OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The tangible

What are the criteria by which one lives?  Is there a singular, dominant principle, as in “A Criterion” or “The Criterion”, or multiple ones; or perhaps an overarching archetype with subsets of mini-components that are all in their aggregate subsumed by a greater Platonic Form, somewhat like “Goodness” that predominates, with subtexts of lesser categories?  Or, do we just blunder through life without them and arbitrarily bump into decisions, pathways that take us hither and yonder, and never quite escape the confusions of our own making?

Some people consider themselves to be “idealistic”, and look always for the good in others; still some, pure cynics such that they suspect the worst in everyone; and most, an admixture of the two extremes in a spectrum of choices.  There are, in philosophy, the “logical positivists” who declare that nothing makes sense unless validity of a statement can be established, and such a criterion normally involves the tangible.  That which we can see, feel, hear or establish by logical methodology comprises the entirety of one’s existential reality, and there is some truth to such an approach.

It is said that in youth, much idealism begins; in middle age, some waning of hope must by necessity be accepted; and by old age, a seeping cynicism inevitably prevails.  The tangible is that which we can embrace, feel, rest our hopes upon; otherwise, the cold icicles of other people’s indifference will ultimately become the obsession of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to result in tangible manifestations — i.e., use of LWOP has become noticeably frequent; performance ratings are anticipated to be questionable; supervisors and coworkers have begun asking questions; but most importantly, you yourself have begun to notice a deterioration in your ability and capacity to maintain the level and pace of working at the Agency or Postal facility — the “criterion” to be applied is quite straightforward: Are you still able to perform all of the essential elements of your positional requirements?

If not, then it is 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 you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  The criteria by which we live are often complicated; it is the tangible which brings everything back down to earth from the lofty heights of idealism, youth and folly.

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 Employee Disability Retirements: The Cynic’s Tavern

It occupies a dilapidated building on the edge of town.  The sign that once overhung the entrance is faded and barely noticeable; but, then, the patrons who enjoy the end-of-workday glass or the occasional wanderer who mistakes the place for the origins of exotic mixtures need not a neon of invitation, but merely a marker that beckons.  Laughter is allowed; speaking is optional; rude behavior is not tolerated.  Silence is golden.  People go to the place of drink and merriment because it lacks the pretentiousness of the world outside; and the large man with a stubble of a week’s shade serves with nary a word, and respects the look of fatigue and demeanor of defeat foreshadowing the heavy sigh accompanying the hunched shoulders of the breathless customer.

The Cynic’s Tavern is the place where old men gather, young men and women cluster, and those somewhere in between loiter.  The younger ones have not yet been tainted by life’s travails, and hopeful dreams still clutter the naïve souls of untouched innocence; the one’s who have moved through some years of agony, still retain a glint of smiling faith; but it is the elders of the universe who sit at the bar and despair of lives wasted, wars endured and years forgotten but for the joys of friendship and solitude.

Cynicism is like a virus infecting a town’s essence; it destroys by incremental advances of insidious fatefulness, and never returns the gift of life once gained but lost forever.  If it has not yet prevailed, then wait a few years; life itself guarantees it, as fairytales of beauty, essences of love and mythological lands embracing inclusion and empathy, exist only in the minds of children, the duped or the meandering demented of society’s wasteland.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to fight against joining the Cynic’s Tavern, the issue is often one of withstanding and withholding for so long, until succumbing is merely a matter of time.  If the daily harassment, deteriorating health and constant detours down the alley of worsening conditions has led to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, then it is time to take the next step and formulate the proper and most efficient strategy in order to increase the chances of an approval before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is one thing to enter through the doors of the Cynic’s Tavern for an occasional drink; it is quite another to find one’s seat there warmed by the constant occupation of one’s unmoved derriere.  The best antidote to prevent or curtail cynicism is to keep moving; otherwise, the stale drink and smoke-filled room will ultimately become a part of one’s vacant stare into a future less hopeful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government: The whiles of life

While I wait; while I watch; while I listen; while I suffer; these, and many more, are the wiles of life (note the sudden extraction of the “h” in the subtle – or not – alteration by omission).  But such a linguistic subterfuge is appropriate, as it connotes a manipulative intention in the very wasting away of life’s gifts.  For, indeed, we spend much of our days steeped in inactivity, waiting patiently while life passes by.

While I wait in line; while I watch an advertisement; while the kids play; while the dog sniffs; the wiles of waiting, allowing for thoughts to wander afar into daydream’s decaying of time, purpose, value and worth in a traversing universe that no longer believes in anything but the self-satisfaction of bygone faith.  Does an impervious existence that traps us within a cocoon of timeless nothingness allow room for a Being of teleological foundation?

Can a person withstand substance each minute, without the interruptions and interludes of thoughtless void, where activity of accomplishment is momentarily suspended and purposeless repetition of mundane impotence fails to make forward progress, as the bane of life lures, deceives, entices – again, the very wiles of living?

Heidegger, of course, based the foundation of his philosophy upon the whiles of life – for, all projects of human activity was an avoidance with the fullness of encounter with Being – of engaging in meaningless discourses in order to avert our thoughts upon the ultimate meaning of life; that of death.  For, as fruition and maturation inevitably results in the consequence of decay and destruction, so the linguistic justifications we empower – that such-and-such is delayed “while” this-and-that occurs, or those what-nots have to be in place “while” the doo-dads first come upon us, and other such inane events of uneventful percolates.

The world has now, however, been turned upside down.  The whiles of life have become the centrality of purpose, and perhaps it is the wiles of life that have caused this inverse principle of peripheral insignificance and irrelevance.  It was once thought that one took out one’s Smart phone “while” we waited upon the activity of substantive discourse; now, it is precisely that which occupies most of our time, and the “rest of it” all has become of irrelevant disproportionality, and just an irritation to the essence of who we have become.

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 positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is important to circumvent both the wiles of the agency, and understand the whiles of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

The wiles of the agency should always make the Federal or Postal employee suspicious – and as a Federal or Postal employee, you have had to contend with it throughout your career.

Now, however, it is time to switch and pivot (as the current, oft-used phrase is repetitively heard), and consider what will be done while you prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, while you wait for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and while you continue to attend to your medical conditions while still with the agency, or while you are being proposed for a removal.

The whiles of life are many; the key is to circumvent the wiles while real time makes life barely bearable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The monster within

There are gargoyles we imagine, which are scarier than those in real life – unless we mean by them the ones who plan to do us harm (and not just murderers, rapists and other violators of the social contract scheme).  For the latter, we have laws, self-defensive mechanisms, and the ultimate justification for flight, and sometimes they work, at others, partially or not at all.  We can spend a lifetime fretting over the monsters without; it is those within – the former that haunts and never leaves the home of the mind – that destroy without a finger lifted.  For, in the end, it is fear that defeats, and that is well known by students of military strategy.

What weakness the adversary has, should be exploited tenfold as a vulnerability beyond the actual numbers; and what suspicion of doubt is kept in reserve, should be accessed and manipulated in order to magnify the exponential harm perpetrated by a cautious mind.  What looms large in one’s mind is quantitatively expanded despite arguments of logic, rationality and calm discourse; for, it is the imagination left untethered when the quiet of darkness falls upon a sleepless night, that the qualitative lack of focus begins to take shape in shadows unseen by a dawning light.

What can be more fearsome than that which we cannot control?  In reality, the circumstances that develop and unfold are mostly those that we have allowed for; in the creative recesses of our mental reserves, the expansive and uncontrolled destinies can never be curtailed, but have the limitless potential beyond any reality of sanity.  That is why the master torturer knows never to rush, and the interrogator recognizes the value of anticipation; of allowing the quiet fears to grow in the solitude of thought; and in the period between reality and imagination, the monster within can grow tenfold in untold features of taking on masks of fearful expressions and profiles of unfathomable terror.

How does one break that spell?  The shattering of an imagined fear is often tied to a fragile psyche that cannot be separated, and like conjoined twins who share a vital organ, should not be bifurcated but with surgical precision.  Fear is an interminable intrusion, unless and until the causative forces are intersected by an antidote which dissolves and dissipates.  The key is to find the antidote; and in the meantime, to hope that the elements of reality are not so traumatic as to overshadow the forces of psychic quietude.

For Federal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and Postal workers who similarly experience the pain of physical disabilities or psychiatric dysfunctions, the issue of when, how, and if one should file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is intimately conjoined with the growing monster within, while battling the dual forces of antagonism and contentiousness from without.  For, it is often the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which exacerbates the problems associated with a medical condition, which then further complicates and magnifies the monsters stirring within.

To resolve such a problem, the answer lies in the very preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; for, in the end, the monster within becomes resolved only when the gargoyles outside are dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition, that resolution is defined by obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, in order to be able to take the next steps to secure a hopeful future, beginning with the act of separating from that environment of the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service which helps to create the monsters in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Casuistry and Sophistry

It is often used to described “applied” ethics — that branch of moral questioning which evaluates and analyzes an actual case, as opposed to a theoretical artifice constructed for purely pedagogic purposes, devoid of flesh and substantive import.  No longer constrained by the ivory tower of hypothetical unversality, and thus vacuous of feeling, real empathy and true relationships, casuistry naturally devolves into sophistry, where self-interested motives become ensconced.

Devolution denotes a denigration of sorts; such a statement is not deliberate in its alliterative force, but an antidotal utterance in contrast to the Dawinian consort of progressive genetic advancement; and it is precisely because self-interest betrays itself in such instances, by attempting to justify the very basis of its validity in a flawed methodological argumentation.

Sophistry, of course, connotes bad logic; moreover, it often implies a deliberate self-knowledge of utilization of such flawed rationale, despite “knowing better”, precisely because the debater wants to conceal the self-interested motive by engaging in a cover-up by effusive elongations of elaborate textiles of tactless show-boating housed in linguistic gymnastics of confounding conundrums.

Russell was good at this; Wittgenstein, better; and Heidegger the ever superior in concealment of his underlying Third Reich connections.  It is, indeed, difficult to demarcate the two; for it is casuistry which necessarily devolves into sophistry, and sophistry forming the foundational basis of casuistry; but as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, one can only guess at.

When self-interested motivations are involved, where justification of actions cannot be bifurcated from the involvement of the personal pronoun, the devolution of antagonism by self-preservation into anarchy for protective reasons will naturally follow.  Can an individual separate the underlying insinuation of self-interestedness from a discussion involving one’s self, if the outcome will impact the life, livelihood and living circumstances involved?  Perhaps.  But unlikely, and rare in its substantive occurrence.  For, the very conceptual constructs involved are oxymoronic at best, and blatantly self-contradictory, at worst.

To maintain integrity where self-interested motivations follow, and then to engage in valid logical argumentation devoid of a devolved sense of self, is a high price to pay, and a higher standard to bear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must prepare, formulate and file 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, this conundrum is indeed the flashpoint of being able to prepare such an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, it is precisely the “self” which must be discussed, the “I” which by necessity be inserted, into the discussion of attempting to justify the nexus between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

In doing so, an expansive delineation must be posited on SF 3112A, where by a preponderance of the evidence, the Federal or Postal employee must prove the formulated connection between the medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the job.  In doing so, take care to guard against a casuistic argument devolving into a sophistry of incalculable innuendo of self-interested flaws.  It is the hubris of man, as Shakespeare always reveals throughout his tragedies.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire