Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Proof

What constitutes it, and how do we learn of its sufficiency or relevance?

Take the following scenario: A group of boys are gathered together along with Billy, the “town bully”.  A discussion of sorts ensues — who is the toughest kid in town?  Some of the boys offer that “Dave” from across town is the meanest and toughest — a black belt in Hapkido, a state wrestling champion and a middle line backer for the high school football team.  Some others counter that Dave was once beaten up by Joe back in February, and doesn’t that “prove” that Joe is the toughest?

Then Billy suddenly stands up and everyone else becomes quiet.  He starts slowly and deliberatively pounding his right fist into the open palm of his left hand, and juts his prominent chin out in an intimidating manner, and says, “Okay!  Enough of this talk!  How ‘bout me?  Which of you weaklings says that I’m not the toughest guy in town?”

There are multiple sounds of gulps and fearful drops of sweat begin to trickle down the backs of each, and one of the other kids — a skinny little weasel with thick, black-rimmed glasses, suddenly shouts, “That’s proof enough for me!”  Following was a loud and unequivocal consensus of unanimous agreement.

In such a scenario, two things occurred: One — Billy “proved” that he was the toughest kid in town, and Two — all of the other kids took the lesson to heart that the proof of a physical presence and the threat presented was “sufficient” proof, as well as relevant as all get-go.

Thus are all of the components necessary to establishing verification of a propositional truth established: the town bully’s declarative utterance, backed by the force of a metaphorical persuasion (for one would argue that no overt coerciveness was used, but merely an innocent act of pounding one’s fist into the open palm of one’s other hand, and if asked whether Billy “threatened” anyone into declaring him as the toughest kid in town, he would and could innocently declare that there is “no proof” of any such accusation established or verified), and further reinforced by the scientific consensus of his peers and fellow students.

Proof was offered, considered, and accepted in full by a persuasive methodology of a succinct and effective form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the systematic and methodological “proof” which must be gathered and presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in establishing the Federal or Postal employee’s eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits must, of course, be somewhat more sophisticated than the rudimentary — but effective — amassing of proof portrayed by Billy the Town Bully.

Of course, some of the characteristics may still be relevant — of what constitutes “effective” proof; of what works as “persuasive” proof; of what is comprised of proof itself.  But the difference is that, while proof that leads to an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should last for the lifetime of the Federal or Postal employee, “proof” for the kids who agreed that Billy was the toughest guy in town lasted only so long as the threat presented kept everyone convinced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Conversations

What is a conversation?  Or, is it an empirical phenomenon that — only when we are in the middle of it — we know as we experience it, but otherwise is undefinable?  If there are 5 people in a room but only 1 is doing the talking, is a conversation ongoing?  Must there be a “back and forth” give and take, or must something more be involved?  If the same 5 people are in the same room, and all of them are talking all at once, does that rise to the level of a conversation?  Does interruption and talking over one another undermine the definition?

What if there is extraordinary politeness — of each waiting his and her turn — and where no one interrupts, there is a pause between each discourse and a civility beyond mere lack of rudeness, but upon listening, one realizes that each one of the individuals is speaking about a completely different topic, and there is no interaction or even acknowledgment that anyone is listening to anyone else — does this all of a sudden undermine the concept of what is occurring?

This is an Age of Discord — of intractable positions taken, where the foundations that once formed the Age of Reason have been decimated and we are left with empty voices of loud vehemence, hollow in content but roaring in volume.  Truth, objectivity, logic and rational methodology — the very essence of discourse and conversation — have been hollowed out and cast aside.

It is now in camps of “us” against “them”, but the singular missing component that has devastated the capacity to have a conversation is the one that no one ever talks about: The ability to recognize and admit that someone else’s argument is superior to one’s own.

When was the last time you heard someone say: “Hey, that argument is quite good and persuasive.  I think you are right.”?  Instead, it is the familiar refrain: “That’s just your opinion.”  And as the volume of decibels increases, the content of substance proportionately and precipitously falls.

There are, of course, various levels of conversations, but one level is clear: Listen to the other side.  This also includes reading, recognizing and understanding the applicable statutes in an administrative process in order to meet all of the elements of the burden of proof.  Being intransigent and stubborn are qualities that makes one feel empowered, but concurrently, are often self-defeating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it all begins with knowledge — of the statutes, the case-law and the precedents that apply.

We may all have to concede that the Age of Conversations is over; what we may be left with is a process where, at the very least, one must listen and try to learn.

Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process which is never simple, and must be approached with knowledge, tenacity and an ear to listening to what is needed in order to meet the eligibility requirements.  Having a medical condition is a start, but it is not enough.  And like conversations that may have started but puttered out without fanfare, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will take more than talking about how we “feel”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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