OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Inside View

There is the “outside” perspective as opposed to the “inside view”, and that is the mistake people make in various sectors of life: The “outsider” believes that, from a position and perspective of detachment and therefore objectivity, he or she is able to better assess, evaluate and analyze the event, situation or conditions experienced than by those on the “inside”.

By contrast, the “insider” views the outsider with suspicion, contending that he or she has no idea about the experiences and existential difficulties faced by the insider, and that a detached, objective viewpoint which fails to take into consideration the subjective, “personal” side of things misses the essential point of the issue.

It is the tension which exists between the townspeople and the “out-of-towner”; the one who lives in a community as opposed to the renter or investor; or of the person who drives around the neighborhood admiring the green lawns, the peaceful nature and the tranquility of a community, hoping to one day purchase a home there without knowing the problems inherent — say, that the water is contaminated or that there has been a rash of burglaries on the rise in recent years.

How does one break the invisible wall between the inside view and the outside perspective?  When does the demarcation between the two disappear?  Do numbers of years living within a community determine whether an outsider becomes an insider?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application because of a medical condition which has come to a critical point where the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it often “feels” like one has all of a sudden become an “outsider” again — not only from one’s own agency or the Postal Service, but moreover, because of the complexity of the administrative procedures and bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — of the sense that the whole process is strange and detached.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a good first step in bridging the gap that widens when first encountering that feeling, in order to get an “inside view” of what it takes to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Preparing for the unknown

How does one prepare for the unknown?  If the very basis of preparation is to prepare for something, how can you then engage in that activity if X is an anomaly, a conundrum, a mystery yet to be uncovered and revealed such that the prior stage of preparing for it can be accomplished?  Is there a necessity for the pre-preparation stage?  Does one have to prepare in order to prepare to perform the actual act of engaging the substance of that which must be prepared for?

Certainly, learning about a subject — reading, researching, analyzing and evaluating — prior to performing acts which constitute “preparation” is an important component, but how many people have time to do such things?

Nowadays, if a person is asked whether they can “do X”, we just whip out our Smartphone, Google it and watch a You-Tube video and declare, “Yeah, I can do that.”  Is that what self-appointed lawyers do, these days — winging it by quickly reading some summarization of an article, then head into court and stand before a judge and make motions, argue cases, etc.?

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 job, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may well become a necessity.

It is the “preparing” part of the entire process which may be the lynchpin of success or failure.  Yes, you can read various articles (including this writer’s many pointers, legal articles and the like), but always understand that each case is unique — as is yours — and legal guidance based upon the individual circumstances of a particular case is very important in preparing for the unknown.

The “unknown” is the Federal Disability Retirement process, the administrative venue and the bureaucratic morass that encompasses the entirety of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and while no lawyer should contend that he or she knows “everything” about a subject, an experienced lawyer can certainly provide for valuable “pre-preparation”, as well as the preparation and the substantive work on formulating and finalizing that which is yet unknown, but ready to be revealed, uncovered, and refined into a Federal Disability Retirement application that stands a good chance of challenging the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: The Kettle’s Whistle

Why do we invent such irritating devices?  When the jarring whistle of the kettle’s boil screeches to gain our attention, is it precisely for that reason — in order to remind us that there is water boiling, that a fire or burner is causing it, and that you cannot just leave it like allowing for the needle on a record-player to turn endlessly upon a music-less disc with soft scratches upon a rotation that is going nowhere (ah, those days when music was truly enjoyed!).

Are noises created to always reflect the reality of its source?  Does the sound of the waives match the soft lapping of the ocean’s beauty, just as the raging storm’s fury mirrors the torrent of rain and thunder?  When first a child hears the sound of a distant train, and only later sees the monstrosity that forms the engine and the caboose, does he or she reflect, “Well, that certainly didn’t turn out to be what I thought” —? Similarly, does pain match the warning of a body’s injury?  Does a voice that sounds purring parallel the gruffness of a wrestler’s weight?

If the kettle’s whistle is meant to irritate and to alarm, it is doing its job; and the kettle that fails to so whistle is one that has lost its purpose and utility, even though it still boils as well as the next one purchased in replacement of the one which lost its capacity to irritate.

Medical conditions are like that, as well — of the capacity to alarm, to trigger warnings, to possess a reason thereof.  We resist it; of the voice that says that change needs to be forthcoming.

For Federal employees and U.S. 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 his or her Federal or Postal job, it may be that the kettle’s whistle is warning of an impending need — of a change.

Getting up, taking the kettle off of the burner and stopping the whistle is akin to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS: For, in the end, the kettle’s whistle is merely the warning we needed, prompting us to act when all around us are indicators that what once was can no longer be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Promising Beginning

We look upon with sadness that which once was, and remorsefully retro-fit what could have been despite that which never was meant to be.

The promising beginning is the one that originated with fullness of hope and expectations; then, there is a “middle ground” — a point where paths diverge and perhaps the critical juncture where success, failure, or something in-between presents itself; and then the journey continues for some time until a point is reached where retrospective regrets may begin to develop, and we think to ourselves: Ah, what a promising beginning, but….  It is, of course, the “but” that pauses and the silence which follows that tells us all the rest of the story; of the wrong path taken, the promise left unfulfilled and the caravan of decisions left undiminished.  But from whose perspective?

Perhaps there were interruptions — of relational interests that took some focus away, or a boredom which set in to detract from the singularity of focus which was required; but such decisions may have merely moderated that “promising beginning” that was never meant to be.  And of those issues where one had no control over — such as a medical condition that reminded one that, while careers are important for a time, one’s health should always be a priority, no matter the time or circumstances.

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, and where the once “promising beginning” seemingly has stalled or stopped completely because of the medical condition, it may be time to shed one’s self of false expectations and unrealistic values, and to look to the future by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Not all beginnings are meant to have an ending as promised, and in any event, remember that the only promise that needs keeping is the one that allows for an ending of hope, where expectations include the priority of one’s health and the necessity for change when change is required.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Nonsense confiscates meaning

It obviates and nullifies it; often, it will make impotent that which once maintained vibrancy and efficacy.  That is where Orwell misconstrued the power of nonsense; for, in his classic novel, 1984, the scene which discussed the production of the newest edition of allowable Newspeak words and the reduction and elimination of certain concepts — he failed to realize that it is the greater dissemination and wide volume of words which undermines meaning, and not the other way around.

By exponentially adding — by quantitative overload — to language, we undermine the precision of language and thereby create a chaos of nonsense; and the result is that nonsense confiscates meaning.  Have you ever come across a person who takes a paragraph to convey the meaning of a single word?

By contrast, when you meet an individual who so succinctly states an idea and, with the sword of a sharp sentence, can slash a page to within a tidbit of profundity, you realize the benefit of brilliance over the darkness of ignorance.  Succinctness, precision, concise conceptual bundles — they are all important in conveying proper meaning; and “meaningfulness” is what persuades, while nonsense confounds and makes a conundrum of that which should be a vehicle of clarity.

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 job, the Applicant’s Statement of DisabilitySF 3112A — is the vehicle by which “meaning” is delivered.

Do not get sidetracked with the nonsense of too much explanation; and an overly abundant profusion of nonsense may in fact harm one’s case.  A balance between the short “bullet-point” approach and a meandering diatribe against one’s agency needs to be pinpointed.  Do not let nonsense confiscate meaning, thereby undermining the ultimate goal of a Federal Disability Retirement application: To obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The words we never use

Are they like scraps of papers left in one’s back pocket, or in the vast chasms of oversized purses that seemingly have no bottom and certainly reveal no corners?  Do we keep them in our wallets, reserve them for special occasions, or otherwise allow them to float in the ethereal universe of unclaimed inventions?  Is there a Lost-and-Found Section within an agency entitled, “U.S. Department of Words” (or, should there be) that deals exclusively with ones that are never used?  And in a pragmatic society where utility is the key for relevance, applicability, value and worth, is there any sense to pointing out that which is never used, never recalled, rarely regurgitated and almost certainly never thought of even in the privacy of soliloquies left unstated?

The words we never use can be categorized into: A. Ones we’ve never learned about nor looked up, B. Ones we once knew when once we were serious-minded students who diligently looked up every word we knew not the definition of because we wanted to better ourselves, sound more intelligent and appear with greater utterances of sophistication at cocktail parties we were never invited to — therefore, we once looked them up, memorized them, tried to use them in sentences, and then promptly forgot them, or C. Ones we never came across, have now no interest in using them because we have become old and lazy.

There is a fourth possibility — that we “know” them but “fear” that the mere utterance of them will make a nightmare of a reality we want to avoid.  “Divorce” is one such word for kids who watch their parents fight, and wonder about their own security in the universe of unstable families; “Chronic” or “intractable” are two others — for those with medical conditions who do not want to hear their doctors talk about the consequences of certain disabilities which have developed over the past couple of years.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where such medical conditions have now come to the point of being chronic and intractable, and thus prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in his or her career with the Federal government, it is time to consider another set of words which were previously never used: Federal Disability Retirement.

Avoiding the use of words will not undo the reality surrounding the conceptual paradigms encountered; and procrastinating the thought, initiation or formulation of an effective FERS Disability Retirement application will not make such words go away; they will remain, even if they are words which we never wanted to use.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Formulating the argument

How does one formulate “the argument”?  Is it merely a reaction that comes naturally, like the person who has been tagged as one who is “constantly argumentative”?  Do all arguments need to provide a foundation of rational discourse — of coherence within an invective of counter-statements, and structure countermanding a deterioration of civility?

For example, when a person begins to answer the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — does one pause, consider the various answers that may be provided, and establish a methodology in proceeding to satisfy the question? Does the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits consider first the consequences of one’s answers, and do you weave throughout a thoughtful argument for an approval?  Or, should the “argument” be filed via a separate Legal Memorandum, pointing out the relevant laws, citing the statues and quoting from various cases that have previously addressed the issues posed?

Most people who file for FERS Medical Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management fail to consider the preemptive arguments that should be made within the answers to questions posed on SF 3112A, and thus are denied at the First Stage of the process because the applicant thought that a simple question asked required a similarly-simple answer as requested.

Then, of course, when the Initial Denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received through the mail, the Second Stage of the process — the “Reconsideration Stage” — merits further formulation of legal arguments.  At whatever “stage” you are at — whether at the First and Initial Stage; the second, “Reconsideration” Stage; or even at the Third Stage, an Appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — formulating a coherent, cogent and rational argument that persuades OPM to approve the Federal Disability Retirement application is an important component in a winning FERS Medical Retirement application.

Remember — to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is not like having an argument with a friend or spouse; it is an argument which must be based upon facts, evidence, and legal precedents, and to have the best “shot” at it requires the hand of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire