OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Life Well-Reflected

Such a concept can have a duality of meanings; from an outsider-insider viewpoint, or an objective-subjective perspective; of a life that reflects positively to others, such that a community views an individual favorably; or, an alternative interpretation is of a person who has lived one’s life carefully, with planning and thoughtful care.  Most of us live, or try to live, in the former manner; some few, unique in its rarity of form, carefully and thoughtfully plan first, then set out to accomplish goals and objectives in accordance with those plans.

Life’s unexpected vicissitudes, however, come in waves of unexpected and unplanned consequences, and rare is the exception that can accommodate and assuage the tumults that demand and compel change and circumstances that obstruct or otherwise alter the course of any given day.  That is why even a well-reflected life, with the best intentions of traveling a straight line between Point A and Goal B, can rarely be accomplished without some modifications along the way.  Instead, the “other” meaning of the concept — of a person who lives in accordance with principles and integrity no matter the obstacles that come one’s way — is true of the greater percentage of most of us.

We go through life keeping our commitments, doing the best we can, honoring promises and treating others in a fair and respectful manner.  Then, in the end, when the old man is rocking in the proverbial chair of honor, a community can say of him or her that the individual reflects well upon all of us.  It is rare to have a well-reflected life based upon careful planning, precisely because life just doesn’t “work” that way.

Medical conditions constitute a prime example.  They suddenly appear, wreak havoc upon the best-laid plans, and proceed to persist in their vehemence of obstructing, diluting and impeding every effort to to get to that Goal B.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impedes or prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to adapt to the changes that impose upon a “well-reflected life”.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a negative reflection upon a life well-reflected; it is just another “bump in the road” that requires further thought and planning, and the first step in a well-reflected Federal Disability Retirement application is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The pleasurable distraction

When does a distraction itself become a distraction, such that the pleasure beheld becomes instead a burden and no longer is a pleasurable distraction?  It is like the tangents that become the mainstay of a life; suddenly, the peripheral matters become the central conditions, and those fences that once preserved the clear boundaries have fallen into disrepair, and instead there seems to be no end to the bifurcations needed in life’s inherent complexities.

Thus, was once a hobby a pleasurable distraction, now merely a nuisance that is left in the junk heap in the corner of the garage?  Or an activity of physical exercise that one exuberantly tackled, now a necessity because of failing health, and increasingly intolerable because of the time it takes, the stresses of needing to attend to other, more “meaningful” projects, and so we exchange prior declarations of glee for that of old-age grumbling.

Playing with the kids; throwing the ball with the dog; watching a movie together with that “special other”; these were once pleasurable distractions, now jumbled into the stresses of life as if they are just “things to do” on the daily lists of activities, as opposed to that which is “looked forward to” in order to escape the centrality of problematic living.

We have lost, in modernity, the capacity to enjoy; oh, yes, we make statements about how “happy” we are, and put on a brave face or a phony smile; but the reality is that “happiness” has lost its core meaning precisely because we are all expected to be so.  And thus has the pleasurable distraction been cast away on the trash heap of history’s many experiments, one more to be counted on the negative side of the proverbial ledger.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have experienced 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 position, always remember that the pleasurable distraction was once the central focus of why we do what we do; and when that pleasurable distraction becomes transformed into a nuisance because the core basis upon which we engage the world – our work, our career, our means of making a living – becomes such a burden that we must abandon all such pleasurable distractions, then it is probably time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, when those pleasurable distractions become impeded by the unpleasant deterioration of a medical condition, the entire basis of the structure of why we continue on becomes questioned, thereby requiring a reformulation of the structures of unscientific evolutions – i.e., what it means to be “happy”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability from Federal Employment: Predatory Pathologies

It is unnecessary to study the tendencies of other species and their internal drive to be who they are; for, it is presumed, the innate structure of their genetic makeup becomes the paradigm for self-explanatory justification, and like all conundrums of deviations from synthetic or analytic statements, the self-identity of the process itself makes it abundantly unclear.

Predators are by their very nature self-identifying; it would be a nonsensical proposition to ask the question, “Why”, in connection with the lion or cheetah that hunts and kills; or for the hawk, eagle, and even the household cat, despite their fuzzy beauty of cuteness and domesticated aplomb.  But of man, we question incessantly; of the long history of wars, cruelty, mass murders and genocide, the paradigm is one of puzzlement despite the footprints of self-explanatory consistency.

The need to act civilized in an antiseptic universe of artificial constructs jolts one back into the reality of who we are when deviations from such carefully created models shatter the very essence of our imagined parallelisms of worlds built upon virtual realities, and so we cry for such aliens who never were.  Barbarism tends to do that; and simple meanness in the workplace often shocks.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer such rude awakenings, perhaps it is because of the disconnect between what we thought we were a part of, and the reality of what is.  That “disjointedness” is often easily attributable to the “medical condition” from which one suffers, and to which everyone else points for justification of bad behavior.

For, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, where the medical condition impacts and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the focus becomes the Federal or Postal employee, and the predatory pathologies which erupt and shed their thin veneer of civilized behavior become justified because of the loss of “mission accomplishment” of the agency, or some such balderdash of scientific explanation.

The plain fact is that there are bad people in the world, and no amount of studies of predatory pathologies will help to set aside the negative behavior of people within Federal agencies or the U.S. Postal Service.

The solution for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Let the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service worry about the “mission of the agency”; that will continue with or without you, as all bureaucracies do, just as predatory pathologies will persist despite multiple studies to the contrary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire