Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file a 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.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Of frauds and believers

Who is the greatest fraud of all time?  Of whom do we consider a “fraud”, and what is the criteria upon which we compare and determine the final judgment?

Certainly, many would include Bernie Madoff in that category; but what of tricksters and hoaxes that will have you believe in magical powers of levitation, bending spoons and non-invasive surgeries?  Is the greater hoax based upon the sheer number of believers, or upon the amount gained and the fervency of trust betrayed?  Do the number of believers following a cult leader count, based upon the quantifiable nature of the fraud itself, or is it the level of unquestioning belief that makes up for the lesser crowds garnered?

And what about the common fraudster — of the smiling face during times of need, but the quick stab once your worth is no longer apparent?  And of the workplace where the smiling backstabber whispers in conspiratorial glee, when once the boss listens and smirks at your every deed, replacing the accolades once passing for sincerity when all that was truly there was a Noh mask that concealed the sneer of disdain?  And what of that believer who persuades all of the others who were doubtful, but because you respected him or her, the fact that the believer lead others into the flock of deception — is that first believer also a fraudster?

And in the lonely quietude of one’s own thoughts and reflections, studies have shown that a great many people believe they themselves are fraudsters — perhaps not on the grand scale of having bilked millions, but merely that you are not whom you appear to be, and thus the empty shell within haunts in the conscience of a sleepless night.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a sense that a “fraud” is being committed — that having to be forced to “hide” the seriousness of the medical condition at the expense of one’s health; of striving to extend one’s Federal or Postal career beyond that which is medically advisable has been a necessity; and of having that conscience in disrepair because you cannot do everything that you once were able to — these are the characteristics of the Federal employee and Postal worker who possess a high degree of conscience and work ethic.

But do not mistake and confuse the difference between “fraud” and “conscience”; for, the former has no inkling of the latter, and it is because of the latter that the Federal workforce is so effective in administering goods and services in such a wide range of ways, with so little to work with.  But when it comes time to take care of one’s health, the Federal or Postal employee who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must take into account the cost of fraud — of being untrue to one’s self by continuing in a job which is no longer consistent with one’s health.

Now, that is the greatest fraud of all — of lying to yourself and allowing your health to deteriorate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed 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, is not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The magical potion of impotence

It is the insertion of the preposition, or the omission thereof, which makes for the alteration of meaning and the subtlety of conceptual differentiation.  Note that it is the grammatical playground – “of” – as opposed to “for”; and that small distinction makes for a vast difference.  For, if the latter would replace the former, then it would mean a declaration of a solution to the age-old problem of what old age does to us, what loss of vigor for life, stamina in living, and deterioration of purpose makes of us.

Instead, because of that minor word, comprise of two letters – a consonant and a vowel – as opposed to the addition of another consonant, that identifies the problem, as opposed to proposing the solution.  For, if one were to insert the headline, “The magical potion for impotence”, and moreover, end it with an umph by inserting the punctuation of an exclamation point (“The magical potion for impotence!”), and even make the relevant preposition in bold (“The magical potion for impotence!”), it is a confirmation of a solution found, and not a problem identified.

Instead, we are left with less, abandoned by a twofer as opposed to a threesome; and by that mere omission of a singular consonant, the entire meaning of the declarative sentence is reduced to a core admission that not by a solution is the sentence offered, but by a mere confession of less and subtracted inferiority.  And, what is the “magical potion” of impotence?  What lack and lessening are we referring to, when by prepositional subtraction, we refer to the problem and not the solution?

It is (surprise) – words and language.  For, language is both magical, and a potion of sorts; it allows for communication, conveyance of meaning, and a solution to puzzles universally acknowledged.  It excites for the beauty of imagination, where one may observe a child lost in thoughts, in fantasies created by fairytales and worlds within the psyche of one’s soul, and delight in laughter, dream in aspirational hope, and become laughing mites in a greater world of sorrow and darkness.  It is through words, sentences and conceptual compounds that wars can be averted, disasters can be presciently subverted, and love can be expressed.

Concurrently, however, it is also the venue to an inability to accomplish – and that is where the magic itself, in potion-like medicinal dependence, can undermine the vigor of living.  It is when we depend upon words alone, and ignore the reality of the physical world around us, that it contravenes the very essence of life.  For, words alone, without necessary actions to follow, will often result in a weakened state of impotence.  It allows for a somnolence of seeming serenity, where we engulf ourselves in the security of words, more words, and greater soothing slumber of mere words.

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 position, beware of the magical potion of impotence; for, one can remain in the wallowing slumber of words – words from doctors, sentences from Federal Agencies, threats from Supervisors and Managers – and never take the necessary next steps.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires that “next step” of “doing” – so that the magical potion of impotence can become transformed into the magical potion for impotence, and not remain the lesser, the subtracted, or the omitted consonant left behind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: At What Cost?

The introduction of the “cost-benefit analysis” (CBA) by the French (who else?) is a quantitative approach in determining whether to go forward with a given project.  There are other approaches, of course, but the popularity of such a utilitarian paradigm is especially attractive to Americans, precisely because it allegedly places a determinable value upon the project, endeavor or issue in question.

But not everything in life is quantifiable in monetary terms; and while the CBA approach can take into account complex factors and assign methodologies of evaluating such that otherwise unquantifiable terms can be converted into numbers, the question still comes down to a simple issue of self-reflection:  Is it worth it?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have 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 positional duties, a cost-benefit analysis is often taken with a singularly stark question:  Can I survive on the annuity proposed by statutory authority?

But this often ignores a parallel query, just as stark and similarly singular: What other choice is there?  If the medical condition arose as a matter of a work-related incident, certainly the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset should file for OWCP/DOL benefits; but even then, Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, and there will likely come a time when it is still necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The unquantifiable factors in any CBA are those more personal, intangible issues which we rarely desire to face:  What will happen if I ignore the present course of settings?  If I continue to work with my medical condition and somehow reach retirement age, what kind of shape will I be in to enjoy my “golden years”?  Will the agency tolerate my reduced productivity, and what will their next move be?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is never an easy decision, and should not be taken without a thorough and self-reflective analysis; but it is often an approach tantamount to negative-theology which will bring out the true answers to a dilemma — of what will result if one does NOT do X, as opposed to a quantification of values — and provide the necessary framework for a future reference of positive closure to a human condition which always seems, at the time and moment of suffering, to be a calamity beyond mere dollars and cents, and for which the famous Utilitarian Philosopher, John Stuart Mill noted, that actions are right “in proportion as they tend to promote happiness.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Another similar article previously published: Federal Disability Retirement pros and cons

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Be Wary of the Non-Substantive

The evolution of words, their meanings, the subtle connotations and implications gained or lost over time — these are all of interest, if only because they reflect changes to society, often in tumultuous ways, as earthquakes which shatter and create fissures within human normative designs, and in the midst of the rubble, a sense of loss and shattering beyond the mere tragedy of linguistic ruins.

In Aristotle’s time, the term “substance” had a specific meaning; and any superficial reading of Plato and his concerns involving appearance versus reality, the mysterious substratum which follows upon the continuity of what we see, what we suspect to remain unrevealed beneath the surface of visual phenomena; and, indeed, the history of philosophy is a dialogue of content verses context, from Descartes’ search for certitude rendering the entirety of Philosophy impotent by turning inward towards the self; of Kant’s consolation of such self-immolation by bifurcating the universe into a known and unknowable void; and into the modern realm of Deconstructionism, post modernity, Derrida’s meanderings, and the modern hermeneutics of non-religious definition of truth, reality and the condition of man.

Within that greater context, we are left with the devastation of a simple truth:  The essence of man rarely changes; we merely make way for new window dressings.  But through it all, we must always be wary of the non-substantive, and harken back to Aristotle’s concerns; that which we create and leave behind, we want to ensure that it survives with some rock-gut matter that makes a difference and actually matters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a condition, such that the medical condition impacts the capacity of the Federal or Postal worker to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal job, it is often that sense of loss, the discontinuity of what they were accomplishing, and the “leaving behind” of unfinished business, which pulls them from filing for what needs to be filed.

We like to finish what we began.  We want to leave a legacy, a memory of who we are, what we were, where we ended and how we got there.  The unfinished fabric of unwoven material leaves a fluff of scattered cotton fibers scattered for the winds of time to disperse.

For the Federal and Postal worker who has dedicated his or her life to a career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, leaving is a trauma upon a trauma of medical conditions.  But the Federal and Postal worker must always remember, that the substantive course of life must always begin with the impetus of self-motivation, and within the shark-infested waters of the undersea in lands and foreign worlds where human calamity coalesce, the self-preservation of one’s health must begin first, and only then can one step forward into the universe of the next career, the next life, the follow-up inning of future legacies.

Taking care of one’s self by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the move of wisdom if one is to secure a future of accomplishment and actualization of any remaining potentiality.  We all have reasons for not doing something.  Be wary of the non-substantive.  Focus always upon the true meaning of who we are, what we have become, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire