OPM Disability Retirement: Responding to a Denial

More than ever, OPM is denying Federal Disability Retirement applications.  Whether by deliberate design, tightening of legal criteria, imposition of an informal quota system or “just because”, it is clear that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has instituted a campaign of denying Federal Disability Retirement benefits to applicants seeking it.

Is there a basis in the law?  Are all denials justified?  Have they become more focused upon certain aspects of the legal criteria while ignoring others?  Is there a “typical” denial letter?

Some denials retain little to no justification; others appear to provide some rational basis; still others counter with detailed reasonings as to the legal basis for the denial.  The spectrum of the legal basis varies; and then, of course, there are approvals that seem to pass through with nary an objection.  Each case is unique because of the inherent circumstances surrounding the basic foundation of the health or medical condition and its relationship to the Federal or Postal worker’s specific job elements.

FERS Disability Retirement is unique and different from Social Security Disability benefits because the standard of eligibility is distinctively and identifiably unique: Social Security, generally speaking, requires a showing of “total disability”, whereas FERS Disability Retirement merely mandates a much lesser proof of being”unable to perform” one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job functions.

In the end, whether OPM has instituted a policy showing greater arbitrariness in its last Federal Disability Retirement determinations — or not — there is “The Law” which continues to guide and define. Consult with an experienced Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before frantically trying to respond to a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.  For, after the First Denial and the need to go to the Reconsideration Stage of the process, it is all a matter of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: ‘It could be worse…’

Do other species utilize comparative analysis as a tool for deciding the next course of action to take?  Or, does the existential, “here-and-now” appetitive nature of non-human beings rule, such that the conclusion reached — “It could be worse” — never plays a role in the decision-making process?

For, that is the basis of the conclusion reached, is it not?  Of remaining static, refusing to change, in deciding to not make alterations to present circumstances no matter the cost or the pain — that by coming up with imaginative, hypothetical models of circumstances real and fantasized, encapsulating descriptive conditions far worse than the one being endured by you, we can therefore justify continuation of maintaining the status quo?

How much worse must it get before one discards the idea that it could be worse?  Or, are the boundaries of human imagination so limitless that the enduring of present circumstances is always preferable to modification and change; or, perhaps that change itself is so naturally resisted, because the comfort of monotony and repetition provides the sequence of security that favors the stability of an unchanging universe?

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, the preservation of the status quo is often preferable to the trauma of needed change.

One can justify for quite a long time the grasping on to that which one has, and to not change; and the justification can be maintained for quite some time in the very statement, “It could be worse…”.  That is the safe path, the road of least resistance; but the question unasked is the one unanswered and therefore untold as to the progressive deterioration of one’s health; Of: “Could it be better?”

That question can only be answered in conjunction with the realization that one’s health is never something that should be sacrificed on the altar of one’s career or work, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step in recognizing that, Yes, while it could be worse, it could also be better.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Giving lip service

What does it mean to merely give “lip service”?  Ultimately, it is the hypocrisy of committing to words the sincerity of inaction.  In other words, it is merely the utterance of words, with nothing to follow.  This is a society that speaks much, and does little.  We give lip service to the braggadocio of being a productive society, yet, concurrently admit to the massive loss of the manufacturing sector of our country.

Can a country whose primary essence is built upon a “service industry”, actually declare itself to be “productive”?  Can we truly instill fear and dread upon our enemies while simultaneously confessing that no ground troops will be deployed?  Can unmanned drones win wars?  Can we actually claim to have hundreds of “friends” if we have never met them, never been irritated by the subtleties of undesirable traits and personalities, yet have spats by mere tapping of the fingertips on a keyboard?

It is little wonder that we are a society of mere utterances, less action, and where words pile upon more words to voluminously detail the insincerity of the greater cumulative mountain of meaningless words.  Lip service is to promise the world and leave the scraps of society with mere leftovers.

Admiral Yamamoto was only half-right when he feared that, by successfully launching the sneak-attack upon Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into the Second World War, he had inadvertently awoken a sleeping giant; for, generations later, who remembers the words of the victors in the history of fallen empires, but the faint snoring of the giant gone back to sleep?

It is lip service we give, today, and the same we receive in return.  In a universe where language is both the essence of life, as well as the primary barrier to living it, the duality of clashing worlds where virtual reality dominates the phenomenology of currency, it is little wonder that we can, as a species, survive even a day.

What other animal turns to the technology of texting in the midst of an endangered life?  Of embracing an impotent shield of linguistic panorama when threat to safety prevails and calls upon the urgency of action?  Do other predators – and we are one, despite our denials by protecting endangered species who mirror our own violent history – scream when attacked, or do they growl with aggressive energy to compel our enemies to take heed?

Beware of the lip service, especially by those who would do us harm.

For Federal and Postal employees who begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the inclination is to be “fair” and to inform one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service of one’s “intentions” concerning the process; but such information prematurely disseminated may come back to haunt, and one must always be wary and cautious of inane platitudes from coworkers, supervisors and managers who are empowered to harm.

For, the passing comment made, and returned with the innocuousness rising to the level of inaction in the lip service of those who pretend to be friendly, may come back to haunt with an administrative sanction which does some actual harm in this world of virtual reality in a language-filled emptiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Tethered, Tattered & Tortured

The first in the series connotes bonding; the second, the state of being; and the third in the tripartite application of this linguistic artifice, the conclusion to a life lived.

Camus and Sartre represent the despair and loss of innocence – of a melancholy realization in the disillusionment of life’s aggregate experience – born in the early days of existentialism which uttered its first breath of strangulated gasps in the aftermath of the horrors of the First World War, only to be reinforced with experiential encounters of greater dehumanization during the Second World War; then, finding its fullness of maturation, with the discovery of alienation and conduct of thinkers like Heidegger, counteracted by the courage of Bonhoeffer’s refusal to submit; and in that consummate realization of the inhuman, collective carnival of cruelty deliberated as the penultimate culmination of Man’s loss of his soul – once, when the bonding of a community embraced the gathering of warmth and caring, and the insertion of alienation from the ashes of despair; much like the Phoenix rising but unable to spread its wings because of the weight of ruin.

The soul once tethered was now severed from its bonds of innocence. The state of being – of the tattered soul – is much like the Japanese woman who once uttered with accusatory vehemence: “When you landed on the moon, you destroyed imagination, romance and the beauty of the gods smiling upon us.” Such was the state of being – of the tattered soul of modernity. And of that conclusion to Man’s fate? Of the tortured soul who finds no path out of the misery of eternal condemnation?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition separates one from the tethered bonding with one’s workplace, career and coworkers, it is but an obstacle from the tattered state of being which can only conclude with a tortured end, but for the option of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  No, filing for OPM Disability Retirement is not the solution of and for all things misshapen; rather, it is an alternative to the complete loss of tethering, where the tattered remains may preclude the ambivalence of a tortured end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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