Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Essence of Relating

How is it that a human being — an entity quite unique among species that cannot relate — can understand, comprehend and even become comfortable with the anomalies of life’s encounters?

Other species seem to weave among and amidst their surroundings with familiar repose; certainly, intelligent dogs recognize a new couch, an unfamiliar visitor or a different dog food introduced; but in the wilds, it is the familiarity of the surroundings that make for comfort in life.

For human beings, how does one relate to the strangeness of an entity — of an alien; of a science fiction novel that introduces a world beyond; of another culture that defies every normative structure of one’s own world?  It is, more often than not, by analogies and metaphors, is it not?

We begin by “discovering” the similarities — that something is “like” the thing we know because they share characteristics x, y or z; and it is through the familiarity of similarities by which we begin to formulate an idea of understanding, then of comprehension, and finally of a feeling of comfort.

Similarly [sic], how does one convey the idea of pain to another person who has had very little experience of it?  What if that “other person” has never experienced pain?

Yes, yes, the rebuttal would be that everyone has experienced it — even if it was a scratch, a dog bite, a paper cut, etc.  But as pain is subjective, there are certainly those who have had limited experiences of a subjective phenomena, and certainly many who have never experienced a spectrum of excruciating, debilitating pain.  Or how about psychiatric conditions — of Major Depression so overwhelming, or Anxiety so paralyzing, or panic attacks so debilitating that the condition itself prevents a person from being able to perform one’s work?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that an application for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessary next step, it is the essence of relating — of how to formulate ones narrative in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) — that becomes of foundational importance in the success or failure of the application itself.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before moving forward; for, the essence of relating requires not only the existence of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s ability or inability to perform one’s job, but more than that, it requires the ability to convey an understanding of the facts, the law and how the two intersect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Foundations

Foundations are important to every sound endeavor — or is such a statement a mere tautology of sorts, as “soundness” must by necessity involve a proper foundation, and foundations are by definition the basis of soundness?

We all recognize that, and expect that it is an universal principle; otherwise, we would stand over the constructio1n of every building, house or warehouse we entered, scour the blueprints and interrogate every worker having anything to do with the project before entering its premises.

That being the case, why do we so often disregard that principle when formulating a 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?

Think about it: What is the “foundation” of a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Yes — it is the “disability”; otherwise, without it, there is no “case” to file.  And how is a “medical disability” proven to exist, and more importantly, proven to have a “nexus” with the Federal employee’s or Postal worker’s job?

And, yet, most Federal and Postal employees formulating and preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application simply drop off the SF 3112C (the Physician’s Statement Form), and expect that the medical doctor, the psychologist, the therapist or the chiropractor will follow the minutiae of the instructions on SF 3112C, and then submit it along with the rest of the application and forms without nary a glance at the content and substance of the submission.

Clear, concise and perfected guidance provided to the physician or other medical professionals establishes a strong foundation for every OPM Disability Retirement application, and if you — the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker — have consulted with any attorney who does not state with a straightforward “yes” as to providing that sort of guidance and direction in formulating and establishing the very foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, you may want to reconsider who is advising you, who is providing counsel to you, and who is helping you formulate the foundations necessary for an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Wants and needs

One often encounters such discussions, about the difference between “wants” and “needs”.  Needs are dictated by a loose definition of survival or existence — that which is required by or necessitated of the things which satisfy the criteria for continued existence or maintaining of a given modality of the status quo.  The other — “wants” — are defined as those “extras” that are not required for existence, but go beyond the prerequisite for survival and add to the comfort and meaningfulness of one’s very existence and survival.

There is always a grey area between the two when one engages anyone in a discussion involving the two — and it often depends upon the paradigm and perspective one takes, which leads to conclusions not only about the subject concerning wants and needs, but also about one’s own character, upbringing and attitude towards life in general.

Take the perspective of a member of the British Royal Family, for example — of a person who knows of existence entirely from the perspective of wealth, privilege and undiminished wants and needs.  Such a person will often have a widely differing view of the distinction between the two, in contradistinction to a person born in the ghettos of an inner city, whether here in the United States or of more underdeveloped countries elsewhere.

Can one who has never lacked for needs, or even of wants, recognize the objective criteria that determines the differences between the two?  In other words, can the poor person even have a logical discussion with a wealthy person by pointing out that food is an example of “need”, as opposed to a Ferrari being merely a “want”?  Or, will the member of the Royal Family retort with, “Well, yes, I can see how cheap caviar of a subpar quality could be a need as opposed to wanting a Rolls Royce.”

Such a response, of course, tells one immediately that there will be a difficult road ahead in attempting the bridge the gap between understanding, comprehension and the art of logic and discussion.  What we want, we often do not need; and what we need, we merely want for want of sufficiency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to continue their careers despite a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will often cross the threshold between wants and needs.

You may want to extend your career, but need to end it because of your medical condition.  Your agency may want to be compassionate, but may need to follow directives from above.  You may want to remain, but need to depart.  The conflict between wants and needs is one of life’s ongoing clashes between the two, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through OPM, may need to be initiated in order to satisfy the ultimate need of one’s existence: The need to want to look after one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Structural Problem

It is what we never want to hear, and fear most:  that statement from an “expert” who informs us that it is a “structural problem“.  Not cosmetic; not superficial; not unessential; but that word, concept and image which goes to the very heart and foundation of the damage:  the center of the universe.  When the damage occurs there, and the rotting vein of progressive deterioration touches upon that central nervous system, then it becomes “structural”, and all of the rest may come falling down in a sudden dustheap of crumpled carcasses.

So long as it involves only the peripheral concerns, we keep telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter, that the foundation is still solid and they are mere extremities of lesser concern.  We do that with pain and other irritants of life.  And with medical conditions that don’t double us over or completely debilitate us.  So long as there remains a semblance of structural integrity left, one can go on and continue without regard to the symptoms which become telltale signs of impending doom.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has arrived at the point of finality where one can no longer just venture forward, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the best remaining option.

We wait because it is in the very nature and essence of procrastination that the inevitability of ignorance, neglect, disregard and sidestepping can delay the confrontation with that which we fear to know, refuse to acknowledge, and take comfort in detracting from the encounter with the truth of established verifiability.  As with science, the flat earth, and the view from a geocentric universe, no one wants to be told that there is a structural problem.

Too often, the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a point of needing to admit that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is and has become a necessity because he or she has worked until the last straw was placed on the back of the proverbial camel.

Medical conditions announce harbingers of events to come, by symptoms calling for attention and attentiveness.  While the news from the architect that the problem is a “structural” one may not be welcome, it was always an indicator that the inevitable was on the fast-track of necessity and predictability; we just turned our heads aside in hopes of another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

The Genotype-phenotype Distinction and Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal and Postal Employees

The distinction is important in the study of genetics, where the genotype represents the entirety of one’s hereditary information contained in one’s DNA, whereas the phenotype represents the manifestation of that genetic heredity received and retained by any given individual. In simple terms, it is the inner/outer distinction, or in Aristotelian terms, the substance/accident representation, or further, in Platonic characterization, the form/appearance description of the world. It provides for a fascinating study of the theory of evolution, the plasticity and adaptability of a species, and the capacity of survivability within the greater context of environmental pressures and influences.

For the Federal employee and the Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the concept of the genotype-phenotype distinction is peripherally interesting to understand, in the following way: The internal struggles eviscerating one’s capacity to perform the Federal or Postal job, will sometimes remain unobtrusive and lacking of evidence by all appearances.

The “phenotype” of a Federal Disability Retirement case may be represented by good performance reviews, lack of awareness by one’s supervisor, and an agency which fails to recognize the struggling Federal or Postal employee. The “genotype” is often the “inner” struggle, characterized by profound fatigue (how does one quantify cumulative exhaustion?), chronic pain (if only pain were color-coded, where white is on the lower spectrum and red is at the extreme end), the where the Federal or Postal employee pushes one’s self to the limit of absurdity until one is ready to collapse in an effort to perform the essential functions of one’s job.

The problem of appearance-versus-substance, or that which is seen as opposed to the hidden reality of a thing, is not a new or unique one. In the context of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, whether the Federal employee is under FERS or CSRS, and whether the Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, it is important to make clear and bring to the surface that which is unrevealed, and that will normally come about through generating an excellent medical report from one’s treating doctor.

Ultimately, a Federal Disability Retirement application is based upon the medical opinion of one’s treating doctor, and the “genotype” of an effective Federal Retirement application must comply with the requirements of the law, the criteria for eligibility, and the expression of that genotype into a coherent representation in the form of a “phenotype” in the preparation, formulation and submission of a Federal Disability application, though OPM, whether one is under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire