Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Myths of our own making

What stories we carry within our own heads; the narrative of our own lives, as well as the intersecting conveyances brought by others; the web of linguistic larcenies borrowed, bought and sometimes sold, become who we are and the essence of our being within the world of our phenomenology of existence.  Sometimes, when a lie is told and the piece of puzzle will no longer fit into the greater collage of the manifold tapestry we carry about within our psyche, a rearrangement of sorts must occur.

Perhaps, we discovered, through correspondence and other confirming evidentiary apparatus otherwise irrefutable, that the uncle whose reputation as the moral compass of fidelity had fathered an illegitimate child (of course, such an anachronistic term no longer applies, as marriage no longer validates legitimacy or otherwise).  Perhaps, a meeting with this “family” of prior anonymity becomes a necessity, which then opens experiential doors to other discoveries and nuances of life’s misgivings.

The narrative of one’s life, the connections intertwined and the stories told, must like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle misplaced, be rearranged or otherwise left blank, like the echo of a plaintive voice in a soft hum heard through a mist of cackling geese.  Are secrets worth keeping, anymore?

In modernity, where technology allows for the melding of myth and maxim; where demarcations between the creation of self and the posting of what constitutes the presentation of that being identified as the person who declares to be such, is merely one button away from the virtual reality of a gemstone shining in the moonlit cavern of a secret cave where treasures hidden from pirates of yore flutter with the ghosts of dead seamen and spinning yarns of horrors untold; what we are in the essence of our being has been replaced by the talent to tell of who we are not.  And yet — truthfulness, veracity, validation of identity, and certitude of conduct; they all seem to remain as vestiges of a necessary universe.

The myths of our own making have always been so throughout the history of storytelling.  Today, it is merely more so because of the plenitude of everyone wanting to tell his or her tale, and of every detail most of us don’t want to know.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, a unique sense of duality must be conquered:  there is the need, on the one hand, to “tell all” in the form of SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and, yet, what must be revealed concerns the most “private” of one’s narrative — that of the medical condition and the impact of the medical condition upon one’s professional and private lives.

“Myths” are not merely of make-believe; they are the stories told in traditional societies in order to make a larger point.  Indeed, the myths of our own making may sometimes include the fears we hold onto, as well as the uninformed presumptions we grasp at in a bureaucratic process which is both complex and administratively difficult to maneuver through.  Sound advice from a legal expert in the area of Federal Disability Retirement law will help to dispel the myths unwarranted, as well as validate the maxims required.

In the end, the myths of our own making often reflect the haunting fears of experiences we encountered in those days when childhood memories cast their shadows upon the dungeons of our lives, and when trolls and gnomes suspected to reside in hidden crevices scratch at the doorways leading to the most private of our inner fears.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation & Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Architect of Awe

There are murals of inspired souls, touched by a hand guided by forces unknown; of vaulted ceilings and high arches, and mosaics which are crafted, painted and tediously combined; and as one approaches such architectural wonders, the eyes are lifted upwards toward the heavens in such a natural order of elevation that there is no pause for self-consciousness.

Contrast that to the technology of modernity, where huddled masses with sauntering forms and stooped shoulders look down upon the glare of Smartphones, Tablets and the keyboard of laptops; the eyes never wander but within the confined parameters of a rectangular screen, and only in furtive movements of quickened and imperceptible annoyances.

The irony, of course, where the two intersect — the grandeur of architectural brilliance with the future of technological acumen — is when the tourist brings the Smartphone with the self-contained video and camera apparatus in order to gawk at the Medieval Renaissance of antiquity, but never views with the naked eye, but always through the lens for Instagram and Facebook positing.  It is, ultimately, of our posture which is most telling, and that which draws the human eye — in a downward trajectory, or with an upward inspiration.

Once, we used to build for eternity and the heavens, whereas of today we huddle in forlorn consternation over glowing screens which dull the mind and blind the eye to the created world around us.  And what of other elements in our lives?  Do they uplift, or denigrate such that we become downtrodden specimens of another’s playful cruelty?  Does the place where we spend the most time draw us as an architect of awe, or diminish the soul by whips and partial tears?

Work — that place and endeavor which occupies the majority of our time — should always lift up, and never demean; and like human relationships of linear poses (unlike the vertical one with gods and angelic superstitions), the combination should always aggregate to a greater quantity than the quality of singularity.

That is why, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who discover that the present situation they find themselves in has become untenable because the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and such a state has engendered resentment, denigration and an opposition to constructive advancement, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes the preferred alternative to continuation in the present state of despair.

Going out on an OPM Disability Retirement for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is never the first choice, and may in fact be the last; but the option is almost always one based upon the survival of the soul, where the architect of awe is no longer present in a world which has seemingly abandoned its teleological relish for life, but where work has come to represent harassment, denigration and demeaning anguish, and where the choices have limited the fragile compartment of the soul and thus the alternative is to suffer silently in a world gone mad and maddeningly unsympathetic to the plight of that traveler whom no one has invited from the coldness of the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Incantations of Modernity

Each generation believes itself to be the pinnacle of knowledge, wisdom, evolutionary apex and sophistication of fashion, open-mindedness and technological brilliance.  All previous generations are either mere residue of antiquity, caught in a dust-bowl of stale sentiment or stuck in a muddle of disproven superstition.  Yet, within the deep psyche of individuals, as opposed to the collective mentality of the herd, there remains wishful soliloquies of incantations marveling at the wonder of hope and fate yet in the hands of gods, gnomes and elven lineage.  “Perhaps, if I do X, then…”; “If I wait long enough, then…”; “Maybe I just didn’t say the right words…”

There is always that sense and belief, despite daily evidence to the contrary, that the objective world remains impassive, that technology is the invention of man’s imagination and fearful inner soul, revealing itself in torturous tumults of hidden consciousness; and yet we hope and wish.  That is what we impart and project upon others, no matter the extent of evil, and in spite of the manifested scorn of others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a change must take place in one’s career and plans for the future, this encounter and clash between one’s inner wishful thinking, and the reaction of those around — including coworkers, supervisors, managers, and the collective cold shoulder of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service — is nothing short of devastation to the soul.

Hope extinguished by unwarranted dependency becomes the root of cynicism.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who thought that a sympathetic reaction or an empathetic emblem of responsiveness would be forthcoming when a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the disappointment felt becomes palpable.

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, often becomes the only alternative remaining.  It is certainly a better pathway to one’s future endeavors, than to wait upon the silence deafening from the incantations of modernity, which fall upon deaf ears to the gods of yesteryear and the dwarfs who have long ago abandoned the hutches of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire