OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Information: The pleasure robbery

There are “highway robberies”, “train robberies” (distinguishable from THE great train robbery, which has become a historical feature of mythical proportions) and “bank robberies” (is there a single one that overshadows all others, or are they better identified by the characters who perpetrated them, like “Bonnie and Clyde”, Ma Barker, John Dillinger or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc.?); there is the “car jacking” which is nothing more complicated than the robbery of a vehicle, except perhaps by violent means and confrontation with the driver and/or owner; Skyjacking or Hijacking; and then there are “grand” or “petty” larcenies, depending upon the amount stolen, as well as special formulations with particularly distinctive and distinguishing details, like “embezzlement” (which often must possess an employer-employee relationship) or exerting “undue influence” in the act of stealing (as in cases of elder-abuse where a child or relative begins to siphon off wealth from one’s own family member); and many other types of simple criminal acts of absconding with that which is not one’s own to possess.

But what about the daily occurrences of the most prevalent incidents — that of the pleasure robbery? You know — those simple acts of mental anguish, where worry steals and robs from the pleasure of the moment; where an anticipated future event not yet having come to fruition constantly overwhelms where one is obsessed with the expectation of disaster, and thus robs the person of any pleasures taken for the moment?  This often happens on the weekend, doesn’t it?  From late Friday until Monday morning, the worry and anxiety sets in, robbing from the reserve that the weekend itself was meant to preserve and restore; and it is the pleasure robbery that leaves one with the greatest of devastating effects: profound and unrelenting fatigue, and not just from the imagined catastrophe that has not yet occurred, but moreover, from the anxiety and worry itself.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition, where the medical condition is impacting and preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of the pleasure robbery is a familiar one: for, one’s future, one’s career, and one’s livelihood are often at stake.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may not be the “total solution” for the anxiety that it may cause — whether because of the knowledge of a reduced income or the admission that the Federal or Postal employee must face the reality of one’s medical condition. However — despite being a complex administrative process, it is nevertheless a benefit that may resolve some of the perplexing questions that often accompany a medical condition, and set one onto a path of future hope and greater certainty in order to stabilize a world of unfathomable uncertainties, and at the very least, to stop the pleasure robbery from any further stealing away the needed rest and peace that weekends, vacations and a good night’s sleep are meant to provide.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file 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.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Hypocrisy

What is it about carrying about one’s state of existence with the knowledge that there is a dichotomy between that which we declare and what we secretly harbor, or between the words we convey and the actions we engage?  Is it likened to the adage of, Do as I say, not as I do?  Why do we so relish with a sneer when failure of moral dimensions become exposed — of a priest who is “caught in the act”, the preacher who is seen to embrace episodes of moral turpitude; a moralist who denies the obvious inclinations of human desire, or the purist who pounces when the mere tinge of impurity spreads its imperfect wings?

Hypocrisy abounds, and has always throughout history, and the louder the volume of protestations, the harder the fall as the chasm between reality and the theoretical purity of ivory towers only reveals the baseness of human frailty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel like hypocrites because of a medical condition that continues to be denied, hidden and overcome by sheer will of concealment, there often comes a time where fatigue simply catches up to the fear of being “found out”.  No, it is not quite the same as your run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, like the preacher who falls from grace; but the tension is still there, nevertheless, and it is just as real as if your moral failings suddenly become unconcealed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have to “hide” their medical conditions and act “as if” everything is fine and dandy, ultimate pay the same or similar price as the hypocritical moralist who walks about with a puffery undeserved: the anxiety that continues to grow and fester remains so and grows beyond a bearable state of concealment.

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, is often the first step in an admission of “failure” — but more importantly, of turning that failure into a success, by shedding the cloak of hypocrisy and facing the reality of a medical condition that needs priority of attending, in order to regain that balance that should be first, foremost and in the front of the proverbial line: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Games

How do we learn how to play them?  If we play Game-X, must we follow “all” of the rules ordinarily known and ascribed in order for Game-X to still be recognizable as such, or does it become “Modified Game-X”.

If little Toby plays his first game, but doesn’t know the rules, yet nevertheless realizes that games are “fun” because everyone else is smiling and seemingly excited, does the fact that the kid-who-knows-no-rules plays without knowing the limits and boundaries of the game make him into a participant, or a pariah?  Of course, if he stamps his feet in the middle of the game and declares that he doesn’t like the game, and walks off (even taking with him the proverbial ball), can we declare him to be a poor sport, an okay-sport, or any sport at all if he never knew the rules of the game in the first place and therefore never quite played the “real” game?

How about dogs — do they “play” games?  The dog that chases the ball but doesn’t want to bring it back to the ball-thrower, and instead runs away with it — has he broken the “rules of the game”?  How is it that dogs play games with their masters without ever being able to explain what the parameters of the rules are?

Then, of course, there is the slight modification in the term “games”, as in “games that people play”.  We all know what that means — of being insincere, fake, or otherwise putting on a double-face.  Why is that called a “game”?  Is it because it is not real, and constitutes a copy of “make-believe”, much like playing a game when we all know that it is not reality that is being rehearsed; and yet, isn’t playing a game — any game — just a part of the reality of the world we live in?  Why, then, is life bifurcated between “games” and “reality”, when in fact both are real in the sense that we are living a life of surviving, making a living, etc.?  Yet, we constantly distinguish between “playing” and “living”, as if there is a difference to be identified.

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 any longer performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, career or craft, the preparations needed to come to a point of realizing that an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed, often requires a recognition that the proverbial “game” is “up”.

Whether the Supervisors and Managers at the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility are up to their usual “games” or not — of harassment, derisive comments, making your life “hell” by increasing the levels of pressure or stress, is really besides the point.  What matters is that life itself is not a “game” at all, and those who separate games from the daily living activities don’t really “get it”.

Medical conditions bring to the forefront the reality of living, and the harshness of how people treat other people.  Yes, 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 seem like just one of those other “games” that have to be “played” — but the reality is that an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is a necessary part of life’s many facets of games and reality-based endeavors, such that the “rules of the game” always need to be consulted in order to “play” it well, and thus the first step is to learn the rules by consulting with an attorney who can advise on the rules themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire