Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file 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.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Tarnished lives

These days, are there any other kinds?  Do saints exist, or is it merely time which erases the stench attached, and as history is recorded and memorialized by sympathetic co-conspirators attempting to preserve the sanctity of reputations and disregarding the detritus of humanity, so once the sanctification by pontifical decree settles upon a figure previously considered human, and now an idealized version of an individual lost in the complex historicity of biographical omissions, the tarnished perspective of lives once lived has disappeared into the ethereal universe of a surreal reality.

All lives are tarnished; but the moment one makes such a statement, it becomes a meaningless declaration.  For, just as stating that X is “all-inclusive” necessarily negates its opposite, so to posit that Y is “pure nothingness” undermines the very essence of “something-ness”.  If everything is meaningless, then nothing can have less or more meaning than anything else, and thus do we end up with an anarchy of language.  So, to qualify: Yes, all lives are tarnished, but some lives more so than others, and others, less so than further others (somewhat like the declaration in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “all animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.”).

And thus do we live this way, where the cynic believes that there are no saints, and the naïve minority of individuals who believe in such blather repeatedly invest in purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge as a sound retirement strategy next to Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme.  But of what do we judge a “tarnished” life, as opposed to one that is not?  Does a minor blemish amount to the same thing as a total spoilage of the whole?

That is where people have often misinterpreted the religious teachings of entrance into heaven, where purity through the sacrificed Lamb allowed for gaining a foothold into heaven, but where – from that – people argue, therefore, God doesn’t make a distinction between a minor infraction of sin and the carnage of murder or some other equally greater offense.  But surely there is a difference with a real distinction between that which requires purity in order to enter into heaven, as opposed to judging the difference between types of moral turpitude?

Yes, we all live tarnished lives, but some lives tarnished are of greater consequence than others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who view the onset of a medical condition as a “tarnished” smear upon one’s career, and thus resist leaving until that smudge has been erased, good luck.  The reality is that a medical condition is not a reflection of any “fault” or “negative” judgment upon a person; instead, it is simply a reality of one’s mortality.  Some people never suffer from a serious medical condition; others, with more than a fair share; and most of us fall somewhere in between.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, always remember that the need to seek an alternative remedy through a Federal Disability Retirement is never a reflection that deems that one now falls amongst the tarnished lives of greater misdeeds, but merely a reality in this mortal world of fallen souls, no different for this generation than for the centuries of such tarnished lives in unmarked graves of yore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Reconsideration Stage

Much time is often wasted upon rebutting incoherent arguments.  Such a statement is true in a great many sectors of life, as well as with an initial denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The first reaction in response to an Initial Denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to panic and become disheartened:  The Federal Disability Retirement applicant has waited many, many months, just to get to this point of being denied an application which was thought to clearly meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, and perhaps the medical narratives and treatment records clearly and unequivocally established the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

What could have gone wrong?  What was deficient?  What unanticipated mistakes were made?

To top it all off, a quick perusal of the denial letter makes it appear as if the application never had a leg to stand on –  seemingly contradictory statements extrapolated; selective quotes from doctors, supervisors, etc., that tend to undermine the proof needed; deficient documentation and multiple garbled references to the “Disability Retirement Law” that has simply not been met.

How does one counter and rebut such an overwhelming denial of one’s carefully gathered and constructed information?

There is the “proper” and “effective” way, but one’s initial inclination in reactive form is normally not the way to go about it.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds himself/herself in such a situation – of facing an initial denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will often want to just “give up” and try to endure the pain, anguish and cognitive deterioration by going back to work (if that is even possible and the Federal or Postal employee has not yet been separated from service), or just simply walk away from one’s well-deserved Federal Pension and early Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and forego the benefits earned and vested.

Of course, that is precisely the thought-process that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants you to embrace.

It is often stated (erroneously) that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an “adversarial” process – and that OPM is not there to “fight you”, but rather, to ensure that all Federal Disability Retirement applications fulfill the requirements of the law.

If that were truly the case, then why does an OPM denial point out only the deficiencies, and never the positive aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Why do OPM denials always present themselves as overwhelmingly unqualified and argued as if there is absolutely no basis or chance of an approval?

Precisely – because, despite stating otherwise, the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is just that:  an adversarial process which requires an advocate to fight for your rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: That sigh of regret

It is released without consciousness of foresight, or random expectation of hope to come.  Often, merely an involuntary deviation from a carefully-guarded appearance, that sigh of regret escapes with a haunting echo of mirthless exhaustion.

Is there a time when past regrets catch up to present dismay, obfuscated by the loss of any future hope to reinvigorate?  What is regret but a deed left undone, a trepidation leading to inaction when flight of carefree abandonment embraced us for a moment, where craziness of freedom from the fetters of caution allowed one to pause and jump without fear of tomorrow?  And the sigh that follows, but a mere refrain denoting the commonality of experiences, withheld, where caution pulled us back because of pragmatic considerations we once beheld to be more important than the liberty of our means.

Rare are those lives whose self-assurance in the meandering days of feckless travels reveals not a morsel of remorse, but a fullness of memories neither unrestored by neglect nor needing any touch-up or photo-shopping imputation.  Some have warranted that to regret is to die a slow death, while others accept it as merely the general populace’s lot in life.

The sigh of regret is emitted during that lapse of unguarded exposure when vulnerability is allowed to reveal, where openness – whether because of insanity, inebriation or a raw moment of “being real” – stands in line behind the impenetrable fortress of layers carefully shielded in order to construct that wall of mystery.  But the other side of regret – like the turn of midnight as the clock strikes its 12th toll – is the knowledge that something else could have been, that better tomorrows might have been, and the “what ifs” of life keep coming back to haunt, each whisper followed by a louder intonation of incessant reminders.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who having that sensation – of a pause, a consideration or even an inkling – that it is time to begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, there are “better times” than others where timing in filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be weighed and balanced within the greater context of all other considerations.

What one does not want to happen, is to allow for a later event to emit that sigh of regret, which is what so many people, in so many circumstances, end up doing.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee has already let loose a sigh of regret, is the best pathway forward to ensure that – whatever accumulations of life’s regrets one may already hold within the bosom of one’s soul – future actions will fail to predict the sorrowful din of tomorrow’s hope for a better future, where that sigh of regret may be muffled because an act today was taken in light of yesterday’s remorse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Implicit Questions

In many questions, there are multiple sub-questions.  Take, for example, the question:  Why are you so tired?  You may respond first by answering the unasked but implicit question by declaring:  “But I am not tired”.  That is not what the question asked.  Such an answer is a response to the implied question within the question, of:  “Are you tired?”  To the question actually asked, the proper response might be:  I stayed up late last night reading.  The presumptive sub-question unstated and silent but implicit in the major question posited in duality of a contingent combination, is precisely what is often termed as “lawyerly”, and thus somehow deceitful, tricky and attempting to subvert by having the responder accept a non-explicit presumption of facts.

The classic example, of course, is the cross-examination query stated variously as:  “When did you stop beating your wife?”  Before an objection is launched, the unwary witness might respond, “I didn’t” – meaning (from the witness’ perspective) that he never beat his wife in the first place, when in fact such a response evokes a different meaning – that the individual never stopped beating his wife, and continues to do so up until the present.  There is, in such a duality of question/sub-question combination, the presumptive prefatory inquiry, stated as:  “Have you ever beaten your wife?”

It is, in many ways, the capacity and ability to dissect and recognize the need to bifurcate or even trifurcate linguistic bundles that require thought, reflection and insightful methodologies in order to help define existence as successful or otherwise challenging.   Life is a tough road to forge; language opens the world by allowing for avenues and pathways of communication, but it also compels constructing obstacles that deflect and defeat the reality of Being surrounding us.

In the linear historicity of language and the explosion of thought, conceptual paradigms and communication inventories, the commingling of questions, the looseness of language and the careless ways in which thoughts are provoked, may lend itself to confusion, puzzlement and an inability to solve problems.  That is, of course, the strength of argument impounded by the British Empiricists, and while their collective denial of any substantive issues inherent in philosophical problems is itself suspect, their contribution in attempting to identify peripheral, “non-substantive” issues arising from the imprecise usage of language, in contradistinction to central and essential conundrums, helps us all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a word to the wise:  SF 3112A contains multiple implicit questions, and bifurcation – nay, trifurcation – is an important element to consider and resolve.  Be cognizant of the implicit question – lest you answer the major question without considering the prefatory query.  Standard Forms are replete with compound questions, and the unwary will inevitably fall into the trap of answering the question posed on the surface, and in so doing, admit to facts presumptively “hidden” in sub-questions unasked.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application requires the effort of untangling such compounding and confounding queries; it is up to the unwary Federal or Postal employee to bifurcate and trifurcate such attempts, and to dissect, with precision of purpose, the questions unasked, and answer those which are both prefatory and sequential.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The effect of nature’s muse

The connotation is often in the quiet reflection of silence; but other references can embrace any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, and as each presided over various arts or sciences, so the inspiration or guidance we receive is spiritual or otherwise from an unknown source of creativity.  Have you ever walked through a forest and come upon a clearing where the light suddenly opens upon a spot of heaven?  That is the effect of nature’s muse.  Or of a sudden realization that the darkness overwhelming as a burden upon a donkey’s back, is lifted without explanation and released with but an unspoken pardon?

Much of life and living involves sadness, decay, dominance of fear and trepidation of anxiety; and so when deliverance from devastation comes in slices and paper cups of limited portions, we drink thirstily as if the starvation of life’s travails imprisoned our very existence for an eternity of hell.

We often suspect that gods and goddesses laugh at us from on high, behind corridors shuttered and tree limbs cascading; and in the hint of nature’s muse, we wonder whether it is all “worth it”, as if value is embedded in the secrets of Tibetan mountains.  But as the guru who drives a Rolls Royce but speaks the language of a spiritual monk winks at the followers who would grant comfort and bespeak of secret incantations reserved for the spirit of folly, so the rest of us suspect that there is something inherently wrong with the world at large.

There are always “dark forces” gathering, conspiracies mounting, and greater inequities planned for the lives of the “common folk” – who almost always includes you and I, but never the guy on television.  Does nature indeed have a sense of humor, a glint of glee or a mirth of pardonable satire?  Or is it as cold and impervious as Darwinians would have us believe?  Better were those days when hobbits, goblins and elves could be believed; where the moon was more than just mere lifeless rocks and dirt; and unnamed spirits roamed the earth.  But of nature’s muse, we can still attach our own joy, the inner warmth we still possess and the jewel of a private soul we still retain.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who yet seek to become released from a private hell involving a medical condition and the persistent deterioration wrought from an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the preparation and filing of 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, is often like a realization that the effect of nature’s muse is like that sudden clearing one accidentally wanders upon in a forest full of darkness; it is only when there is a spot of light which provides for hope, that value is rediscovered, and that search and discovery may be attained in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: “The End”

Those two words are often appended upon the last word, the final thought, the grammatical period marking the denouement of a narrative; sometimes, an ellipsis leaving the reader to ponder a missing word, concept or continuation of an event.

Why it is not stamped in bold print at the end of a biography or a non-fiction narrative; or even a short story, an essay or a philosophical treatise; perhaps, as a factual account presupposes a reflection of correspondence between truth and reality, it is only in the literary world of make-believe that we must apprise the audience of the terminal nature of virtual reality — that, like Pavlov’s dogs in responsive salivation for experimental purposes, we become conditioned to a realization that a blank page following the grammatical finality of a period is simply insufficient to constitute an obstructive wall separating fantasy from reality.

Or, does convention merely mark the climax of the unreal, where the breathless pursuit of becoming lost in an imagined universe leaves us panting for more, only to be pulled ruthlessly back from the lost quietus of our penchant for more?

But that reality gave us a final warning, an appended duality of words in order to forewarn of the terminus of trials, travails and tempestuous tantrums of tactile tandems; then, like the eyes which scout a few pages hence, where we nervously flip forward in disbelief as we approach the thinning culmination of paper remaining, we would know when to cease trying, how much more effort to expend, and the time of fruition left as an afterthought, like windowed houses empty in a neighborhood abandoned by loss of industrial flight and more importantly, of hope left remote in the hearts of soulless men.

Reality never gives us that warning, of course; and so we are forced to trudge onward in spite of that lack.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal or Postal position, the approach of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often one encompassing an attitude that, like the novel’s culmination, the act of filing is somehow tantamount to “the end”.  It is not.

Instead, it is merely a pause, an extension, a comma and a prosaic interlude, and nothing more.  The narrative of the human soul does not so cleanly enter the blank pages of demise; rather, life goes on, and like the thoughts which pursue the sentence marked by a period of finality, the beauty of it all remains with us like the residue of golden dust left sprinkled upon the twilight of life, trailing behind by an angel’s wings fluttering noiselessly upon the dawn of a hopeful tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire