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

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The inchoate life

The problem is often the perspective, and not the reality.  Somehow, human beings walk about this earth with the expectation that fulfillment is in the “now” and development is merely something ascribed to babies, yogurt and African nations on a far away continent of timeless immaturity.  Potentiality; the consistency of growth; and, even in old age, despite the deterioration and degeneration of cellular expansion, our lives represent an inchoate and rudimentary structure such that we have to constantly strive to grow.

Yet, somehow, we mistakenly believe in so many fictions; that the senior prom is the fulfillment of all things important; that graduation from college represents the pinnacle of our education except for those few who go on to graduate schools (which is now more common than even a decade before because of the intense economic challenges and competition); that the present job is the treadmill upon which success or failure reflects; and that, in old age, decrepitude and endless agony awaits us all.

All of us, in the end, are imperfectly formed and in the constant process of becoming formulated; yet, by our impatience and desire for fulfillment, we deny the very existence of the part-existence of our very Being.  And so we cry out in protest when a medical condition hits us and prevents us from being or doing that which we believe we were destined for; and like the shrill screams of hungry coyote in the wind-swept plains of a desolate landscape, we dream in solitude as the howls of time obscure the pain of suffering.

What dreams we once held; the journey from form to content; the need to accomplish, excel and fulfill; these are all human characteristics which bring out the best in us.  But reality is also a discourse where interruptions and interludes occur, and the reality is that most of us never fulfill the potential of our lives, and that is okay, especially when the circumstances intervening are beyond that which we have the ability or capacity to control. The inchoate life is seen throughout the many unmarked graves and tombstones lying in quietude of silent anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who realize that careers chosen, dreams yet unfulfilled and goals unachieved, the medical conditions that interrupt are merely reminders to us all that the inchoate life cannot be avoided.  Priorities must be set; a different path may be required.

Preparing, formulating and 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, is merely another step in the many steps of a Chinese proverb, and the inchoate life is just another movement, a stir and a wrinkle in so many lives yet to reach the completeness of a destiny still to call in the wilds of a lone wolf speaking to the full moon of purposeful lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The importance of seeing a way out

The strategic approach of allowing for a route of retreat is well-known; by providing an exit option, casualties are lessened and the proportional ferocity of battle often parallels the availability or non-existence of such a pathway out.

Cornered animals behave in the same way – and why would they not?  Do we think that we are somehow exempt from the genetic predisposition of Darwinian inherency?  And the cornered enemy who sees no exit – with the final bullet retained for self-annihilation, the option of surrender not a reality for the traitorous residue to such an act, or of the potential for torture and mutilation naturally following revenge upon actions taken previously; or a kamikaze-like final hurrah met with a hail of bullets; it is the importance of seeing a way out, that often determines the course of future conduct.

That is how the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker views the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement:  as the “way out” of an otherwise untenable future course.  Without it, the options are often:  Die trying to get to work each day; resign with nothing to show for the many years of investing in one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.

What is so interesting in engaging Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers for multiple decades, now, is the singular and unassailable fact that is contrary to the misperception held by the general public:  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are among the most dedicated of workforce servants, putting in long and uncompensated hours beyond what they are required, and never wanting to take the “exit option” but for the chronic and severe nature of a rising and debilitating medical condition.  And, how many who obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity go on into the private sector and “pay back” into the very system from which they are being compensated the Disability Retirement annuity?  Many, if not most.

Without the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, many would struggle and ultimately lose the battle either with the agency or the Postal Service, or with the medical condition itself.  Even with the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the pay is not so enticing as to encourage any mass exodus via the vehicle of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, and it is only because of the progressively deteriorating nature of a medical condition that finally impels and compels the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker to take that exit option, and to seek to reach a plateau of rehabilitative serenity such that a further career or vocation in the private sector could be possible.

In the end, like enemies in a fierce firefight, the importance of seeing a way out is just as relevant to the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, as it is to the kamikaze warrior who tightens the band of fate by an emblematic headscarf in preparation for the final battle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Deprogramming a Preconditioned Approach

The preconditioned attitude of the general public is that, if X has a medical condition, then such medical condition, by the very nature of the condition itself, will either entitle one to benefits, or not.  Such an approach is what one is conditioned to expect — that by the very nature of the medical condition itself, means that it will either lead to, or not lead to, a specified result.  This viewpoint and approach is based upon a definitional standard, where the very essence of what it means to suffer from X already predetermines whether one is eligible and entitled to benefit Y.

Social Security assumes such an approach.  To some extent, so does OWCP, because the Department of Labor is willing to pay a certain amount of compensation based upon a predetermined calculus of a percentage rating, for loss of limb, loss of use, loss of functional capacity, etc.

This is why Federal and Postal employees who first contemplate preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, will attempt to tie the fact of having a medical condition with the question, “Does this qualify me for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?”  But that is the wrong paradigm to use in asking the question.  For, eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is not based upon a definitional ascription of a medical condition; rather, it is that “third element” — the connection between X and Y, X representing the medical condition and Y standing for the positional duties which the Federal or Postal employee must engage.

In many respects, Federal Disability Retirement answers the philosophical question which David Hume asked:  Is there a necessary connection between cause and effect?  For Federal Disability Retirement purposes, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire