Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Life on Hold

There are periods in our lives when life is seemingly “on hold”.  Of times when we know not what to do; of careers that have hit a brick wall; of unhappiness over present circumstances; perhaps even of deteriorating family relationships that fail to reveal a glimmer of hope for improvement; and of a medical condition that becomes chronic with the realization that we must accept it, live with it, and endure the accompanying symptoms for a life-long struggle.

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset (though rare are the latter two these days) is often a movement forward to break out of the mold of life being on hold.

When a Federal or Postal worker realizes that the medical condition suffered will simply not go away, and it prevents and continues to deteriorate in that aspect of preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of being stuck in a “no-man’s land” is understandable.

From the Agency’s viewpoint, it is often a period where they are unsure of what to do with you.  They act with a timid sense of empathy (or perhaps none at all); they will sometimes be somewhat “supportive” of your plight; but in the end, you know that they will replace you with someone who can perform all of the essential elements of the position.

Life on hold is a time of uncertainty and trepidation; preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a movement forward; it allows for some certainty to be adjudicated in a world where everyone else seems to be in a mode of “fast-forward” while you are stuck in the timelessness of a deteriorating medical condition.

Life on Hold — it is a time when decisions need to be made, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job because of a medical condition, a time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Life Well-Reflected

Such a concept can have a duality of meanings; from an outsider-insider viewpoint, or an objective-subjective perspective; of a life that reflects positively to others, such that a community views an individual favorably; or, an alternative interpretation is of a person who has lived one’s life carefully, with planning and thoughtful care.  Most of us live, or try to live, in the former manner; some few, unique in its rarity of form, carefully and thoughtfully plan first, then set out to accomplish goals and objectives in accordance with those plans.

Life’s unexpected vicissitudes, however, come in waves of unexpected and unplanned consequences, and rare is the exception that can accommodate and assuage the tumults that demand and compel change and circumstances that obstruct or otherwise alter the course of any given day.  That is why even a well-reflected life, with the best intentions of traveling a straight line between Point A and Goal B, can rarely be accomplished without some modifications along the way.  Instead, the “other” meaning of the concept — of a person who lives in accordance with principles and integrity no matter the obstacles that come one’s way — is true of the greater percentage of most of us.

We go through life keeping our commitments, doing the best we can, honoring promises and treating others in a fair and respectful manner.  Then, in the end, when the old man is rocking in the proverbial chair of honor, a community can say of him or her that the individual reflects well upon all of us.  It is rare to have a well-reflected life based upon careful planning, precisely because life just doesn’t “work” that way.

Medical conditions constitute a prime example.  They suddenly appear, wreak havoc upon the best-laid plans, and proceed to persist in their vehemence of obstructing, diluting and impeding every effort to to get to that Goal B.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impedes or prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to adapt to the changes that impose upon a “well-reflected life”.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a negative reflection upon a life well-reflected; it is just another “bump in the road” that requires further thought and planning, and the first step in a well-reflected Federal Disability Retirement application is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file 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.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Of frauds and believers

Who is the greatest fraud of all time?  Of whom do we consider a “fraud”, and what is the criteria upon which we compare and determine the final judgment?

Certainly, many would include Bernie Madoff in that category; but what of tricksters and hoaxes that will have you believe in magical powers of levitation, bending spoons and non-invasive surgeries?  Is the greater hoax based upon the sheer number of believers, or upon the amount gained and the fervency of trust betrayed?  Do the number of believers following a cult leader count, based upon the quantifiable nature of the fraud itself, or is it the level of unquestioning belief that makes up for the lesser crowds garnered?

And what about the common fraudster — of the smiling face during times of need, but the quick stab once your worth is no longer apparent?  And of the workplace where the smiling backstabber whispers in conspiratorial glee, when once the boss listens and smirks at your every deed, replacing the accolades once passing for sincerity when all that was truly there was a Noh mask that concealed the sneer of disdain?  And what of that believer who persuades all of the others who were doubtful, but because you respected him or her, the fact that the believer lead others into the flock of deception — is that first believer also a fraudster?

And in the lonely quietude of one’s own thoughts and reflections, studies have shown that a great many people believe they themselves are fraudsters — perhaps not on the grand scale of having bilked millions, but merely that you are not whom you appear to be, and thus the empty shell within haunts in the conscience of a sleepless night.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a sense that a “fraud” is being committed — that having to be forced to “hide” the seriousness of the medical condition at the expense of one’s health; of striving to extend one’s Federal or Postal career beyond that which is medically advisable has been a necessity; and of having that conscience in disrepair because you cannot do everything that you once were able to — these are the characteristics of the Federal employee and Postal worker who possess a high degree of conscience and work ethic.

But do not mistake and confuse the difference between “fraud” and “conscience”; for, the former has no inkling of the latter, and it is because of the latter that the Federal workforce is so effective in administering goods and services in such a wide range of ways, with so little to work with.  But when it comes time to take care of one’s health, the Federal or Postal employee who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must take into account the cost of fraud — of being untrue to one’s self by continuing in a job which is no longer consistent with one’s health.

Now, that is the greatest fraud of all — of lying to yourself and allowing your health to deteriorate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The complex simplified

Ultimately, that is the reason why we hire experts in a particular field.  Life has advanced with such complexity that everything has become particularized into specialized fields where focus upon a subject becomes narrower and narrower.

The days of former times when the neighborhood doctor came and made house visits with his black leather bag are no longer existent; instead, we go to the doctor’s office, and only then to be referred to countless and whatever other specialists for further consultation and diagnosis.  The “general practitioner” is merely the gatekeeper; once inside the gate, there are multiple other doorways that must be approached, entered, and traveled through a maze of further developments of referrals until the “right one” is finally connected to.

Law has become the same as medicine; no longer can one simply hang up one’s shingle and “practice” law in every generality; rather, the legal field has become such a conundrum of complexity that the best approach is to first understand what legal issue needs to be addressed, then to locate a lawyer who specializes in that particular field of law.  From the lawyer’s perspective, it is a job of taking the complex and simplifying it such that the layman can comprehend the issues at hand, the approach that will be taken, and the resolution offered.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue is encompassed by the developing need to think about the future and to adjust and adapt to whatever benefits are offered for the Federal or Postal employee in such circumstances.

The benefit of “Federal Disability Retirement” is not often even known by Federal or Postal employees to exist.  However, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is certainly an option to be considered.  It is, however, a complex administrative process where adequate and sufficient medical documentation must be gathered, where certain key elements and points of law must be addressed, and if it is not carefully formulated, can have dire legal consequences without careful review and processing.

As with so many things in life, having a legal representative advocate for your case becomes a necessity where the complex is simplified, but where simplification does not mean that it is simple –merely that it is indeed complex but needs to be streamlined so that it is cogent, comprehensible and coherent in its presentation, substance and submission.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire