Federal Disability Retirement: The historical data

How much historical data is too much?  Is there a correlation between “too much” and “loss of interest”? In other words, when a history book is written, does the interest shown by the reader begin to wane when a certain point of quantitative overload begins to overwhelm?  Further, does the audience for whom the historical data is written depend upon the extent given?

Certainly, “popular” historical narratives provide “juicier” content than more “serious” biographies, where the salacious aspects of a person’s life or of an event are put to the fore, as opposed to relegating them to footnotes or in those “fine print” pages at the back of the book.

If, for example, data is compiled for an internal study for the “Historical Society of X”, then certain detailed information without limitations might be included — i.e. how many times this or that civilization went to war, went to the bathroom daily, ate one kind of fruit as opposed to another, etc. But if that “study” were to be made into a biography of an indigenous tribe, to be sold to the general public, it might leave out certain of the more uninteresting data, or placed in footnotes or “background notes” at the back of the book.

At what point does a historical narrative become “tedious”?  Again, is there a correlation between “interest shown/sparked/waning/losing” and the extent of data provided?  Is there a “qualitative” difference as opposed to sheer quantitative overload?

These issues are important to keep in mind when a Federal or Postal employee begins to write one’s narrative in response to questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  For, there is always a tendency on the part of the Federal or Postal applicant to have this unquenchable desire to “tell one’s story”, as opposed to answering the question on SF 3112A in as precise, concise and incisive manner.

At times, some amount of historical background may be relevant and somewhat necessary, but unlike “internal studies” that have no cognizable consequences in providing “too much” information, an overabundance of irrelevant data provided may have a duality of negative results: First, it may take away from, and diminish, the “main point” of the narrative, and Second, you may be providing information that is inadvertently harmful to one’s OPM Disability Retirement case without intending to.

Remember always in a Federal Disability Retirement case, that the eyes that once see cannot be blinded after the fact, and it is better to provide information as a supplemental means in a Federal Disability Retirement case, than to have to explain, correct and amend after a denial is received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Fundamentals

What does it mean when a person says, “The fundamentals remain sound”?  Is it one of those “throw-away” lines which makes one sound intelligent, but upon closer inspection, means very little?  Sort of like the misuse of the double-negative that was popularly in use, where people say, “irregardless” of this or that?

Fundamentals are important to every successful endeavor, and 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 employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the “fundamentals” which must never be overlooked, but rather, to be focused upon, tweaked, considered carefully and crafted with greater perfection.

Unfortunately, many people who prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, believe (erroneously) that the mere fact that one has a “serious” medical condition is enough to satisfy the eligibility criteria for an approval from OPM.  Always remember that there is a vast difference, with a “real” distinction, between “having” a medical condition and “proving” that the medical condition one has prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

It is very easy to focus upon one’s pain, anguish and despair in dealing with a medical condition, and forget that an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is by necessity a “paper presentation” to an unknown, faceless person lost within a vast bureaucracy in Boyers, Pennsylvania, and in the process to neglect the “fundamentals” in preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

When the fundamentals are sound, the rest of it is sound; and though such “sayings” may often be thrown about without much thought put into it, it is the soundness of the fundamentals that will prove to be the effective application that gets a First-Stage approval in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The shaken confidence

Tree limbs can be shaken; hands can shake, evidencing some agreement or initial salutation of a wordless sort, or even accompanied by some utterances; and the earth can shake as the subterranean tectonic shifts invisible and otherwise unnoticed, which then can result in tsunamis and other natural disasters.

The shaken confidence can take many forms; and the forms themselves cannot so easily be identified.  It presumes, first of all, that there was “confidence” to begin with, lest that which is shaken could not possibly have occurred unless it preexisted the loss of it.  Yet, too often, the evidence of its very existence is merely the lack of any contrary characteristic — i.e., a negation that fails to manifest existence and thus cannot actually be proven.  Of a person who walks about without any noticeable trace of lack — do we say of him or her, “He has confidence’?  Or is it just the one who has an overabundance of it, who struts around like a proud peacock or a rooster who takes no guff of whom we attribute “overconfidence’?

In normal discourse we just assume that, unless there are indications to the contrary, everyone who stands and walks amidst and among us possess some level of “confidence” or, in more particularized form, of “self-confidence”.  What are the events or issues that “shake” it, and what can an attribution of such an event mean?  Perhaps it is triggered by some tragic source — a trauma of a very personal nature, of death or an accident, perhaps; or can it be by mere utterance of words, of a berating boss or an insensitive spouse?  Or, how about a realization that one’s presumed immortality is simply not so?

None of us believe in immortality — at least, not in the sense that we will live forever walking about this earth.  Yet, until an event “reminds” us of our mortality, we take it for granted that life goes on as the day before, and the day before that; and so the concept of immortality resides by avoidance or ignorance, until something “reminds” us that, indeed, mortality is the nature of life, and flesh is by each instance and in incremental subtlety progressively deteriorating within the microscopic cells of slow degeneration.  And of a medical condition — can it be the source of the shaken confidence?

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 job — the shaken confidence resulting from the progressively deteriorating medical condition is just as real as the earth that trembles and groans from tectonic shifts that moves and crumbles the structural integrity of high engineering feats.

Federal Disability Retirement is often not a choice made in confidence, but from a lack thereof; for, a medical condition cannot be viewed within a vacuum of a mere diagnosis that can be surgically extracted; rather, a medical condition is a sequence of aggregated tragedies — of the medical condition itself; the symptoms which result; the impact upon one’s personal and professional life; of the effect upon family and friends; of the triggers upon one’s psyche as well as the physical pain and mental anguish experienced.

In short, the shaken confidence of the one who used to walk about the earth as if you owned it, and 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, is simply the first step in regaining that “shaken confidence” that was once a day before in a time now long forgotten presumed to have always been there.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Catching with a net

Have you ever tried catching multiple entities with a net?  Whether more than one butterfly, or goldfishes in a pond, or even debris floating at the skimming water’s edge, the act of scooping, trapping and encircling with the tool of a net requires dexterity and unique hand-eye coordination.  Then, the one first caught escapes, and the frustration of gain-versus-loss ensues.  Is it greed which continues to compel despite the persistence of loss and diminishing return, or sheer stubbornness that we somehow battle against our own interests even when further escape occurs?

Ever the frustration of observing those once caught and get away, and chasing after those very ones we just enmeshed and caged within the netting of this ingenious deployment; and yet we insist.

How does that translate into a specific personality, or the manner in which we carry on in our daily lives?  Is going out and catching butterflies with a net the perfect methodology of determining a prospective employee’s “fit or unfit” personality and character for an organization?  Does it reveal a side of the person – for example, in the financial sector, or investment banking, if a person approaches the task by catching one, stopping, putting the insect or other entity into a bottle with pre-bored holes for oxygen, then proceeding in a sequential manner and attending to catching the next one, etc., does that tell of a prefatory commensurateness with careful investment strategies?

Or, take the very opposite, where the task is to catch 10 moving entities, and instead of stopping after each one, the future employment prospect goes about madly racing through the tall fields of grass furiously attempting to net the quota of requested numbers, despite imposing no time-frame in the completion of such a task – does that necessarily reveal a personality of lesser caution, of a person who may be rash and imprudent?  Does one revelation of acting in a particular context unmask a parallel semblance of reality in another, or do the specific circumstances themselves confine and define within a marginalized mirror?

Whether transferable or not, the imagery and metaphor of a person attempting to catch multiple entities with a single net, shows a side of human life which can be both comical as well as compelling.  For, as a reflection of parallel circumstances, it is somewhat indicative of the Federal or Postal employee who must begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Like the person handed the net, the Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, must make a pragmatic determination as to the diminishing returns recognized in continuing in the same repetitive venture of living.  At some point, there comes a flash of realization that the same acts cannot continue without something else giving – and whether that “giving” is the butterfly which escapes, or one’s deteriorating health further and progressively becoming destroyed – is the flashpoint of reality revealing itself in compelling a decision for today, and no longer procrastinated for some unknown time in a future left insecure.

And like the butterfly which escapes to be free for another day, the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties must by necessity attempt to free him or herself from the medical condition in order to reach that place in life where pain, misery, and the sense of being “caged” will no longer apply.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The Life of Clichés

Use of cliches allows for minimal effort of expression; the very loss of originality, of benefit derived from utterances overused but generally understood, and the utter dependence upon past acceptance of declarative thoughts without needing to consider the applicability of the conceptual connotation — these allow for laziness to wander throughout a thoughtless platitude.

The aggregate of a linguistic universe, however, is one thing; to live a life of cliches beyond merely stating the obvious, is to embrace, engage and ultimate believe in them.  “Life’s lottery has left me bankrupt”; “This is merely the quiet before the storm“; “All is fair in love and war”; “The writing is on the wall”; and as the heuristic methodology is forever forsaken, the thoughts one expresses become molded into the very character of one’s life and manner of living, with the consequential quietude of a static and emotionless construct, leading ultimately to a negation of that which defines what it means to be human.

The automaton of life’s requirements tend to beat down the creativity we are born with; as we were once “diamonds in the rough”, so the long journey of difficulties faced throughout the trials of daily toil, incrementally and insidiously wear upon us, until one day we look in the mirror and the reflection reveals eyes which stare back in a vacuum of human suffering not known in those days of former innocence.

Once, we laughed in the company of our siblings as the ocean waves rolled over the fragile sand castles we built without fear of impending doom, and not knowing was a vanguard of happiness, where delight in one another was yet unconsumed by the worries of economic turmoil and complexity of adulthood; until we somehow “grew up”, lost our sense of direction and compass of fortitude, and slowly allowed the heavy atmosphere of fear, trepidation and anxieties of living overwhelm us.  We became a walking cliche.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must face the reality of such a situation, especially when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes more and more of an urgent requirement.  Working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is in and of itself a challenge; what with the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and insistence upon squeezing blood out of a stone (there we go again), it becomes all the more unbearable when a medical condition is introduced into the equation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may sometimes seem like waving the proverbial white flag of surrender; but, often, that is the only alternative left, unless the Federal or Postal employee wants to become the modern-day version of a walking zombie, devoid of any real life left to live.

Ultimately, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether submitted first through one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for those Federal or Postal employees not yet separated from service, or not for more than 31 days), and it is often a daunting administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls.  But the alternative is to merely live a life of cliches, where you must never lose track of time, and filing in the nick of time is important, lest you fail to be as clever as a fox, but hopefully, where all is well that ends well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: The Afterthought

It is perhaps best that anticipatory planning, based upon predictive analytics, is an afterthought for human intuition and predilection of priorities in life.  Otherwise, one can remain in a world of obsessive preventative maintenance of efforts, and never accomplish what needs to be done today.

Future forebodings aside, and whether an individual engages in hazardous duties which exponentially increase the statistical curve for the onset of an occupational disease or injury, or the development of a medical condition through repetitive and overuse of a particular appendage or anatomy; regardless, the bifurcation of thought from the daily aches and pains from one’s body, warning of impending and future difficulties, is ignored and banished, to be reflected upon in some future corner of pondering.

Human beings have an almost unlimited capacity for relegating present concerns to the realm of an afterthought, and the benefit of disability retirement will naturally take a backseat for those in the youthful set, precisely because disability is associated with thoughts of avoidance, sort of in the company of old age, infirmity, and early onset of dementia.  As well it should be.  But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, and therefore becomes a threat to one’s livelihood, the afterthought becomes the primary issue, and it is then that one sounds a heavy sigh of relief in knowing that an employment benefit includes a Federal Disability Retirement packet.  But once the acknowledgment comes to the fore, the reality further hits one, that you must prove your case, and it is not merely a matter of entitlement.

Federal Disability Retirement, filed through one’s agency if you are not separated for over 31 days, must ultimately arrive at the doorstep of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  OPM is the agency which makes the decision upon a Federal Disability Retirement application (and that’s the reason why this medical benefit is also known as ”OPM Disability Retirement”).

While there are minimum time in-service requirements (18 months under FERS and 5 years under CSRS), it is the compendium of proving one’s case under the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, which must be submitted in order to win.  Afterthoughts are human evolutionary means of avoiding unseen dangers; but when the afterthought becomes a present danger, it is time to become aware of the surroundings, context, and content of the formidable opponent one must face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Impact of Collateral Problems & Advice

The problem with not being guided in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is that there are multiple collateral, and often unexpected, issues which come up in the course of preparing and filing for the eventuality, which may or may not impact the central issue of Federal Disability Retirement.

Whether a particular agency’s offer of an given action impacting one’s job can be used by the Office of Personnel Management in denying a Federal Disability Retirement application; whether a particular issue is relevant, significant, or of sufficient applicability to warrant immediate attention or a response, can only be determined by having a handle on the larger context of issues.

Much of disability retirement law and the issues which appear to intersect with the legal criteria for eligibility, are discretionary in nature; some have no impact at all; still others, have sufficient impact and possible reverberations such that they should be addressed in a legally appropriate and sufficient manner.  But the greater issue is whether the Federal or Postal employee should simply operate in the dark and hope that such seemingly collateral issues will not come back to haunt one at a later time.  That is the bliss of ignorance; unfortunately, that which one does not know, can indeed come back to hurt one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire