Medical Retirement under FERS: The Festering Problem

Is that why they came up with that name in the old Addams Family television series?  Of a problem that — over time — becomes a greater issue because it has been left and avoided, leaving the “sore” or other infection to “fester”?  The character in the Addams Family series always seemed to pop up and in out of nowhere — like the crazy uncle left locked in the basement whom no one wanted to speak about and everyone wanted to avoid.

That’s what we allow for in our lives — if not of overtly obvious wounds that we wish would simply go away; then of internal wounds, damaged psyches and anxieties left unresolved.  Things always seem to crop up much later; perhaps of slights in childhood or anxieties, fears and unhealed hurts left to fester; and then, years later, they develop into magnified “issues” which become euphemisms to mask the psychological trauma experienced.  Life is tough.  There is no getting around it.  How we deal with the stresses of daily living, of workplace conflicts, of medical conditions which develop and deteriorate; in the end, each person is left to his or her own devices, with the patience perhaps of family and friends.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the festering problem appears like old Uncle Fester from the Addams Family, it may be time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for consideration.  It is a long and arduous bureaucratic process that, if left to the novice, can itself become a festering problem.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the problems which resulted in your current predicament becomes a greater one later on because of the festering problem of avoidance — like that Uncle Fester who will suddenly appear from nowhere to remind you of the problem that remains unavoidable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for FERS Federal Employees: To Feign Normalcy

What a strange concept; and stranger still, that so many people must actually engage in it.  It can occur and be implemented in variegated circumstances: Of having done something which impels a guilty conscience, but being forced to act “as if” everything is fine; of being with someone you would rather not be with, but pretending that all is well; or even of having a tragedy occur but, because public conventions require an unemotional facade, to paint that “brave face” and enter the public arena.

Do other species engage in it?  Does a lion who prowls about nonchalantly (but whose inner motivation is to find its prey and chase it for its dinner meal) “feign normalcy”?  Does a dog who desires a treat but knows that begging too vociferously will receive an admonition as opposed to the intended outcome, “feign normalcy”? (Yes, because I know that my own dog does that).

And what about the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and must come in to work because the Agency or Postal Service will not extend his or her LWOP beyond what the FMLA allows for — does he or she “feign normalcy” despite the pain or anxiety experienced?

For Federal employees or 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 job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, to “feign normalcy” is simply another way of realizing that things are not normal, and the “feigning” engaged in is another layer of trying to fool one’s self, one’s body and/or one’s mind into “thinking” that everything is alright, when in fact it is the underlying condition which must be attended to — and that, in fact, is the really normal thing to do, instead of pretending that the abnormal is the normal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explanation & Justification

At what point does an explanation begin to sound like a justification?  Is it when it becomes apparent that there is a personal stake involved?  Does the objectivity of an explanation lose its own justification when it becomes clear that the intended explanation crosses over into an attempt to justify the personal actions or beliefs of an individual?  Can an objective explanation justify a person’s actions without appearing as a justification; and do all justifications involve a personal stake, such that it goes beyond mere explanatory exposition?

Are all justifications “merely” an explanation with a personal stake, and are all explanations ultimately a justification for someone, somewhere, about something?  Why is it that an apparent explanation that turns into an obvious justification suddenly loses its credibility and sense of objectivity?  Is credibility itself gained if a third party provides the justification for someone else, such that there is no “personal stake” involved, and does such a third party’s explanation just as quickly lose his or her credibility if there is a “personal” relationship connected with the person for whom the explanation & justification is being made?

There is certainly a fine line between an explanation and a justification, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option to choose from — and, when completing the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it is well to keep in mind the distinction between “explanation” and “justification”.

Always keep in mind the words of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Explanation on SF 3112A is good; explanation that begins to bleed of justification may raise some red flags.  To mitigate the distinction between the two, the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to lend credence to an objective approach in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Predictability

Is it all mere statistical probability?  Or, can there be a fair amount of certainty in the “science” of predictability?  Is the weather an event that can be predicted, and if so, do past failures enter into the equation; or, if not, why is it that the vicissitudes of nature cannot be so easily anticipated or foreseen?  How is it that we predict predictability?  Does it come about by numerical analysis, or by experience?

If you talk theoretically about the chances of a person being attacked by a shark if you go swimming in this or that ocean, doesn’t it depend upon a multitude of additional factors, as in: Where are you swimming (if in the arctic seas of the upper northern hemisphere, isn’t that a factor to consider as opposed to, say, off of the coast of Australia or in Florida?); the time of day; and perhaps certain peculiar behavioral features, as in splashing vigorously as opposed to swimming with slow, silent strokes, etc.?

Such factors might be important to consider.

Then, consider that, during the course of a conversation on such statistical relevance, a one-legged man (or woman) walks in upon the conversation and says, “Oh, yes, I lost my leg in a shark attack”.  Would that change the statistical analysis?  Wouldn’t the probability for that particular person be 100%, inasmuch as he/she experienced the event and is speaking post-actualization?

Do acts which enhance the probability of an event simultaneously diminish the chances of failure, or are they dissimilar acts that travel on a parallel but never-intersecting course?  Can all events subject to predictability base such anticipatory analysis upon a statistical study, or are some events able to be accurately foreseen based upon intuition, the supernatural or some other transcendent other-worldly criterion?

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 the Federal or Postal position, the likelihood of needing to prepare, formulate and file an effective 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, increases with each passing day.

Medical conditions that remain for an extended period of time tend to not go away; instead, chronicity is an indicator in and of itself, and if a degenerative, progressively debilitating condition, the factors that need to be entertained concerning the predictability of future events yet to unfold can be accurately foreseen.  The key, then, is to enhance the statistical probabilities of surrounding factors, such as:  What are the key components necessary in meeting the criteria for Federal Disability Retirement?  Will hiring an attorney who specializes in the field of OPM Disability Retirement significantly enhance my chances of success?  What are the criteria for predictability of a positive outcome?

These and other questions should be asked and answered when seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, so that the murky field of predictability can be somewhat clarified with the wisdom of past experiences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Law’s efficacy

When is “the law” effective?  Especially when speaking about an administrative procedure such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – what role does “the law” play in its procedural and substantive aspects?

Multiple distinctions are made on a daily basis with respect to the law’s efficacy; whether something is “legal” or not does not always mean that it is enforceable, for the costs associated may be prohibitively expensive.  To have a “legal right” does not always mean that one should necessarily assert it, for there may be practical considerations that come into play before moving forward with applying that which is rightfully existent.

Further, the mere fact that the law may be “on the books” may not necessarily mean that a society will always raise it up from the dead and apply it; for, as customs and normative constraints alter, modify and become transformed by evolution of thought, it may well be that dogs best left sleeping are the ones who are never bothered.

In Administrative Law – which Federal Disability Retirement issues are a part of – there is always the question as to what role, significant, relevant or somewhat in between, “the law” plays, as many steps throughout the procedure and process must deal with non-lawyers who have no clue as to the existence, force or applicability of legal matters.

Thus, should the “Bruner Presumption” be argued at the initial stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application even though the administrative specialist who is reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application may have no clue about its impact, doesn’t much care and will likely not give much thought to its contextual relevance?

Does Bracey v. OPM matter when discussing the finer points of issues pertaining to accommodations and reassignment, or is that merely some esoteric legal argument that should be reserved for the Third Stage of the process, if and when a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied twice (both at the Initial Stage of the process, as well as at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) and is appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and comes before an Administrative Judge?

Should Simpkins versus OPM always be argued for Veterans with Service-connected ratings, no matter what the ratings are comprised of?

The law’s efficacy is ultimately determined not necessarily by the quantitative bombardment of effective methodological argumentation, but by the qualitative selectiveness of who to argue to, when to argue and for what purpose.  In the end, law’s efficacy is a strategic component that may determine the successful or otherwise outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be considered thoughtfully and with great preparation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: ‘Can’ and ‘Have to’

The category of the latter has diminished in recent years, as the general populace has mistakenly misinterpreted the distinctive definitions of liberty and freedom, and reassigned meanings as license and anarchy.  The blank column of the former concept has come to be full, despite the reality of the economic downturn and the shift into a global economy that, we are told, is an inevitable consequence of human progress.

We were taught that the march of progress required the destruction of the American West, where a way of life needed to be trampled upon and destroyed in the name of advancement and civilization; that each step of innovation and progressive paradigms constitute an almost Hegelian fatefulness, and resistance is merely an act of futility within the aggregation of the Leviathan called “Progress”.  The modern parlance consists in the acceptance of every innovation of technology, to the extent that Orwell’s dystopian premonitions have been surpassed by a reality now accepted as mundane and commonplace, and we fail to realize that his magnum opus of a totalitarian future could have been heeded, but now is merely embraced with a yawn and barely a glance backward.

The more that society comes to believe in that which we ‘can’, as opposed to the obligatory mandate of ‘have to’, the less likely is there of a resistance to authority.  And, until the police raid in the middle of the night or the unquestioned stop and search on a highway where others just whiz by without puzzlement or curiosity, is experienced personally by a given individual, the onerous nature of laws passed in the name of safety, security and preventative measures, will be merely a conceptual haze masked by an obscure hypothetical.

Instead, we live day-to-day in the conundrum of being told that we ‘can’ do what we want, desire and fantasize about, and there is little that we ‘have to’ do.  Thus do infidelity and divorces occur; of abandonment of family ties based upon tropes of scintillating sensations; and goals set aside in the namesake of present pleasures.

There is a category of individuals, however, where the luxury of ‘can’ cannot be replaced by mere want of ‘have to’ – a person with a medical condition.  For Federal and 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 ‘can’ once relied upon transforms into an inability.

Once the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position becomes a reality, then the ‘have to’ is finally realized – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Do not let the muddle of incessant trope involving ‘can’ become confused with ‘have to’ – for, when one comes to a point of ‘must’, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire