FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: That bright star

We remember learning about the various constellations; and, these days, we are merely one “Google-away” from identifying that morning point of light that seems to shine so bright just over the horizon, and has moved since you first noticed it the evening before. Google ruins everything.  There was a time when discussions would last long into the night because memories failed us — who was that actor in Movie-such-and-such; what was the last line in so-and-so play; and what was the name of the character in that blah-blah television series?

We no longer need to remember; poems no longer require reciting from memory; facts and dates are accessible with the click of a button; arguments and discussions no longer are required because they can all be looked up at Wikipedia.

Yet, in the objective world, or in that universe where Kant bifurcated the subjective from the inaccessible objective universe, that bright star continues to shine, and no matter what Google says or Wikipedia posits, the mystery of time, the external universe and the fact that the bright star shining may already have disappeared eons ago and the idea that what we see is merely the residual aftereffects just reaching one’s pupils within an universe that fails to betray such mysteries of eternity, we can still enjoy the quietude of a pinhole of light within the darkness that surrounds.

And then there is the singular existence of a human being staring at that bright star in the morning silence even before the first bark of the neighborhood stirring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability or capacity to perform one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often that “feeling” one has in staring at the bright star — alone, isolated and apart from the rest of the universe — that makes one fearful of the world beyond.

Federal Agencies and the Postal Service tend to make the Federal or Postal employee feel isolated and alone when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS can seem like a lonely prospect — somewhat akin to the feeling one gets when standing outside looking at that bright star.  That is why consulting with an Attorney who Specializes in Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law is an important step in pursing the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement: To know that the bright star is there, and that we are not alone to counter the troubles of this world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Force of laughter

Is language necessary for laughter to follow?  If so, what accounts for the slapstick comedy that erupts with uproarious belly-shaking guffaws that reverberate throughout?  What is the fine line between laughter and sorrow — of the man who slips and upends upon a slippery banana left unnoticed on the sidewalk, to realizing that the injuries are serious enough to land him in the emergency room; what divides the chasm between comedy and tragedy?  And of the force of laughter — can it be forced and, if so, does the force of laughter have the same effect as laughter naturally erupting?

Say you live in an Orwellian state — a totalitarian regime somewhat like the one prevailing in North Korea — and you stand beside “The Great One” who cracks a joke.  You do not find it funny, and nor does anyone else; but you laugh, anyway, because you are expected to laugh on pain of death.  Is there a difference between that laughter and the one that you cannot help because the punch-line is so deliciously delivered that self-control cannot be exercised even upon pain of death?

What if a contest were held — of “Who can tell the funniest joke” — and it is between a known comic and again, “The Great One”.  You are one of 3 judges on a panel, and you know that if “The Great One” does not win the contest, you will likely be sent to a Gulag on the next train the morning after.  First, the known comic does his or her routine for half an hour, and everyone “loses it” and laughs with abandonment.  Next, “The Great One” goes through his routine, and everyone laughs just as hard, if not harder.

Can one distinguish between the first half of the contest where everyone has “lost it”, and the second half where the laughter is louder, the rolling on the floor exceeded exaggerated enjoyment, and by all accounts, “The Great One” received the louder laughter?

The force of laughter always possesses that duality of a conundrum: Laughter can be forced, but the force of laughter may not have the same force if force is derived from the forcing of it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has in recent times denied one the genuine force of laughter, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Laughter can be infectious, but when a medical condition deflates and dissipates the quality of one’s life, one’s career, and the incongruence that can come between health and continuation in one’s job, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.  When the force of laughter is robbed because of a medical condition that has become chronic and intractable, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM may be the best option left in order to avoid that hollow laughter that comes from laughing at a joke delivered by “The Great One”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Outward appearance, inward thoughts

It is, of course, the core of Western thought, originating from Socratic arguments against placing one’s faith in the “appearance” of things as opposed to the Platonic Forms that represent true Being; and through Aristotelian arguments of a “substratum” that underlies the outward appearance, to the certitude of Cogito, ergo sum; then, the inner reliance where subjectivity and objectivity coalesce and the distinctions became undoable by Wittgenstein’s standards of banishing all Philosophical problems to mere linguistic confusion, and the belittling scoffs of Russell’s mischievous analysis; these, and many more in the history of contemplative reflection that has haunted the aggregate of outward appearance versus inward thoughts.

All of which brings us to the core of so many medical conditions – where so much cannot be seen and we often have to “exaggerate” just to get people to believe us.  Take “pain”, as an example – one can be in excruciating pain, and yet remain unemotional about it.  Even if an MRI result shows that there is a physical basis for which the pain is experienced, nevertheless, pain by definition is a subjective component, and cannot publicly be quantified.

That is why conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain syndrome, Failed Back Syndrome, not to even mention Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. – how does one persuade others of the “real-ness” of the condition?  Broken bones, malignant tumors, catastrophic injuries; these, inward thoughts (believability) are consistent with outward appearance.

There is, in the end, a distinction with a difference that must be acknowledged, between “having a medical condition” and “proving a medical condition” – especially when it comes to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  There are, moreover, certain factors that “favor” the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – such as the standard of proof (Preponderance of the Evidence, as opposed to higher legal standards out there); the weight and validity of a treating doctor’s opinion; and certain clinical evidence that moves the chess pieces beyond mere subjective opinion, thereby bridging the gap between outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application requires more than just gathering a pile of medical documents and submitting it. In the end, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must PROVE one’s case, in order to get beyond mere outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Stifling rationalism

Although it may no longer show in modernity, it was the dominant methodology accepted as reflecting the Aristotelian belief that man is essentially a rational animal, and thus the general approach towards reaching conclusions should embrace the perspective that the criterion of truth is based upon not sensory, but intellectual and deductive foundations.

But if the thought process fails to utilize the formal laws governing deductive reasoning, and nobody reads Russell or Quine, anyway, what is the difference?  Is it merely an appendage to the conclusion reached, by declaring, “That’s the only logical way to think about this!” – and if we add the exclamation point, state it with a clear and loud voice, does that make it so? What is the distinction to be made, from a valuation or validation viewpoint, between decisions and judgments rendered based upon empirical evidence, deductive or logical reasoning, a combination of both or all three, and the contrast as against an “emotional” basis for reaching conclusions?

If an individual engages in complex futures trading on the stock market, for example, and bases such transactional activities upon unscientific methodologies, is it not the success of the venture (i.e., a retrospective judgment on the matter) that will ultimately determine the success or failure of each approach?

Take the hypothetical of the following: Securities and futures trading can now be done with a laptop from home, and we have Jim, Nancy and Deborah, each of whom thinks that he or she constitutes the brilliance of Wall Street’s best and brightest (though none have had any prior experience but are engaged in vocations far and distant from anything to do with it).

Jim looks at the relevant newspaper quotations and likes the way the numbers coalesce, and makes the trade based upon that comforting sensory impression.  Nancy, in a different state and unbeknownst to Jim, has been pouring over the numbers, calculating, looking at the history of past performances, and creates an algorithm founded upon a calculus of probabilities, and pushes that computer button to deplete one’s bank account based upon mathematical precision that approaches some semblance of certainty, but never quite.  And Deborah, well, she possesses on this day a certain “instinctive” feeling about a particular futures trade, and proceeds entirely upon this emotional response.  Of the three, whom do we consider as validated, worthy of following or respecting of methodologies?

If Deborah were to increase her portfolio by, say, 500%, and Jim merely breaks even but Nancy loses her proverbial shirt, would we dismiss it by thinking, “Ah, just pure luck”?  On the other hand, if Jim were to make a nominal profit, Nancy were to obtain significant returns, and it was Deborah who lost everything, would it change our attitudes and confirm the notion that rationalism prevailed because it is the only valid approach to life’s complexities?

The acceptance of rationalism is inevitable for the rational animal; elevating it to a status where all other approaches are stifled, however, can ignore the spectrum of other dimensions just as valid in human life.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it may be that “rationality” cautions one to remain in the Federal or Postal job because of job security and financial stability.

But there are other considerations, as well, such as an instinctive will to survive; and when stifling rationalism quiets the voice of health’s call to safety, it may well be time to consider 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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: The helpful other perspective

Before going “whole-hog” with anything in life, the greater wisdom often confirms that we should try and obtain a differing perspective on the matter, if only to affirm the correctness of our own, or to consider the fissures and weaknesses we are blind to.  Wise people seek wisdom; fools travel down roads not merely untested, but even unprepared.  Such a tautology is a mere self-evident fact of life, but we nevertheless follow blindly where the blind leads.

If an individual discounts the criticisms of everyone else, then the wisdom one holds is merely the price of one’s own mistakes, and so long as others are not required to pay for them, the pathway to disaster can be easily paved without involving the toil and anguish of others.

One may query:  assuming it is wise to seek the input of another, how does one nevertheless know that such a differing viewpoint is “helpful” at all?  What if that other perspective is even worse of a disaster than my own?  Such a question, of course, is likely asked in a vacuum; for, there are varying indicators that one may discern in seeking advice from others –  reputation; demeanor; knowledge previously revealed; capacity to listen; established specialty in a particular field, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 need to seek the helpful “other” perspective is often a necessary prerequisite.

Why?

Because, when a medical condition is impacting one’s health – whether singularly physical, or mental or a combination of both – the debilitated state that one experiences often provides a skewered perspective, and that is why garnering and employing the advice of an attorney who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often a necessary component of the process.

Yes, there may well be those rare “slam-dunk” cases, whether gathering and submitting the medical records alone will obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  But, then, everyone who files a Federal Disability Retirement application believes his or her submission to be just that –  undeniable, unequivocally established, and unassailably confirmed.

Why is that?

Because the person who experiences the medical condition is the same person who is preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application – and he or she who feels the pain, presupposes that everyone else must also be able to comprehend such a state of decline.  Unfortunately, this is not the case – at least, not from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is also another one of those “other” perspectives that must be contended with.

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

 

Federal Disability Retirements: This cold and impervious universe

Of course, the title is more akin to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, as opposed to an interventionist deity of a personal nature.  Yet, even of the latter, the question of whether any real influence can be gotten, or whether fate had already predetermined the course of future actions, is certainly debatable.  If one ‘appeals’ to the guidance of a personal idol, but hears nothing, is there any distinguishable distinction to be made from that of a prime move, unperturbed by cries of tragic consequences?

Aside from the metaphysical queries, the view that we live in a cold and impervious universe is one of unaccountable ‘feelings’; and while one’s emotional response may not correlate with the firmer foundation of logical analysis, there is little basis for undermining the validity of such conclusions any more than arriving at it from a systematic rejection of a metaphysical argument.  Both approaches are equally valid, and the former may be more so, given the experiential reinforcements by most through anecdotal evidence.

That wars in foreign lands devastating entire communities, decimating whole cities and making refugees of innocent children and bystanders who merely want to live a quiet life, cannot be denied.

Closer to home, of antiseptic neighborhoods in classical suburbia – that quintessential cauldron of “phoniness” rejected by Holden Caulfield in his magnum opus, The Catcher in the Rye.  Here, where communities are defined by fences and self-imposed solitary confinement, the only time we open our doors is when an ambulance or other disturbing intrusions forces us to gawk with concern for another neighbor quietly being transported to an unknown facility of no-return.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has come to a critical point where performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties becomes an incommensurability beyond mere difficulty, but a reality that can no longer be hidden – the conclusion that this is a cold and impervious universe is merely heightened by the uncaring unresponsiveness of the Federal or Postal employee’s agency and its co-conspirators.

The legal terms are always bandied about:  “Accommodations”; “FMLA protection”; “allowance for being on LWOP”; and other such mechanisms; but truth be told, the agency and the U.S. Postal Service merely wants to shed itself, as soon as possible, of any employee who dares to whisper the heretical utterance:  “I am suffering, and need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.”

In the end, it is the law itself that allows for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that gives one pause, for the benefit itself is at least one counterpoint to the question of whether this world we live in is entirely a cold and impervious universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire