Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Bureaucracies

It is an amalgamation of penultimate collectivism; based primarily upon the concept that centralization constitutes efficiency, bureaucracies exist for the sake of a mission long forgotten and forever compelling the existence of its own justified creation.  They have histories, and often historians to record and annotate the accomplishments of their own beings; and the people who work for them speak about them in objective tones of third persons.

Every now and again, a newly-hired employee will bring about a fresh sense of enthusiasm, of new ideas and different ways of doing things; but after a time, each such newbie of fresh growth begins to wilt, like flowers that bloom for a season and then die an expected and predictable death, only to wait for another to take its place.

Bureaucracies tend to do that to their own population – wilt them, kill them, stamp out any newness that might sprout for a brief moment.  And to those outsiders who require the services of a bureaucracy – well, always remember that the bureaucracy will always last longer than even the great period of the dinosaurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the exposure to a bureaucracy may be the first time; or, perhaps the Federal employee (and certainly the Postal employee) works within a bureaucracy him/herself.  In either event, suddenly being an “outsider” looking in, as opposed to an “insider” looking out, will be a new experience.

It is good to remind one’s self during this process of preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon the “bureaucracy of bureaucracies” –- the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – that long after the Age of Dinosaurs passed and became extinct, and long, long after global warming or other such identifiable calamitous event will have altered the face of the universe, OPM and other bureaucracies will still be here.  What a thought to ponder.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Perspective versus reality

One may counter that the contrast is no different than that which we encounter daily, especially in this universe of millennials and post-millennial era – of opinion versus fact, or truth versus falsehood (and now the new one, of “news” versus “fake news” or “facts” versus “alternative facts”).  But “perspective” versus “reality” has some subtle nuances that need to be explicated.  For one thing, one’s perspective may be identical to the reality one possesses a perspective upon; or, more likely, it is merely an interpretation that may differ from someone else’s.

One could, of course, argue that all of reality is merely a perspective, and this would comport with the Kantian view that our phenomenological experiences can never depict the “noumenal” universe (Kant’s verbiage) that is outside of the categorical impositions of our human make-up, and that therefore the human perspective is something that cannot be avoided, anymore than a dog’s perspective can be assumed or challenged, or a bat’s perspective (refer to Thomas Nagel on that) would be understood or comprehended by a human’s perspective.

In other words, we can never completely disown the perspective imposed by the innate structures of our own “kind”, and thus it may be an error to ever represent a contrast between “perspective” and “reality” (thus the misnomer of the title above, “Perspective versus reality”), but should always encompass and embrace a commensurate connection of “Perspective of reality” (a consonance of the two) or “Perspective and reality” (a conjoining compatibility of both).

Yet, we know that certain people interpret things differently from what we believe constitutes an accurate portrayal of “reality”.  However, so long as we stay within certain confines of accepted normative interpretations, we rarely contest or openly disagree with alternative depictions, unless it is to obtain a consensus that somehow disproves the validity of the other’s portrayal (i.e., “Yes, but John, Joe and May agree with me”, as if quantification of perspectives somehow diminishes the accuracy of another’s; as opposed to saying, “Well, Copernicus thought otherwise while the rest of the world continued to maintain a geocentric perspective of the universe” – unless, of course, you are ignoring the “rest of the world” to include China, Japan, etc.),

Yet, there are factors that have to be considered when discussing the distinction between “perspective” and “reality”, and one of them often involves medical conditions – an element of reality that often skewers perspective.  That is why, for a Federal or Postal employee who is considering 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, the importance of relying upon accurate information, good and sound legal advice, and a straight and narrow path towards a successful outcome with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (no matter the length of time it may take these days), is important.

For, medical conditions will often alter the perspective of an individual as to the reality of one’s situation, and so it is an “outside” source (the medical condition itself) which needs a counterbalancing force (otherwise referred to as an “objective” advocate, i.e., a lawyer) in order to present an effective, objective, persuasive representative in order to “re-present” the perspective of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant.  Thus, in short, it is a perspective versus reality issue, and thus not entirely a misnomer as previously stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement: Recalibrating the Reset Button

Preparing for life’s vicissitudes can be a daunting task.  Some never acquire the skills necessary to accommodate the winds of misdirection; others stumble through like a drunken sailor walking down fate’s gangplank, seeing the end but failing to adapt in time to prevent the calamities forewarned.  The very few somehow manage to engage the transformation, like a chameleon who responds to the surrounding environment by becoming invisible within the subtleties of life.

Change is the inevitable essence of life.  From alterations occurring from growth — from birth to adulthood, then to aging decay — to the physical universe of constant transformation; the world is represented by the various metaphors and symbols of permanence and change, of Yin and Yang, of Parmenides and Heraclitus, and in modernity, of the recalibration of the reset button.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her present career, it is precisely that fear of change which precludes one from engaging in the necessary steps required to adapt, transform, and reset.

If insanity is defined as performing acts of failure repetitively, then the world must by definition be insane, and the Federal or Postal employee who continues down the same path despite all of the headwinds and warning signs present, should be placed in a straightjacket and confined to the halls of antiseptic whitewashed rooms.  Change is always difficult; but it is a necessity of life.  It is the life spring of a vibrant community; and its opposite is a parallel universe of decay, decrepit degradation, and destructive degeneration of death and desperate deterioration (and so, why is the alliteration of negation so rampant with the letter “d”?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a step in a changing direction.  It takes the Federal and Postal employee out from the insanity of repetitive failure by allowing for a recalibration of the requisite reset button, and to potentially engage in a future which leaves behind a past replete with hostility and increasingly adverse attitudes.  It secures a base annuity such that one can survive; then, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to work in the private sector and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

As change is necessary to the survival of any organism, so stagnation is the result of resistance to transformation; and like the putrid waters of stillness filled with microorganisms waiting to destroy the abdominal walls of the unsuspecting traveler, the Federal or Postal employee who refuses to recalibrate the reset button is merely waiting for the day when the external order will force the change involuntarily, as opposed to he who chooses the day, time and moment of an inevitable fate which awaits us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Systemic Problems

When the residual impact of a crisis goes well beyond cosmetic concerns, the usual and customary description is that the “cause” involves “systemic” problems.  Such foundational fissures can occur both in organizations, as well as in individuals.

For Federal agencies, it may require a need for new leadership, or a restructuring of internal chains of command, and sometimes even outside intervention.  More often than not, a call for greater funding is demanded; then, once approved, we walk away as if the problem has been fixed, until the next crisis calls our attention.

For individuals, the systemic problems can involve a medical condition.  Symptoms are normally mere warning signs portending of greater dangers; like organizational eruptions of systemic concerns, individual crisis of systemic proportions often result from neglect, procrastination and deliberate avoidance of the issue.  But medical problems have a tendency and nature of not going away; they are stubborn invaders, like the hordes of barbarians from epochs past, who keep whittling away at the weakest points of an individual’s immune system.  Then, when the medical condition progressively deteriorates until the spectrum of symptoms exceeds a threshold of toleration, suddenly, a crisis develops.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has reached that point, where the symptoms are no longer superficial, but prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then it is time to begin considering 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, time is of the essence, as the administrative process must meander its way through a complex system of bureaucratic morass, and the timeline is often of importance in securing the future of a Federal or Postal employee.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is an arduous, lengthy task, and one which is a tool against a systemic problem; for, in the end, the best fight against an invading army is to utilize the elements of the marauders themselves, and this is true in medicine, in law, as well as in individual and organizational restructuring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire