torney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Equilibrium of life

What is the importance of maintaining one’s equilibrium of life?  The concept, of course, implies a “balance” of sorts, where there is an analogy of images that includes an orderly sequence, a scale that is suspended in the middle and not tilted to one side or the other, and a sense of calm and peace that pervades.  To be “out of kilter” is to have a loss of equilibrium; and somehow to embrace extremes is to manifest a loss of control.

We all lose our equilibrium of life, whether daily, weekly or in more tandem steps of ordinary outcomes.  Sometimes, it is something that someone said at work or just as you leave your house that “throws you off” and gets you into a “bad mood” and out of sorts; or, other times, it is some reminder that triggers something from one’s past, and places one in a foul mood for days on end.

The cottage industry of self-help motivations is alive and well; of acupuncture, therapy, the gym, corporate motivational speakers, healthy diets, unhealthy diets, quiet meditation, protracted yoga, pills for medications, sounder sleep cycles, changing one’s language to reflect a “journey” of sorts, religious fervor, causes to die for, therapy pets, guard dogs, and just plain dogs that come and give you unconditional love…these, and many more, allow for one’s equilibrium of life.

Whether we pay for it daily, weekly, monthly or yearly; whether the money is well-spent or ill-conceived; the goal is always, however you want to characterize it and in whatever manner the language game is cited, the result that is sought is all the same: equilibrium of life.

Then, hopefully, if even then, on one’s deathbed, one can shrug one’s shoulder as one is hooked up to complex life-support systems, and declare to one’s loved ones: “The key to the universe in order to attain the equilibrium of life is…” and gasp out one’s breath, not having had the life left to complete the sentence, and leaving loved one’s and those trying to listen in on the pearls of wisdom otherwise untold, and leaving everyone else out in the proverbial cold.

Perhaps there is a “key” to life that results in one’s equilibrium of life; or, not.

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 equilibrium of life is often out of sorts, out of kilter and off-balance, precisely because one cannot focus exclusively upon one’s health and maintenance of life’s blessings.

Filing a 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, may not be the “key to the universe”, but it is at least an initial, if small, step towards regaining the equilibrium of life.  And that, however small and miniscule an achievement, is at least a first step towards putting the key to life’s problems on layaway and looking with anticipation towards the proverbial light at the end of a tunnel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Agency’s Options Letter

Options presented in life often depend upon the preparatory avenues previously correlated over months and years in reaching such a point and destination; alternatives and the plenitude of opportunities rarely “just happen”, and like the football team which seemingly seamlessly executes its game plan, the practiced work left unseen behind the scenes is what allows for the openings to occur, both in sports jargon as well as in business life.

Whether the limits of available alternatives are constrained by the apparently known universe, or continue without knowledge, matters little; for, in choosing from a list of openings, one must know the menu before placing an order.  Thus, can a person choose a sixth option when presented with only five?  Or does lack of knowledge and negation of foresight delimit the available resources untapped and unencumbered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is often that dreaded “options letter” which the Federal agency or the Postal Service issues, as if the universe of actions to be considered is restrained by the content of the issuance serving the needs of self-interest, and not with concern for the Federal or Postal employee.  Such options presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service are often 3:  Come back to work; seek accommodations; or resign.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has resulted in exhaustion of Sick Leave, Annual Leave, and all FMLA benefits, the refusal by the agency or the U.S.P.S. to extend the granting of LWOP is often accompanied by the threat of sanctions, punitive actions and placement of the Federal or Postal employee upon AWOL status.

The options presented are thus onerous and unreasonable; for, as Option 1 is untenable (the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from coming back, and the agency and the U.S. Postal services knows this, as otherwise Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA would not have been unnecessarily exhausted), and Option 2 (seek accommodations) is somewhat of a “given”, it is Option 3 (resignation) which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service hope and expect the Federal or Postal employee to initiate.

Such an option allows for the least amount of thought and effort by the Federal agency, and it is this expectation, along with the threat of placing the Federal or Postal employee with imposition of AWOL status, that often wins.  But are there other options besides the ones presented by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps.  But as life’s choices are revealed only through knowledge and wisdom, it is the one who seeks the avenues of counsel who discovers that universes besides the insular one within the parameters of the Milky Way portend of other life on planets yet undiscovered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance and Delay

Human beings have an uncanny capacity for avoidance.  In the greater genus of the universe we identify as the “Animal Kingdom”, where survival of the fittest determines the genetic viability of the evolutionary scales of neutral justice, avoidance means potential death, and delay constitutes a certainty for an untimely demise.  For, as thought and reflection is the pause between an event and a necessary response, so avoidance and delay is that interlude between necessity and regret.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal Employee or a U.S. Postal Worker, the avoidance of the inevitable, and the delay for the obvious, often becomes an intransigent approach to life’s misgivings.

The act of 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, is thought of as a step of finality — an admission to one’s self that the battle has been lost, the war’s outcome has been determined, and the cards dealt must now be played, with nothing left to trade in or replace.  That is the “short view”, as colored by the perspective of avoidance and delay.  The “long view” is that there is actually life after Federal Service, and potentiality for growth beyond the U.S. Postal Service.

We become entrenched in the habits of our own making, and while filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may seem like a step of finality, it is actually just a step in a different direction, where one can open up new avenues for a second vocation, while at the same time securing a financial future for stability and further growth.

Avoidance and delay — they are the price one may pay for the limitations imposed by our own lack of imagination, but the greater canvas of life opens up the power and creativity hidden within the deep recesses of a childhood potentiality we once held on to, but somehow let go in this journey we call “life”, which often puts us down and tramples upon the flights of a child’s wide-eyed vision of the greater universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire