OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The peskiness of life

Somehow, like children and rats, or of mice and men, the peskiness of life continues to trail behind us.  We think that things are going well, and then suddenly we realize that the nagging peskiness of life’s challenges has once again come upon us.  We wonder when that period of nirvana will be reached; that goal that we allegedly strive for each day of our lives; when will it come to fruition?

Life is difficult, and it becomes all the more so because of the technology all around us that persuades, convinces and pulls the proverbial wool over our eyes by making us think that everyone else lives a life of perfection.

Yes, yes, we believe we are all so much more sophisticated than to be “taken in” by the lies of advertisements, instagram pictures and those ads that urgently scream at us to “Call Now!  Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime!”  But are we?  If we truly believe in the subconscious — and advertising agencies certainly do — why then would we discount the power of the subliminal message, the persuasive impact of repetition and the daunting images that haunt and pursue?

Movies and television programs tell us daily of the exciting lives of others; instagram photographs reveal that lives of perfection exist in all other households; Facebook postings establish that everyone but you live interesting lives; and the peskiness of life seems to just follow me and you, while the rest of the world merely splashes through the gaiety of life’s endless stream of summer laughs and winter’s avoidance of discontent where youth is never stretched beyond the smile of a springtime dream and old age never comes upon the drifting leaves of fall.

Then, of course, there is the medical condition that suddenly comes upon us — where peskiness of life becomes magnified by the reality of human frailty.

Fortunately, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, there is the added benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement when that peskiness of life begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal job or the Postal craft.  Remember, however, that in formulating the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, be careful in not including too many whines and groans about irrelevancies that do not focus upon the core of answering each question.

But, then, the questions themselves are quite tricky, are they not — showing further that even in trying to obtain a benefit that is part of one’s Federal career or Postal package of compensatory benefits, one must always take care in making sure that the peskiness of life — that bundle of problems that makes it seem like life is so simple and beautiful everywhere else but in your own corner — doesn’t finally defeat you by making the simple mistake of not consulting with an attorney before you proceed down a road that makes peskiness into a very real legal problem of greater proportions than it was ever intended.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Trust

Is it by actions followed by words, or by mere words spoken that it develops, solidifies and concretizes? Can we really go by appearances alone, or must there be a history of words followed by actions, followed further by assurances, then again by more actions, until a sense of comfort and solidarity of feeling comes together to form an aggregate whole where we declare within our inner consciences, “Yes, I trust him (her)”?

Trust is a peculiar human emotion –for, it is an emotion, in the end, is it not?

Not quite like smiling or crying; not nearly a cousin to a shriek or a wail; but more akin to a calm, a peace of mind or a self-satisfying sigh.  Once earned, it can last a lifetime and beyond into off-springs and surviving relatives; once betrayed, it may be that it can never be restored, no matter how many apologies, the innumerable “make-up” actions and the irrelevancy of gifts galore.  For, how can you restore that which was meant to be inviolable?

If a spouse cheats once, will the suspicion of another time ever disappear?  If a person abandons his or her post and absconds in the middle of the night, does that not hint to a character flaw that he or she can and likely will do the same thing again?  Would an embezzler be invited to be employed as the head treasurer once accused, convicted and imprisoned?  Can trust shaken once ever be regained?

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of trust will need to be met head-on at some point.

When should the Agency be told of one’s intentions to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  Who should be told and who will be the one to tell?  How will confidential issues – gleaned from medical records and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability – be handled, and by whom and by which prying eyes?  Should the issue of confidentiality be magnified, be concerned over, and which employees actually have a “right to know” concerning all such issues?

These and many other legal entanglements constitute the encompassing purview of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and for answers to these complex questions, queries should be made in consultation with an expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, it is the lawyer who is the advisor and counselor who gains the trust of the client through his experience, specialty and knowledge of the law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Calculus of Change

The title itself is somewhat of a tautology, for the branch of mathematics is defined as a study of change, divided into differential calculus and integral calculus; both, concerning the function and limits of mathematical constancy and potential quantum leaps for purposes of analyzing quantitative future applications.

We all assume some amount of change; if there is a differential to be considered, the rate of such change can be significant over an extended period of time, whereas the initial analysis can be a minimal irrelevancy.  It is the exponential rate of change applied over a lengthy period, which can produce change significant enough to enter into the calculus of future indicators.

Change is a recognized inevitability, though human expectation is often one of dependency upon the constancy of habituation and permanence.  We expect, when we open a door into a familiar room, for the interior decoration to have remained the same as the last time we entered; but who is to say that a spouse or family member did not, in the meantime, rearrange the furniture or put up new curtains?

Change has an inherent character of disquietude; it is the constancy of repetitive permanence which allows for solitary reflection and comfort.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, the disruption posed by the change in one’s circumstances — of fiscal, professional, social, cognitive and physical (i.e., the mere act of going to work each day, etc.) — can be tremendous and traumatic.

In preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, it is always a positive engagement of efforts to consider the calculus of change, and to not leave the alterations in one’s life in dismissive form as mere statistical irrelevance.

For, in the end, the biggest change of all has already occurred, in the form of an impacting medical condition which has prevented the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal sector; the rest is mere window dressing to the very essence of a changed life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Etymology versus Entomology

The difference in spelling involves more than a single letter; but in using the words in a sentence, the subtle distinction of a single consonant makes for all the relevance in the world.  One refers to the very history and evolution of words, their meaning and usage; the other is a branch of a larger discipline of arthropodology, the subset of which focuses upon insects and the study thereof.

In speech, therefore, the mistaken insertion of the consonant can create a hilarious situation resulting from the unknowing misuse of the word; whereas, in written form, it would probably be quickly identified as a misspelling and overlooked without appreciating the “funny-ness” of the error.  And, as well, the difference between speech and written form allows for checks, re-checks and changes before the final submission of that which is presented to a viewer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the ability of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important component in the administrative process itself.

Often, one hears the grumbles and complaints of those who say, “If only I could just explain it…”  As opposed to?  Yes, the intonation and persuasive voice of speech can be an effective tool, and in contrast to the written form, which can be viewed and analyzed over time, the one-time urgency of the used-car salesman can certainly turn the immediacy of a decision into a statistically relevant sales pitch; but that is why submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received as a “paper-presentation”, precisely because it involves medical documentation, laws to be applied, and criteria to be analyzed by OPM in order to make a proper decision concerning all Federal Disability Retirement submissions.

It is the written form which allows for expungement and erasures of subtle mistakes; and when the final Federal Disability Retirement application is compiled, submitted and presented, it is the effort of careful deliberation in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet which will make all the difference to the administrative specialist at OPM.

For, while a quick sale may be made by the persuasive voice of the used-car salesman, that is precisely the reason why there are laws concerning changed minds after the ink has dried on the signature line of a contract; and like the distinction to be made between “etymology” and “entomology”, the pen must be the sword of choice in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application 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