OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Universal Specialization

The world didn’t just become bifurcated over-night; it then shattered into a thousand universal parts, and each required a specialization where subsections of the primary subject became sliced into lesser wholes, the parts of smaller parts, until no one now knows how to do anything without the specialized aid of the specialist in the department of specialization.

The fractured world has become one of micro-competence, where once the jack-of-all-trades individual was needed in order to run a farm, feed a family, be a doctor to the animals, as well as work as a carpenter, plumber (oh, we forgot — outhouses were used back then, with nary a trace of indoor plumbing, so strike that), and the all-around “MacGyver” guy from the 1980s series where ordinary items were easily transformed into extraordinary problem-solving implements.

Overspecialization of a society leads to alienation; taken to the extreme, it makes into each of us incompetents to even turn on the faucet.  Marx would have been aghast — for, no longer is the assembly-line factory worker alienated from the work he or she works upon by not feeling the accomplishment of the “finished” product, but moreover, doesn’t even know the purpose beyond the 4 screws that are drilled into the monstrosity because of overspecialization.

Is the world a better place because we comprehend less of the pie that constitutes the whole, and is our knowledge of it any greater merely because dissemination of information is available via the Internet?  The two are somehow connected, are they not?

Somehow, there must be some mathematical formula involved, something akin to: The Greater the X, the Lesser the Y, when factors 1, 2 & 3 interface with exponential diminution of T minus Z. Complexity, in the end, often induces greater specialization, and unfortunately that is true in the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law.  “Local Lawyers” are rarely knowledgeable enough to represent Federal or Postal employees in an OPM Disability Retirement application.

The various Stages in the process of Federal Disability Retirement Law require precise and targeted responses; and for the Federal or Postal employee preparing to “put together” a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, it is not the right time to be the “MacGyver” type of guy; it is best to consult with a Specialist in Federal Medical Retirement Law, and prepare well for the fractured road ahead where universal specialization is a necessity in a world where horse and buggy are no longer existent except on faraway farms in Pennsylvania or other scattered places where the Amish retain the “old ways”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Keep Confidence

There can be a duality of meaning, or perhaps even a tripartite of understanding; for, to “keep confidence” can mean the protective blanket of not sharing information with others and maintaining a “confidentiality” of data; or, it can mean that one maintains a level of confidence — a surety of belief in a successful endeavor.  Or, perhaps even a third meaning which involves both: Maintaining confidentiality while secure in the belief of the endeavor involved, which is to work towards the goals agreed upon and progressing towards that goal, all the while maintaining the confidentiality that is explicitly and implicitly retained.

That is, in a nutshell, what an attorney-client relationship should be and continue to remain.  Thus, from the moment of an initial telephone consultation, the confidence that is kept should be twofold: Security of privacy so that the discussion can be forthright and without reservation; and, if the case is to go forward, the confidence in its eventual success.  Both components are essential for the successful outcome of an endeavor that may, at least initially, have some characteristics of trepidation and uncertainty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the issue of confidentiality is exponentially magnified because of multiple elements that work against the Federal or Postal employee: An agency’s Human Resource Department that is known to “share” sensitive information; a decidedly weighted bias in favor of “management” or those in superior positions; medical issues that should be divulged only to those in strictly “must know” positions; and an extremely sensitive decision on the part of the Federal or Postal employee on matters of health, employment and one’s future.

Containment of confidences is important; keeping confidence in both senses becomes vital; and one thing that the potential client can be assured of: Anything spoken to or shared with this attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will always be maintained in order to “keep confidence”, in whatever manner of meaning the phrase may imply or express.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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, it is important to recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Happiness revisited

What is it that makes people happy?  Is it constituted by generic categories (like “wealth”, “fame”, “friendships”, “popularity”, etc.), or is it specific to each individual (i.e., for Joe, it is to have sufficient time daily to become lost in reading; for Alice, the opportunity to go out with friends at least once a week; for Mary and Steve, to be in one another’s company, etc.) such that, while specific conditions can be described as the prerequisite for individual happiness, they can nonetheless be categorized into more generic forms while never losing the unique content of that which constitutes the essential ingredients for such individual happiness?

If generically-based, can it be “bottled” — i.e., advertised and sold?  Isn’t that what much of commercial advertising is all about — not the product itself, although that is the ultimate goal, but of the underlying message that by means of the product, the end will result in happiness?

Thus, teeth whiteners and dental conglomerates don’t just sell straightened teeth or gleaming smiles; rather, they sell happiness.  Otherwise, why else would everyone be smiling stupidly and pretending (for that is what actors and actresses do) that they are ecstatic in their roles?  And car insurance, life insurance, reverse mortgages and financial institutions — what are they selling but happiness through security and a sense of peace?

More importantly, should happiness ever be a goal, or is it best to allow it to remain as a byproduct and a natural consequence of a worthy life’s endeavors?

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, the issue of one’s happiness is always present in stark contrast to the current human condition of deteriorating health: for, misery is the flip-side of happiness, and to that old standardized testing torture we all had to undergo as school children, happiness is to health as misery is to ___?  What would be the appropriate word used to fill in the blank?  Ill-health?  Sickness?

When one’s health deteriorates, the priorities of life suddenly come into sharper focus, for health is the foundation from which all else flows. Happiness, one begins to realize, cannot be the center and foundation; it is, instead, a byproduct of good health, solid relationships and productive careers, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee who begins to suffer 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, serious consideration should be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted, reviewed by and approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Childhood wishes

We had them; some of us still remember and harbor them like sacrosanct relics of priceless value; and still others know of them and recollect some general idea long forgotten, once delighted in, but now rotting in the vestiges of abandoned buildings hollow but for the frame that haunts in the midnight moon.

Wishes remain throughout one’s life, whether in the stage of adulthood or old age; but it is the childhood wishes one remembers that reveal the empty soul of what one has become, may still be, but struggles to abandon with a hope for tomorrow.  Some of them may be set aside as silly thoughts of an immature time; others, a revelatory insight into who we were, what made us become what we are today, and a telling hint of our present-day bitterness of embattled constitution.

Perhaps it was a love thwarted; a Dickensian tale of another Scrooge who foolishly wanted to pursue one pathway at the cost of another; or, maybe the childhood wishes were merely promises of correcting the sorrow of yesteryears, where neglectful parents and inattentive love left one yearning to promise corrective action when one became a parent yourself, but somehow such commitments were waylaid by daily life – of money troubles, relationship squabbles and expectation bubbles bursting by fits and starts.

It used to be that, before the age of Facebook and obsessive hounding for revelatory information about past friends and acquaintances, people would try to “better themselves” when they went away in order to come back and “show them” how successful one had become upon the glorious return and reentry at gatherings such as high school and college reunions – much like the Tom Sawyer effect of coming back from the dead – but not anymore, as everyone already knows everything to know about everyone else before such a re-gathering is effectuated.

At some point in one’s life, the comparison between childhood wishes and the reality of a daunting world magnifies the contrast that leads to an inevitable conclusion: the naïve innocence of those former times either worked as a detriment, in which case cynicism prevailed; or, those childhood dreams allowed for an expansive, healthy and positive outlook such that they provided a foundation for growth and potential for happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with 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 job, perhaps contemplating 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 the next step beyond for one’s future and security, and thought to be the “end” of something.

The difference between the two approaches may be nominal, or momentous, depending upon how one looks at it.  Is it like the proverbial attitude of the “cup half full” or “half empty”?  Or, is it because childhood wishes were never resolved, and that lonely and unhappy child one remembers never quite grew up, and the debilitating medical conditions now recall the dreams never realized, the hopes barely reached, and the potentiality not quite cultivated to fruition?

Look at it this way: Medical conditions are a part of life and daily struggle; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should not be viewed as either the end-all or the be-all, but a necessary next step with a view towards advancing beyond the childhood wishes one still awaits to fulfill.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The precarious self

Self-preservation is said to be high on the list of instinctive survival mechanisms – that which society cannot “un-learn” because of the inherent nature of such evolutionary entrenchment of DNA-coded characteristics.  It used to be that, whether in the mythical “State of Nature” as advanced and envisioned by Locke, Hobbes or Rousseau, or the more fossil-based models as posited by anthropologists, the individual who was widely considered as a precarious survivor was quickly extinguished from the gene pool either though acts of foolish daring or by neglectful carelessness.

Survival was, until recent times, always high on the list of priorities.

In modernity, we rarely even consider it, and that is why we cringe with disbelief at horror stories of sitting placidly in a café or restaurant when suddenly innocent bystanders are being shot at, or become the victims of an explosion where shrapnel and other ravaging debris aim at the human flesh – not for predatory hunger, but for mere destruction and devastation.  Laws become enacted and govern safety; mechanisms are put in place to prevent industrial accidents or massive catastrophes impacting a wide swath of population centers; these are all, in modernity, for the most part, avoided and of rare occurrence.

Thus, the precarious self has become an irrelevant concern, or not at all.  The incommensurate dilemma of an individual being lost in his or her own thoughts as he walks upon a den of wolves out to find and devour dinner, is not of a major concern; perhaps, the closest we may come to in considering the precarious self is of a person lost in thought who crosses the street without looking for oncoming traffic; but, even that, the new technology arming every vehicle with sensors which automatically prompts the braking systems are attending to that potentiality, as well.

It is, in the end, more in the arena of making mistakes, proceeding in ignorance and creating circumstances of irreconcilable self-destructiveness, that the concept even becomes applicable or comprehensible, in these days.  For example, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, does the Federal employee or Postal worker know enough about “The Laws” governing Federal Disability Retirement in order to proceed successfully?  Have you spent enough time to familiarize yourself with the statute, the case-law and precedents of recent import in order to successfully maneuver your way through the administrative process?

This is, whether one likes it or not, a highly bureaucratized universe, and the ability to avoid the precarious self often requires a great amount of investment of one’s time, energy and concentrated focus upon the details of daily, unavoidable complexities.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee falls under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something that requires avoidance of the precarious self, at a minimum; and, more than that, to maneuver around the precarious “others” as well – including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire