FERS Disability Retirement: Life as a Series of Problems

There are television series; of “mini-series”; of a series of movie episodes once popularity of the first viewing has established the call for a following.

In television and theatrical drama, there has to be an opportunity for “character development” — of getting to “know” a person, of seeing him or her in various contexts in order to determine “who” a person is by what they do, how they react and the very essence of their belief-systems.  Rarely is a play, a story or a novel of any interest when it involves a person or multiple individuals sitting around expounding upon their beliefs or “principles” of life, and why is that?  Is it because a person who talks without being tested can offer nothing more than the sound of air?

The movie of life always presents us with a series of problems; that is what makes a good story, of course — of conflicts, their resolution; the way in which individuals are “tested”, and not merely by hypothetical presentations of analytical problem-solving gestures.

Medical conditions — whether later in life or occurring earlier— always present a challenge that tests a person in so many ways, precisely because medical issues hit at the core of everything about a person: How we see ourselves; what we are able to do; where we go and seek guidance and counsel; and all of the multitude of reverberating effects upon so many varied aspects of our lives.

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, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS is just one of life’s series of problems.

It is never a guarantee; it is never a “sure thing”; and as OPM appears to be denying more FERS Disability Retirement cases under this Administration than ever before, it is important to prepare and formulate a plan for a Federal Disability Retirement application and to recognize it as another slice of life’s problems in a series of such problems.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Serendipity

It is a chance or accidental event which turns out to be a momentous, joyful one; and while its occurrence may have been unexpected, it is not unwelcome after the event takes place or reveals itself, precisely because of the joy it brings.  Thus does a serendipitous event surprise us; for, one’s daily experience is that the opposite is true: chance occurrences, accidental events and unexpected moments normally result in negative consequences we want to avoid.

A sudden windfall; an unexpected visit from an old and dear friend; a surprise party held by everyone you actually like; these are all serendipitous events; but of their opposite, we come to expect: bad news about our kids; friends who disappoint; a career that doesn’t turn out to be what it promised; a life that didn’t fulfill the potentiality which others had expected.

So, is it the expectations left unfulfilled or the accidental nature of an occurrence which makes the difference?  For the former — how does one come to assess and judge expectations, of others or from ourselves?  Were they realistic, within reachable goals and planned with achievable milestones?  As to the latter — is it because of the “surprise” nature of a serendipitous event in combination with the joyous outcome that makes it “special”?  For, if it was accidental, but nevertheless expected, would it detract from the momentousness of the event?

Life is full of mundaneness and repetitive monotony, and a serendipitous event is something to hold with special smiles and hearty laughters precisely because of their accidental and unexpected natures; for, its very opposite — of a calamity which may also be accidental or unexpected — occurs often enough.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition turns into the opposite of a serendipitous event by preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be carefully considered.

It is a long and complex administrative process, with many and varied bureaucratic pitfalls.  But in the end, when an approval from OPM is obtained, it may be declared a moment of serendipity — of that rare exception to the general rule of life, where misgivings are plentiful and momentous ones a rarity.

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

 

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Standard of incompatibility

How does one “prove” a standard of “incompatibility”?

Physical injuries often allow for a medical opinion to impose certain restrictions:  No lifting more than X-pounds; no standing more than 2 hours within an 8-hour period, etc.  These, then, can directly “prove” that a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by comparing such restrictions as against the positional requirements of a given job, and “showing” that the standard required can no longer be met.

The “other” cousin of the standard, as reiterated by cases represented by Henderson v. OPM and related precedents, allow for a “different” type of proof, where one may show that there is a general incompatibility between the entirety of one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.

It might be argued that such a standard is more “nebulous” and “harder to prove”, but in fact, the opposite is often true: specificity on a 1-to-1 ratio between a given medical condition or symptom and an element of one’s positional duties no longer becomes necessary.  Rather, a general showing of incompatibility between the “type” of job and the “nature” of a medical condition is enough to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.

The trick, of course, lies in the manner of “proving” it, but it should be of some comfort to Federal and Postal employees that there is another type of standard beyond the 1-to-1 ratio standard that applies generally for “physical” duties; for, in the end, many psychiatric conditions can only meet the “incompatibility” standard, although some specificity of inability to perform a particular function of the job may be present as well.

To meet either standard is a burden of proof that must be shown by the appellant in all OPM Disability Retirement cases; to understand, apply and satisfy such standards, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: This fast-paced world

Even 2 – 3 year olds are seen with Smartphones maneuvering their way through Facebook; and while the old industrial towns where blue collar jobs were once thriving become ghost towns from closure, shut-downs and transference to foreign parts for cheaper wages and greater corporate profits, the once-idyllic panorama of life lived in still-shots of single frames, painted with a single flower wilting in a child’s hands is forever fading into the pastoral beauty of past lives no longer remembered.

This is a fast-paced world; unrelenting; unforgiving; unable to provide a modicum of sympathy.  Those in the thick of it pass everyone by; and while we give lip-service for the need to “reduce stress” and live a more “contemplative” life, the reality is that we have created a machine where no one knows how to turn the switch off, leaving aside trying to slow down the mechanism of this juggernaut called “society”.

Some few thrive on it; most dread the Mondays that follow; and the rest of us merely walk through like zombies and the living dead, mindlessly winding our way through this maze called “life”.  Some few of us are able to laugh it off; fend against the daily stresses; somehow survive the burdens that this fast-paced world places upon us.  We, all of us, are mere beasts of burden, now, caught in the trap of our own making, walking as Camus’ Sisyphus in the unrelenting struggle to push the boulder up the hill only to see it roll back down, and to begin each day anew to push it back up.

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, this fast-paced world may oftentimes appear to have changed gears into hyper-drive.  For, the medical condition merely slows down the individual; the rest of the world, including the Federal Agency or the Postal facility, merely continues on.

No one has time for illness or injury; that is why we must rely upon the available laws that favor one’s particular situation, and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a pathway towards countering this fast-paced world which leaves so many behind.  Begin by consulting with an attorney who possesses the knowledge to apply the mechanisms already in place to obtain what is by legal right yours — and by doing so, to answer the perennial question of how one slows down in this fast-paced world where even the sick and injured are no longer cared for?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Present who of past what

It is a peculiarly human endeavor: of looking at a photograph (yes, digital nowadays, no doubt), and trying to discern from a present who what the one-dimensional picture says about what we were doing some years past, or maybe a few weeks or even yesterday.  It is the present “who” of one’s identity, trying to extract meaningfulness from a singular snapshot of an emotional freeze, whether of self-conscious “cheese!” declared knowing that the picture was being taken, or of a cold stare that locks out the soul’s essence of what we actually felt, and trying to extrapolate within a 3-dimensional universe the foundation of what had occurred.

We all play that peculiar game, do we not — of standing in the present by the very being of who we identify as ourselves and looking at a photograph of someone whom we can identify as the “I” in the image before us, and then remembering, with the contextual history hidden within, of the past what that depicts the picture present who stands before staring at the past what; while others may be doing the same thing many times over, multiplied exponentially in volumes unimaginable, yet each instance being insularly singular because there may never be a discussion about the present who of past what that no one talks about?

It is akin to having a medical condition, isn’t it — and of continuing to smile, walk about, carry on “normally” and everyone else in their insular universes not knowing about the medical condition you carry about, and the suffering you must endure because of the present who of who you are but of the past what where others see you and judge you as you were, what you were, who you were, while all the while it is the present who of today that has changed and is no longer the past what of who you were?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, that feeling is often familiar and well known — the present who of past what.

Others see you and expect the same; you may even appear to be unchanged, but inside, you know that the present who is no longer of the past what, and that is precisely what must be conveyed in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a Federal or Postal employee you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for it is precisely the present who of past what that is the you of today with the historical context of the past what, but nevertheless needing the present who for a future whom no one but you can know or discern.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Arbitrariness of life

What defines arbitrariness?  Is it when there is a lack of pattern, or does our own input of misunderstanding or lack of comprehension determine the defined formlessness of the world around us?  Is Kant right in his implications – that the “noumenal” world that is outside of our sphere of cognitive input remains unknowable, arbitrary, unfathomable and unreachable, and it is only by the categories of internal psychological structures that we naturally impose upon the world, make sense of it, and “order” it so that we are thus able to comprehend it, that such an understanding between the bifurcated universes of the phenomenal world we comprehend and the noumenal world we can never grasp defines the penultimate concept of that which is arbitrary?

And what of the “arbitrary life” – is it merely that which we do not understand, or is there more to it than that?

Most people live lives that establish a consistent “pattern” of progression.  Thus do old sayings go: “A person is a communist in the morning, a radical in the early afternoon, but if he is not a conservative by nightfall, he has never grown up.”  Or even of the implicit response of the Sphinx: “a man who is four-legged, then two, then three” – implies a systematic progression, then degeneration of sorts; in other words, a pattern of life-cycles.

And we expect a blue-print of what it means to live a “successful” life – of education, work, family and career, where there is a consistent increase in wealth, wisdom and weariness of strangers that continues to expand and grow.  But what if there is an interruption to that “pattern” or “blue-print” that everyone expects?  What if misfortune befalls, bankruptcy is added or divorce, death or even a hurricane and flooding descends upon one’s life – does the unfortunate event suddenly make one’s life an arbitrary one? Or, what about the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must suddenly face a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job – does that make the interruption of life’s constancy suddenly into an ‘arbitrary’ life?

The definition of that which makes X arbitrary is always related to the “randomness” of events; but for human beings, it is indeed the perspective one has and the calm within a storm that influences whether the objective basis of that which is arbitrary is influenced by the subjective approach of a person’s life.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider filing an effective 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, the initial steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may determine, objectively, the future course of the Federal Disability Retirement application itself, as to whether it was “arbitrarily” compiled or systematically composed.

Like the orchestra that has an off-tune instrument, the symphony created will determine whether one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is a crescendo of progression, or merely a disturbing sound of failure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: A remnant of bygone memories

Memories are funny animals; they travel and traverse endless miles of countless eternities, over fences artificially constructed and through tunnels built within the deep caverns of one’s mind; and in the end, they represent only a slice of accuracy in the whole of what really happened.

Sometimes, even after decades of being together with a “significant other”, a remnant of bygone memories erupts.  Perhaps some scent, or something someone said, or a picture that jarred and shook one’s cobwebs from the recesses of the brain occurred without a deliberative consciousness to do so; and we say, “Oh, yes, when I was six years old, I remember…”  And a remnant of bygone memories surfaces, like a corpse buried with a tombstone long forgotten behind the churchyard overgrown with weeds, and a flood rushes in and ravages the soil by erosion of natural forces and digs up the caskets rotted by time, whispers and hidden secrets.

Were they ever forgotten, and did we simply allow them to remain in a corner of closeted images? Does a truly forgotten memory ever resurface by accident, or is it by fate, destiny, karma and coincidence that at a given place in time, we are suddenly forced to relive a time period buried deep within the unconscious triggers of a soul haunted?  Do we bury memories like we do to the dead, because to not do it would mean to allow the stench of decay to fester within the sensitivities of our inner health?

Encounters with reality and the problems of the day often provoke a remnant of bygone memories; it is, in the end, the present that we must face, within a context of past wrongs committed and previous difficulties perhaps too easily avoided, that come back to haunt us.

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 duties, a remnant of bygone memories can include serious medical conditions that trigger PTSD, depressive symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks.

Are they a valid basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Yes.

Do they need validation from a medical doctor to affirm the foundation of a valid case?  Yes.

For, a remnant of bygone memories can impede and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and it is that medical nexus between human memory, job elements and psychiatric capacity that in the end creates the foundational paradigm of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, based upon a remnant of bygone memories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

U.S. Government Employees Disability Retirement: Failing to meet those goals

Goals define an aspect of humanity that differentiates from the beast; just look at nature and the existential encounter with the “now” at all times.  Animals besides Man look at the world around and respond appropriately and accordingly.  For them, the future is the now; the past is merely a basis upon which to react in this moment of time; and what the appetitive parts of the soul require, the predator attempts to satisfy.

Goals, on the other hand, project into the future.  They require plans, painted by hopes and dreams, and follow upon the trail of golden dust left in residue by the wings of flying angels fluttering by to whisper thoughts of tomorrow and beyond the mortal constructs of our everyday lives.  Reality, of course, dashes those very hopes and dreams, and places obstructions to prevent the accomplishments of those very goals we set.

Humans love projects – whether because of Heidegger’s cynical view that we engage in them merely to avoid thinking about our own destiny to nothingness and annihilation, or merely because that is who we are:  sentient beings who can only be content by projecting into futures yet unrealized, such that our potentiality is always in the molding and making each moment of our lives.

What makes us tick?  Who are we?  What imprint do we want to leave to better the world before we depart?  What can we do to make the old lady across the way find a moment of happiness, disrupted because of tragedies felt and experienced in private lives of living hell?  What inventions, refinements and accomplishments may we reach before we depart this earth?  What is our 5, 10, 20 year plan – sort of like those old Russian declaratives in meeting thresholds of farm output in a communal setting of common goals defined?

We may scoff at them, but we all engage it:  Goals in our personal lives, and endured throughout our professional capacity.  The corollary, of course, is that those who set goals also experience the failure of having not met them.  That is the Yin Yang principle of life.  Being and Nothingness; Life and Death; Happiness and Misery; Goals and Failures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file 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 bitter taste of failing to meet professional goals is bundled up with complexity of emotional turmoil when a medical condition cuts short the career goals of the Federal or Postal employee.

Accepting the shortness of meeting those goals often extends, unwisely, the point at which the Federal or Postal employee should be filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Yet, that is simply part of being “human” – of exerting self-will beyond what is good for one’s self; of ignoring pain and anguish and just continuing to engage despite self-harm; and always attempting to “meet those goals” despite all cautionary indicators telling one otherwise.  But health is what should be the goal, now, and not the completion of those projects that we believe only we can accomplish.

Life will go on; and failing to meet those goals should never be the final impediment to the ultimate goal one should prioritize:  Of health, life, happiness and family, somewhat in the order stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Life’s ruinations

The poetry of a fork in the road sings to us from those innocent days of childhood voices; of life’s beginnings, the promise of future longings, and those lazy summer mornings left far behind in dusty coves where love’s forlorn memories linger in misty waves of lapping thoughts.  Life has a way of beating us down.  A wise man once said:  If you don’t like the way the day is going, stick around, as everything changes over time.

We tend to focus upon the trials of the moment, as if there is no tomorrow, and perhaps that is a “good” thing, if we think that life is a linear progression (or regression, as it were) of experiences unfolding and eternally unending.  What does it mean to have a “proper perspective”, or a “balanced view” of life?  In the living moment of travesty and despair, can one reach beyond on either side in order to view the middle from afar?  Or are we so wrapped up in our own troubles that we can never quite see beyond the travails of our own creation?

We have lost the capacity to maintain vigilance as the gatekeeper of incoming information and data; instead, we are like rudderless vessels, being thrown to-and-fro by the waves of data-overloads, forever accosted by the connectivity for which we pay dearly in terms of money, loss of soul, and depleted creativity.  We cannot think for ourselves, anymore, because we have Google and viewfinders to guide our ways; and we no longer map out our road trips because we have electronic guiding devices to do that which we have lost our way in attaining.

For every second we have been promised that we would save with the advent of a new electronic device, Jim Croce’s time in a bottle would have been filled tenfold, if only we had stuck to the revolving voices emitted by the crank of an antique phonograph.

Life was once a promise of a future hope and unrealized cacophony of mirth to be reached; now, the darkness of life’s ruinations overshadow us all.  There are no promises or instructions of “how to” when we are born; only a meandering sense of anarchy by which we are shoved into and respond by the seat of our pants.  In the end, life’s ruinations are determined by the choices we make, and are well within the control of our willpower to map out fate, destiny and the avenues of alternatives offered.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who see the coming signs – of increasing harassment, administrative pressures and managerial sanctions – it is time to begin preparing.  Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if and when a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset becomes disabled as a result of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, is a necessary step in sidestepping and avoiding those pesky forks in the road which represent life’s ruinations.

In such instances, Google won’t help, and even an expensive GPS device won’t be of much use.  Instead, it is an individual choice to be made, and the time is ripe when you realize that life’s ruinations are often the result of procrastination and delay in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM forthwith.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire