Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Disability Retirement: Off on a Tangent

It can be done inadvertently, without malice, and often unintentionally — and so long as one remains within the insular world of language, no harm occurs in most instances, in most circumstances.

Of course, to literally go off on a tangent — if you are walking in the wilderness without a compass; out in the deep sea in a small skiff; wandering about in a neighborhood known for drive-by shootings — can be quite another thing.

But for the most part, when we say that “So-and-so often goes off on a tangent” or “Sally has a tendency to go off on tangents”, we merely mean that the focus of the conversation, the content of the primary narrative, the point of the lecture being given, etc., the central idea, theme or point of someone’s statement, discussion “talk”, etc. is being waylaid by some divergent, often irrelevant side-show.

It is like a movie badly edited — you know, those scenes which often are “extras” which were taken out because of time-constraints or creative doubt as to their relevance to the story.  Or, sometimes people go off on tangents for a reason — deliberately and with intent — as when you want to divert the focus of the narrative away from the main point, precisely because the main point is not a very strong one to begin with.

In a Federal Disability Retirement case, this can happen on both sides — from OPM’s side, going off on a tangent can mean that they do not want to focus upon the medical reports and records, but instead want to deny you based upon tangential issues of performance ratings, conducts issues, accommodation offers, etc., as opposed to focusing upon the main point of a Federal Disability Retirement application: Your medical conditions.  Or, from the perspective of the applicant — the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits — of irrelevant background, or on issues which may actually weaken and harm a case.

Contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and make sure that you remain focused on the centrality of the multi-faceted issues presented in a Federal Disability Retirement case, and not on irrelevant issues by going off on a tangent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer specializing exclusively on Federal Disability Retirement Law

 

Federal Employee’s Medical Retirement: A Perspective on Truth

The traditional philosophical arguments surrounding the nature of Truth, the “battle” between “Absolute Truth” and “Pure Relativism”, etc., are too often simplified and reduced to sloganeering and shouting matches which end up being nothing more than accusations as to whether one believes in a Higher Order of Being — or not.  Yet, it is often a perspective upon appearances which determines the “truth” of a statement.

Plato pointed this out in reference to the three towers in the distance; if seen from one direction, they appear to be only one; if seen from another, they constitute 3 distinct objects.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in denying a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, takes a similar perspective on truth.  They will take each medical condition cited, isolate each and minimize the impact of the separated medical conditions upon one’s ability or inability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, and by approaching the “truth” this way, can purport to make your case appear “as if” you never had any case at all.

Now, some might critically argue that such an approach is “disingenuous” (i.e., somewhat akin to the “absolutist” argument), while others merely view this as “clever” (i.e., akin to the “relativists”).  The point of OPM’s approach is to make you believe that you never had a chance to begin with, and to have you go away without filing for Reconsideration, thus reducing their caseload by a numerical insignificance until multiplied by an exponential factor of greater percentages.

The way to counter OPM’s argument?  To identify their approach and counter it with a different, more powerful perspective on truth — by further medical documentation and more powerful legal argumentation which makes OPM’s argument impotent and irrelevant.

For, in the end, a perspective on truth must be countered by proposing an alternative perspective on truth — of showing that the three-towers-in-one is a mere illusion and a trick of the eye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Consider the Alternatives

In making any decision, it is always important that one consider the alternatives available.  It is the decision made in isolation — of contending with thoughts, fears and misinformation within a vacuum of not knowing — that often results in disastrous decisions made without consulting and considering the alternatives available.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where that 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 choices are often stark and clear: Stay at a job or career which is no longer sustainable, and where the Agency will increasingly harass and punitively initiate actions in an effort to remove you; resign and walk away with nothing; or, in the best alternative available, file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Sometimes, of course, the “unexpected” alternative can occur: For example, a person who has filed for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is offered a reassignment that is both acceptable and accommodating to one’s medical condition, and continuation in the Federal Workforce is thus possible.  In most instances, however, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is “The” alternative, and the only viable one available, but even such an alternative must be considered carefully in light of the existing laws, the potentiality for problems to be encountered, and the resistance met by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the multiple and varied reasons that OPM bases its denials upon.

Considering the alternatives is not just a matter of whether and when to file, but to be cognizant of the difficulties ahead in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and in order to do that, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Past Upon Present

The guru dressed in flowing white garb may claim that the past is a fiction; those various “self-help” books will often declare that time is merely a continuum where we can only control that which is in the immediacy of our presence; and various philosophers have stated that the relativity of time must always be seen from the perspective of the “now”.

There is no doubt, however, that in the practical work-world, the past remains within the purview of haunting consequences.  Whether of youthful indiscretions or a darker past of substantial historical relevance more than a mere raising of one’s eyebrow, past performance is often used as an indicator of present behavior and conduct.  If a person has been convicted of embezzlement, does one consider that past in hiring practices for positions of responsibility — especially where money is involved?

Those who wave off the relevance of such considerations simply do not live in the real world.  We cannot avoid our past anymore than others will ignore it.  And so it is in Federal Disability Retirement Law, where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often place undue weight upon Performance Appraisals, cash bonus issues and whether there have been any deficiencies in performance, conduct or attendance in assessing and evaluating a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before initiating a process where your past may not be your best friend or, even if it is, whether you may yet be stabbed in the back — metaphorically speaking, of course.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire