Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Law: The Arbitrary Discount

When it is to one’s favor, of course, the arbitrary discount is a welcome benefit.  Every now and again, it happens — more often in an independent store, where the owner will say, “Well, you’ve been a great customer; I am going to give you a 10% discount just because…”.  Just because what?  No reason — just because it is Saturday; just because you are pleasant; just because I wanted to, etc.

That is the nature of an arbitrary discount.  However, what about an arbitrary discount when it is not in your favor?

In a Federal Disability Retirement case, the OPM “Medical Specialist” may deny a Federal Disability Retirement application with the following reasoning: “Your treating doctor is not a specialist in treating X.  The restrictions placed on you are therefore invalid and you have not shown that you are disabled.”  WHAT?  And yet — it is just another arbitrary discount — the discounting of your treating doctor as a valid person to make reasonable medical decisions; it just so happens that such an arbitrary discount is not in your favor.

Even though, of course, the law supports you in every way and even though OPM’s opinion should be discounted entirely.  But hey — OPM is the independent owner of the “store”, and they can do what they want, right?

Contact an OPM Disability Retirement Attorney who can and will fight against such arbitrary discounts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Stoic Impassivity

Times are changing.  This is not a new phenomena — for, times always change.  Is it for the better?  Are we advancing linearly, or is history merely repeating itself?

The age of stoicism — that influence by Epictetus of recognizing Fate, Destiny, the things we have influence over and those things we do not — is replaced with this modern age of seeking happiness by controlling our feelings.  The “rational” part of our soul is no longer paramount; it is the “appetitive” side of our nature (borrowing from Plato and Aristotle’s distinctions) which we now allow to control the various aspects of our lives.

“Stoic impassivity” was once the norm — of the British “stiff upper lip” or the American “rugged individualism”, which are replaced with the “touchy-feely” normative imposition of society’s standards where rerouting one’s feelings may lead to greater happiness.  Likely, the pendulum swing from one extreme to the other will settle somewhere in the middle, where both the rational side of a human being and the emotional aspect are both recognized as equally part of Man’s nature.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have worked through their medical conditions — stoic impassivity may actually work against you in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

If you have “hidden” your medical conditions and continue to have great performance reviews, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will likely question the validity of your Federal Disability Retirement application by saying, “Well, your Agency says you’re doing such a fine job — where is the evidence that shows that you cannot do your job anymore?”

To counter this, contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law and map out a course of action which will be effective in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application which overcomes that stoic impassivity you have endured with your ongoing medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

FERS Disability Retirement under OPM: The Difficult and Complex Case

Not every difficult case is complex; and, vice versa, not every complex case is difficult.

The “difficulty” of a case may be inherent or external — of problems within the body of the case, or some external elements which impacts upon the case.  Complexities can be qualitative or quantitative — arising from some element of a case which makes it more than the “run-of-the-mill” issue, or influenced by a multitude and variety of issues to be resolved.

Almost all cases have some inherent difficulties, and the complexity of a case can often be simplified by systematically resolving some of the inherent difficulties presented.  Often, a “complex” case is merely a matter of perspective — where the client believes in complications which in reality have no impact upon the case.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and which triggers the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, an initial consultation with an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law will often ferret out the complexities, define the difficulties, and simplify the issues to be resolved.

Every case has difficulties and complexities, but you should make sure that they are “real” ones, and not merely born out of not knowing the issues which are relevant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Callous Indifference

Can callousness be limited to indifference?  Or can it be active, affirmative, and intended?  Is there a qualitative difference between cruelty which is intended and that which disregard represents?

We often think of callousness as a passive activity — as in a person who walks past tragedy without giving a pause, a second thought or consideration.  But does it matter if a person instead stops, expresses empathy, speaks a lot of flowery words — then walks away still doing nothing?  Does the expression of “right and appropriate” words make a difference?  Or of the person who intentionally harms as opposed to refusing to intervene when cruelty is exposed — is there a qualitative difference between the two?

Agencies, entities, large corporations, bureaucracies, etc. — they are often charged with “callous indifference”, whether because they mechanically follow the dictates of an inflexible company policy, or because individuals within the company have become so attuned to a corporate attitude of indifference that they have simply lost their humanity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of the job, callous indifference is often the attitude encountered by the Federal agency or the Postal facility.  It is sadly a fact of life.  And if you decide it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, you will likely find a similar attitude of callous indifference from your Human Resource Office — yes, that very department which is supposedly set up to be of assistance in the process.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin to separate yourself from the callous indifference of the world around, and initiate the process to take care of yourself in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: That promising future

One doesn’t have to have been that “golden boy” to have an inkling of a promising future; there just needed to be some hope, and a taste of success.  Perhaps you came from a background where expectations were low; where higher education was a mere afterthought and nothing beyond an exclamation of gibberish and fantasy.

Was success defined by negation?  That if you didn’t do X, avoided Y and prevented Z, you were considered an anomaly and deemed as one of those who “made it”?

Yet, you exceeded; perhaps night school; whatever the cost, of however the pathway, that promising future that was never guaranteed, rarely spoken of and deliberately left silent but in the fertile imagination of a seeming dream; and the expectation of negation was met and exceeded, precisely because the goal post was never set within sight of grasping, but a mere filament that failed to light any hope of a promising future.

Yet, reality has a tendency to quash the daydreams of even butterflies, and a medical condition can alter forever the course of time and tenacity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once thought that a career under FERS meant a promising future for the duration of one’s life, and who never expected to be saddled with a medical condition that created a circumstance of negation, consider filing for FERS Disability Retirement.  Medical conditions tend to become that negation of hope, when in fact it may merely be an alteration of course.  Perhaps that promising future was too narrow a vision.  Maybe a change of mindset is all that is required.

Federal Disability Retirement is merely a recognition that there is an incompatibility between the medical condition suffered and the type of job one is in.  It does not mean that you cannot work; in fact, you are allowed to make up to 80% of what your former Federal position (“former” because, upon winning an approval of a FERS Disability Retirement claim from OPM, you are then separated from Federal Service) currently pays, and still continue to receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Just remember that the “promising career” was never defined by naysayers or those who lacked belief; it was always defined by your own drive, and for Federal and Postal employees whose once-promising career became curtailed by a medical condition, the “promising” part of conjunction can still be in the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The arbitrary life

Some would counter that it is a mere tautology; for, life itself is arbitrary, and the very definition of arbitrariness consumes the conceptual construct of living.  Thus does the subject subsume the predicate, and vice versa; or, in this case, the adjective and the noun.  But of course it all depends upon how we define both the adjective and the noun.

Do we mean by “arbitrary” that things just happen without a cause, and that there is no “Grand Designer” that intervenes as in the old Greek plays where the expectation of a deus ex machina would always appear to make everything “right”; or merely that we didn’t know, were unaware, and simply the alteration of life’s sequence of anticipated events appeared suddenly and unexpectedly?  And of “life”, do we mean in general, or a specific incident, carved out with special significance, from all of the other sequential and incremental compendium of events that aggregate the entirety of one’s consciousness of that which constitutes the “history” of a living being?

Those who believe in an omnipotent being, of course, cannot concurrently hold that life itself is an arbitrary phenomena, unless by that one means merely that one cannot have the same omniscient perspective as the Grand Designer of Fate.  If arbitrariness is meant to encompass randomness, and that the universe is a mere series of unanticipated events, then the question becomes:  Is it the lack of anticipation, or the randomness of events that constitutes the bulk of arbitrariness?

For, the human capacity to anticipate events unfolding is fairly unlimited.  Yes, it takes time, study, research, effort of cognitive insight, etc., in order to engage a process of anticipatory predictability, but that is a price one has to pay in order to subvert the anxiety of the unexpected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an arbitrary trauma of life — another way of describing an unexpected medical condition (for, who in his right mind “expects” a medical condition, unless one is a statistician or a pessimist of the highest order?) — it may be time to consider 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.

Yes, this too will possess some components of the arbitrary life — as in whether the Federal or Postal employee’s Federal Disability Retirement application will be approved or not; but such arbitrariness can be somewhat controlled by seeking and following the advice of an attorney who specializes in such matters.

For, in the end, part of the solution in tackling the arbitrary life is to anticipate the random events that are unexpected, by controlling those peripheral and tangential issues that increase the odds of predictability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tantum ergo

It is the incipit of the last two verses of a Medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas is best known for his inclusive osmosis by fiat of stretched logic to accommodate and force commensurability the texts of the ancients (i.e., Aristotle) within the essential boundaries of Christian theology.  His methodology in accomplishing this feat was to posit the weakest of straw man arguments, then to systematically appear to knock them down, and then to declare a forceful conclusion as if the ergo naturally and rationally followed.  That the conclusion is followed by verses subsequent, reflects how life works as well.

Sometimes, we mistake the “Hence” or the “Therefore,” and believe (wrongly) that nothing should follow.  But such conjunctive adverbs are often confused as if they denote answers to mathematical calculations.  Life rarely works in that manner, and it is entirely right that the tantum ergo should follow with additional discourses upon the beatific vision of the hymnal’s content.  Indeed, that is how we often and mistakenly live our lives – to accept with resignation that the declarative utterance, “Therefore, so great,” results in a quietude and silence of subsequent ceremony.  We wait upon it, and when it comes, we submit and concede.  Or, as in cases more common, it never comes, and thus do we surrender.

That is how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on the verge of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, approach the impending suspicion of doom or failure; the Tantum ergo is declared by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker accepts it as gospel truth, when in fact one should always recognize a countervailing principle of life:  a lie is a lie, is an untruth, is a lie, is a mis-statement of the law, is still a lie.

This author will not go so far as to say that Human Resource offices throughout the Federal Agencies systematically engage in disseminating falsehoods; perhaps, many merely relate the misinterpretations gained through osmosis of gossip; but, in any event, whether from a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the groundless surrender based upon a seemingly unassailable declaration that, “Therefore, so great” – whether referring to itself; whether in misstating the legal consequences of failed accommodations and the impact upon filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; of failing to inform the Federal or Postal employee of the rights of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal and Postal employee should always be cautious of taking as face value a declaration by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service that single utterance of self worth:  “Therefore, so great.”

Especially when it is referring to itself; always, when ascribing motives unstated; and forever, when trying to undermine the Federal or Postal employee.  And as to the multiple verses which follow upon the Tantum ergo?  Mistake not:  there is always life after Federal Disability Retirement; and let not one be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire