OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The mysterious spark

One may never be able to pinpoint the precise time of day, the hour or minute that it occurred; but at some point, it developed, matured and became a certainty.  It is that mysterious spark or connection that occurs in every relationship, whether between members of the same species, or even of other ones; of that mysterious spark that elevates a relational connection to one not merely encompassing casual friendship, but of a special, unique and singular symbiosis that becomes identified as mysterious and unexplainable.

It is characterized by a “look” between the two, shared by no one else, allowed entry by exclusive invitation only and zealously guarded by the two who share it.  It is that special spark, the glint in the eye, the knowing stare and the longing look; and it can be shared by two young lovers, a couple of old codgers or with a cat or a dog, and maybe some other species besides.  It is by the shared joke, the exclusive laugh, the hinted metaphor and the crazed reaction; but of whatever the elements that make it up, the two who share it know when it happens, that it exists and that the mysterious spark remains unless violated by one or the other by committing some act of treachery or deceit that breaks the silent code of friendship and fidelity.

Can such a mysterious spark exist between a person and an inanimate object — or an event, a career or even a place?  Perhaps.  Think about the career one has embraced — where, once you awoke with a spring in your step, an anticipation of joy and even of rushing to get there just to immerse yourself in the day’s project, the afternoon’s conference, and even looked forward to the often-wasteful time spent in “coordinating” with coworkers and others.  And then — something happened.  The energy is drained; the joy is depleted; the profound fatigue sets in.  A medical condition can certainly do that to a person.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost that mysterious spark that once pervaded each morning as one prepared to go to work, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing 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.  If the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you likely meet the legal criteria for becoming eligible to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

For, in the end, the mysterious spark that formed the relationship of special significance between any two entities — including the one between a Federal or Postal employee and his or her job and career — was always based upon a presupposition that necessitated a contingent agreement involving a silent understanding: the continuation of one’s health.  And, when once that becomes damaged or destroyed, the mysterious spark is replaced with the ugly reality that the quality of life depends upon the health of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Chasm Between Sanity and Twilight

Sometimes, there are moments of clarity where one is left with wonderment at the behavioral folly of individuals, organizations, and groups of collective consciousnesses (what an untenable word — the pluralization of that which ends in what appears to be the plural form of the noun).  Whether one agrees with the Supreme Court’s holding that corporations should be treated as “persons”, the fact is that organizations act in collective aggregates in similar manners as individuals and amoebas.

Group-think, herd mentality and symbiotic consciousness of behavior is not unfamiliar to us all; for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition leads the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a fairly routine matter that engagement with one’s agency can be characterized as one of hostility, unpleasantness or unfriendly separation.

Why this is so; what bonds of loyalty become severed merely because the Federal or Postal employee expresses an intent to terminate the employment relationship as a consequence of the onset and intervention of a medical condition; and how the contextual animosity develops into a flashpoint where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service believes that it must initiate adverse actions or punitive measures; these are all wrapped up within the conundrum of complexities which characterize the human condition, and that is why organizations and organic aggregates of individuals comprise a compendium of human behavior.

It is, in the end, an unexplained and incomprehensible phenomena; what it is; how it can be explained; where one goes to for enlightenment; these questions must be relegated to the dark corners of behavioral recesses within those chasms between sanity and twilight.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Life We Perceive

The state of having an epistemological privilege in the first-person singular, means that we occupy a unique position of knowledge, cognition, perception and viewpoint.  Concurrently, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that others have a similarly extraordinary vantage point, and that no matter how hard we may try, we will never truly understand the depth and complexity of the “others” who surround us, whom we encounter, and who pass by our field of vision in the greater context of life’s coincidences and happenstance meetings.

That we may never be able to fully understand another human being is not a sin; that we fail to care to at any given moment, is merely a fault; but that we callously disregard despite indicators of greater suffering and turmoil so evident that the trembling whispers of human frailty touch upon tears of sorrow, shows a misuse of that unique position of epistemological privilege.

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 Postal or Federal job, the impact is such that one must often consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus to end early one’s chosen career in the Federal sector.

One would expect, despite the unique position of epistemological privilege which everyone occupies, that some semblance of empathy or caring could, or should, be expected.  Instead, the Federal or Postal employee in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often encounters greater resistance and bureaucratic turmoil than statistically experienced in other similar administrative endeavors; and can this be attributed to mere mathematical calculus of acceptable differentials?

It is doubtful, because it is precisely in the recognition that perversity of intent is also found uniquely in the human animal, and even in cases of suffering and trauma, when medical conditions clearly present to the life we perceive a state of grief greater than simple sympathy, but beyond pain, suffering and turmoil of body and mind; even then, the complexities of jealousy, envy, spite and cruelty, overwhelms the soul who knows not the inner depths of depravity within the human makeup.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Calculus of Change

The title itself is somewhat of a tautology, for the branch of mathematics is defined as a study of change, divided into differential calculus and integral calculus; both, concerning the function and limits of mathematical constancy and potential quantum leaps for purposes of analyzing quantitative future applications.

We all assume some amount of change; if there is a differential to be considered, the rate of such change can be significant over an extended period of time, whereas the initial analysis can be a minimal irrelevancy.  It is the exponential rate of change applied over a lengthy period, which can produce change significant enough to enter into the calculus of future indicators.

Change is a recognized inevitability, though human expectation is often one of dependency upon the constancy of habituation and permanence.  We expect, when we open a door into a familiar room, for the interior decoration to have remained the same as the last time we entered; but who is to say that a spouse or family member did not, in the meantime, rearrange the furniture or put up new curtains?

Change has an inherent character of disquietude; it is the constancy of repetitive permanence which allows for solitary reflection and comfort.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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 disruption posed by the change in one’s circumstances — of fiscal, professional, social, cognitive and physical (i.e., the mere act of going to work each day, etc.) — can be tremendous and traumatic.

In preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, it is always a positive engagement of efforts to consider the calculus of change, and to not leave the alterations in one’s life in dismissive form as mere statistical irrelevance.

For, in the end, the biggest change of all has already occurred, in the form of an impacting medical condition which has prevented the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal sector; the rest is mere window dressing to the very essence of a changed life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: At What Cost?

The introduction of the “cost-benefit analysis” (CBA) by the French (who else?) is a quantitative approach in determining whether to go forward with a given project.  There are other approaches, of course, but the popularity of such a utilitarian paradigm is especially attractive to Americans, precisely because it allegedly places a determinable value upon the project, endeavor or issue in question.

But not everything in life is quantifiable in monetary terms; and while the CBA approach can take into account complex factors and assign methodologies of evaluating such that otherwise unquantifiable terms can be converted into numbers, the question still comes down to a simple issue of self-reflection:  Is it worth it?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have 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 positional duties, a cost-benefit analysis is often taken with a singularly stark question:  Can I survive on the annuity proposed by statutory authority?

But this often ignores a parallel query, just as stark and similarly singular: What other choice is there?  If the medical condition arose as a matter of a work-related incident, certainly the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset should file for OWCP/DOL benefits; but even then, Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, and there will likely come a time when it is still necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The unquantifiable factors in any CBA are those more personal, intangible issues which we rarely desire to face:  What will happen if I ignore the present course of settings?  If I continue to work with my medical condition and somehow reach retirement age, what kind of shape will I be in to enjoy my “golden years”?  Will the agency tolerate my reduced productivity, and what will their next move be?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is never an easy decision, and should not be taken without a thorough and self-reflective analysis; but it is often an approach tantamount to negative-theology which will bring out the true answers to a dilemma — of what will result if one does NOT do X, as opposed to a quantification of values — and provide the necessary framework for a future reference of positive closure to a human condition which always seems, at the time and moment of suffering, to be a calamity beyond mere dollars and cents, and for which the famous Utilitarian Philosopher, John Stuart Mill noted, that actions are right “in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Another similar article previously published: Federal Disability Retirement pros and cons