OPM Disability Retirement: Explanation & Justification

At what point does an explanation begin to sound like a justification?  Is it when it becomes apparent that there is a personal stake involved?  Does the objectivity of an explanation lose its own justification when it becomes clear that the intended explanation crosses over into an attempt to justify the personal actions or beliefs of an individual?  Can an objective explanation justify a person’s actions without appearing as a justification; and do all justifications involve a personal stake, such that it goes beyond mere explanatory exposition?

Are all justifications “merely” an explanation with a personal stake, and are all explanations ultimately a justification for someone, somewhere, about something?  Why is it that an apparent explanation that turns into an obvious justification suddenly loses its credibility and sense of objectivity?  Is credibility itself gained if a third party provides the justification for someone else, such that there is no “personal stake” involved, and does such a third party’s explanation just as quickly lose his or her credibility if there is a “personal” relationship connected with the person for whom the explanation & justification is being made?

There is certainly a fine line between an explanation and a justification, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option to choose from — and, when completing the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it is well to keep in mind the distinction between “explanation” and “justification”.

Always keep in mind the words of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Explanation on SF 3112A is good; explanation that begins to bleed of justification may raise some red flags.  To mitigate the distinction between the two, the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to lend credence to an objective approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: OPM’s Methodology

There may be a single criteria to meet, with subsets of requirements that must be complied with; yet, multiple methodologies in approaching the singular.  How can that be?  Isn’t it all simple, where you read what is required, then gather up all of the evidence that appears to meet it and simply send it all in?  That is the “volume methodology”.

Can a single sentence in a medical report ever meet the legal criteria in an OPM Disability Retirement case — i.e., a “qualitative” methodology, as opposed to a quantitative one?  Sometimes.

Isn’t the law clear in what is required, and isn’t it a matter of just amassing the medical evidence to meet the requirements as stated?  Hmmm…. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand, somewhat, OPM’s Methodology in reviewing and deciding upon a case.

First of all, not all medical conditions are equal.  Perhaps that is self-evident, but for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from one or another medical condition, and must endure the daily pain, restriction and limitations imposed thereby, it may not be so self-evident.

Second, OPM is not some “neutral” Federal Agency that reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application with dispassionate objectivity, ready to grant an “approval” because you “believe” your medical evidence is “sufficient” to meet the legal requirements as stated.  Sufficiency is the gatekeeper that denies many a Federal Disability Retirement case — and it is not a methodology that is satisfied by quantitative (volume) means, not even necessarily by qualitative standards; rather, it is the reviewer (i.e., the “Medical Specialist” at OPM) who determines by some unknown and unknowable standard when the goal-post has been crossed.

Thus, in an OPM Disability Denial Letter, one may read a reference to one’s doctor’s note or a quotation from a medical report from one’s doctor, and think, “Good, this is very supportive” —then, with an appended end to the paragraph stating, “Such medical evidence does not sufficiently meet the standards to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement”.  Huh?

Think about it this way: “Sufficiency” may mean different things to different audiences; for example, what is a “sufficient” amount of food for a lion, as opposed to a domesticated kitten?

OPM’s methodology is, at best, malleable, as language in law is likewise changeable.  It is good to know this for Federal and Postal employees who are either getting ready to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or who are in the middle of a fight to obtain it; for, in the end, consulting with an OPM Disability Retirement lawyer allows you to arm yourself with knowledge for the battle that OPM’s Methodology in determining Federal Disability Retirement cases must be prepared, like any legal battle that involves “criteria” to be interpreted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Ordered lives

There is, first of all, chaos and disarray; and whether from a biblical worldview or the natural paradigm of a universe formed from a massive energy source that exploded with such force as to hurl a spinning residue of astronomical proportions into far galaxies that resulted in the starry heavens we witness today; it is from the opposite of a placid tranquility that we experience the ordered lives of everyday existence.

There are, of course, the extremes of the spectrum – of that person who is obsessive and compulsive about the “ordering” of one’s life, where every teacup and saucer must be placed in the cupboard within precise millimeters of one another, and no angle of a picture on a wall must be allowed to circumvent the geometric consistency with the right angles of the corners; or, by contrast, the slob who believes that pants, plants, underwear and empty pizza boxes belong in the same corner of the bedroom as expensive china and puppies who snuggle in bathroom showers.

Somewhere in between the two extremes upon the spectrum of life, exists the ordinary person of ordinary means, who wakes up each ordinary morning to go about in ordinary ways; all within the constraints of ordered lives.  All, or most of us, like, enjoy and look forward to some semblance of order in our lives.

Chaos is good for an exciting moment; monotony of discourse for the rest of the day requires that sanity mandates a certain sequence of events, and that is why dystopian stories of a universe in disarray after a nuclear war or some other disastrous consequence of political missteps left in the hands of incompetent world leaders allows for small-budget films to be successful in scaring the hell out of us all.

Divorce, death, illness and tragedies disrupt the otherwise sought-after ordering of lives left peaceful; medical conditions tend to do that, don’t they?  They interrupt the tranquility that we so seek with quiet resolve; and then the medical condition becomes a chronic state of existence, and more than just a nuisance, they interrupt our plans, our hopes, and the essence of our ordered lives.

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 the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the interruption that ensues from the disruption of a medical condition, resulting in the breaking up of one’s ordered life, often comes to a point where consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is an employment benefit that is “there” for Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  And, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may come at a time when the previous state of ordered lives is sought after again, if only to reach a destination where chaos is no longer the new norm of everyday existence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The cog in the process

Does perspective have an influence upon one’s approach in engaging an endeavor of any sort?  For instance, does it matter whether or not the cynic and the one who sees the world consistently as “half-empty” or unwittingly cruel, nevertheless succeeds at every turn and venture?  Or, conversely, of the person who always has a “positive attitude” and sees good in every corner, but nevertheless fails at every attempted feat; did “perspective” and viewpoint make a difference?

Perhaps life requires a balance between the two, and such extremes on a spectrum of outlook is never a healthy thing.

In the end, does it matter whether or not we see ourselves as an insignificant cog in a wider process of unending turmoil, or as an Oprah-like shining star where we persuade ourselves that we matter as a mere cog precisely because the loss of a singular and unique “you” would have a devastating impact upon the well-ordered universe where the gods watch upon each hair of our scalps and wait to quiver with laughter when we express our hopes for relevance?

We often “feel” like a cog in the process – even if, on a more objective and brighter viewpoint, such an analogy and imagery represent an inaccurate put-down of major proportions.

That is the problem with bureaucracies – seen from the “other” side, our involvement in an administrative procedure invites us to ascertain that which we always suspected:  Stand in line; be assigned a number; be asked for standard information and data; a stamp is pounded upon a piece of paper and … “Next!”  What constitutes the accurate portrayal of our point of being caught within a world devoid of normative constructs, anymore?

This generation of youthful cadavers have it the worst, of course, as there is no longer a belief to die for, a value to live by, nor an encounter that can pass for pure friendship without an underlying suspicion that more is intended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into the social club of the “cog” is just beginning.  OPM is a vast juggernaut of an administrative process, and the miniscule feeling one will be exposed to, presented with and suddenly thrown to the bottom of a pitiless cauldron will become evident from the very beginning.

That “feeling”, however, should never be confused with the relevance, importance and significance of preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application properly and to a perfection made to order, at least as much as humanly possible.

For, in the end, to be a cog in the process does not mean that one should become processed as a mere cog; rather, that the line which extends around the block and down into the next needs to be acknowledged, yet prepared sufficiently such that when that call for “Next!” comes your way, all of the papers, relevant data and significance of evidence are in undiluted order, such that the cog in the process will flow smoothly when next your turn is up before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS and CSRS: Doubt

Is certainty its antonym – or is it too rigid and lacking of linguistic elasticity to merit such a position?  For, doubt allows for an openness to both sides, doesn’t it – whether God exists or not; whether, in the end of life’s spectrum, judgment will deem our microscopic deeds worthy or not; and of illnesses, an erupting disability, or one which cravenly lingers beyond mere chronicity of irritation, but continues to periodically debilitate, and progressively annihilate the soul of patience for furtherance to hope.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must begin to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – where does doubt end, and certainty begin?

To begin with:  Doubt as to whether one’s medical conditions are severe enough to warrant consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and certainty as to the strength of one’s own case.  Doubt as to whether the medical evidence gathered is sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence test, and certainty as to the relevance and strength of a meritorious compilation of demonstrable material.

Doubt as to whether the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will provide a fair evaluation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and certainty as to the case being a “slam-dunk” venue for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Doubt as to whether one’s Human Resource Office will protect the privacy of the medical evidence submitted (if the Federal or Postal employee has not been separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days), and certainty that any violation of privacy will likely occur, but considering the options available, proceeding anyway.

How healthy is doubt?  How unhealthy is certainty?  Is doubt more akin to uncertainty than being the opposite of certainty, and if so, why would the negation of the root word transform it into a synonym?  Is it a grammatical rule that the test of an antonym is to negate its root, and if it becomes a synonym, then by logical extension, the root was its antonym?  Is that the same with feelings as opposed to beliefs; or of rationality in contradistinction to the Aristotelian appetitive parts of the soul?

In the end, the Federal or Postal employee must contend both with doubts and unrealistic expectations of certainty; for, when dealing with an administrative Juggernaut such as the likes of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in filing a CSRS or FERS Disability Retirement application, a healthy dose of doubt, combined with an aggressive approach bordering on certainty, is the best mix of medicines one can take or – to put it more quaintly:  go it alone with doubt, take an aspirin, or consult with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that you can at least arrive at some semblance of doubtful certainty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Soul’s need for silence

If the world was merely one constant clatter, would we be able to stand the din of life?  Just as existence needs nothingness in order to have the separation of meaningful discourse, and as sentences need grammatical pauses (except in the cases of Faulkner and Joyce, perhaps), so the soul requires silence in the face of difficulties uninterrupted.

Medical conditions create havoc in lives; at first, perhaps just an annoyance or a nuisance, and the natural inclination is to rely upon the past that we know, and how – in remembrance of youthful vigor and quick rebounding and recuperation by mere strength and steely reserve – we were always able to ignore the pain, get past the turmoil and move beyond the anxious feelings of panic and depressive symptoms.  “It will pass,” we tell ourselves.  But then the long-view sets in; it is not merely a passing season, nor even a brief interlude of a cold north wind.

Instead, like the clinging vine that keeps coming back despite digging and chopping at the base of its roots, the chronic nature of the medical condition tells us that, as the unwelcomed uncle or aunt who has no other home and stays with you “just for a little while”, you cannot get beyond the season of pain and the intercession of turmoil.  It becomes a constancy, a persistence, a monotony of unsettled disquietude.  It is as if the soul’s search for silence finds only a din of unending noises as you search behind door after door for a room where relief and quietude may long for a bit of peace.

Souls need silence; silence allows for the interruption from din and darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from the dual attacks brought on by a medical condition – of increasing workplace harassment as well as the loss of the soul’s quietude and peace – there comes a time when preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes as necessary from a medical standpoint, as it is for the soul’s inner health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end – a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to produce at the level of acceptability, and a tolerance for allowing that same Federal or Postal employee to “move on” so that a basic retirement annuity can be obtained, and yet remain productive for the future in the private sector, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee may make up to 80% of what one’s former job currently pays, on top of the amount of Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

It is also the allowance and recognition of another important factor – that the soul’s need for silence is a necessary component in the midst of din and darkness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The anomaly of insularity

Society’s steady progression towards greater insularity has been accepted as a mere inevitability that must be tolerated, resigned to, and ultimately embraced with little resistance and no objectionable diatribes, except by those madmen and social commentators who defy and decry and parade and parody of innovation as the essence of civilization’s manifest destiny, replacing the previous paradigm that engaged in the systematic genocide of the civilizations encompassing the plenitude of American Indians in a past century or so – but let us not digress and focus too much upon such a path (i.e., a small hint:  read the tragic but necessary work recently released, by Peter Cozzens entitled, The Earth is Weeping, if you want to understand the true heritage of our past “westward progress”).

Insularity goes against every grain of Darwinian truths:  Look around you (if you are not already distracted by your own Smartphone, laptop or other electronic device); who among you and surrounding you are looking at a screen of one sort or another?  Are heads pasted between eyes glazed and a few inches or feet beyond, to a fluorescent screen of inestimable attraction?

Concurrently, what is occurring in that “real world” that we so decry – of a reality that includes “others” in true flesh; of nature’s blossoming or closing, depending upon the season we are in; of planetary alignments and weather changes; and, in the end, of actual people reaching out in a world where virtual reality has replaced humanity’s quest for love.

Man has always had a differentiating and unique feature – of the Shakespearean aside in uttering a poetic soliloquy; of reflecting upon inner thoughts and seeing no further beyond than the mind’s eye as one wanders through an impervious universe; of reminiscing about a past already lost, calculating for a future which may never arrive, and foregoing present pleasures for delayed contentment.  But modernity has changed all of that.

The past is no longer relevant as old men and wisdom of what once occurred as generational transfer of lessons learned are shuttled into nursing homes where dementia prevails upon wasting souls; where future predictions of dystopian fantasies dominate through electronic entertainment and virtual realities that have replaced that singular tree that grows in Brooklyn; and how the world of the Internet, Skype, Instagram and Facebook constitute the entirety of one’s insular world.

Yet, insularity has its consequences.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contemplating 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, the reality of the medical condition still maintains that anomaly of insularity, in that the world of pain, anguish or anxiety-stricken psychiatric conditions reflect back upon the individual suffering, and the “outer” world cares not a twit about the individual circumstances.

But reach out, one must – for, in order to escape that anomaly of insularity, the Federal or Postal employee must step outside of him or herself, and begin to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and that is precisely the “key” to breaking that vicious circularity that encompasses and engulfs one in the very anomaly of insularity, within a conundrum of an uncaring universe, amidst a sea of unsympathetic drones within the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire