OPM Disability Retirement: Explanation & Justification

At what point does an explanation begin to sound like a justification?  Is it when it becomes apparent that there is a personal stake involved?  Does the objectivity of an explanation lose its own justification when it becomes clear that the intended explanation crosses over into an attempt to justify the personal actions or beliefs of an individual?  Can an objective explanation justify a person’s actions without appearing as a justification; and do all justifications involve a personal stake, such that it goes beyond mere explanatory exposition?

Are all justifications “merely” an explanation with a personal stake, and are all explanations ultimately a justification for someone, somewhere, about something?  Why is it that an apparent explanation that turns into an obvious justification suddenly loses its credibility and sense of objectivity?  Is credibility itself gained if a third party provides the justification for someone else, such that there is no “personal stake” involved, and does such a third party’s explanation just as quickly lose his or her credibility if there is a “personal” relationship connected with the person for whom the explanation & justification is being made?

There is certainly a fine line between an explanation and a justification, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option to choose from — and, when completing the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it is well to keep in mind the distinction between “explanation” and “justification”.

Always keep in mind the words of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Explanation on SF 3112A is good; explanation that begins to bleed of justification may raise some red flags.  To mitigate the distinction between the two, the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to lend credence to an objective approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Foregone conclusions

There are many; some, within the universe of a greater subset, are perennial by nature, and can never be altered but for some miracle yet to be considered (like the fact that the Baltimore Orioles will have ended its season sometime by early June of each year); others, of a more generic knowledge, assumed and forever predictable, ever to be presumed as a law of nature (as in, somewhere in the world a war will be started within the next year, or that a child will be born, or even that a medical condition will impact someone, somewhere).

Foregone conclusions are tidbits of knowledge gained from experience of life; and where the cynic will declare that they establish the circularity of repetitive reality that cannot be avoided or ignored, the idealist will counter that miracles and exceptions may yet prove otherwise such that what was presumed to be a conclusion is never foregone but merely imagined.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who harbor thoughts of foregone conclusions based upon the deteriorating health of one’s present circumstances — that you will be “fired”; that the PIP imposed will inevitably lead to termination; that filing 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 will be defeated by one’s own Agency or the U.S. Postal Service — remember that it is up to the sole determination of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and not one’s Agency or the Postmaster of one’s Postal Facility.

All Federal and Postal Disability Retirement applications are submitted to OPM, and one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Service can only have limited influence upon the viability and persuasive effect of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Where there is a will to fight and an objective basis in which to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is never a foregone conclusion that there is not a chance for a successful outcome.

Now, as for those Orioles’ fans who think that there is hope for next year…well, you must truly be an idealist to avoid the foregone conclusion that, yes, the sun will rise again tomorrow, and set yet again later, but a season’s end that began in early May is not a great indicator of next year’s beginning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Employee Medical Disability Program: Potluck

It is where everyone –  family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and even those who don’t want to, but feel the pull of obligation by the sheer weight of embarrassment or shame – brings a dish of something to the occasion, gathering or congregation of confluence.  That is both the rub and the drub, isn’t it?  We never know what is brought to the event; and for some, slinking in unnoticed with empty hands, and once there, who asks what the contents of the contribution consisted of – which can easily be dismissed, in any event, with an inane response of, “Oh, this and that, you know,” and walk away knowing that good manners will prevent any further query of suspicion.

There are always three elements (just three?) to the concept of a “potluck” meal:  (1) If sufficient numbers are invited, the likelihood of a grand and satisfying feast will aggregate (of course, the better preparedness would assign various categories to each invitation – i.e., invitees “a” through “d” brings entrees; “e” through “k” desserts; “l” through “r” side servings, etc.), (2) While some overlap and duplication might occur, the statistical chances are that a wide variety of random amalgamation will be the result, and (3) the greater the participation, the higher statistical chance of success.

It is of this last element that applies to Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, regardless of whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, it is the “other side” of the shotgun approach – of allowing for multiple input, various hands and uncoordinated resources, that implodes with an inconsistency of strategic focus.

Medical conditions are interruptive enough; the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, often results in a parallel inability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

That being said, “help” and “assistance” of the non-legal type may come from spouses, family and friends –  voices which neither know the pain of the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, nor are familiar with the legal pitfalls and consequences attending to each procedural and substantive step of the process.  “Help” is always a “good” thing; but in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “potluck approach” may be the least desirable of methodologies to engage – unless you simply want a good and hearty meal in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirements: The Cynic’s Tavern

It occupies a dilapidated building on the edge of town.  The sign that once overhung the entrance is faded and barely noticeable; but, then, the patrons who enjoy the end-of-workday glass or the occasional wanderer who mistakes the place for the origins of exotic mixtures need not a neon of invitation, but merely a marker that beckons.  Laughter is allowed; speaking is optional; rude behavior is not tolerated.  Silence is golden.  People go to the place of drink and merriment because it lacks the pretentiousness of the world outside; and the large man with a stubble of a week’s shade serves with nary a word, and respects the look of fatigue and demeanor of defeat foreshadowing the heavy sigh accompanying the hunched shoulders of the breathless customer.

The Cynic’s Tavern is the place where old men gather, young men and women cluster, and those somewhere in between loiter.  The younger ones have not yet been tainted by life’s travails, and hopeful dreams still clutter the naïve souls of untouched innocence; the one’s who have moved through some years of agony, still retain a glint of smiling faith; but it is the elders of the universe who sit at the bar and despair of lives wasted, wars endured and years forgotten but for the joys of friendship and solitude.

Cynicism is like a virus infecting a town’s essence; it destroys by incremental advances of insidious fatefulness, and never returns the gift of life once gained but lost forever.  If it has not yet prevailed, then wait a few years; life itself guarantees it, as fairytales of beauty, essences of love and mythological lands embracing inclusion and empathy, exist only in the minds of children, the duped or the meandering demented of society’s wasteland.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to fight against joining the Cynic’s Tavern, the issue is often one of withstanding and withholding for so long, until succumbing is merely a matter of time.  If the daily harassment, deteriorating health and constant detours down the alley of worsening conditions has led to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, then it is time to take the next step and formulate the proper and most efficient strategy in order to increase the chances of an approval before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is one thing to enter through the doors of the Cynic’s Tavern for an occasional drink; it is quite another to find one’s seat there warmed by the constant occupation of one’s unmoved derriere.  The best antidote to prevent or curtail cynicism is to keep moving; otherwise, the stale drink and smoke-filled room will ultimately become a part of one’s vacant stare into a future less hopeful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The wrong target

What if you are involved in the highest levels of competitive marksmanship – say, target shooting by a rifle, or crossbow, or bow and arrow, or even by a pistol.  You shot throughout the morning, and hit the bulls eye every time; your opponents try to keep up with you, but at each level of competition, there is a slight deviation here, a centimeter there, and systematically, the competition is “eliminated”, and you are left standing at the podium of the “winner”.

As the trophy is brought out, the Chief Judge who is about to present the awards and ceremonial crown, pauses, reflects for a moment, and declares:  “Sorry, but it turns out that you were shooting at the wrong target each time.”  They then present the accolades to the “runner up”, who was shooting on the same range, aiming at each turn at the target set up in his or her respective lane of sightings, and seemed to follow the protocol as set up by the competition and the committee of judges.

You go and question the judgment of the judges, and especially address the Chief Judge, protesting:  “What do you mean?  I shot at the target that was set up.”  “But you shot at the wrong target.  Your target was the one in the lane next to you.  You shot in Lane A; you were supposed to be in Lane B”.  And you argue:  “But that is irrelevant.  Lane A is the same as Lane B, and there is no difference between the two.”  And the Chief Judge says:  “Look at your designated Card Assignment:  It states without question, ‘Assigned to Lane A’.  Yet, you shot all targets in Lane B”.  You persist in arguing:  “But what difference does it make?  It is the same target whether I am in Lane A or Lane B?”  And the kicker from the Chief Judge:  “In life, you can’t just do what you want; you have to obey the rules.”

Who is right?  Would it matter which lane one is assigned to, and whether obedience to the protocol and adherence to the “letter of the law” is followed, when the substantive point of the whole process – hitting the target – is clearly accomplished beyond the competence of all others?  We often encounter that anomaly in life – of the seeming conflict between the technicality of the issue (the “minutiae” otherwise unnoticed by the rest of the population) and the general adherence based upon common knowledge and boredom of repetitive protocol.  It may well be a trite redundancy, but when a “technicality” is involved, then a technician is the one to call.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of the “wrong target” and the “technical violation” of the rules is appropriate to recognize and consider:  For, in Federal Disability Retirement Law, as in many other facets of legal wrangling, making sure that the larger compass of hitting the “right” target, as well as keeping within the proper lane of technical legal issues, are both equally important in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “wrong target” is the agency; the “right target” is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The “technicalities” encompass the statutes, laws, regulations and legal opinions as rendered by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Courts on issues pertaining to Federal Disability Laws litigated as precedents.  And, who is the proper “technician” to call?  An attorney who is experienced in fighting the cause for Federal and Postal employees, to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Private thoughts, public offerings

The bifurcation of human contemplation can take many forms, and rarely do they conflict with each other, unless the former is involuntarily injected into the cauldron of the latter.  One can hold private thoughts contrary to one’s public image; and the public self can contradict the private soul without a condemnation of hypocrisy, so long as the two are never manifested as unconcealed revelations of surprised protocols.

We suspect that exacting consistency between the former and latter has never existed in the history of mankind – beginning with the dawn of hunters who trembled with an inner fear so violent that want of flight was paused only by the shame that would prevail at the tribal dance where bravery, conquest and manhood are celebrated; or in more “civilized” settings when socialites raised eyebrows upon behaviors deemed uncouth and agrarian, where divisions of social consciousness resulted from the miscreant amassing of wealth previously unknown.

Can resentment be concealed in a long-enduring marriage, or fear of death be tightly coiled within the heart of a warrior?  The samurai who gave his fearless allegiance to the daimyo, who in turn swore body and soul to the Shogun – did they avert the openness of their trembling by dispensing favors and accolades to the underlings who disseminated the fearsome bloodlettings?  And what of politicians today – the acceptability of having a “private belief” contrary to the “public stance” – do they constitute a hypocrisy, or an acceptable division of setting aside personal feelings for the greater good in public service?

Often, the misguided confusion arising between a conflict of contrasting private thoughts and public offerings, is just that:  We fail to contemplate the ends thought, and mix the means for motives untold, and in the muddle of such a conundrum of confusion, think that it reflects upon the meanness of our own souls, without recognizing that human frailty must always allow for a bit of good humor, if we are to survive the self-flagellation of our inner desires.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers have this same problem – of fealty and loyalty to a Federal daimyo or Postal Shogunate without considering the misguided and irrational basis of such compelling inconsistency.  The thought that loyalty to an agency or fealty to the Postal Service must continue despite hostility and abuse perpetrated merely for suffering from a medical condition brought on through no fault of the Postal worker or Federal employee, is tantamount to the bifurcation between private thoughts and public offerings:  publicly, in the company of coworkers, supervisors and managers, the smile of contentment and membership in the agency’s team spirit must be on full display; privately, the suspicions and paranoia mount because of the workplace hostility engaged by others.

Betrayal itself is often a misguided embracing of a blind trust; you cannot betray those who have already undermined your every turn.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a very private matter, precisely because it involves the most private of information – one’s medical condition and the records which reveal the intimate and private details of it all.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s own Agency or H.R. Department, then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a “public” act in many ways, and it is that act alone which often makes one pause.  But this is where the “rub” must be faced:  In order to access a public right (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits), some extent of the private information (the medical condition; doctor’s narratives, office and treatment notes, etc.) must be “offered”.  Yes, it is a difficult decision – but one which must be faced in order to get beyond the private hell within the cauldron of the public hostility and workplace harassment which will only continue until an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is approved by OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire