Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Disadvantage of the I-Thou Perspective

People tend to expect the best results; and when a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the applicant who is unrepresented and prepares, formulates and files the Federal Disability Retirement packet on his or her own believes that an approval is forthcoming at the First Stage of the Process.  Yet, often unaware and unbeknownst to the Federal or Postal applicant, the lack of separation between the I-Thou construct fails to provide a proper perspective of objectivity.

Allow me to expand and explain:  As the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition (the “I”) is the same person who prepares, formulates and files the Medical Retirement application (the “thou” from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), any sense of objectivity is often lost because the I and the Thou are one and the same person, and the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition is simultaneously the same one who is seeking an approval of the OPM Disability Retirement application.

Of course, that same scenario is repeated even if the application is filed through a Federal Disability lawyer (in the sense that the Federal or Postal employee still seeks to obtain an approval from OPM) with one major exception:  there is another “thou” perspective included and involved — that of the Federal lawyer representing the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved.

Objectivity is a crucial component of a Federal Disability Retirement application; that is why so many “silly” mistakes are injuriously embraced without self-knowledge or with disengaged awareness.  It is like the cook who loved the taste of arsenic, and thought that everyone else should as well; and so he sprinkled the deadly poison onto his own food and enjoyed the taste of his own creation, only to slowly die from the feed of his own foolishness.

There are many “kinds” in the arena of foolish endeavors:  There is the “quantitative approach” (“I sent them thousands of pages of treatment records”) which fails to ask the question, Who will read it all?  There is the “trusting soul”:  “I just signed a release and had them send it all directly to my Human Resource Office”.  Then, there is the person of naive disbelief:  “How could they not approve it with the medical conditions I suffer from?”

The problem with all of these is the lack of objective perspective; the I-Thou connection is now given the distance, separateness and objectivity necessary to determine the viability and effectiveness of each and every piece of the puzzle needed to put together a proper Federal Disability Retirement application.  Are there ever any guarantees in life?  No.  Can a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement laws make a difference?  Yes.

Fortunately, unlike the metaphor arising from the cook and the salsa of arsenic, there are multiple stages within the administrative process of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and a denial at the First Stage of the bureaucratic pathway is not irreversible, and does not result in the inertia of life rendered by ingestion of substances otherwise tasty but harmful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: A Return to Basics

Every few decades, there is a “new” movement which upholds the divinity of returning to the foundational core of one’s existence:  of going back to being a farmer; living a life of an ascetic; stripping away all “unnecessary” accretions and accoutrements deemed as vestries of comfort and “bourgeois” by definition (whatever that means); or, in common parlance and language more amenable to the ordinary person, living more “simply”.

The perspective that such a “movement” is somehow “new” is of itself rather an anomaly; but then, each generation believes that they have discovered and invented the proverbial wheel, and all such past epochs were mere ages of primitive imbecility.   And, perhaps, we are once more in that familiar circle of life, and such a movement has beset the quietude of modernity, again.  As such, let us return to the basics:

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “foundational” eligibility criteria needs to be met:  For those under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System — or the “new” system sometime around 1986 and thereafter), the Federal or Postal employee must have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service in order to apply.  For those under CSRS, the accrual time is 5 years — and, as such, anyone under CSRS would presumably have met that basic requirement, although a CSRS employee with a long “break in service” could potentially fall short, but that would involve a unique set of circumstances rarely seen.

Further, the Federal or Postal employee who sets about to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must either be (A) a current employee (in which case he or she would file first through the agency’s Human Resource Office, then to be forwarded to OPM, (B) if not a current employee, then separated from service not more than 1 year (as the Statute of Limitations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement requires that a former Federal or Postal employee file directly with OPM within 1 year of being separated from service), (C) if separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days, then to file with one’s former Agency, and (D) if separated for more than 31 days, but less than 1 year, then refer to (B) and file directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania.

These are some of the “basics” in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  There is much, much more to the entire process, but then again, if one were to expand too far astray from the foundational core of the “back to basics” movement, one would be a hypocrite for allowing the complications of life to accrue beyond the essential elements of life — of water, food and shelter or, for the Federal and Postal employee filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bridge between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Science versus Art

There is an abundance of discussions these days relating to the methodological validity of science, especially as it concerns climate change.  The calculus applied; the variable deviations of conclusions; the computer models based upon dubious information inputted; and whether declaring that there is a “consensus” within the scientific community, and what constitutes such a declared intent of internal agreement, results in more questions unanswered than not.

Science once held the position of being the pinnacle of unquestioned authority.  It lost its lofty position when its methodology of verifiability became infiltrated with egoism, self-interested motives, and politics.  It is now an admixture of art and pragmatism.

Where, then, does that leave law?  Law was based upon the rules of logical argumentation; but somewhere along the line, the general public decided that entertainment should outwit the methodological rules of logical analysis; shouting was more fun than the cold shoulder of logic; clever tricks of persuasive linguistic palpitations caused greater stir, and the drama of the courtroom in television shows and movies became the industry of choice.

Further, the lay person could give a twit about rules of logic; they just wanted justice in the form of vast quantities of renumeration.  For most sectors of society, however, whether science loses its position at the lofty pinnacle of pandering to politics, or whether the super-lawyer achieves a measure of persuasive cleverness with sleight of hand, matters not in the common world of everyday living. We all have to continue making a living despite climate changes and courtroom antics.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the reality of everyday circumstances must still be faced, regardless of the fits and turns of the world of drama, entertainment and scientific bravado.  When a medical condition hits the life of a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is a pragmatic decision making all of the tumult of the world around us, into a microcosm of irrelevancy.

This is indeed where science, art and law come together in the reality of the real world:  The medical condition (science); the need to enter into the world of bureaucracy (art); the proving of one’s case by evidence and argumentation (law); filing for Federal Disability Retirement for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker is an experience which brings together the drama watched on television or movies by the rest of the world.  For the Federal and Postal employee, it is a drama which is an existential experience of the first order.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire