Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Servitude

It is a term that is viewed as neutral in one sense; for, the concept itself, while implying subjection to an owner or master, does not require it.  “Slavery”, on the other hand, necessarily connotes a system of ownership and involuntary compulsion; “servitude” can quite simply be tied to the idea that there exists a lack of freedom.

Taking it a step further, one can experience servitude if one has complete freedom; for, the excess of X often results in the opposite of X, as in the statement, “If everything is nothingness, then nothing is everything.”  Thus do we believe that, in modernity, everyone has greater liberty and freedom.  Fewer and fewer issues are any longer societal taboos – from what entertainment we prefer to any constraints on the choice of a career, Western society claims to have the greatest extent of freedom.

Yet, why is it that people don’t “feel” free?

That economic limitations and restrictions seem oppressive; that no one has time to gather together as families; that the more technology accords and claims to give us greater freedom to do “other things”, the less time we feel we have to do anything but work and rush about in this world where the intrusiveness of technology has had its opposite effect – not of granting greater freedom, but of voluntarily goading us into a servitude of acceptance.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of creating that bondage of servitude.  Somehow, when a medical condition begins to develop, it ties us down, requires us to change the way we have been living, and forces us to think again about the priorities in our lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have “served” their Federal and Postal “masters” well, the rise of a medical condition often magnifies how much we are a “slave” to time, to productivity and to the pursuance of goals that somehow, in light of the medical condition, become less and less of importance.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a necessity required by and resulting from a medical condition that makes the Federal or Postal employee realize that he or she can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

All the while, the anomaly of life intrudes: One had believed that one had chosen freely one’s Federal or Postal job, but when the medical condition began to impede, and the demands of the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility made it clear that it had become a job of servitude, it may be time to cut those chains of bondage and free one’s self to attend to the greater arena of liberty – one’s health, by preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Motive and Motivation

The similarities are almost indistinguishable; yet, the slightly nuanced distinction makes for the differentiation between intent and desire, and while both are nouns, it is not the grammatical identifier by which we seek their impetus.  The former is often unknown, hidden, deliberately concealed, such that a kind gesture or an act of empathy may have an ulterior basis beyond the mere surface of revelation.  Think about Vito Corleone in the movie, The Godfather; when he granted a favor, did he ever reveal his underlying motive?  The latter constitutes that ethereal quality, unable to be grasped but which, if the secret ingredients were bottled as merchandise to be sold, would grant the inventor untold wealth beyond those who market pills to boost testosterone levels in a society overcome with virtual madness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the distinction between motive and motivation may be the difference between remaining static or advancing in life.  To remain in place and attempt to decipher the former in the impending or anticipated actions of one’s agency, the U.S. Postal Service, or of Supervisors and Managers who daily connive and consider in furtive whispers of confidential backbiting, is to forever waste precious time upon the unknowable and indeterminate.  To possess the latter, whether in spurts of ephemeral wisps, like time which once seemed as the fortress of youth but left behind in the residue of an angel’s wings fluttering into the universe of the fantasy of unknown caverns, is to release the last vestige of rational import and move forward into a life beyond a career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Sometimes, to accept less is to gain more.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM may not always seem like an act of advancement, especially given that one is giving up a career, cutting one’s income, and relying upon an agency for a lifetime annuity; but when a medical condition cuts short the presentation of alternatives 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, is often the best motive in a universe constrained by the motivation of self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: For Want of…

It is the lack which often compels motion, and thus do we observe that “necessity is the mother of invention”, a proverb derived from a centuries’ old Latin phrase denoting that hardships result in unique ways in which to compensate for deprivation.  The opposite perspective — of plenitude and overabundance of indulgence — also reflects a lack, but one which which identifies the predicate based upon the negative subject:  of being spoiled and wanting of motivation and desire to succeed.

Necessity, indeed, is often a prompting and incentivizing force, as well as fear of the unknown, a desire to secure a foundation of predictability, and a motivating factor to escape from the destructive jaws of a hostile work environment.  Whatever the underlying force urging one’s intent, the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who finds him or herself within the confines of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, and one which impacts and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the dual-meaning of the phrase, “For want of…” is often the basis for action.

It can mean that there is an innate and compelling force or desire to attain something; conversely, it can denote the lack of a core need, which propels the Federal or Postal worker to begin to act, and in pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is necessary to begin by taking some affirmative step in order to begin the process.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can be a long and arduous bureaucratic process — one which depletes the soul, dampens the spirit, and denigrates the psyche.  But what are the alternatives?  We already know the destructive force of remaining where we stand, but it is precisely the incentivizing conditions of such deplorable circumstances which compels the Federal or Postal employee to consider filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement in the first place.

For want of future security (used in the positive sense) or for want of one’s health (used in the negative, “lacking” sense), the options are limited, but the end-goal can be rewarding, as wanting requires action and initiative, and want of one’s circumstances may be the compelling force necessitating alternate routes of inventive compulsions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explicit versus Implicit

The former leaves no room for confusion or doubt; the latter, a bit of “wiggle room” where insinuations, hints and suggestive openings are characteristic invitations of open regards.  They are not mutually exclusive within a paragraph or even a sentence; they are, however, antonyms, and should be used with context-defined relevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the choice of either can determine the future viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Certainly, there are times in life when one chooses the latter methodology, for various reasons — perhaps being forthright and blunt is not the “right” approach; perhaps there is fear of offending, or mere laziness and sludge of confrontation prevents one from being straightforward.  In the legal arena, the former approach is preferable, if only to squeeze out the light of linguistic malleability and flexibility in supercilious argumentation.  But in the context of an OPM Disability Retirement packet, there will often contain multiple usages.

One’s Supervisor, in completing SF 3112B (Supervisor’s Statement), may present contradictory information by checking a box which is relatively unequivocal (is that an oxymoron — to use the terms “relatively” and “unequivocal” in the same breadth of a sentence?) but placing remarks implying the exact opposite in response to “explanatory” and more expansive questions.  Or, for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, in completing SF 3112A, the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability”, there may be a strategy in mixing both explicit statements and providing for implicit openings for meanings and connections.

Certainly, the “law” of Federal Disability Retirement allows for it; but one must always take care in addressing the nature, extent and susceptibility of statutory interpretation in formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Ultimately, as in most things in life, the former is preferable to the latter; though, wiggle room and the dictates social conventions may sometimes require one to be explicitly implicit in order to be inefficiently efficacious.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire