Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those Fall Leaves

The time of change and spectrums of colors beyond mere rainbows of solitude; it is often poetically described as the season of deterioration, of old age before the winter of mortality.  Fall brings about a freshness of cooler winds, a precursor of foretelling that those dog days of summer have come to an end.  Ever look at the fallen leaves and mistake them for something else — an animal, perhaps, or a figure of caustic imagination?

Such projections erupting from our own fears and hesitancy reveal the true state of our being.  The leaves bring color to an otherwise dreary existence; once fallen, they can take on whatever hopes, dreams and fears we wish to accentuate.  Looked upon from a distance, shapes of crinkling leaves can take on forms enhanced through our imaginations.  It is only when we deliberate, walk up closer, and verify, that we can ascertain with a semblance of certitude that it was not what we thought, or that it constituted nothing more than our fears gone awry.

Fear and imagination tends to do that; until we take affirmative steps to ascertain, verify and concretize, what is left in a muddle remains so.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sit and fret over one’s future because of a medical condition which has begun to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the fear of future forebodings becomes an exponentially-enhanced subject of terror and trembling, so long as pragmatic steps of self-affirmation are avoided and neglected.

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, may seem like a small step, or perhaps a too-large one in supposing an end to an otherwise successful career.  But sitting in fear and loathing is never a solution; one must, by affirmative steps and bounds, break the isolation of fear and move forward with life.

As the fallen leaves of Fall are merely a season of change, and the colors which surround the spectrum of life’s spector, to remain as a spectator to the vastness of change is to allow for the vicissitudes of misgivings to shake the essence of purpose.

Like the crinkled leaf which sits afar and takes on a gargoyle-like appearance, it is only when those first steps are embraced towards ascertaining, verifying and establishing that the very fears we once took comfort in, are but mere wisps of whispers dissipating into oblivion, once we take those initial steps in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, in order to defy the foreboding of the winter season yet to come, but where our future lies not in fear but in securing a semblance of stability through a benefit available but for want of hesitation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Devising Escape Routes

What a person spends his or her time doing away from work, reveals much as to how one’s work will be accomplished.  If one attempts immediately to build protective walls around the core of a project in an effort to stave off potential marauders, as opposed to focusing upon the substantive essence of the idea itself, then perhaps the vulnerability of the project itself will begin to manifest.

Our own fears often overwhelm; but healthy fear can be a positive use of an evolutionary tool meant to apprise and alert.  It is only when it becomes an impediment and obstacle for progress and advancement that our own self-immolative actions begin to impact our capacity to grow.  There is a delicate balance between healthy fear and that which lends itself to self-destruction.  Proper evaluation and analysis of a circumstance or situation is required in order to establish the former; for the latter, a groundless allowance without facts or evaluative input.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the question often becomes, At what point do I begin to consider escape routes?  Do I need to devise them, or are the mechanisms already in place?

Escape routes are devised in response to dangers present; and often it will appear as if the manifestation of a medical condition will bring out the worst in others.  Isn’t that an anomaly in and of itself — that one’s own deterioration of health will impact the behavior of others, in a derogatory manner?  But that is precisely what a “stress test” is for, is it not?  It is never in the best of circumstances that reveals the true nature of a thing; rather, it is under adverse conditions which unravel the artificial appendages with which we camouflage.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat like an “escape route”, in that it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to exit from the adversity of circumstances, and plan for one’s future.  One need not “devise” it, to the extent that it is “already there” — a benefit for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum number of years of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).

For the Federal or Postal employee considering such a route, the priorities of life should always prevail:  Focus upon one’s health in an effort to remain (for those who are beset with a medical condition which is “work-related”, filing for Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits may be the first option to consider); then, if it becomes clear that one’s medical condition is impacting the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and that the medical condition will last a minimum of 1 year (and it should be emphasized that one does not need to wait for a year in order to determine this aspect; rather, it is merely a medical prognosis that the medical condition will likely last at least 12 months or more that is required), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

In the end, it is not a matter of devising escape routes, but rather of recognizing the limits of human endurance, evaluating one’s place within the context of growing adversity, then acting upon those exit points available and allowable — then to make a proper decision for one’s self, and for one’s family and future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Balance of Information

Most administrative entanglements involve some measure of balancing.  How much information to provide; determination of that which constitutes satisfaction of the request; whether, and to what extent, the information is sufficient to complete the transaction; and other similar analytical evaluations prior to submitting the compendium of data.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers struggling to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s agency (if still on the rolls and not separated for more than 31 days), and then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (unless one has been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, but not more than 1 year, as all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be submitted within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service), the key component and measure is the effectiveness of Standard Form 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The act of balancing begins upon an initial review of the questions posed by SF 3112A.  While other forms require basic information concerning one’s personal data and the agency for whom the Federal or Postal employee works (e.g., SF 3107 series, including Schedules A, B & C), the SF 3112A is the linchpin of it all.  Care should be taken in answering the questions; reflection upon the character and extent of the data provided; editing and review of any final submission.  Too much, or too little.

The Goldilocks principle should always be applied, and when served in just the right amount, the true test of the balance of information has been finally met.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: That Spare Tire

We rarely think about it; and it is somewhere “back there”, in the event of, in case, if it happens, as a contingency, as an insurance policy, for the rare occasion of a potential mishap.  But with the modern ingenuity of reinforced rubber with a manufacturing process of innerliner calendering, one rarely even sees a car on the side of the road with a lone figure attempting to locate the spare tire, with the car unevenly perched upon a device secured in a dimensionally precarious manner, to change that flat tire.

But it does happen, and even with all of the advances in technology which resists direct punctures and roadside hazards pounding away at the four (or more) elements which keep the vehicle running, the flat tire and the need for a spare requires the safety net to ensure that secure sense of a peaceful mind.

Like life insurance, fire and catastrophic umbrella policies, the spare tire will always remain, no matter any future inventions or guarantees of outdated necessity.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are part of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, Federal Disability Retirement is precisely that spare tire which provides a semblance of security if and when the need arises.

Most Federal and Postal employees continue their careers to the end, until the time of retirement, or a transference of talents and abilities to the private sector for more lucrative venues; but for that small percentage of Federal or Postal employees who find that, during the course of one’s career, a medical condition has interrupted one’s goals and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, then preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a necessary contingency to trigger.

Suddenly, the benefit looms larger than ever, is more important than previously recognized, and becomes lauded as the lifesaver of the moment.  That is precisely what we do with the spare tire — we do not even think about it, nor are aware of its precise whereabouts (except that it is under the vehicle, in the trunk, or somewhere “back there”), but travel about with the peace of mind that, in the rare hypothetical event of “if”, it is there to be accessed, so that once the change is made, we are again well on our way down the road of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire