OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The mysterious spark

One may never be able to pinpoint the precise time of day, the hour or minute that it occurred; but at some point, it developed, matured and became a certainty.  It is that mysterious spark or connection that occurs in every relationship, whether between members of the same species, or even of other ones; of that mysterious spark that elevates a relational connection to one not merely encompassing casual friendship, but of a special, unique and singular symbiosis that becomes identified as mysterious and unexplainable.

It is characterized by a “look” between the two, shared by no one else, allowed entry by exclusive invitation only and zealously guarded by the two who share it.  It is that special spark, the glint in the eye, the knowing stare and the longing look; and it can be shared by two young lovers, a couple of old codgers or with a cat or a dog, and maybe some other species besides.  It is by the shared joke, the exclusive laugh, the hinted metaphor and the crazed reaction; but of whatever the elements that make it up, the two who share it know when it happens, that it exists and that the mysterious spark remains unless violated by one or the other by committing some act of treachery or deceit that breaks the silent code of friendship and fidelity.

Can such a mysterious spark exist between a person and an inanimate object — or an event, a career or even a place?  Perhaps.  Think about the career one has embraced — where, once you awoke with a spring in your step, an anticipation of joy and even of rushing to get there just to immerse yourself in the day’s project, the afternoon’s conference, and even looked forward to the often-wasteful time spent in “coordinating” with coworkers and others.  And then — something happened.  The energy is drained; the joy is depleted; the profound fatigue sets in.  A medical condition can certainly do that to a person.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost that mysterious spark that once pervaded each morning as one prepared to go to work, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  If the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you likely meet the legal criteria for becoming eligible to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

For, in the end, the mysterious spark that formed the relationship of special significance between any two entities — including the one between a Federal or Postal employee and his or her job and career — was always based upon a presupposition that necessitated a contingent agreement involving a silent understanding: the continuation of one’s health.  And, when once that becomes damaged or destroyed, the mysterious spark is replaced with the ugly reality that the quality of life depends upon the health of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing 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.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Little battles fought

It is the minor skirmishes of life that maintain the vitality of everyday existence; they are fought in preparation for the greater battles and campaigns.  That is why a ‘strategy’ is important; otherwise, taking the same hill countless times in a day leads one to wonder what the greater plan is.  For, futility and the sense of meaninglessness are what defeat any motivation to continue.  Incentives for advancement; a sense of growth and an optimism for the future; these and other values are what one fights for, engages in skirmishes, and those little battles that are fought with a worthwhile sense of gaining something.

Medical conditions, especially of a chronic kind, tend to diminish the will to fight.  They not only weaken and debilitate; they begin to eat away at any sense of accomplishment and striving for those valued goals.  It is, in the end, a sense of hope for which we all fight the little battles fought; otherwise, the major wars would fail to be worthwhile.

Medical conditions are the “unfair” factor in any war, sort of like roadside bombs planted in this new war of hit-and-run attacks.  They often come upon one slowly; and whether in a sudden, traumatic event or evidencing a slow progression of debilitation and subtle changes over a period of days and months, the insidiousness of not knowing how to battle it, of doctors telling of being patient, of medications themselves sometimes having worsening side effects that complicate, exacerbate and exponentially magnify in frequency, severity and other realms of wounds endured – these all cumulatively combine to create a sense of frustration like fighting an enemy you cannot see and will never be able to actually “fight” in the traditional sense.

That is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important step in those “little battles fought” – for, unless the little ones are taken care of, the large ones that loom ahead may not be properly engaged in.

Reorganizing priorities; focusing upon one’s health; determining the future course of relevancy; these are all part of the metaphorical battles to be fought, but for the individual who experiences the medical condition and specifically for the Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, they are no less real than the sudden devastation of a roadside bomb exploding beneath one’s Humvee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Parsing words and convoluted sentences

Choosing the appropriate word in linguistic expression is the corridor for comprehension; like weapons in the wrong hands and the capacity to push the proverbial button to initiate a first strike, the modern proponent of the elasticity of language has been accused of taking the parsing of it a bridge too far.  Of course, the general consensus is that lawyers “are to blame”; for, in engaging the fine-print and analysis of syntactic components to their exponential extremes, the convoluted manner in which meanings are twisted, coiled and folded into multiple layers of annotations, denotations and connotations, implies a loss of symbiosis between words, reality and the correspondence between the two.

Do words have any meaning at all, anymore?  Or, put in a different way and from a variegated perspective, must the word remain static, or be subjected to the interpretive emotional status at any given moment?  In a different context, such a question posed embraces an implied argument for the hermeneutical approaches that form the wide chasm in Constitutional theory — of “originalism” as opposed to the “living document” school of thought.

Whether one places significance upon the authorial intent, as opposed to the reader’s unconstrained translation of the contextual discourse, tells a lot about a person, his approach to life, and the manner of one’s capacity to evaluate and logically think.

In the end, it is perhaps the compromise between the two extremes which will hold sway with the ordinary person who happens to pick up a Shakespearean play and begins plodding through the double and triple entendres contained within, beneath, and every which way — that the greatest delineation of words and compilation of sentence structures must, however formulated and concisely aggregated, reflect a mastery of the word such that the here and now can be understood, but with a malleability open for playful interpretation.

This is an important point to understand — and for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who is preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, every applicant must write up a Statement of Disability in response to Standard Form 3112A, and while the questions necessarily and somewhat delimit the context and content of the substantive form provided, it is the careful parsing of words and the need to refrain from a convoluted discourse which must guide the Federal or Postal employee into presenting a cohesive narrative, a logical and methodological argumentation of persuasive weight, and a clarity of deliberative purpose which sways the reader — the administrative “specialist” at OPM — into granting a Federal Disability Retirement application with a responsive (but merely a “template”) letter stating with unequivocal and unmistakable bluntness: “Approved“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Peripatetic Nature

But for a rarity, we seek its very opposite; consistency, stability, and the duration of longevity; these, we believe, provide for that which we didn’t have ourselves, yearn for, or seek to give to our own offspring.  In domestic legal proceedings, we hear tell of incongruent arguments where, in the midst of separation, the parties delineate what is in the “best interests of the children” — of remaining in the family home, maintaining a stability of regularity, etc.

From our limited micro-perspective, the loss of constancy when contrasted with the length of one’s own mortality from birth to death, is but a linear insignificance in comparison with the age of the universe.  Conceptually, we recognize this; and yet we constantly fight against it.  Our forefathers maintained a single job from youth to death; then, someone thought of the idea of “retirement”, and suddenly there were mandatory age requirements and proposals floating about concerning the “golden years”, all the while keeping pace with mass constructions of nursing homes and home healthcare services.

The incongruity and self-contradictions are palpable, but somehow we get away with it all.  Is man a seeker of stability, or does he possess a peripatetic nature?  Beyond such a question is the tendency to reject and resist being “forced out”.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the persistent harassment, the hostile work environment created, and the progressive insistence of pernicious pettiness invoked to make life unpleasant — these are all signs to acknowledge that one must “move on” with life.

It is difficult enough to deal with a medical condition; harder still to attend to it in conjunction with work-related pressures.

Stability of purpose is often what we thought we wanted; and for the peripatetic traveler, perhaps moving to another phase of life is an easy thing; but for the rest of us, change — even recognizing the necessity and inevitability, especially for the Federal or Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is something that is hard to accept, given the true nature of man, even if we all think of ourselves as Aristotelian philosophers.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability from Federal Employment: Predatory Pathologies

It is unnecessary to study the tendencies of other species and their internal drive to be who they are; for, it is presumed, the innate structure of their genetic makeup becomes the paradigm for self-explanatory justification, and like all conundrums of deviations from synthetic or analytic statements, the self-identity of the process itself makes it abundantly unclear.

Predators are by their very nature self-identifying; it would be a nonsensical proposition to ask the question, “Why”, in connection with the lion or cheetah that hunts and kills; or for the hawk, eagle, and even the household cat, despite their fuzzy beauty of cuteness and domesticated aplomb.  But of man, we question incessantly; of the long history of wars, cruelty, mass murders and genocide, the paradigm is one of puzzlement despite the footprints of self-explanatory consistency.

The need to act civilized in an antiseptic universe of artificial constructs jolts one back into the reality of who we are when deviations from such carefully created models shatter the very essence of our imagined parallelisms of worlds built upon virtual realities, and so we cry for such aliens who never were.  Barbarism tends to do that; and simple meanness in the workplace often shocks.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer such rude awakenings, perhaps it is because of the disconnect between what we thought we were a part of, and the reality of what is.  That “disjointedness” is often easily attributable to the “medical condition” from which one suffers, and to which everyone else points for justification of bad behavior.

For, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, where the medical condition impacts and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the focus becomes the Federal or Postal employee, and the predatory pathologies which erupt and shed their thin veneer of civilized behavior become justified because of the loss of “mission accomplishment” of the agency, or some such balderdash of scientific explanation.

The plain fact is that there are bad people in the world, and no amount of studies of predatory pathologies will help to set aside the negative behavior of people within Federal agencies or the U.S. Postal Service.

The solution for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Let the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service worry about the “mission of the agency”; that will continue with or without you, as all bureaucracies do, just as predatory pathologies will persist despite multiple studies to the contrary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire