OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Footprints in the snow

Snow makes a flashlight irrelevant.  Even without a moon to shine, and of clouds to mask the twinkling stars, somehow the pure whiteness allows for visual acuity.  At dawn, the footprints betray the activity that once was; and the current inactivity shadowed by the early morning yawn makes one wonder: who noticed, and what if I were standing quietly under the elm tree, making myself a part of the stiff objects in the wintry twilight?

It is similar to the Zen query of the Sixties — of a falling tree with no one around, and the pondering: Was there a noise?  And then the rush of activity as the daylight dominates and the darkness recedes and the purity of the blanket of white that once betrayed the footprints in the snow is replaced by human trudging, winds blowing and the mere vestiges that are now only images in one’s memories.

People are born daily, live their lives and die; and like footprints in the snow that appear for a moment in history’s unmentioned footnotes, they disappear with barely a trace but a few words in the obituaries. Oh, try as we may in our futile attempts at being remembered — of graveyards with larger stones; of “memorials” pasted on the back windows of cars; or even of yearly vigils; the fact is that we are mere footprints in the snow.  Yet, what is important is that the footprints did, in fact, once exist, even if the windswept vanishing of once-seen imprints disappear like vapors of steam curling into the midnight sky.

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, it is sometimes like footprints in the snow — you realize that you were once “relevant” in this world and that the Federal Agency once looked upon you as a “valuable member of the team”; but now, you are treated as the windswept footprints that were once clearly visible in the snow, and now no longer.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the last act before the wind sweeps away the footprints; it is a means of recognizing what is important in life, and to focus upon your health and well-being and to leave behind the footprints in the snow that are so easily forgotten in the hubbub of the world’s daily activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Pleasure & the ascetic

The two concepts are often thought to be antithetical, from opposing philosophical frameworks and inconsistent in their expending of energies to achieve.  Of the latter, it connotes self-discipline and an aversion, if not outright refusal and avoidance, of any indulgences that are implied by the former.  The former, of course, is what most of us strive for — if not openly, then surreptitiously while denying that it is one’s singular goal.

Pleasure in its excesses can be harmful, of course, just as too much of anything can lead to self-immolation through abundance and gluttony.  Both, however, have something in common: they are like two sides of the same coin, where life doesn’t allow for the existence of one without the recognition of the other.

Thus: Being cannot be distinguished without Nothingness (e.g., it is because there is the “nothingness” of space between the bookshelf and the wall that you can differentiate between the two entities); life cannot be identified without its opposite —death, or inertness; wealth is created in contradistinction to poverty, or lack thereof; a smile can be recognized, but so can a frown; and so forth and so on.

What the ascetic fails to realize is that the extreme of self-indulgence in striving for pleasurable activities need not be the only methodology of interacting with this world; there are more moderate ways of living than the pure rejection of all pleasure.  Conversely, the one who strives only for pleasure — i.e., pleasure as the sole motivator in one’s life and goal-seeking — fails to realize that its corollary — pain — is a necessary posit, and if not rearing its ugly head presently, will do so sometime in the near future.

Pain is an existential reality of life, just as pleasure is the rare interlude that we all seek, and it is the ascetic who has realized that life’s pleasurable moments will often follow with a period of pain, as the reason why some seek to limit the pain by denying all pleasure.  That is why monastic orders come into being, and why Zen Buddhism founds its roots in the denial of reality in order to deal with pain — all because pleasure could not be ultimately achieved without the pain that accompanies.

That is the reality that Federal and Postal employees come to realize when a medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, those “pleasures” that were once taken for granted — of a health body; of a mind that has focus, concentration, and mental acuity to multi-task on a daily, sustained basis — begin to wither and wane.

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, may become a necessity, and when one is forced to take that necessary step, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

For, in the end, neither pleasure nor the ascetic have grasped the true point of living a worthwhile life; as worth is determined by the priorities ones sets in the course of existing, one’s health should thus be a major element to achieve within every web of goals set, whether in striving for pleasure or regarding the ascetic who renounced it for the sake of a mistaken belief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: In the end…

What is it about a phrase that predictably tells us about the mood, content or direction of the mindset?  If a person begins with, “Well, it all began when…” — we will often stifle a yawn, try to make excuses and begin heading for the exits.  Self-aggrandizing, prefatory remarks that set the stage for a narrative delineation that includes private details of individual lives often bore the pants off of most people, and yet many will “tell all”, as if such intimate details trigger a prurient interest within each of us.

Then, of course, there is the opposite, as in: “In the end…”.  What fills in the ellipses?  In the end…the world will all go to the trash bin of history’s footnotes; In the end…we all die, anyway?  Such opening phrases and closing remarks leave out the vast chasm of filling in “the middle”, of course.  How does a story begin, tell the narrative in an interesting manner in “the middle” and end with a bang?  That is the problem, isn’t it?  Most of us don’t have a clue as to how to tell an interesting tale.

And what about non-fiction — of a historical narrative or of a biography?  What makes for an interesting “telling” of it — of what details of a person’s life; what incidents should be included?  What peripheral, tangential details will make for an interesting and engaging read?  Is a biography incomplete if the author leaves out certain details, or does it matter?  What “events” are presumed and should therefore be excluded, and can it really be said that certain excluded moments are considered to be excluded at all?

For example, it is presumed that a person goes to the bathroom a few times a day, at least — but what if, during the narrative of a biography or a historical period, such activities are never mentioned?  Can we call up the author and demand to know why such historical “facts” were excluded from the biography of, say, an important figure?

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, it may be necessary to begin to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

As part of that “administrative process”, it is necessary to complete SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing the narrative story of one’s medical condition, it is important to convey the essential “story” — a historical account; a prefatory introduction; a “middle”; and an “In the end…”.

What details to include; the choice of words; whether in the first-person or 3rd-person narrative; of what legal arguments to include; whether to “exclude” certain details without being charged with “falsifying” a claim, etc. — these are all important considerations in the proper, complete and sufficient preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is vitally important to do it “the right way” when preparing SF 3112A — the core and essence of the Federal Disability Retirement application — which, in the end, is the story of your tale that needs to be told.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Pension: In between preparations for vanishing

The Biblical reference is where John the Baptist declared that his role in the historical narrative would naturally diminish by relevance in order for the primary character to loom large upon a world in need of a coming Savior.  Each of us strive daily to accomplish, achieve and advance (ah, the 3 “A’s” might be the title of the next New York Times Bestseller on the mass marketing list of self-help books); that is the natural inclination from birth to death – or, at the very least, until one has expended and exhausted the reservoir of stamina each retains for the daily battle of life itself.

What we fail to recognize is that, as another book of wisdom in an age prior to the declaration of a coming earthquake that would split the earth and crack the old barrels of fermenting wine (figuratively stated) pointed out, there is a time, a season and the proper context when certain acts should be considered (paraphrasing here), and prominent among them the capacity to recognize the appropriate time to begin paring back, preparing to recede and allow for the next generation to take its successive position of assertive presence.

Do we embrace the in between preparations for vanishing, or do we fight against it because that is what we have done all throughout our lives?

It is important, for instance, to apply the principle of eventual vanishing when one becomes a parent, in order to foster the self-confidence of a son or daughter; to slowly, incrementally and seemingly naturally allow for the opinions and views of the younger ones to grow in stature, relevance and significance, such that when adulthood is reached, the lowering of the parent’s perspective becomes equal to the rising of the child’s self-image.

At that point, when the balance between childhood and esteem for one’s parents meets in the middle upon a spectrum of wide variance, parent and child can become co-equals of a sort, and “friends” as much as a parent and child can be.  In order to achieve that goal, however, it is necessary to engage in “in between” preparations for vanishing – not to totally obliterate the relevance of one’s historical accomplishments, but to incrementally diminish in magnification and presence.

Fighting against the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often based upon the lack of recognition that in between preparations for vanishing is a natural and necessary part, at a certain stage in life, during a particular season of one’s career, and when the time necessitates.  Yes, the Federal career and the Postal work provided a sense of identity and granted a purpose, focus and compelling force during the productive career – but now, the season has changed, the context has altered and the time has ripened in another direction.

It is time to engage the in between preparations for vanishing – not to totally disappear, but to diminish, such that when a Federal Disability Retirement is attained, the next stage of one’s life can be opened for that which we term the greater adventure of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Layer: Cartoons & Carnivals

In exclusively representing Federal employees and Postal workers to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the stories that are shared, the frustrations felt, and the tales left untold, collectively boggles the fragile mind.

Yes, by now, perhaps it is a truism that nothing under the sun can further be revealed that is of a surprising nature; but it is often just the sheer cumulative absurdity which, in their aggregate compendium of events, could only have occurred in cartoons and carnivals.  By contrast, there is the seriousness of the medical condition itself.

That is always the starting point, and the essence of why Federal and Postal workers contact an attorney who handles OPM Disability Retirements, based upon whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Eligibility rules must first be met; then, the issue of entitlement must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

The comical relief and the sense of a carnival atmosphere, where cartoonish characters collide with the sobering reality of one’s medical condition and the potential end to one’s career in the Federal sector, arises inevitably through the actions of the agency, and their complete lack of empathy or concern.

Yes, agencies must continue to remain efficient; and yes, they must continue in their mission and course of work; but in the end, all we have left is family, community, values and vestiges of human interaction, and the littered graveyards of silent skeletons where marked graves and unmarked cemeteries speak not of efficiency, meanness and uncaring residues, but only where fresh flowers and wreathes of caring surround the frozen ground of time; yes, only in cartoons and at carnivals do people act with the absurdity of loss of humanity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Value of Consistency

Consistency establishes validity; validation results in enhancement of credibility; and credibility prevails over minor errors and unintended oversights.  In analyzing a narrative, or engaging in a comparative analysis of two or more documents, it is the factual and historical consistency which allows for a conclusion of validated credibility. When a pattern of inconsistencies arise, suspicions of intentional misdirection beyond mere minor error, begins to tinge.

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 under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, the question of sequential order of documentary preparation is important. Such relevance on this matter can be gleaned if the preparation is looked at retrospectively — not from the beginning of the process, but rather, from the perspective of OPM and how they review and determine cases.

With that perspective in mind, it is important to prepare and formulate one’s Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the appreciated value of consistency, and as consistency of statements, purpose, coordination of documentary support and delineated narrative of one’s disability and its impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties is recognized, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will be formulated with deliberative efficacy, and where retrospection through introspection will result in increasing the prospective chances of success.

Sincerely,
Robert R. McGill, Esquire