OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Avoiding the Pedantic Prophet

Doomsayers are everywhere, and in every generation and region of thoughtful pronouncements, prophets foretelling of anticipated events await to ring the ears of those who desire future confirmation of that which was already expected.

Beyond the general prophesy of future events, however, is the one who focuses upon minutiae and details irrelevant to the greater paradigm of events.  It is like the man who was informed that major surgery would be necessary, and oh, by the way, the scalpel to be used is made by a German manufacturer whose great uncle was related to Lord Byron.  Interesting tidbits may be relevant in limited circumstances; one should avoid the pedantic repetition of facts, events and details which detract from the main theme of a narrative.

In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, part of the process must involve the preparation of a Statement of Disability as required by completion of Standard Form 3112A.  Certainly, details can be important; but a meandering rambling of peripheral issues detracting from the centrality and essence of one’s case, can not only become a self-undermining proposition, but annoying as well.

Begin the narrative with the focus upon the condition, then build upon that with reverberating ripples of riveting prose of significance and tactile tenses entailing direct links to positional requirements.  For, in the end, a Federal Disability Retirement application is a person’s story, told in narrative form, as a paper presentation to OPM which must be singularly focused, coherent and comprehensively conveyed.

When the world is foretold of coming to an end, one does not want to know the color and make of the undergarment to be worn by your neighbor; at best, it distracts; at worst, it may well reveal a privacy concern you did not want to stomach.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Dawn’s Transition

In the calm of morning darkness, when the stillness of winter whispers a hushed tone of quietude just before the first break of dawn, one’s perspective falls askew amidst the shadows and desolation of winter.  Is that a rock or a dead bird, frozen in the stillness of winter’s despair?  Was the movement behind the trees a reflection, or just the first faintness of dawn’s exposure?  Perspectives are funny glazes; a once familiar landscape can be frighteningly unfamiliar within the dark chasms of one’s own mind.

Then, almost imperceptibly, the light of dawn begins to pervade, and that which once appeared strange and foreboding, takes on the familiarity of known objects, recognizable forms, and identifiable shapes.  We live by light, and light is the friend of our fanciful imaginations gone awry by fear and loathing.

Medical conditions have a similar subtlety, much like the light of dawn:  they slowly creep upon one, until the debilitating impact is revealed when just a moment before, the fear of darkness was overwhelming.  But just as the morning glow of the rising sun will bring warmth and a promise of openness, so the hope underlying any conflict in life must be placed within a context of future castings.  Hope is for the future, as light is a diminishment of a present or past darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition,  present circumstances are often like the overwhelming and foreboding sense of morning darkness before the dawn of the rising sun; it portends yet of a future unknown, and a fate yet to be decided.  That is why it is important to “let go” of those things of which one has no control, and concurrently, to affirmatively take steps towards the familiarity of that which is known.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a “known” quantity.  Yes, it is a difficult administrative process and procedure to engage; yes, it is a bureaucratic morass of unquantifiable proportions; but it is a necessary step for those Federal or Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the positional slot of one’s Federal or Postal job.

As the allegory in Plato’s Republic tells the story of the enslaved shadows struggling in the darkness of the Cave, so the Federal or Postal employee who looks up at the opening beyond, to the light of dawn, must surely recognize that the fear and loathing felt in the shadows wavering in that moment before dawn’s glory, is but a temporary point in fate’s cradle, just before the brightness of one’s future is revealed in a time and place yet to be destined for the glory of summer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Life’s Spare Parts

They are left as insignificant cast asides, unused and unusable until an urgency of need mandates their sudden relevance; and in a changed moment, their utility determines the worth and value of existence and retention in the clutter of overabundance.  Like the spare tire that is never used, spare parts imply potential need, but the actualization of relevance occurs only when necessity dictates; otherwise, they are like the proverbial bench warmer on a sports team replete with talent and competitive excess.

Most people are seen and treated like spare parts; irrelevant entities taking up limited space, occupying a determined confluence of time, and enjoying the dimensions within a universe where black holes of irrelevance and clutter enjoy an overabundance of regularity.  If utility is the criteria of significance in a materialistic world, then most of us are relegated to irrelevance and uncompromised anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suddenly find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to remain relevant in the Federal Workforce, a primary concern is often the loss of status and stature within the employment world.

We all want to belong, to be making a “difference” of sorts; and even in the midst of a faceless bureaucracy, it is nice to be appreciated and receive periodic accolades for accomplishments otherwise unknown and undetermined.  But a pause tells us that relevance is short-lived and rarely endured; the terrain of untended graveyards throughout the world echoes the quietude of forgotten hopes and dreams, and in the end, it is only family and private relationships which matter.

OPM Disability benefits is a necessary venue of purpose; for Federal employees who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is a needed benefit in order to escape the toil of employment and allow for recuperation from one’s medical condition, and then to find greater relevance and opportunity in the private sector, and be allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently compensates.

Persisting in an occupation which one can no longer do, is a foolhardy endeavor, at best; clinging on to a mistaken identity of significance, to the detriment of one’s health, is a death sentence determined by one’s own vanity.  For Federal and Postal workers who have a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the choice of wisdom, given the utilitarian perspective of the employment world.  It is a benefit which must be proven, and one must meet the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Considering the perspective of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service, wherein individuals are mere spare parts to be discarded at the behest of those who consider themselves royalty within a universe of mediocrity, it is best to recognize that life’s spare parts find best their meaning and value when once a person escapes the treadmill of monotonous insignificance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Interruption of Tradition

The common remark against the American culture is that it lacks any stabilizing force of tradition.  That is a fair criticism, given that it has emerged from a recognized “Old World” and designated as the “New World”; and, indeed, it is where cultures and traditions were left behind, in search of a fresh beginning and open opportunities to remake one’s self, the future, etc., and thus leaving behind the past and old ways of living and thinking.

That is the macro-cultural perspective; but within the microcosm of one’s insular universe, the privacy of small pockets of traditions form.  Individuals and families perform acts, engage in daily living and embrace repetitive forms of normative establishments, thereby creating private dwellings of tradition.  Yes, the concept of tradition normally is comprised of the transmission of an established set of values, beliefs, etc., from generation to generation; but if there exists none, and freedom and liberty continually interrupts the constancy of cross-generational transference of the old ways, can one “create” a tradition within a family, a group, or an individual?

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, the vacuum of a lack of tradition necessitates finding security and refuge in one’s family and the daily, repetitive connection with one’s Federal or Postal employment. That is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often an extremely traumatic event.  Where values and self-identity are formed within the context of one’s employment, and where such identification of self extends for years and decades back to one’s family, the sudden interruption and dismantling of a lifetime of daily routine in performing the essential elements of one’s job, is indeed a trying and difficult time.

If “tradition” is likened to “routine”, and instead of inter-generational transmission of values, it is replaced with a set of constancy of actions over an expansive period of time, then the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be likened to the sudden uprooting of a person who must travel from the “Old World” to the New World.

What devastating impact upon the psyche must have occurred upon arrival to a strange land.  But then, such psychology of trauma must be similarly experienced by the Federal or Postal worker who loves his job, but where a medical condition suddenly necessitates the sudden demise of working for a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and where one’s self-identity must now change because he or she can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job. Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the Federal or Postal worker who, as a result of a medical condition, can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, can file for, and become eligible to receive, Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Yes, it can be a traumatic event; and, yes, it can be the destruction of a tradition of years of established routines in one’s life. But like the immigrant of old who had to uproot from a land where opportunities faded and starved, the Federal and Postal worker who files for Federal OPM Disability Retirement must look to the future, and follow the sage advice of old, as Horace Greeley is said to have quipped, and to “Go West, young man…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Statement, the Stranger and the How

Paper presentations are dangerous creatures; if read by a stranger, it lacks the context of familiarity, and therefore must include enough information and detail to lay the preparatory foundation for coherence and comprehensibility; when viewed by someone known, unwarranted inferences and implications may be extrapolated, where characters and references are alleged to be fictional representations of real people, events and encounters.

The stranger’s eye views without prior preconceptions; the familiar, with an overabundance of active input; thus is the balance between objectivity and subjectivity disproportionately out of synchronization.  Sometimes, however, the inverse can be also true, and problematic, where the narrator assumes too much, or too little; where an overabundance of irrelevant information is provided in an attempt to make up for an assumed lack of contextual understanding, and in the course of such infusion of irrelevancies, the core of the purposive elements of the narration is effectively undermined.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the Statement of Disability as prepared on SF 3112A, must be approached with care, relevance, curtailed overloading of information, and with a contextual understanding of the governing laws surrounding a Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — an agency which knows not the applicant — which evaluates, reviews and decides upon the Federal or Postal worker filing for Medical Retirement benefits; and the statement delineated on SF 3112A must fully appreciate the fact that a stranger will be reviewing the Federal employee’s application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, as such, how one approaches the entire administrative process, the extent of detailed information, any background to the medical conditions, the quantitative and qualitative essence of the narrative to be formulated — all must thoughtfully and with subtle provocation be employed in the tool of effective narration.

What happens in our lives as told to a stranger, and the response we receive in the form of an approval or a denial, will be determined by the Statement of Disability in SF 3112A, reviewed and decided by a Stranger at OPM, based upon how well we prove the Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Medical Retirement: Always the Fundamentals

Whether or at what stage of the process the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, it is always essential to harken back to the fundamentals of the legal criteria to meet.

One can become sidetracked by the complexity of the process; and, indeed, the bureaucratic, procedural hoops which one must always keep in mind while maneuvering through the process, tend to obfuscate and confuse.  Bureaucracies thrive upon complexities, just as most professions do; the greater the complexity, the higher need for continuation of the employment of experts to propagate the systemically confounding process.

In engaging the process itself, the Federal and Postal employee must distinguish between procedural issues and substantive cores; the administrative steps of the “what” to do, in contrast to the substantive evidence to be submitted.  Both are equally important; for, without the former, it may never reach the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and without the latter, even if it reaches the destination point, it may fail to meet the preponderance of the evidence test and attain a level of evidentiary sufficiency to make a difference.

Whether at the Initial Stage of the process, the Reconsideration Stage, or even an appeal to the U.S.Merit Systems Protection Board, it is always essential to keep in mind that the fundamentals of the case must always be kept at the fore.

Remember:  This is a “medical” disability retirement; the conduct of others, the meanness of coworkers, the harassment encountered, and the ill-treatment received over the years; while hurtful, and perhaps the catalyst for resentment, they are not the paths to follow in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Delaying the Filing of Your OPM Disability Retirement Application

Delay temporarily suspends for a time in the future; sometimes, at the cost of immediacy of pain, but the human capacity to ignore and obfuscate allows for procrastination to be an acceptable act of non-action.  But certain issues defy the control of delay; medical conditions tend to remind us of that, where attempted suspension of dealing with the pain, the progressively debilitating triggers, or the panic attacks which paralyze; they shake us to the core and pursue a relentless path which betrays procrastination.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement becomes an employment option.

When to file has some room for delay; it is, after all, the underlying issue which must be attended to first and foremost — that of the medical condition.  But the Statute of Limitations in a Federal Disability Retirement case imposes a structural administrative procedure which cannot be ignored.  The Federal and Postal worker who is separated from Federal Service must file a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service.

So long as the Federal or Postal worker is on the rolls of the agency, the tolling of the statute of limitations does not begin; but once separation from service occurs, the 1-year clock (with some exceptions, but ones which you should not rely upon to subvert the statute of limitations) begins.

Delay for a specific purpose is sometimes acceptable (if one is still on the agency rolls), as in undergoing a medical procedure or seeing if a treatment regimen will work; but delay beyond the bureaucratic imposition of a statute of limitations is never one which should be allowed, as the benefit of a OPM Disability Retirement annuity will be barred forever.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Symbiotic Relationship

In biology, symbiosis refers to the interaction between two different organisms, often benefiting both.  It is the coexistence through the capacity to acquire greater advantage without diminishment and harm to the other, which then allows for the balance of nature to occur.

In other contexts, in differing circumstances or changed environments, perhaps the relationship and the interaction would alter, and the evolutionary forces of nature would impel each to become predator and prey; but for whatever reason, it is precisely the stability of balance in nature which allows for, and favors, such a symbiotic relationship.

By analogy, the relationship between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Federal and Postal worker, whether the latter is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, enjoys the symbiosis of necessity.  It is precisely for the Federal and Postal worker that the very existence of OPM is maintained; and for the Federal and Postal Worker who requires a personnel action to be processed, the existence of OPM is to the advantage of the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker.

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal OPM Medical Retirement benefits, the enhancement and spotlight of the symbiotic relationship between OPM and the suffering Federal or Postal worker comes to the fore; it is, indeed, precisely a relationship of advantage to both entities and organisms.

Of course, just as in the universe of biological entities (of which the human species is a part of, lest we forget because of our so-called advanced state of evolutionary existence), circumstances may alter, environments may change, and contexts of interaction may convert; and a similar relationship as that between predator and prey may develop.

A denial of an initial application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits tends to do just that; for, suddenly OPM is not just a bureaucratic morass upon which one is waiting for an action to ensue; now, it is an adversary which must be countermanded.

Still, despite the change, and regardless of the alteration of the essence of the symbiotic relationship, where the Federal or Postal worker must then file a Request for Reconsideration within 30 days of the date of the denial of an OPM Disability Retirement application, the interaction must still exist, and necessity of circumstances requires the continuing relationship between the two given entities: the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition on the one hand, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on the other.

It is by necessity of interaction that the two entities meet; it is by change of context which impels substantive alteration; but in the end, the reliance and dependence of symbiosis remains throughout.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire