OPM Disability Retirement: The Lost Illusions

In childhood, we retained many illusions; as adulthood came to fruition, such illusions were slowly stripped away, one by one, until reality hardened the sunlight of hope and replaced them with the gloom of daily existence.  Then, sometime later in life, when maturity formed the mold of contentment and latter-day fancies allowed for happiness to reside, we came to compromise with life’s misgivings, allowing that not everyone is bad, not everything is a failure, and not every regret has to be turned into a nightmare attributable to the fault of our parents.

In short, we finally grew up.  But what about those lost illusions?

We define an illusion as that which is wrongly perceived — in other words, it is our “perception” of X that is in error, and not the substance of what X actually is.  Encountering “Being” in the world is a scary matter [sic] in and of itself; for many, the elixir of living in a world of illusions is preferable to the ugly reality of pure Being; just visit any mental institution and one can get a sense of a universe where illusion dominates.

Throughout life, we must always adjust the world as we perceive it, the manner in which we desire to perceive, and the reality of matching perception with pure Being.  It is the game of expectations and the bumping into reality that is the hardest lesson to learn; and for most, the lost illusions of childhood yearning constantly battles to regain our need for a time past, a regret turned, and a desire snuffed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the illusion that one’s Federal or Postal position was secure for a lifetime’s future engagement may be the first thing that needs to be shed.

Further, the illusion that your Agency or Postal unit will be cooperative during the long and complex administrative process — because you “earned it” or that your prior years of dedicated service should count for something — may also be an illusion that needs to be set aside.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will likely require the shedding of many illusions, and like those lost illusions once held by the innocent child that was once you, the illusions inherent in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is no different precisely because the encounter with Being is still the tumultuous affair that it always has been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Value of Consistency

Consistency establishes validity; validation results in enhancement of credibility; and credibility prevails over minor errors and unintended oversights.  In analyzing a narrative, or engaging in a comparative analysis of two or more documents, it is the factual and historical consistency which allows for a conclusion of validated credibility. When a pattern of inconsistencies arise, suspicions of intentional misdirection beyond mere minor error, begins to tinge.

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 under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, the question of sequential order of documentary preparation is important. Such relevance on this matter can be gleaned if the preparation is looked at retrospectively — not from the beginning of the process, but rather, from the perspective of OPM and how they review and determine cases.

With that perspective in mind, it is important to prepare and formulate one’s Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the appreciated value of consistency, and as consistency of statements, purpose, coordination of documentary support and delineated narrative of one’s disability and its impact upon one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties is recognized, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will be formulated with deliberative efficacy, and where retrospection through introspection will result in increasing the prospective chances of success.

Sincerely,
Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: Drawers and Other Hideaways

Whether cabinets and chests were created for neatness of housekeeping, or to bifurcate the clutter of consciousness, should be left up to anthropologists and social commentators.  Facebook, too, and Social Media, the inability to resist adding to the clatter and superficiality of what we say, what we collect, and how we amass, both information and items we choose to gather; does it all reveal the historical backdrop of the Mesozoic era, from whence we all originate?

We are all, ultimately, left to the devices of our own unmaking and insufficiencies; and that which we neatly hide in drawers of convenience, and close, become tantamount to sealing our fate when once we conceal that which needs to be maintained.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which Federal and Postal workers seek to obtain, when a medical need arises and the medical condition, injury or trauma begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Once obtained, the Letter of Approval received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, often declares to the (now former) Federal or Postal employee, that a linear process from start to finish has now been concluded.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Like cars and children, maintaining the sufficiency and viability of an ongoing Federal Disability Retirement benefit is as important as the effort expended to win an approval.  And, like the car which needs a periodic oil change in order to extend the life of the internal mechanical apparatus by an exponential multiple, so the quality of effort needed to retain and maintain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is minimal and uncomplicated; but necessary.

For Federal employees and Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the cost of continuing care of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit, once achieved, should never be cast out of mind and consciousness; and rather than neatly setting it aside in some drawer or other hideaway, it should remain on full display in the centrality of one’s livelihood, lest the mice, goblins and other unwelcome creatures begin to gnaw at the ripeness of one’s Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire