Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Preparations

Would you hold a dinner party without preparing?  Or attend an important meeting, host a regal gathering of accomplished celebrities or go camping in the wilds of winter’s ferocity — without making adequate preparations?

The elaborate extent of such preparations is often correlated with the importance, significance, relevance and complexity of the issue at hand, the engagement to be embraced or the event to be held.  Preparations are a vital component to the successful engagement of whatever one undertakes, and lack of it often guarantees a result of negative returns.

How does one prepare for the preparation, formulation and filing of 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?  Does one go out and ask the Human Resource Department of one’s agency, and thereby put to the winds which carry gossip about the Agency and allow the gods of the underworld to disseminate the implication that “X is filing for disability retirement”?  Do you dare test the oft-told adage in the Federal Government that “confidentiality begins with the Human Resource Office of one’s agency — and likewise, ends there”?

Or, perhaps “preparation” is merely of the ad hoc sort — of downloading the various forms (SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, at a minimum) and beginning to fill them out, and somehow sifting through the multiple instructions and packaging a Federal Disability Retirement application?

Preparation for the initiation of any worthwhile endeavor should, at a minimum, involve seeking some advice from an “expert”, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with and decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be a minimal step in such an important and consequential process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Proof

What constitutes it, and how do we learn of its sufficiency or relevance?

Take the following scenario: A group of boys are gathered together along with Billy, the “town bully”.  A discussion of sorts ensues — who is the toughest kid in town?  Some of the boys offer that “Dave” from across town is the meanest and toughest — a black belt in Hapkido, a state wrestling champion and a middle line backer for the high school football team.  Some others counter that Dave was once beaten up by Joe back in February, and doesn’t that “prove” that Joe is the toughest?

Then Billy suddenly stands up and everyone else becomes quiet.  He starts slowly and deliberatively pounding his right fist into the open palm of his left hand, and juts his prominent chin out in an intimidating manner, and says, “Okay!  Enough of this talk!  How ‘bout me?  Which of you weaklings says that I’m not the toughest guy in town?”

There are multiple sounds of gulps and fearful drops of sweat begin to trickle down the backs of each, and one of the other kids — a skinny little weasel with thick, black-rimmed glasses, suddenly shouts, “That’s proof enough for me!”  Following was a loud and unequivocal consensus of unanimous agreement.

In such a scenario, two things occurred: One — Billy “proved” that he was the toughest kid in town, and Two — all of the other kids took the lesson to heart that the proof of a physical presence and the threat presented was “sufficient” proof, as well as relevant as all get-go.

Thus are all of the components necessary to establishing verification of a propositional truth established: the town bully’s declarative utterance, backed by the force of a metaphorical persuasion (for one would argue that no overt coerciveness was used, but merely an innocent act of pounding one’s fist into the open palm of one’s other hand, and if asked whether Billy “threatened” anyone into declaring him as the toughest kid in town, he would and could innocently declare that there is “no proof” of any such accusation established or verified), and further reinforced by the scientific consensus of his peers and fellow students.

Proof was offered, considered, and accepted in full by a persuasive methodology of a succinct and effective form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the systematic and methodological “proof” which must be gathered and presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in establishing the Federal or Postal employee’s eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits must, of course, be somewhat more sophisticated than the rudimentary — but effective — amassing of proof portrayed by Billy the Town Bully.

Of course, some of the characteristics may still be relevant — of what constitutes “effective” proof; of what works as “persuasive” proof; of what is comprised of proof itself.  But the difference is that, while proof that leads to an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should last for the lifetime of the Federal or Postal employee, “proof” for the kids who agreed that Billy was the toughest guy in town lasted only so long as the threat presented kept everyone convinced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The buttons we believe accomplish

We believe, on faith alone, that pushing a button does the deed; and then we go on with life, and nothing really has changed but the belief in our own self-satisfaction.  It is that virtual world of computers, light switches, garage door openers and even the disc-like appendages to our shirts and sweaters that lead us to conclude that all such contraptions are of equal weight and value.

We see the cause-and-effect of the garage-door opener — of pushing a button and seeing the door slide open, then another push and it reverses course.  We push buttons on the computer keyboard, and with each tap the screen changes, or concludes with the deed completed; and of “buttons” on a shirt or sweater, we appreciate the invention that holds two sides of a separated apparel together to enclose our bodies with a warmth of a material embrace.

What does it mean to accomplish a deed with a mere pushing of a button?

We have been habituated into such thinking, and it is this disconnectedness that allows for society to continue to move “as if”.  It is only when we encounter the counter – belief that all of a sudden the world of buttons begins to sow some seeds of doubt — as when the boss comes and says, “Why haven’t you sent me X” and you respond, “I emailed it to you last week “ (it isn’t quite the same to say, “I pushed the button that accomplished the deed”).  “But I never got it” is the response which prompts you to go back and re-press the button, hoping somehow that doing so a second time will make a difference that the first time did not.

This time, however, just to be doubly sure, you go back and ask your boss whether he received it (not, again, “did my second button-pushing work?”), thus verifying the causal connection that had failed to occur previously.

What made the difference?

Somehow, in the ethereal universe of circuitry and magic we have no clues about, there exists a causal chain that “works” and “accomplishes” deeds — just like the garage-door opener that issues an immediate gratification of causation.  But that all of life would allow for such instantaneous confirmation — and of buttons we think accomplish.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a consideration to 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, the buttons we need to push are many, varied, and long in waiting.

Whether they comprise of the metaphorical “buttons” to get people moving, or of emails that need to be sent, confirmations that require a response — what we do know, throughout, is that the reality of one’s medical condition has a discernible difference both of reality and of urgency when it comes upon the need for causation to occur.

The buttons we think accomplish remain somehow in that “other world” of magic and the unknown; the medical condition that remains is somehow the reality of the “now” that constitutes pain and suffering; and that is why preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is of greater importance than the buttons we believe accomplish.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Minor pleasures

At what point does the transference occur?  Minor pleasures are those interludes in life that make for everything to become, and remain, worthwhile; sometimes, because of various tumults in our lives, the designation of “minor” becomes altered, and becomes “major” – like the dream fulfilled of that kid who toiled in the minor leagues for so many years and finally got his big break by being called up to the majors.

Is such an indication of a metamorphosis a harbinger of something else?  If the minor pleasures of life – coffee with a piece of chocolate; reading a favorite book; a swim in the ocean; an early morning walk (or run) with the dog; or even a weekend, afternoon nap – are suddenly taken away, what (major) consequences would accrue?  Does subtraction of it, or negation of the enjoyment, determine the substantive input and extent of the designation?

If it is missed to the point where it makes you miserable, does it indicate that it was never “minor” to begin with, but of major proportions all along, but you just didn’t realize it?

How about its opposite – a “minor irritant” – does that possess a meaning encompassing a parallel but corollary effect?  What if your “significant other” engaged daily in a habit that irritated you, but in a minor way – you know, those things that, when you were dating (or, to show your age, applying the anachronistic terminology of “courting”) or just hanging out together until you both decided to make the arrangement permanent, it all seemed “cute” and attractive, but now is a bothersome dig, but not enough to engage a war over – like blowing one’s nose loudly in public, or picking one’s toenails and leaving the remains on the bathroom floor; or leaving a door unlocked, etc.

At what point does a “minor” irritant become a major one?  When you get into a fight and you point out the laundry list of such irritants?

But take it in another sense – all of a sudden, that significant other dies or departs, and you realize that all of those irritants are suddenly missed, and you actually wish that you were tormented by them, because they amount to minor pleasures that awaken the dull sensibilities of life’s monotony.

Medical conditions can be like that – like a minor irritant that becomes a major complaint.  Or, the absence thereof can be the minor pleasure, where you remember that once, not so long ago, you were fit and healthy, and just the mere fact of a medical condition’s absence is a minor pleasure in life.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question is, What is the point of life’s minor pleasures?  Is it to make everything else tolerable, or to be enjoyed regardless?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often not just a necessity, but a path towards regaining a sense of balance – of asserting those minor pleasures in life that have been erased and eradicated because of the constant harassment at work and the hostility that kills all joy.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is just the first step in the long road towards getting an approval from OPM. But it is a worthwhile step, especially if the goal of life itself is to enjoy those minor pleasures of living – like attending to one’s health as a priority in order to once again relish those minor pleasures.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: DDD

It is what Moynihan said so many years ago, of constantly reinterpreting normative constructs such that the subtle, insidious reduction of acceptance allows for normalization of that which was rejected and repugnant just a few years before, a generation ago, or never at all.  Or, it may refer to a medical condition of the spine – of the condition identified as “degenerative disc disease”; but in either case, the acronym used as a convenient route for linguistic economy has some similarities involved.

For, in both cases, DDD allows for the slow and steady deterioration of a process – the former, of a cultural rot and standards once ensconced firmly in the very fabric of society; the latter, of a slow process of debilitating “eating away” that reveals a condition progressive over time, decaying by crumbling of bone, cartilage and repetitive overuse traversing time’s despondency due to labor’s unnatural pose.  Or, one can just make it up and ascribe it to a tripartite conceptual compound; for instance, “dual deficit denominations” or “dark, dim and dumb”, or other such consternations of linguistic accolades.

In any event, it is the original of the two that seems to share a common ground of meaning; for, in both, it is the essence of a slow process of change; one, cultural in nature, of an acceptance of lesser standards whether by willful determination or accidental submission; the other, the debilitating disease that – over time and resulting from old age – progressively worsens.  One could simplify the concepts by dismissing the first as “cognitive” and the other as “physical”.

In either case, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to continue in the same position and compels one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement, both concepts can apply.

For, an expansive and liberal interpretation of Moynihan’s argument is similar to the Federal or Postal employee’s acceptance of the lower standard both in terms of his or her quality of life, as well as in seeing the adversarial nature of the Federal agency or the Postal facility as “normal” in the treatment of its employees.  And, as to the “other” definition of DDD – of the chronic neck or back pain – whether in a sedentary job or a very physical one, the high distractibility of pain that impacts upon one’s capacity and ability to safely focus, concentrate and attend to the job itself is often a qualification for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Thus, the acronym itself – whether for “defining deviancy down” or as “degenerative disc disease” – can fit the proverbial bill in considering the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted through another acronym of sorts – OPM – otherwise known as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire