FERS Employee Medical Retirement: Sticking Out

Like a sore thumb; or, merely embodying a strangeness.  In traditional societies, conformity is the normative value: to not be a part of the herd is to make yourself a part of the outcast, and thus to deliberately deny yourself the benefits granted to you by your own community.  “Sticking out” has become the normative value in our society; and by becoming so prevalent, strangeness has become non-strangeness, sticking out has become the normal everyman, and thus has uniqueness become normal and everyday.

Moynihan spoke in the early 60s about dumbing down deviancy, to the point where — today — sticking out like a sore thumb is no more unique than school shootings or weekend murders.  Why do we need to stick out?  What is the unstated need so prevalent in this country?  Why must individualism be defined by appearance — a standard which goes against the grain of Plato and Western Philosophy, where substantive truth was always preferred over the mere appearance of things?

For Federal Gov. employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under the  FERS system has become a necessity, for so long, you have attempted NOT to be the one sticking out; and, instead, you have tried to hide your “uniqueness” — that chronic health condition which has steadily and progressively deteriorated your health conditions.

This may turn out to hurt you.  For, this is the one time when “sticking out” helps your disability retirement application — i.e., sticking out in not being able to do your job; sticking out in taking too much sick leave; sticking out to your supervisors in not being able to complete assigned projects, etc.

If you have been trying to hide your sticking-out-ness but now need to stick out like a sore thumb by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, contact a Federal Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of sticking it out by maneuvering — through the assistance and guidance of a FERS Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — through the stickiest bureaucracy by pointing out the eligibility criteria of a FERS Disability Retirement claim.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill,
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Attorney Representation for Denied OPM Disability Claims: The Appearance of Substance

It is like a Jonathan Franzen novel (apologies to those who are fans of his), as opposed to a Hemingway masterpiece (is the bias too obvious by merely connecting “novel” to the first writer as opposed to “masterpiece” to the second?).  The fluff is fairly obvious.  Pages after pages of meandering nothingness, wondering where the story is going, what the plot is, why it is that one is trying to make one’s way through a long and meaningless road?

The appearance of substance is always a problem.  How does one gauge it?  It is like the old adage of throwing away good money after bad — after a long investment of time in trying to read it, you hate to give up before you get to the end.

OPM denials in a Federal Disability Retirement case often “feels” like that — of long extrapolated regurgitations from medical records, then at the end, a mere statement: “It has not been shown that you suffer from a medical condition which prevents you from performing the essential elements of your position”.

So, either one of two things is going on:  Either the previously-quoted extrapolations self-evidently speak form themselves, or the OPM Medical Specialist simply wants an appearance of substance without having to explain or discuss the relevance of the extrapolated paragraphs.  Volume is not the same as substance; just compare a balloon as opposed to a boulder sitting atop a mountain in Colorado.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have received a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for his or her Federal Disability Retirement application, contact an OPM Medical Retirement Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and consider that the appearance of substance is no substitute for a substantive legal rebuttal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyers: The “Money-Back Guarantee” Attraction

Yes, it is attractive — but how much effort will actually be applied?

If you obtain your Federal Disability Retirement benefits through a law firm at the first stage, then you are likely going to be satisfied.  If you get it denied and you receive your money back, what good has the refunded amount done you?  Did the law firm abandon you after just the First Stage?

You lost your case; you lost the time it took to lose your case.  Yes, you did receive your money back; but does it make up for the lost time and the lack of effort expended?

In any Attorney-Client relationship, there is an “investment”, as well as “chance-taking” on both sides.  Consider what you are getting for the money you are expending.

Contact a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal or Postal Disability Retirement, and understand that, in the end, you “get what you paid for”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal and Postal Worker Medical Retirement: The Retreat of Solace

Everyone, without exception, must find that slice of heaven — that retreat of solace.  Whether it is found in reading; in a hobby; a dog to cuddle with; children, for a time, at least; kite flying; stamp collection; even video games????

Life is difficult.  As Hobbes would put it, the “life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…”.  Has it changed much?  Certainly, some progress has been made.

Reading history, especially about the frontier days in late 18th Century and early 19th Century America — of the constant warring, torture and killings; yet, despite a more “civilized” world (minus Afghanistan and Chicago), life is hard and the retreat of solace is an important element to discover, preserve and protect.

Some find it merely in the lost world of fiction and the novel; others, in more physical activities — a friendly pick-up game of basketball; a weekend round of golf; a solitary walk in the woods.  Whether refreshing one’s insular universe by means of physical exercise of the body, or allowing for a respite of that private world escaping into a fantasy world, the means of such change of scenery depends upon the personality of the individual.

What happens when a medical condition interrupts that retreat of solace?  The insidiousness of chronic pain or constant anxiety makes for the retreat of solace to become untenable, precisely because a temporary escape from this hard reality called “living” is no longer possible.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits allows for the Federal or Postal worker to attain a future security in order to regain the retreat of solace.  Contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of reasserting the lost ground of the retreat of solace.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Order & Disorder

Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do for a good deal of time spent?  Not to compare it to such a “Biblical” extent — but like the figure in the very first chapter of the very oldest book some hold as “sacred”: out of chaos, order is created.

Throughout one’s day, from the very awakening of those sleep-encrusted eyes, when the dreams dissipate and the nightmares subside, we wake up and try to create order out of the chaos that surrounds us.  The key to sanity is to keep pace with, or try and “get ahead”, if possible, of the impending disorder around us.  Thus can insanity be redefined as: We “lose” it when the disorder around us becomes exponentially quantified beyond one’s capacity to maintain the level of order required.

Think about it: the bombardment of stress that continues to envelope us; of a time not too long ago when “correspondence” was a written letter sent by one individual to another that took 2 – 3 days by first class mail to arrive after the postage stamp was licked and carefully placed, now replaced by a quick email and a button-push with a singular finger, multiplied by hundreds, if not thousands, and in a blink of an eye one’s “Inbox” is filled with requests, tirades, FYIs and spam beyond the measures order needed.

Isn’t that what “bringing up children” is also all about — of creating order out of disorder?  Without discipline, guidance, schooling and a bit of luck, we would all become maladapted individuals running about in diapers devoid of the learned proclivities of polite society, and be left with the allegation that one is “eccentric” or, worse, an “oddball”.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of overwhelming a person with a sense of “disorder”, in that it forces a person to do things outside of the ordinary repetition of an ordered life.  That is why it is so difficult to “deal with” a medical condition, even if it is not your own.  It interrupts one’s goals, plans, and the perspective of order that is so important to one’s sanity.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often necessary just in order to attain that lost sense of order that has become created by the disorder of one’s medical condition.

Medical conditions make the universe formless and void; and it is the regaining of a sense of stability — of molding some sort of order out of the disorder — by obtaining some semblance of financial security through an OPM Disability Retirement, that the devil of disorder can be overcome with the gods of order in a genesis of new beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The realization

In most cases, it is not as dramatic a moment as we all tend to think; it is rarely “The X”, as in the penultimate juncture of enlightenment where the “The” is prefatory to the noun, as opposed to a more general article such as, “A realization” — meaning, one among others, or just another one amidst many.

Most such moments are not “Aha” ones, where there is a sudden and profound revelation, like the proverbial Road to Damascus experience or the Gestalt shift in thinking.  Instead, the realization of X is more often than not subtle, incremental and a slow progression towards an acknowledgment, observable and quantifiable over a period of many months or years.  Whether we make it into a momentous period, a critical juncture in our lives, or as one of many tokens of change often depends upon how we view each segment that results in a modification of a life judged in its totality.

Aristotle’s belief is that a person’s life cannot be fully evaluated until much later in life.  Indeed, what do we make about a person’s career, reputation and overall “life” when a critical mistake is made at the beginning — say, in the early years of youth when one is more susceptible to the vicissitudes of emotional upheavals and pursuance of desires without thought?  Or, of the fool who, in old age, does something similarly rash?  Do we make an evaluation at the eulogy and excuse the one bad bit?

Something like, “Now, we all knew X.  He was a great man.  He had, of course, that one incident, but …”.  Is it better to have the negative incident occur early in life so that you can rectify and redeem for the remainder?  Or, is it more acceptable and palatable to live an exemplary life, then commit an error in later life so that you can excuse it as the “folly of age”?

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 the Federal or Postal employee’s job and duties, “the realization” that something has to change will mostly come about over a period of time — incrementally, perhaps even subtly, and then one day there is a determination that has to be made that priorities of life need to be reordered and modifications to a life of struggle necessitates modifications.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the necessary next step after such a realization.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is the natural course of events once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that change must occur.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is also a good next step — for that points to the realization that not all things in the universe are known, and some things may need some further guidance in pursuit of a gargantuan effort required to go up against a behemoth of a bureaucracy — OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: A breach of instinct

What if? that fragile balance that exists in nature, seen when squirrels scrounge about in search of roots and nuts, moving within the tranquil space besides cardinals, woodpeckers, rabbits and robins abounding when, suddenly, birds attack the rabbits and squirrels, and in turn, the rabbits and squirrels chase one another and attempt to catch and devour the birds, and the mayhem that follows goes on for an unceasing eternity.

Of course, such a scene is not “nature” in its nakedness, but a scene from a suburban backyard, whereas in the true “state of nature”, in the distant woodlands not easily traversed by the human eye (are there such places, anymore?), such scenes of predatory confrontation held by a tentative and tacit agreement of abeyance may occur daily. Or, in those National Geographic scenes, where there is a quietude of implied ceasefire in birds standing atop the backs of hippos and rhinos pecking away calmly at whatever delectable insects abound, and their sturdy underlings happily go about their business – what if, suddenly, the hippo or rhino turns around and with a swift lunge of its massive neck, grabs that bird and devours it whole?

Was there a breach of an implied or tacit agreement, a breach of instinct, or both? When such “agreements” develop within a slow, steady and evolutionary process, over a period of time imperceptible but for the peace and tranquility it creates, and everyone is perfectly content with the circumstances ensconced by tradition and the state of current affairs, what leads to the breach, what are the consequences and is there blame to be spread about?

What if a rogue animal one day just declares to itself, “The hell with this; I was never a party to this agreement, and so I shall do as I please” – what then? Is it not true that no true “breach” has been committed, as the parties were never official signatories to the agreement, explicit, implicit, tacit or otherwise? Who determines that there ever existed such an agreement, anyway, and where is it written in the “rules of order” that certain sequence of decorum must be followed?

That is, of course, the crux of the matter; for, what is the retort of those who have no ethical or moral compass, but to sneer with the declarative, “Show me where it is written!”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the presumption is that tacit or implied standards of conduct is often tested at the outset, both by the Federal agency or Postal Service, and even by OPM.

You rely upon the rules, but the Agency may completely ignore them. If you are a Postal employee, this is to be expected.

Yes, there are laws, but so long as silence governs the assertion of rights denied, a breach of instinct becomes the rule of law and the depiction by Locke and Rousseau of that “State of Nature” devolving into a “State of War” can become a contentious state of affairs unless, in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant asserts the legal precedents controlling and constraining the fragile balance that restrains a breach of instinct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer

 

 

 

Even more resources:
The Federal Disability Retirement Process
The FERS Disability Retirement website
Federal Disability Retirement Fees

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Plan of Attack

Every battle requires a “plan of attack”, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is no less an “adversarial” process than a lawsuit filed with the local county court.

One may embellish and deny by describing the process as “nothing more” than an “administrative” procedure, where the deciding agency is merely reviewing the components for “eligibility requirements” and conformance to entitlement regulations, but one needs only to be denied a OPM Disability Retirement application to realize that it is a legal process just like any other.

That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee’s Federal Disability Retirement application is denied at the First Level of the process, the usual response is tantamount to that of an opponent who lacked a plan of attack and quickly disburses in a retreat of panic.

Denials should be expected, and not necessarily because of a lack on the part of the Federal or Postal applicant, but because the “enemy” will counterattack and “win” some “battles”.  The army which never considers a setback is one which advances with such arrogance that the hubris of pride defeats without the enemy ever needing to lift a finger.

For those Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who filed for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, and who thought that his or her Federal Disability Retirement application was an unconquerable force of inevitability, the good news is that there is another day yet to come for a new battle, and even another beyond that, where a singular defeat means merely a chance to regroup for another day’s skirmish in order to win the ultimate prize:  the war itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Medical conditions and the “to-do” list

We often approach everything in life in a repetitive, systematic manner; of a routine which engenders habituation of comfort, and of identity harkening to obsession of similitude.  It is said of Kant that his neighbors set and corrected their watches and clocks according to the regularity of his walks, as his life maintained a predictability of precision so reliable that error could only be ascribed to a mechanical defect, and never to his human constancy.

It is as if there is an internal “checklist” in order to attain a progression of human development, and in an effort to achieve that advancement, both of thought and of physical growth, we must be assured of completion and fulfillment.  But medical conditions are never like that; we cannot “do something about it” and expect to “check it off” of our “to-do” list, only to move on to the next item on the itinerary.  A pastor once quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough; although, there could have been an addendum:  “And where there are problems, you can always find impure motives.”

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 problem is one of duality of purpose:  For the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, the approach of attempting to “check off” the medical condition as another item on a “to-do” list is always rebutted by the stark reality of the medical condition itself; and from the Federal agency’s perspective (or the Postal Service’s), the thought-process of “when will it go away” simply avoids the issue, and fails to address the problem of the conflict which arises.

Thus, the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement is there for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely to allow for those circumstances in which (A) the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to be able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, (B) the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months — not that one must wait for 12 months, but rather, that the prognosis by a doctor or medical provider is willing to state that the medical condition will, within reasonable medical probability, last for that long, and (C) accommodation of the medical condition is not possible, and reassignment to a position at the same pay or grade will not ameliorate the situation.

In the end, medical conditions defy the human attempt to treat it as merely another obstacle to overcome, or an irritant to set aside.  It is a condition of human existence which represents a trial for a linear life we attempt to manage, when in fact a change of course is often the remedy, and not the repetition of comfort found in the thoughtless quietude of habit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire