Filing for Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Remakes

Some hate them and vow never to view or accept them in any way, being purists at heart and unable to fathom any possibility that improvement can be had upon an old classic; others — the opposite side of the coin — welcome anything new and will relish all updated versions where the old can be replaced by the new.  Still others remain in a somewhat “neutral” frame of mind: Acceptance in the form of saying to one’s self, “Well, any remake is merely a new and different movie; you can’t compare the two because they are different interpretations by different people.”  Or, perhaps a more moderated tonality: “Let’s just give it a chance.”

Can Jeff Bridges be any better than John Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn?  Can any modern adaptation recapture the magic in Twin Peaks or improve upon its avant-garde approach?  Can there be a “better” Charlie than Diane Keaton in John le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl — depicting the emotional turmoil of the Middle East conflict through the instability and confusion of a single person?

Modernity thinks that all previous generations have been lacking in something; perhaps it is just arrogance to think that a “remake” can be better than the original, or is it merely a lack of creativity because the “now” is unable to come up with its own original ideas, and therefore must rely upon that which has already been done once — or twice, or three times before — with an effort to “improve” upon it?

To some extent, it is an inevitability of life’s misgivings, and so we all have to “remake” ourselves at some point in our lives.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the “remake” that must face is the one that is in real life: Medical conditions force one to remake one’s career, life choices and future plans.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may not have been a “scene” in one’s life that was planned, but it has now become a necessity.  The movie reel within one’s life — the viewing of one’s future; how one sees one’s self; the “takes” that one shot of a career and a future — is forced to be remade when a medical condition hits one’s life.

Whether one wanted to or not, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity when a 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.  It is like “remaking” one’s life.

Just remember, however, that like all remakes, it is important to have a good “director”, and seeking the counsel of a Federal Disability Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is an important feature of the upcoming film adaptation and remake of the truest of moves: One’s Own Life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Formulating the argument

How does one formulate “the argument”?  Is it merely a reaction that comes naturally, like the person who has been tagged as one who is “constantly argumentative”?  Do all arguments need to provide a foundation of rational discourse — of coherence within an invective of counter-statements, and structure countermanding a deterioration of civility?

For example, when a person begins to answer the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — does one pause, consider the various answers that may be provided, and establish a methodology in proceeding to satisfy the question? Does the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits consider first the consequences of one’s answers, and do you weave throughout a thoughtful argument for an approval?  Or, should the “argument” be filed via a separate Legal Memorandum, pointing out the relevant laws, citing the statues and quoting from various cases that have previously addressed the issues posed?

Most people who file for FERS Medical Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management fail to consider the preemptive arguments that should be made within the answers to questions posed on SF 3112A, and thus are denied at the First Stage of the process because the applicant thought that a simple question asked required a similarly-simple answer as requested.

Then, of course, when the Initial Denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received through the mail, the Second Stage of the process — the “Reconsideration Stage” — merits further formulation of legal arguments.  At whatever “stage” you are at — whether at the First and Initial Stage; the second, “Reconsideration” Stage; or even at the Third Stage, an Appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — formulating a coherent, cogent and rational argument that persuades OPM to approve the Federal Disability Retirement application is an important component in a winning FERS Medical Retirement application.

Remember — to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is not like having an argument with a friend or spouse; it is an argument which must be based upon facts, evidence, and legal precedents, and to have the best “shot” at it requires the hand of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Challenges

Throughout life, they are always there — some, we take up; others, we ignore; and still others, we consider and perhaps avoid, and sometimes leave with the regret that not having taken the challenge may have left an empty void within our souls, but we will never know.  Some challenges we create; others, they just come along without even asking; and still others, it just appears that circumstances coalesce beyond our control and they just appear out of nowhere, neither asked for nor necessarily desired.

Health challenges are an inevitability.  Yes, there is the rare one who lives to be a 103, never was sick in a day of his or her life, and suddenly dies while doing an activity which was enjoyed throughout one’s life; or of those women in Siberia or some other exotically barren land who made and ate their own yoghurt or remained throughout on some other healthy diet because the environment left them no other choice, and somehow avoided the ravages of illness, fast-food restaurants, greasy cheeseburgers, French fries that were marinated and cooked in engine oil, traumatic injury or other deteriorating health conditions that could not be attributed to anything but a lifetime of a particular lifestyle choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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, the challenges are many: Continuation of a career or not?  Enduring of harassment for taking too much SL or LWOP, or surviving the PIP?  Possible termination to be faced in the near future?

And the ultimate challenge: Preparing, formulating and filing 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 — now that is a challenge for the ages, given the complex nature of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Evidence of Sincerity

We question it; contest it; challenge when necessary by bringing up counter-evidence that seems to undermine it; and we all act with outrage and become highly offended when our own underlying intent is questioned, as if everyone else in the world is suspiciously lacking of it with the exception of one’s self.

“Sincerity” is a funny animal, and evidence of it is like the bond between the wrong committed and the arena of court applied: preponderance of the evidence?  Clear and Convincing?  Or, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

The choice depends upon the gullibility of the beholder and the relationship between the teller and the believer; then, for some, a breach and violation of a single instance forever condemns without recourse of forgiveness.

What is the evidence of sincerity?  Is it merely words upon words, or must actions follow, and constancy and consistency of behavior?

Take the following hypothetical: Person X says that he will meet you for lunch at Time-T, at location Y, and so at Time-T, at location Y, you go and wait.  And wait.  Person X never show up.  A few days later, you see Person X and you remind him that there had been a luncheon agreement, and why didn’t you show up?

Example A: The person apologizes profusely and reveals that he/she became gravely ill and was taken to the hospital at that very moment, on that day, during the time of the luncheon date.  Example B: The person says: “Oh, I found something better to do,” and essentially casts you aside.  Example C: The person (who has a wide and well-known reputation for being “flighty”), explains: “Oh-my-gosh!  I completely forgot!  I really meant to be there but I just completely forgot about it!”

Obviously, most of us would respond to each with: Forgive persons A and C; be angry at B.  Why do we react like this?

Again, the obvious answer is: We presume sincerity on the part of A and C (though, as to C, we give some leeway for a reputation preceding the doing, and if we were unaware of that reputation, we might want to proceed by putting the person on a “probationary” status of wariness and suspicion for the next time); as to B, the person has explicitly reversed any semblance of sincerity, and has told us to essentially go fly a kite.

Now, change the hypotheticals slightly: As to A: We later discover that he was seen precisely at Time-X to have been out and about with another person, and was never in the hospital.  In other words, he lied.  And as to C: Whether “flighty” or not, the person never honors a commitment, and consistently makes promises but each time breaks them.  In other words, whether sincere at the time or not, that person can never be relied upon.

And as to the problematic B: We later learn that at that very Time-T, he was actually in the hospital caring for his dying spouse, but did not want to burden you with the long and tragic narrative of his personal trials, and furthermore, his reputation prior to the promise broken is so far out of character that it had left you scratching your head with befuddlement in the first place.

Who, out of these examples, ends up being the “sincere” person, and what is the evidence that changed your mind?

Evidence of sincerity is often a touchy subject, where reputation, reality and roles of engagement coalesce to provide the “full” picture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the evidence of sincerity is often important in assessing friends, coworkers and trusted individuals in the dissemination of sensitive medical information.

Appearance cannot always be trusted; reputation, perhaps; but in the end, the evidence of sincerity is often merely a gut instinct that tells you who to trust and why.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Human & humane activity

Does the dropping of the single vowel make a difference?  Should it?  Or, should the very status of being “human” encompass and naturally include being “humane”, as well?  Should they not be synonyms, or even indistinguishable as an amalgamation of vowels and consonants, as opposed to two distinct words, even if one is considered as a mere extension of the other?

For, it is precisely the unique characteristic and capacity of the former to exhibit the latter, and it is the latter which defines the essence of the former; and so, in many respects, they are identical terms, even if the latter contains a total of 6 letters, comprised of 3 consonants and 3 vowels, whereas the former has one less, with 1 more consonant than a vowel, making it into an uneven number of letters as opposed to a balanced equality of 3 to three, and making it into a ratio of 3:2.

Yet, doesn’t the essence of X require the need for an antonym to exist in order for a contrast to magnify the truth of it?  Thus do opposites enhance each other – does “Being” make any sense without “Nothingness?”  Would “happiness” have an existential sense without “sadness”?  In that logical entrapment, doesn’t the essence of being “human” require, by logical necessity and extension, the capacity to act its opposite – of cruelty, inhumanity, genocidal tendencies and masochistic egoism of the highest order?

That is the unfortunate reflection of reality from the refraction of a word; being “human” does not necessarily compute to being “humane”, although its opposite is apparently not true – if one is “humane”, one necessarily posits that the active agent of such empathy, caring and sensitive treatment is that of a “human”, and not some other species of animal that can exhibit such a trait.  But is this true in all cases?  Do we not witness “humane” treatment by others – by dogs, cats and pigs, perhaps?  Or do we attribute other characteristics to explain away such behavior – such as “loyalty”, “habit” or “trained behaviors”?

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, “humane” treatment by other “humans” is often sorely lacking.  What is it about having a medical condition that somehow brings out the worst in others?  Is it a fear that such a condition reflects a future reality that others see and want to avoid, and therefore begin to treat the person who possesses it like a plague of some short?

Agencies are supposed to treat workers with identified medical conditions in a “humane” way and, if they do not, there are laws concerning the requirement to “accommodate” in place; and, if there are no accommodations, then preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application is the next “humane” law that is there for the human being beset with a medical condition.

That is the peculiarity of laws, of course – they are passed by humans with the knowledge that they do not always engage in humane treatment, and that is why laws governing Federal Disability Retirement are there to be applied – for the human who requires being forced to engage in humane treatment of others, precisely because humans have shown a consistency tendency in history to act inhumanely.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The wrong target

What if you are involved in the highest levels of competitive marksmanship – say, target shooting by a rifle, or crossbow, or bow and arrow, or even by a pistol.  You shot throughout the morning, and hit the bulls eye every time; your opponents try to keep up with you, but at each level of competition, there is a slight deviation here, a centimeter there, and systematically, the competition is “eliminated”, and you are left standing at the podium of the “winner”.

As the trophy is brought out, the Chief Judge who is about to present the awards and ceremonial crown, pauses, reflects for a moment, and declares:  “Sorry, but it turns out that you were shooting at the wrong target each time.”  They then present the accolades to the “runner up”, who was shooting on the same range, aiming at each turn at the target set up in his or her respective lane of sightings, and seemed to follow the protocol as set up by the competition and the committee of judges.

You go and question the judgment of the judges, and especially address the Chief Judge, protesting:  “What do you mean?  I shot at the target that was set up.”  “But you shot at the wrong target.  Your target was the one in the lane next to you.  You shot in Lane A; you were supposed to be in Lane B”.  And you argue:  “But that is irrelevant.  Lane A is the same as Lane B, and there is no difference between the two.”  And the Chief Judge says:  “Look at your designated Card Assignment:  It states without question, ‘Assigned to Lane A’.  Yet, you shot all targets in Lane B”.  You persist in arguing:  “But what difference does it make?  It is the same target whether I am in Lane A or Lane B?”  And the kicker from the Chief Judge:  “In life, you can’t just do what you want; you have to obey the rules.”

Who is right?  Would it matter which lane one is assigned to, and whether obedience to the protocol and adherence to the “letter of the law” is followed, when the substantive point of the whole process – hitting the target – is clearly accomplished beyond the competence of all others?  We often encounter that anomaly in life – of the seeming conflict between the technicality of the issue (the “minutiae” otherwise unnoticed by the rest of the population) and the general adherence based upon common knowledge and boredom of repetitive protocol.  It may well be a trite redundancy, but when a “technicality” is involved, then a technician is the one to call.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of the “wrong target” and the “technical violation” of the rules is appropriate to recognize and consider:  For, in Federal Disability Retirement Law, as in many other facets of legal wrangling, making sure that the larger compass of hitting the “right” target, as well as keeping within the proper lane of technical legal issues, are both equally important in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The “wrong target” is the agency; the “right target” is the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The “technicalities” encompass the statutes, laws, regulations and legal opinions as rendered by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and the Federal Circuit Courts on issues pertaining to Federal Disability Laws litigated as precedents.  And, who is the proper “technician” to call?  An attorney who is experienced in fighting the cause for Federal and Postal employees, to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Of empty promises

What is a promise? Is it binding, and if so, what makes it binding?  Does a written acknowledgment, a memorandum of understand or a memorialization of promises made and assurances conveyed, make a bit of difference?  Why are “eternal” promises so much easier to violate – is it because, as finite human beings, “everyone knows” anyway that we never meant to keep such stipulations made before gods, angels and other sanctified entities?

What about empty promises – those that we know are suspect to begin with, but in a drunken state of euphoria, deliver them with purportedly serious aplomb and regurgitate without hesitation before ceremony and sanctimony coalesce to delightful sounds of quietude where the backside covers the crossed fingers in a crucifix of humor and denial?  Disdain originates from a plenitude of broken promises; and the incremental unease which develops into the angst of quiet fury, directed with a despair permeated upon decay of conscience.

In a time before, when a person’s word needed not a written memorialization; when a handshake solidified unspoken words with a mere nod; and when language stood stalwart against the disputatious sophistry of linguistic gymnasts; by contrast, today we have a population of experienced betrayals, where everyone mistrusts and no one accepts at face value.  Is this merely a reflection of wisdom matured, or of cynicism run amok?  What do we teach our children – to trust selectively, to never accept the words as spoken, or to remain as innocent lambs on the road to the slaughterhouse?

We of this generation know of empty promises and broken dreams, and the sad part of it is, such dismay is based in reality.  Of Prozac, anxiety and childhood despair, there is no replacement of virtue in doing what “feels good” or changing mates as often as we do our underwear.  But, then, we cannot be too judgmental, these days, lest we offend our counterparts and crack the mirror which reflects our own hypocrisy.

And what of Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers?  They have also felt the brunt of empty promises.  This was supposed to be the dawn of a new age, where workers would be treated with respect and dignity, and when a medical condition or a disability intervened, the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service would “accommodate” the medical condition.  But old habits die hard, and one must always be suspicious that there is a genetic code of ingrained darkness in the core of humanity.

Thus, fortunately, we still have laws which protect against such empty promises – like those pesky laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits, protecting Federal and Postal workers from simply terminating a Federal or Postal worker who suddenly cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, because of the onset of a medical condition.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is one way of ensuring that empty promises made, and left unfulfilled, may yet be salvaged by filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

Just a thought, though empty it may well be, like promises left in the silence of a singularly occupied room, uttered to no one in particular, and heard by everyone in muted valleys of numbed acquiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire