Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Lack of time

It takes time in order to be “nice” and “considerate”.  We don’t have such a luxury, anymore.  We have been sold a bill of goods; that technology, Smart phones, computers, laptops, tablets; of the actual engagement in texting, emailing, and all of the multitudes of communicating by delight of button-pushing, will allow for man to pursue the creativity within, and to forego the toil of an otherwise working world. Then, we would reach the pinnacle of human ecstasy, of “time” enough to do that which we  were destined for.

And, yet…  Somehow, the promises made became empty vessels of contractual vacuity, and the social contracts so construed with ponderous delights, never reach a moment of fruition, and instead left us all with an emptiness of soul.

When a society begins to trumpet blares of social “rights”, and to utilize the political process and the courtrooms to assert the ability and capacity to force changes, then it is the step beyond moment of neighborly cohesiveness.  There have always been disputes within organizations, townships, blocks, etc., which have required mediation and third-party intervention; but, for the most part, the working order of a society depends upon common courtesy, decorum, and accepted conduits of conventional behavior governing personal conduct and public displays of geniality resulting in the glue which cements societal functionality.

But, that takes time.

It takes time to say “hello” and “good-day”; it takes time to know that The Stinsons down the way, or the Zachariahs or Abdullahs two houses away and four blocks to the left of the Smiths, respectively, have a child with pneumonia (as opposed to being fearful that such revelation of illness will be interpreted somehow as weakness of character), and the discourse of living should immediately invoke a response of care, concern and a grant of extended help.

But we don’t have time for all of that nonsense.

That mushy-gushy-goo of human relationships, where actual contact has to be engaged, and when picnics were once the commonality of congregation when children dressed in Sunday bests with butterfly nets in hand, flushed cheeks from the midday sun of dancing waves in the delight of a summer’s breeze, and neighbors actually stood face-to-face and reflected upon the concerns of others, and not faceless stoicism and the staid numbness within the cocoon of selfish wants and virtual realities of Pokemon and timeless pursuits of distractions unleashed but for the loss of connection with human contact, and thus of humanity itself.

But, that is because we lack the time.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the loss of time and the lack of time, and where time seems to be “running out” like a spigot left unintentionally open and connected to a finite source of reserve – it may be “time” to prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

When the agency has no time for one’s medical condition; when the U.S. Postal Service cares not for one’s health; then, the only “time” which matters is that moment when health deteriorates and progressively debilitates, and then it is surely time to consider “moving on” and leaving those with such ties to the currency of time behind, in order to reach that pinnacle of timeless timing when an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where lack of time is more akin to the timing of lack which certainly takes time to prepare, formulate and file in a timely timelessness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation and Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The stick figure across the street

We all drew them.  They are simple figures, one-dimensional, created not only by children and uncreative hands, but by sophisticated artists who convey complexity through their uncomplicated depiction.  Upon such lack of depth, we can project an unending dearth of fillers, precisely because the simple lines invite us to increase the servile skinniness by piling a composite upon the lean figures which are mere caricatures devoid of substance.

The neighbor across the street, whom we have never met, and who is but a figure the size between forefinger and thumb, and remains the remnant of a stick figure, and continues to convey, so; and when the annoying bark of a midnight dog awakens the sensibilities of insomnia and a sleepless night, or of such a thin veil of loss of restorative slumber that wakefulness becomes a better alternative, then we can fill in the gaps of the stick figure, add some meat and substance, with diatribes of invectives piled upon curses and unimaginable energies of words rarely considered and never previously uttered.

Coworkers used to be nothing more than such stick figures — before they earned that status of enamored stature.  That is why leaving a career, cutting short a lifetime of accomplishments, and turning away from the vindictive familiarity of a workplace once loved, is so difficult for the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset.

Once upon a time, the stick figures were mere appendages and afterthoughts in the life of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker; but over time, they gained substance, girth, and an unmerited significance merely by osmosis of daily encounters.  Thus, when a medical condition hits the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker with a force of plenitude such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be considered, it is not just the separation from mere commerce and economic entanglement which must be considered, but rather, extrication from a social network of figures who have evolved, over many years and sometimes multiple decades, into caricatures amassing and aggregating personalities, comradeship, shared sense of missions accomplished, and much more.

So long as they had remained mere stick figures from across the street, the distance of time, the separation of dimensions, and the wall of strangeness allowed for an ease of abandonment.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, however, the process is no longer merely a wave of goodbye to the stick figure across the street; no, instead, that has become the unwanted uncle who has no other home to go to, and must by obligation be evicted despite the relationship which has developed beyond the formless caricature painted upon our own minds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Pension Annuity: Today, life is good…

It is the set of 3 periods at the end of the sentence, identified in grammatical terms as an ellipses, allowing for a trailing thought or a hesitation of motive, and here which differentiates from a singular finality of a period postulated to prevent a purposive punctuality of partition from a postscript.  If the last two periods were extracted and deleted, the delineation would connote a declarative assertion, unhesitant in conclusion, and confident in execution.  With those two additions, it implies and denotes hesitancy, a pause leaving the impression of loss or lack of confidence, and unable to determine the cogency of opinion formulated but for the ellipses.

In the end, however, how is grammar tied to life itself?  Do mere additions of two dots in a sentence reflect the reality of that which we live?  Do the bundles of human complexities, emotional upheaval and physical pain, cognitive dissonance cut us off from nature’s impenetrable divide?

How often do we walk around, and stop and realize that we remember nothing about our surroundings, who we passed, what buildings we strode by, because the inner thoughts we became a hostage to allowed only for sight by the eye of our own minds, and not for the purposes attributable to all other species on the planet — for observation and judgment to determine the course of future destiny, in surviving a predatory world.

What makes us unique, but the linguistic divide that confronts us daily; and thus is it that the 3 harmless dots dangling at the terminal confinement at the end of a sentence is more than a mirage of grammatical repose; no, it defines who we are.  For, the reality of the ellipses is contained in the reflection of the truth manifested; insert an emotive adjective, and the dots disappear; yet, the changes wrought will remain beyond the grammatical addendum, the deletion of the dots, or the conversion from hesitancy to declarative assertion of utmost confidence.

It is, in the end, the “today” which is the operative word, and not the trepidation engendered by the ellipses; and it is the unstated “tomorrow” which can bring about changes to the substantive undercurrent of life beyond linguistic elasticity.  It is real life, and not grammar, which must ultimately determine destiny, fate and the whims of gods playing with human caricatures with arbitrary thunderbolts and childhood cruelty with breaths of unexpected pillars placed as obstacles within our paths.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that the gods of fate have placed the burden of a medical condition upon life’s lottery of challenges, the need to prepare, formulate and apply 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, becomes an encounter where the linguistic divide between life and living, on the one hand, and language and grammar, on the other, coalesce and the the chasm must by necessity be bridged.  For, it is precisely the medical condition itself (life and living) which must then be formulated into a declarative state of disability and linguistic evidentiary postulate (language and grammar), in the form of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, that makes for the differentiation between failure or success.

Beware of the pitfalls of grammar, and note the ellipses, as well as the dangling participle, lest either unveil a true hesitancy in living, as opposed to a mere red mark from a teacher in a fictional classroom, either in one’s mind or in the eye of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Time Travel

H.G. Wells touched upon our imaginations in 1895 with his novel, The Time Machine, and ever since, the concept itself has been accepted within the cultural milieu of ideas incandescent.  Mathematicians find it as a challenge to decipher; astronomy, an idea to ponder; astrophysicists, a vehicle to revitalize the despair of incomprehension; but for poets and prophets, it is the fodder for creativity and imaginations to become unfettered by want of belief.

What child (or adult) does not ponder the mysteries of the universe by means of a device to enter a future yet unknown or a past replete with narrated stories of pirates, heroism and grandeur consumed, but awaiting the entrance of a character unhistorical, as Roman legions march the sands of timeless deserts where echoes of unknown characters appear to suddenly participate in the making of events yet blank upon the slate of unwritten participles.

But too few of us recognize that time travel was always being accomplished; the author merely confirmed that which was already done.  For, in our wanderings and imaginations in minds traveling afar, the daydreamer thus reached beyond the constraints of physical presence.

Whether an occurrence in objective reality, or the indistinct touch within the creativity of a limitless mind, the difference was never noticed by the child of laughter or the boy lost in wonder.  And for the adult who must daily make decisions upon a cauldron of reality and harshness of unenviable encounters?  While never as the pleasantries of a child lost in the world of make-believe, the pondering of future courses of action and the consideration of past consequences must always be deliberated by everyone who engages the world of modernity.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates the Federal and Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consideration must be granted to the time machine and time travel by means of coordinating what past actions have occurred (e.g., the medical condition), the current milieu (i.e., the actions of the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service concerning the ongoing status of the Federal and Postal employee), and the future plans (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset).

Thus, without knowing it, time travel was always something which the Federal and Postal employee engaged in; and never just within the province of childhood dreams left to the plodding monotony of brave acts unrecorded, or the samurai who refused to unsheathe his sword for fear of death and loss of honor, it is indeed the Federal and Postal employee who must consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and must engage time travel and press the complex levers of an unfathomable machine — that bureaucracy of depthless administrative morass one must enter, to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Epochal Dawns

There are those momentous events in life which we mark and memorialize; and, in the end, whether the cumulative bag of goodies amounts to a positive aggregate, or a negation of sorrows, we determine in the quietude of private thoughts.  Avoidance of future uncertainty is a talent wrought only by humans; for animals of other species, they cannot afford such luxuries, as survival in the here and now constitutes reality of future causality.

For us, there is today; tomorrow will take care of itself within the constructs of fear, angst and uncertainty; and as Heidegger would have it, the projects we savor are the ones which delay thoughts of tomorrow, death, and the certainty of extinction.

What are those epochal dawns?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it can include the advent of a medical condition.  In the beginning, in retrospect, perhaps it was of minor consequence; left as merely an afterthought, a nagging pain, or perhaps a singular moment of sudden urgency.  But the chronicity of life often parallels the longevity of a condition, and what was once a mere quibble may have turned into that momentous event.

Medical conditions belong in the bag of goodies set aside as “negatives”; and it may well lead to the necessity of considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Avoidance of the issue will not switch the bag of goodies from the negative to the positive; but once that decision is made to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is up to each Federal and Postal employee to determine whether the future course of events — that “hereafter” and “post-disability retirement life” — will mean that there is yet a future of positives, and not merely a reverberation of past negatives.

And what of that “epochal dawn”?  It remains so only if the event itself stays in a motionless rut of stagnation, like those old films of a dying carcass stuck in the mud of a scorching desert sky, where the vultures of a future abyss fly above, waiting for their pick of tenderloin.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire