OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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 process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: The Methodological Approach

Many call in a frenzy of confusion, admitting openly of being lost and not knowing where to begin.  That is always the starting point, as even Socrates conceded — of the hope of knowledge beginning upon a recognition of not knowing (though, if one looked carefully and scrutinized the face and eyes of the old sage, one probably gleaned a twinkle of sly naughtiness).

Philosophy began in ignorance, and from there, attempted to ascertain a methodology of approaching problems in a systematic way, in order to overcome the shortcomings of man’s frenetic inclinations.  Identifying and ascertaining a knowledge of a criteria, a system of approaching problems, and an applied methodology of solving, is the preferable way than that of plugging holes where leaks appear.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need 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, it is often necessary to formulate a sequential strategy at the outset, before embarking upon the dark abyss of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Should certain information be gathered prior to completing the standard forms?  Yes.  What forms are “central” to a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Certainly, all of them, but if timeliness is an issue and the 1-year Statute of Limitations is suddenly upon the Federal or Postal employee attempting to file, then the SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, including Schedules A, B & C, as well as SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, must all concurrently be prepared for immediate submission.

Identification of the essential as opposed to the bifurcated peripheral must be realized; compilation of the proper information, and the laws governing supplementing a Federal Disability Retirement application is essential for a successful outcome.

In the end, as it turns out, Socrates knew much more than he revealed; but the sly sage was wise enough not to engage in the solipsism of later years, like Descartes and the French Existentialists, and by recognizing that lack of knowledge and the admission of such vacuity is the first step towards wisdom, he was able to initiate the prefatory questions in the quest for knowledge in a world devoid of both.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Trinkets We Hold Dear

If value of item determines retention of possession, then few trinkets would survive the test of economic viability; but a quick perusal of one’s home will often discover large caches of sentimental liabilities strewn throughout.  What determines value, then?  Is it the monetization of an item?  Or perhaps the psychological attachment, combined with the economic forces in capitalism of supply and demand?

Real estate values soar and plummet daily, and when one considers the “high end” fluctuations where market reductions may comprise differences in the millions, one wonders about “true value” and “false valuations” of goods and services whether small or large.  If you go through your house and begin to account for the trinkets we have amassed, is it because of the monetary value attached that we continue to retain it, or the memories and golden threads of psychological ties which bind?  Is it not often the same with other issues in one’s life — of even friendships, pets and jobs?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the question one needs to ask at the outset is:  Why are we holding onto this trinket for dear life?  Is it really worth it?  At what cost?  What are the ties that bind?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is always a traumatic event; for, it is a dramatic change, often within a context of caustic and hostile circumstances.  But to remain is rarely an option; to walk away with nothing is not a wise one; so, one is often left with the best alternative possible:  to prepare, formulate and 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.

And like the trinket which holds one bound to memories of yore unblemished in their reflective delights of past warmth, they remain so, like the pitter-patter of a soft summer day’s cloudburst, stopping only to reveal the misty haze of a childhood dream.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Nature’s Purposive Divide

Teleological ascription accounts for the rational foundation behind the activity of an organism, and explains the “why”, but not that it necessarily “is” or how it came to be.  Inertia is the very opposite, or perhaps in Heidegger’s universe, the “nothingness” as opposed to “being”.  When bees swarm in a frenzy, there is a “reason” for their activity; and just as the skittishness of a herd portends a sensing of danger, so the aggregation of ants streaming back and forth from a given point normally means a food source attracting for plunder.

We may speak about these occurrences in academic and esoteric ways, but the underlying foundation to it all is actually quite simple, but not necessarily simplistic:  Nature provides for a purpose to pursue, and that is what divides the living from the inertia which surrounds us.  And the rule of Nature and the idea of teleological impulse is that, when we lose that purposive divide, we become like the non-living substance which everywhere reminds us of the corollary of life:  death, and the loss of one’s soul.

Constancy of deterioration, progressive destruction, systematic downgrading, and persistent harassment can dampen the soul; but it is ultimately the loss of Nature’s purposive divide which finally stamps out the glowing flame within one’s soul.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, unbeknownst because of the flurry of daily activity, it is often the meaningfulness of the work one engages, which provides for that teleological impulse.  When a medical condition begins to pervade, and systematically denigrate and degrade the quality of that aspect of meaningfulness, and further, when the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service constantly and persistently acts to exacerbate and rob one’s joy of the projects of life, then it is time to consider 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.

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM allows for a further teleological chance and opportunity, by first securing a lifetime annuity, then allowing for earning income in the private sector and beginning a second career or vocation.  While many may not consider the securing of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity as a meaningful endeavor for one’s financial security, it is precisely the stability of income which allows for the Federal or Postal employee to turn one’s energies upon other and more important things, and to allow for Nature’s purposive divide to propel one forth into the community of men and women who separate themselves from the mass of humanity who see drones and crestfallen vestiges of souls who once rushed where fools had remained and lost that flickering flame of teleological pull.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire