FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Telling a Tale

We all have one to tell; it is the telling of it that becomes the question, and not the answer.  The tale itself is the unspoken journey of one’s life, until the telling of it leaves it spoken and revealed; but until the tale is told, the un-telling of it leaves a silence within a cavern of echoes where memories flourish but the story remains unfinished.

Why do famous people hire ghost writers to tell the tale of glamorous lives yet untold?  Is it because their own telling would fade the sheen of glory in the very telling of it — like a monotone in a soliloquy where heads begin to nod off into a slumber of boredom because the very telling of the tale failed to be the vehicle and vessel of excitement and adventure?

Why are some Olympians able to “cash in” on commercial endorsements, while others cannot seem to form or articulate a single sentence of coherent authenticity?

That is the real “rub”, isn’t it — of being “authentic” in the telling of a tale?

What if a former president (who will remain unnamed) whose sexual exploits in the various rooms of the White House (isn’t that giving too much of a hint?) were to tell a tale of moral uprightness and gave a lecture about the importance of fidelity to marriage, self-control of one’s desires, etc. — would it “sound” authentic, and does the person who tells the tale make a difference in determining the truth or validity of the tale?

Does it matter, in an audio-book (which is apparently becoming more and more popular these days, where reading is waning and people no longer have the time nor the interest to lug around great works of literature, leaving aside the actual reading of them) — say, an autobiography — whether the author him/herself reads it, or whether a “famous voice” does the reading?

Can an autobiography of a president be read by a comedian who is good at mimicking the actual voice, and does it add, detract or make no difference who tells the tale, even if the “telling” person is different from the actual person who told the tale?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the telling of one’s tale is necessarily prompted by SF 3112AApplicant’s Statement of Disability — and it is important that the “voice” which tells the tale is both authentic and persuasive.

It is perhaps the single most important component of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and you might want to consider getting the guidance, counsel and experience of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the telling of your tale concerning the progressive deterioration of your health “sounds” less than persuasive.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Dimensions

We refer to the 3-dimensional world as being comprised of length, width and depth (where “length” can also be substituted for “height”, and “breadth” for “width”), with the added abstraction of time included in relativistic physics; and of course, when referring to personalities and individuals, we caustically apply the limitations of a dimension based upon the lack of character or absent crucial social graces, like empathy or a myopic viewing of life.

Thus does “John” live a one-dimensional life because all he ever does is work; or perhaps “Mary” is a one-dimensional figure in a novel because her character lacks development.

We tend to easily cross over between boundaries of physical space and time into personalities and complexities of individuals, and judge them harshly depending upon whether we like them or not.  Yet, human beings are comprised of complex levels of dimensions; it is only every now and then that we come across that 1-dimensional sociopath whose only desire is to satisfy one’s own cravings, one’s own focus and centrality of purposive intent which translates into evil.

Yet, despite the exceptions to the general rules of life, there are certain basic principles which one should follow when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee considering a Federal Disability Retirement application, such as: Always consider one’s Human Resource Office to be 1-dimensional — i.e., not on “your side”, but on the side of “Management” and the Agency.  And: Never assume that OPM will consider your Disability Retirement application to be 3-dimensional (i.e., to be considered as being straightforward, easily interpreted and quickly resolved) — but instead is almost always 1-dimensional (i.e., to be considered suspicious and found wanting).

Or another 1-dimensional approach: Never assume that your Agency or the H.R. Office of your agency is anything but 1-dimensional; to be 3-dimensional would mean that they are empathetic, are looking out for your best interests, and would protect the privacy of your medical issues with the utmost of sensitivity and protectiveness.  For, in the end, the 1-dimensional approach is to be flat, uncaring and without complexity of concern for others.

Thus, when you were taught as a child that we live in a 3-dimensional world, you were misled because no one had told you about the Federal Agency’s or the Postal Service’s reaction upon learning that you will be filing a FERS Disability Retirement application because of your medical conditions, and that the world is ultimately a 1-dimensional universe without empathy or concern beyond one’s own self-interest.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The compelling reason

What makes a “reason” to do something “compelling”, as opposed to voluntary or optional?  Is it when the choices given are no longer existent and one must by necessity or default act — not out of choice but by being forced to?  Is it the unwillingness of the individual that defines the act, or the lack of alternatives remaining that determines the defined moment?

Or, perhaps it is a “feeling” of involuntariness that justifies the declaration that there was a “compelling reason” to do X or Y, which would create an oxymoron of sorts, to breathe the utterance of “feeling” alongside “reason” in the same sentence.  Is there ever a compelling reason to do or to say something, or is it all voluntarily undertaken, just some acts or declaratives taken with better reasons than others?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 oner’s Federal or Postal job, is there ever a compelling reason to inform the agency prior to a submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application that one has an “intention” to do so?

If the Federal or Postal employee is under pressure because he or she has already exhausted all SL and AL, and has used up the weeks of FMLA that have garnered some semblance of protection, is it a good idea to inform one’s Federal Agency or the Postmaster of one’s facility that you are gathering the necessary information to prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application?

The general rule in such matters is: Unless there is a compelling reason, Don’t.  However, each individual case is different, and unique and particularized circumstances may well define what the “compelling reason” is — as to whether it is indeed “compelling”, or even a good enough “reason”, as opposed to a “feeling” that one possesses.

In the end, the compelling reason is the one that is made without alternatives to consider; but alternatives are the reason why you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, precisely in order to consider those options which you may not even be aware of.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Cherishing moments

In the end, isn’t that all that we have?  We like to speak in terms of vast, grandiose expanses of time, where we create plans that span a lifetime, or refer to wide swaths of historical periods as if we have any conception at all about time, segments of memories or even of the memories already forgotten.  Old men and women reflect back and regret the time lost; middle-aged people who are caught up in the race to make up for lost time, continue on the treadmill that never seems to lessen; and the young — they just race through it as if there is no tomorrow.

Cherishing moments — how does one do that in a fast-paced world of technological amplification where everything moves at a hare’s pace when the yearning is for the tortoise’s calm?  Life comes at us with a fury and an unrelenting torrent of rain and winds; and when we try and raise the umbrella or walk at an angle to counter the ferociousness, we merely get left behind.

How is it that “memories” become more significant and important in our lives than the actual “living” of an episodic slice of our daily existential encounters?  At what point does one take precedence over the other?  Is there an imbalance of disproportionality that occurs — as in, spending more time “remembering” as opposed to “living”?  Is a person who watches the same move over and over, day after day, any different from the one who constantly daydreams about a moment in his or her life, over and over again, repetitively in a lost morass of memories unrepentantly consumed? What is the proper balance and mixture — somewhat like a recipe for a homemade pie or a birthday cake — between the ingredient of cherishing moments and the reality of daily living?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that 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, the problem with cherishing moments — any moments — is that the impediment of the medical condition itself will not allow for any enjoyment at all, whether of memories remembered or of life to be lived.  That is when you know that there is a disequilibrium that needs to be corrected.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the first, albeit tentative step, towards attaining a level of normalcy where cherishing moments is a choice to be taken, and not as a regretful nightmare uncontrollable in the restless dreams of a forsaken career.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a 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, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Arrive with bluff, depart with bluster

That has become the motto of universal exceptionalism; it is the bravado of the incompetent, the arrogance of the ignorant and the methodology of the unwary:  besides, it is a funny line plagiarized from a work by Evelyn Waugh (no, that is a male writer, not a female).

It is to come into a circumstance, a job, an assignment or a social conduit acting like one knows what one is doing, messing everything up, then leaving the desecration of incompetence and a heap of human detritus for others to deal with, while all the while turning up one’s nose, shaking the proverbial head in disgust, and departing with an unjustified defense of one’s own incompetence with:  “You guys are hopeless.”

That is the guiding declarative foundation of all self-help books, advice columns and Oprah-wanna-bees in columns of suspicious pearls of so-called wisdom:  “The key is to act like you know what you are doing, with confidence and assertiveness; the rest will follow and everyone will believe in you.”  Or, in other words, believe in yourself despite not knowing anything; act with declarative arrogance; be self-confident (of what, we are never told) and take charge of your life.  Then, if things don’t work out, don’t be too hard on yourself (or, better yet, not at all) and don’t ever allow others to get you down.

Such a foundational folly of methodological madness fits in very well, and is completely commensurate with the cult of youth; for, even if we all know that the younger generation knows not anything but having been coddled throughout their educational years (hint:  a euphemism for indoctrination for heightening self-esteem), the world generally operates on its own in spite of massive and daily incompetence, but that is precisely why there is a need to hire a dozen people for every job:  quantified incompetence somehow makes up for qualitative lack.

Once upon a time, bluster was known, recognized and dispensed with; and bluster was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.  Now, it is an everyday and common occurrence, because the substantive basis has been ripped out and the soul is now an empty cavern of echoing banter steeped in words of meaninglessness topped by nonsensical linguistic cacophonies of boundless chatter.

Yet, there are times when substance matters, as when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker experiences a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s ability and capacity to continue in the position one is designated in.  That is the time when neither bluff nor bluster is desired, needed nor welcome.

Honest answers and forthright advice is what needs to be obtained, both from Supervisors, coworkers and Human Resource personnel; in the legal advice rendered and received from one’s Federal Disability Retirement lawyer; and from friends, family and loved ones in pursuing this very difficult bureaucratic process couched within a cauldron of administrative nightmares.

We arrive into this world without a clue; we learn to bluff, even when we don’t want to; and when we depart, it is up to us as to whether there needs be an imprint of bluster, or whether the honesty that still resides in the essence of our soul may still reveal a vestige of the true character we maintained, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: Reality T.V.

That we would have the imaginative capacity to invent such a medium and attract countless millions to sit and passively view the saga on a picture screen tells much about our species.  To be persuaded to suspend disbelief and discuss it as if it reflects a reality and can be designated as such, unmasks the myth of representing the pinnacle of the highest order.

Perhaps it is pure escapism which propagates the widespread popularity of such shows; or our desire to believe, which is that essence of being that caricature encapsulated by the quote often misattributed to P.T. Barnum, the greatest “showman” that ever was, who allegedly said that there is “a sucker born every minute.”  That the quote itself is associated to a fellow showman — a precursor to the television shows of modernity purportedly engaging in the make-up world of a reality no one has ever witnessed nor seen but through the dumbing influence of the idiot box, is appropriate and predictable.

What countless hours of wasteful time spent voluntarily barraged by datum destructive of digitally devoid dalliances; and yet we continue to add to their popularity.  No other species has the time, inclination or patience to sit for hours each day, tens of hours each week, in engaging an activity where the prerequisite is to suspend disbelief and become inert objects in a universe alive with activity.

Environmentalists often argue that the food we consume no longer provides the nutritional value once inherent, precisely because the biological dynamism once part of the soil of the earth no longer contains the living contingencies now depleted.

Inertness is everywhere around, and like the dystopian stories which have more recently become popular, the deadening of souls has been but a reflection of our own actions.  We invite most harmful things voluntarily — even reality which is unreal.  The one element we never “invite” into our lives, of course, is a medical condition; yet, when it appears and attacks, it often leaves us unable to face the very real reality of its debilitating and progressively deteriorating effects.

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 Federal or Postal positional duties, the need 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, requires a suspension of disbelief, as well.  For, there is often that period of not quite believing that “you” will not be able to return to work, continue on in the career, or overcome this “temporary” setback.

Real reality is often rather uninteresting, especially in a world which provides entertainment that excites a deadened soul; but when that real reality becomes a reality such that the inertness of life’s reality must contend against the entertainment of Reality T.V., then it is time to push the “off” button of that technology which invades the hurting soul, and begin the hard road of real reality by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, in order to save some semblance of a future reality hopefully not dystopian in its surreal reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire