Federal Disability Retirement Law: Sound legal arguments

Arguments in general share a characteristic within the more limited field of those involving legal issues: soundness is based upon factors involving coherence, cogency, consistency and the application of the rules of propositional logic.  The latter — of propositional logic — can get lost in general arguments when they become wrapped in multiple compound statements, shouted with ardor and passion, and conveyed with a sense of unequivocal belief as to one’s “rightness” and doubtless self-righteousness.

Propositional logic within the field of legal argumentation, however, takes on a more limited and restrictive nature, for it normally is contained by the text of legal opinions and cases that have a value of precedence.  The “soundness” or its antonym — of an “unsound legal argument” — largely depends upon how much the legal practitioner will “stretch” the foundational apparatus involved: the analogical arguments used in citing legal precedents.

Future legal opinions — those evolving from the very attempts by lawyers to stretch those precedents into areas heretofore disallowed — are based upon the persuasive propositional logic argued at the appellate level, and even in the various stages of an OPM Disability Retirement case.  On an informal level, of course, one will want to cite legal precedents to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at the first two stages of the process — at the Initial Stage of the OPM Disability Retirement process, as well as the Second, “Reconsideration” Stage.

At both levels, sound legal argumentation should be employed — by “sound”, meaning that the basic and well-known legal precedents should be cited involving what constitutes meeting the burden of proof in a Federal Disability Retirement application; what meets the legal requirements of an “accommodation”; the importance of medical evidence and the criteria that must be applied in assessing and evaluating the content and substance of the medical evidence presented; as well as the foundational basis of “sound” legal cases which delineate, in a persuasive manner, the compendium of evidentiary documentation which comprises one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

At the “Third Level” of the process, of course — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (or more familiarly known as the “MSPB”) — one must take extra care in presenting sound legal arguments, because there, an Administrative Law Judge will be attuned to the “stretching” and “extension-attempting” arguments that citation of legal precedents may pose, and the “soundness” of one’s knowledge of “the law” is often a prerequisite in even trying to make one’s case before such an Administrative Law Judge.

For, in the end, sound legal arguments are not too dissimilar from arguments sound or unsound in general; they just require an extra component of legal training allowed that involves the proper and effective use and application of arguments by analogy based upon case-law precedents.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Claims: Hanging on a contingency

The metaphorical image representing such a phrase allows one to pause and reflect: the dichotomy between the physical world and the conceptual one — of a person “hanging”, as from a cliff, with his fingers turning white from gripping the tenuous life-line of a flimsy branch, a loose boulder or an outstretched hand of another; and of the technical term that possesses meaningful discourse only in a purely theoretical universe of conceptual constructs — denoting the idea of a future event or circumstance that cannot be relied upon with certainty, but may trigger a series of consequential future contingencies or further occurrences, etc.

Thus does the physical and the conceptual come together in an aggregation of a compound conceptual construct that may connote thus: You are in a tenuous situation where your physical well-being is dependent upon a future uncertainty that may result in events that may or may not yet happen.

Such a conditional circumstance is often how the Federal or Postal employee feels, who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may result in the necessity of 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.  For, it is indeed the “physical” part of the entire event — the medical condition itself — which makes one feel “as if” one is dangling from the edge of a cliff.

And it is the “contingency” — the uncertain triggering mechanism, such as the anticipated adverse reaction of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the tenuous reliance upon a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment; the growing inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — that makes the medical condition all the more magnified in its exponentially-exacerbated conditions of anticipated calamities.

Life is often an unfortunate series of having to hang on to a contingency, but when a medical condition enters into the fray, it makes it doubly more tenuous, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is at least a concrete step that allows one to grip the reality of one’s situation, and perhaps leave all future contingencies, tenuously anticipated, aside.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Service: By what right?

It is a question often posed in the dead of night by those who would undermine an assertion based upon an instinctive sense of fairness, but perhaps not able to be articulated in comprehensible form.  By what right do you enter these premises?  By what right do you express that opinion?  By what right do you think you can do that?

It is, as with many questions, one that has a sadly contextual background of a negative past – for, whenever a person, a populace or a segment of a greater society begins to assert a “right”, it was generally preceded by a breakdown of community and caring.  For example: A violation of another’s property where a fence has not yet been placed should be resolved by two neighbors discussing the infraction or infringement without resorting to a higher authority.  If that “neighborliness” cannot resolve the conflict, then a fence may be built and the right to build such a fence can be asserted by the fence-building-neighbor as a “right” of property ownership.  No one would, or could, dispute such a right to do so, but the mere fact that a fence had to be built is evidence of a preceding breakdown of the unspoken rules of a community, where resolution of a conflict could not be accomplished by discussing, caring, understanding and compromising for the sake of a community’s greater good, but instead results in a declarative reference to one’s “right” to do X, Y or Z.

Rights should have the insipid connotation of negativity to the extent that asserting them is something of a last resort and the last bastion of scoundrels and suspicious individuals seen in an unfavorable communal light; but in modernity, shouting out one’s “right” to do this or that, or standing on a soapbox and pontificating about how we (why does everyone assume that he or she has a “right” to speak on behalf of that undefined “we” in the first place?) have every “right” to be here, do this or that or be “in your face” because of the proverbial “catch-all” – the “Bill of Rights”.  By what right?

For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it may well be that asserting one’s right to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits was preceded by a context of negativity – of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility failing to, refusing to, or otherwise not showing effort for, accommodating one’s medical condition, illness or disability, and that is when the assertion of declaring one’s “right” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes the inviolable pathway to an exit out of an untenable workplace situation.

To that extent, preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat akin to building that “fence” between your property and the next-door neighbor’s, whose dog keeps coming into your yard, digging up the freshly-planted bushes and vegetables, pooping all over the place and attacking your cat, and cares not a twit to try and resolve the issue; that, in many ways, is the Federal agency or the Postal facility you work for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Our civilization of the spectacle

The concept is borrowed from the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa (there are two additional names he formally possesses, “Pedro” and “Jorge”, as in, “Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa”, which likely encompasses family traditions of heritage and linear identification of relations, but it is sufficient to identify this momentary act of plagiarism negated by referring to the common and known reference), and refers to the widespread acceleration across all societies in the public display of what we once considered tasteless and base.

The concept itself, of course, is further “borrowed” or likely evolved from a work entitled, “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord, which posited a critical Marxist theory about the evolution of Society where the greed in Capitalist societies in the hunt for accumulation of possessions naturally leads to the degradation of human dignity.  One gives away one’s age and antiquarian predilections in relating memories of childhood, when parents used to say to their children, “Johnny, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”

Nowadays, such admonitions would fail to be understood; for, it is the wish and dream of every parent to see that the very apex and aperture of opportunity remain opened to one’s offspring — to become the next spectacular spectacle in this universe of appearance, show and public display.  Have we come to a point where all conventions have been nullified?  Where discretion is no longer the mark of good taste, and humility is equated with failure and false pride?

It was once thought that when history evolved such that the Kardashians rule the levers of the universe, we would know then that human degradation had reached its lowest common denominator.  But, somehow, the shovel seems to be able to dig a little deeper, and find a lower space in which to crawl into.  For the common man (and woman, as one can no longer presume equality unless it is explicitly stated), revelations of human maltreatment are nothing new.

Look at Federal workers and U.S. Postal employees across the board, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates an “accommodation” in the workplace.  It is rare, indeed, for the Federal or Postal worker who requests an accommodation, that consequences are not imposed, results are not negated, and reputations are not soiled.  Medical conditions should, by definition, be a basis for empathy and special accommodations; but in this society and civilization of the spectacle, it merely represents another venue where the weak are taken advantage of, and the sickly are relegated to the corner stall, away from the window of display, and hidden in the crevices of windowless corners.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the treatment by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, of what it means to no longer be able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The choice is clear, and the alternatives defined:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, is the best and brightest hope for the future of an injured or debilitated Federal or Postal worker.

For, in the end, both the Society of the Spectacle and the Civilization of the Spectacle are one and the same; whether by evolutionary inevitability or description of the state of modernity, those who make a spectacle of one’s self, must pay the price of being a target for another who desires that high point of calamity, where only the strongest survive.  Darwin was right, after all; we just didn’t realize that he was describing both the human being as well as the lowest form of our animalistic essence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fishes, Streams, Rivers and Ponds

They are, in the end, interconnected; yet the conceptual distinctions allow for separateness, such that we can value each independently.  And much of the waterways which filter throughout the ecosystem remain invisible and underground, via caverns and unconfined aquifers; but that which we see with the naked eye, we assume to be the reality of the entirety of that which we hold to encompass the universe of our existence.

Thus does Berkeley’s doctrine simply contained in the phrase, “Esse est percipi” retain a kernel of truth, but forever vulnerable to ridicule if misunderstood in the context of linguistic philosophy.  What is perceived is, indeed, the universe of one’s contextual concerns; but we all recognize that objects exist outside of the perceptual periphery of our immediate perspective.

Thus do fishes, streams, rivers and ponds exist beyond our vision of direct perception; but even upon encountering them,  we recognize that the depth of each, the variety of living organisms, and the corridors of natural flowing underground worlds reach well beyond that which we see.  The complexity of human beings comprise an entity of a similar nature, such that depth, encounters and unknowable reaches could easily be conversed and replaced as fungible goods and translated words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to become a problem at work, it is precisely this puzzle of being replaceable which often irks the ego.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often viewed as giving up or giving in; when, in fact, the truth of the matter is that it is a means of attending to the importance of one’s health and well-being.  But others in the agency and the U.S. Postal Service often view the potential Federal Disability Retiree as “that person” with a label and a superficial concoction of societal designation.

It is that limited encounter and confrontation which shows the lack of depth of certain people, while everyone wants others to know that, past the fishes, streams, rivers and ponds which one may see upon meeting the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is extenuating further, a vast depth of subterranean interest and an ocean of personality which others never cared to inquire about, and of which no one may ever know once the door closes and the quietude of life continues beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmative Steps

Procrastination is the bane of progress; by delaying and kicking the proverbial can down the road, the chances of decreasing one’s odds of accomplishment become magnified exponentially.  What is the reasoning behind inaction and inertia?

Human life must by necessity involve movement and progress; for, unlike other species who find the immediacy of satisfaction and gratification to be the basis of existential justification, we bring to the fore the coalescence of one’s memory of where we came from; a future hope of where we want to go; and in combing the two, a greater purpose of teleological rationality within the context of the here and now.  But that which provides the foundation of uniqueness, can conversely be the lynchpin of destruction.

Self-justifying language games of self-immolation; we can construct strings of logically valid reasonings based upon convoluted cacophonies of orchestrated mutterings.  But that which appears reasonable is not always valid; and as validity constitutes the systemic structure of logic, so that which may reveal itself as sound uttering may merely be a whining whisper of a mad man’s meanderings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, the reasons for not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits are wide, varied, and often complex.  “This job has been my life for so long” (understandable, but change is often an inevitable feature of life); “Maybe my agency can accommodate me” (unlikely); “I am hoping to get better” (yes, but in the meantime, what is your agency planning to do?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a big and dramatic step.  But for the Federal and Postal worker who cannot perform at least one, if not more than one, of the essential elements of one’s positionally-determined duties, it is time to consider taking some affirmative steps in a direction which one often knows to be true, but where procrastination is the path of least resistance.

And, yes, to err is human, but at what cost, and where does human history reveal that delay results in a successful outcome?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire