Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Trials of error

Normally, of course, the common usage of the terms involve the combination with a conjunctive — of trial and error, implicating a process whereby the latter term triggers the former (i.e., the “error” forces us to engage another round of trials, which then may lead to further errors resulting in further trials, etc.) into a potentially lengthy repetition of attempts, each with the advancement through possession of greater knowledge gained from the errors identified and witnessed.

The concept as it stands, however, implies something further:  of the experience of each error and the process within such error and what the error may implicate.

Human beings have an expansive capacity to “move on” quickly beyond errors made, and perhaps that ability of adaptability is an evolutionary advantage for a species that makes a fair number of errors that, in other contexts and within other species, would spell the extinction of the species itself.

Errors compounded go beyond the experience of the trial itself; sometimes, errors lead to other errors, and thus the “trials and errors” in their aggregate allow for greater knowledge and adaptability depending upon the nature of each error and of many trials.  But it is the trial of the error that often needs to be paused, and allowed to ponder upon, before going on to the next trial, lest the lesson from any one error has not been sufficiently learned before a further trial is engaged.

Sometimes, of course, the trial of an error, if not sufficiently comprehended and reflected upon, is the very reason why further errors of judgment follow, precisely because not enough time has been spent upon the nature of the error itself.

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, it is important to recognize the trial of an error — for, with a Federal Agency or the Postal Service, one is encountering a behemoth of intransigence when attempting to garner any sympathy or loyalty.

Medical conditions themselves are “trials” enough, and when a Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins the process of punishing the Federal or Postal employee for taking too much SL or LWOP, or even invoking FMLA rights, the “error” is not so much the trial of patience, but rather, in thinking that the Federal Agency or the Postal Service was ever on your side to begin with.

While a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a strictly “adversarial” process, one must always consider whose “interests” are being looked after in each trial encountered:  the interests of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, or of one’s own?

The trial of error often begins with a mistaken identification of a more fundamental error on the part of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, and for the Federal or Postal worker contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the first step in preventing the greater trials of multiple errors is to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Trepidation

In this universe where pause reflects cautionary exposure, the Darwinian model of survival of the fittest prevails.  Ours is a society that lacks any patience; the youthful generation deems their “place” as a rightful commodity to assert without bashfulness; the old are shoved aside into old folks’ homes and nursing facilities, all the while as we give lip-service to the importance of love, family and care for one another.

It is easy to give utterances of inane and meaningless trope, of generalizations about values and moral circumlocutions of apparent profundities; much harder is to sacrifice what we want, desire or otherwise deem the encampments for our “personal bests”.  “Rights” asserted in your face constitute the norm of this generation; conformity to the quietude of societal conventions, of cohesions above dismembered cacophonies of ingratitude, are mere fodder to be cast aside.

Trepidation is a personality defect; as in the days of yore when tremulous fear, alarm or agitation constituted a pause which threatened the capacity to survive, so in modernity there is no room for such diminution of evocative negation.

Perhaps, in some other corner of the world, in a society which still values the careful fostering of human relationships, a person’s pause and trepidation to immediate action would be overlooked and unnoticed, if not merely because the significance of such hesitation would be considered nothing more than a throw-away phrase, somewhat like, “Oh, you know Betsy, she always has to have a few days before she does something!”  But we don’t have “a few days” in this corner of civilization, where daily predatory advancement is the means to success, and why disabled people are merely used as referential legal maneuvers, but otherwise shoved aside into dark corners where alleged accommodations are granted within the strictures of malleable definitions.  No, it was never curiosity that killed the cat; it was always trepidation of cautionary hesitancy.

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, the notion that the Federal or Postal employee may have some initial feelings of trepidation before engaging the process, is both understandable as well as self-defeating.

The reality is, we have to engage the world we live in.  And the world we occupy is this little corner of the globe, where patience is lacking, hesitancy is scoffed at, and delay is deemed a purposeless abyss of wasted time.  The bureaucratic morass itself will take a long, long time, just to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Trepidation is not a personality trait which is healthy for the process, and unfortunately, it is a counterintuitive characteristic that only serves to exacerbate the medical condition itself.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: “The Work Of 10 People”

We have all heard the boast:  “I do more work in an hour than most people do in a week”; “I earn the wages of 10 people before breakfast”; “I do twice the work for half the pay”; and on and on.  The plain fact is that each individual, no matter the self-interested tropes of inane contradictions, performs the quantitative and qualitative labor of that singular effort, and no more.

Some may meet greater production quotas; others may appear to make significantly faster headway into concluding projects and assignments; but the boast of self-worth is nothing more than a comparative analysis which ultimately fails when proper relative proportionality is conducted; there are always others whom you have not met, hardly know, or will likely never encounter, whose competence outshines the vast and endless ego of your own self-assessment.

Where does such self-delusion originate?  And are there more such self-assurances in modernity than times of yore, when the steady hand of methodical progression marked the greater component of accomplishment than the technological rapidity of keyboard firing squads?  Or, of that other boast that one’s work has already been completed an hour into a workday, while others move in segments of slow motion, like a reel of film stuck in the ink spot of eternal delay?  What ever happened to the idea of a team effort, a communal approach, or even of a collective combine of aggregate accomplishments, where personal valor and individual recognition is sacrificed for the greater whole?

In modernity, in this millennial, during these self-aggrandized times, the focus of vulnerability is based upon an egocentric mirror of reflective selfishness.  As one has been taught throughout grammar school and higher education that the war hero is merely likened to a sports hero, where the term “courage” is another fungible word that can be applied as much to the battlefield as to a spectator sport of button-pushing, so the worth of an individual is relatively compared to a production quota, like mere means to the end of a drama.

In the administrative law of Federal Disability Retirement, that sense of worth is greatly diminished and deliberatively demeaned by the hostile attitude towards a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  Don’t think that the years of productive accomplishments touted previously will mean a farthing’s worth of reserved good will; it means nothing.  What is done today and promised tomorrow are the two components of meaningful discourse; any delay or doubt evinced by one’s medical condition, is but a red-light indicator for termination or administrative sanctions.

For Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is indeed a means to an end – to escape the growing boast of that Supervisor or Manager who believes that the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is the same one who hinders by being an obstacle of existence for doing the work of 10 people, when in fact he or she is merely one of a greater collective effort, nor more than the worth of the dismissive “you”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Suspicion of Preemption

Preemptive strikes are often justified by anticipatory rationalizations; the “other” one was “going to” do it, so it is right that one should do it beforehand (whether we are certain of the other’s actions or not, and of course, that is the beauty of such argumentation; by raising the specter of suspicion, we skip over the question itself and deride those who would dare to question the right of self-defense).

In international affairs and economic entanglements on a macro-based scale, nations can impose sanctions and initiate first strikes based upon barricades denoting “sourced” information and secrets obtained.

In linguistic preemptions, within the microcosmic universe of office settings, neighborhoods, friendships teetering on total destruction – these are the true arenas of daily strikes of preemptive devices, where suspicion should prevail and concerns conveyed.  For, in the end, why is it that people plant the seeds of doubt and utter the words of undermining efficacy?  Is gossip ever justified, rumors of helpful venue, or callous remarks disseminated of healthy connotations?

The linguistic art of preemption, of course, is engaged by the subtle hints of rumors unverified, and planted precisely in order to destroy before the others get to you first.  It is the art of the “beforehand” in an underhanded way, perpetrated by the dark hands of an assassin’s heart.

The problem with those who engage in such acts, is that they make of us paranoid despots all, because the unnerving  discord effectuated throughout engenders an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion from and by all, whereby people can never pinpoint the source of a rumor, the origin of a tasty piece of tidbit, and the destructive impact of consequences denied.  “Why can’t people just be straightforward?” is the refrain used by innocent fawns just before the predator devours; and the answer should be clear:  Acts of preemption avoid the consequential revelation of an actual justification; it is not “self-defense”, but an act of aggression with a retrospective view towards explaining that which may never have occurred in the first place.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily are pounded by preemptive strikes through subtleties, rumors and whispers of meanness, the time to “come clean” is probably long past due.  If the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, the Agency, Supervisors and Managers have likely already taken note.  Preemption has already begun.

It is, in more ordinary and crude parlances, a matter of covering one’s own posterior, and thus the beginning trails of quiet harassment, hostility and increasing administrative pressures.

In such circumstances, the Federal or Postal employee is fully justified in engaging in the preemptive strike which has already been initiated by the “dark forces” of the workplace:  preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, is that preemptive act which has already been justified by the medical condition itself; it just needs to be prodded into the next logical step, in order to avoid any suspicion of preemption, and instead, be brought to the fore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire