Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The present preference

Given the choice, it is almost always the present preference that is chosen, while the long-term goals, aspirations or necessary planning are set aside, ignored, subverted or otherwise delayed for another day.  We prefer to remain in the present circumstances, in lieu of future contexts unknown, for the familiar is always to be preferred to the strange and unrelated.

The key to change away from the present preference is often based upon the spectrum of a “tolerance/intolerance” gauge — an informal, almost unspoken manner in which we react based upon various factors that have developed over many years: tolerance/intolerance of pain levels; quality of life issues, whether consciously realized or intuitively maintained; the balance between weekends encroached and the weekdays approached; whether productivity rises or falls; and other similar factors, both involving professional goals and aspirations as well as personal perspectives upon the worth of maintaining the status quo or allowing for the tumult of change.

Medical conditions often warrant a move away from the present preference.  In reality, no one “prefers” the present when the change is imposed from external sources, or where there is simply little control or influence to exert upon stopping, hindering or otherwise slowing down the change itself.  The present preference is merely borne of laziness or the pure enjoyment of non-change, as the known is almost always preferable to instability and the strangeness of other worlds.

That is why we take short vacations and jaunts to other cultural enclaves, but return home to the safety of our known environments.  But when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, as it can with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the changes impacted from the external forces of an unwanted medical condition may necessitate the modification of the present preference for the status quo.

Living with a medical condition itself is traumatic enough; altering the present preference of a life one is used to, is almost always a further tumultuous necessity that one instinctively resists, but recognizes the inevitability of.

For Federal and Postal workers who have come to a point of realizing the necessity of modifying the present preference, preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step towards conforming to an unfair external influence characterized by the medical condition itself.

Consulting an attorney who specializes in the administrative complexities inherent in the Federal Disability Retirement process will often help to buttress some of the changes that are necessary, if only because information and knowledge allows for the decision-making process to prevail with needed insights presented in order to adapt away from the present preference of an increasingly debilitating medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The race that wasn’t

Does it often seem as if one is in the middle of the race, but that all of the rules have been abandoned by all other participants except the one that keeps struggling — you?

The term itself has had a long history of proverbial applications and overused metaphorical usages — of the “race” against time; the “race of life”; of marathon runners, sprinters and the various specialists in the metered world of measured distances.  It is the race that wasn’t that is the one forgotten, however; of the false starts, the disqualifications, the one’s discovered to have used illegal steroids, and the villains who cut across back trails when no one was looking in order to save an extra couple of miles from being detected.

Most races are unfair; they are stacked against one from the very beginning, and the end result is almost always predetermined in one fashion or another.  Is a race that is predetermined as to the outcome of individuals to reach the finish line, truly a race at all?  Do any of us ever enter a “race”, actual, metaphorical or otherwise, and say: Well, I know I am not going to win because the rules won’t allow it, but I am going to run, anyway?

Of course, one may not have a choice in the matter; and, in that case, when the whistle is blown, the flag is brought down or the blank round of the gunshot is fired, one begins to trudge along and try one’s best.  That is how one feels when a medical condition begins to creep upon a person’s health — of the slow, insidious deterioration, where the generality of “life’s unfairness” begins to dawn upon the consciousness of one’s livelihood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede, interrupt or otherwise diminish the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to reconsider the “rules of the race”, as the metaphor is often applied, and begin 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.

As with all government bureaucracies, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management applies the “rules of the race”, and in order to qualify for the race that wasn’t, you will likely need to consult an attorney who knows all of the relevant rules of the race, including the start time, the length of the process, and what needs to be done in order to reach the finish line.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: The unsolvable dilemma

Most of us live linear lives.  It is a characteristic of Western Civilization that the thought-processes involve a sequential, step-by-step, logical extension and advancement.

Much has been said about this approach, in contrast to an “Eastern” philosophical methodology, where there is a “circular” mind-set that often involves the complexities of reincarnation, capacity to assimilate inconsistent, incommensurate and seemingly incompatible belief-systems – and, indeed, to even describe the “other” as a “methodology” is an oxymoron of unfair proportions, for it is more of an amalgamation of acceptance without hesitation – like the symbiosis of Shinto and Zen Buddhism in Japanese culture.

Such an approach – of a straight line from Point A to Destination X – that reflects the essence of the Western culture, including Continental Europe, the British linguistic solutions and the U.S. pragmatism that dominates, leaves us with an emptiness when we encounter and engage the unsolvable dilemma.  Perhaps that is the primary deficit in “our” approach, as opposed to the “other” one.  For, in attempting to think always in a linear fashion, we become frustrated when the solution cannot be figured out or otherwise consummated.

A problem left unsolved is one that we consider to be a failure of sorts, because the pragmatism of Western thought requires that all problems have solutions; it is a paradigm that has been ingrained in the DNA of our very being and essence.  But life doesn’t quite work in that way, does it?  There are unsolvable problems – where we just have to accept what “is” and move on with the deficit of a solution.

Medical conditions comprise one such class of such unsolvable issues.  We like to think that the “science” of medicine provides for a cure through complex and technologically modern treatment modalities for every identification of diagnosed maladies; but it quickly becomes obvious that many medical conditions simply do not have a linear resolution.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the linear approach of Western Civilization often will not work.  There is an incompatible friction that quickly arises between the Federal agency and the Postal facility, and the Federal employee and Postal worker.

Often, the only “solution” is an exit via filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted for consideration ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Does it “solve” the problem?  Not really.  For the Federal or Postal employee, the medical condition continues with him or her after separation from the Federal workforce; and for the agency or the Postal facility, the loss of a formerly valuable and productive employee invested in for those many years, cannot easily be replaced.

But getting a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is a compromise of sorts; it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to seek other opportunities in the private sector, and to attend to the medical conditions with greater focus; and for the Federal agency and Postal facility, it allows for employment of another, more healthier worker who can fulfill all of the essential elements of the job.  Nevertheless, it remains an “unsolvable dilemma”, to be relegated to the “Eastern” approach, and leaving a void to the “Western” perspective.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Application: The tumescent narrative

The pendulum between a swollen ego and a timid conscience can be wide and vast; or of the difference between panicked shyness amounting to a hermit’s refuge, and arrogance in man that betrays the smallness of one’s heart.  Being “puffed up” is one thing; demanding one’s rights without persuasive argumentation, quite another.

In formulating one’s “story” in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, specifically on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the undersigned lawyer has seen – when a person has tried this on his or her own at the First Stage of the process, been rejected, and has come for assistance and legal guidance at the Second Stage of the Process (called the “Reconsideration Stage” before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) – an underlying tinge of what may be deemed a tumescent narrative:  A delineation of demanding, as opposed to persuading, of asserting, in contrast to revealing, and one of puffing up, in contradistinction to allowing the facts to speak for themselves.

Fear is often the explanation for engaging in a tumescent narrative; for, to cover that fear, arrogance and puffing up is thought to conceal the stench of fright.  What should be the voice, tone and approach in a narrative statement to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

Certainly, every story has a tonality that undergirds the telling of it, and even if the voice is absent, the speaker not present, the written delineation will still spill over with a cadence of unmistakable clarity.

Should the voice reveal humility, a begging for an approval?  Should it be demanding, overreaching, iconoclastic in its compelling movement?  Would it be better to be neutral, state the facts and respectfully request a fair review?  What of the references to legal precedents – is there an appropriate tone and gesture to the argumentation and methodological road-map presented to guide and persuade?

Every written narrative – even a few sentences – can reveal a “voice” behind the static nature of the written words.  In preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability will be a central component of the application packet; and, if an attorney is involved, a legal memorandum should always accompany it by providing a statutory roadmap to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

What most people do not understand is that the tone and voice of a Federal Disability Retirement packet – with the compendium of medical reports, narrative statements on SF 3112A, legal memorandum and argumentation for persuasion to an approval – can have a shifting tone depending upon what is being addressed.

The tumescent narrative is one which is likened to a mono-tone, and therefore, to a great extent, tone-deaf.  Circumstances should dictate the voice of the narrator; where facts are stated, neutrality is called for; when persuasive argumentation is encompassed, a bold and confident assertiveness.

The effective Federal Disability Retirement packet must embrace a variety of voices, and never allowed to be relegated to the quivering reaction of a tumescent narrative, where fear becomes the guiding principle for an ineffective voice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Care to Perfection

At what point does one ascend from mere care, to perfection of accomplishment?  Is it when we determine that which matters to us most – i.e., where self-interest intersects with talent otherwise left unfulfilled?  Or, through maturity of purpose and a self-realization that perfection is preferable to a lesser kindling of care, does one simply “buck up” and seek to embrace a higher order of accomplishments?

Perfection is an impossible standard to attain; care, a reasonably easy one, because time, effort and struggled attempts compensate for any lack of natural talent.  Words themselves tend to camouflage the lack of perfection by care, for a lengthy dissertation of seeming interest and a cauldron mixed by questions of curiosity comprise evidence of “caring”.  But while perfection should always be reserved for the Pope, heavenly orbs and Platonic Forms otherwise unreachable by mortal hands and untalented mediocrity – which incudes the vast multitude of the ordinary folk that populate this earth – it is a goal worth trying to achieve.

This presents a particularly unique problem for Federal and Postal employees who are considering 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, when a medical condition dominates, the natural inclination is to quickly put together an assembled Federal Disability Retirement packet based upon mere care, but nowhere near perfection, when the very viewing bureaucratic body (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) is often applying a higher standard than even what the law requires.

We are not saying, here, that any Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed should attain any level of perfection; rather, that when the applicant who prepares his or her own Federal Disability Retirement application is the identical person who suffers from the medical condition itself, then it is always very difficult to get beyond the standard of mere care, and will never be able to objectively strive towards a semblance of perfection.  Perfection as a standard is never meant to be attained, but merely to be striven for; and as a corollary, care is not to be acquiesced to without a pathway towards perfection.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management applies the standard of law that it is mandated to enforce, but in its zealous defense of the entire Disability Retirement system, it often goes beyond mere care, and applies the shadow of perfection upon unwary applicants.  What can be done about it?  Nothing, except to make sure that in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it to OPM, be aware that care may not be enough; rather, striving for the higher order of care – that of perfection – may be the requirement for the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The cog in the process

Does perspective have an influence upon one’s approach in engaging an endeavor of any sort?  For instance, does it matter whether or not the cynic and the one who sees the world consistently as “half-empty” or unwittingly cruel, nevertheless succeeds at every turn and venture?  Or, conversely, of the person who always has a “positive attitude” and sees good in every corner, but nevertheless fails at every attempted feat; did “perspective” and viewpoint make a difference?

Perhaps life requires a balance between the two, and such extremes on a spectrum of outlook is never a healthy thing.

In the end, does it matter whether or not we see ourselves as an insignificant cog in a wider process of unending turmoil, or as an Oprah-like shining star where we persuade ourselves that we matter as a mere cog precisely because the loss of a singular and unique “you” would have a devastating impact upon the well-ordered universe where the gods watch upon each hair of our scalps and wait to quiver with laughter when we express our hopes for relevance?

We often “feel” like a cog in the process – even if, on a more objective and brighter viewpoint, such an analogy and imagery represent an inaccurate put-down of major proportions.

That is the problem with bureaucracies – seen from the “other” side, our involvement in an administrative procedure invites us to ascertain that which we always suspected:  Stand in line; be assigned a number; be asked for standard information and data; a stamp is pounded upon a piece of paper and … “Next!”  What constitutes the accurate portrayal of our point of being caught within a world devoid of normative constructs, anymore?

This generation of youthful cadavers have it the worst, of course, as there is no longer a belief to die for, a value to live by, nor an encounter that can pass for pure friendship without an underlying suspicion that more is intended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into the social club of the “cog” is just beginning.  OPM is a vast juggernaut of an administrative process, and the miniscule feeling one will be exposed to, presented with and suddenly thrown to the bottom of a pitiless cauldron will become evident from the very beginning.

That “feeling”, however, should never be confused with the relevance, importance and significance of preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application properly and to a perfection made to order, at least as much as humanly possible.

For, in the end, to be a cog in the process does not mean that one should become processed as a mere cog; rather, that the line which extends around the block and down into the next needs to be acknowledged, yet prepared sufficiently such that when that call for “Next!” comes your way, all of the papers, relevant data and significance of evidence are in undiluted order, such that the cog in the process will flow smoothly when next your turn is up before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS and CSRS: Doubt

Is certainty its antonym – or is it too rigid and lacking of linguistic elasticity to merit such a position?  For, doubt allows for an openness to both sides, doesn’t it – whether God exists or not; whether, in the end of life’s spectrum, judgment will deem our microscopic deeds worthy or not; and of illnesses, an erupting disability, or one which cravenly lingers beyond mere chronicity of irritation, but continues to periodically debilitate, and progressively annihilate the soul of patience for furtherance to hope.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must begin to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – where does doubt end, and certainty begin?

To begin with:  Doubt as to whether one’s medical conditions are severe enough to warrant consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and certainty as to the strength of one’s own case.  Doubt as to whether the medical evidence gathered is sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence test, and certainty as to the relevance and strength of a meritorious compilation of demonstrable material.

Doubt as to whether the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will provide a fair evaluation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and certainty as to the case being a “slam-dunk” venue for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Doubt as to whether one’s Human Resource Office will protect the privacy of the medical evidence submitted (if the Federal or Postal employee has not been separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days), and certainty that any violation of privacy will likely occur, but considering the options available, proceeding anyway.

How healthy is doubt?  How unhealthy is certainty?  Is doubt more akin to uncertainty than being the opposite of certainty, and if so, why would the negation of the root word transform it into a synonym?  Is it a grammatical rule that the test of an antonym is to negate its root, and if it becomes a synonym, then by logical extension, the root was its antonym?  Is that the same with feelings as opposed to beliefs; or of rationality in contradistinction to the Aristotelian appetitive parts of the soul?

In the end, the Federal or Postal employee must contend both with doubts and unrealistic expectations of certainty; for, when dealing with an administrative Juggernaut such as the likes of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in filing a CSRS or FERS Disability Retirement application, a healthy dose of doubt, combined with an aggressive approach bordering on certainty, is the best mix of medicines one can take or – to put it more quaintly:  go it alone with doubt, take an aspirin, or consult with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that you can at least arrive at some semblance of doubtful certainty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire