Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Counting the days

Do we count the days when vacations lapse within the final hours and minutes, when in the beginning sunsets were timeless moments of restful hours yet to come?  What anticipation of worry-less days, and of looking forward to sleeping in, letting one’s guard down and the muscles relaxing from the tensions of anxiety-filled build-ups: No emails (at least for a few days, maybe…until the thought begins to intrude, then grow, then overwhelm, of the accumulation of those hundreds sitting there waiting…waiting…), no phone calls, no need for the greatest necessity in modernity — the ability and capacity to multitask.

The days began with lazy hours and hazy minds; of the sleepiness still caught between eyelids barely opened, and thoughts of the rat-race still barely behind.  It takes days just to unwind, and just when you begin to relax, it dawns on you that you are already counting the days when summer is over, the kids are back to school, and even the commercials on television are already pushing to get those supplies that are blaring with fanfare of sales and super-sales.

Do lions in the wild count the days?  Do the salmon as they fight to go upstream relinquish the solitude of mindless numbers?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition forces one to count not just the days when vacation is at hand, but every hour, every day, every week because survival to the end of the week is the mode of existence, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, counting the days is nothing but a clear indication that the numbered days are shrinking exponentially, and lost with the sequence of each count is the unalterable truth that days counted are days lost, especially when one’s health is at stake.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Fair Games

It depends upon how you read the concept, which word or syllable you place the accent or emphasis upon, doesn’t it?

In one sense of the concept, it has to do with games found at the county or state Fairs — you know, where cotton candy is sold and prizes are awarded for the largest potato grown or the fattest pig shown.  In another sense, it is in contrast to its opposite — of games where you have a good chance because rules are imposed and upheld, as opposed to “unfair” games where the proverbial deck is stacks against you.  It is in this second sense of the term that we apply.

Fairness itself is a difficult concept, precisely because of its malleability.  One concept of fairness is an arguable delineation based upon rules, perspectives, and even perhaps of cultural backgrounds.  Rules themselves can be attacked, and are “fair game” when it comes to disputatious boundaries, where there are essentially none to circumvent.

You can argue that such-and-such a call was unfair, and that obnoxious fan sitting next to you might counter, “But that’s within the rules of the game,” and you might then counter to the counter, “Then the game is rigged and the rules are unfair!”  What would be the counter-answer to the counter of the counter?  Perhaps, to say: “Listen, buddy, I don’t make up the rules.  It’s fair by definition if everyone who plays the game has to play by the same rules.”  Is that the silencer — the conversation-stopper — that cannot be argued against?

But what if everyone theoretically has to “play by the rules of the game”, but the rules are administered in a lopsided manner?  Is that what makes the game “unfair”?  Isn’t that what fans the world over complain about when the umpire, for example, sets the “strike zone” (or in other contexts, the “foul zone” or some such similar animal) too wide for some pitchers and too narrow for others?

Or, wasn’t there something like the “Jordan Rule” where a certain player was allowed to take an “extra step” (or two or three, for that matter) and no “traveling violation” was called, because the beauty of his fluid movements surpassed and transcended any “rules” that might disrupt the mesmerizing effect of such human defiance of gravity right before our eyes?  Could you imagine what an uproar that would have caused, where the player-in-question flies through the air with such acrobatic display of gravity-defying beauty, slam-dunks the ball to the rising wave of appreciative fans, and a whistle is blown — and the basket is disallowed?

That awkward motion that the referee engages in — you know, where both hands are balled up into a fist and made into a circular motion, indicating that a traveling violation has occurred — and then pointing to the scoring table and telling them to subtract the 2-points just previously awarded…is it “fair”?  Should fairness sometimes be overlooked when beauty-in-mid-flight entertains us to such ecstatic delights?

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, life often begins to appear as if “fairness” is no longer an applicable rule — for, is it “fair” that one’s health has deteriorated despite doing everything to take care of it?  Is it “fair” that others seem to have lived a life of excess but seem not to be impacted at all by the abundance of maltreatment?  Is it “fair” that others appear to be receiving favoritism of treatment, while your Federal Agency or the Postal Service appears to be targeting you for every minor infraction of the “rules”?

Life, in general, is unfair, and when a Federal or Postal worker seems to be the target of unfair treatment because of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, it may well be time to prepare, formulate and file 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.

Life is often unfair in general; but when it comes to applying and enforcing “the Law”, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney, especially when seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  And like the “Jordan Rule” concerning extra-rule-violation treatment, it is best to make sure that your attorney makes the Rules of the Game enforced — and fair.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Deviating and adapting

How does one deviate or adapt, if one is approaching something anew?

Such concepts as modifying or altering a methodology presumes that one has encountered the process before, and thus it stands to reason that a person who has never previously experienced something before can hardly be expected to provide new insights when the experience itself is new to the individual.  That is why we often refer to a person’s ability and capacity to “think on his or her feet” — meaning, to quickly encompass and adapt to new and fluid circumstances, despite a lack of familiarity with an onslaught of speedy changes.

Deviating, of course, can be a negative component, in that it may imply altering from a true-and-tested course of action, and unless one is certain of one’s confidence in a new path taken, there may ensue disastrous consequences when following a rebellious path that can lead to the unknown.  Many a trailblazer who knew not the way of the unbeaten path have perished by starvation or thirst.

On the other hand, we consider the capacity and ability of “adapting” to be a positive characteristic, in that it implies a characteristic of being able to respond to external circumstances that are changing, and requires a willingness to bend with the winds of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that 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 dual concept of deviating and adapting comes to the fore precisely because of the need to change — both on the Agency/Postal Service’s side, as well as from the perspective of the Federal or Postal employee.

For the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, the issue of deviating and adapting comes about in terms of “accommodation” — for, it is necessary for the Federal Agency and the Postal Service, by force of law, to “deviate” from the former ways of behaving, and to “adapt” to the medical conditions and changes that the Federal or Postal employee is undergoing.

From the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee, deviating and adapting may encompass a wide range of issues in terms of accommodations — whether the situation and conditions posed are temporary or permanent by nature; whether the medical conditions suffered are able to be accommodated at all, either temporarily or permanently; and whether attendance is an issue; of how much SL must be taken; of FMLA issues and extensions of LWOP beyond, etc.

In the end, deviating and adapting from the “norm” may not be possible, in which case 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, may become necessary.

For all Federal and Postal employees, what is important to remember is that suffering from a progressively deteriorating medical condition will require deviating and adapting, and that may include the need to have expert legal guidance by an attorney who has previously had the experience in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that any and all deviations and adaptations can be initiated from the perspective of previous experience, and not as a trailblazer off of the beaten path where getting lost in the complexities of Federal Disability Retirement Laws can lead to disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Problems

We all have them; some, more than others; and by either quality or quantity, we often judge as to the burdens overloaded in our lives, comparing to others by contrast the significance of the impact of each, whether large or small, tragic and grandiose or irrelevant like a speck of a fly upon a windowsill in the basement where no one visits, anyway.

Wait long enough and they will sometimes go away; wait too long, and the little bothersome inkling may turn into an insurmountable gargantuan of a magnified adversity beyond human tolerability; and in the end, we are left with either being resigned to live with them, to solve them, or to simply survive them.

Problems are inherent to human living.  A wise pastor once said, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  This statement was a recognition that human interactions, relationships and the mere bunching up of personalities that conflict and become adversarial, in a world of limited means but unlimited emotional upheaval, by necessity invites problematic encounters.

We often think that, “If only I had…” — then, what?  That all problems would simply vanish?  Hardly, and most unlikely.  For, history has shown that in every endeavor that requires effort; in every relationship no matter the matching of perfection as to personality, temperament and compatibility; in the end, whether by external influences or internal derangements, conflict will erupt and problems will abound.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the necessity may arise for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset.

In such a state of affairs, problems already are inherent — the medical condition itself.  The key, then, is not to compound the problem by trying to maneuver through a complex administrative process without legal expertise, but rather, to engage an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

In the end, it is the compounding of problems that can be controlled.  Problems will always be with us, but for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with a medical condition and must file a Federal Disability Retirement application, always remember that it is the next step beyond the original problem that will often determine the future course of problems, and whether they can be limited or allowed to fester and boil over into a compounding of further problems.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Representation: The habit that prevents

Kant was known to have followed a daily habitual routine that was marked with such precision that townspeople would set their watches and clocks by his various points of presence — i.e., if he was by the butcher’s shop, it was 3:15:17; if at the corner of Kroenigsburg Street, 3:16:09; and when he turned the corner of 7th and Main, it was 3:20:12.

One wonders if, had he paused at a random street corner to sneeze, would time have stopped, the universe become paralyzed, and the gods of the underworld been defeated in paroxysms of trembling fright?  Or, had he broken the daily routine of predictable sequences of the uninterrupted sojourn, marked by the two-steps-tap-tap with the cane of his choice, over and over again — step, step, tap, tap; step, step, tap, tap — would anyone have noticed?

Certainly, the townspeople would; and perhaps his rigid philosophical outlook, his moral foundation of principles that forever retained the universality of truth — maybe rigidity may have faltered and we would all be the poorer for it.

Could his mind have expanded into other arenas of philosophical discourse had he traveled beyond and broken the habit that prevents?  Does one’s actions of daily monotony determine the “type” of mind, thoughts, conscious processes, cognitive approaches, etc., such that there are habits that limit, prevent, pause or otherwise freeze?

Habit is a peculiar trait for human beings; it offers both solace and a sense of security in the very regularity of its path, somewhat like the repetition of a musical stanza that is both anticipated and relished despite its very predictability.  It becomes a harmful dependency, however, when the habit that prevents begins to forestall, stunt and actively become an obstacle that restrains necessary growth.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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, it may well be that the habit that once allowed for success — of being punctual; of overextending one’s capacity in order to accomplish the impossible; of having such a dedication to “the mission” that one’s own health was always secondary — while honorable and laudatory while it lasted, may be the habit that now prevents.

Prevents what?  Of seeking greater health, of changing course in order to set a different goal; 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.

Sometimes, the habit that was once a positive trait becomes one that prevents, depending upon changing circumstances and altering contexts, and for the Federal or Postal employee needing to break the habit of always working for the “mission of the agency” or to complete all tasks for the Postal Service, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM, may be the best next habit that results in more than the monotony of a daily walk, but a step which breaks the routine of all prior steps in order to reach an important goal — one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Mortality averted

Does it occur when the body is entombed?  Or, perhaps, like children who play “king of the hill”, the exhilarating feeling that overwhelms when once you are alone on top of the hill, unchallenged, identified as the winner of a game otherwise known to be silly but at least for the moment, a sense of immortality, where mortality is averted for a day, a second, a moment or in likened eternity.

Is the “winner” of life he/she who has the most toys at the end?  Is that why old men divorce their best friends after 30 years of marriage, only to remarry immediately to a person some generation or more younger, so that mortality can be averted?  Is there unequivocal, scientific proof that fad diets, working out at gyms, avoiding dangerous leisure activities like bungee jumping without making sure that the cord is shorter than the distance between Point A and the chasm’s end below — do any or all of these ensure mortality to be averted (surely, not the last of the series implicated, although the exhilaration felt just before the cord strains to restrain must bring about a rush of sensation before the concept of causality is tested for the last time)?

Do we surround ourselves with things that last beyond the days of antiquity only to remind ourselves that some things in life do, indeed, remain beyond the time of our own demise? Why do people write out wills and instructions detailing post-death affairs, knowing that we will not be present to oversee the execution of our wishes?

It is, indeed, a puzzle — of transporting ourselves in consciousness to a time beyond and planning for a moment when we are no longer here; yet, to race furiously during our lifetimes to make sure that others have some semblance of a memory of our existence.  How many tombstones lay fallow in graveyards just around the corner, unvisited, untended and forgotten, except in echoing whispers of yesteryear’s cousins who once stole the golden chalice of mortality’s laughter?  And what about the middle ground — that time of illness and deteriorating health, when we are reminded that mortality is, indeed, just around the corner, and the not-so gentle nudge that pulls us in that direction?

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 the Federal or Postal job, the mortality to be averted is the constant pain, suffering or debilitating episodes that make for life’s misery to continue, and it may be time to avert mortality’s nudging reminder by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if only to temporarily escape from the daily grind that reminds you that your deteriorating health is no longer compatible with the positional requirements of your Federal or Postal job.

In the end, mortality cannot be completely averted, but in the meantime, enjoyment of the remaining days is the best that one can hope for and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a small step towards achieving that goal.

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