagrams reveal the logical relationships between a finite collection of different sets.  Unlike concentric circles which all share a common center and thus fail to show their interconnectedness, Venn diagrams unravel both the connected relationships as well as the disjointed and isolated parts.  Thus, while all of X may also share in Y, some of Y may not connect with X or with Z, etc.

It is emblematic of our personal lives — where some part of us may be shared at work, but not all; and the personal side which is “not known” at work may be a private side of us that no one ever knows, and need not know.  Medical conditions are often those sets of conditions which represent a part of Y (personal side) but which are left isolated and private, outside of the reach of knowledge, yet nevertheless a part of X (work side) precisely because we bring to work our medical conditions (because we have no choice about the matter), even though we try and hide them.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has begun to increasingly impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the Venn Diagram of Life is a familiar concept — trying to leave the impact outside of the circle of work becomes increasingly difficult, and the “work-circle” more and more notices the infringing nature of the medical condition itself through greater use and exhaustion of Sick Leave, LWOP and reduced performance efficacy.

The key, then, is to recognize the logical and real relationship between one’s medical conditions and their impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  Once that relationship has been realized, then you can make the proper decision as to whether it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

As part of that Venn Diagram of Life, you may want to look at the diagram of concentric circles, as well — where the common center of a successful disability retirement application is often in consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Ignoring the details

What is a lawyer’s response to the allegation: “You are playing with words and using technicalities to win!”

Some might, of course, become defensive and deny such allegations, countering to the accuser that the substance of the law allows for such word-games and the laws themselves allow for such technicalities; or, as the more appropriate, honest and forthright answer might be (yes, yes, for those with such humor against lawyers, such a string of descriptive adjectives may appear to create an oxymoron), “Well, yes, law is the word-craftsman’s tool with which we play, and technicalities are those very details which allow us to prevail.”

It is, in the end, words which win out in any legal forum, and it is the delivery of those words that persuade, debunk, analyze and cross-examine the truth or falsity of claims made, defenses proffered and allegations refuted.

And this is no different in the forum of play known as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.  For, always remember that a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether prepared for a Federal or Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and as such, is based upon words, words, words — and details contained within and amidst those words.

By ignoring the “details”, one does so with much peril; for, in the end, the old adage that declared the “devil to be in the details” was merely a recognition that details matter, and it is those very details which win or lose a case, and that is no different when presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Differential Calculus Derivatives of concavity & convexity in comic circumlocutions

There are things in life which we cannot understand; others, that though we may engage the subject, invest the necessary time and beyond, and yet there seems always to remain a component which continues to escape; and yet, the ease with which others seem to comprehend that which cannot be grasped.  People often mistake wisdom for knowledge, when in fact the latter is merely the capacity to accumulate, whereas the former is the ability to recognize that which is relevant for successful living and to separate it from the abyss of insignificance.

Physicists and mathematicians view the world through a myopic perspective of numbers and calculations; the rest of us remain in the throes of Kantian preconditions, forever condemned to limited knowledge and constrained boundaries.  Or, perhaps we merely envy the greener grass on the south side of the fence.  At some point in life, we all come to a realization that greater minds than our own must be accessed in order to move forward.  Expertise is a rare commodity; value for such a product must be weighed as against the return of an investment.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must 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, it is important to understand that, while the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement may not be as complex or complicated as differential calculus equations or even attempting to understand the concepts of concavity or convexity, the primary point of significance to recognize it in terms of endangering one’s chances for success by overlooking that which others may already know by experience or learned expertise.

The laws governing Federal Disability Retirement will never rise to the level of complexity when attempting to tackle a calculus problem; but it is never the complexity which defeats, but rather, the complications which ensue by failing to comprehend the differentiation not between derivatives of comic circumlocutions, but of wisdom as opposed to mere knowledge.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fear and Trembling

The reference, of course, is to the major philosophical contribution by Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish Philosopher; and his title is a further extrapolation from the Bible.  It is an investigation of the test placed upon Abraham to make of his son, Isaac, the sacrificial lamb as a testament of his faith and obedience.

Whether one is religious or not, the value of such an investigation cannot be disregarded.  Such a test and endurance; how far Abraham was willing to go; were there indications of behavior which revealed hesitancy; did doubt ever enter into his mind; is obedience to faith ever justified when it seems to overpower fundamental moral considerations; does the author of moral uprightness have the right to violate the very laws of issuance (similar to the theological conundrum, Can God create a rock heavier than He can lift, and if not, does that not undermine the very definition of omnipotence?); what emotional turmoil was Abraham wrestling with, and what of fear and trembling?

These are mere surface questions which Kierkegaard attempts to encounter; the fact that most of society fails or ignores to consider, is a reflection of the state of our own being.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts (A) one’s own health and livelihood, and (B) the capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of fear and trembling should hit close to home.  Fear is attributable to the uncertainty of one’s future; trembling concerns the state of persecution one experiences at the hands of a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Kierkegaard leaves no stone unturned in his rapacious search for truth; for the Federal or Postal employee, even a surface scratching of what Kierkegaard questioned, can be of relevance in moving forward.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like entering the lofty towers of ivory perspectives as presupposed by Kierkegaard’s work; but it is in the end a pragmatic decision of fortitude which secures one’s future and allows for the stresses of our times to be set aside, deliberately, purposefully, and with regard for one’s own life and being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire