Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Implications

Merely putting a ‘thus’ or ‘therefore’ does not create the necessary nexus between the facts proffered, the evidence presented and the conclusion declared; implications by definition require some work on the part of the audience, as the bridge not explicitly apparent must by necessity mandate mental connections to be drawn from otherwise disparate fields of facts.

How far can the law be stretched?  For so-called “originalists”, it is allegedly only the plain meaning of the text itself that can be gleaned, without any further “interpretation” beyond what is “originally intended”.  But lawyers go beyond the central meaning of legal opinions all the time; it is the job of a good attorney to stretch the application beyond what is originally meant or intended; and it is up to the next judge before whom such argumentation is tested to place limits and boundaries when the proposed stretch has gone a bridge too far.

How far, for example, can the “Bruner Argument” be made in a Federal Disability Retirement case?  Can the fact of a separation based upon “excessive absences” be used to demand of OPM that the Bruner Presumption should be applied, especially when parallel facts clearly establish that during the same time period of taking exhaustive Sick Leave and excessive LWOP, the Federal or Postal employee had multiple doctor’s appointments and was medically advised not to go to work?  Of course, arguments can always be made — but the real point is, Can one make an effective and persuasive argument?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those conclusions by implication need to be carefully crafted.  For, while you may see the bridges connecting the two or more land masses that are otherwise separated by the rivers and tributaries, it is up to the applicant in an OPM Disability Retirement case to make explicit and obvious those implications that may otherwise be lost in the administrative morass of complexities inherent in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The gist of it all

When do we want the “gist” of something?  The essence or the “main idea”; or to filter it into the short version, somewhat like the “spark notes” of the thing of which we seek.  Is it appropriate if a student is sitting through a boring lecture and raises his or her hand and asks politely, “I have an activity to attend this afternoon. Can you just give us the gist of what you’re trying to say?”

Or of the greater meaning of life itself — you know, that grand design that everyone is seeking, which is why so many people believe in such things as the “Da Vinci Code” or, more recently, “The Chamberlain Key” — codes to codices that reveal the heart of ancient secrets lost in the trash heaps of history or otherwise forgotten because of wars, famines and changes of the proverbial guards.

Why is it that such “keys” must always be “ancient”, and shrouded in the mystery of “secret societies” who will murder in the dead of night to protect the gist of it all?  How does that reflect upon modernity — that we are too superficial to invent or discover such codes?  Or, is it merely that the cynicism of scientism and the reliance upon the physical universe, the influence of British Logical Positivism and the Age of Science have all subsumed such romanticizing of mysteries beyond the age of reason?

In this fast-paced society where technology surpasses by lightening speed the insular world of secret societies and the unraveling of veiled codices, what we want in the end is the gist of it all — to bypass the tangential details and get to the heart of the matter.  We have little or no time for anything else.

So, 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, what is the gist of it all?  In other words, what is the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity?

Well, to begin with, under FERS (which most people are, as the dinosaur of CSRS or even CSRS Offset have now been relegated to the Pleistocene Era of Federal employment) the Federal or Postal employee must have at least 18 month of Federal Service.  Second, we must be able to prove that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing at least one, if not more, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  And third, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months.

Now, this latter bit of a requirement is often confused with thinking that a Federal or Postal worker must therefore wait for at least 12 months after the onset of a medical condition before the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  No, that is not the case — for, most doctors and treating medical professionals can render a prognosis as to the chronicity of the medical condition, and that is all that is needed.

Of course, that is precisely the problem of getting merely the “gist of it all” — because, in the end, the annotated version of an important text, issue or pool of information can rarely be filtered down into a cup that can be gulped with one swallow, but is often an ocean full of undercurrents and dangers consumed with sharks, whales and stingrays — sort of like the metaphor of life itself, only more complex because preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a complicated administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls that cannot ultimately be confined by the gist of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Procrastination and delay

The former denotes an active passiveness, while the latter connotes the former but may also include objective circumstances beyond the subjective input or control over the consequences resulting, whether from external forces, internal influences or a combination of both.

What compels one to procrastinate?

There can be a number of factors — of secretly not wanting to proceed; of the proverbial kicking the can down the road; of wanting to extend the known quality of the present and resisting the unknown quality of an uncertain future; or perhaps, just simple laziness.  Of the latter — of delays in a process, or of results expected — this can be because of actions taken or not by others, and a whole host of reasons not known by the expectant party.  Thus, for a delay to occur, much of the circumstances often cannot be controlled; of the former, most, if not all of it, is within the purview of one’s influence.

Further, it is often the monsters within that loom much larger than the reality without, and that is often true of things we anticipate we will not like, and of obligatory mandates that may be inevitable objectively but resisted subjectively.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating the necessity of 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, it is often that initial step that is the most difficult one to take.  And like that Chinese proverb that is often quoted, the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step, so it is likewise true that procrastination of that initial step is the one that prevents all subsequent steps and actions from being taken.

Procrastination is within the purview of one’s self; delays, beyond one’s control, or at least some part of it.  To overcome the obstacle of one’s self, it may be wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, so as to first understand the process of what it takes to file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the intricacies involved and the requirements needed to meet the legal criteria for a Federal Disability Retirement application to “pass muster”, to realize what initiating steps are necessary, and to recognize whether the fears that delay are the ones that are merely in one’s own mind, or whether the pathway forward is as onerous as the fears that paralyze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Evidence of Sincerity

We question it; contest it; challenge when necessary by bringing up counter-evidence that seems to undermine it; and we all act with outrage and become highly offended when our own underlying intent is questioned, as if everyone else in the world is suspiciously lacking of it with the exception of one’s self.

“Sincerity” is a funny animal, and evidence of it is like the bond between the wrong committed and the arena of court applied: preponderance of the evidence?  Clear and Convincing?  Or, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

The choice depends upon the gullibility of the beholder and the relationship between the teller and the believer; then, for some, a breach and violation of a single instance forever condemns without recourse of forgiveness.

What is the evidence of sincerity?  Is it merely words upon words, or must actions follow, and constancy and consistency of behavior?

Take the following hypothetical: Person X says that he will meet you for lunch at Time-T, at location Y, and so at Time-T, at location Y, you go and wait.  And wait.  Person X never show up.  A few days later, you see Person X and you remind him that there had been a luncheon agreement, and why didn’t you show up?

Example A: The person apologizes profusely and reveals that he/she became gravely ill and was taken to the hospital at that very moment, on that day, during the time of the luncheon date.  Example B: The person says: “Oh, I found something better to do,” and essentially casts you aside.  Example C: The person (who has a wide and well-known reputation for being “flighty”), explains: “Oh-my-gosh!  I completely forgot!  I really meant to be there but I just completely forgot about it!”

Obviously, most of us would respond to each with: Forgive persons A and C; be angry at B.  Why do we react like this?

Again, the obvious answer is: We presume sincerity on the part of A and C (though, as to C, we give some leeway for a reputation preceding the doing, and if we were unaware of that reputation, we might want to proceed by putting the person on a “probationary” status of wariness and suspicion for the next time); as to B, the person has explicitly reversed any semblance of sincerity, and has told us to essentially go fly a kite.

Now, change the hypotheticals slightly: As to A: We later discover that he was seen precisely at Time-X to have been out and about with another person, and was never in the hospital.  In other words, he lied.  And as to C: Whether “flighty” or not, the person never honors a commitment, and consistently makes promises but each time breaks them.  In other words, whether sincere at the time or not, that person can never be relied upon.

And as to the problematic B: We later learn that at that very Time-T, he was actually in the hospital caring for his dying spouse, but did not want to burden you with the long and tragic narrative of his personal trials, and furthermore, his reputation prior to the promise broken is so far out of character that it had left you scratching your head with befuddlement in the first place.

Who, out of these examples, ends up being the “sincere” person, and what is the evidence that changed your mind?

Evidence of sincerity is often a touchy subject, where reputation, reality and roles of engagement coalesce to provide the “full” picture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the evidence of sincerity is often important in assessing friends, coworkers and trusted individuals in the dissemination of sensitive medical information.

Appearance cannot always be trusted; reputation, perhaps; but in the end, the evidence of sincerity is often merely a gut instinct that tells you who to trust and why.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The expected party

It is the emptiness and void of what could have been, or even should have been; of regrets untold and remorse unuttered.

Whether for a special celebration marking a person’s birthday or an event of magnified relevance; or a turning point in a person’s life – of a 10th anniversary, exceeding expectations of mortality, in waiting, or perhaps a common achievement by others in everyday living but for handicaps and disabilities that make it challenging to meet; whatever the event, the party never thrown for it magnifies a negation of recognition, and like a pinprick into the heart and soul of a person’s life, it deflates the very essence of joy.

“Oh, it would have been nice to—” but the person is gone, and hears not the sudden want and desire of recognition.  “It’s too bad we didn’t get together and—” except that the inaction following the time of relevance has long passed, and it is such actions which derive the sincerity of words spoken, otherwise mere empty vessels of utterances without meaning or purpose.

Most can justify and minimize, and instead replace such statements of regretful remorse with offensive parries, as in:  “Oh, she wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway”, or the kicker – “He didn’t like those things.”  But that is not the point.  The party never thrown is not merely a negation of recognition earned, but a window into the heart of those who never truly cared in the first place.

Words are cheap and can be bandied about and flaunted endlessly without consequence of actions; but the negation of that which should have been, and could have been initiated but for want of selfless endeavor, is a missing slice of life that can never be replaced.  That is, unfortunately, what is often left behind during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The recognition of past contributions is suddenly no more; that party which “might” have been considered, is no longer; and suddenly the ‘golden boy or girl’ who could do no wrong, is the pariah, the dead-weight in the office, and the continuing drag upon the agency’s mission.

Whether the agency or the U.S. Postal Service will ‘support’ the Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and the unstated or concealed reasons for such support – to ‘get rid’ of the dead-weight, as opposed to showing some empathy; or to have that position filled by someone ‘more productive‘, is beside the point.

It matters not the why or even the ‘if’; for, whatever the underlying reasoning, don’t expect to received that recognition you once never sought but always seemed to get.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through one’s agency, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will know one’s ‘true friends’ and sincere coworkers, by the party never thrown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The party never thrown

It is the emptiness and void of what could have been, or even should have been; of regrets untold and remorse unuttered.

Whether for a special celebration marking a person’s birthday or an event of magnified relevance; or a turning point in a person’s life – of a 10th anniversary, exceeding expectations of mortality, in waiting, or perhaps a common achievement by others in everyday living but for handicaps and disabilities that make it challenging to meet; whatever the event, the party never thrown for it magnifies a negation of recognition, and like a pinprick into the heart and soul of a person’s life, it deflates the very essence of joy.

“Oh, it would have been nice to—” but the person is gone, and hears not the sudden want and desire of recognition.  “It’s too bad we didn’t get together and—” except that the inaction following the time of relevance has long passed, and it is such actions which derive the sincerity of words spoken, otherwise mere empty vessels of utterances without meaning or purpose.

Most can justify and minimize, and instead replace such statements of regretful remorse with offensive parries, as in:  “Oh, she wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway”, or the kicker – “He didn’t like those things.”  But that is not the point.  The party never thrown is not merely a negation of recognition earned, but a window into the heart of those who never truly cared in the first place.

Words are cheap and can be bandied about and flaunted endlessly without consequence of actions; but the negation of that which should have been, and could have been initiated but for want of selfless endeavor, is a missing slice of life that can never be replaced.  That is, unfortunately, what is often left behind during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The recognition of past contributions is suddenly no more; that party which “might” have been considered, is no longer; and suddenly the ‘golden boy or girl’ who could do no wrong, is the pariah, the dead-weight in the office, and the continuing drag upon the agency’s mission.

Whether the agency or the U.S. Postal Service will ‘support’ the Federal or Postal worker’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and the unstated or concealed reasons for such support – to ‘get rid’ of the dead-weight, as opposed to showing some empathy; or to have that position filled by someone ‘more productive‘, is beside the point.

It matters not the why or even the ‘if’; for, whatever the underlying reasoning, don’t expect to received that recognition you once never sought but always seemed to get.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through one’s agency, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will know one’s ‘true friends’ and sincere coworkers, by the party never thrown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Trail of Tears

History is replete with the metaphor of maltreatment; it is the silent graves that cannot speak, anymore, which haunts a nation’s soul.  It is a reminder, of sorts; a way of understanding and revisiting the history and essence of a nation – of the westward expansion and the decimation and systematic thievery against a civilization that was doomed from the start.  But trails soon get overrun by either settlements or city construction; and tears quickly dry up so that the agony of a peoples once felt become a mere memory told in narratives and tales by old men and forgotten women who no longer matter.

Reservations were demarcated and a defeated populace was shuttled into forgotten corners of the world, left to sputter amongst themselves in wallowing memories of defeated battles and violated treaties; and, as modernity replaced the fading residue of an inglorious past, only the diaries and annotations of eyewitnesses maintained a memory of coherent violations otherwise set aside to make room for future time.  Does each one of us, in addition, have a trail of tears?  Do we shed them in the privacy of our scorned thoughts, left to the isolation of our own destroyed lives?

The Medicine Man of yore could not stop the onslaught of that which we deem “progress” and “modernity”; and in the end, it was modern warfare that doomed any resistance to change.  The medical doctor of today, like the appeals of yesteryear to the Great Spirit, can only stem the tide of a progressive and chronic disease; the methodology may have changed, from fasting and foreboding fortunetelling to pharmacological modalities and surgical intervention, but when a diseased body or mind continues to deteriorate despite such intercession, the personal trail of tears follows a parallel course of those we once trampled upon.

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 position, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There are always historical travesties, as well as personal ones.  In this world where history barely catches the fancy of those who must contend with the tides of an uncaring world, it is the personal trail of tears which is most important to each individual, and not the “grand scheme” of events which we can neither control nor foresee.

History is what it is – acts committed by ancestors, certainly, but ones which most of us could neither control nor protest against.  But that which we can determine – like the destiny of a future for a Federal or Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition that continues to debilitate and constrain – should be accomplished within the confines of the laws which predominate, lest one’s personal trail of tears begins to parallel that of a past now long forgotten.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire