Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file 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.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Today’s tomorrow

Yesterday’s today is different from today’s today, just as tomorrow’s imaginary today will be considerably changed from the actual tomorrow of tomorrow.  How to test that theory?  Just read a book, a novel, a short story when you are a teenager, an adult, a “mature” person or in your old age – say, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye or some other similar-type work, or even Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge or even a truer test like a children’s book — the classic Seuss series, The Cat in the Hat, etc.

Perspectives alter and become modified with time, age, experience and encounters with reality, bifurcating between the monster within one’s own imagination, the projection of fears, anxieties and trepidations, and the reality of the world that one finally engages.  The memories one holds of one’s childhood may soften and become tempered over time; the harshness of judgment one may hold of one’s parent’s – their actions, punishments meted, words spoken out of turn and thoughtlessly – may be modified as one becomes a parent as well and encounters the same difficulties, trials and tests; and so the yesterday experienced at the time may alter from the yesterday remembered and ensconced within the context of one’s own life experiences.

Today’s today, or course, is the reality we must always face, but of tomorrow’s tomorrow, can we set aside the suppress the anxieties and fears we project?  The real problem is almost always today’s tomorrow –  of that projection into the future, not yet know, surrounded by the anticipation of what we experience today, fear for tomorrow and tremble at because of all of the various factors and ingredients of the unknown.  Yes, it is today’s tomorrow that we fear most.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is the tomorrow that we consider and ponder upon today that makes for the fears to arise, the anxieties to develop and the trembling to occur.

How best to treat today’s tomorrow?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must 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, the first step towards assuaging the fears projected unto tomorrow before tomorrow arrives, is by taking affirmative steps today in order to prepare for tomorrow, and that first step is to consult with an expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement.

For, today’s tomorrow will come sooner than tomorrow’s today’s blink of an eye and bypass yesterday’s today in the memories of a childhood steeped in tomorrow’s yesterday.

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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Wonder of Functioning

The complexity of the human condition makes one wonder about the capacity, endurance and ability of this animal who has created such a dysfunctional, technologically sophisticated universe.

From genetic predetermination of uncontrollable susceptibility to behavior patterns, diseases and addictive personalities, to environmental factors which condition and influence; what we eat; the wide spectrum of tolerance (or intolerance) to stress; medication regimens which would otherwise knock out an elephant, to modern prosthetic devices which makes the Six Million Dollar Man of the 70s a mere skeleton of technological innovation; and where this post-information age of constant data and stimuli bombardment is a never-ending stream of stresses; through it all, it is a wonder that Man is able to function at all.

But functionality is a paradigm which possesses subtle distinctions despite the concealment of appearances; it is always the irony of life that, after the havoc of a murderous rampage, the little old lady next door always responds to the query of the reporter and says, “And he was such a nice young man…”

The veil of appearances; the brave face we put on; like the Noh Mask which alters expression depending upon the angle, perspective, light and vantage point of the viewer, the inner reality of turmoil in every man passing on a single street, betrays the reality of cosmetic surfaces.  And, too, that is the problem for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who wants to — nay, needs to — file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Through it all, the “others” have been playing the same “game” of enduring through concealment.  Bizarre behaviors sometimes betray; or, perhaps, it is some rumors of over-drinking; or the unexplained and unexplainable cuts and the bald spot from pulling and scratching; whatever the evidence, they can all be glossed over with a smile and a furtive glance to other and parallel universes.  But for the Federal and Postal worker who truly suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the time has come when wonderment and reality clash in an intergalactic battle of proportionality and justice, where mind, body and spirit can no longer lie to the inner soul of one’s essence.  For, ultimately, it is that “soul” which hurts and suffers.

When we lie to others, it merely allows for the medical condition to fester and progressively deteriorate; when we lie to ourselves, it damages and destroys the inner character of one’s essence.  That is the epic tragedy of reality in a universe concocted with virtual devices, and therein lies the true lie of that which we desire, and it is indeed a wonder that we are able to function at all in that unending maze of cacophonous laughter we deem to be the madness of society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Those Nagging Questions

“What if” questions constantly haunt, and persistently undermine.  They are the questions which people repetitively ask of themselves; and yet, like questions in Philosophy spanning multiple millenniums, they defy answers, and merely trouble the mind.  Or, as Bertrand Russell once quipped, If such questions continue to bother, it is probably a problem of indigestion.

“What if I had done X?”  “What if I go in today and tell the Supervisor Y?”  “What if I ask for an accommodations by doing Z?”  “What if…”  The game of “what if” serves to delay and obfuscate; it kicks the proverbial can down the dusty road of oblivion, and rarely solves the concrete problem facing the individual engaged in the meaningless query.  Almost always, the solution is instead to take affirmative steps towards reaching a goal.

Experience serves to defy repetition of questions left unanswered, and the best way to satisfy the linguistic hypothetical is to act in accordance with one’s need.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the questions of “What if” may abound:  “What if I am able to recover in 6 months?”  “What if my agency fires me?”  “What if the doctor will not support me?”

Some such questions are valid; others, emanating from fear and lack of knowledge.  As gathering information is the key to satisfying questions unanswered, it is well to make inquiries and obtain facts as opposed to opinions and conjectures.

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 a major step in the Federal or Postal employee’s life; but the alternatives are often untenable and leaves one with an empty hand to continue asking those unanswerable questions which leave the stomach churning with fears, doubts and unresolved issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM as a concrete step in taking an affirmative hold of one’s life, future and undiminished aspirations.  And like grabbing a handful of sand in the dry desert of questions, to ask and query without a rudder to direct one’s efforts, is to meander through life with a blindfold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: Identity Crisis

It is how we view ourselves as one entity among others; where the I-Thou relationship corresponds to the perspective we have of ourselves, of others, and within the micro and macro-communities we engage and with which we interact.  Who we are; how we see ourselves; what constitutes value and worth; whether productivity is defined merely by the volume of paperwork shuffled, or in the manufacturing of items shipped to far-off places; and the constancy of eyes which discern the essence of a person’s place in society.  One’s identity is intimately and intangibly intertwined with one’s job, profession and vocation of choice — or where one simply “fell into” the morass of growing from teenager to adulthood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s livelihood, the vocation one has aspired to for the past few years, decades, and throughout one’s lifetime; or for the Postal worker and Federal employee who have viewed the position as merely a “pass-through” job in order to obtain certain credentials and qualifying clearances; in either cases, when a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, there often erupts a crisis of identity, precisely because of the intimacy between one’s health and one’s capacity and ability to work.

The proverbial “identity crisis” occurs precisely because of the intersection between the tripartite conditions which society has placed with a burden of chaotic rationale:  Who we are; What we do; Our value tied to productivity and “doing”.  Where health begins to deteriorate, the ability and capacity to remain “productive” diminishes; regression of “doing” reduces one’s market value in a society which idolizes comparative worth; and as what we do becomes less valuable, who we are shrinks in the eyes of the macroeconomic stratosphere of societal valuation.

Time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to embrace the identity crisis of this vast bureaucracy of the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is time to move on.

“Moving on” is to simply accept the devaluation system of monetary policy of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; but it is the personal identity crisis which must always be dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s perspective of self-worth, it is time to exit from the abyss of deterioration, and take the positive and affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire