FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The Preparation

There is enough success by merely “winging it” — of coming into a “situation” without adequate preparation; of stories where luck just happened to accompany the moment, etc.  The vast majority of “other” success stories, however, are accounted for by hard preparatory work, long hours of training, research, review of the evidence, etc.  Perhaps there are some of those who can walk into a meeting and immediately impress the participants; or to cut short a practice and still dominate on a basketball court or field of play; but in the end, it is the preparation which insures the success of the “after” — of the actual game, the real deal, etc.

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a necessity which likely cannot be avoided.  It is that first part, however, which will be the most crucial step — of the preparation involved, before the final formulation and filing.

Consult with a Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer as the first step in the preparation of your application; for, in the end, it is the proper beginning which always counts the most.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Grief of Life

“Good Grief, Charlies Brown!”  It is an expression of exasperation, often emitted from Lucy’s mouth during the long run of the Peanuts’ comic strip.  The phrase itself is undefined, and yet most of us comprehend its import: That life itself is a series of grief-filled moments; of mistakes and failures; of acts which people engage in that belie understanding; that the puzzlement and conundrum of events that hit us, emotions that arise and how people behave result in grief untold.

It is well that a child is often protected from the grief of adulthood, lest the child be damaged even before he or she enters the harsh reality of the greater world.  Yet, like raindrops that fall from the sky and, on its spiraling journey downwards, accumulates all of the dirt and grime of the world, so the grief of life begins to take it toll upon us all as we interact and encounter the sheer meanness of the world.

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 grief of life takes two forms: First, the medical condition itself and the impact upon one’s career and positional duties, and Second, from the uncaring attitude from the Agency, the Postal Service, and coworkers who make up the aggregation of the “agency” itself.  Such a “double whammy” is often the impetus to contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Consult with an OPM Disability Attorney who focuses purely upon getting people Federal Disability Retirement benefits in order to limit the impact of engaging in the bureaucratic complexities of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; otherwise, like Charlie Brown and others in the Peanuts gang, you may end up shouting in exasperation, “Good Grief!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Required Rhythm of Normalcy

When we break it, we become bombarded with looks of irritation, a pause filled with suspicious surprise.  The quick, “Good-to-see-you-hope-you’re-doing-well” is meant as a quick conveyance of polite nothingness, and is the throw-away line that allows for the rhythm of a quick-paced society to retain its fast-lane of existence.  You are not to respond except in a similarly empty manner, with a “Yes, nice-to-see-you-too”.  To break the rhythm of normalcy is to interrupt with a real response; to say something like, “Actually, I am not doing too well.  And since you have asked, let me tell you why…”.

Normalcy is the abnormal, and the norms and conventions that were once taken for granted have now been turned upside down and have become the abnormal, the irritating and the blade of rudeness.

In a time past and now gone for seemingly forever, there existed communities where people actually stopped and spoke to one another, showed some concern and exhibited some neighborly empathy.  In modernity, we hide within the barricaded walls of our own secluded lives while declaring the number of “friends” we have on Facebook, though we haven’t met any of them nor actually known them in person.  The blank slate of a computer screen or of our smartphone determines the emotional viability of our daily lives, and so the required rhythm of normalcy has become one of isolated disengagement from actual life.

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 required rhythm of normalcy is to act as if there is nothing wrong, when in fact there is much that is “not right”.  Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and think about breaking the required rhythm of normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Maintaining the Fakery

Is it like a bakery, or perhaps some other manufacturing facility where things are made?  In some sense, perhaps; but it is not the “making” of it, but of maintaining it.

To a great extent, we all have a feeling of fakery — that we are not as competent as others believe us to be; that our outer appearance of confidence, boldness, knowledge and positive attitude do not reflect our inner sense of insecurity, tentativeness and lack of certainty.  Are there people in this world where the “inner” self actually reflects the “outer”?  Or, are we all beset with being a quivering ball of showmanship — like the famous actor who falls apart before every show but somehow regains his composure and acts like a star every time?

Maintaining the fakery is what is required daily; some are better at it than others; still other thrive by it; and the few detritus of human beings who cannot abide in it, fall apart and admit to being unable to maintain it any longer.

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, maintaining the fakery is an essential part of the medical condition itself: Of trying to keep up one’s performance level; trying to hide the symptoms of the medical condition; trying to maintain the level of attendance and hide the debilitating effects of the medical condition itself, etc.

But fakery can only deceive for a limited amount of time; and when the truth begins to seep out, it may be time to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest maintaining the fakery leads to the greater truth about yourself, that in the meantime your health is what is being sacrificed upon the altar of truth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyers: Guarantees

It turns out that — in this time of modernity where language can persuade anything and anyone on everything everywhere — that a guarantee is not quite what it proposes.

Is a “money-back guarantee” a guarantee at all?  To say to X, “I guarantee you an outcome-O; but if it doesn’t turn out that way, then I will give you your money back.”  Huh?  How is that different from no guarantee at all?

Okay, so maybe you receive a refund — but you are in no better position than if no guarantee was made to you to begin with; it’s only that you received a refund of your own money with nothing else to show for it.

Disjunctives essentially nullify the affirmative assertion of a statement.  Thus, to say that, Well, I guarantee you X or (beware of that disjunctive) if X doesn’t occur, then Y — is to merely give with one hand and take it back with the other.

Life in general, as we all know, rarely has any guarantees at all.

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 process of filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is complex enough without being mislead into thinking that entitlement is a guarantee.

It is a benefit that must be fought for, and as all fights worthwhile have a cost to be paid, it is well to consider that an attorney who “guarantees” an outcome should be approached with caution.  Seek the advice of counsel who provides worthy guidancenot one who “guarantees” something that cannot be guaranteed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Future Robbing Present

How much time do we spend worrying about the future?

In this concerning age, where debts keep rising, expenses keep increasing, wages remain stagnant and instability around the world continues as a reality we are all faced with — the amount of time spent in anxious anticipation of a future not yet established is a reality which we all must constrain.

Planning for the future is a necessity; articulating plans and loosely following them, a nuisance; but what of worrying about a projected experience not yet upon us — is it a mere waste of time?

The future robs the present by keeping our focus outside of the experiences of the present; whether by brooding about it, being lost in thought for it or merely fidgeting with anxiousness towards it; it all amounts to the same:  The joy of a present experience is lost because of the worry which overwhelms us.

Of the past — we tend to relish or regret it; but inasmuch as it is something that has already occurred, we do not obsessively remain in that time slot; unless, of course, we fear the consequences of past actions upon future events.  But it is for present circumstances that may trigger future worries — as in a medical condition currently experienced that we project into the future as to the medical condition’s capacity to impact our anticipated lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition will likely prevent the Federal or Postal worker — in the future of, say, 6 months hence, 12 months beyond, 3-5 years of becoming — from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, it is always a good idea to consider early in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

If worry for the future is robbing the present, then it is time to consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Worrying about the future will not change or alter the course of events yet to come; to prepare for a pathway towards such change for the future, it is wise to first consult with an experienced Federal Disability Retirement Attorney, lest the future come upon you unprepared and like a thief in the night robbing you of your present.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Bridge to Nowhere

It is a metaphor which evokes images of hopelessness and futility, if such images can indeed be captured at all.  Whether of an attitude, a perspective or the existential reality of one’s personal circumstances, the question is, Why was the bridge to nowhere built to begin with?  There it stands, in mid-construction, suspended but unfinished, not leading to anywhere, not going in any particular direction, not coming from any place known.

It is often how we feel in the middle of our lives.  One has only to sit in a cafe, by a window, and watch the midday rush of people coming and going, seemingly with purpose, appearing with decisiveness, until you catch the gaze of someone passing — a knowing look, a pause, a hesitation; and at that moment of illumination, the stranger and you both know that the constant, ant-like activity is merely a whirl of coming and going upon a bridge to nowhere.

The furious pace of life; of rushing to get to work, working, then rushing to get home within a factory of people uncaring and unaware.  Then, when calamity hits — a medical condition that interrupts, intercedes and imposes its existence upon you — suddenly the routine of ferocious activity finds meaning in the very meaninglessness felt the moment before.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job because of a medical condition, the sense that one is driving upon a bridge to nowhere is common and troubling.  Of course one’s health should be a priority; and of course work, the “mission” of the Federal agency and the harassment that is initiated without empathy or understanding — all of that stuff should be secondary and subordinated to taking care of one’s health.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the recognition that the bridge to nowhere will not take you anywhere, and it is in order to regain that insight of meaningfulness that it is important to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in order to focus upon the importance of priorities shoved aside — like one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Formulating the argument

How does one formulate “the argument”?  Is it merely a reaction that comes naturally, like the person who has been tagged as one who is “constantly argumentative”?  Do all arguments need to provide a foundation of rational discourse — of coherence within an invective of counter-statements, and structure countermanding a deterioration of civility?

For example, when a person begins to answer the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — does one pause, consider the various answers that may be provided, and establish a methodology in proceeding to satisfy the question? Does the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits consider first the consequences of one’s answers, and do you weave throughout a thoughtful argument for an approval?  Or, should the “argument” be filed via a separate Legal Memorandum, pointing out the relevant laws, citing the statues and quoting from various cases that have previously addressed the issues posed?

Most people who file for FERS Medical Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management fail to consider the preemptive arguments that should be made within the answers to questions posed on SF 3112A, and thus are denied at the First Stage of the process because the applicant thought that a simple question asked required a similarly-simple answer as requested.

Then, of course, when the Initial Denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received through the mail, the Second Stage of the process — the “Reconsideration Stage” — merits further formulation of legal arguments.  At whatever “stage” you are at — whether at the First and Initial Stage; the second, “Reconsideration” Stage; or even at the Third Stage, an Appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — formulating a coherent, cogent and rational argument that persuades OPM to approve the Federal Disability Retirement application is an important component in a winning FERS Medical Retirement application.

Remember — to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is not like having an argument with a friend or spouse; it is an argument which must be based upon facts, evidence, and legal precedents, and to have the best “shot” at it requires the hand of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

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

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Next Steps

It is the previous step that determines the following one, and the one before that which closes the alternatives for multiple other pathways; in the end, sequence matters, protocol can make a difference, and how one takes the steps, in what direction, by what methodology — these are all important considerations to contemplate.  What the endeavor is; by what means one is attempting to achieve the end-result; and the manner in which the goal is reached; the attempt the take a short-cut will often result in only a short-lived gain, but often with long-term consequences that, upon reflection, made the short-cut pay a price greater than the worth of the gain.

Next steps are important; each step, whether previously taken or subsequently considered, are also obviously of significance, but one could argue that those already taken cannot be reversed or, if reversed or retraced, may complicate matters more, whereas the “next step” yet to be taken may impact all previous ones already established and thus must be considered in light of the consequences likely to ensue.

Whatever has already occurred in the past cannot be undone or, if it can, must be retracted with care such that any retrospective refashioning of previous actions taken will do no greater harm than that which has already been consummated.  It is always the “next steps” that are the crucial ones, for they will determine not only the efficacy of all previous ones, but further, will either validate or undermine all previous ones heretofore taken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and 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, the next steps you take may be the critical ones that determine the success or failure of the entire complex, administrative and bureaucratic process you are attempting to undertake.

What statements are made as reflected on SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the sufficiency of the medical reports and records gathered, to be submitted as Attachments to your Federal Disability Retirement application; whether you answer and address the issues concerning accommodations in the workplace sufficiently or in what manner; whether you have an adequate understanding and comprehension of your rights with regard to Federal Disability Retirement Law; these and many other “next steps” may well determine the future course of actions previously taken, ignored or otherwise not initiated.

Perhaps the “next step” should be to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the “next step” be the one that leads to an unforeseen stumble, where that next step leads to a misstep or the following next step after that cannot occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire