Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Inconsistency and specificity

The two legal standards dominant in a Federal Disability Retirement case must often be alternatively applied depending upon the nature of the positional duties involved.  It may be appropriate to speak in terms of “functional capacities” and specified duty restrictions when it comes to physical work that involves descriptive mechanical work — i.e., being able to lift a certain amount (for most Postal employees, up to 70 pounds); bend, lift, stand repetitively throughout the day; or even in climbing ladders, remaining balanced while working on a scaffold; utilizing power tools, etc.

For more cognitive-intensive, focus-driven administrative/executive positions that require sustained and sedentary periods of consistent application, the more generalized standard as pronounced in Henderson v. OPM may be better argued — one of inconsistency and incompatibility between the job duties as a whole because of the cognitive dysfunctioning that results from the high distractibility of pain, lethargy from Major Depressive Disorder or paralyzing panic attacks from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, etc.

Or, take the work engaged by an Air Traffic Control Specialist — there is an admixture of the “inconsistency standard” as well as “specific” elements where sustained focus and concentration is reliant upon the safety and lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The two legal standards in a Federal Disability Retirement case are not mutually exclusive, and they need not be argued so before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and beyond, at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (M.S.P.B.).

Medical conditions need to be described in a “nexus-form” to the positional demands of a Federal or Postal job, for ultimately that is what a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is retiring from — a position description, and not necessarily the actual job that one is working at.

The medical condition that the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from may both be inconsistent and possess descriptive specificity which require restrictions; and, conversely, it may be that certain elements of one’s Federal or Postal position description may require restrictions, leading to the conclusion that the position as a whole is inconsistent with the suffered medical conditions precisely because of the specific, 1-to-1 ratio of “essential element” to “identified medical condition.”

Thus can both standards be argued and used as a sword against OPM”s argument that “specific elements” need to be shown in each and every case, which is simply NOT the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The image we hold

What picture do we carry?  No, not in one’s pocket or wallet, but in the eye of one’s mind.  Is it one that has been frozen in time; an imprint from a bygone era, a specific day in one’s past where childhood memories once floated upon a cloud of dreams and wishes?  Or, is it of more recent vintage – wrapped in layers of cynicism and denied opportunities, huddled in a corner where bitterness, wrongs and outrages of blames and byproducts of what others have “done” have emasculated and left that image we hold with disdain and dank disgust?

Where we are in life, at what stage we find ourselves; often, how we act and engage the world depends upon the image we hold of ourselves.  It is, after all, the one person whom we have no idea about.

Oh, yes, we try and fool ourselves by claiming to know ourselves better than any other, and we do this because we are the only ones who have access to that “inner” soul that speaks soliloquys and bitter asides when we believe no one else is listening.  But that is merely a subjective understanding of a subject that lives in the world of pure subjectivity; it is not, after all, an “objective” perspective and assessment of who we are.  For that, we must turn a dispassionate eye in reverse-form upon the image we hold of ourselves.

In the end, are we anything more than the aggregate of a language we have learned, and the very usage of the language we have acquired, the sense-impressions we have encountered and the image we hold – is it any more or less than what others have of ourselves?

That is why, in 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, it is important to have a greater sense of who we are when we write that “Statement of Disability” on SF 3112A.  For, SF 3112A requests certain and specific information about one’s self, the nexus between one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s positional capabilities and essential elements of one’s job.

But the narrative we write should have a certain sense of objectivity about it, precisely because it is going to be some “other” person who will be reading it, assessing it and evaluating the sincerity and persuasive impact of the delineated discourse.

From that perspective, the image we hold of ourselves can be an impediment, precisely because it may not be an objective viewpoint, but one wrapped in the perspective of pain, turmoil, anger and despair, which is understandable, taking the medical condition into account.  Perhaps, an advocate who has a more “objective” perspective – like a lawyer who is well versed in Federal Disability Retirement law — might be of some assistance in the process.  Just a thought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal or Postal Employment: Passion

No, this is not April, and Easter has long passed.  Have we done a disservice by admonishing our youth to pursue it?  That the worth of a thing is inherently determined by our response to it, and not in the thing itself?  If passion is defined by an emotional fervor, barely controllable and unable to be contained, have we set up the wrong criteria by which to live life?  Work, vocation, career — are they as fungible as life’s castaways, rejected based upon a momentary or fleeting sense of acceptance or denial?

In Western Classical tradition, the “ordering” of the soul in Plato’s Republic, or the search for balance in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, was always the standard to pursue, and was essentially commensurate with the Eastern approaches of Zen’s denial of the body, the warrior’s acceptance of karma and the fate of life as determined by death; and the circle of life as represented by the Rigvedic deity of fire.

Now, how we feel, the passion one embraces, constitutes the totality of acceptance in a world denounced of living spirits and reduced to materialism and Darwinian determinism of the lowest order.  Often, what is lacking is more revealing than the manifestation of a thing; and thus do bifurcated paradigms such as being and nothingness, worth and junk, life and inertness — it is the erasure of one which magnifies the other.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost the “passion” for their vocation because of the introduction of 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 positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker — the “loss” has a determinate criteria by which to evaluate, and is not merely based upon the lack of an emotional response.

The laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an employment criteria signed on by the Federal and Postal employee when you became part of the Federal Sector, and it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to apply for, and become eligible to receive, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity when a medical condition arises such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

In such circumstances, “loss of passion” may simply be a factual observation; the loss of vocation because of a medical condition is then a further consequence, and preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes a necessary next step upon the consequential abandonment of that passion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fishes, Streams, Rivers and Ponds

They are, in the end, interconnected; yet the conceptual distinctions allow for separateness, such that we can value each independently.  And much of the waterways which filter throughout the ecosystem remain invisible and underground, via caverns and unconfined aquifers; but that which we see with the naked eye, we assume to be the reality of the entirety of that which we hold to encompass the universe of our existence.

Thus does Berkeley’s doctrine simply contained in the phrase, “Esse est percipi” retain a kernel of truth, but forever vulnerable to ridicule if misunderstood in the context of linguistic philosophy.  What is perceived is, indeed, the universe of one’s contextual concerns; but we all recognize that objects exist outside of the perceptual periphery of our immediate perspective.

Thus do fishes, streams, rivers and ponds exist beyond our vision of direct perception; but even upon encountering them,  we recognize that the depth of each, the variety of living organisms, and the corridors of natural flowing underground worlds reach well beyond that which we see.  The complexity of human beings comprise an entity of a similar nature, such that depth, encounters and unknowable reaches could easily be conversed and replaced as fungible goods and translated words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to become a problem at work, it is precisely this puzzle of being replaceable which often irks the ego.  Filing 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, is often viewed as giving up or giving in; when, in fact, the truth of the matter is that it is a means of attending to the importance of one’s health and well-being.  But others in the agency and the U.S. Postal Service often view the potential Federal Disability Retiree as “that person” with a label and a superficial concoction of societal designation.

It is that limited encounter and confrontation which shows the lack of depth of certain people, while everyone wants others to know that, past the fishes, streams, rivers and ponds which one may see upon meeting the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is extenuating further, a vast depth of subterranean interest and an ocean of personality which others never cared to inquire about, and of which no one may ever know once the door closes and the quietude of life continues beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The Beast of Burden

Is there a limit to the capacity for a draught animal that engages in the heavy toil so assigned?  Like the proverbial reed of hay which breaks the camel’s back, what is the limit, the absolute capacity, the outer stretches of what the psyche can absorb, the ultimate strain upon the human physical endurance and the will to survive; until the beast of burden crumples upon an exhausted heap of fatigue and loss of hope, a broken mass of bones, organic matter and mindless assemblage of shattered void?

Is that not how one sometimes feels, when the strains of daily toil aggregate to such an extent that stress is no longer merely an acceptable medium of daily work, and information is no longer a tidbit of enlightening accentuation; rather, too much means that the system is overloaded, beyond the acceptable parameters of mere survivability, and enters into the unknown universe of meltdowns and nuclear fissions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that the balance of life which was so delicately maintained throughout one’s career, can come careening down an uncontrollable chasm of chaos, when once the medical condition becomes that proverbial piece of hay upon the beast’s back.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are not just an “out” for the faint-hearted; rather, it is part of the compensation package which all Federal and Postal workers are accorded, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is filed (ultimately) through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and it is not one’s own agency which makes the determination of approval or denial.

For some, it is the only solution remaining; for others, it may be a godsend; for all, it is merely a benefit which allows the Federal and Postal worker who finally recognizes that priorities in life must include, first and foremost, attending to one’s health and well-being, to actually effectuate the balance of life once maintained, but temporarily lost.

For, in the end, while we all like to think that the beast of burden is some mythical creature on a farmer’s pasture in a foreign land, it is often the one who imagines that about the “other”, who is the subject of toil; one needs to merely look in the mirror on a morning when time, stress and stretching of tolerance exceeds the point of no return, and realize that the beast of burden is the one with eyes looking back at you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire