Attorney for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The gist of it all

When do we want the “gist” of something?  The essence or the “main idea”; or to filter it into the short version, somewhat like the “spark notes” of the thing of which we seek.  Is it appropriate if a student is sitting through a boring lecture and raises his or her hand and asks politely, “I have an activity to attend this afternoon. Can you just give us the gist of what you’re trying to say?”

Or of the greater meaning of life itself — you know, that grand design that everyone is seeking, which is why so many people believe in such things as the “Da Vinci Code” or, more recently, “The Chamberlain Key” — codes to codices that reveal the heart of ancient secrets lost in the trash heaps of history or otherwise forgotten because of wars, famines and changes of the proverbial guards.

Why is it that such “keys” must always be “ancient”, and shrouded in the mystery of “secret societies” who will murder in the dead of night to protect the gist of it all?  How does that reflect upon modernity — that we are too superficial to invent or discover such codes?  Or, is it merely that the cynicism of scientism and the reliance upon the physical universe, the influence of British Logical Positivism and the Age of Science have all subsumed such romanticizing of mysteries beyond the age of reason?

In this fast-paced society where technology surpasses by lightening speed the insular world of secret societies and the unraveling of veiled codices, what we want in the end is the gist of it all — to bypass the tangential details and get to the heart of the matter.  We have little or no time for anything else.

So, 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, what is the gist of it all?  In other words, what is the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity?

Well, to begin with, under FERS (which most people are, as the dinosaur of CSRS or even CSRS Offset have now been relegated to the Pleistocene Era of Federal employment) the Federal or Postal employee must have at least 18 month of Federal Service.  Second, we must be able to prove that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing at least one, if not more, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  And third, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months.

Now, this latter bit of a requirement is often confused with thinking that a Federal or Postal worker must therefore wait for at least 12 months after the onset of a medical condition before the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  No, that is not the case — for, most doctors and treating medical professionals can render a prognosis as to the chronicity of the medical condition, and that is all that is needed.

Of course, that is precisely the problem of getting merely the “gist of it all” — because, in the end, the annotated version of an important text, issue or pool of information can rarely be filtered down into a cup that can be gulped with one swallow, but is often an ocean full of undercurrents and dangers consumed with sharks, whales and stingrays — sort of like the metaphor of life itself, only more complex because preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a complicated administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls that cannot ultimately be confined by the gist of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Procrastination and delay

The former denotes an active passiveness, while the latter connotes the former but may also include objective circumstances beyond the subjective input or control over the consequences resulting, whether from external forces, internal influences or a combination of both.

What compels one to procrastinate?

There can be a number of factors — of secretly not wanting to proceed; of the proverbial kicking the can down the road; of wanting to extend the known quality of the present and resisting the unknown quality of an uncertain future; or perhaps, just simple laziness.  Of the latter — of delays in a process, or of results expected — this can be because of actions taken or not by others, and a whole host of reasons not known by the expectant party.  Thus, for a delay to occur, much of the circumstances often cannot be controlled; of the former, most, if not all of it, is within the purview of one’s influence.

Further, it is often the monsters within that loom much larger than the reality without, and that is often true of things we anticipate we will not like, and of obligatory mandates that may be inevitable objectively but resisted subjectively.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating the necessity of 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, it is often that initial step that is the most difficult one to take.  And like that Chinese proverb that is often quoted, the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step, so it is likewise true that procrastination of that initial step is the one that prevents all subsequent steps and actions from being taken.

Procrastination is within the purview of one’s self; delays, beyond one’s control, or at least some part of it.  To overcome the obstacle of one’s self, it may be wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, so as to first understand the process of what it takes to file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the intricacies involved and the requirements needed to meet the legal criteria for a Federal Disability Retirement application to “pass muster”, to realize what initiating steps are necessary, and to recognize whether the fears that delay are the ones that are merely in one’s own mind, or whether the pathway forward is as onerous as the fears that paralyze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Evidence of Sincerity

We question it; contest it; challenge when necessary by bringing up counter-evidence that seems to undermine it; and we all act with outrage and become highly offended when our own underlying intent is questioned, as if everyone else in the world is suspiciously lacking of it with the exception of one’s self.

“Sincerity” is a funny animal, and evidence of it is like the bond between the wrong committed and the arena of court applied: preponderance of the evidence?  Clear and Convincing?  Or, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

The choice depends upon the gullibility of the beholder and the relationship between the teller and the believer; then, for some, a breach and violation of a single instance forever condemns without recourse of forgiveness.

What is the evidence of sincerity?  Is it merely words upon words, or must actions follow, and constancy and consistency of behavior?

Take the following hypothetical: Person X says that he will meet you for lunch at Time-T, at location Y, and so at Time-T, at location Y, you go and wait.  And wait.  Person X never show up.  A few days later, you see Person X and you remind him that there had been a luncheon agreement, and why didn’t you show up?

Example A: The person apologizes profusely and reveals that he/she became gravely ill and was taken to the hospital at that very moment, on that day, during the time of the luncheon date.  Example B: The person says: “Oh, I found something better to do,” and essentially casts you aside.  Example C: The person (who has a wide and well-known reputation for being “flighty”), explains: “Oh-my-gosh!  I completely forgot!  I really meant to be there but I just completely forgot about it!”

Obviously, most of us would respond to each with: Forgive persons A and C; be angry at B.  Why do we react like this?

Again, the obvious answer is: We presume sincerity on the part of A and C (though, as to C, we give some leeway for a reputation preceding the doing, and if we were unaware of that reputation, we might want to proceed by putting the person on a “probationary” status of wariness and suspicion for the next time); as to B, the person has explicitly reversed any semblance of sincerity, and has told us to essentially go fly a kite.

Now, change the hypotheticals slightly: As to A: We later discover that he was seen precisely at Time-X to have been out and about with another person, and was never in the hospital.  In other words, he lied.  And as to C: Whether “flighty” or not, the person never honors a commitment, and consistently makes promises but each time breaks them.  In other words, whether sincere at the time or not, that person can never be relied upon.

And as to the problematic B: We later learn that at that very Time-T, he was actually in the hospital caring for his dying spouse, but did not want to burden you with the long and tragic narrative of his personal trials, and furthermore, his reputation prior to the promise broken is so far out of character that it had left you scratching your head with befuddlement in the first place.

Who, out of these examples, ends up being the “sincere” person, and what is the evidence that changed your mind?

Evidence of sincerity is often a touchy subject, where reputation, reality and roles of engagement coalesce to provide the “full” picture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the evidence of sincerity is often important in assessing friends, coworkers and trusted individuals in the dissemination of sensitive medical information.

Appearance cannot always be trusted; reputation, perhaps; but in the end, the evidence of sincerity is often merely a gut instinct that tells you who to trust and why.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Private thoughts, public offerings

The bifurcation of human contemplation can take many forms, and rarely do they conflict with each other, unless the former is involuntarily injected into the cauldron of the latter.  One can hold private thoughts contrary to one’s public image; and the public self can contradict the private soul without a condemnation of hypocrisy, so long as the two are never manifested as unconcealed revelations of surprised protocols.

We suspect that exacting consistency between the former and latter has never existed in the history of mankind – beginning with the dawn of hunters who trembled with an inner fear so violent that want of flight was paused only by the shame that would prevail at the tribal dance where bravery, conquest and manhood are celebrated; or in more “civilized” settings when socialites raised eyebrows upon behaviors deemed uncouth and agrarian, where divisions of social consciousness resulted from the miscreant amassing of wealth previously unknown.

Can resentment be concealed in a long-enduring marriage, or fear of death be tightly coiled within the heart of a warrior?  The samurai who gave his fearless allegiance to the daimyo, who in turn swore body and soul to the Shogun – did they avert the openness of their trembling by dispensing favors and accolades to the underlings who disseminated the fearsome bloodlettings?  And what of politicians today – the acceptability of having a “private belief” contrary to the “public stance” – do they constitute a hypocrisy, or an acceptable division of setting aside personal feelings for the greater good in public service?

Often, the misguided confusion arising between a conflict of contrasting private thoughts and public offerings, is just that:  We fail to contemplate the ends thought, and mix the means for motives untold, and in the muddle of such a conundrum of confusion, think that it reflects upon the meanness of our own souls, without recognizing that human frailty must always allow for a bit of good humor, if we are to survive the self-flagellation of our inner desires.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers have this same problem – of fealty and loyalty to a Federal daimyo or Postal Shogunate without considering the misguided and irrational basis of such compelling inconsistency.  The thought that loyalty to an agency or fealty to the Postal Service must continue despite hostility and abuse perpetrated merely for suffering from a medical condition brought on through no fault of the Postal worker or Federal employee, is tantamount to the bifurcation between private thoughts and public offerings:  publicly, in the company of coworkers, supervisors and managers, the smile of contentment and membership in the agency’s team spirit must be on full display; privately, the suspicions and paranoia mount because of the workplace hostility engaged by others.

Betrayal itself is often a misguided embracing of a blind trust; you cannot betray those who have already undermined your every turn.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a very private matter, precisely because it involves the most private of information – one’s medical condition and the records which reveal the intimate and private details of it all.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s own Agency or H.R. Department, then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a “public” act in many ways, and it is that act alone which often makes one pause.  But this is where the “rub” must be faced:  In order to access a public right (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits), some extent of the private information (the medical condition; doctor’s narratives, office and treatment notes, etc.) must be “offered”.  Yes, it is a difficult decision – but one which must be faced in order to get beyond the private hell within the cauldron of the public hostility and workplace harassment which will only continue until an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is approved by OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire