Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Preparations

Would you hold a dinner party without preparing?  Or attend an important meeting, host a regal gathering of accomplished celebrities or go camping in the wilds of winter’s ferocity — without making adequate preparations?

The elaborate extent of such preparations is often correlated with the importance, significance, relevance and complexity of the issue at hand, the engagement to be embraced or the event to be held.  Preparations are a vital component to the successful engagement of whatever one undertakes, and lack of it often guarantees a result of negative returns.

How does one prepare for the preparation, formulation and filing of 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?  Does one go out and ask the Human Resource Department of one’s agency, and thereby put to the winds which carry gossip about the Agency and allow the gods of the underworld to disseminate the implication that “X is filing for disability retirement”?  Do you dare test the oft-told adage in the Federal Government that “confidentiality begins with the Human Resource Office of one’s agency — and likewise, ends there”?

Or, perhaps “preparation” is merely of the ad hoc sort — of downloading the various forms (SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, and SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, at a minimum) and beginning to fill them out, and somehow sifting through the multiple instructions and packaging a Federal Disability Retirement application?

Preparation for the initiation of any worthwhile endeavor should, at a minimum, involve seeking some advice from an “expert”, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with and decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law should be a minimal step in such an important and consequential process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Road Maps

Does the “new way” diminish other manners and approaches?  Does an increase in technological guidance diminish and decrease the self-reliance and initiative required once upon a time?

Take, for example, the trip taken today — any trip: One merely types in the address or the phone number, presses a button and Google Maps guides you to your destination.  In days now gone and forever forgotten, one had to take out those old paper maps (you know, those multi-folded, accordion-like Rand McNally relics) stuffed in the side door compartment of one’s vehicle or dug out from under the piles of old registration cards in one’s glove compartment, and carefully follow the numerical and lettered cross-sections of quadrants in planning the course of a trip otherwise lost in the morass of unfamiliar territory.  Or, like most men — just “wing” it.

Does the loss of a road map — the necessity of its very relevance and existence — mean that there are reverberations in other sectors of one’s life, or in the way one’s brain works?  Do we, because of the ease of Google Maps, become lazier, expect that everything will be self-guided, and is that the future for everything in life, especially once the self-guided vehicle is perfected?  Does the expectation of technology’s ease make us lazier, allowing for procrastination to become extended beyond reason, where we no longer “plan” for things well in advance, assuming that whatever the issue or anticipated endeavor, it will all be taken care of by a click of a button, or at most, a few keyboard taps away?

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, road maps are a necessity of life — both for the Federal or Postal employee in maneuvering through the complex administrative pathway of a Federal Disability Retirement application, as well as in preparing a “legal roadmap” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in approving the Federal Disability Retirement application.

In both cases, the road map is similar to that old Rand McNally map that required quadrants to be precisely followed: For the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, the need for precise guidance by the best route possible in order to obtain an approval from OPM; and for OPM, the proper legal citations and arguments that will persuade them to grant the approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Happiness revisited

What is it that makes people happy?  Is it constituted by generic categories (like “wealth”, “fame”, “friendships”, “popularity”, etc.), or is it specific to each individual (i.e., for Joe, it is to have sufficient time daily to become lost in reading; for Alice, the opportunity to go out with friends at least once a week; for Mary and Steve, to be in one another’s company, etc.) such that, while specific conditions can be described as the prerequisite for individual happiness, they can nonetheless be categorized into more generic forms while never losing the unique content of that which constitutes the essential ingredients for such individual happiness?

If generically-based, can it be “bottled” — i.e., advertised and sold?  Isn’t that what much of commercial advertising is all about — not the product itself, although that is the ultimate goal, but of the underlying message that by means of the product, the end will result in happiness?

Thus, teeth whiteners and dental conglomerates don’t just sell straightened teeth or gleaming smiles; rather, they sell happiness.  Otherwise, why else would everyone be smiling stupidly and pretending (for that is what actors and actresses do) that they are ecstatic in their roles?  And car insurance, life insurance, reverse mortgages and financial institutions — what are they selling but happiness through security and a sense of peace?

More importantly, should happiness ever be a goal, or is it best to allow it to remain as a byproduct and a natural consequence of a worthy life’s endeavors?

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, the issue of one’s happiness is always present in stark contrast to the current human condition of deteriorating health: for, misery is the flip-side of happiness, and to that old standardized testing torture we all had to undergo as school children, happiness is to health as misery is to ___?  What would be the appropriate word used to fill in the blank?  Ill-health?  Sickness?

When one’s health deteriorates, the priorities of life suddenly come into sharper focus, for health is the foundation from which all else flows. Happiness, one begins to realize, cannot be the center and foundation; it is, instead, a byproduct of good health, solid relationships and productive careers, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee who begins to 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, serious consideration should be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted, reviewed by and approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The mind’s bookshelf

Entertainment is a peculiar thing in human psychology: happiness accompanies its anticipation, but during the process of “being entertained”, do we recognize our own joy, or are we lost in the suspension of our own inner world while being completely oblivious to the suffering around us?

We toil day in and day out with a singular goal, held by many, to enjoy a period of respite and entertainment — of becoming lost in a movie; of going to a play; of putting headphones on and listening to a favorite song, piece or series of favorites; of pulling from the mind’s bookshelf an episode of imaginative adventures or a wonderland of a dream’s figment.

Entertainment, joy, happiness and contentment are the ingredients of life’s admixture of troubles, trials and turpentine creations in a universe of chocolate-ice-cream-not-quite-right, ups and downs and joining and break-ups; it is a mixed up world where everyone is trying to extract an ounce of pleasure when the last cupful has already been taken.  Then, there is the capacity of the human mind that has just had enough — where too much bombardment of stimuli leads one to withdraw, become reclusive, and seek the solitude of one’s own soliloquy of minds.  It is a rather peculiar concept, is it not?

To withdraw within the mind’s bookshelf — that corner of studied solitude where others cannot share, and only the loneliness of one’s self-induced privacy allows for an entrance and exit to the backrooms of an unlit alcove that is marked “private”, and where no admittance is allowed except by exclusive invitation only.  It is when even the mind’s bookshelf is toppled by the troubled waters of the world that too much stress, too much stimuli and way, way too much intrusiveness begins to overflow.

That is what a medical condition tends to do — for, when it becomes chronic and begins to gnaw at even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, then the unbearable nature of one’s condition requires a change.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to invade even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, it is time to consider 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.

When even the last refuge from life’s turmoil has been invaded and violated — of an inability to attain any restorative sleep; when profound fatigue overwhelms; when chronic pain becomes unrelenting; when one’s focus, concentration and ability to retain even a semblance of cognitive acuity is progressively being lost; then, the inconsistency between one’s essential elements of a position and the medical condition becomes quite clear, and it becomes necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Joy of life comes from having the key to the mind’s bookshelf, and when that is no longer possible, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: On a tenuous ridge

How do you know whether to proceed; whether it is safe to proceed; whether the roads or pathways are safe enough? What constitutes success? Is it known before it is anticipated, or is it just a self-delusional sense of confidence that sometimes deceives and at others, proves us wrong?

To be on a tenuous ridge combines the two negative aspects of objectivity and subjectivity: Of a physical place that is sharp and often dangerous (the “objective” world) and the mental determination that encompasses a sense of weakness and lack of confidence (the “subjective” perception of a situation); and the combination of the two provides a compounding of a conceptual negation that places one is a precarious state of being.

To be on a tenuous ridge can be a metaphor for proceeding in life, in whatever endeavor or misadventure, without the benefit of experience, hindsight, wisdom or knowledge.  That is the sense and feeling that the Federal or Postal employee possesses when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career — to be walking on a tenuous ridge.

For Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the approach that must be taken should be to get off of the proverbial ridge of tenuousness, and instead to walk upon firm ground with a sense of confidence entering into a future.

Although the future may remain somewhat uncertain during the complex process of maneuvering through a Federal Disability Retirement application, nevertheless, the knowledge that one’s case is the best one that has been put together, goes a long way in avoiding the pitfalls of a tenuous ridge.  Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; for, there is another adage similar to “being on a tenuous ridge” that you also might want to avoid — of “jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire