OPM Medical Disability for Federal and Postal Employees: Comparisons

Does it help to make them?  Do we take comfort in judging the relative plusses and minuses in making comparisons — as in, X has A, B and C, but I have, in addition, D and E, and therefore I am more fortunate that X is.  Or, is it a comparison of one’s conditions, as in: “Boy, at least I don’t have X like Lisa does”, or “At least I am not in Y’s situation”?

To the extent that comparisons remind us of that which we are blessed with, they allow for a certain level of utilitarian value.  But there is a negative side to it: Of jealousy engendered by comparison, or of discontent resulting from making one.  Rousseau, of course, makes that point throughout his “Social Contract” analysis, of the purity of man’s intentions in that fictional state of “nature” that we were once in, but where society’s accretions of materialism created the artificial emotional response of discontent and jealousy.  But compared to what?

It is important to make the fair and correlative comparisons which are relevant — as in “apples to apples” and not “apples to oranges”.  For, it is the uniqueness of each entity, object or situation to be compared with the singularity of another that makes for a proper comparison.

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 inadvisable to compare one’s case to somebody else’s.  For, the proper comparison is not to evaluate one’s medical condition and the severity of one’s medical condition to that of another person’s medical condition; rather, the proper comparison in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to compare one’s medical condition to the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, comparisons made must always take into account the relevant connections which relate not just in terms of similarities, but as is the case in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in what the law allows for and considers significant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Of empty promises

What is a promise? Is it binding, and if so, what makes it binding?  Does a written acknowledgment, a memorandum of understand or a memorialization of promises made and assurances conveyed, make a bit of difference?  Why are “eternal” promises so much easier to violate – is it because, as finite human beings, “everyone knows” anyway that we never meant to keep such stipulations made before gods, angels and other sanctified entities?

What about empty promises – those that we know are suspect to begin with, but in a drunken state of euphoria, deliver them with purportedly serious aplomb and regurgitate without hesitation before ceremony and sanctimony coalesce to delightful sounds of quietude where the backside covers the crossed fingers in a crucifix of humor and denial?  Disdain originates from a plenitude of broken promises; and the incremental unease which develops into the angst of quiet fury, directed with a despair permeated upon decay of conscience.

In a time before, when a person’s word needed not a written memorialization; when a handshake solidified unspoken words with a mere nod; and when language stood stalwart against the disputatious sophistry of linguistic gymnasts; by contrast, today we have a population of experienced betrayals, where everyone mistrusts and no one accepts at face value.  Is this merely a reflection of wisdom matured, or of cynicism run amok?  What do we teach our children – to trust selectively, to never accept the words as spoken, or to remain as innocent lambs on the road to the slaughterhouse?

We of this generation know of empty promises and broken dreams, and the sad part of it is, such dismay is based in reality.  Of Prozac, anxiety and childhood despair, there is no replacement of virtue in doing what “feels good” or changing mates as often as we do our underwear.  But, then, we cannot be too judgmental, these days, lest we offend our counterparts and crack the mirror which reflects our own hypocrisy.

And what of Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers?  They have also felt the brunt of empty promises.  This was supposed to be the dawn of a new age, where workers would be treated with respect and dignity, and when a medical condition or a disability intervened, the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service would “accommodate” the medical condition.  But old habits die hard, and one must always be suspicious that there is a genetic code of ingrained darkness in the core of humanity.

Thus, fortunately, we still have laws which protect against such empty promises – like those pesky laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits, protecting Federal and Postal workers from simply terminating a Federal or Postal worker who suddenly cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, because of the onset of a medical condition.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is one way of ensuring that empty promises made, and left unfulfilled, may yet be salvaged by filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

Just a thought, though empty it may well be, like promises left in the silence of a singularly occupied room, uttered to no one in particular, and heard by everyone in muted valleys of numbed acquiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Process of Decision-Making

As has been previously stated in repetitive fashion, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to understand and acknowledge the duality of the process — for it is a process, as opposed to a singular event, both as an administrative legal issue, as well as for the individual Federal or Postal employee in a personal sense.

To clarify:  As an administrative issue, it is a process which involves multiples stages of argumentation (potentially).  Yes, it would be nice if every case was decided with an approval at the First/Initial Stage of the administrative process; however, there is a purpose and a reason why there are multiple stages.  It is precisely because it was anticipated that there would be denials and appeals to such denials, that an administrative procedure for multiple stages of review and further submissions of evidence and arguments was constructed and implemented.  It is not an entitlement pursuant to a fixed date, a fixed age, or a triggering event.  Rather, it is an administrative process which must be proven, applied for, and affirmatively shown that one is eligible.

From the personal perspective of the Federal or Postal employee, the decision of “when” to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also a process, as opposed to a singular event.  There are, of course, cases where a traumatic injury or life-changing accident occurred, and such an event is the triggering moment for filing.  But for most Federal or Postal employees, the medical condition suffered is a progressively deteriorating process, and it is often difficult to determine a “date certain” where one can point to on a calendar and state, this is the day and hour when I cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of my job.

This is why there is an inherent complexity to a process, as opposed to a singular event of certitude — for, it is always the unknown and the uncertain which gives rise to the anxieties of life, and a process is indeed a period of the unknown, and a chasm of uncertainty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Removal and/or Retirement from Federal Position: The cultivated soul

The loss in Western Civilization of the pursuance of Truth (note the capitalization of the term, in contradistinction from the mundane daily tropes of common factual observations, such as the classic example of pointing to an object and making a declarative utterance, for purely identification’s sake) has resulted in a vacuum of sorts; the consequences reverberate by group identification and causes aggregated based upon preference and subjective elevation of all things decadent.

No one ever talks about the angels of yore; or of the priority of character, and whether the intellect should rule, the appetitive would be subjugated, and the passions controlled.  All animals have equal rights (or so my dogs always believed, anyway, as if there was ever any question in the household); and the human species no longer retains the lofty position once held, where angels sometimes visited and the gods would intervene in playful fits with fated concubines.

The very idea of a cultivated soul once meant something; now, replacements arrive daily in doses of self-improvement programs, soothing the egos of hurt childhoods and health combines where metamorphosis no longer connotes Kafka’s transformational metaphor of a tortured essence of humanity, but merely the mundane wants and fantasies of stardom and being able to be accepted into the superficial realm of the “beautiful” set.

Kardashian and Kanye aside, the great multitude of goals set, priorities garnered, and teleological ends met, no longer includes the antiquated construct of the cultivated soul.  We certainly continue to give lipservice to such latent antiquities; of how education is all important (though the focus is merely upon the ends — of grades and padding of resumes, as opposed to the substantive content of one’s character); and of becoming a “responsible adult” with independence and empathy of character remaining a striving purpose of life itself (despite the ballooning debt and deteriorating economy which undermines all such youthful goals).

Where did that voice go, vanished and vanquished in the shattered inner self where the quiet reflection once persuaded and convinced us all that the hidden worth of a human being could still rise from the ashes of a regenerated Phoenix, when gods still protected and the shriveled remains of a tortured goblin would scurry away into the far corners of an empty universe?  The cultivated soul always needed time; it required reflection, solitude, and a peaceful self-assurance that the coming days would produce a moment of relapse into the timeless carriages of a rhythmic ride through life’s trials and travails.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of a cultivated soul may be of a distance beyond a bridge too far.  Pain, agony; cognitive dysfunctions and progressive deterioration; these are the daily hallmarks for the Federal or Postal employee in the present circumstances and currency of today’s slice of life.  But that is precisely why it is important to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, whether the rest of the world recognizes the sustaining force of Truth in a world condoned by Falsity, the objective world still recognizes that the true essence of the human species will always reverberate amidst the cultivated souls, and to attain and achieve that end, one must first get beyond the medical condition suffered, and begin the steps taken towards a plateau of living where health has been achieved, and the quietude of a contemplative moment may yet be grasped.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire