OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Accuracy

How important is accuracy?  The converse of such a query, of course, is:  Is inaccuracy significant?  One would immediately posit:  It all depends.

Take the following 2 hypotheticals:  An archeological dig is conducted, and it is believed that the site of the ruins is of relevant importance concerning a time-period of “recent” history — say, during the American Revolution.  Given that scenario, the “dating” of the site should be ascertainable within a year succeeding or preceding, such that if the Lead Archaeologist declares that the event in question occurred in 1778, “or possibly in 1779, maybe as early as 1777”, we know that — given the time period in question (1775 – 1783) — such a statement conveys a fairly accurate historical context.

Now, take the same hypothetical, but this time [sic] concerning some form [again, sic] of a fossil that is deemed at least 500 million years old.  If the Lead Archaeologist declares with some hint of irony, “Give or take a few million years more or less” — what would our reaction be?  Is such a “find” just as accurate as in the first hypothetical?  Can a declaration that is numerically off by a few million years (i.e., looking at it in quantifiable terms of 24 hours in a day times 365 days in a year times 2 – 5 million years equals how many hours for those who want a graspable perspective) be called a “science” in any meaningful usage of the term?

Of course, one could argue that even within the first hypothetical, given the limited range of years that comprises the American Revolution (1775 – 1783, or a mere 8 years), to be off by a year or so is also quite an astoundingly inaccurate assessment.  But which is “more accurate” — the one that is estimated within a year, or the one that quantifies it in terms of “millions” of years?  Can one even ask the question of “more or less” accurate, when the very concept of accuracy itself denotes precision and pinpointed, undeviated marksmanship?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “accuracy” can be a crucial one.  How “accurate” does one’s Statement of Disability need to be on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  What “precisely” does the treating doctor have to include in the medical report?  How detailed (and therefore, accurately) does the nexus between the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability does it have to reflect?

In all such questions, “accuracy” is a goal to attain in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, while the Archaeologist may be “off” by a quantifiable sum of years in a site-dig and suffer little to no consequences, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must depend upon the accuracy of the law in determining benefits to secure a future yet uncertain, and such an administrative endeavor is likened more to the accuracy of the arrow that is shot towards an apple resting upon the head of a young boy, than of a declaration made that is off by a few million years, give or take, more or less.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The mysterious spark

One may never be able to pinpoint the precise time of day, the hour or minute that it occurred; but at some point, it developed, matured and became a certainty.  It is that mysterious spark or connection that occurs in every relationship, whether between members of the same species, or even of other ones; of that mysterious spark that elevates a relational connection to one not merely encompassing casual friendship, but of a special, unique and singular symbiosis that becomes identified as mysterious and unexplainable.

It is characterized by a “look” between the two, shared by no one else, allowed entry by exclusive invitation only and zealously guarded by the two who share it.  It is that special spark, the glint in the eye, the knowing stare and the longing look; and it can be shared by two young lovers, a couple of old codgers or with a cat or a dog, and maybe some other species besides.  It is by the shared joke, the exclusive laugh, the hinted metaphor and the crazed reaction; but of whatever the elements that make it up, the two who share it know when it happens, that it exists and that the mysterious spark remains unless violated by one or the other by committing some act of treachery or deceit that breaks the silent code of friendship and fidelity.

Can such a mysterious spark exist between a person and an inanimate object — or an event, a career or even a place?  Perhaps.  Think about the career one has embraced — where, once you awoke with a spring in your step, an anticipation of joy and even of rushing to get there just to immerse yourself in the day’s project, the afternoon’s conference, and even looked forward to the often-wasteful time spent in “coordinating” with coworkers and others.  And then — something happened.  The energy is drained; the joy is depleted; the profound fatigue sets in.  A medical condition can certainly do that to a person.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost that mysterious spark that once pervaded each morning as one prepared to go to work, it may be time to consider 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.  If the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you likely meet the legal criteria for becoming eligible to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

For, in the end, the mysterious spark that formed the relationship of special significance between any two entities — including the one between a Federal or Postal employee and his or her job and career — was always based upon a presupposition that necessitated a contingent agreement involving a silent understanding: the continuation of one’s health.  And, when once that becomes damaged or destroyed, the mysterious spark is replaced with the ugly reality that the quality of life depends upon the health of an individual.

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