Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: King for a day

There are, then, those highs and lows which everyone experiences; of days when one has successfully maneuvered through the pitfalls of the day, and where troubles, problems and difficulties have been either overcome or avoided — both of which amounts to the same thing in most instances.  To be King for a Day — is it a mere feeling that obfuscates the reality of one’s situation, or a reality based upon a metaphor hanging on a cliff of a proverb?

The world for the most part leaves the rest of us the crumbs off of the tables of the wealthy and powerful; the sense that we have any real control over our own destinies is tested when something goes wrong, and we try and correct it.  The rest of the time — of being King for a Day — is to just make us feel like we have any such control on any given day.

Take the Federal or Postal employee who struggles with 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 — some days, when the medical condition subsides or it is merely one of those “good” days, it may feel that destiny is within the palm of your hand and that the day’s brightness allows for a future with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.

But then the inevitable “setback” occurs, and the cycle of the “bad day” comes along.  Then, one day the Federal Agency, with its co-conspirators of supervisors, managers and some coworkers, or the Postal Service with the same cabal of backstabbers, begins to initiate adverse actions with steady and incremental deliberation — of leave restrictions; unreasonable and baseless denials for extended leave or FMLA; letters of “warnings” and even placement on a PIP; and then one asks, Whatever happened to that feeling of being King for a Day?

Life is full of struggles and difficulties; we rarely are able to get a full handle on the future course of unanticipated troubles, and that is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is so important to get started early and well on the right track.

Being King for a Day is never the solution to the lengthy process of life’s misgivings; for, in the end, it is the Court Jester who hears all and counsels well, just like the lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  If only King Lear had listened to the Fool — what disasters he would have avoided!

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The complexity of 2

It is the solo flight that presents the escape of simplicity; inclusion of another, and suddenly the complexity of responsibility, duty, obligation and sense of “ought” becomes a part of the entire equation.  At first, it may be love born upon an equal plane; any sense of disproportionality is easily ignored, quickly deflected and unselfconsciously dispensed with; but over time, the complexity of 2 begins to creep in.

It is neither insidious nor inherently negative by artifice; rather, it is the most natural of sensibilities, arising from a knowledge that reliance upon one another not only acknowledges and validates the vows of matrimony, but moreover, the eternal commitment each makes to the other forever forges the bonds of undiluted friendship, like kindred spirits floating in some ethereal universe unperturbed by distractions of consternation consecrated upon the altar of destruction.

Have you ever observed the interaction of singularity?  That is correct – it is simple and uncomplicated.  The asides are mere reflections of one’s own troubles; the soliloquys stated without puzzlement or obfuscation.

Then, if you add a second, the complexity of 2 comes into play – of misunderstandings, miscommunications and loss of solidarity in the oneness of judgment.  What if there are three?  Then, suddenly not only are there relationships between the first and second, but between first and third, second and third, as well as the tripartite interaction between all three simultaneously.  And of four?

The exponential complexity that arises from adding one more to each magnification of interrelationships enhances beyond the mere introduction of another, but creates a havoc beyond the singularity of such an entrance.  Why is this?

One would, on a purely conceptual level, likely argue that since the simplicity of 1 remains so, ergo the combination of each should logically retain such lack of complication.  But such an argument based upon theoretical argumentation and rationality elliptically conducted in an antiseptic environment and context fails to recognize the innate complexity of each human being.

That is why, in 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, the simple-enough questions posed and queried on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, can never be characterized as “easy” or “straightforward”.

Why?  Because there is the complexity of 2 – or more.  For, while the questions themselves are answered by the singular Federal or Postal employee, there are multiple facets of that same employee which requires a response – the Federal or Postal employee in the status of an employee who suffers from a medical condition; the relationship between the medical condition and the positional requirements of the Federal or Postal job; the Federal or Postal employee in the capacity of his or her personal life; the introduction of the diagnosed Federal or Postal employee with a specific medical condition.

Do you see the complexity?  It is, as always, the complexity of 2.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The numerical veil

Statistical constructs indicate group shifts and movements; numbers, based upon controlled samplings, provide the substantive fodder for analysis of trends and patterns of population deviancies.  There is, however, the question of the incommensurate nature between mathematical paradigms and linguistic application; stated more simply, Do numbers hide more than reveal, and can anything be extrapolated from them and interpreted in terms we can understand and comprehend?

To a winner of the lottery, the numerical phantasm “one in a billion” remains meaningless; and to the dismissive statistical irrelevancy stated in language more readily comprehended, that there is a greater chance of dying in an automobile accident than from a shark attack, becomes inconsequential and of little comfort if you are laying in a hospital bed with a good part of your flesh missing from such a traumatic event.  That’s the problem with numbers, of course, and the use, misuse and abuse of statistical analysis; in the end, it depends upon how it is used, the methodology of discourse, and the manner of application.

To be hit by lightening may well be more uncommon than death by drowning, but if your job is to be a caddy for an eccentric billionaire who enjoys golfing on days of severe weather patterns, the generalizations ascribed by comparative mathematical analysis may be somewhat skewed.  And, of course, for romance of young couples who scoff at divorce rates and patterns affirmed by celebrity lives and the cultural meltdown pervasive throughout, the lack of life experiences, the want of provocation through trials and turmoils yet to be encountered and not yet encumbering, allows for hope, charity and a sense of optimism despite the universe which surrounds of cynical diatribes.

We take comfort in the veil of numbers, precisely because we can manipulate them in the ways we want.  Facing a bleak outlook, we can justify resistance with a dismissive wave of the hand (or that invisible wand of magic and sorcery) and declare, “Well, the chances are…”  Numbers never tell of the human emotions and toil of reality; they remain as cold mathematical calculations, jiggered and manipulated by the picture of emotionless bureaucrats who wear spectacles to magnify the inconsequential harm imparted upon the lives left behind.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Such individuals, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, become part and parcel of the statistical conundrum who once had names, faces and identities, but somehow became relegated into the numerical aggregate of “those” people who departed by filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, all because they could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties assigned.

Does such fear of becoming a mere irrelevancy of statistical obscurity make the Federal or Postal employee pause, despite the chronic pain or the psychiatric despondency which tells of the urgency to file for the benefit?  Probably.  Yet, beyond the numerical veil which hides, each Federal or Postal employee who departed and left behind such a statistical imprint, go on to live productive lives thereafter, with ongoing emotional ups and downs, as real people, living authentic lives untold by the hidden abyss echoing from the chambers of silent digits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: When we used to speak of meaningful things

Perhaps the negation of ideas trickles down, just as water from a crack in the roof tiles; of Derrida, Foucault and the deconstruction movement after the lengthy period of disillusionment represented by the French Existentialists headed by Camus and Sartre; for, if meaning constitutes parity and the loss of hierarchies and paradigms in crumbling corners of inconvenient truths, then Orwell’s prediction of how totalitarianism will infect society with the tools of our own making, will come about sooner than we thought possible.

Let us not speak of Logical Positivism and how the expungement of ethics and metaphysics from kitchen table discussions resulted in the loss of meaning, value and truth; for, if validity of a statement is determined from on high in the ivory towers of Russell, Wittgenstein and Ayers, et al., one has only to look at the state of British society today to realize that while the island continent allowed for profundity of thought in the isolation of its heyday, its impact and influence should have remained contained in order to spare the rest of mankind.

There was a time when we used to talk about meaningful days.  Oh, it doesn’t refer necessarily to what is said, but more as to the discretion of what is kept silent.  For, it is the pause between thought and spoken word which reflects the depth of thoughtfulness; and, in modernity, the comma of silence between the typed garble considered a sentence, and the push of that button which shoots it into the eternal space of the Internet.  Just take a cursory preview of random Facebook and Twitter pages; of the inane, the insane and the intemperate; there was once, long ago, a time when work and toil to put bread on the table prevented the leisure of thoughtlessness allowance for indiscretion of a spoken word.

To be wrong is one thing; most mistakes are correctible and even forgivable; it is the engagement of lack of thought, discretion and unadulterated vacuity of breathtaking stream of words spoken, shared and disseminated without care, which destroys the society of binding values and becomes replaced with angry shouts of rights and privileges, and more so by those who engage in the self-immolation of devaluating acts.

Greater quantification of information does not implicate knowledge, leaving aside the concept of wisdom; instead, as Orwell knew so well, words mean something.  We tend to think that the more said, the greater volume of voice, and the increased amassing of a library of information, somehow leads to a smarter society.  It is, instead, quite the opposite, and the negative effect of thrashing about to escape from quicksand; the more we say, the stupider we appear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to understand that obtaining a cogent and effective medical narrative, in conjunction with preparing a compelling Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, are the two mainstays of a high-octane Federal Disability Retirement packet which increases the chances of a successful outcome.

Federal and Postal employees who are seeking to file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits need not worry about speaking or discussing meaningful things; the tragedy of a medical condition, by its very nature, is a significant event which impacts upon a life, a career and a future.  Yes, there was a time when we used to speak of meaningful things, but those days are over — but for the intersection of human lives when words really matter, and lives are actually lived.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Value & Worth

The two are often intertwined; what is of value is considered something of worth, and that which has an ascribed worth, is viewed as a thing of value.  If an objective, marketplace standard is applied, then the value of X may be disconnected from the worth of X; for, while X may retain little or no monetary value, the worth of the object to an individual may still endure (for sentimental reasons, emotional attachment, etc.).

Where human beings are considered, however, exceptions as to the inextricable conceptual intermingling of value and worth must prevail; but there again, the value of a person’s services in a specific industry may have an objective criteria upon which to base one’s worth.  Damaged goods devalue the marketplace price of commodities, and a similar ascription of worthiness is often viewed when an individual becomes less productive in the workplace.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, this very concept of marketplace devaluation is both familiar and starkly personal.  Whether an objective value of marketplace worth can truly be ascertained when describing human contribution, is a debate for ivory-tower pundits of a philosophical bent; in the real world of workplace harassment, supervisors who are egomaniacs and self-centered forces of disruption, and where fiefdoms of power stations are mere playgrounds for toying with the weak, the issue of what to do when one’s level of productivity becomes clearly manifested as a result of a medical condition, is one which must be approached with a pragmatism of limited choices.

Federal Disability Retirement is an option available for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS (and 5 years under CSRS), and allows for the Federal and Postal employee to retain one’s health insurance and leave the Federal workforce with an annuity for one’s future security.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits are obtained by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must meet the preponderance of the evidence test.

Whether value and worth are conceptual constructs which have distinctive meanings may merely be of academic interest; but it is always the case that the value and worth of one’s future security is an interest of pragmatic significance to all U.S. Government employees and Postal workers, and which must be fought for in order to secure a sure footing in this world of uncaring inhumanity.

Sincerely

Robert R. McGill, Esquire