OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Applicant’s Statement

The SF 3112A is the focal point of it all; without it, the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement application would be incomplete, inconsequential and insidiously irrelevant.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management can make a decision on a Federal Disability Retirement application — theoretically — without full answers or incomplete answers of the “other” forms, such as the Checklist, or even the Supervisor’s Statement; but as for the SF 3112A, The Applicant’s Statement of Disability — well, there is no getting around the fact of its prominence, importance and position of significance and relevance.

The Applicant’s Statement of Disability puts everything in its proper perspective; it tells the narrative of one’s medical conditions; it provides (or, at least should) the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job, tasks, duties, positional requirements, etc., and gives a key and insight into the very foundation of the legal criteria for OPM to either grant or deny a Federal Disability Retirement application.  That being the case, why would a Federal or Postal employee leave such an important component as the content and substance of an SF 3112A up to one’s own self?

The person who suffers from the medical condition can hardly be the one to properly, adequately or completely describe the key components of one’s medical condition and its impact upon one’s positional duties; for, the one who suffers by definition is the very.same person who is divorced from having an objective perspective.

Remember, always, that Federal Disability Retirement is a medically-based administrative procedure — one which must encompass and encapsulate the objectivity of medical documentation, the meeting of a legal criteria that has evolved over many decades, and an aggregation of the two combined in order to persuade the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the compendium of one’s documented evidentiary findings rises to the level of a preponderance of the evidence presented in a coherent manner to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Does such an endeavor appear consistent with the Federal or Postal employee who is too sick to work the essential elements of one’s job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of the Charmed, Charted or Chartered Life

Of the troika of possibilities presented, the first is rarely available or even an option, if by a “charmed life” is defined as one where wealth is never a restrictive element, potentiality is ever compensated by unlimited resource, and freedom to choose — whether an unproductive, leisurely lifestyle or one which mixes pleasure with some semblance of “doing something” — is but a whim of desire and utterance of a command.  Few of us have this option.

As for the second — of a charted life, where cultural conventions, societal norms and limited possibilities structurally imposed by birth, circumstance and family lineage — this characterization is fast receding into the dustbins of antiquity.  For, we no longer believe that one should be constrained by outside forces — whether of teleological originations or based upon genetic dispositions.  The “charted” life — where an omnipotent external derivation or an internal, evolutionary mandate, matters not; it is, instead, the belief that the stars guide our destiny, and the hubris of Shakespeare’s characters cannot be altered by the sheer willpower of an internal desire.

Then, of the triumvirate, we are left with the third and last — of the “chartered” life, where we recognize the finite character of our existence, borrowed from a slice of timeless history, having to live the consequences of actions preceding our use of the vehicle, and appropriately adjusting the capacity to move forward based upon the present condition of our circumstances.

Do we drive the conveyor ourself, or allow for the owner to send a captain of a ship for which we have paid?  That often depends upon whether we can be trusted with the talents we are born with, the resources we inherit, and the burdens of responsibilities which we voluntarily embrace.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 question is often likened to the options presented before the last of the triplicate:  At what point do we take charge of the chartered life, and begin to steer and maneuver beyond the pitfalls of life’s misgivings which have been presented?

Filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is part of the responsibility of the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is up to the chartered life to have charted the course of destiny towards a life more charmed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Profiles in Discourage

It is, of course, an obvious play off of the 1957 Pulitzer Prize winning work (publication date of 1955), describing 8 U.S. Senators who displayed courage in the face of criticism (an inherent oxymoron?).  Whether or not, and to what extent, Kennedy himself wrote the work (Ted Sorenson, John F.’s speechwriter, finally conceded in his 2008 autobiography as much) has become historically irrelevant, for the legend has become the man, and has replaced the truth of clear lines that once constituted the demarcation between fantasy and reality.

Ancient references to “Camelot” and metaphors about some obscure “torch” being passed through a generational transfer of linguistic fluff, have all cumulatively obscured the stark nakedness of that which makes people and events accountable.  The irony of real life always goes well beyond any fictional attempt to deceive; at least, by designation ascribed, we know what to expect of the latter; but then, there wouldn’t be anything like irony without the absurdity of the former.

Look at the recent allegations of the murky money-trail from Malaysia as the source of funding for the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; how much more deliciously ironic can it get, where a movie depicting blatant corruption is paid for by the very manner in which the moguls of Hollywood are allegedly attempting to make a point about?  What prompted the short-cutting which undermines the title of the work credited to the 35th President?  Is it merely the old adage that the “ends justify the means” — and that not writing a work but claiming its authorship is allowable because the greater good of fame and the road to the presidency will account for such deception?

It is, in the end, the title itself which makes for the irony; for, in a work which describes the integrity and character traits of the subjects within, it is precisely the lack of such which presumes a contradiction without.  And that is the connection with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers of today — for the entities which employ them represent the “official” face of this country, and yet the way they treat Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers when Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, reflects upon a discernible and palpable profile in discouragement (the suffix is added to make the sentence grammatically correct, although poetic license has been taken in the caption of this blog with the title, “Profiles in Discourage” in order to remain consistent with its alter-ego of the work by JFK and Sorenson).

One could argue, of course, that because there is the statutory right of all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, therefore any maltreatment or mistreatment of a Federal or Postal worker based upon the medical condition becomes a moot issue.

But that is precisely the point — treatment of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker in the process of engaging the long and arduous bureaucratic process of filing an OPM Disability Retirement application, should reflect an integrity of cover-to-content.  For, in the end, it is not the cover, nor the first impression which matters, but like the historical characters which are insightfully described in the book itself, the title should always match its claimed authorship.  But, then, of course, we would be left without the delicious irony of man’s daily folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation & Retirement from Federal Employment: Existence preceding essence

Once, in the vaunted Age of Reason, when Western Philosophy reached its pinnacle as the conduit of all knowledge, wisdom and human achievement; and when other disciplines fell under the umbrella and aegis of the methodological sanctity of its pursuit; then, it was determined that time was merely a linear ladder to climb, and all knowledge would be captured like the essence of heightened fragrances in a bottle of perfume, ever sweet smelling and able to conceal the undercurrent of stench.  But then came disenchantment, pestilence, wars and human cruelty — just the regularity in the rhythm of man; you know, those things that are inevitable.

It was thought that the “philosophical approach” begun by Plato and Aristotle would garner the collective wisdom necessary to construct the artifice of a just society.  What we forgot, however, is that “man is man”, and can predictably be counted upon to do those things he has always done:  take advantage; say things he didn’t mean; engage in the cruelest of activities, but describe it as that which is not; and as despotism and totalitarianism grew exponentially in ever efficient machines of death, the culmination of the ashes of human essence resulted in World War II, the death camps and the mass extermination of targeted populations.

The search for the essence of man and other entities effectively ceased, because — while the human species was recognized to have certain tendencies — it became clear that he “made it up as he went along”.  Thus, the thinking went, why not just admit it, submit to it, no longer resist it, and let it just “all hang out”.  Modernity is the just reward for the abandonment of reason; beware of what you ask for, as it may well be gotten.  And so the popularized banner of Existentialism was born — from the ashes rose the proverbial Phoenix, and no longer did we strive to attain the “essence” of human quality, but submitted to the idea that we first come to exist, and each day create our own essence.

Thus the popularized version:  Existence preceding essence.  And we see the evidence of such truth all around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer the brunt of daily turmoil because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows him or her to perform all of the essential (there is the form of that word again) elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the idea that human cruelty and consequential suffering is a normative standard, is really nothing new under the sun.

Meursault, in Camus’ major work, The Stranger, also saw the disconnect between man’s claim to compassion and humanity, and the actual state of being.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who find that the Federal Agency or U.S. Postal Service will fail them in every way, including the artificial attempts at “accommodation”, need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, there is ultimately life beyond the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service — and one in which you may actually be able to create a “new essence” of yourself, beyond the mere existence presently lived in within the bureaucratic morass of your Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire