OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Wants and needs

One often encounters such discussions, about the difference between “wants” and “needs”.  Needs are dictated by a loose definition of survival or existence — that which is required by or necessitated of the things which satisfy the criteria for continued existence or maintaining of a given modality of the status quo.  The other — “wants” — are defined as those “extras” that are not required for existence, but go beyond the prerequisite for survival and add to the comfort and meaningfulness of one’s very existence and survival.

There is always a grey area between the two when one engages anyone in a discussion involving the two — and it often depends upon the paradigm and perspective one takes, which leads to conclusions not only about the subject concerning wants and needs, but also about one’s own character, upbringing and attitude towards life in general.

Take the perspective of a member of the British Royal Family, for example — of a person who knows of existence entirely from the perspective of wealth, privilege and undiminished wants and needs.  Such a person will often have a widely differing view of the distinction between the two, in contradistinction to a person born in the ghettos of an inner city, whether here in the United States or of more underdeveloped countries elsewhere.

Can one who has never lacked for needs, or even of wants, recognize the objective criteria that determines the differences between the two?  In other words, can the poor person even have a logical discussion with a wealthy person by pointing out that food is an example of “need”, as opposed to a Ferrari being merely a “want”?  Or, will the member of the Royal Family retort with, “Well, yes, I can see how cheap caviar of a subpar quality could be a need as opposed to wanting a Rolls Royce.”

Such a response, of course, tells one immediately that there will be a difficult road ahead in attempting the bridge the gap between understanding, comprehension and the art of logic and discussion.  What we want, we often do not need; and what we need, we merely want for want of sufficiency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to continue their careers despite a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will often cross the threshold between wants and needs.

You may want to extend your career, but need to end it because of your medical condition.  Your agency may want to be compassionate, but may need to follow directives from above.  You may want to remain, but need to depart.  The conflict between wants and needs is one of life’s ongoing clashes between the two, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM, may need to be initiated in order to satisfy the ultimate need of one’s existence: The need to want to look after one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Dickens, Salinger & Capote, Continued…

One could easily spend a lifetime on each, separately; of the first in the trilogy, he mercifully died before the advent of the industrial revolution, whence he may have witnessed even greater upheavals of economic unrest and labor turmoil; of the latter two, they were contemporaries who followed divergent paths — with Salinger left in the hermitage of his insular world of fears, paranoia and distrust of a world which had offered only experiences which validated such churning for a tortured soul, and for Capote, a premature death prompted by a life of public destruction.

Today, we embrace the sophistication of paying strangers to listen to our meanderings of troubled psyches; for the three in question, the times for acceptance of such ways remained unkind and untested.

By standards of modernity, the childhood experiences of Dickens would have caught the attention of social services and the authorities in tow to save the poor boy; but then, we likely would never have had the pleasure of knowing his miscreant characters strewn throughout the ghettos of boundless imagination.  Of Salinger, who turned more towards mysticism in order to feed the slow withering of his wanting woes, the need to flee from the cruelty of the world resulted in the greater insularity protected only by the memories of his haunting past.  Of the three, it was Capote who openly laughed at the scorn of the world, and like the Clowns and Fools in Shakespearean tragedies, we watched as a major figure committed public seppuku in a slow and agonizing fashion.

They represent, unfortunately, the manner in which most of us live; either of haunted pasts and tortured presents, or of ongoing meanderings in troubled waters.  Then, when a medical condition hits the seemingly clean and linear timeline we live and embrace, the disruption becomes magnified with an even greater exponent of sorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positions, the 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 becomes part of the tragedy of human life.

A life cut short is one which failed to be fulfilled; and, similarly, a career shortened is one which failed to accomplish its stated goals.

But, sometimes, it is of comfort and substantive contribution to see that others — even major figures like like Dickens, Salinger and Capote — had to endure the torture of life’s fated despair.  For, in the end, there is little dissimilar in the human essence of all three in relationship to the rest of us; each suffered, lived a life of fated misery, and had to “deal” with the cruelty of the world, thereby validating Hobbes’ description that man’s life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Disadvantage of the I-Thou Perspective

People tend to expect the best results; and when a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the applicant who is unrepresented and prepares, formulates and files the Federal Disability Retirement packet on his or her own believes that an approval is forthcoming at the First Stage of the Process.  Yet, often unaware and unbeknownst to the Federal or Postal applicant, the lack of separation between the I-Thou construct fails to provide a proper perspective of objectivity.

Allow me to expand and explain:  As the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition (the “I”) is the same person who prepares, formulates and files the Medical Retirement application (the “thou” from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), any sense of objectivity is often lost because the I and the Thou are one and the same person, and the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition is simultaneously the same one who is seeking an approval of the OPM Disability Retirement application.

Of course, that same scenario is repeated even if the application is filed through a Federal Disability lawyer (in the sense that the Federal or Postal employee still seeks to obtain an approval from OPM) with one major exception:  there is another “thou” perspective included and involved — that of the Federal lawyer representing the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved.

Objectivity is a crucial component of a Federal Disability Retirement application; that is why so many “silly” mistakes are injuriously embraced without self-knowledge or with disengaged awareness.  It is like the cook who loved the taste of arsenic, and thought that everyone else should as well; and so he sprinkled the deadly poison onto his own food and enjoyed the taste of his own creation, only to slowly die from the feed of his own foolishness.

There are many “kinds” in the arena of foolish endeavors:  There is the “quantitative approach” (“I sent them thousands of pages of treatment records”) which fails to ask the question, Who will read it all?  There is the “trusting soul”:  “I just signed a release and had them send it all directly to my Human Resource Office”.  Then, there is the person of naive disbelief:  “How could they not approve it with the medical conditions I suffer from?”

The problem with all of these is the lack of objective perspective; the I-Thou connection is now given the distance, separateness and objectivity necessary to determine the viability and effectiveness of each and every piece of the puzzle needed to put together a proper Federal Disability Retirement application.  Are there ever any guarantees in life?  No.  Can a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement laws make a difference?  Yes.

Fortunately, unlike the metaphor arising from the cook and the salsa of arsenic, there are multiple stages within the administrative process of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and a denial at the First Stage of the bureaucratic pathway is not irreversible, and does not result in the inertia of life rendered by ingestion of substances otherwise tasty but harmful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Form and Content

The complexity of the administrative procedure generally identified as “OPM Disability Retirement” is one replete with complicated forms to complete, sequence of procedures which are often confusing, and content of conundrums, followed by wait times which are frustrating, at best.

The spectrum of problems and concerns which arise throughout the process can be daunting and overwhelming. For the Federal employee or the Postal worker who suffers from a chronic medical condition, such that chronic pain, profound fatigue, the high distractibility from pain and discomfort; the impact upon one’s focus, concentration, and capacity to be attentive; with features of variegated residuals from chronic migraine headaches; or perhaps the psychiatric impact of symptoms from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder, etc. — the balance of life which one must maintain, with the demands of work or the loss of such capacity to work, combined with the added pressures inherent in the preparation and completion of a Federal Disability Retirement application, can in their compound aggregate, be paralyzing.

The Standard Forms themselves can be confusing, puzzling and the complexity of the requirements can have a procrastinating effect upon the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing. The content of what needs to be stated, what should be included, what meets the legal requirement for eligibility for a Federal Disability Retirement application — all together can be the basis for a successful application or a failed endeavor from the start. Standard Form 3112 involves both the applicant (the Federal employee and the Postal worker) as well as the agency. SF 3107 (for those under FERS) and SF 2801 (for those under CSRS) also require involvement by both the agency and the applicant, but are more informational than perspective/opinion-oriented. But both sets of forms must be completed.

Form and content comprise the crux of everything in life, from simple organic compounds to complex bureaucratic procedures. It is the dualism which constitutes the core of life’s mysteries, and this is no less true in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS & CSRS disability retirement benefits through OPM, whether one is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire