Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The race that wasn’t

Does it often seem as if one is in the middle of the race, but that all of the rules have been abandoned by all other participants except the one that keeps struggling — you?

The term itself has had a long history of proverbial applications and overused metaphorical usages — of the “race” against time; the “race of life”; of marathon runners, sprinters and the various specialists in the metered world of measured distances.  It is the race that wasn’t that is the one forgotten, however; of the false starts, the disqualifications, the one’s discovered to have used illegal steroids, and the villains who cut across back trails when no one was looking in order to save an extra couple of miles from being detected.

Most races are unfair; they are stacked against one from the very beginning, and the end result is almost always predetermined in one fashion or another.  Is a race that is predetermined as to the outcome of individuals to reach the finish line, truly a race at all?  Do any of us ever enter a “race”, actual, metaphorical or otherwise, and say: Well, I know I am not going to win because the rules won’t allow it, but I am going to run, anyway?

Of course, one may not have a choice in the matter; and, in that case, when the whistle is blown, the flag is brought down or the blank round of the gunshot is fired, one begins to trudge along and try one’s best.  That is how one feels when a medical condition begins to creep upon a person’s health — of the slow, insidious deterioration, where the generality of “life’s unfairness” begins to dawn upon the consciousness of one’s livelihood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede, interrupt or otherwise diminish the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to reconsider the “rules of the race”, as the metaphor is often applied, and begin to prepare, formulate and file 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.

As with all government bureaucracies, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management applies the “rules of the race”, and in order to qualify for the race that wasn’t, you will likely need to consult an attorney who knows all of the relevant rules of the race, including the start time, the length of the process, and what needs to be done in order to reach the finish line.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Law’s efficacy

When is “the law” effective?  Especially when speaking about an administrative procedure such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – what role does “the law” play in its procedural and substantive aspects?

Multiple distinctions are made on a daily basis with respect to the law’s efficacy; whether something is “legal” or not does not always mean that it is enforceable, for the costs associated may be prohibitively expensive.  To have a “legal right” does not always mean that one should necessarily assert it, for there may be practical considerations that come into play before moving forward with applying that which is rightfully existent.

Further, the mere fact that the law may be “on the books” may not necessarily mean that a society will always raise it up from the dead and apply it; for, as customs and normative constraints alter, modify and become transformed by evolution of thought, it may well be that dogs best left sleeping are the ones who are never bothered.

In Administrative Law – which Federal Disability Retirement issues are a part of – there is always the question as to what role, significant, relevant or somewhat in between, “the law” plays, as many steps throughout the procedure and process must deal with non-lawyers who have no clue as to the existence, force or applicability of legal matters.

Thus, should the “Bruner Presumption” be argued at the initial stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application even though the administrative specialist who is reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application may have no clue about its impact, doesn’t much care and will likely not give much thought to its contextual relevance?

Does Bracey v. OPM matter when discussing the finer points of issues pertaining to accommodations and reassignment, or is that merely some esoteric legal argument that should be reserved for the Third Stage of the process, if and when a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied twice (both at the Initial Stage of the process, as well as at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) and is appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and comes before an Administrative Judge?

Should Simpkins versus OPM always be argued for Veterans with Service-connected ratings, no matter what the ratings are comprised of?

The law’s efficacy is ultimately determined not necessarily by the quantitative bombardment of effective methodological argumentation, but by the qualitative selectiveness of who to argue to, when to argue and for what purpose.  In the end, law’s efficacy is a strategic component that may determine the successful or otherwise outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be considered thoughtfully and with great preparation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Broken Promises

It is a surprise that we are constantly surprised by them.  Why should we be?  Do we elevate man to such a pinnacle of virtue as the angels who look down upon us with remorseful eyes?  Are there more of them today, like shattered mirrors or destroyed lives littering the highways of hopeful futures stretching out into a path of devastated backdrops in the history of unknown commoners who lay quietly in the tombs that speak not but in haunting whispers in muted graveyards long abandoned with the silence of church bells that no longer toll?

Promises are but linguistic constructs that are controlled by the good intentions of those who make them, and restricted by the constraints of social virtues that no longer exist, have been modified, disavowed and have now been deemed archaic in this modernity of relative moral standards.

Once upon a time (or so the fairytale goes), a handshake, a nod, a single word without the written confirmation, the 10-page fax to declare a deal made, or the fine-print of agreements incomprehensible – they constituted the affirmation of man’s purity of intent, motivation and virtuous underbelly unseen but for the flight of angels touching and tugging upon our conscience when evil forces attempted to lead us astray.

Now, we have found the power of linguistic elasticity.  It is no longer a “lie”, and perhaps it was always known, just as Eve realized the cunning of justification, persuasive argumentation and methodological coercion; no, broken promises no longer exist – instead, it is a mutual “misunderstanding”, failure of minds to meet, or just plain wrong-headedness on the part of the one who relied upon a promise made.

No one really believes anyone else’s handshake, anymore – and, in any event, who shakes hands these days?  What can it mean but a mere vestige of an arcane eccentricity that needs be relegated to those rustic movies where granddad and obscure relatives and neighbors would jump from frame-to-frame in old movies where a wave to the camera was the memorabilia to preserve, now replaced by thousands of Selfies stored in electronic devices neither for posterity nor discretion of family enjoyment, but for self-aggrandizement and public display for prurient intentions.

Like granddad’s smile that once reassured as the solid Rock of Gibraltar, promises don’t mean anything, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who think that assurances of accommodating medical conditions because, somehow, laws are in place that provide for that, think about it for a moment:  Without the laws, would a promise mean anything?  Further, do the laws really protect, or are they also just linguistic modalities easily manipulated?  Fortunately, however, laws can work both ways, and Federal Disability Retirement Law operates in favor of Federal and Postal employees with a standard of proof geared towards an approval – of a preponderance of the evidence.

No, the promises made by Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service may not amount to much, and the heap of junk piles left behind by broken promises may litter the once-beautiful landscape of arcane handshakes in years past, but the availability of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits remains a reality for those Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that there is now an incompatibility between one’s medical conditions and the performance of one’s essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Soul’s need for silence

If the world was merely one constant clatter, would we be able to stand the din of life?  Just as existence needs nothingness in order to have the separation of meaningful discourse, and as sentences need grammatical pauses (except in the cases of Faulkner and Joyce, perhaps), so the soul requires silence in the face of difficulties uninterrupted.

Medical conditions create havoc in lives; at first, perhaps just an annoyance or a nuisance, and the natural inclination is to rely upon the past that we know, and how – in remembrance of youthful vigor and quick rebounding and recuperation by mere strength and steely reserve – we were always able to ignore the pain, get past the turmoil and move beyond the anxious feelings of panic and depressive symptoms.  “It will pass,” we tell ourselves.  But then the long-view sets in; it is not merely a passing season, nor even a brief interlude of a cold north wind.

Instead, like the clinging vine that keeps coming back despite digging and chopping at the base of its roots, the chronic nature of the medical condition tells us that, as the unwelcomed uncle or aunt who has no other home and stays with you “just for a little while”, you cannot get beyond the season of pain and the intercession of turmoil.  It becomes a constancy, a persistence, a monotony of unsettled disquietude.  It is as if the soul’s search for silence finds only a din of unending noises as you search behind door after door for a room where relief and quietude may long for a bit of peace.

Souls need silence; silence allows for the interruption from din and darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from the dual attacks brought on by a medical condition – of increasing workplace harassment as well as the loss of the soul’s quietude and peace – there comes a time when preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes as necessary from a medical standpoint, as it is for the soul’s inner health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end – a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to produce at the level of acceptability, and a tolerance for allowing that same Federal or Postal employee to “move on” so that a basic retirement annuity can be obtained, and yet remain productive for the future in the private sector, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee may make up to 80% of what one’s former job currently pays, on top of the amount of Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

It is also the allowance and recognition of another important factor – that the soul’s need for silence is a necessary component in the midst of din and darkness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Preparing for more than a ‘maybe’

We never engage a project with just a ‘maybe’; to do so is to invite a preemptive failure, of sorts.  On the other hand, there are rarely any guarantees in life; just as the victims of Madoff and other historical figures of thievery; a ‘sure thing’ is rarely that, and more likely its counterintuitive opposite.  Chances and opportunities of a lifetime, of course, are touted as ‘maybes’ that should be considered.

Those stories abound of youthful vigor in the parent’s basement tinkering with innovations that will alter the future course of technology and mechanized futuristic inventions; but of that, was it really a ‘maybe’?  Or, as such young stars never had anything to lose, anyway, except for time and the clutter residually left behind in the parent’s basement, any sudden abandonment or stoppage due to lack of progress would have simply meant that the endeavor itself was merely a minor intermission, a brief pause, in an otherwise brighter future for the young to pursue.

No, we don’t deliberately prepare for a ‘maybe’; we may forewarn failure by uttering words that appear tentative; but in almost all instances, we prepare for more than a ‘maybe’.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, how does one enhance the chances of a successful outcome, as opposed to being subjected to the whims of an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

Does one merely gather up one’s treatment records and medical notes, and hope for the best?  Do you simply answer the questions on SF 3112A as if there were no legal ramifications inherent in the form of the questions posed?  Do you just take the SF 3112C to your doctor and have the doctor submit whatever his or her medical opinion is, to your Human Resource Office?

There are rarely guarantees in life – that is true, and it is never more so when filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.  At the same time, however, no one merely prepares for the lesser standard of a ‘maybe’, and in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is best to always prepare for more than a ‘maybe’, even if it is less than a guarantee of a sure thing.

Then, again, those who invested with Bernie Madoff also thought that it was a ‘sure thing’, and look where they ended up.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beleaguered soul

They walk among us.  In modern parlance, the metaphor is equipped with “zombies” and the popularity of such cultural fodder.  People tend to watch such shows and laugh with nervous chatter; but the truth is, there is some inner fear and trepidation that is reflected by such haunting tales, where comedy is fused with the absurd.

The idea itself reverberates with signification of a nervous reality.  It is likened to that old movie (the 1956 version, not the 1978 remake), Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which frightened the French Existentialists because of the denial of that one human characteristic that made life worth living – of the human capacity to love, hate, and experience the sensation of “being”, now deprived by an alien source of devastating consequences, left devoid of the essence of humanity and purpose.

We dismiss such antics of entertainment with the same nervous laughter; all the while, we somehow recognize that, yes, much of life itself comprises a series of insidious detractions that diminish the liveliness of our very souls, but we continue to allow for it to demean and deprive, until we become nothing less than that which we feared all along.

The beleaguered soul is one who has been harassed, intimidated and incrementally put down, to a point where the skeletal remains can no longer withstand the turmoil of life, the travails of daily living, and the constant barrage of plain human meanness.  That life has become so complex such that few can put up with the inherent stresses, is acknowledged by most; but what we avoid and fail to decry, is the lack of empathy that follows, where sheer cruelty has exponentially increased to a devastating effect.  Over time, the zombies and victims of those alien body snatchers become the greater population of society’s burdens.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the option to file 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, is an “out” with a brighter future for tomorrow.

The Zombie genre and the movie predecessor leave little hope for the bleak predictions of a dystopian reality; but for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker whose medical conditions are such that the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the constant harassment and increasing violations of one’s rights and needs resulting from medical conditions suffered through no fault of the Federal or Postal employee, the effective preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application can allow for a brighter future where “tomorrow” may lead to another vocation, a second career, or at least some semblance of financial stability.

It is, in the end, the responsibility of the beleaguered soul to take a last stand against the injustices perpetrated, and to give one’s self a fighting chance that tomorrow is a better hope than the devastation of yesterday or today, and hopefully, that the lock on the door will keep out that pounding invasion, whether by a neighborhood zombie, an alien body snatcher, or a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service – sometimes mistaken for the other.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Of venal and venial injustice

That a single vowel can radically alter the meaning of a word is not surprising; rather, it is the simplicity of the reduction – from one constituting an onerous sense of the corrupt, to a mere insignificance of action – that demarcates the chasm of definitional differences between the two.  Both are adjectives; but of the former,  often associated with corruption involving bribery and characterized by a mercenary motive, while the latter is of a pardonable offense, minor on a scale of wrongdoings, and merely bordering on the barely noticeable spectrum of sins acknowledged – it is the difference of the singular vowel – the “i” which constitutes the reflection back upon the personal “I” who acts upon the violation that determines whether the offense is minor or major, that divides the two.

The originating context of a venal act almost always involved corruption relating to an exchange of consideration – and, for whatever reason, it was that underlying motive of engaging in an act of illegality for the sake of money, that exhibited a greater evil by the participant.  Perhaps such an origin of retreating repulsiveness is Biblical – of that treachery committed in exchange for the thirty pieces of silver.  Translated into English, the personal pronoun inserted in lower caps in the middle of the word, stuck between two consonants, evinces a guilty conscience inflamed deep within the troubled recesses of a soul’s agony.  And what of the noun which the adjective modifies – does it add, amend, enhance or otherwise alter?

Injustice is a malleable concept.  Words were once confined by strict adherence to meanings; no more, as society has allowed for the gymnasts of linguistic pole-vaulting to tinker unabatedly.  As the negation of the root term “justice”, it has become recognized as any feeling of unfairness encountered, as opposed to the more concrete embodiment of society’s clear mandate in a process of upholding a morally superior stance, confirmed by age-old rules and procedures, inviolate as reflected in the symbolism of a blindfolded lady impervious to the winds of bias, prejudice or venal means.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker who is daily being bombarded with harassing conduct by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, both forms of injustices are encountered:  Venal injustice, at the hands of an agency which may be plotting to dismiss and terminate; and venial injustice, at the daily toil of enduring slights and demeaning whispers by coworkers, supervisors and others unnamed.

Medical conditions occur through no fault of the Federal or Postal worker suffering from them; yet, Federal agencies and U.S. Postal Service employees treat such Federal and Postal workers as mere fodder for committing injustices otherwise unaccounted for.  Perhaps there is a heaven where ultimate justice prevails and where venal sins and venial acts are sifted between to determine who is issued a valid passport for migration through those pearly gates; but, until then, there is the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and where obtaining an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is neither a venal act, nor a mere venial outcome, but an injustice turned around for the Federal or Postal worker who cannot otherwise perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire