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

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of 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; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Trepidation

In this universe where pause reflects cautionary exposure, the Darwinian model of survival of the fittest prevails.  Ours is a society that lacks any patience; the youthful generation deems their “place” as a rightful commodity to assert without bashfulness; the old are shoved aside into old folks’ homes and nursing facilities, all the while as we give lip-service to the importance of love, family and care for one another.

It is easy to give utterances of inane and meaningless trope, of generalizations about values and moral circumlocutions of apparent profundities; much harder is to sacrifice what we want, desire or otherwise deem the encampments for our “personal bests”.  “Rights” asserted in your face constitute the norm of this generation; conformity to the quietude of societal conventions, of cohesions above dismembered cacophonies of ingratitude, are mere fodder to be cast aside.

Trepidation is a personality defect; as in the days of yore when tremulous fear, alarm or agitation constituted a pause which threatened the capacity to survive, so in modernity there is no room for such diminution of evocative negation.

Perhaps, in some other corner of the world, in a society which still values the careful fostering of human relationships, a person’s pause and trepidation to immediate action would be overlooked and unnoticed, if not merely because the significance of such hesitation would be considered nothing more than a throw-away phrase, somewhat like, “Oh, you know Betsy, she always has to have a few days before she does something!”  But we don’t have “a few days” in this corner of civilization, where daily predatory advancement is the means to success, and why disabled people are merely used as referential legal maneuvers, but otherwise shoved aside into dark corners where alleged accommodations are granted within the strictures of malleable definitions.  No, it was never curiosity that killed the cat; it was always trepidation of cautionary hesitancy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the notion that the Federal or Postal employee may have some initial feelings of trepidation before engaging the process, is both understandable as well as self-defeating.

The reality is, we have to engage the world we live in.  And the world we occupy is this little corner of the globe, where patience is lacking, hesitancy is scoffed at, and delay is deemed a purposeless abyss of wasted time.  The bureaucratic morass itself will take a long, long time, just to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Trepidation is not a personality trait which is healthy for the process, and unfortunately, it is a counterintuitive characteristic that only serves to exacerbate the medical condition itself.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: What we believe

Belief is a funny animal.  So long as what one believes is never uttered, one can change them from day to day, or even from one hour to the next, without consequences attached.  Of course, you can do that, anyway, and many do in this day and age.  Once spoken, however, a belief takes on the figurine of a furnace-fired ceramic piece; to change is safe only in engaging the linguistic language-game with those who never heard of the belief, but there is a danger that such third parties could report back to the first party to whom the belief was conveyed.  Then, of course, there is the potential charge of hypocrisy.

On the other hand, there is always the disarming disavowal that it was all merely a “misunderstanding”, or perhaps that the other person didn’t get the “nuance” of the utterance; or the catch-all detachment:  “I was joking”.  Facts, of course, can alter beliefs, and that is supposedly acceptable because one has evolved through maturation of knowledge (unless, of course, you are running for political office, in which case you are reserved the allowable space to maintain the cognitive bifurcation like a schizophrenic, concurrently holding a “private belief” while concomitantly stating a “public stance” on certain sensitive issues).

Further, beliefs can become transformed via genetic, life-stage or “aha”-moments; the first because of some recognition that the wired-DNA that constitutes the “real” self has finally been revealed; the second, because there are recognized stages of living – of those prepubescent years, of middle-aged crisis and menopausal breakdowns, or in the end, just because a spouse and his or her lifetime commitment “grew apart”; and the third, by religious conversion and the “road to Damascus” experiences which allegedly justify a transcendent transformation.

In many ways, they are like opinions, though purportedly of a higher order.  Of opinions, it is often said that we all have them – of no greater consequence than the urgency to utilize the bathroom, with the latter having greater significance than the former; but of beliefs, they were once contingent upon study, reflection, coherence and rational methodology.  Somehow, in the linear progression of Darwinian evolution, the higher order of thought processes lost its way, and the meandering of human folly became the prominence of epic conundrums.

We have come to a point in human history where, what we believe is of an irrelevancy based upon our lost hope in discarding reverence.  For, the “what” must have a prefatory methodology, and that foundation was the reverence for creation.  We no longer believe “in” anything, because we no longer have any faith in anything of consequence.  Without awe, the human factor of hope, and therefore of belief, becomes a vacuity of thoughtlessness.  As all of creation is constituted by material equivalence, so our beliefs are of no greater worth than the gaseous ethereality emitted from the guy sitting on the next stool.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate filing an effective 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, the loss of belief is an important factor to recognize – for, the one saving constancy throughout is that there still remain “laws” which people, agencies and even the U.S. Postal Service must abide by.

Adherence to the law is often the only saving grace in the craziness of this world, and knowing it, applying it and arguing it in meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, is the best way to avoid that catch-all dismissive, that it is all merely “your opinion” as opposed to “my belief”, when in fact pointing out the precedential case-law and arguing the statutory basis is precisely what is needed to get beyond the irreverent assertion of that which we believe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The pendulum swing

Time used to “march on”, and the pendulum swing was a metaphor which everyone understood.  No more.  The digital age of technological superiority has made such inane profundities left stacked upon the history of obsolescence.  But for cherished grandfather clocks in hallways of mansions forgotten, or in the mysteries of worn novels where the tick-tock represented the anticipation of the sudden death scream; the slow, mechanical device which moves to and fro, left to right, right to left, and into the eternal progression of marked time, is but an irritant for the noise it makes.

Have we outlasted the utility of mechanical complexity?  Does the software program in which we see nothing but an algorithm of undecipherable content ever transcend the fascination we glean from springs, weights and mechanisms of human innovation?

The time piece too heavy to carry about, yet never replaced the pocket watch transferred with generational delight, and reflected the craftsman’s care in perfecting the soul of a person’s worth.  Somehow, the digital face of a blinking light flashing when the electrical surge fails to protect, is not the same as the quiet peace of an undisturbed house when the pendulum ceases to swing because the owner forgot to adjust the weights.  And history now forgets, too, doesn’t it?

Are we at the far side of the extreme, never to swing back, because there is no pendulum to remind us?  Can the death of the clockmaker mean the end of reason and compromise, because there is no metaphor to realize, anymore?  We tend to believe that such metaphors follow upon a literary device of recognizing something more than the mere fodder of mechanical devices; but what if the opposite were true – that the cadence of history required the invention of the pendulum itself, and the stoppage of such back-and-forth, to-and-fro means that only the extremes of disproportionate swings will remain frozen as the epicenter of man’s egregious faults?

We assume much; and when we presume to follow history’s dialectical progression without considering the actions within our own willpower, Nietzsche’s eternal return to the bosom of our follies will surely unravel and reveal itself in the face of our reflected foolishness.  And so, as the proverbial pendulum has stopped, stuck in the timeless middle of muddled quietude, so the failure to make any progress in our own personal lives will be another lost metaphor in the eternal dustbin of forgotten concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who want to break the cycle of being stuck perennially in the quicksand of mediocrity, it may be the ripened time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, as time fails to move without the movement of objects surrounding, so the human frailty of non-movement and inertia is a broken mechanism deep in the recesses of the human heart.

Taking the next step – any step – in filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits with OPM, is at least a slight movement, a reverberation, of that time harkening for the pendulum to swing back to its proper place of origin.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: “The Work Of 10 People”

We have all heard the boast:  “I do more work in an hour than most people do in a week”; “I earn the wages of 10 people before breakfast”; “I do twice the work for half the pay”; and on and on.  The plain fact is that each individual, no matter the self-interested tropes of inane contradictions, performs the quantitative and qualitative labor of that singular effort, and no more.

Some may meet greater production quotas; others may appear to make significantly faster headway into concluding projects and assignments; but the boast of self-worth is nothing more than a comparative analysis which ultimately fails when proper relative proportionality is conducted; there are always others whom you have not met, hardly know, or will likely never encounter, whose competence outshines the vast and endless ego of your own self-assessment.

Where does such self-delusion originate?  And are there more such self-assurances in modernity than times of yore, when the steady hand of methodical progression marked the greater component of accomplishment than the technological rapidity of keyboard firing squads?  Or, of that other boast that one’s work has already been completed an hour into a workday, while others move in segments of slow motion, like a reel of film stuck in the ink spot of eternal delay?  What ever happened to the idea of a team effort, a communal approach, or even of a collective combine of aggregate accomplishments, where personal valor and individual recognition is sacrificed for the greater whole?

In modernity, in this millennial, during these self-aggrandized times, the focus of vulnerability is based upon an egocentric mirror of reflective selfishness.  As one has been taught throughout grammar school and higher education that the war hero is merely likened to a sports hero, where the term “courage” is another fungible word that can be applied as much to the battlefield as to a spectator sport of button-pushing, so the worth of an individual is relatively compared to a production quota, like mere means to the end of a drama.

In the administrative law of Federal Disability Retirement, that sense of worth is greatly diminished and deliberatively demeaned by the hostile attitude towards a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  Don’t think that the years of productive accomplishments touted previously will mean a farthing’s worth of reserved good will; it means nothing.  What is done today and promised tomorrow are the two components of meaningful discourse; any delay or doubt evinced by one’s medical condition, is but a red-light indicator for termination or administrative sanctions.

For Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, 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, is indeed a means to an end – to escape the growing boast of that Supervisor or Manager who believes that the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is the same one who hinders by being an obstacle of existence for doing the work of 10 people, when in fact he or she is merely one of a greater collective effort, nor more than the worth of the dismissive “you”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire