OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Lost Wallet

It is a sinking feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a sudden realization of the empty back pocket that then leads to a feeling of panic.  Or of reaching and finding that the purse that is so carelessly hanging from one’s shoulder, or looped over a forearm — is not there.  It is the nonexistence of something that suddenly brings to existence the sensation of fear, emptiness, loathing — and resultant panic. Whether of the variety where the pit of one’s stomach becomes queasy, or of a disorientation of being, matters very little.

We can try and describe it, but we all recognize it without ascribing and identifying the precise word that depicts the reality of such extinguishment of existential reality: The lost wallet, the stolen purse, the sudden void of that which we have taken for granted each day; and the subsequent sense of the consequences that ensue.

It is not just the trouble of future replacements; the calls to credit card companies, the trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the irreplaceable photograph tucked into the side pocket of the wallet (sorry for showing one’s age — of course, no one keeps such passport-sized photographs in a wallet, anymore, as the anachronism of such a deed has been replaced by the “saved” pictures in that ethereal “cloud” within each Smartphone so that, even if the phone itself is lost, it is never truly lost because it is forever kept in world of downloadable albums) — no, the loss is exponentially multiplied by a sense of having one’s identity violated, and of feeling that an event has occurred where something essential has been extracted from our very existence.

The lost wallet inevitably leads to a first impression of panic; but as panic is a natural reaction, it is what we do next that matters most.  And like the Federal employee or Postal worker who first realizes that he or she suffers from a medical condition, and over time, senses that the medical condition will not simply “go away”, it is the steps that follow upon the news first learned that will have the significant impact upon one’s future livelihood.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that “next step” after the foreboding sense of reality has first been experienced.  And like the lost wallet that will need to be replaced, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the needed replacement for one’s career; and while the replacing features may not be as good as the health one once enjoyed or as lucrative as the career one previously pursued, it is a new identity that will be needed until the lost wallet is recovered in some future image of a past relinquished.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Representation: Forgotten

Is that the basis of our fears?  Does the concept of immortality haunt us precisely because we fear extinguishment, erasure, censure and being forgotten within a moment’s notice beyond the short mention in a local paper’s obituary?  Is that not, instead, the normal course of events — the way in which this non-teleological universe meant it to be — of returning to dust from whence we came, and become regenerated through the soil that embraces our ashes and decomposed flesh so that the genetic materials become recycled by the very foods we digest?

Mortality is that which men fear; becoming immortal is the goal of many; but being forgotten is the fear realized in the lives of most.  What difference, in the end, does it make?

We project an image through the creative imagination of our own psyche, and create images of a time beyond our own demise — of a weeping widow (or widower); children speaking in hushed tones of a person who was but is no longer around; and in our inkling of what it will be like, we posit our own consciousness by being present in a room that acknowledges our own absence.  Is that what sweet revenge is like — of imagining all sorts of regrets by those who shunned us, humiliated and ignored us when we were in their presence in life?

To be forgotten is to regret our own insignificance, and to constantly be haunted by one’s own irrelevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue of being forgotten becomes a reality quite quickly and soon in the process of deteriorating health and use of sick leave or going on FMLA.

For, Federal agencies and the Postal Service are quite adept at forgetting — forgetting the years of loyalty shown by the Federal or Postal employee; forgetting the years of service, unpaid overtime and those “extra” hours put in but left uncompensated but for unrealized hopes of future considerations that never come about; forgetting the contributions of yesterday because today and tomorrow are all that matters to the Federal agency or Postal Service; and it is when the word “forgetting” in the present participle transforms into the past participle of “forgotten” that we finally come to realize that health is of greater importance than loyalty; and that is when the recognition that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the best defense against a bureaucracy that has easily forgotten the essence of human worth and dignity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire