OPM Disability Retirement: The labyrinth of human psychology

Daedalus, in Greek mythology, constructed the complex maze for King Minos of Crete; it is reported that the multicursal patterns were so elaborate that even the designer himself could barely find a pathway out.  That is, indeed, reflective of the complexity of human beings.  Cynics are quick to dismiss our own species as predictable, untalented in any specific category but only in general terms; boastful beyond a simpleton’s ego and successful in self-promotion and propagation only because it is too lazy to do otherwise.

Repetition, the need for habituation of purpose, and forever seeking a quietude of reflective pastures in solitary reserve, the human animal both and at once can be definitionally reduced as a mere afterthought in the Animal Kingdom, yet cunning in its predatory mastermind in a universe otherwise devoid of sophistication.

Human begins are nothing if not complex; and the psychology of humanity in the linear history of conflicts, wars, greed and hatred of group behavior, only touches upon the depths of a labyrinth that even Daedalus would not have been able to figure out.  And yet we try; and despite our best attempts, the moment humanity deems to have declared the discovery concluded and forever ensconced in determined coordinates, whether as genetic material established with certitude or some mythology of a variation of a Freudian narrative, Man pauses for a moment, then surprises to turn upside down the paradigm of conventional explanations of behavior.  It is only the hermit who, within an iconic security of an ivory-tower observatory, can issue declarative narratives establishing uncontested truths of unequivocal certitudes.

The rest of us who must interact and maneuver through the unmapped waters of societal upheavals, are left to daily hiccups of unpredictable encounters with fellow human beings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must — in addition to dealing with mercurial managers and unpredictable outbursts from supervisors, coworkers and unnamed (and unnamable) agency heads — “deal” with a medical condition, such that the illness or injury results in an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the U.S. Postal Service or the Federal agency, the daily encounters will often quickly take their toll through exhaustion and profound fatigue beyond mere tiredness from a rough day’s work.  You become “pigeonholed” as that “unproductive employee”, and thereby reduced to a category, a name, a label and a farce.

But the labyrinth of human psychology can never be constrained within the convenient categorization denounced by fiat; the complexity may become repressed, but like the boiling pot gurgling to explode, will remain simmering in the quietude of suppressed restraints.  Then, and probably long past and overdue, it is time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is the only and best option available, lest the unpredictable and complex labyrinth of human psychology boil over into an uncanny cavern of a despairing tidal wave yet to be revealed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Mental Health, Stress and First Steps

Disquietude is a negation of a former state of being.  Perhaps it is merely a retrospective re-characterization or romanticization of a time or status that never was; or, maybe even a partial remembrance of a slice of one’s life measured as a fullness in comparison to what is occurring in the present.

Regardless (as opposed to the nonsensical, double-negative modern vernacular of “irregardless”), to have a sense of disquietude implies of a former time, event, or state which had a greater positive light than the present one.

And it is in this context that the Federal or Postal Worker who begins to contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is living in California, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota or Texas (have we effectively zig-zagged a sufficiency of states in order to make the point, yet, or perhaps we need to include Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin in order to make the point), that one must understand the greater bureaucratic involvement which one needs to undertake before engaging the complexity of the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

First, it is a Federal issue, and therefore, it will be unlikely that one will find, for example, a Florida Federal Disability attorney, or an Oregon, Kentucky or Louisiana Federal Disability lawyer; for, it matters not whether or not the lawyer lives in, or is licensed in a particular state, precisely because this is a Federal issue, and not a state issue.

Second, Mental Health issues — aside from being a valid and viable basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application — can either stand alone, or be in combination with a physical disability (isn’t it interesting how we bifurcate “mental” as opposed to “physical”, whereas both are part of the same physiological state of a person?).  Sometimes, mental health issues stand alone; other times, they can be concurrent medical conditions, or secondary ones.

Third, stress is a basis for a Mental Disability Retirement claim, although it must be properly and carefully approached because of issues concerning situational disabilities.

And Fourth, how one approaches the first steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, will often determine the success or failure of the disability case.

Overall, it is the plan itself, the cogency of the approach, and the gathering of the proper documentation, which will determine the efficacy of those first steps, and whether the stress, mental and physical health of one’s being, will be relieved as a result of filing for a Federal Disability claim.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: A Federal, not a State, Issue

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS constitutes a “Federal” issue, and not a “State” issue.  What this means is that an attorney representing a Federal or Postal employee in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is not restricted from representing that particular Federal or Postal employee because of the specific state in which a person resides.

Every now and then, it is clear that there is some confusion on this matter.  It is the Office of Personnel Management — a Federal Agency located in Washington, D.C. — which makes a determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application, for the first two (2) stages of the process.  Thus, whether a person lives in California, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, etc., is irrelevant with respect to legal representation by an attorney who has his or her license to practice law from a state other than the one in which the prospective client resides.

As a Federal issue, and not a State issue, the jurisdictional ability of an attorney who specializes in practicing administrative law in assisting Federal and Postal employees obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS crosses any and all state boundaries.  What should thus be the focus in determining which attorney is the appropriate one to hire should be based upon experience, competence, reputation and “comfort level” — those criteria which should always be taken into consideration when hiring an OPM Disability Retirement attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Service Disability Retirement: Termination

Termination by a Federal Agency or the Postal Service can be a trying time, even if it has been a long time in expectancy.  The key is to try and begin negotiating with the agency even before the Notice of proposed termination is issued.  During that period when you know that the Agency is considering filing a Notice of Proposed Termination, is precisely the window of opportunity to try and convince & persuade the agency that the underlying basis of any proposed termination is and should be based upon your medical inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job.  This would be done through various means:  submission of medical documentation to your supervisor, agency & Human Resources personnel; addressing key points concerning conduct or performance with medical evidence showing a direct and causal correlation between such conduct or performance with the medical evidence, etc.  If, on the other hand, a Notice of Proposed Termination is issued but one which is not based upon one’s medical condition, that does not mean that the window of opportunity has been lost — it just may mean that the strategy and tactic to try and persuade the Agency to amend the proposed termination may have to be adapted.  The key to all of this is to make sure and aggressively attack, rebut, and answer, at all stages of any proposed termination, in order to gain an advantage for one’s medical disability retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire