FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Predictions

How did the first person accurately predict the oncoming change of weather?  Of course, some would contend that no one has accurately predicted such a thing, and would scoff at the thought.  Was it merely by observation?

Why did logic not overtake the attempt at prediction — of Hume’s contention that there is no such thing as a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, but merely a repetition of events that can be defied when, in the next instance, what one expected may turn out to be wrongly presumed?  Or of other events — of the outcome of a contest between two teams; of great horse races, the Triple Crown, or even of Olympic events: Can accuracy of predictions be statistically enhanced by observation, analysis, careful scrutiny and always with a bit of luck included?

And in the field of medicine — is a “prognosis” the same, or similar to, a “prediction” of sorts?  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, the requirements necessary in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset includes a “prediction” of sorts — a prognosis that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months from the date of the application.

This does not mean that a Federal or Postal worker must wait for 12 months to establish that the medical condition itself will last that long, but merely that the medical condition itself will last a minimum of 12 months from the time one applies for Federal Disability Retirement — which, as a practical matter, makes sense because it takes about the same amount of time, on average, to get an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and there would essentially be no point in filing if, upon an approval, you no longer suffer from the medical condition itself.

A “prognosis” is, indeed, a type of prediction, and most doctors will be able to provide “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” as to the lasting effects and enduring nature of a medical condition, based upon experience, analysis and clinical encounters.

Now, as for the weather…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Man from Mars

It is a strangeness that cannot be avoided.  Sort of like Thomas Nagel’s famous philosophical essay, “What is it like to be a bat — for a bat?”  It is the “for a bat” that makes all of the difference; for, as Nagel himself pointed out, it is easy to imagine what it is like to be a bat — i.e., have wings, fly in the dark of night, screech, eat bugs, etc.  However, the uniqueness of actually being another creature — of having a separate and distinct perspective from that of a human, man-centered purview — is something that we will never be able to achieve.

Others, like those in Daniel Dennett’s camp, counter that there is no Searle-like “ghost in the machine”, and that consciousness is merely comprised by the aggregate of the neurological connections that make up the human body, and there is nothing metaphysical beyond the physical, no “trans” or “meta” existence beyond the firing of neurons and wired transmitters — in other words, the uniqueness of an individual is nothing beyond what we see and experience.

The cynic, of course, would look at the neanderthal that we have become, where we stare into our Smartphones like zombies and laugh uproariously as the crudest of jokes, and nod in agreement.  But what of the experiences of the extraterrestrial — does that shed any further light upon the issue?

Take, for example, the concepts explored in works like, The Man who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie, or Robert Heinlein’s story of science fiction, “Stranger in a Strange Land” — where an alien culture and perspective meets with the consciousness of the banality found on earth; is it any different than when Native Americans first saw the ships appear upon the horizon of the Americas?  What is the natural response of the Man from Mars, and what is our response when confronted by an alienation of cultures, processes or foreign encounters?

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, the strangeness of the experience itself is often daunting, at least in two or three ways: First, the medical condition itself is a phenomena that is alien, where previously the Federal or Postal employee was a healthy, vibrant individual.  Second, the fact that the Federal or Postal employee cannot “do it all” is another foreign concept that one has to adjust to, and that is often difficult enough.  And Third, the experience of meeting adversity and sensing a negative reaction by one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Facility one works at — that, too, is a foreign and alien experience, where before the Federal or Postal employee felt like he or she was a member of that “team”, and now the treatment accorded is one likened to a plague or infectious disease.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether he Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an experience likened to the Man from Mars — and because of this, the Federal or Postal employee who needs to consider Federal Disability Retirement might want to consult with a tour guide, otherwise known as an attorney who specializes in the attractive sights on Mars and within the purview of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Preparations

Would you hold a dinner party without preparing?  Or attend an important meeting, host a regal gathering of accomplished celebrities or go camping in the wilds of winter’s ferocity — without making adequate preparations?

The elaborate extent of such preparations is often correlated with the importance, significance, relevance and complexity of the issue at hand, the engagement to be embraced or the event to be held.  Preparations are a vital component to the successful engagement of whatever one undertakes, and lack of it often guarantees a result of negative returns.

How does one prepare for the preparation, formulation and filing of 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?  Does one go out and ask the Human Resource Department of one’s agency, and thereby put to the winds which carry gossip about the Agency and allow the gods of the underworld to disseminate the implication that “X is filing for disability retirement”?  Do you dare test the oft-told adage in the Federal Government that “confidentiality begins with the Human Resource Office of one’s agency — and likewise, ends there”?

Or, perhaps “preparation” is merely of the ad hoc sort — of downloading the various forms (SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, at a minimum) and beginning to fill them out, and somehow sifting through the multiple instructions and packaging a Federal Disability Retirement application?

Preparation for the initiation of any worthwhile endeavor should, at a minimum, involve seeking some advice from an “expert”, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with and decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be a minimal step in such an important and consequential process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Losses

How many losses must one accumulate before being deemed a “loser”?

Was it just yesterday that Cal Ripken, Jr. won with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, after a mere couple of years in the minors, but with that World Series ring on his finger, would then see decades of losses mount as a result of poor decisions in trading players, acquiring “has beens” and being in the unfortunate AL East where the Yankees and the Red Sox seem always to vie for the top tier of the elect?

Can a team win a World Series one year, then go on for thirty-plus years without ever winning one again, and yet be deemed “a winner”?  Or, can one always pause, give a grin, and say, “Yeah, but we were winners in 1983!”

Does one win wipe out an avalanche of losses such that the singularity of glory negates the overwhelming statistical significance of unending disappointments?  Or, what of the person who once had a promising career, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances considered by most to be no fault of his or her own, cannot quite achieve that level of promises dreamed of but never materialized?

Do we, in our own minds, create conditions which are impossible to attain, and then deem those unreachable goals as “losses” despite the artificial nature of the criteria imposed?  Do losses mount and exponentially aggregate because failure seeks after failure, and somehow the subsequent one is a natural consequence, inevitably by inherent nature, of the previous one?

Does bad luck come in bunches because of some Law of Nature, or is it just in our imagination that it seems so?  Are much of losses artificially created — i.e., we set the proverbial “goal post” in our own minds, then miss the metaphorical field goal and become despondent over the “loss” created within our own imagination within contextual circumstances fantasized that have no connection to objective reality?

For Federal and 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, that sense of “loss” can be an admixture of both objective reality and subjective, artificial creations.

The medical condition itself is an “objective” loss; but the Agency or the Postal Service’s efforts to compound the adversarial circumstances can be created in an ad hoc manner, where there are no rules or criteria to follow except upon the whim of the supervisor or the department’s reactionary intuition.  The interruption to one’s career; the constant struggle with a chronic medical condition; of being forced to deal with deteriorating health — these are all real “losses”.

On the other hand, adversarial initiations by one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these, too, are “real” losses, though artificially created and unnecessary, in many instances.

Both must be dealt with when preparing, formulating and filing 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 — but the fact that one must “deal with” so many “losses” does not, in the end, make one a loser.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Time wasted

It all depends upon one’s perspective, doesn’t it?  For some, watching television is time wasted; for others, reading a novel, and even within that subset of opinions and viewpoints, it often depends upon “what” you are reading before the hammer of judgement is struck: If a beach-time novel, then it is a waste of time; if a classic, then you are utilizing your time wisely.

But what if you are, in fact, sitting on the beach enjoying the lazy lapping of waves, and merely want to get lost in the fantasy of a junk novel — isn’t relaxation a good use of one’s time?  When does “constructive” relaxation turn into time wasted — i.e., laziness?  Is it when the bare necessities of life are no longer attended to?

Of that proverbial brother in-law or other distant relation who is whispered about, who barely holds on to a job, is found spending more time at the corner pub than attending to one’s kids, or the one who constantly oversleeps, overstays his welcome or overstates his woes — is it just a guy who likes to relax, or is he a lazy bum?

Is there a mathematical formula in determining when time is well spent doing nothing, or is wasted?   Sort of like: Time multiplied by the extent of bare necessities required divided by the extent of need, minus particular circumstances that must be taken into account factored by 3.

Can a lifetime be wasted, and if so, what would be the criteria to be applied or imposed?  A wealthy person might contend: We have about 60 years or so to make our fortunes, and if a person has not done so within that timeframe, it is a lifetime wasted.  Some others might counter with: Amassing wealth is not the sole criteria of a worthwhile life; the fostering of human relationships, of making someone else more comfortable, or of even granting a dog some happiness, is what makes this life a worthy one.

Does a medical condition bring about a differing perspective?  For the wealthy person who makes enemies throughout and angers almost everyone with his or her single-minded focus while disregarding the feelings of all else, but who suddenly is hit with deteriorating health — does time take on a different meaning?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — is time being wasted by the struggle itself?  Does it appear that everything is an uphill struggle: of juggling doctor’s appointments, work, family obligations, etc.?

Preparing 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, may not be the best solution of all, but it may be the most prudent one, as time is not a friend to be wasted when it comes to one’s health and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire