Federal Employee Disability Information: OPM’s Methodology

There may be a single criteria to meet, with subsets of requirements that must be complied with; yet, multiple methodologies in approaching the singular.  How can that be?  Isn’t it all simple, where you read what is required, then gather up all of the evidence that appears to meet it and simply send it all in?  That is the “volume methodology”.

Can a single sentence in a medical report ever meet the legal criteria in an OPM Disability Retirement case — i.e., a “qualitative” methodology, as opposed to a quantitative one?  Sometimes.

Isn’t the law clear in what is required, and isn’t it a matter of just amassing the medical evidence to meet the requirements as stated?  Hmmm…. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand, somewhat, OPM’s Methodology in reviewing and deciding upon a case.

First of all, not all medical conditions are equal.  Perhaps that is self-evident, but for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from one or another medical condition, and must endure the daily pain, restriction and limitations imposed thereby, it may not be so self-evident.

Second, OPM is not some “neutral” Federal Agency that reviews a Federal Disability Retirement application with dispassionate objectivity, ready to grant an “approval” because you “believe” your medical evidence is “sufficient” to meet the legal requirements as stated.  Sufficiency is the gatekeeper that denies many a Federal Disability Retirement case — and it is not a methodology that is satisfied by quantitative (volume) means, not even necessarily by qualitative standards; rather, it is the reviewer (i.e., the “Medical Specialist” at OPM) who determines by some unknown and unknowable standard when the goal-post has been crossed.

Thus, in an OPM Disability Denial Letter, one may read a reference to one’s doctor’s note or a quotation from a medical report from one’s doctor, and think, “Good, this is very supportive” —then, with an appended end to the paragraph stating, “Such medical evidence does not sufficiently meet the standards to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement”.  Huh?

Think about it this way: “Sufficiency” may mean different things to different audiences; for example, what is a “sufficient” amount of food for a lion, as opposed to a domesticated kitten?

OPM’s methodology is, at best, malleable, as language in law is likewise changeable.  It is good to know this for Federal and Postal employees who are either getting ready to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or who are in the middle of a fight to obtain it; for, in the end, consulting with an OPM Disability Retirement lawyer allows you to arm yourself with knowledge for the battle that OPM’s Methodology in determining Federal Disability Retirement cases must be prepared, like any legal battle that involves “criteria” to be interpreted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow”, as a word written today, pointing to a dimension beyond; to a vantage and perspective not yet realized, and forever to be referenced by a future date yet unknown.  When read tomorrow, it leads to the next day; and when looked upon the next day, to the following day again; and in this eternal sequence of tomorrows, whether written today, tomorrow or the next day, it forever reminds us that hope lies not in the morass of today’s problems, but in the change of things yet to be realized.

Yes, yes — we all recognize the scoffing that often surrounded the political banner of that famous phrase, “hope and change” — but that is merely because the potency of words, concepts and formulated paradigms lose their efficacy once they are used within a public arena that turns into a campaign slogan. Hope is always for tomorrow; for, without tomorrow, hope remains fallow as the desert that once promised a fertile reserve but never realized the rivers that had dried up because of the changes of the subterranean shifts in tectonic quakes that others failed to predict.

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, the hope for tomorrow will often include the preparation, formulation and filing of 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 and CSRS Offset.

Today is already filled with the overwhelming problems that beset any Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition; it is for tomorrow that an application for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, and that is the ray of hope that includes tomorrow, and the day after, in preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last Days of Summer

When the urgency of a sales event about school supplies blinks prominently across television screens, and those couple of days in August arrives where a foretelling of colder weather breathes a freshness as a reminder; and when the haziness of plants wilting, the stickiness of summer’s heat has faded the memory of last year’s harsh winter — we suddenly realize that the last days of summer are upon us.

Days come and go like gnats that take a single bite and then fly on; and suddenly we can’t remember where time has disappeared to, and another gray hair has sprouted, another wrinkle has cut deep the lines of time and timeless lines of memories now vanishing like so many waves that lap upon the seashores of countless hours.  And like the last days of summer, we relish the good fortune of health and painless existence only so long as fate allows for another day of challenges left unfulfilled.

The last days of summer are like those unwanted encounters that life inevitably challenges us with: It reminds us that what was once promising may not always come to fruition, like the beginning days of summer that looked forward to a respite from the humdrum of everyday existence, only to be snatched away like an illness that debilitates.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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, the last days of summer often represent as a metaphor the realization that one’s Federal or Postal career must come to an end.

Where the choice is between health or career, it is not much of an option presented: health must always be and remain the priority, and preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat akin to the last days of summer, where the end of something is merely the foretelling of a new season beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Predictability

Is it all mere statistical probability?  Or, can there be a fair amount of certainty in the “science” of predictability?  Is the weather an event that can be predicted, and if so, do past failures enter into the equation; or, if not, why is it that the vicissitudes of nature cannot be so easily anticipated or foreseen?  How is it that we predict predictability?  Does it come about by numerical analysis, or by experience?

If you talk theoretically about the chances of a person being attacked by a shark if you go swimming in this or that ocean, doesn’t it depend upon a multitude of additional factors, as in: Where are you swimming (if in the arctic seas of the upper northern hemisphere, isn’t that a factor to consider as opposed to, say, off of the coast of Australia or in Florida?); the time of day; and perhaps certain peculiar behavioral features, as in splashing vigorously as opposed to swimming with slow, silent strokes, etc.?

Such factors might be important to consider.

Then, consider that, during the course of a conversation on such statistical relevance, a one-legged man (or woman) walks in upon the conversation and says, “Oh, yes, I lost my leg in a shark attack”.  Would that change the statistical analysis?  Wouldn’t the probability for that particular person be 100%, inasmuch as he/she experienced the event and is speaking post-actualization?

Do acts which enhance the probability of an event simultaneously diminish the chances of failure, or are they dissimilar acts that travel on a parallel but never-intersecting course?  Can all events subject to predictability base such anticipatory analysis upon a statistical study, or are some events able to be accurately foreseen based upon intuition, the supernatural or some other transcendent other-worldly criterion?

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 the Federal or Postal position, the likelihood of needing to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, increases with each passing day.

Medical conditions that remain for an extended period of time tend to not go away; instead, chronicity is an indicator in and of itself, and if a degenerative, progressively debilitating condition, the factors that need to be entertained concerning the predictability of future events yet to unfold can be accurately foreseen.  The key, then, is to enhance the statistical probabilities of surrounding factors, such as:  What are the key components necessary in meeting the criteria for Federal Disability Retirement?  Will hiring an attorney who specializes in the field of OPM Disability Retirement significantly enhance my chances of success?  What are the criteria for predictability of a positive outcome?

These and other questions should be asked and answered when seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, so that the murky field of predictability can be somewhat clarified with the wisdom of past experiences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The light in someone else’s home

Walking the dog out past dusk, or perhaps standing in the backyard after the sun sets; or, in an apartment complex looking out beyond; a light turns on in someone else’s home; we wonder, who is it, what are they like, and how different are they?  Do others, upon seeing the light switched on in your home, wonder at the owner — the possessor of the finger that flicked the contraption that illuminated the room and altered it from darkness into a visually acute arena of human activity?

Why do we spend so much time pondering about alien lives in other worlds, in faraway universes beyond our very own, when scant little attention is paid to knowing about our next door neighbor?

Some would give a quick scoff at such a thought and quip, “If only you knew my next door neighbor — you wouldn’t want to know!”  And yet, it is always the one that is “just beyond” that attracts our attention — not the person sitting next to you on a train, or the woman with three screaming children on public transportation; rather, it is the unseen stranger who flicked on the light switch afar, whom we cannot see but by shadows that pass behind the blinds that veil; that is the person who sparks an imagination that there are other lives, other ways to live, and who remind us that the light in someone else’s home means that there are other ways of seeing things, living life and having different opinions, goals, dreams and conversations.

The objectivization of other human beings is the basis by which murders are committed, wars are justified and slogans are written; it is only when the warmth of a light that suddenly illuminates the darkness that prevailed begins to permeate one’s consciousness of what it all means, is when human empathy and compassion begins to form.

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, the light in someone else’s home is the one left unlit, and that is often why the harassment begins, the coworkers remain uncaring and the agency seems oblivious to your deteriorating health.

It often seems as if the world cares not; that, despite your years of loyalty shown, late-nights expended to complete an important agency project, or staying beyond the hours to finish the sorting, distribution and delivery — now it is supposed to be someone else’s turn to switch on the light and carry forth the mission.

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, may be the only option left.  Whatever the conditions, it is no longer the light in someone else’s home that should be of concern, but the darkness left in your own that needs to change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Ends and beginnings

It is the linear manner in which we perceive the world; of straight lines as opposed to circular figures; of two points or perhaps three, then again lines of intersection and connecting the dots, instead of arcs that waver and detour beyond the directional certainty of point A to Point B and beyond.  “Ends” we recognize by the symphony that crescendos and the credits that scroll down and display the accomplishments unto the “Assistant to the Assistant director of Operational Assistants”; or, at least when the black screen declares, “The End”.

And of beginnings?  Other than the first breath taken, the consummation of love’s forlorn initial encounters and the memories of childhoods harkening back to hazy summer evenings that may be real or mixed with what was told about you when you were young; perhaps beginnings can never be ascertained with as much certainty as the endings that suddenly come upon us.

We tend to bifurcate our lives with straight and intersecting lines; “Here is when X happened”; “Over there, that is when Y began.”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who began their careers with the hopes and dreams of all who enter the workforce, full of vigor and enthusiasm, coopted by the “mission of the agency” or the team spirit reinforced by the accolades given in performance reviews, bonuses granted and promotions within sight of tomorrow – the slow deterioration of a medical condition can come to one’s realization as a devastating recognition that an “end” is coming, without the concomitant accompaniment of the clear “beginning” to follow.

Where does something “end”, and something else “begin”?

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management because the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position is indeed an “end” of sorts, but it must also be viewed as an important “beginning”.

It is the beginning of attending to the priorities of life; of starting to focus upon one’s health and well-being; of recognizing that others at the Federal agency or the Postal service have seen the “end” of your career.

Yet, perspectives matter, and how we view things do make a difference, and it is the “beginnings” that come after the “end” that matters.  For, the “Assistant to the Assistant director of Operational Assistants” hopefully did not end his or her career with that final credit noted at the end of that B-rated movie; hopefully, he became the director of Operational Assistants, or perhaps the director himself or herself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Moments of clarity

There are those moments, aren’t there?  It may come as a flash, in the middle of the night, while walking quietly in the woods (or in one’s back yard, pretending that it is in the middle of somewhere’s nowhere, despite the loud humming of lawn mowers and air blowers whoosh-whooshing in the distant yonder over the fence beyond); and it need not be because of some eureka moment or because of problems faced and meditated upon.

There are moments of clarity in life, and they may be identified and described in various ways – of periods of inspiration; of a heated splice of madness; an awakening from a dream despite lack of sleep.  Or, perhaps a spark of genius came about.  A childhood memory, a dream once vanquished, a feeling of regret later in one’s life; these are the crumbs that gather in the corner of the dinner table, left behind like the ghostly apparitions of yesteryear’s hopes and unfulfilled cannibals of thoughtless mimes; and yet they can haunt or stir.

Such moments of clarity can bring about change; or, we can repress, suppress and ignore them, and allow them to wither away like flowers left in the pot of life’s mish-mash of events, and slowly they die, weakened by lack of care and ignorance of beauty.  Medical conditions themselves can bring about such moments of clarity; of the futility of trying to maintain appearances, and instead of facing a reality that is sharpened by pain, anguish and society’s definition of what it means to be productive.

Health is indeed a gift; poor health, or deteriorating health, brings about a different kind of gift – one that sometimes allows for those moments of clarity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition brings about a realization that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to carry on as before, and that preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is now a necessity, it may well be that such a conclusion of a necessary change in one’s life came about because of one of those “moments of clarity”.

Don’t ignore it, as it may not come about again.

Instead, like warnings, clues and prognostications of impending necessities, the need to listen carefully to one’s health and mind may be just a moment of clarity that your body is simply telling you something.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire