OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Factors to consider

The universe of thoughtful decision-making shrinks exponentially and in direct correlation with the pertinent and relevant information gathered, and it is too often the case that factors not considered are the very ones which lead to a non-decision or, more importantly, to a wrong conclusion.

What factors should be considered when a Federal or Postal employee is going to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Certainly, age can be a factor — for, if OPM engages in a recalculation of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity at age 62, and you are fast approaching that age, the factor of “how long it takes” to get an OPM Disability Retirement approved (about a year, give or take a few months on either side of the equation); whether you get any backpay once it is approved (back to the last day your Agency or the Postal Service has paid you anything); and whether the time you are on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards your total number of years accrued until the recalculation age at 62 (it does) — should all be factors to consider.

Further, even if you are still relatively young, should those same factors be considered?  The short answer is an unequivocal “yes” — and probably many others, besides, including: Do I intend on working at another job in the private sector while on Federal Disability Retirement?  Do I have Service-Connected disabilities that can play a factor [sic] in the factors to be considered?

The universe of factors to consider in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, are innumerable; and then, there are likely factors that you have not even considered, but which may be prompted by consulting with an attorney who has already considered multiple factors besides, and who may be able to guide you in this complex process called “OPM Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Purposive sequence

Are all things in a sequence “purposive”?  If you are walking in the countryside and come upon a horse, a man and a pig, in that order, was there any “purposive” meaning in the sequence met, or was it random and a reflection of the chaos of the universe as a whole?  If it had been in a different order — say, you first came upon the pig, then the horse, and finally the man — would there be a question as to either the sequence or the meaning of the sequence?

Now, take a different hypothetical, where you come into a child’s room who is engrossed in fantasy and play, and the child has a sequence of stuffed animals: Again, they are in a line of a stuffed horse, a doll of a man, and a large plastic pig, in the very sequence you encountered while out in the countryside.  You laugh and say to the child, “Oh, that’s very peculiar, I just came across those three in the identical sequence you have them in.  Of course, it is just coincidence, but nevertheless odd.”  The child smiles, turns to you and says, “Of course it’s not a coincidence.  The horse is the most beautiful creature in the universe, and therefore comes first; the man is the cleverest, and therefore should be second; and the pig is the smartest, but since intelligence should come after beauty and be placed below being clever, he comes third!”

In such an instance, did the fact that a purposive assignment of intent change the sequence and the meaning ascribed?  In other words, did the “human” explanation as to the sequence presented alter the objective foundation behind the orderliness of the universe, or does it yet remain in chaos except for the subjective ordering by the child?  Or, is Kant correct in positing that the chaos of the universe is internally ordered by human categories structuring the outside world, and left without such subjective impositions, we would never be able to comprehend the disordered universe?

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, it is important to engage in a purposive sequence of completing the Federal Disability Retirement application.

The medical condition itself is chaos enough, as it impacts one’s life and livelihood, but it is the medical condition that becomes the center and foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  From the chaos imposed from the objective world, a purposive sequence must be countered from the subjective universe of the Federal or Postal employee, and that purposive sequence must begin with the chaos of the unordered world itself: The medical condition, from which all else naturally and artificially proves the case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Whisper of Discontent

Seasons come and go; it is one of those ponderous “throw-away” lines that people utter without much thought, somewhat akin to the customary “hello, how are you” declarative that is stated without a pause as the speaker rushes quickly past without waiting for an answer.

Yes, and there are also winters of discontent — borrowed from the line in Shakespeare’s Richard III, and also, by happenstance, the title of the last novel by John Steinbeck; but more often, it is the whispers of discontent that prevail more pervasively, for “discontent” is not necessarily a lasting emotion, or even one that endures for a season; rather, it is whispered precisely because of its fluctuating characteristic.

We whisper it because we know that, like seasons and emotions, time may heal and further time will alter it; and others may whisper it because the fleeting nature of it may not stand the test of objectivity.  And when the whispers of discontent turn and become the louder shouts of adversity, we often failed to listen carefully and instead ignored the voices that forewarned of foreboding toils.

Medical conditions have a tendency to provide such preludes, as well.  One often knows well before a doctor tells us, whether and to what extent the chronicity and severity of the condition foretells; and whether and to what extent the impact upon one’s Federal or Postal career will be.

The law concerning Federal Disability Retirement requires that the medical condition must “last at least 12 months” — but that does not mean that one must endure a 12-month period of suffering before filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; rather, that the treating doctor or medical provider must provide a prognosis that the medical condition will last, at a minimum, that length of time.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the whisper of discontent comes about with the realization that the medical condition suffered is impacting upon one’s career by preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Although seasons do indeed come and go, and there may well be winters of discontent, the Federal or Postal employee who hears one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service whisper utterances of discontent, may deem it advisable to begin to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before such whispers become a winter of discontent where the avalanche of a proposed removal becomes initiated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Force of laughter

Is language necessary for laughter to follow?  If so, what accounts for the slapstick comedy that erupts with uproarious belly-shaking guffaws that reverberate throughout?  What is the fine line between laughter and sorrow — of the man who slips and upends upon a slippery banana left unnoticed on the sidewalk, to realizing that the injuries are serious enough to land him in the emergency room; what divides the chasm between comedy and tragedy?  And of the force of laughter — can it be forced and, if so, does the force of laughter have the same effect as laughter naturally erupting?

Say you live in an Orwellian state — a totalitarian regime somewhat like the one prevailing in North Korea — and you stand beside “The Great One” who cracks a joke.  You do not find it funny, and nor does anyone else; but you laugh, anyway, because you are expected to laugh on pain of death.  Is there a difference between that laughter and the one that you cannot help because the punch-line is so deliciously delivered that self-control cannot be exercised even upon pain of death?

What if a contest were held — of “Who can tell the funniest joke” — and it is between a known comic and again, “The Great One”.  You are one of 3 judges on a panel, and you know that if “The Great One” does not win the contest, you will likely be sent to a Gulag on the next train the morning after.  First, the known comic does his or her routine for half an hour, and everyone “loses it” and laughs with abandonment.  Next, “The Great One” goes through his routine, and everyone laughs just as hard, if not harder.

Can one distinguish between the first half of the contest where everyone has “lost it”, and the second half where the laughter is louder, the rolling on the floor exceeded exaggerated enjoyment, and by all accounts, “The Great One” received the louder laughter?

The force of laughter always possesses that duality of a conundrum: Laughter can be forced, but the force of laughter may not have the same force if force is derived from the forcing of it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has in recent times denied one the genuine force of laughter, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Laughter can be infectious, but when a medical condition deflates and dissipates the quality of one’s life, one’s career, and the incongruence that can come between health and continuation in one’s job, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.  When the force of laughter is robbed because of a medical condition that has become chronic and intractable, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM may be the best option left in order to avoid that hollow laughter that comes from laughing at a joke delivered by “The Great One”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire