Federal Employee Disability Information: The shaken confidence

Tree limbs can be shaken; hands can shake, evidencing some agreement or initial salutation of a wordless sort, or even accompanied by some utterances; and the earth can shake as the subterranean tectonic shifts invisible and otherwise unnoticed, which then can result in tsunamis and other natural disasters.

The shaken confidence can take many forms; and the forms themselves cannot so easily be identified.  It presumes, first of all, that there was “confidence” to begin with, lest that which is shaken could not possibly have occurred unless it preexisted the loss of it.  Yet, too often, the evidence of its very existence is merely the lack of any contrary characteristic — i.e., a negation that fails to manifest existence and thus cannot actually be proven.  Of a person who walks about without any noticeable trace of lack — do we say of him or her, “He has confidence’?  Or is it just the one who has an overabundance of it, who struts around like a proud peacock or a rooster who takes no guff of whom we attribute “overconfidence’?

In normal discourse we just assume that, unless there are indications to the contrary, everyone who stands and walks amidst and among us possess some level of “confidence” or, in more particularized form, of “self-confidence”.  What are the events or issues that “shake” it, and what can an attribution of such an event mean?  Perhaps it is triggered by some tragic source — a trauma of a very personal nature, of death or an accident, perhaps; or can it be by mere utterance of words, of a berating boss or an insensitive spouse?  Or, how about a realization that one’s presumed immortality is simply not so?

None of us believe in immortality — at least, not in the sense that we will live forever walking about this earth.  Yet, until an event “reminds” us of our mortality, we take it for granted that life goes on as the day before, and the day before that; and so the concept of immortality resides by avoidance or ignorance, until something “reminds” us that, indeed, mortality is the nature of life, and flesh is by each instance and in incremental subtlety progressively deteriorating within the microscopic cells of slow degeneration.  And of a medical condition — can it be the source of the shaken confidence?

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 — the shaken confidence resulting from the progressively deteriorating medical condition is just as real as the earth that trembles and groans from tectonic shifts that moves and crumbles the structural integrity of high engineering feats.

Federal Disability Retirement is often not a choice made in confidence, but from a lack thereof; for, a medical condition cannot be viewed within a vacuum of a mere diagnosis that can be surgically extracted; rather, a medical condition is a sequence of aggregated tragedies — of the medical condition itself; the symptoms which result; the impact upon one’s personal and professional life; of the effect upon family and friends; of the triggers upon one’s psyche as well as the physical pain and mental anguish experienced.

In short, the shaken confidence of the one who used to walk about the earth as if you owned it, and 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 simply the first step in regaining that “shaken confidence” that was once a day before in a time now long forgotten presumed to have always been there.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 — the “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Indomitable Spirit of Pursuit

Preparation in pursuit of an endeavor should always embrace an uncompromising resolve to see it through to the end.  Such an attitude is quite different, and distinguishable, from mere stubbornness when the facts faced or the odds stacked clearly and convincingly manifest an inevitable defeat.  The former attitude prepares one to refuse succumbing to the innate fear and weakness inherently existent in us all; the latter, a failure of recognition beyond rational discourse and comprised of an obsessive impulse contrary to good form.

People often think that rationality encompasses merely the capacity to acknowledge a superior logical discourse, when it fact it must by necessity involve two further steps:  (A) the ability to recognize the weaker argument of the two, and (B) a willingness to accept that one’s own voice may not be the source of utterance of the stronger argument, and to accept and exchange the weaker for the stronger.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the disadvantage is of the weakened state, either physically or psychologically, that the Federal or Postal employee is in, throughout the process.

The calculus of the medical condition itself in factoring in one’s resolve, should never be underestimated.  The change of circumstances, the fall from grace in the eyes of one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the need to maintain health insurance, financial stability, etc. — all play to weaken the resolve of the Federal or Postal employee who pursues Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And, of course, OPM also knows this, and plays upon the knowledge that they hold all of the cards in a metaphorical poker game, and by waiting, may outlast the stubborn and the strong alike.

It is because of this that the Federal and Postal employee who decides that applying for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity through OPM is the best course of action, must retain throughout an indomitable spirit of pursuit, in order to counter the Leviathan-like capacity for oppositional dominance possessed by the adversary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: How Does One Know the Age?

It cannot be by counting wrinkles, or the number of gray hairs; for, some people never develop them, and in any event, new methodologies of plastic surgery, hair dyes and other cosmetic creativities can easily override such superficial eruptions of telltale signs.  Photographs can no longer be evidence of aging, for airbrushing and digital modifications can dispense with such irritating characteristics.

But when there is a personal encounter, how can one judge, and fairly and accurately assess?  Is it the eyes?  That “window to one’s soul” — does it reveal a depth of depravity over time, such that the hollowness revealed in innocence at an early age is replaced by a coldness and cynicism of reflective hurts?  And of the greater age — of this epoch, the generation and historicity of time; how does one know it, too?  Older generations tend to cling to the past, and it is through that prism of past time that the present is viewed, the future foreseen; but does such a perspective differ from those who are young and never experienced the discomfort of lack? And medical conditions and their impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue a career — how does one know?  The subtlety of warnings can be non-decipherable when asked to describe in words.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is fairly early on that one has a sense of where one’s career will be going.  Doctors can talk about surgical intervention and medical regimens and their supposed efficacy in treating a condition; but in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition itself, knows in one’s proverbial “heart of hearts” whether the Federal or Postal employee will be able to continue in one’s career.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a process which is daunting, and thereby delay of diligence is often a factor which is merely engaged despite having known for some time.  It is like guessing the age — whether of another person, or of the historicity of being a stranger in a strange land — it is the subtlety of telltale signs which reveals the future course of an already-determined process of inevitability.  And like aging itself, the fight we pretend to engage is merely an act of futility, and we know it; we just don’t want to look in the mirror and face it, lest those lines of time show us who we are, what we did, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Form and Content

The complexity of the administrative procedure generally identified as “OPM Disability Retirement” is one replete with complicated forms to complete, sequence of procedures which are often confusing, and content of conundrums, followed by wait times which are frustrating, at best.

The spectrum of problems and concerns which arise throughout the process can be daunting and overwhelming. For the Federal employee or the Postal worker who suffers from a chronic medical condition, such that chronic pain, profound fatigue, the high distractibility from pain and discomfort; the impact upon one’s focus, concentration, and capacity to be attentive; with features of variegated residuals from chronic migraine headaches; or perhaps the psychiatric impact of symptoms from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder, etc. — the balance of life which one must maintain, with the demands of work or the loss of such capacity to work, combined with the added pressures inherent in the preparation and completion of a Federal Disability Retirement application, can in their compound aggregate, be paralyzing.

The Standard Forms themselves can be confusing, puzzling and the complexity of the requirements can have a procrastinating effect upon the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing. The content of what needs to be stated, what should be included, what meets the legal requirement for eligibility for a Federal Disability Retirement application — all together can be the basis for a successful application or a failed endeavor from the start. Standard Form 3112 involves both the applicant (the Federal employee and the Postal worker) as well as the agency. SF 3107 (for those under FERS) and SF 2801 (for those under CSRS) also require involvement by both the agency and the applicant, but are more informational than perspective/opinion-oriented. But both sets of forms must be completed.

Form and content comprise the crux of everything in life, from simple organic compounds to complex bureaucratic procedures. It is the dualism which constitutes the core of life’s mysteries, and this is no less true in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS & CSRS disability retirement benefits through OPM, whether one is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Informational OPM Forms (SF 3107) versus Specific Content OPM Forms (SF 3112)

Categories are important in order to properly bifurcate, distinguish, identify and comprehend for effective satisfaction and completion. If such differentiated distinctions are not clearly understood, one can easily be lulled into responding to a specific-content question as if it is merely “informational” in nature.

Thus, for the Postal and Federal employee who is formulating responses to Standard Forms for purposes of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, the sequence of preparing for completion in providing satisfactory answers is important.

OPM form SF 3107 (the “SF” stands for “standard form”) requests basic, factual information data, such as the applicant’s name, address, agency information, marital status, whether and to what extent one wants to elect survivor’s benefits, etc. The accompanying form, Schedules A, B & C, requests further information regarding military service, whether time in the military was bought back, as well as any OWCP claims previously or currently submitted or received, etc.

Then, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, again whether one is under FERS or CSRS, the accompanying SF 3112 series must be completed and filed. One’s mental status and intellectual antenna, however, should immediately be placed on high alert when encountering and engaging the SF 3112 series of OPM forms. For, in this series of Standard Forms (SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D & SF 3112E), the distinguishing features should become immediately self-evident by the very nature of the questions queried. No longer are the forms merely requesting basic information; rather, interpretive considerations must be thoughtfully engaged.

Questions concerning one’s medical conditions; what medical conditions will be considered; whether one can later supplement the listing of medical conditions if further medical developments arise; whether there is room on the form itself for a full description and, if not, can a continuation of the form be attached; the impact upon the essential elements of one’s positional duties; what those essential elements are; and multiple other similar conundrums suddenly become presented, necessitating the switch from mere “information” to one of “specific content” directed by the change in the series of OPM forms from SF 3107 to SF 3112.

Paradigm shifts were made famous by Thomas Kuhn in his historically important work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It is no less important to recognize that a paradigm shift is equally important in completing OPM Disability Retirement forms. While there is no book which guides the Federal or Postal employee, such as, “The Structure of Form-Filling Revolutions”, the identification and recognition that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits requires an acuity of mind in filling out OPM forms, is an important step in reaching a successful outcome.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

SF 3112

Standard Forms are a necessary part of life. Bureaucracies streamline for efficiency of services; the question of whether such efficiency is for the benefit of an applicant to a Federal agency, or to ease the workload of the agency and its employees, is ultimately a fatuous question: as common parlance would sigh with resignation, “it is what it is”.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts and ultimately prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, will be a requirement which will include completing OPM application forms. There will be the SF 3107 series of forms, as well as the SF 3112 forms. Such forms request a tremendous amount of information, both personal and of a very confidential nature.

The justification for requesting such information by the agency which will review such forms (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the later stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but initially through one’s own agency, including the Human Resource Office of the agency for which the Federal or Postal employee works, as well as the Supervisor of the applicant who is applying for Federal Disability benefits), is based upon a two-folded approach: The applicant who voluntarily applies for Federal Disability benefits is required to provide such information in order to prove eligibility, and such voluntariness justifies the request itself; and, secondly, there is a “need to know” such information in order to properly assess such information, based upon a preponderance of the evidence. Beyond the SF 3107 forms, the SF 3112 forms will ask for detailed information on the most personal of issues: One’s medical conditions and the impact upon employment capabilities and daily living issues; request of the Supervisor information concerning work performance; ask of the agency to assess and evaluate any capability for accommodating a medical condition; and a similar multitude of onerous, prying questions.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will require much of the Federal and Postal employee seeking a medical retirement annuity, in the very forms which allegedly “streamline” the process, and these will necessarily include SF 3107 forms and SF 3112 forms. In the end, however, when weighed comparatively against one’s health and the need to move on to a less stressful environment, the price one must pay is relatively cheap when considering the high cost of continuing in the same vein.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire