Federal Disability Retirement: The Promising Beginning

We look upon with sadness that which once was, and remorsefully retro-fit what could have been despite that which never was meant to be.

The promising beginning is the one that originated with fullness of hope and expectations; then, there is a “middle ground” — a point where paths diverge and perhaps the critical juncture where success, failure, or something in-between presents itself; and then the journey continues for some time until a point is reached where retrospective regrets may begin to develop, and we think to ourselves: Ah, what a promising beginning, but….  It is, of course, the “but” that pauses and the silence which follows that tells us all the rest of the story; of the wrong path taken, the promise left unfulfilled and the caravan of decisions left undiminished.  But from whose perspective?

Perhaps there were interruptions — of relational interests that took some focus away, or a boredom which set in to detract from the singularity of focus which was required; but such decisions may have merely moderated that “promising beginning” that was never meant to be.  And of those issues where one had no control over — such as a medical condition that reminded one that, while careers are important for a time, one’s health should always be a priority, no matter the time or circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, and where the once “promising beginning” seemingly has stalled or stopped completely because of the medical condition, it may be time to shed one’s self of false expectations and unrealistic values, and to look to the future by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Not all beginnings are meant to have an ending as promised, and in any event, remember that the only promise that needs keeping is the one that allows for an ending of hope, where expectations include the priority of one’s health and the necessity for change when change is required.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Changes we resist

It is almost a tautology; two words placed together as synonyms; and, indeed, the word “change” and its neighbor, “resist” have a commonality that cannot be avoided: Both imply an alteration and a sense of life’s modification never to return back.

We resist it, precisely because we want it to remain the same; but change is inevitable, and to resist is to often engage in acts of futility against a tide which resists resistance.  Few of us welcome, let alone savor, changes in our lives; and when they first appear on the horizon of potentiality, we try and resist, to stop it, to alter the course of history’s onward march.

Perhaps we merely refuse to join in with the change; or have an inner attitude of non-acceptance; or sit gloomily and pout throughout the remainder of days simmering with resentment that we were forced to accept that which we never wanted.  It is like the divorce that shattered one’s childhood and from which we never recovered; the stepmother or stepfather who entered our lives only added salt to the wound where change was resisted but no one listened to our protestations and pleas, asking, “Why can’t it be the same as always?”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, “change” and the “resistance” to change are inevitable dualities of life’s misgivings.

Perhaps you were once at the “top of your game” and considered the best at what you do; or, perhaps you thrived on anonymity and were happy to work in a quiet, unassuming way.  Regardless, the very thought of change is something you resisted, but a medical condition forced such a change whether you like it or not.

Change itself is always difficult, but there are ways to mitigate the vulnerabilities that accompany change: Consult with an attorney before engaging battle with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  For, while change may be like the uninvited stepmother or stepfather into one’s life, the change that truly becomes a tumultuous event is the one where you step forward into the unknown without any guidance or assistance.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal and Postal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Transformations

It is a grand concept, a larger-than-life idea and often referred to in the context of a personal “Ah-ha” moment; of transformations, we hear often enough the talk of schemes to overturn, uproot, change, alter, do a complete make-over and revolutionize this or that.

In politics, we hear about this or that “transformational” figure; of new inventions, that it will “transform” the way in which we live; and of personal moments of lives that need to be or otherwise require change, we learn that this or that person was “transformed” by this or that experience.

The truth is, there is rarely an event the lives up to the boast or infamy of such a concept, and the reason is quite simple.  Just as in life itself, the organic changes that occur in nature – of the Darwinian foundation based upon the survival of the fittest mechanism – do so in subtle, slow and incremental, mostly imperceptible ways.  Nature does not favor transformations on a grand scale; it instead cautiously approaches slight and moderate alterations, in slow and steady, incremental steps, precisely because it is weary about changing something when what has been has worked quite well, thank you.

For most people, transformations in life follow upon a parallel course and conceptual model; major overhauls are disfavored; a new route slightly altered, an addition to the family, an alteration of a minor issue, etc.  Changes of any kind can be tumultuous, precisely because regularity is what we rely upon in order to maintain a semblance of sanity within the sphere of our own influences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the medical condition itself can be a very unsettling, “transformational” experience.

Dealing with any deterioration of one’s health can be a traumatic event; to consider preparing, formulating and filing 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, can be a further event of transformational significance.

It would be nice if there was a more subtle, incremental alternative; but, sometimes in life, as unfortunate as it may be, a transformation of sorts is the only viable choice to make, and one should in such instances recognize that – whether against the tide of nature or not – one’s health should be the sole and transformational focus when considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire