Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The image we hold

It often takes years, and sometimes never; the child that has grown up, lived independently for some time, and has asserted his or her separation and personality still remains a child in the mind of the parent.  The image we hold often far extends beyond the reality that has changed and circumstances have dictated; it is that which remains as the final vestige of what we yearn for, steadfastly refuse to surrender, and allow in our imagination to fester with the desires of fantasies left unrealized.

That is why loss of a parent from the perspective of the child is just as difficult as the loss of a child from the vantage point of a parent; each holds on to the image remaining, like Platonic Forms that transcend the ugly reality of the starkness in broad daylight.  From the child’s perspective, the image we hold is of the omnipotent parent — vibrant, bringing joy and security, always there to reassure.  From the parent’s viewpoint: of the innocence never tarnished, the first gurgle and smile, and that word that bonds the relationship forever and a day.  Yet, each grows; the parent, frail and into senility; the child, into adulthood and loss of innocence.

It is, however, the image we hold that remains, and is the last to exit despite the coffins of despair and the alterations of nature’s cruelty upon the wrinkles of time.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal worker to remain in the same job, career and agency of one’s chosen career, there comes a time when Federal Disability Retirement should be a consideration, and the image we hold of a long-lasting tenure as a Federal employee in a particular line of work must, by medical necessity, change.

The image we hold is a figment of one’s stubbornness to remain steadfastly upon a course of immortality; we all have to submit to the winds of change, and 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 that very change that must go beyond the image we hold — of one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed of, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

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

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees: At any given moment…

Despite evidence to the contrary, we tend to live life expecting disaster just around the next corner; and when it does happen, of course, it only confirms the greatest fears which we had anticipated all along.  Whether any singular calamity is merely a magnification of our expectation of life’s fragile coordinates of unfairness, or simply a reflection of truth in an objectively impassive and uncaring world, it is our sense of destiny left to the fates of gods who care not and submission to the evolutionary Darwinism of predatory-to-prey beliefs which obviates any residual joy of life.  Then, when a wrong turn is made, we shake our heads knowingly and whisper in a soliloquy of wisdom unconstrained, “I knew it,” or something akin thereto, like, “Of course”.

Does confirmation of that which is expected, a basis for cynicism?  We certainly give lip-service to children, dogs and people of lesser means and circumstances by providing unsolicited, positive coaching advice on life and living:  “There is hope, yet”; “Tomorrow is a brighter day”; “Today is the best day of the rest of your life”; and other quips of mindless wisdom meant to appease, while we knowingly whisper in the privacy of our caverns of suspicion with an addendum of:  “You just don’t know how bad it can get.”  And so it goes (as the great positive thinker, Kurt Vonnegut, used to say — but then, anyone who survived the bombing of Dresden has a right to hold such dilapidated opinions of shabbiness).

Thus, in a similar vein, for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who finds that treatment at the hands of one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service when the time of need for support and acceptance is at its pinnacle — just doesn’t quite meet the standard of excellence expected in such moments, should be forgiven for having that shuddering tumult of suspicious concavity, when the Federal or Postal employee whispers, “At any given moment…” (i.e., the other shoe will drop; the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service will further confirm their uncaring attitude; or some similar continuation of the initiating thought).

Preparing an effective 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, is often the solution to extricating oneself from the calamity of having a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employment.  For, in the end, you do not want to stick around too long to verify and validate that thoughtful knowledge of wisdom you possessed as a Federal or Postal employee, when you first learned that life is not a bed of roses, rarely a shining star, and certainly not the lottery ticket each and every day, when — at any given moment — that proverbial “other shoe” may drop if you are a Federal or Postal employee needing to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM: Major Depressive Disorder

The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”.  One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.

The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned.  Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition.  If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.

We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact.  Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases:  most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise.  But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).

It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for 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.

Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual.  But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Systemic Problems

When the residual impact of a crisis goes well beyond cosmetic concerns, the usual and customary description is that the “cause” involves “systemic” problems.  Such foundational fissures can occur both in organizations, as well as in individuals.

For Federal agencies, it may require a need for new leadership, or a restructuring of internal chains of command, and sometimes even outside intervention.  More often than not, a call for greater funding is demanded; then, once approved, we walk away as if the problem has been fixed, until the next crisis calls our attention.

For individuals, the systemic problems can involve a medical condition.  Symptoms are normally mere warning signs portending of greater dangers; like organizational eruptions of systemic concerns, individual crisis of systemic proportions often result from neglect, procrastination and deliberate avoidance of the issue.  But medical problems have a tendency and nature of not going away; they are stubborn invaders, like the hordes of barbarians from epochs past, who keep whittling away at the weakest points of an individual’s immune system.  Then, when the medical condition progressively deteriorates until the spectrum of symptoms exceeds a threshold of toleration, suddenly, a crisis develops.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has reached that point, where the symptoms are no longer superficial, but prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then it is time to begin 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, time is of the essence, as the administrative process must meander its way through a complex system of bureaucratic morass, and the timeline is often of importance in securing the future of a Federal or Postal employee.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is an arduous, lengthy task, and one which is a tool against a systemic problem; for, in the end, the best fight against an invading army is to utilize the elements of the marauders themselves, and this is true in medicine, in law, as well as in individual and organizational restructuring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire