Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Benefits: Obstacles

There are many in life; whether of financial, physical, intellectual or emotional; whether we are born with certain God-given talents or lack them in excess of explicit ignorance; or whether we are born with that proverbial “silver spoon in our mouths” or not, the burden we carry is like John Bunyan’s heavy knapsack, of the sins we create and carry.

Some obstacles are objectively in existence and have no relationship to the ones we create; others, within ourselves and created by the ghosts of our past deeds.  To what extent are the obstacles which prevent us from advancing merely the emotional difficulties we bring about?

Certainly, this world is an “unfair” one — one in which who one is born to, where one is a citizen of, and to which “class” we belong to plays a large role in who we can become; and in the end, sheer will and determination to succeed may not be enough.  The 5’ 10” young man who is born with spindly legs and lack of coordination will likely never become a professional basketball player no matter how hard he tries; and the individual who lacks a foundation of talent in any given area certainly faces obstacles beyond the reach of dreams or hopes; but is that the definition of “fairness” or “unfairness”?

Early on, it is important to assess one’s circumstances, talents and opportunities, and tailor our goals accordingly.  Should you “shoot for the stars”, nevertheless?  Possibly — but still, with an objective assessment.

How about when you engage in a process like filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  Should you make a similar assessment about the obstacles to be faced?  As in life generally, so should the same rules apply before entering the complex arena of Federal Disability Retirement Law.

As trying to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity presents multiple obstacles, so should the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement reach out to a FERS Disability Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider the options, the difficulties — the obstacles — before pursuing such a benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The Chosen Word

Words chosen bespeak of the artfulness of the one who chooses them, but the true artist remains anonymous and allows for the words themselves — the “artwork” of the word-meister — to make its quiet impact.  It is the vehicle of communication; it is the goal of the sentence, the “umph” of the connotation and the hyperbole of a paragraph’s ending.

In a universe inundated by words — some would argue that the essence of modernity is people merely spewing out words, because that is all we ever do, now, and can do, is to talk a lot without getting anything accomplished — and thus the importance of the chosen word, or more precisely, the carefully chosen word, becomes all the more significant.

In this post-modern era, the question is no longer about Truth or Falsity; rather, it is about sifting through the maze of overabundance, where the impact of words fail us precisely because we can no longer appreciate the subtlety of connotations, derivations, implications and innuendo.  As brashness blunts the art of derivative meaning, so overabundance of words dilutes the craftsmanship of a well-composed sentence.

It is like the orchestra with one too many violins; the extra becomes an overkill to the sensitive ear that cannot differentiate because the sounds of repetition dulls the distinctiveness of each.  Words await to be chosen, lost in the void and vacuum of unused dictionaries, and in this age of the Internet, forever relegated to the ethereal universe of the vanquished scenery of outcasts and extinguished, waiting to be rescued for an insertion into a sentence, a hyperbole within a parenthetical clause, or a hyphenated relevance amidst a sea of declarative thoughts.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the thing to remember is that the final Federal Disability Retirement “package” that is filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a “paper presentation” of a bunch of jumbled words — “jumbled”, unless each has been carefully chosen in order to communicate effectively, well, and persuasively.

It is the untying of the knot of complexity, the smooth and controlled sequence of words that become aggregated into a paragraph, then a full page, and in the end, it is the chosen word precisely crafted, picked like the ripened fruit of ideas that must persuade and win over the thousands of worthless and meaningless other words that will fail the test of an OPM Disability Retirement application — and like that perfectly chosen word, be careful to choose which word-meister you hire to represent you in this most important of endeavors!

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from 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, initiation and submission of 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 become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The unknown world

It is that part of the universe that is often seen as the “far side of the moon”, where shadows befall and eyes never perceive, witnesses never survive and documents don’t exist.  Mount Everest was once that world; galaxies outside of our own, despite our best efforts to invent and create greater and stronger telescopes, or ones that float in the nothingness of outer space and send back digital images that are obscure and indistinguishable from inkblots accidently spilled upon a sheet of white paper, but somehow scientists can discern great discoveries by pointing to colors, hue, magnified analogs and complex algorithms that leave the rest of us scratching our heads and declaring, “You got all of that from this picture?”

There was life once on Mars and Jupiter since contained icicles that entrapped microbes billions of years ago, and just through a photograph of a fuzzy specter that the rest of us would have interpreted as Bugs Bunny leaning against a fencepost eating a carrot stick.  But of unknown worlds and the far side of the moon where shadows rest upon and hide the human toil of secrets and conspiracies, the truly mysterious one is the subjective mind of the person sitting next to you.  Yes, yes, it may not appear that way – perhaps each time you ask a question of that individual, he or she merely grunts and states in the same monotone of boredom and unexcitable drone, “Yep. What of it?”

And so when PBS or the National Geographic Society has some show about the complexity of the human brain, the neurons and the micro-conceptual foundations that make up the universe of human circuitry, dreams, images, thought-processes, Freudian and other “-ians” that delve into the human mind of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious and all spectrums in between, you turn, look at that same person and say, “Not.”  Or, that person one day does something completely out of the ordinary and during his lunch break takes out a book – say, Kant’s classic on the foundations of metaphysics, or some such esoteric material, and proceeds to mumble to himself, and you say, “Gee, didn’t know he was into that.”  But then you again try and engage him with, “So, what are you reading?”  And the familiar refrain comes back: “Yep. What of it?”  Beyond disappointments and non-engagements with universes parallel, mysterious and already predicted, there is still that “subjective” universe where pain remains, medical conditions are hidden and plans for the future are yet to be expressed.

That is the netherworld of the Federal or Postal employee who must contemplate preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  It is also the world of “cat-and-mouse” – of when to tell the Federal agency or Postal service of your intentions; how much to tell; when to submit the Disability Retirement packet so that it obtains the greatest advantage against the Federal agency or Postal Service; and all of the complexities in between.

Yes, there are still “unknown worlds” and universes; you just became too much a part of it to recognize the wonder of it all, because the guy next to you keeps burping and saying, “Yep. What of it?”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Pensive Passions

Often, truth is found in contrasting and inherently antithetical concepts; the fact that they may be contradictory in appearance, does not substantively make it so; and, instead, it is often the combined tension between the two which engenders cohesive cooperation, whether forced, mandatory, unhappily or otherwise.  Think of marriage.  Or, the productivity in moments of combative circumstances.

Does voluminous activity in the context of stagnation necessarily follow?  Or qualitative brilliance erupting from sedentary immobilization?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the thought of “moving on” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often an anathema which prevents further reflection and thoughtful engagement on the matter.  Then, when it becomes an emergency because of months, perhaps even years, of procrastination and unwillingness, then and only then does the adaptation of one’s thought process begin to coordinate the reality of future orientation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not an end, but merely a new beginning; it is not an indication of surrender, but rather an advancement towards a different future; and it is not “letting down” family, friends, coworkers or some unrealistic viewpoint concerning one’s self-image, but instead, is a recognition that priorities matter, and what is important in life must by necessity be prioritized, with health and one’s self-worth being at the top of the list.  Continuing to go to work in the drudgery of one’s medical morass, where the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service is no longer supportive of continuation in such a venue, is to remain stuck in an untenable situation.

Being pensive in the matter is to take some time to reflect; to possess passion, is that loss which once was a sense of awe in holding a jewel sparkling in regular moments during a routine of boredom, of getting up each day and looking forward to advancing one’s Federal or Postal career, but now because of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, has ceased and closed the curtain of enthusiasm.

Now, to have pensive passion is important, for it is that combination for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, which will serve him or her well in the next phase of one’s life, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Plan of Attack

Every battle requires a “plan of attack“, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is no less an “adversarial” process than a lawsuit filed with the local county court.

One may embellish and deny by describing the process as “nothing more” than an “administrative” procedure, where the deciding agency is merely reviewing the components for “eligibility requirements” and conformance to entitlement regulations, but one needs only to be denied a Federal Disability Retirement application to realize that it is a legal process just like any other.

That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee’s Federal Disability Retirement application is denied at the First Level of the process, the usual response is tantamount to that of an opponent who lacked a plan of attack and quickly disburses in a retreat of panic.

Denials should be expected, and not necessarily because of a lack on the part of the Federal or Postal applicant, but because the “enemy” will counterattack and “win” some “battles”.  The army which never considers a setback is one which advances with such arrogance that the hubris of pride defeats without the enemy ever needing to lift a finger.

For those Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who filed for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, and who thought that his or her Federal Disability Retirement application was an unconquerable force of inevitability, the good news is that there is another day yet to come for a new battle, and even another beyond that, where a singular defeat means merely a chance to regroup for another day’s skirmish in order to win the ultimate prize:  the war itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Causal Contingency

If X, then Y; but the problem is that most of us want to skip over the predicated contingency, and move directly to the conclusion without the necessary and sufficient satisfaction of attending to the prerequisite of X.  The consequences of such inaction, or impatience in order to achieve the end-goal, is that when the subversive act of avoidance and disregard results in the inevitable and disastrous compulsion of causal catastrophe, we then attempt to “make up” for “lost time”, and quickly engage in band-aid devices to try and rectify the original misdeed.

Some things in life just don’t work that way; in fact, despite the insistence by millennials that longterm foundations don’t matter (either because the gods are dead, life is absurd, or self-centeredness will get us through the day), it is the artisan and the craftsman who, when the technological innovations and newfangled fads whisper into the fading glow of yesterday’s moonshine, retains the longevity of sustenance and substantive accord.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the inclination is to panic, to rush around like a chicken with its head lopped off by a prowling owl of the dawn skies, and to quickly formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it through one’s own Human Resource Office (if still with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service or, if separated but not more than 31 days thereafter) or directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (if separated for more than 31 days but not more than 1 year after the separation or termination date).  But the operative word in such a scenario is ensconced in the term, “prepare”.

To achieve an effective Federal Disability Retirement application outcome, one must prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits.  To jump over the “preparation” part, and to merely formulate and file, results in the disastrous outcome foreseeable and foreseen.  Just ask Jack, who still reels from the burn marks as he tried to jump over the candlestick.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire