Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: “As if”

Why are OPM’s denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application written “as if” it is an “all of nothing” proposition?  Conversely, why does an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application (with the exception of the single sentence which identifies the medical conditions upon which the approval is based) reflect a regurgitation of a template used on countless occasions dating back decades?

Wouldn’t a more “honest” approach be for both the denial and an approval to have a touch of: “Well, okay, evidence X does clearly show that you likely couldn’t do essential element Y” and “Yes, all and all, despite having a good performance review in the past year, your absences aggregated to establish evidence that you weren’t able to maintain a satisfactory attendance, and therefore, even if it is a ‘close call’, we have decided that you have met the preponderance of the evidence criteria and grant you your disability retirement request” — or, “Therefore, even though it was a close call, we believe you have NOT met the preponderance of the evidence standard, and therefore deny your application for Federal Disability Retirement.”

In other words, why is the “as if” standard applied as a one-way street, where every Denial invokes a disparaging and often scoffing-tone as to every bit of evidence presented, and seems to selectively diminish even the most compelling of evidence submitted?  Is it because of the very human need for self-justification, or are there other, more nefarious reasons girding the foundation of every denial?

Certainly, when a “no” is presented, one is taught to make it worse than it actually is in order to justify the negation; sort of like when you really do feel deathly ill, but by all appearances, you don’t sound it, and may not even look it, so when you call in sick or you tell your mom you can’t make it to school, you put it on “as if” you are on the verge of mortality’s early calling.

But don’t be fooled.  OPM’s denials are presented “as if” you never stood a chance; “as if” there was never any basis for even making an effort to file; and “as if” you have wasted your time even bothering to file — is meant to discourage, if not dissuade, any further effort of fighting onward.  But that is not the reality of a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the reason why you have multiple stages in which to fight on is precisely the reason why you must: “As if” you have a chance, and not “as if” you never did.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Enduring, surviving or achieving victory

The first two in the tripartite of conceptual constructs are similar in meaning; the third and last, an extension beyond where it may include a historical background of the first two but emerge with a separateness of conclusion from them.  To endure is similar to surviving; to survive, to endure the difficulties and maintain a semblance of remaining intact.

One can “endure” a traumatic event and survive it; similarly, one can survive such an event and, in retrospect, realize that to have endured the experience was the very key to such a conclusion.  One can endure and survive, however, and yet fail to achieve any victory.  For, victory is the conclusion and outcome of how one has endured and survived; the first two are thus necessary condition precedents, in one sense, in order for the third to occur.

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 the Federal job, the necessity in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may become a reality.

For the time being, perhaps the medical condition has not gotten “too bad”, and the Federal or Postal employee may be able to endure the difficulties, go into work and maintain a level of productivity such that no adverse actions from the Federal Agency or Postal Service may result.  Or, the medical condition may be tolerable such that the Federal or Postal employee may be able to survive for the next year, or even the following few years, and be able to endure the turmoil of balancing work, family, progressively deteriorating medical conditions and the essential elements that the Federal or Postal employee must be able to endure.

If and when the time comes, however, for the Federal or Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the test at that point will not be whether or not the Federal or Postal employee can endure or survive the lengthy administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but rather, whether one can come out at the “other end” by achieving victory.

In order for that to happen, knowledge of the legal basis to be argued, the necessary connection between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job – all must be effectively compiled, argued and persuasively presented.  For that to happen, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around 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, the issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: “Can” and “have to”

Does freedom allow and liberty mandate, or have the two concepts been conflated such that we envision a proverbial “free-for-all” in either and both instances?

Much of human history has been comprised of the latter – of Kantian obligatory categories imposed upon human behavior.  It is only of recent vintage that modernity has spurned the traditional categorical imperatives that wills the ought which spurs one to have to initiate, engage and complete activities despite a want of denial.  Today, the thought of “have to” is but a mere passing and flittering touch upon a calloused conscience no longer enlivened enough to compel movement, and “can” is the lie like the Marxist concept of the opiate that makes thoughtlessness the fog that is never lifted, and remains with the common man and the populous at large as the force of subservience throughout.

We are inculcated with the banal repetition of inane nonsense that we “can” do, be, reach anything and everything, and we don’t “have to” do anything that we do not want to.  Yet, concurrently, the implicit science of genetic predisposition dooms the concept of free will, and where once freedom meant something to slaves and their evil traders, and liberty required responsible sensitivity to the greater societal constraints that provide the foundation of a cohesive community, the current level of the combined, unfettered amalgamation – of freedom without restraint and liberty without responsibility – has brought us to the brink of a parallel universe with the history of Rome and its disintegrated empire.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition compels the Federal or Postal employee to “have to” file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the clash of cultural historicity that we witness all around – of the simplistic tension between freedom and liberty, responsibility and obligation, and “may” and “ought”, comes to the fore because the Federal and Postal worker with a medical condition used to be in a state of “can” when it came to career, leisure, activities and unrestrained potentiality, but now replaced with “have to” because of the intervening forces of an unwelcomed medical condition.

Don’t fret about it; we are all part of a larger force of history; we just never realize it until the coalescence of fate, history, destiny and personal behavior come together, where “can” was never anything but a fiction, anyway, and “have to” was always part of the human dilemma cajoling the rebellious spirit to subvert that which we can never fully avoid – the touch of the gods upon our inner conscience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Organizing the apocalypse

The apocalypse, by definition, has no future.  Whether by biblical reference, or in a generic sense where the foreseen event entails such proportions of catastrophic immensity, the concept itself is beyond the grasp of human comprehension.  It is where Being becomes non-existent, and the existential contrast of the conceptual puzzle encompassing Nothingness is somehow attempted to be understood, if only within the limited means of linguistic expression.

Poetry cannot abide the meaning; prose can barely describe its repose; and human thought is unable to grapple with the vicious circularity of its conundrum:  to comprehend it is to consider its very converse; to think upon the inversion is to extinguish all conceptual paradigms.  It is an act of self-immolation, where the devouring of one’s own flesh must by necessity occur in order to stave off the pangs of starvation, but where each bite merely ensures the death of the guarantor of life.

That is what Malraux touches upon when his characters discuss the self-contradiction of revolutionary movements; the very people who initiate such explosions can never be the ones who continue the implosions following; for, it is the breed itself which cannot remain in order to build.  By their very nature, the destructive forces must themselves disappear, lest the cannibalization of such extinguishment is the intended goal, which is never considered unless anarchy and dystopia are the ends sought.

We often think that those who are compelled by causes which history, in its visionary retrospective insights, can remain to maintain stability and administration of the revolutionary idea; but Mao proved otherwise, and the haunting bones of Cuba’s leaders where poverty, desecration of abandoned ideas and fading combat khakis declare to us that we wish Mick Jagger never came out of retirement.

There is, in every epic of historical proportions, a loss of meaning whenever the cause has been attained, and that is the natural course of life.  The question thus becomes:  Once the pinnacle is reached, what does one do?  In microcosms of life and smallness of living within the spectacle of the common man, the issue that remains and looms amidst is, How to organize the apocalypse.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from continuing in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career or vocation of financial stability, the fact that one must end one’s Federal or Postal career early is akin to an apocalypse, where hope is no longer a goal to endure.  That being a fact of irrefutable and irreversible content which arrives at a point of incontrovertible reality, the issue remaining which must be considered is, How do I rationally organize this apocalypse?

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in ensuring that the metaphorical “revolution” which brings about a change uncalled for, like the wave of a historical sweep in epic battles of mankind’s folly, comes about in a rational, organized and steadfast manner, such that we are not left behind like the haunting whispers of Mao’s Cultural Revolutions or the stale cigar smoke from Castro’s toothless grin, where history laughs in the dark corridors of forgotten tombstones overrun with the swallowing of earth’s grief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Of Vultures Riding the Currents of Time

Watch the vultures float the currents of time, gliding high above, awaiting a trail of destruction behind.  Universally, across the globe, they have similar outward appearances; with wide wingspans for the ability to soar and patiently await high above, watchful for death and decay to progressively come to fruition.  Is it the scent of decay, or the fading gaze of death which attracts?  Or, perhaps, weakness and state of debilitation has a natural aura which draws?

The weak among us becomes a magnet for prey; the scavengers of time become the savagery of timelessness.  Despite our declaration for civility and sophistication, the brute essence of man comes to the fore when elements of weakness manifest. Sympathy and empathy constitute window dressings for civilization’s social contract; a concession to effeminate yearnings voice that of the spectacled class.

Look at the brutality of Federal agencies when once a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker announces an intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Suddenly, the skies are filled with gliding wingspans of watchfulness.  No one seemed to care before; now, the sunlight is blocked by widespread fans of feathery flurries.

Federal Disability Retirement is a rightful benefit which can be asserted by any and all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).  But as with every contingency in life, there are residual consequences in filing for a benefit, and such resulting ends will often involve the hostility of the Federal agency, the sudden shying away by one’s coworkers, and a subtle (or not so hidden) loss of camaraderie among peers and supervisors.

But what are the choices? For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the path to escaping the slow and progressive deterioration of one’s health condition.

That the vultures may circle during the wait, may be an inevitable consequence; what one wants to prevent, however, is for such creatures to land and begin the pecking process of maggot-laden flesh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire