Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: “As if”

Why are OPM’s denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application written “as if” it is an “all of nothing” proposition?  Conversely, why does an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application (with the exception of the single sentence which identifies the medical conditions upon which the approval is based) reflect a regurgitation of a template used on countless occasions dating back decades?

Wouldn’t a more “honest” approach be for both the denial and an approval to have a touch of: “Well, okay, evidence X does clearly show that you likely couldn’t do essential element Y” and “Yes, all and all, despite having a good performance review in the past year, your absences aggregated to establish evidence that you weren’t able to maintain a satisfactory attendance, and therefore, even if it is a ‘close call’, we have decided that you have met the preponderance of the evidence criteria and grant you your disability retirement request” — or, “Therefore, even though it was a close call, we believe you have NOT met the preponderance of the evidence standard, and therefore deny your application for Federal Disability Retirement.”

In other words, why is the “as if” standard applied as a one-way street, where every Denial invokes a disparaging and often scoffing-tone as to every bit of evidence presented, and seems to selectively diminish even the most compelling of evidence submitted?  Is it because of the very human need for self-justification, or are there other, more nefarious reasons girding the foundation of every denial?

Certainly, when a “no” is presented, one is taught to make it worse than it actually is in order to justify the negation; sort of like when you really do feel deathly ill, but by all appearances, you don’t sound it, and may not even look it, so when you call in sick or you tell your mom you can’t make it to school, you put it on “as if” you are on the verge of mortality’s early calling.

But don’t be fooled.  OPM’s denials are presented “as if” you never stood a chance; “as if” there was never any basis for even making an effort to file; and “as if” you have wasted your time even bothering to file — is meant to discourage, if not dissuade, any further effort of fighting onward.  But that is not the reality of a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the reason why you have multiple stages in which to fight on is precisely the reason why you must: “As if” you have a chance, and not “as if” you never did.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Extreme Fatigue

The phrase itself can denote at least two connotations of conceptual paradigms, depending upon which word the emphasis is placed upon:  of an overwhelming sense of exhaustion that is experientially devastating to an exponential degree or, that one is so depleted and tired from the constant state of the extreme.

To experience extreme fatigue is to have a medical condition; to be tired of the constancy of crisis after crisis, is to live an existence which cannot be sustained forever.  Both states can be experienced simultaneously, especially when a medical condition occurs, because the debilitating effects of the disability begins to take its toll upon the individual’s mind, body and soul, and further, because outside reactionary influences tend to make an imbalance upon one’s perspective.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who is experiencing both forms of the phrase, it is probably time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

When an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and tiredness beyond mere overexertion begins to overtake, it is an indicator that the medical condition is taking its toll.  When the daily circumstances of one’s life tend to be interpreted as a constancy of extremes, like the proverbial “boy who cried wolf” once too often, and the daily events become skewed to such an extent that one becomes overwhelmed by the persistence of events, and where the extraordinary becomes the daily norm, then it is also a sign of portending causes to recognize.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an option of the extreme, although it may be one of the few and limited alternatives left for the Federal or Postal worker who has been struggling to maintain a linear level of normalcy for years on end.

Rather, it is a recognition of human frailty, and the limits of endurance, and ultimately a choice of reflective wisdom in recognizing when the extreme of life’s circumstances begin to take its toll, the resulting impact is often the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion beyond mere tiredness, and where the signs become clear that time is not on the side of health, but where health must accept the timeless constancy of changing extremes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: The Complexity of Unpredictability

Some view human behavioral unpredictability as a declaration of the underlying complexity; others would have it that, far from any such convoluted aspiration towards mystery and intricacy, a yawn and ensuing boredom more likely represents the determinism and simplicity of humans.

Which represents the true picture?  Perhaps youth and a naive lack of experience in encountering the universe of everyday conflict is what we discover in the spectrum of opinions; and cynicism abounds upon greater enmeshment and entanglement with the human condition.

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, the question often arises as to whom, when and the timing of divulging the intent to file.  As the saying goes, discretion is the greater part of valor; unless there is a compelling reason to do so, limiting the information where relevant; restricting the venue of information to the extent possible; and keeping mum until and unless necessary, should be the guiding principle.

Why?  Because, first and foremost, medical information (which is obviously the primary foundational basis of a Federal disability retirement application) is sensitive in nature, confidential in scope, and entails vast privacy concerns for all.  Further, one never knows how an agency and its representatives may react (thus the charge that human beings are complex in nature), but the predictability of big-mouths and lack of discretion (alas, the corollary charge of simplicity of humans) should restrain and constrain any urge to divulge earlier than necessary.

“Necessary” is the key word, and that applies to people, timing and context of dissemination of such confidential information.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the general rule, always, should be to believe in both contradictory assertions:  Because human behavior is complex and unpredictable, be discreet in revealing information; and because human behavior is simplistic and unimaginative, similarly be discreet and restrained in providing sensitive information.

As one side of a coin is worth just as much as the other, it is best to feel the nature of two faces in a world replete with two-faces.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Of Vultures Riding the Currents of Time

Watch the vultures float the currents of time, gliding high above, awaiting a trail of destruction behind.  Universally, across the globe, they have similar outward appearances; with wide wingspans for the ability to soar and patiently await high above, watchful for death and decay to progressively come to fruition.  Is it the scent of decay, or the fading gaze of death which attracts?  Or, perhaps, weakness and state of debilitation has a natural aura which draws?

The weak among us becomes a magnet for prey; the scavengers of time become the savagery of timelessness.  Despite our declaration for civility and sophistication, the brute essence of man comes to the fore when elements of weakness manifest. Sympathy and empathy constitute window dressings for civilization’s social contract; a concession to effeminate yearnings voice that of the spectacled class.

Look at the brutality of Federal agencies when once a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker announces an intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Suddenly, the skies are filled with gliding wingspans of watchfulness.  No one seemed to care before; now, the sunlight is blocked by widespread fans of feathery flurries.

Federal Disability Retirement is a rightful benefit which can be asserted by any and all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).  But as with every contingency in life, there are residual consequences in filing for a benefit, and such resulting ends will often involve the hostility of the Federal agency, the sudden shying away by one’s coworkers, and a subtle (or not so hidden) loss of camaraderie among peers and supervisors.

But what are the choices? For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the path to escaping the slow and progressive deterioration of one’s health condition.

That the vultures may circle during the wait, may be an inevitable consequence; what one wants to prevent, however, is for such creatures to land and begin the pecking process of maggot-laden flesh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire