Disability Retirement for the Federal or Postal Employee: Character Questions

Questioning one’s character occurs in multiple guises, by subtle and overt means, through self-reflection and conspiracies of consorts; one can question through self-reflection, when an intended result falls short of expectations; one can do it to others, when that which was promised was unfulfilled; or, we can do it out of sheer meanness, when rumors and unverifiable gossip can eat away at the fabric of one’s unprotected persona and self-image.

The offense of questioning one’s character is grave, indeed, and the responsiveness of reactionary rectitude is often tied to the sensitivity of one’s self-image, the reputation one holds within a given community, and the sense that one must maintain and control the opinions of others.  Indeed, in this world of Facebook and rampant, unconstrained and un-restrainable opinions thrown about throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet, the questioning of one’s character is something which must be responded to with a callous disregard.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a hostile work environment when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the issue of character questioning falls to the forefront without notice, without warning, and without a capacity to quickly respond.  Suddenly,  those years and decades of dedicated service are open to questioning; what one did in the past counts for naught; what one is currently doing is discounted because it falls short of coworkers’ expectations because of the enormous contributions of the past, which now account for little; and what is anticipated for the future is set aside, as one becomes a nobody in a universe which only takes into account the present actions and current accolades.

The fact that a medical condition is the culprit of one’s diminished professional capacity means little; and as the agency rarely reveals any underlying capability for empathy, the choices become limited: filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and most viable option. Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end:  the means requires that the Federal or Postal employee attains a level of security such that the medical condition itself can be the primary focus; the end is for the Federal or Postal employee to remain productive for the future, and to utilize the talents and as-yet-unrealized contributions to society for the many years to come.

Character questioning is a game of sorts, and one which empty souls and superficial artifices of valueless individuals engage in; the question itself should never involve a self-reflection of doubt based upon the invalid criticism of others, but the forthright confidence of the Federal or Postal employee who still has many years of valuable contributions left, in a society which screams for character.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Paradigm of Persuasion

In graduate school, the undersigned attorney once presented a paper on a comparative analysis involving a Chinese philosopher.  At the end of the presentation, the professor asked a question pointedly:  “Is there such a thing as Chinese philosophy?”

The question, of course, went straight to the traditional paradigm underpinning Western philosophical thought:  of logical analysis; of syllogistic, Aristotelian methodology; of, “If A, then B”, etc. — as opposed to short, concise, declarative statements illustrating history, community, context and wisdom.

In other words, the difference between persuasion as a methodology in a universal sense, applied across any and all cultural lines, as opposed to the micro-application of wisdom within a given community.  For, in either sense, it is ultimately wisdom after which we seek.

There is, indeed, a tradition in Western Philosophy, beginning with the Pre-Socratics, onward through Plato, Aristotle, the Medievals, to the present where deconstructionism has essentially inversely cannibalized philosophy, in which the issue of what constitutes a persuasive argument must be questioned.

Can a paternalistic declaration of wisdom prevail in a debate?  Is a mere assertion of truth enough to convince?  In any legal context, one must systematically present one’s case with facts and “the law”.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must take care and follow the traditional rules of persuasive argumentation.  In a family, the rule of Mom and Dad may prevail; in a community, a Confucius-like paternalism may be effective; in the arena of law, one must take care and systematically present a persuasive, logically coherent argument.

Only by following in such a methodology of persuasion can one expect success in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Continuing Care

A medical condition never has a simple solution; depending upon the nature, extent and severity of the condition, it must be “managed” and attended to throughout one’s life.  Similarly, while “filing” for one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit is an “event” which may constitute a series of actions which results in the “approval” of a Federal benefit, the benefit itself must be “managed” and cared for throughout a process of continuing retentive procedures.

One cannot assume that once the benefit of OPM/Federal Disability Retirement is obtained — given the hard fight which one must engage in — that the process is thereby over.  That is the reason why the foundational building-blocks which form the underlying administrative process — of the decision of which initial medical conditions to include in one’s Statement of Disability; which medical evidentiary documentation to include; how one should linguistically characterize the impact of the medical condition upon one’s job, tasks, positional duties, etc. — is of great importance in establishing the pattern of management for the future.

For, as other issues, both economic and medical, may potentially intrude upon one’s Federal Disability Retirement annuity (i.e., whether one has earned income above or below the 80% rule; whether one has been restored medically such that OPM could argue for termination of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit, etc.), it is important to maintain a stance of managing one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit throughout one’s life, until one reaches the bifurcation point at age 62 where it becomes “converted” to regular retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Rationality Still Exists

One may well disagrees with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on its decision to deny a Federal Disability Retirement application, and yet find a rational basis for its denial.  Indeed, the fact that OPM may offer some rationality to its denial, does not mean that they are correct in their decision.  Often, there is a misunderstanding as to what “rational” behavior consists of.

On a recent Sunday morning talk show, a couple of political pundits were proposing the idea that certain hard-line regimes were not acting “rationally”.  The problem with such an analysis is that one assumes that if an individual or a country fails to act within certain universally-accepted normative behavior, that such actions constitute “irrational” conduct.  That is simply not true.

First of all, rationality — which finds its foundation in logic, whether propositional or syllogistic — depends upon the major and minor premises advanced.  Thus, if the major premise entails a person or country that cares for the welfare of his neighbor or its citizenry, then the logical conclusion may well be one which encapsulates rationality — of acting to protect its people, to safeguard human rights, etc.  On the other hand, if the major premise begins with the primary assertion of retaining authority and absolute power, then the conclusion would involve shooting or massacring its countrymen.  The latter logical trail is no less “rational” than the former. Such a mistake in defining and understanding the concept of “rationality” is often found in all areas of life.

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, the fact that there has been evidence of “irrational” behavior on the part of those parties involved in the administrative process, should not result in a conclusion that the process is “arbitrary” or dependent upon some non-legal criteria.

Ultimately, all human endeavors embrace some semblance of rationality.  While one may disagree with the analytical thought-processes of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which often strays far beyond what the law requires and allows for, nevertheless, one can recognize the rational analytical procedures used in every denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS — albeit, one in which radical jumps from premise-to-conclusion with gaping chasms of generous implications may have to be provided, in order to be able to say that such argumentation incorporated a rational basis of explanatory analysis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Enhancing and Reinforcing the Case

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often the case that enhancing one’s case, or reinforcing the strength of one’s case, is a continuing effort that can and should be engaged in, whenever the appropriate occasion arises and presents itself.  Of course, the key conceptual opportunity or pitfall (whichever perspective one chooses, depending upon the specific circumstances of the case) entails the word, “appropriate”.  

One should always let the strength of one’s case — based upon the medical reports submitted, upon the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, and upon the legal arguments made — stand on its own.  As the old adage goes, when one protests too much, one reveals the implicit weakness by the very protest one makes.  On the other hand, if additional information is relevant and enhances or reinforces what has been previously submitted, it may be a good idea to forward such information to the Office of Personnel Management.  

As with so many things and issues in life, such additional enhancement and reinforcement “depends” upon the circumstances and relevance of each case.  Too much enhancement may constitute an admission of weakness; too little, or none, may result in a lost opportunity.  It all depends upon the information spoken about, and the discretionary decision based upon the particular issues of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Agency Stubbornness

The quality and characteristic of “stubbornness” encompasses a refusal to be persuaded by logic, reason, or any other similarly acceptable criteria of linguistic methodology normally employed in discourse, conversation or discussion on a matter.  Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are both equally notorious for retaining, maintaining and adhering to such a characteristic, and that is true in circumstances involving termination, medical disability, and agency actions governing administrative actions and sanctions, whether neutral or punitive.  

Often, because a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition will need to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, a parallel set of circumstances begins to develop —  more absences; more need to file paperwork requesting leave, whether Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay; and the concurrent events which begin to coalesce involve the conflicting needs of the Federal or Postal employee and the requirements of the Agency to continue to meet and accomplish the goals of Federal Service.  

The result is often one of adversarial clashing:  a removal action by the Agency; potential loss of Health benefits (more often than not temporary, but nevertheless of concern) for the Federal or Postal employee; a rush to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; a sense of “emergency”; a stubbornness on the part of the Agency in its adherence to remove the Federal or Postal employee once its heels have been “dug in”.  

It is important to try and address such issues and attempt to head them off in as predictable a fashion as possible.  However, when such a clash between Agency interests and Federal or Postal employee needs come to an inevitable confrontation, it is important to at least establish a “paper trail” for future use.  Annotating the facts is an important tool to utilize — in shorthand, it is called “evidence“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire