OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Art of the Story

There is the subject itself, and then there is the art of the subject thus identified.  At some point in every civilization, the academic study of a subject becomes pedantically necessary, and a “cottage” industry developed.

Once upon a time, the “story” was an important and inseparable component of a culture; the storyteller was the keeper of the village’s identity, the protector of its essence where mythology and folklore provided meaning, relevance and its self-knowledge of who one was, where one came from, and what the whole purpose of existence meant.  Without The Story, people wandered off despondent, lost, and without a teleological force to hold the unit of peoples together within a coherent whole.

Then, writing came along and as the technological tools of the craft disseminated to other and wider cultural arenas, the shared ideas and adventures of each culture became better known, and assimilated by each over and within others.  The “Art” of the story became the study of it — of what constituted an effective story; what made people laugh, cry, and the erudite articles that explained that which was once obvious and self-evident.  Categorization and specialization soon follows; whether as it becomes more sophisticated or intellectually advanced as a reflection of it, or merely because complexity follows upon a self-satisfaction of what we deem as “progress”, who will ever know?

The “Art” of the story somehow came into being — of the study of a once human need began around a campfire where a village told of its origins, now relegated to the halls of academic “science” where dissection, analysis and discussions ensue.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a “story” about a medical condition that is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the Art of the Story becomes a necessary form of application, because SF 3112A —Applicant’s Statement of Disability — requires not only the telling of one’s story about the medical condition, the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform one’s job duties, and how it has dominated all aspects of one’s professional and personal life, but beyond: it must comply with and meet the legal eligibility criteria by a preponderance of the evidence, thus forcing the Federal and Postal employee to go beyond the story itself, and to be fully aware that the Art of the Story has more to do with the proper and effective presentation of it, than the story itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Plans

We all make them; whether for an anticipated journey or vacation; of a future date far in advance or nearby in time; or merely for an afternoon get-together with an associate, coworker, friend or family member — plans are essential to the coherence of a person’s daily life.

We have “planners” that we carry with us everywhere, and “planned vacations”, “planned playtime” for our kids; a “planned evening out” and meals planned well in advance even before our appetitive natures begin to rumble with echoes of hunger and delight.  There are “coordinated planned attacks” by terrorists, and “exit plans” before an assault is waged upon the enemy.  Then, there are life coaches who help to plan one’s future decisions, counselors who plan for college entrance exams and therapists who assist in planning this or that major decision.

From the moment we realized that simply reacting to the world around us was no longer an efficient methodology in maneuvering through a complex world, where the prey had become suspicious and did not stick around to remain as out next dinner course and predators began planning for counterstrategies to man’s wily peculiarities, we began to plan for the future.

However, the one thing that we have no plan for is the unexpected jolts of life’s servings that come upon one without warning or predictability, such as a deteriorating health condition that was never planned for.  Dreams that spawn plans are easily destroyed by life’s tumults that come in waves of unpredictable surges, just when we think that our “plans” are being realized.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impacts and prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to alter one’s long-term plan and goal towards retiring upon reaching the “regular retirement age and time-in-service”, and instead to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Medical conditions are often the one set of goal-stopping issues that skewer one’s plans; it is normally unplanned for, and is a plan-modifier that requires not only a change of plans, but a new set of plans that should include a plan to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be planned for submission to OPM, and should also include a plan to seek to counsel and advice of an attorney who specializes in such planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: This upside down world

How many whistleblowers would do it all over again?  How many regrets does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  The answer: Few as to the first question, and at least a dozen in response to the second.  For, as to the second query, while one person engages in the mechanical act of lighting up the room, it takes all of the others to fail to assuage the regrets of a person who has tried to do the rights thing, and has lived to suffer the consequences.

We grow up being taught all sorts of empty adages — how “truth reveals all”, or that “justice prevails in the end”; and though the old hero of simplicity has now been replaced by more “complex” characters of mixed good/bad/neutral, still the naïveté of childhood upbringings tend to haunt beyond the loss of innocence delayed.

This is an upside down world where the clear-cut demarcations that once were inviolable have now become obscured, and where leaders can argue with a straight face any and all positions, whether self-contradictory, hypocritical or just plain nonsense, and can get away with it without any regrets or loss of sleep.  Perhaps it has always been like that and we just didn’t realize it.  The wealthy have always been able to get away with more; the powerful, without much consequences; and when the combination of wealth and power become aggregated, there is little to impose any checks and balances that might have tempered the onslaught of injustice.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the fact that we live in an upside down world becomes exponentially the case because of the medical condition itself.

Progressive deterioration and chronic debilitation are often the rule of a medical condition, and just to survive another day without pain, without emotional or mental anguish — these are the hallmarks of needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The world is about as topsy-turvy as it can get; but when the private world of one’s health begins to deteriorate, that upside down world becomes a tumultuous maze of a conundrum wrapped within an insanity that cannot be escaped from, and that is when you know that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity in a universe that requires some wisdom, and turning to the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement is often the first step in providing a balanced perspective within this upside down world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The fallacy of just-ology

It is the manner in which we dismiss the relevant, the attitude of minimizing and the conduct of our nature in modernity; just-ology is the capacity to turn one’s back upon something and dismissively wave a hand and declare, “Oh, it’s just___”.  It’s just a minor set-back; it’s just X being X; it’s just a passing phase; it is just….

The mindset itself is one that can incrementally, insidiously creep beneath the surface of what we actually believe; for, the word itself — ‘just’ – is a peculiarly insignificant word, and one that is surreptitiously inserted amongst other words, concepts, hidden between phrases and carelessly dropped between lines of greater thoughts.  As an adjective, it connotes the moral compass of a person or society; as an adverb, it often implies precision or exactness; but in common, everyday usage, it is that word which minimizes, limits and casts away into the garbage heap of irrelevance.

It is precisely by the exactness of defining something so narrowly that the precision itself makes it irrelevant.  It “puts X into its proper place” by defining it “just” so.  Precision is good; precision for accuracy’s sake is even better; but when precision minimizes to the extent of insignificance, it can be misleading.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition for many years just won’t go way, and just keeps getting worse, and just continues to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it just may be time to begin preparing, formulating and filing 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.  Just in case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire