Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mistakes we make

There are those who make it their life’s goal not to have remorse for decisions made; but is that truly a worthwhile achievement?  At the end of it all, is there a special space on the unwritten tombstone that lists the mistakes avoided, the embarrassments averted, and the admissions of deficiencies concealed?  Is that not where much of Shakespearean web of deceits are constructed from – of attempting to cover up the insufficiencies otherwise already apparent in the foreboding appearances we attempt to portray?

Tenuously though we approach the daily chasms of darkened pitfalls menacingly threatening each day of our daily lives, we refuse to admit, fail to recognize or are too weak in the egocentric falsities of fragile souls to merely utter the simple words that allow for expiation of our weaknesses and quickly move on:  “Sorry, I made a mistake”.

No, instead, the complex rationale, the justifications of convoluted sequences of condition precedents that fall upon the next as dominoes of perfectly aligned decoys; and the blame then shifts upon an eternal direction of fingers pointing one to the next, until there is no one left except for that proverbial last figure on the totem pole, who cares not because he or she is the runt forgotten or the brunt of everyone’s joke and display of pure human meanness.

But at what cost do we avoid admitting the mistakes we make?  Of what layers of calluses formed, souls injured and responsibility averted, until the unquantifiable element becomes so saddled with a guilty conscience no longer able to feel, to be human, to rise above the bestiality of man’s base instincts?

The mistakes we make often harm another, but those we do not admit to, diminish the essence of who we are, what we are capable of, and always forestalls the capacity to grow.

As in any process that is complex, 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, can have a pathway full of difficult decisions and a complicated morass of complex legal precedents, statutory obstacles and sheer obstructions of meandering deliberations.

The mistakes we make can haunt us with consequences difficult to reverse, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is one of the rare instances in which he who makes the fewest errors, likely will win.  Mistakes in this area of law can range from the innocent and inadvertent, to the meandering blunders that lead to a denial from OPM.  It is often not enough to avoid a mistake in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; indeed, it is the blatant mistakes we make without the guidance of wisdom and experience that determines the future course of events, as in life in general.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The mortality reminder

When does mortality become a concern?  Certainly, not during the youthful vigor when the future holds bright concurrent with the cellular construct yet expanding and multiplying.  Is it with the first encounter that reveals vulnerability?  And what is defined as a “healthy” sense of it, as opposed to an obsessive conduit to a dementia of nihilism?  Does a “close shave” necessarily haunt everyone, or does it matter as to the sensitivity of a soul that such karma encounters?  What “reminds” one of a future terminal, as opposed to becoming an all-consuming journey to avoid the ultimate consequence?

Whether for future promises of glorious defiance of it (Christianity and similar belief systems) or of denial of the substantive reality we face by it (Hinduism, Buddhism and similar negation-bases faiths), the treatment of how it is approached, the methodology of embracing or rejecting, and the paradigms constructed in order to answer the underlying metaphysical queries, are “projects” which Heidegger has identified as those very endeavors to avoid the inevitable.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from chronic, debilitating, or otherwise delimiting medical conditions, 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 positional duties, the brush with the question of mortality becomes a reality precisely because vulnerability from the secure world one has previously taken for granted, becomes threatened with each day passing in the empirical experience of contending with the medical condition itself.

Medical conditions remind us of our mortality.  Certain and specific conditions tend to exponentially magnify it tenfold:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (in nightmares, intrusive memories and recalling of traumatic events); Major Depression/Depressive Disorder (by the loss of stamina and the overwhelming sense of despair); Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which may include suicidal ideations and panic attacks (via the heightened sense of intolerance to work-place stresses); and those physical conditions which result in chronic and intractable pain, from multi-level degenerative disc disease, cervicalgia, myofascial pain syndrome; Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as the ongoing list which every attempt to become “all-inclusive” always fails to mention, precisely because there is never a single right answer to the mortality reminder.

The key is often missed because the focus is misdirected – it is not so much the medical condition itself, but the impact of that medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties:  that is the essence and foundation of a successful Federal Disability Retirement application.  But more importantly, it is that “nexus” which is the key to the mortality reminder, and that which prompts the Federal or Postal employee into a spur to action:  Prepare the Federal Disability Retirement application well; formulate the foundation for Federal Disability Retirement carefully; file the Federal Disability Retirement application in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Potentiality extinguished

Aristotle addresses the concept well; of the inherent nature of being not defined merely by the state of current existence, but encompassing the finite potentiality of what it is yet to be, as well as being based upon the historical lineage of origination.  Only within the context of that truism can children be treated as more than mere commodities of sweatshop workers, as in the days of Dickens and the Industrial Age empowered by the need for cheap labor; and on the other side of the spectrum, the old and infirm whose contribution to society has reached its apex of productivity, and is slowly receding into the sunset of former days filled with youth and vigor.

Without the argument of potentiality progressing linearly towards actualization, we are left with Camus’ world of the absurd, the loss of any sense that the Phoenix would rise from the ashes of forgotten civilizations, and the eternal loss of beauty reflected in a fluttering butterfly caught in the quietude of restless twilight, with wings shorn and shredded by timeless envy when humanity disappeared, love was forever forgotten, and the laughter of children playing in the sand no longer brought a smile upon the grandmother sitting in a rocking chair of timeless hope.

Organizations tend to do that; modernity almost guarantees it; and the unstoppable march of bureaucracies and administrative agencies possess a subtle manner of extinguishing that innate potentiality with which we once glowed like an insatiable torch bright upon a conquered hill.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once viewed his or her career in “that way” — of a limitless expanse for doing good, in accomplishing important and relevant missions, and abiding by the complexity of the system but always with a hope that one can impart significant change from within — often become disillusioned and disengaged, once the bump of reality impedes upon the dreams of yesteryear.

And for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the dent of stubbornness encountered begins to wear upon the soul of hope.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only route available when the incremental insidiousness of resistance to change, adaptation and responsive loyalty is spoken of with silence and increasingly hostile and punitive actions; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who is no longer wanted by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must recognize that the potential for the extinguishment of potentiality exists in reality, and it would be a real shame to allow for such potential extinguishment to become an actualization of fated potentiality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Government Employment: The Daily Diatribe

This is an angry time.  Contrary to the appearance of sophistication and quiet aplomb conveyed by shoulders shrugged and ignorance attributable, the festering anger which forms a quaking (or quacking?) undercurrent, like shifting undersea tectonics just before a major earthquake which then results in a tsunami, the fact is that the fragile threads of common courtesy and conventional manners have disappeared over time, in increments of eroded concerns, likened to the moth which remained hidden in the darkness of a closeted space, eating away quietly at the fine costumes of societal consternation.

Conversations and rational discourse are replaced by daily diatribes of sputtering infamy; yes, Hitchens was a contrarian, but we miss his voice precisely because he could do it without us knowing it, and in addition with that fading British accent that always put a stamp of civility upon the acerbic wit.

Whether anger and certain medical conditions have any connection, will likely never be established as a causal certainty.  But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, escape from the cauldron of daily diatribes can only contribute to better health and greater psychological stability.

Calmness of discourse, quietude of mind; there is no longer a place of repose or respite from the vicissitudes of this complex societal aggregate defined by the fast pace of technological whims.  We all have to find our corner of rectitude from this constant clanging of harshness; how we go about discovering that unique slice of life, attuned to our needs and satisfying our desires, is the question of a lifetime.  For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who needs to consider first the state of his or her medical condition, and connect the deterioration and progressive decline to the daily diatribe of the workplace, there is no rational basis for delay or procrastination.

In life, priority is established by sequencing one’s life:  Health, family, career, etc.  Somewhere, the daily diatribe fits like the proverbial square peg in a round hole (or, as the contrarian Hitchens might have said, Is it a round peg in a square hole?); but whether the greater macro-society engages in the daily diatribe of life, it is the “little people” of minor consequence who must pay the price, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it might be a good time to look for that shining light on a hill, and move on to the next phase of living this life of escapism and constant seeking.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Pension from Federal Government Employment: Pulse of the heart, eyes of the mind

Lin Yutang is a preeminently accomplished writer of the last century who wrote incisive essays and works describing the great divide between China and the monolithic aggregate collectively referred to as “the West”.  It was a different time of which he wrote, as the world was larger, more divided, and inaccessible to many; prejudices and biases still prevailed, and the attitudes of former colonialists still ravaged the minds of ignorance and fear, where political correctness had not yet tilted the ingrained cultural condemnations of group-think and herd mentality.

In the end, however, as with all great writers and perceptive thinkers, his spectrum of thought touched upon universal truths which captured and encapsulated the greater generic congregation of humanity, and not just the separateness relegated to the trash bin of historicity.  It is a paraphrase of the description used by him, but one which he would likely have agreed to — that a complete man needed both sides of humanity:  both the pulse of the heart as well as the eye of the mind, like yin and yang, emotion and rationality, objectivity and empathy.  But the pendulum of time in every epoch seems never to balance well between the extremes of masculinity and femininity; we must either be all of one and vanquish the other, or deny ourselves the true origin of our own essence.

That type of behavior is often seen in the microcosm of everyday living, including those with medical conditions and disabilities in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service.  Whether out of fear or unforgivable ignorance, people tend to treat others with medical conditions and disabilities with a quiet disdain, lacking any import for empathy or concern for livelihood.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the only pathway out of such inhumane treatment and lack of empathetic humanity, is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

This is not an “out” for escape, but a reality of conserving the dignity of one’s life, in order to attain a level of financial security and move on to a better and more productive phase of one’s life.  For, when others lose one’s pulse of the heart, as well as deny the eye of the mind, all sense of decency and good-will becomes lost to the abyss of evil and human depravity; and as the imbalance of man’s essence brings out the worst in us, so the best option left for the Federal or Postal worker who is being harassed and pilloried at work, merely because he or she can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties assigned, is to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application before the yin is severed from the yang, and the pendulum of time swings forth to shatter the glass casing within the quietude of the chime of marching lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Agency: Alliances

Meritocracies are built upon an ideal of competency; quickly, however, as reality creeps into the ineffable truth of what actually occurs, people tend to fall back upon the comfort zones of unspoken alliances, allowing for protective measures tantamount to the nuclear paradigm of mutually assured destruction in saving one’s own skin.

The person who goes to work with quiet competency believes that hard work and incremental contribution will ultimately win out the day; the hardy laughs outside of the office echoing down the hallway with vague reverberations of mirthless camaraderie; the social events invited with a mere pop-of-the-head mention in passing by, but quickly with the added disclaimer of, “Oh, it won’t be much fun, but you’re certainly invited,” as if you are offered a discount coupon which needs only to be cut out and brought with you, but no scissors are provided and tearing such conveniences outside of the dotted line is considered in bad taste; and the Monday recounting of the get-togethers with back-slapping tales of associations forged and assuredly irrelevant to the work at hand, but somehow those quiet stares held for a moment too long between unspoken alliances concretized in what once was described as backroom deals filled with cigar smoke and consideration exchanged under poker tables, comes back to haunt in subtle ways in misdeeds of unaccounted time.

When a crisis hits the fan, favoritism is always denied, despite the facts which betray the truth.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider preparing for another vocation because the one presently positioned is no long viable, resulting from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it often becomes evidence that the leeway given for approving FMLA in the meantime, or liberal leave policies, redistribution of workloads in order to temporarily accommodate or suspend many of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is based not upon laws, regulations or those pesky statutes of alleged protective shrouds proudly declared by politicians from both sides “of the aisle”; rather, it is as it always has been — upon the feudal fiefdoms of alliances forged upon meritless applications of weekend romps.

The payment for hard work is the salary one receives; the “extras” depend upon the discount coupons one has discarded over those many years.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is when the medical condition begins to impact and prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job; and when the afterthought of alliances left unattended results in regrets of unquantified good-will, one should remember that meritocracy is best judged in the faces of a family spent with, and not in the empty beer cans of remorse and despair.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire