OPM Disability Retirement: The Arbitrary Denial

A denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management of a Federal Disability Retirement application is disappointing enough.  For, after waiting for countless and seemingly endless months, exhausting one’s resources and relying upon the reality of one’s medical conditions and limitations thereby imposed in persuading OPM to draw and infer the conclusion that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is understandable how overwhelmingly dispiriting a denial can be.

Denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application often appear to be “arbitrary”.  Yes, there may be multiple paragraphs in a “Discussion” Section of the Denial Letter delineating a “reason”, but such explanatory posits are often non sequiturs where conclusions fail to follow upon selective extrapolations from medical reports submitted.

Clearly, “something” did not satisfy the reviewing “medical specialist” who came to the conclusion of a denial, and whether the Federal or Postal applicant believes that the denial is both unfounded and unjustified, it is an irrefutable fact that OPM possesses both the power and the authority to approve or deny a Federal Disability Retirement application, and whether a denial appears “arbitrary” or convincingly persuasive in delineating reasons for the denial, the process itself must be seen as an “adversarial” one.

Arbitrariness can only be countered by rational discourse, and the power to deny must be refuted by a reasoned rebuttal supported by convincing medical documentation.  Don’t fume over unfair, selective extrapolations that are intellectually disingenuous; instead, contact an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of countering the arbitrary denial by mapping out a reasoned rebuttal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Desperation in a time of crisis

There is the crisis, perhaps born of a lingering problem allowed to fester and froth until the boiling point allowing for a simmering of persistent steam to rise and spill over; and then, of our reaction, our departure point where sanity and coherence become overwhelmed and replaced with a sense of doom.

We have all been through a crisis; it is part and parcel of a life lived; and though we never ask for it, it comes when least expected, when we are most vulnerable, and when we believe that we can no longer withstand the tornado of unbounded fury.

There have been moments where the crisis naturally passes, and we simply must await its presence and ultimate disappearance.  Then, there have been ones where we have the strength to muster, to counter and fight, and to overcome — and those are the ones where preparation in youth in replenishing and fortifying one’s strength of character and resolve allowed for the abundance of that inner reserve to take over, almost as if a transcendent, supernatural force took control and led one to greater heights of one’s capacity to withstand and defeat.

Then, at other times, where human strength alone may not have been enough, and it was the support of others — friends, family members, and even the family dog, who allowed one to survive and to continue on.  But it is the last within the list of responsive capabilities — where the crisis comes, and one’s sense of desperation in a time of crisis becomes apparent, and that is when the danger-point comes to the fore.

Desperation in a time of crisis is when one’s strength has been sapped; when the vulnerabilities are revealed like an open sore inviting infection to spread; and when no amount of support from family or friends can appease the soul of the epiphany of sorrow that will not be comforted and where the heaving sobs of despair cannot be stopped.  It is those times when some glimmer of hope must be shone, for it is desperation in a time of crisis that brings a person to the edge of the proverbial cliff, where the jagged rocks of life below foam with an unwary eye of remorseless undercurrent in dousing the flame of life’s gift.

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, it is important not to allow for the growing medical crisis to become a moment of desperation in the time of crisis.

Consult with an attorney who is experienced in OPM Disability Retirement Law; allow for the door of hope to remain open, and do not allow desperation in a time of crisis to defeat that which may yet have a solution; it’s just that you may not know about the solution, but consulting with a Specialist in the field of FERS Disability Retirement Law may be the pathway out of a misperceived situation of desperation in a time of crisis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed of, 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 not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The peskiness of life

Somehow, like children and rats, or of mice and men, the peskiness of life continues to trail behind us.  We think that things are going well, and then suddenly we realize that the nagging peskiness of life’s challenges has once again come upon us.  We wonder when that period of nirvana will be reached; that goal that we allegedly strive for each day of our lives; when will it come to fruition?

Life is difficult, and it becomes all the more so because of the technology all around us that persuades, convinces and pulls the proverbial wool over our eyes by making us think that everyone else lives a life of perfection.

Yes, yes, we believe we are all so much more sophisticated than to be “taken in” by the lies of advertisements, instagram pictures and those ads that urgently scream at us to “Call Now!  Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime!”  But are we?  If we truly believe in the subconscious — and advertising agencies certainly do — why then would we discount the power of the subliminal message, the persuasive impact of repetition and the daunting images that haunt and pursue?

Movies and television programs tell us daily of the exciting lives of others; instagram photographs reveal that lives of perfection exist in all other households; Facebook postings establish that everyone but you live interesting lives; and the peskiness of life seems to just follow me and you, while the rest of the world merely splashes through the gaiety of life’s endless stream of summer laughs and winter’s avoidance of discontent where youth is never stretched beyond the smile of a springtime dream and old age never comes upon the drifting leaves of fall.

Then, of course, there is the medical condition that suddenly comes upon us — where peskiness of life becomes magnified by the reality of human frailty.

Fortunately, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is the added benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement when that peskiness of life begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal job or the Postal craft.  Remember, however, that in formulating the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, be careful in not including too many whines and groans about irrelevancies that do not focus upon the core of answering each question.

But, then, the questions themselves are quite tricky, are they not — showing further that even in trying to obtain a benefit that is part of one’s Federal career or Postal package of compensatory benefits, one must always take care in making sure that the peskiness of life — that bundle of problems that makes it seem like life is so simple and beautiful everywhere else but in your own corner — doesn’t finally defeat you by making the simple mistake of not consulting with an attorney before you proceed down a road that makes peskiness into a very real legal problem of greater proportions than it was ever intended.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The greater monsters within

Have you ever engaged in lengthy ruminations, procrastinating because of fear, trepidation and cautionary constraints before proceeding, only to find in retrospect that there was really nothing – or, at least, not much – to have worried about?

Often, it is the greater monsters within that become compounded, exaggerated and increased in fearsome proportions beyond the reality of the objective world, in parallelism with the anxiety we release and the angst we allow.  Within the insular world of our language games and conceptual apparatus created by a complexity of admixtures involving conscience, history of childhood imprints, traumas and psychic damages, it is important to bifurcate the universes of our own makings from those of manifested plenary encounters that can be evaluated, assessed and properly analyzed.

The ability and capacity to judge between the reality of the problem and the internal struggle of an imagined encounter grows exponentially the longer we procrastinate, and that is why the anticipation creates those “butterflies-in-the-stomach” that flutter about like so many somatic consequences of the subconscious angst we create.

The greater monsters within roam about in the neurological fissures that connect the physical brain to the consciousness of life, and when they are allowed to exit from the jailhouses we have compelled them to remain constrained within, it is the damage done from roaming unrestrained, when they trample upon the safe zones we have created, meandering into secluded corners where previously we have carefully posted signs of “no entrance beyond this point”, but have let our guard down, allowed the nailed-down posts to deteriorate, and misplaced the orange cones to be shoved aside in our careless lack of disciplined living.

How do we stop such miscreants from wandering through the sensitive crevices of our own consciousness, and to restrict their access from creating havoc and tumult which we least can afford because of the vulnerabilities and fissures created by the objective world’s intrusion firstly, and secondly and all subsequent times, the exponential expansion of the greater monsters within.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the procrastination resulting from the greater monsters within becomes a vicious circle of eternal damnation:  The medical conditions are worsening, exacerbating the internal struggles and the external responsibilities compelled by the job itself, the requirements of the position and the Federal Agency’s and Postal Service’s expectations; concurrently, the greater monsters within create a turmoil that influences, impacts and worsens the medical conditions themselves, such that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of self-immolation.

It is the greater monsters within which must be challenged, slaughtered and vanquished, and that can begin by taking the first and subsequent steps in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and thereby successfully activating the proverbial ending of killing two birds with a single stone, and also overcoming the greater monsters within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire