FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: That bright star

We remember learning about the various constellations; and, these days, we are merely one “Google-away” from identifying that morning point of light that seems to shine so bright just over the horizon, and has moved since you first noticed it the evening before. Google ruins everything.  There was a time when discussions would last long into the night because memories failed us — who was that actor in Movie-such-and-such; what was the last line in so-and-so play; and what was the name of the character in that blah-blah television series?

We no longer need to remember; poems no longer require reciting from memory; facts and dates are accessible with the click of a button; arguments and discussions no longer are required because they can all be looked up at Wikipedia.

Yet, in the objective world, or in that universe where Kant bifurcated the subjective from the inaccessible objective universe, that bright star continues to shine, and no matter what Google says or Wikipedia posits, the mystery of time, the external universe and the fact that the bright star shining may already have disappeared eons ago and the idea that what we see is merely the residual aftereffects just reaching one’s pupils within an universe that fails to betray such mysteries of eternity, we can still enjoy the quietude of a pinhole of light within the darkness that surrounds.

And then there is the singular existence of a human being staring at that bright star in the morning silence even before the first bark of the neighborhood stirring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability or capacity to perform one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often that “feeling” one has in staring at the bright star — alone, isolated and apart from the rest of the universe — that makes one fearful of the world beyond.

Federal Agencies and the Postal Service tend to make the Federal or Postal employee feel isolated and alone when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS can seem like a lonely prospect — somewhat akin to the feeling one gets when standing outside looking at that bright star.  That is why consulting with an Attorney who Specializes in Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law is an important step in pursing the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement: To know that the bright star is there, and that we are not alone to counter the troubles of this world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: OPM’s Methodology

There may be a single criteria to meet, with subsets of requirements that must be complied with; yet, multiple methodologies in approaching the singular.  How can that be?  Isn’t it all simple, where you read what is required, then gather up all of the evidence that appears to meet it and simply send it all in?  That is the “volume methodology”.

Can a single sentence in a medical report ever meet the legal criteria in an OPM Disability Retirement case — i.e., a “qualitative” methodology, as opposed to a quantitative one?  Sometimes.

Isn’t the law clear in what is required, and isn’t it a matter of just amassing the medical evidence to meet the requirements as stated?  Hmmm…. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand, somewhat, OPM’s Methodology in reviewing and deciding upon a case.

First of all, not all medical conditions are equal.  Perhaps that is self-evident, but for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from one or another medical condition, and must endure the daily pain, restriction and limitations imposed thereby, it may not be so self-evident.

Second, OPM is not some “neutral” Federal Agency that reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application with dispassionate objectivity, ready to grant an “approval” because you “believe” your medical evidence is “sufficient” to meet the legal requirements as stated.  Sufficiency is the gatekeeper that denies many a Federal Disability Retirement case — and it is not a methodology that is satisfied by quantitative (volume) means, not even necessarily by qualitative standards; rather, it is the reviewer (i.e., the “Medical Specialist” at OPM) who determines by some unknown and unknowable standard when the goal-post has been crossed.

Thus, in an OPM Disability Denial Letter, one may read a reference to one’s doctor’s note or a quotation from a medical report from one’s doctor, and think, “Good, this is very supportive” —then, with an appended end to the paragraph stating, “Such medical evidence does not sufficiently meet the standards to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement”.  Huh?

Think about it this way: “Sufficiency” may mean different things to different audiences; for example, what is a “sufficient” amount of food for a lion, as opposed to a domesticated kitten?

OPM’s methodology is, at best, malleable, as language in law is likewise changeable.  It is good to know this for Federal and Postal employees who are either getting ready to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or who are in the middle of a fight to obtain it; for, in the end, consulting with an OPM Disability Retirement lawyer allows you to arm yourself with knowledge for the battle that OPM’s Methodology in determining Federal Disability Retirement cases must be prepared, like any legal battle that involves “criteria” to be interpreted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Pathway of Choice

Pathways are peculiar entities; pre-Google Map times, they were a maze of forbidden routes, romanticized by a generation who were familiar with the television series, Route 66, and about hitchhiking, wrong turns, Robert Frost’s famous poem and Rand McNally road maps.

Now, of course, Google guides, directs, and (sometimes) allows for avoidance of unnecessary delays.  But is it the pathway of choice, and even more importantly, is the pathway chosen the best one for each one of us, the most advantageous for us, and the one which ultimately is in our best interests?  If the pathway that is chosen is simply so because all others are never known, or merely because that is the Robert-Frost-look-alike, when in fact it is delimited because of our lack of knowledge, is it really out of choice or of necessity?

Perhaps the career chosen is not turning out to be the realization of one’s dreams; or, as sometimes happens, an unfortunate set of circumstances has intervened — like a medical condition — and suddenly the pathway of choice that we thought would fulfill our hopes and dreams no longer seems possible; then what?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows us to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the pathway of choice for the immediate future may seem constricted:  Stay put and suffer; walk away with nothing; or, prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

That is the tripartite fork in the immediate road on the way to one’s pathway of choice; but then, there are other “forks in the road” beyond, such as being able to work at another job after one has been approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether in the private sector or in a state, county or municipal employment scenario.

Don’t be restricted to the immediacy of one’s pathway of choice, for there are many forks beyond, and the pathway of choice as dictated by Google maps only tells you which turn to make in the next quarter mile, and not about what may be chosen in future lives yet unforeseen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The prerequisite of thought

What constitutes “thought” and fails to satisfy the allegation that one has not engaged in it?

Take the following example: A young man who is courting a young woman buys a bouquet of flowers on his way home, but stops by at her place just to say hello.  She — seeing the flowers — declares, “Oh, how thoughtful of you.”  He sheepishly smiles and nods his head, but in reality the flowers were to spruce up his own apartment.  He explains this to the young woman, and she turns a smile into its opposite — a frown — and reverses her opinion, telling the cad how “thoughtless” he is being.

In reality, he had done no such thing — he had, in fact, “thought” about it, only not in the sequence that the young woman had desired.  Yet, he is charged with being “thoughtless” — and one could argue that such a charge is applicable in that he should have “thought about it” before stopping by her place, and instead should have gone ahead and followed a route straight home.

Or, of another example: Say you are debating a point with another individual, or a group of individuals, and someone during the course of your monologue says, “It is clear that you haven’t thought about it.” What, precisely, does that allegation mean and imply?  Would it have made any difference if you had previously taken yourself into a corner, sat for an hour or two reflectively posed like the famous statue by Rodin’s “The Thinker”, chin upon knuckle in a reflective pose of self-absorption — then come back to engage in the discussion?

What if your contribution to the conversation included as great an expanse of idiocy as if you had not “thought about it” — but the mere fact that you had sat for a couple of hours, or perhaps a weeklong sojourn of contemplative solitude — does it make a difference?  Isn’t “thinking about it” often done in the course of give-and-take, during the conversation engaged, as opposed to being lost in one’s own mind?

Further, isn’t singularity and isolation of “thinking” often the wrong approach, inasmuch as you may be missing something, have inadequate information, illogical in the process because of selfish interests unrecognizable, and therefore the best kind of thinking often involves debate, countering opinions and other’s input, as opposed to the isolationism of “The Thinker”?

Would it make sense to ask a dozen or so physicists to “solve the mystery of the universe” by gathering them together, then making each sit in a corner and “think about it”, as opposed to engaging them in a “give-and-take” brainstorming session?  Isn’t much of thinking “done” by engagement with others, as opposed to a soliloquy of isolationism?  If so, then why is there too often a prerequisite of thought?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have “thought” about 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, the first and most important step in making the “right” decision may not be by engaging in an isolationism of “thinking about it”, but by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

There is no prerequisite of thought in picking up the telephone and having an initial, free consultation with an attorney to discuss the particulars of your case, and engaging in the thoughtful exercise of considering OPM Disability Retirement by actively participating in the productive modality of thinking.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Source

Every vibrant and expanding civilization relies upon it; the crumbling ones disregard it; and the stagnant ones begin to question their necessity. It is applied in various contexts, but the importance of maintaining its relevance as the authoritative foundation cannot easily be dismissed.

We hear the word used in different contexts: Whereof the source of the the River Nile? What are your sources in arriving at your conclusions? And are they “original sources”, or “secondary” ones? And of the infamous “anonymous” sources — can they be trusted, or does the mere intimation of anonymity betray an unreliability precisely because there can be no accountability by the very nature of a faceless and nameless origination?

In modernity, since everything is “sourced” through Googling, and very little attribution is verified by “original” sources, does it matter anymore whether one’s asserted authority for declaring X, Y or Z is based upon primary or secondary “sources”, or even if it was an anonymous “third-hand” source?

Furthermore, does an obscure source of a little-known citation have any greater impact than one that is well-publicized and of common knowledge to all? If, in the course of a conversation, everyone relies upon the believability of a “source” — say, a stockbroker who has never been wrong, but then someone pipes in that “so-and-so” says to stay away from that company because it’s about to crumble under its heavy debt-structure” — who do we believe? Does it matter if the “so-and-so” referred to is a Board Member, or some insider at the accounting department of the company who is “in the know”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is impacting the Federal or Postal Worker’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her career, the sources and resources that you put together in preparing, formulating and filing your Federal Disability Retirement application should be original, reliable and dependable. — from the doctors who support you, to the lawyer who will represent you, to the credibility of the “sources” you gather.

For, in the end, the search for the source of the Nile matters not for “where” it is, but from what mystery of origination would flow such that the beauty of a civilization would spawn such a wealth of culture and originality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered 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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The cog in the process

Does perspective have an influence upon one’s approach in engaging an endeavor of any sort?  For instance, does it matter whether or not the cynic and the one who sees the world consistently as “half-empty” or unwittingly cruel, nevertheless succeeds at every turn and venture?  Or, conversely, of the person who always has a “positive attitude” and sees good in every corner, but nevertheless fails at every attempted feat; did “perspective” and viewpoint make a difference?

Perhaps life requires a balance between the two, and such extremes on a spectrum of outlook is never a healthy thing.

In the end, does it matter whether or not we see ourselves as an insignificant cog in a wider process of unending turmoil, or as an Oprah-like shining star where we persuade ourselves that we matter as a mere cog precisely because the loss of a singular and unique “you” would have a devastating impact upon the well-ordered universe where the gods watch upon each hair of our scalps and wait to quiver with laughter when we express our hopes for relevance?

We often “feel” like a cog in the process – even if, on a more objective and brighter viewpoint, such an analogy and imagery represent an inaccurate put-down of major proportions.

That is the problem with bureaucracies – seen from the “other” side, our involvement in an administrative procedure invites us to ascertain that which we always suspected:  Stand in line; be assigned a number; be asked for standard information and data; a stamp is pounded upon a piece of paper and … “Next!”  What constitutes the accurate portrayal of our point of being caught within a world devoid of normative constructs, anymore?

This generation of youthful cadavers have it the worst, of course, as there is no longer a belief to die for, a value to live by, nor an encounter that can pass for pure friendship without an underlying suspicion that more is intended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into the social club of the “cog” is just beginning.  OPM is a vast juggernaut of an administrative process, and the miniscule feeling one will be exposed to, presented with and suddenly thrown to the bottom of a pitiless cauldron will become evident from the very beginning.

That “feeling”, however, should never be confused with the relevance, importance and significance of preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application properly and to a perfection made to order, at least as much as humanly possible.

For, in the end, to be a cog in the process does not mean that one should become processed as a mere cog; rather, that the line which extends around the block and down into the next needs to be acknowledged, yet prepared sufficiently such that when that call for “Next!” comes your way, all of the papers, relevant data and significance of evidence are in undiluted order, such that the cog in the process will flow smoothly when next your turn is up before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire