Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The smile

Some say that dogs don’t do it, but dog-lovers know better.  Cats certainly do, but with a slyness that betrays sincerity; and chimpanzees, hippopotamuses and elephants.  Birds cannot because of the rigidity of their beaks; and squirrels, certainly, with their flitting movements as they run joyfully across lawns and up treetops where nuts galore await their anticipation of delight.  But of human beings; we all engage it, but whether with sincerity or to conceal, that is always a question that needs pondering.

The eyes often tell all; as Plato and others have described it in metaphorical terms, the window to one’s soul; and so one may walk about and force upon the watching world the curl around one’s lips, but the vacant stares or the look of pain, the distant eyes that betray the insincerity of the smile will often manifest the anomaly of what the expression means.

Only human beings can portray the opposite of that which is natural.  For, with animals (and yes, that includes dogs, as well, despite what the so-called “experts” say) the smile is just that – an expression of the facial features that impresses upon the world that happiness, contentment and a tummy rub (i.e., for dogs) produces the effect that naturally comes about – the smile.

For humans, however, it may be to conceal; of the smile that says to the world, yes, I am happy by all appearances, so leave me alone and allow me to wallow in my own secretive misery.  Or, the expression on the face that curls the lips just before the smiling face stabs one in the back.  Or, in a group of people where everyone is talking and smiling, you spot across the room the person who is also smiling, but still you wonder, for the eyes don’t quite match the curling expression.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and position, the smile that conceals is often the one that is worn day in and day out – to conceal the pain, to hide the truth, to cover the anguish.

One cannot be genuine and continue on in life if the inner turmoil does not match the outer reality of life’s living.  It may be time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if only to have the smile on one’s face return where the genuineness of the expression matches the reality of one’s situation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Season’s end

The cyclical nature of the seasons provides for comfort in its monotony of regularity; we are subject to nature more than we realize, and the onset of the next season means the end of one, the beginning of another and the endless cycle of repetitive regularity.

That concept, in and of itself, is a strange one, is it not?  Of “repetitive regularity”; for, can “regularity” encompass a series of elements without repetition?  And, is not repetition itself the foundation of regularity?  Is there a distinction with a difference to be made?

If a person goes to the same coffee shop every day, at the same hour, and orders the same cup of coffee each and every day of his life, we would describe that person as being a “regular”.  Further, we might describe what he does as “repetitive”, and thus would say of him: “He engages in an act of repetitive regularity”.

That perspective would be a fairly accurate one from an objective, outsider’s viewpoint.  But what about from the subjective perspective – from the person himself who goes to that same coffee shop each and every day?  He might say: “No, it is not repetitive, because each cup of coffee, to me, is a brand new one, just as each day I wake up is a new day; and, besides, I might wake up one day and go to a different coffee shop, and then you would not consider me to be a ‘regular’.”

Would such a statement be accurate?  Would it be truthful?  And what about the short time-frame within which we assign so quickly the label of “regular”?  From an omniscient viewpoint, would doing X for a month, a year – or even a decade – properly constitute “regularity”, when eternity is the standard by which it is being judged?

A season’s end and the next one’s beginning can certainly be considered as repetitive regularity; for, that is often what we rely upon as a security of comfort, in the very knowing of the next one coming. That is the insidious impact of a medical condition, is it not?  That it creates uncertainty, and suddenly repetitive regularity is no longer guaranteed, as if the season’s end may be its last.

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 duties, the medical condition itself may be likened to the season’s end.

Fortunately, there is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, however, and that may, as well, be likened to the repetitive regularity of a season’s end – only, it is the onset of the “next season”, and that is some comfort upon which to take refuge, like the flock of geese that fly south for the warmer climate of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The legacy

It is something that we leave behind.  Yet, unlike a wallet, a watch, a piece of jewelry or a troublesome child better left forgotten, we don’t have an opportunity to go back and get it.  We say of that laundry list, “Oh, I need to go back and get it” (except maybe of the last in the list, whom we hope will be adopted into a kindly family and simultaneously also leave the parents behind); but not of the legacy.

No one ever says of that, “Oh, I left my legacy behind, and I need to go back and get it.”  Instead, it is intimately bound up with mortality, our sense of the future minus our own presence, and a dominant desire and urge to “leave a legacy” behind, as if to do otherwise will diminish the memory of one who has now departed, will soon be forgotten and will populate the mass of unknown graves without tombstones littering the earth beneath ivy and weeds that overwhelm.

It is often money itself, which is soon spent and forgotten; or a special “something” that one remembers another by, which is placed in a drawer and also quickly, easily and without conscience soon forgotten; or, perhaps a more lasting imprint of some residual effect – a poem, an antique car (otherwise referred to as a “junk heap”), or the family farm.

Whatever the legacy left leaving lasting latitudes of lost loneliness lacking love’s longing for lengthy locutions (sorry for the alliteration, but it cannot be helped), it is something that is left behind, cannot ever be retrieved, and may or may not have a lasting impact upon the person or groups of people for whom it is intended.

Then, one can stretch the meaning to include a more modern interpretation of the concept of a legacy – of one’s own.  That is a paradigm of a “legacy” in the more common usage – of a memory of one’s life, of what kind of a legacy will one leave that will be remembers by others – that you worked yourself to death and didn’t spend the time with your kids (refer to the above, first sentence herein, where that may be a blessing), your wife or friends?  What is the point of an empty legacy of that sort?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to think of one’s life, health, future and legacy, especially because a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of one’s choice, the consideration of 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, is often and intimately tied and bound to the fragile nature of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s life.

Struggling daily with a medical condition while trying to contend with a contentious Federal Agency or Postal Facility is not only “not fun” – it is, moreover, a futile exercise that diminishes the legacy of one’s life as a greater whole.

The “legacy” one leaves behind, indeed, is not like a wallet, a watch, or a piece of jewelry; but it is like a child left behind, where regrets for the future may yet be corrected, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to focus upon one’s health and future orientation that can no longer include the current job one occupies, preparation of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, may be the next best thing to a legacy yet to be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Crumbling Walls of Professional Conduct

The aged bemoan of modernity; youth view the present as merely fodder for change and future potential; and caught in between, somewhere in the netherworld of inertia, those inconsequential individuals relegated to the irrelevant category of “middle age”, who must stand by and witness the slow and progressive destruction of the past, the deterioration of cohesiveness of the future, and the present infirmity of impotence.

Medical conditions are funny animals; because they are personal in nature, the revelation of such private matters tends to scare people, because the emergence of such confidential conveyance violates the unspoken walls of professional distance; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is often necessary to provide some component of one’s medical condition in order to ascertain and establish the extent of needed accommodations — for purposes of filing for FMLA, to take needed SL or LWOP, or to counter allegations of misconduct or violation of “leave policy”, etc.

Within the greater context of life, there is a sense there the walls of professional conduct which once protected privacy concerns and acceptable behaviors, are crumbling in modernity.  Anything and everything goes; there is no normative constraint, anymore, because the demarcation between private and professional have disappeared.

The same is true when applied to the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The entire bureaucratic process engenders privacy concerns because of the sensitive nature of the information which must be submitted.  But those are merely “side issues” which should be placed in their proper perspective; for, in the end, when the final wave of goodbye is motioned, and one has obtained an approval from OPM in order to exit with a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the crumbling walls of professional conduct as revealed by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service will be but a far echo of past misdeeds, as one walks out into the future of a brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Wake-up Call

It can be requested pursuant to a prior arrangement or, with today’s technology, prewired on one’s own electronic device.  Time was when there existed an employed switchboard operator sitting in front of a pock-marked surface deftly inserting plugs of a dozen or more connections simultaneously, like an octopus whose coordinated extremities swirl about under and over with cross-purposed entanglements, pulling and inserting, with headphones half dangling, calmly stating, “This is your wakeup call.  Have a good morning!”

Then, of course, there is the other, more unwelcome meaning, of a negative connotation concerning an event or occurrence which portends of that which one may have always known, but only now realizes because of the impending doom.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, it may be the chronicity of the medical condition; or, the increasing outside pressures continuing to pile on, of leave-usage restrictions, suspension letters, placing you on a PIP, or the ultimate proposal of removal.

Whatever the proverbial wake-up call, it is time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.   The call itself is merely the beginning of the process; there is the entirety and complexity to undergo, including the gathering of the compendium of medical documentation, the formulation of one’s Statement of Disability and the coordinating of all of the elements of the case, and then the submission and waiting.

The bureaucratic and administrative components of the process can sometimes appear to be archaic and somewhat anachronistic; but like the switchboard operator of yesteryear, the necessity of the service is never in doubt; it is merely the apparatus of change which remains relevant, and properly, and effectively preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a mandate of action compelled by the wakeup call entitled “Life and the inevitability of change“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Causality

Worker’s Comp requires it; Social Security disregards it; and OPM Disability Retirement shifts the issue into a different arena.  “Causality” encapsulates the relationship between two or more events, where one is thought to result from another, or put a different way, where “responsibility” for a given effect is attributed to a prior conditional occurrence fulfilled as sufficient to warrant as being the “cause” of that event.

In a Federal OWCP case, administered through the Department of Labor, one must prove that the injury or medical condition was “caused” as a workplace incident or occurrence, such that the “event” occurred or was somehow connected to the employment itself.

For Social Security Disability cases, causation is normally not an issue, since the basis for eligibility is not concerned with any singular event, but rather, whether the person filing for Social Security Disability benefits meets a standard definition of being “totally disabled” from gainful employment.

For Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is not one of causation, but rather, the relationship between one’s medical condition and the attributable impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Thus, there is, in a different sense, a case of causality to be made, but the relationship between A and B has shifted, where it matters not “how” it occurred, but rather, “whether” the medical condition prevents (causes) one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

In the end, causation in a Federal/Postal Disability Retirement application is irrelevant in the traditional sense that one normally accepts, but the shifting focus of causality is important to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire