OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: The boxes in Standard Forms

For some forms, it is a convenience to have a restrictive, limited “box” in which to put the “x” into, or maybe the needed “Not Applicable”; others, however, try and contain a limited narrative and force succinctness into the standardization of answers.  That is all well and good, and perhaps from a bureaucratic standpoint and perspective, the conformity of forms and the mandatory “answers within a box” makes for streamlining of paperwork.

The reality, however, is that some questions cannot be answered — and more importantly, should not — within the proposed space allocated, and so you have two (2) choices: decrease the font size in order to fit a greater substance of the narrative within the provided box, or attach a continuation sheet despite no indication in the standard forms for allowance of such cheekiness of presumptuous creativity.

How does one identify which Standard Form should be prepared and completed within the confines of standardization, and which ones should not?   First, a conceptual identification should be applied: Which ones are merely “informational” that request only singular answers, and which forms make queries that compel for narrative answers?  Once that initial, identifying bifurcation is made, then the next step is to determine whether an adequate and sufficient response can be stated within the “box” provided within the font-size allowing for regular eyesight that does not require extraordinary magnification, or if a continuation sheet is necessary.

Thus, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, certain Standard Forms are merely informational — for example, the SF 3107 series which asks for basic, factual information.  Then, of course, there is the SF 3112 series, and especially SF 31112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker under FERS, who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the greater mistake has often been to quickly annotate within the boxes provided a swift “jotting down” of the medical conditions one “feels” — as if the body parts providing temporary sensations for a given day, or even the lack thereof, will sufficiently satisfy the eligibility requirements that must be met in order to become approved for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Make no mistake about it: there can be dire legal consequences if SF 3112A is not completed properly and sufficiently.  And always remember the philosophical dictum: That which is necessary may not be necessarily sufficient, and that which is sufficient may not be sufficiently necessary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Fathoms and farthings

They are words seldom used by ordinary people, and are instead found within contexts now of limited usage except by reference to anachronistic novels and reference manuals, or perhaps in sea-faring settings where such terms are related to between seasoned old-timers in the field.

The former term refers to the unit of measurement for the depth of the ocean’s topography; the latter, a unit of currency so small as to have become obsolete by now with the inflationary course of history having relegated such amounts to irrelevancy, and ceasing to be recognized as legal tender by 1960.  Besides, it was a “foreign” currency as well, and was not a currency used in current usage within recognizable current vintage, anyway (yes, yes, a bad attempt at alliteration and a play on words).

What do they have in common?  They both measure a unit of X, of course; they are also words that have “meaning” only within certain contexts, whether of specialized oceanographic particularization or, as to the latter, within a historical context if one were writing a play, screenplay, novel or short story that included anywhere from the Victorian to the Elizabethan periods.  It is a reminder to us all that words come in and out of “meaning” and relevance based upon the context given and recognized.

Language games”, as the term Wittgenstein ascribed, retain their relevance and applicability depending upon the context of the usage adopted.

It is no different when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is thrown into a “language game” that has been ongoing for decades, but is new to the Federal or Postal employee who must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Such terms as “The Bruner Presumption”, “viable accommodation attempts”, “Persuasive legal effect of other disability ratings,” etc., come into play.  Yes, you may be able to research and understand some of the terms, but the particularization and the anachronism of such terms may come back to haunt you unless you, as the Federal or Postal employee trying to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, can fully comprehend the specialized nature of this complex process called Federal Disability Retirement.

For, like fathoms and farthings, it may be best to consult an attorney who has a long experience with such terms and usage in order to better heighten the chances of a First Stage Approval from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Witnessing the residue

Most of us merely witness the residue; the process itself, the events leading up to the conclusion, and “during” as opposed to the “after”, and all of the miniscule details that make up “in between” are invisible, ignored, unimportant or simply not thought of.  We see the “end product”, only, and that is how it should be.  We don’t have time to watch the apple tree grow from a seedling; for sausages to be made; for politics to be compromised; and for other people’s problems to fester.  And even if we did, what difference would it really make?

We assume much – that characters we see in movies made from “based on a true story” (whatever that means – and how much artistic liberty was taken with the details of such a “true story”, and what part is true and what is not?) productions went to the bathroom in between shooting at each other and becoming heroes; or that when children are seen, there was once love between the couple (although, that can turn out to be a wrong assumption where adoption or other arrangements have been made) even if the residue we witness shows only acrimony, bickering and constant arguing.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers preparing 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, “both sides” witness the residue – from the Federal Agency or Postal Service’s side, they witness the residue of a filing for a disability retirement, without knowing the long and arduous struggle that the employee had with the medical condition prior to coming to such a decision.  Or, for that matter, from the viewpoint of the supervisor or co-worker, such a decision may come as a complete surprise.

Conversely, from the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, witnessing the residue of the Federal Agency’s reaction or the co-workers and supervisors who make comments, or say anything at all, is often an interesting phenomenon for its complete lack of understanding or empathy.  They simply didn’t know, didn’t care or didn’t take the time (or all three) in showing any concern during the long struggle with the medical condition.

The key, however, in witnessing the residue, is with respect to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal Agency that reviews and makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications.  For OPM, it is important to formulate a concise narrative in answering the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  How much of the history; to what extent the minutiae and details of the past; and the precision of establishing the nexus between the medical condition and the job duties – these are all important in the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where witnessing the residue may be a void too important to neglect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Unremembered

It is a strange concept that encompasses a sequence of duality in the willfulness of the mind – first, to recall, to bring out from the cognitive closet of one’s mind, a vestige of that which was once lost.  Then, the act of the “un” – a negation which abandons that which was once rediscovered; to cast aside and set away an image, a piece of knowledge or a conceptual relic once recovered but now, with deliberative intent, to throw it back into that back room collection where things reviewed have been considered but found to be unworthy to keep in open exhibition.

Thus, there is a linear duality of sequential negations: Once known, then forgotten; remembered and thus retrieved for review, and finally in the domino of cognitive acts, to deliberately engage in the “un” – to unremember that which was once reenacted and reengaged mentally.

It is, then, a deliberate force of the will to consciously engage in an act of self-engagement, and to extinguish like a flame once rediscovered in banishment to complete darkness.  The concept itself is reflective of life’s travels, where we engage daily living and become too involved in the process of advancing in our careers, bringing up kids as best we can, and forget the enjoyment of life itself, until one day we pause, look up from the ground that keeps moving under and behind us in our rush to constantly move forward, and ask the disturbing question:  What is this all for?  Why am I doing all this?  What is the purpose of all of this?

And then we remember: that youthful exuberance where dreams once lived, now deadened in the unresuscitated state of disrepair, when the world was still but an uncultivated terrain to be explored and conquered.  Then, we saw the potential not only of what could be accomplished, but of our own roles in the betterment of society.  We had once known; then, in the busy turmoil of life, we forgot; and then again, we remembered.  Once remembered, we smile, put on a brave face and move forward again – unremembering again by sheer willpower so that we can again “do” instead of becoming stagnant in the constant ruminations of a negation that requires the final step of “un”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is keeping the Federal or Postal employee in that step preceding the final engagement of the will to “do” by being stuck in the “un” world, the next step in the sequence to move forward is to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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.

For, it is the unremembered life that gets beyond the forgetting and the retrieval, in order to get to that step beyond – especially where a medical condition is involved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Identity Theft

Concerns over “identity theft” abound in this information age where an almost unlimited trove of personal data gets transmitted through the ethereal universe of the Internet.

Certainly, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management itself should be aware of this, with the recent hacking of Social Security Numbers, birth dates, responses to security questions, etc., and their failure to protect such sensitive caches of information.  But such thievery is normally recoverable; new passwords and keywords can be changed and obtained; additional walls of security impositions can be constructed, and life can be returned to a relative level of normalcy, with mere vestiges of fading memories of inconvenience to haunt our daily lives.

There are other forms of identity thievery, however, which can be more onerous, and unrecoverable.  When an individual is stripped of his or her identity as developed over many years through hard work, dedication and loyalty to a purpose or cause, and that reputation becomes destroyed in quick order and succession resulting from circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, where is the restorative avenue for that?  To what door or office does one apply to regain the loss, and return back to a sense of normalcy?

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who are daily harassed because they suffer from a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform, any longer, the full essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or for the U.S. Postal Service, such “identity theft” of an alternate kind is well known and intimately experience.

Those multiple years of toil, dedication and loyalty to development of fine-tuned talents in order to perform one’s job with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — they become for naught, when one’s worth is so closely tied to one’s health, whether physical or psychiatric.  And so it may be time to “move on”, and this means, in all likelihood and necessity, preparing, formulating and 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.

Yes, ultimately, one’s OPM Disability Retirement application must be filed with the very same agency whose vault of personal personnel information was hacked into; but that is often the irony of life itself, where the Federal or Postal employee must knock on the very door which allowed for identity theft, in order to regain it again for a new and brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Pensive Passions

Often, truth is found in contrasting and inherently antithetical concepts; the fact that they may be contradictory in appearance, does not substantively make it so; and, instead, it is often the combined tension between the two which engenders cohesive cooperation, whether forced, mandatory, unhappily or otherwise.  Think of marriage.  Or, the productivity in moments of combative circumstances.

Does voluminous activity in the context of stagnation necessarily follow?  Or qualitative brilliance erupting from sedentary immobilization?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the thought of “moving on” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often an anathema which prevents further reflection and thoughtful engagement on the matter.  Then, when it becomes an emergency because of months, perhaps even years, of procrastination and unwillingness, then and only then does the adaptation of one’s thought process begin to coordinate the reality of future orientation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not an end, but merely a new beginning; it is not an indication of surrender, but rather an advancement towards a different future; and it is not “letting down” family, friends, coworkers or some unrealistic viewpoint concerning one’s self-image, but instead, is a recognition that priorities matter, and what is important in life must by necessity be prioritized, with health and one’s self-worth being at the top of the list.  Continuing to go to work in the drudgery of one’s medical morass, where the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service is no longer supportive of continuation in such a venue, is to remain stuck in an untenable situation.

Being pensive in the matter is to take some time to reflect; to possess passion, is that loss which once was a sense of awe in holding a jewel sparkling in regular moments during a routine of boredom, of getting up each day and looking forward to advancing one’s Federal or Postal career, but now because of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, has ceased and closed the curtain of enthusiasm.

Now, to have pensive passion is important, for it is that combination for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, which will serve him or her well in the next phase of one’s life, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire