Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Law’s efficacy

When is “the law” effective?  Especially when speaking about an administrative procedure such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – what role does “the law” play in its procedural and substantive aspects?

Multiple distinctions are made on a daily basis with respect to the law’s efficacy; whether something is “legal” or not does not always mean that it is enforceable, for the costs associated may be prohibitively expensive.  To have a “legal right” does not always mean that one should necessarily assert it, for there may be practical considerations that come into play before moving forward with applying that which is rightfully existent.

Further, the mere fact that the law may be “on the books” may not necessarily mean that a society will always raise it up from the dead and apply it; for, as customs and normative constraints alter, modify and become transformed by evolution of thought, it may well be that dogs best left sleeping are the ones who are never bothered.

In Administrative Law – which Federal Disability Retirement issues are a part of – there is always the question as to what role, significant, relevant or somewhat in between, “the law” plays, as many steps throughout the procedure and process must deal with non-lawyers who have no clue as to the existence, force or applicability of legal matters.

Thus, should the “Bruner Presumption” be argued at the initial stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application even though the administrative specialist who is reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application may have no clue about its impact, doesn’t much care and will likely not give much thought to its contextual relevance?

Does Bracey v. OPM matter when discussing the finer points of issues pertaining to accommodations and reassignment, or is that merely some esoteric legal argument that should be reserved for the Third Stage of the process, if and when a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied twice (both at the Initial Stage of the process, as well as at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) and is appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and comes before an Administrative Judge?

Should Simpkins versus OPM always be argued for Veterans with Service-connected ratings, no matter what the ratings are comprised of?

The law’s efficacy is ultimately determined not necessarily by the quantitative bombardment of effective methodological argumentation, but by the qualitative selectiveness of who to argue to, when to argue and for what purpose.  In the end, law’s efficacy is a strategic component that may determine the successful or otherwise outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be considered thoughtfully and with great preparation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Plato and Play-Doh

If a person says to another, “Have you used Play-Doh” and he answers, “Well, yes, but only as it applies to certain situations in my life.  Otherwise, I tend to rely upon Aristotle in a more pragmatic, scientific approach.”

Somewhat taken aback, the inquiring mind restates his position, saying, “No, no, I meant, have you played with Play-Doh?” Still not distinguishing between the inserted alternative of a consonant (the “D” in Play-Doh as opposed to the “t” in Plato), the responding individual states again, “Well, conceptually Plato is difficult to ‘play with’, as you state it, in that you have to first understand the conceptual paradigms he posits, then…” and the same person goes on to provide a full-fledged, half hour dissertation on the esoteric aspects of a Dead White Irrelevant Philosopher (otherwise known by the acronym, a “DWIP”).

At this point, frustrated, the inquisitive interrogator walks away, throwing his hands up in complete confusion and befuddlement.  What does one do?  How is the incommensurate encounter resolved?  Question: Does the fact that we “hold” in the base of our minds a certain spelling of a word make a difference as to intent and deliberative motive, when what we “speak” out into the objective world makes the receptor of the word, phrase or sentence interpret it as something different from that image that we behold in our minds?

How does one close the chasm between subjective thoughts and objective reality?  Do we approach it in a different way – and does the problem really remain in the subjective domain of the questioning individual insofar as he or she is unable to, incapable of, or otherwise unwilling to alter the originating course of his posited query?

In other words, shouldn’t the person have restated his conceptual query in the following manner: “Oh, I see.  You must have misunderstood.  I am talking about ‘Play-Doh’ – the clay-like substance that we all used to play with as children, and I thought I saw some when I visited your house the other day.”  To which the responder should appropriately state, “Ah, I see now.  You must excuse me. I am concurrently reading Plato’s Dialogues and I mistook your question to be referring to that.”

It is, then, the capacity to listen carefully, to recognize the response given, then to respond back appropriately and relevantly that often dissipates any compelling reason to become frustrated.

Similarly, for Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to respond to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s subsequent queries, or even in response to the Statement of Disability’s questions (SF 3112A) that need to be answered, the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must take care in bridging that gap between subjective reality and objective communication.

There are many “tricks” to the “trade”, and OPM has probably dealt with them all; but the one trick that OPM cannot ultimately ignore, is the tricky web of legal precedents and prior MSPB and Federal Circuit Court decisions that compel them to act in ways that they cannot forego.  Legal argumentation is an art form that should not be ignored, and whether you are asking about Plato or Play-Doh, remember always to include in any Federal Disability Retirement application an effective legal argument that persuasively argues the legal precedents applicable in your case.

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

 

Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Clarity of purpose

It is always a burden when the passageway beyond is a mist of obscurity.  It helps to possess it, even in partial shades of inane generalizations; but lack of it, especially in youth, is neither a crime nor a blot of misdeeds upon one’s reputation so early in a life or career.  We have known them, whether as a “type” or an individual; that rarity of endangered species where the target-point of life is an unwavering straight line directly from birth to death (or at least for the moment when a career goal is sought).

Clarity of purpose is something one “ought” to have, but rarely manifested in the lives of ordinary people.  We talk of a nation’s “manifest destiny”, or of the importance of having some “foundation” in life; of faith, purpose and a desire or motivation to – what?  That is often the problem; not so much that we have no purpose in life, but that clarity of that essence is too often subverted by events unasked for and circumstances untold.

In W. Somerset Maugham’s novel, The Razor’s Edge, where Larry merely wants to “loaf” after his traumatic wartime experiences –  does lack of clarity of purpose as defined by conventional society evince a mere deviation of acceptable behavior, or constitute a complete violation and breach of man’s destined existence harkening from the residues of Puritanism and religiosity in general? (Note the comedic definition of Puritanism from H.L. Mencken:  “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”).

Modernity no longer believes in destiny, fate, or purposeful existence; and thus do we lack great figures, anymore – as Churchill who consistently defied death in war because of an inherent belief that he was destined for greater things, and thus the gods would not dare to undermine that predetermined fate of life.  Instead, the insidiousness of Darwinian belief – a foundation where reductionism to pure materialism and life lived by sensation, pleasure and tactile responsiveness:  these are the purposeful endeavors for us all.  It is, however, still a requirement that, in order to reach a destination of accomplishment, we “clarify” the “purpose” for which we engage to act.

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 position, the need to define, refine and clarify such a purposive action is a crucial component in the successful formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Wandering and meandering with merely a general sense of what needs to be done, like Larry Darrell’s search for meaning in Maugham’s masterpiece, will likely result in a denial by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  There are legal statutes to consult; case-law that should be cited; and a streamlining of medical evidence in order to pinpoint, with circumscribed accuracy, the argument and methodology for approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

In sum, there needs to be a tactical and strategic clarity of purposive action throughout, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: A break from the quotidian

Is there ever a release from the commonplace?  We take it so for granted – those mundane occurrences of daily living – until the greater pain of life’s misgivings overwhelm and supersede.  The quotidian is a fancy term for the everyday; that routine which we engage in from the moment our eyes open, the sleepiness is cast aside, and the feet are sheathed into slippers or socks, or perhaps not at all; and all that was just described, as well, constitutes the quotidian.

How can we speak of that which occurs daily, is of the commonplace, and provides no fodder for interest or spark of fiery eyes?  Have you ever had a conversation that recurs almost daily, as in the general small-talk with the clerk behind the counter brewing the coffee, or the next-door neighbor who relishes the horsepower of a lawnmower just purchased – and wonder how the stifled yawn might unravel the boredom of life’s privacy?  Where are the gods who once ruled the earth, the mammoths of being who roamed the terraces of epic battles now lost in mythologies severed from the culture of vacuous minds?

Yet, it is by the quotidian that sanity is maintained, where interest is imposed and character is developed.  We often wish for that which we do not possess, yet, upon the embracing of that which we desire, we realize the ineptitude of life’s misgivings and hope for change where alteration of purpose is the last thing we require.  Like Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence, the reenactment of life’s quotidian muse will, with boredom and repetitive insanity, compel us all across eternity of time and limitless space, to relive that which causes us to become overwhelmed with somnolence of misbehavior.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is clearly bored, until a word is spoken, a thought conveyed, and a spark of life is seen in those dull eyes which dispossessed life’s gifts just a moment before, and suddenly becomes a burning fury ignited by an unknown flintlock exploding with colorful trepidation?  Perhaps you cannot even fathom what compelled it, but it is there, deep in the recesses of the window to the soul of a being, and suddenly, there is life where once but a moment before, death’s promise had overwhelmed and overtaken.

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 positional duties, a break from the quotidian is often the search for that mundane part of life which seems forever lost.  For, when a medical condition begins to overpower, it is precisely the quotidian that is sought.  Others may not understand that, and many will never comprehend it.

Preparing, formulating and 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, is often the first step in that journey where the quotidian is indeed the epic goal to attain, and when the greater historical deed would be traded for a mere good night’s sleep and a moment of quietude away from the anguish of one’s own medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire