Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file a 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.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Bureaucracies

It is an amalgamation of penultimate collectivism; based primarily upon the concept that centralization constitutes efficiency, bureaucracies exist for the sake of a mission long forgotten and forever compelling the existence of its own justified creation.  They have histories, and often historians to record and annotate the accomplishments of their own beings; and the people who work for them speak about them in objective tones of third persons.

Every now and again, a newly-hired employee will bring about a fresh sense of enthusiasm, of new ideas and different ways of doing things; but after a time, each such newbie of fresh growth begins to wilt, like flowers that bloom for a season and then die an expected and predictable death, only to wait for another to take its place.

Bureaucracies tend to do that to their own population – wilt them, kill them, stamp out any newness that might sprout for a brief moment.  And to those outsiders who require the services of a bureaucracy – well, always remember that the bureaucracy will always last longer than even the great period of the dinosaurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the exposure to a bureaucracy may be the first time; or, perhaps the Federal employee (and certainly the Postal employee) works within a bureaucracy him/herself.  In either event, suddenly being an “outsider” looking in, as opposed to an “insider” looking out, will be a new experience.

It is good to remind one’s self during this process of preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon the “bureaucracy of bureaucracies” –- the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – that long after the Age of Dinosaurs passed and became extinct, and long, long after global warming or other such identifiable calamitous event will have altered the face of the universe, OPM and other bureaucracies will still be here.  What a thought to ponder.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Simplifying the Complexity of a Case

Have you ever had a technical person explain things in the mysterious jargon of his or her specialized field?  Or, the one who breaks it down into coherent components and translates it into a language game which is comprehensible?

Those in the former category are usually quite impressed with themselves, and are happy to hear the sound of their own voices as the supposed explanatory interlude maintains a semblance of technical competence superior to the audience of targeted turmoil.

The latter populace does what few have come to recognize:  competence is not determined by mere superiority of technical knowledge, but the ability and capacity to apply the knowledge, reduce it to its simplified contents, then provide an explanatory foundation through reduction of complexities into manageable form.  Otherwise, the esoteric nature of any discipline will be governed by every schmoe who can master the language game, without actually acquiring the technical expertise in the application of select knowledge.  For, in the end, the test of sincerity of words is not a compounding of further words, but of actions following up with a revealed understanding of both what was said, as well as done, in any given context.

Similarly, the fact that the salesman can talk the lingo of technology does not mean that he or she can fix a broken computer; it just means that the salesmanship is a learned volume of nice-sounding paragraphs.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the entrance into the universe of Federal Disability Retirement may be an option which must be entertained.  It is a surreal world of new terms, technical contents and definitional strangeness which constitutes a complexity beyond mere words, simply because the consequence of decisions made today will impact choices governed by tomorrow.

Can the complexity of the Federal Disability Retirement process be simplified such that comprehension of the bureaucratic procedures can be understood for its administrative context in the importance of both process and substance of content?  Because Federal Disability Retirement involves statutes, regulations and court case-laws of precedence from previous cases challenging various aspects of the process and substantive issues, the complexity of the entire venue is based upon the cumulative aggregate of decades in the making.  But of that larger universe of process and procedures, what splinter and slice is actually relevant to one’s particular case?  Probably a very small portion.  That is the focus which should be taken.

When one enters an arena of mystery, it is difficult to determine the relevance within the context; and relevance requires selective content and re-creating of one’s own context.  For Federal and Postal employees who need to file 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 importance of simplifying the complexity of one’s own case should be governed by information, knowledge, and selective application of relevance and required completion of necessary content.

Try this for a change, as a test of the principle of knowledge and application:  enter one of those chain-gadget stores and hand the know-it-all salesman a gadget needing repair, and see the language game of competence turn to a stuttering paragraph of excuses and explanations about how the complexity of the component is simplified by the simple justification:  Not my Department.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Chasm Between Sanity and Twilight

Sometimes, there are moments of clarity where one is left with wonderment at the behavioral folly of individuals, organizations, and groups of collective consciousnesses (what an untenable word — the pluralization of that which ends in what appears to be the plural form of the noun).  Whether one agrees with the Supreme Court’s holding that corporations should be treated as “persons”, the fact is that organizations act in collective aggregates in similar manners as individuals and amoebas.

Group-think, herd mentality and symbiotic consciousness of behavior is not unfamiliar to us all; for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition leads the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a fairly routine matter that engagement with one’s agency can be characterized as one of hostility, unpleasantness or unfriendly separation.

Why this is so; what bonds of loyalty become severed merely because the Federal or Postal employee expresses an intent to terminate the employment relationship as a consequence of the onset and intervention of a medical condition; and how the contextual animosity develops into a flashpoint where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service believes that it must initiate adverse actions or punitive measures; these are all wrapped up within the conundrum of complexities which characterize the human condition, and that is why organizations and organic aggregates of individuals comprise a compendium of human behavior.

It is, in the end, an unexplained and incomprehensible phenomena; what it is; how it can be explained; where one goes to for enlightenment; these questions must be relegated to the dark corners of behavioral recesses within those chasms between sanity and twilight.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire