Federal Employee Disability Information: Options

The telephone-recorded options are the most irritating of all, of course — for, if you hit the wrong one, or fail to remember the correct numeral identified after being offered an endless litany of alternatives, none of which quite fit what you are looking for, then you have to wait until a further option is offered to go back to the general directory in order to once again choose the option offered.

Have such recordings become more irritating as time has passed, or is it that we have become so numb to so many such encounters that we have lost patience with that metallic voice that has replaced the human one?  What is it about a recording that gets us so incensed?

Objectively, isn’t it all the same — we never “meet” the “person” anyway, whether it is a recording or a “real person” on the other end of the line: both are mere voices, but why is the automated recording so much more irritating than a live person?  Is it because we know the futility of landing a sarcastic response to the recording, as opposed to slamming our frustrations upon an individual who possesses feelings, and whose day we can potentially ruin by shouting, yelling, demeaning and spewing forth destructive epithets to and against?

In life generally, we all have them — options.  Sometimes, we are confronted with too many, and thus are left with a confounding sense of confusion.  At other times, the options are “there” somewhere, but we just don’t know them because we are too blind to the ones hidden or too stubborn to concede our ignorance.  In those instances, it is best to consult with someone who can present the options hidden, those unstated, or otherwise unknown.

In some circumstances, of course, the options available may be severely limited — as in a Federal or Postal employee suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s essential job functions.  In such situations, the limited options must be considered in light of the priorities one assigns to the values one accords: How important is one’s health?  Is the deterioration of one’s health as exacerbated by the job one is remaining in important enough to continue with?  If so, perhaps disability retirement is not the “right” option.

Stay and remain; resign, walk away or get terminated and do nothing; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The three options presented must be considered in light of one’s health, the effects upon it if one remains, and whether the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will continue to tolerate one’s excessive absences, inability to perform many of the essential functions of one’s job, etc.

When, after the options are considered, the Federal or Postal employee decides to move forward in 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, then it is time to consider further options as well, such as whether one wants to represent one’s self in the process, like the old adage of that person who has a fool for a client — of representing one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Applicant’s Statement

The SF 3112A is the focal point of it all; without it, the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement application would be incomplete, inconsequential and insidiously irrelevant.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management can make a decision on a Federal Disability Retirement application — theoretically — without full answers or incomplete answers of the “other” forms, such as the Checklist, or even the Supervisor’s Statement; but as for the SF 3112A, The Applicant’s Statement of Disability — well, there is no getting around the fact of its prominence, importance and position of significance and relevance.

The Applicant’s Statement of Disability puts everything in its proper perspective; it tells the narrative of one’s medical conditions; it provides (or, at least should) the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job, tasks, duties, positional requirements, etc., and gives a key and insight into the very foundation of the legal criteria for OPM to either grant or deny a Federal Disability Retirement application.  That being the case, why would a Federal or Postal employee leave such an important component as the content and substance of an SF 3112A up to one’s own self?

The person who suffers from the medical condition can hardly be the one to properly, adequately or completely describe the key components of one’s medical condition and its impact upon one’s positional duties; for, the one who suffers by definition is the very.same person who is divorced from having an objective perspective.

Remember, always, that Federal Disability Retirement is a medically-based administrative procedure — one which must encompass and encapsulate the objectivity of medical documentation, the meeting of a legal criteria that has evolved over many decades, and an aggregation of the two combined in order to persuade the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the compendium of one’s documented evidentiary findings rises to the level of a preponderance of the evidence presented in a coherent manner to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Does such an endeavor appear consistent with the Federal or Postal employee who is too sick to work the essential elements of one’s job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Games

How do we learn how to play them?  If we play Game-X, must we follow “all” of the rules ordinarily known and ascribed in order for Game-X to still be recognizable as such, or does it become “Modified Game-X”.

If little Toby plays his first game, but doesn’t know the rules, yet nevertheless realizes that games are “fun” because everyone else is smiling and seemingly excited, does the fact that the kid-who-knows-no-rules plays without knowing the limits and boundaries of the game make him into a participant, or a pariah?  Of course, if he stamps his feet in the middle of the game and declares that he doesn’t like the game, and walks off (even taking with him the proverbial ball), can we declare him to be a poor sport, an okay-sport, or any sport at all if he never knew the rules of the game in the first place and therefore never quite played the “real” game?

How about dogs — do they “play” games?  The dog that chases the ball but doesn’t want to bring it back to the ball-thrower, and instead runs away with it — has he broken the “rules of the game”?  How is it that dogs play games with their masters without ever being able to explain what the parameters of the rules are?

Then, of course, there is the slight modification in the term “games”, as in “games that people play”.  We all know what that means — of being insincere, fake, or otherwise putting on a double-face.  Why is that called a “game”?  Is it because it is not real, and constitutes a copy of “make-believe”, much like playing a game when we all know that it is not reality that is being rehearsed; and yet, isn’t playing a game — any game — just a part of the reality of the world we live in?  Why, then, is life bifurcated between “games” and “reality”, when in fact both are real in the sense that we are living a life of surviving, making a living, etc.?  Yet, we constantly distinguish between “playing” and “living”, as if there is a difference to be identified.

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 any longer performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, career or craft, the preparations needed to come to a point of realizing that an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed, often requires a recognition that the proverbial “game” is “up”.

Whether the Supervisors and Managers at the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility are up to their usual “games” or not — of harassment, derisive comments, making your life “hell” by increasing the levels of pressure or stress, is really besides the point.  What matters is that life itself is not a “game” at all, and those who separate games from the daily living activities don’t really “get it”.

Medical conditions bring to the forefront the reality of living, and the harshness of how people treat other people.  Yes, preparing 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, may seem like just one of those other “games” that have to be “played” — but the reality is that an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is a necessary part of life’s many facets of games and reality-based endeavors, such that the “rules of the game” always need to be consulted in order to “play” it well, and thus the first step is to learn the rules by consulting with an attorney who can advise on the rules themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

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 an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire