Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Sun rise, son set

Can homonyms be mistakenly utilized in spoken language, or only if written?  When we speak, do we have a conceptualized entity of the sentence spoken within the mind’s eye, or is it all just the blather of our own voice which prevails upon the sensitive ears of others?  If we have a word misspelled in our own minds as we speak of it, does it count?

Or, what do you make of a person who says, “I believe that the son is about to set”, then apologizes profusely, saying, “Oh, I am so sorry for the mistake; I was thinking about my son just as the sun was about to set, and mistakenly inserted one for the other as I declared the sun about to set.”  Does it even make sense to apologize?  Yet, in his own mind, he has made an error that needed to be corrected, so the further question would be: Can an error be one if no one else but the person who made the error recognizes it?

Oh, but if only this were true in all sectors of life — take, as another example, a person who finds that his bank account has been deposited with an astronomical sum: instead of $200.00 deposited on Thursday, the bank records show a deposit of 2 millions dollars.  You go to the bank and inquire, and the bank manager treats you like royalty and says, “No, no, there was no error; it was definitely a deposit of 2 million dollars.”  You know that an error has been committed; no one else will acknowledge it, and feigns either ignorance or rebuts your presumptuousness that you are correct and all others are wrong.

Is such a case similar to the one about homonyms in one’s own private world?

Or how about its opposite — Son rise, sun set.  You say that to someone else — “Yes, the son will rise, and the sun will set.”  It appears to sound like one of those pithy statements that is meant to be profound: “Yes, the sun will rise, and the sun will set”, stated as a factual matter that cannot be disputed.  Was an error made?  Do you turn to the individual who made the declarative assessment and correct him — “Excuse me, but you misspelled the first ‘son’ and should have been ‘sun’”?  And to that, what if the speaker says, “No, I meant it as it is spelled; you see, my son gets up to go to work when the sun sets.”

Of course, how would we know unless the speaker were to spell the words out as he is speaking — you know, that annoying habit that people engage in when they think that everyone around is an idiot who cannot spell, as in: “Now, watch as the entourage — e-n-t-o-u-r-a-g-e for those who don’t know how to spell and who don’t know the meaning of the word — comes into view.”  To such people, we roll eyes and step a distance away.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are wondering what homonyms have to do with Federal Disability Retirement issues, the short answer is: Not much.  Instead, the point of it all is to have the Federal and Postal employee understand that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is much like having a private thought — the medical condition — which is suddenly revealed only after we choose to do so.

Medical conditions are extremely private and sensitive matters, and are often hidden by taking great extremes of cautionary steps.  Privacy is crucial, but when the decision is finally made to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, you must accept that others will come to know the reality of the privacy you have protected for so long — somewhat like the sun rising and the son setting, only with greater significance and painful reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: How truly ordinary we are

Every now and again, someone will make that inane statement that seems to fly by in a discourse of overwhelming linguistic overcrowding of so many such pearls of wisdom:  “Oh, we’re all just human.”  Is it a logical tautology in a strict sense?  The “we” referred to is obviously a subject which includes individual human beings; the “human” described and identified, is the same as the “we” previously posited.  So, it is the same as saying:  “Oh, humans are all just human.”

If that were said, instead, would we not turn with a puzzled look of suspicion, as if the statement made was uttered in such a nonsensical term that the meeting of eyes would, or at least should, erupt with uncontrollable laughter like two hyenas cackling at the full moon?  Or, despite the inane nature of meaninglessness, do we all have a shared cultural norm of language, such that we recognize and comprehend such statements?  For, the sentence itself evokes meanings of shared belief: We are all less than perfect; Don’t worry about it, we all do that from time to time; The ordinariness of human frailty allows for each to give another the benefit of the doubt.

It also points to a slightly deeper meaning:  That, in our humanity, how truly ordinary we are.  Yet, isn’t that very ordinariness that which allows for the shared commonality of community?  The fact that we are ordinary is precisely what allows us all to “fit in”, and concurrently, touches upon that darker side of human nature to spur cruelty, arrogance, superiority and disdain.  For, it is the Darwinian predisposition to conquer and defeat, of “showing up” everyone else that we are what we are not created as – being ordinary.

That is why, when a medical condition is revealed, it is the weakness and the vulnerability that suddenly causes others to shy away, to shun, and to harass and prey upon.  Our ordinariness, in combination with the scientifically and anthropologically explained behavior traits of “survival instincts” and aggressive, predatory inclinations, somewhat defines why we are who we are and how, in a society that supposedly advances continually, we still revert back to your roots of caveman-like follies.

Medical conditions depict our ordinariness.  Manifested medical conditions attract the predatory inclinations within, like predisposed genetic and cellular triggers that cannot be stopped.

That is what Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition triggers a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, need to understand:  That we our human; our humanness reveals vulnerabilities; that such vulnerabilities will manifest themselves in quite ordinary revelations, including medical conditions; and, once medical conditions are revealed, it will likely trigger aggressive and predatory reactions, and attract those very hominids who, by Darwinian triggers of genetic predispositions, will react in an attempt to rise above our humanity.

Agencies act that way; the U.S. Postal Service certainly treats it employees in that thread of behavioral responsiveness.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, keep in mind that, in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, how truly ordinary we are is merely another way of recognizing that not only are we just human, but we can also reveal that dark side inherent in all in the rise to subvert just how truly ordinary we are, which only further uncovers how truly ordinary they are, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Identity Theft

Concerns over “identity theft” abound in this information age where an almost unlimited trove of personal data gets transmitted through the ethereal universe of the Internet.

Certainly, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management itself should be aware of this, with the recent hacking of Social Security Numbers, birth dates, responses to security questions, etc., and their failure to protect such sensitive caches of information.  But such thievery is normally recoverable; new passwords and keywords can be changed and obtained; additional walls of security impositions can be constructed, and life can be returned to a relative level of normalcy, with mere vestiges of fading memories of inconvenience to haunt our daily lives.

There are other forms of identity thievery, however, which can be more onerous, and unrecoverable.  When an individual is stripped of his or her identity as developed over many years through hard work, dedication and loyalty to a purpose or cause, and that reputation becomes destroyed in quick order and succession resulting from circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, where is the restorative avenue for that?  To what door or office does one apply to regain the loss, and return back to a sense of normalcy?

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who are daily harassed because they suffer from a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform, any longer, the full essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or for the U.S. Postal Service, such “identity theft” of an alternate kind is well known and intimately experience.

Those multiple years of toil, dedication and loyalty to development of fine-tuned talents in order to perform one’s job with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — they become for naught, when one’s worth is so closely tied to one’s health, whether physical or psychiatric.  And so it may be time to “move on”, and this means, in all likelihood and necessity, 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.

Yes, ultimately, one’s OPM Disability Retirement application must be filed with the very same agency whose vault of personal personnel information was hacked into; but that is often the irony of life itself, where the Federal or Postal employee must knock on the very door which allowed for identity theft, in order to regain it again for a new and brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Hoarding Hordes

As homophones, they are often words confused and confusing, both in usage as well as in application; but it is the perspective by which they are utilized which refines the proper insertion into a grammatically correct context.  Thus, the former pertains to volume of items in vast storage supplies, collected for purposes often beyond want or need; while the latter is attributable to the invasion of foreign forces in greater numbers, in overwhelming tides of armies by invasion.

History is replete with instances of both, and the present day migration and waves of immigrants world-wide is a testament to that.  Hoarding defines an affirmative intent, and the will to refuse to get rid of or let go, while the entrance of hordes of people or other entities may have nothing to do with control or affirmative actions.  Where one is the gatekeeper, it is often important to recognize the elements which one has any control over, as opposed to those which are beyond such capacity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is important to not confuse homophones and to conceptually distinguish between similar entities, whether by sound, identity or some other means.

Hoarding hurts, tragedies, defeats and setbacks, is something which the Federal or Postal employee has some semblance of control over; the hordes of aggressive actions and behaviors initiated by one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service upon the Federal or Postal employee in order to harass, intimidate or force a resignation upon, is beyond the borders of control (although they may certainly contribute to the anxiety felt, the anger festering, and the deep depression settling).

Recognizing the homophones of life is an important tool in maintaining clarity of purpose and acuity of determined planning for the future, and at some point, it is necessary to realize that the hordes of comity are nowhere to be found, and preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may first require getting rid of the hoards of emotional baggage accumulated over the past years of insensitive encounters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Adaptable Criterion

If a criterion is advanced at the outset, one expects that the details of its applicability will result in a fair outcome so long as the requisite subsets are adhered to.  The problem is one of generalizations, however, and the linguistic malleability of hermeneutic interpretation, and in the end, the honesty of the individual.

There may have been a time when the sin nature of man was contained, and Pandora’s box was sealed, or at least somewhat secured; but once relativism creeped into the general populace, the game of restraint was lost forever.  Once, when man was left to individualistic devices, and information concerning the world was considered esoteric and reserved for the ivory towers of science and theological hoods of mystery shorn by Jesuit Orders of secrecy and cavernous enclaves of furtive whispers echoing down dark chambers in secluded corners, the application and usage of criteria demanded knowledge beyond the commonplace. Now, with Google and other search engines, everyone knows everything, or nothing at all.

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the “trick” is to review the legal criteria, amass the information in a manner which fits the applicability for eligibility, then to “make the case” for an approval.

Is it a science?  Or, more precisely, are the regulatory subsets “open to interpretation”?  And more to the point:  Do the Administrative Specialists at OPM adhere to the “letter of the law”, or is hermeneutics less than an honest methodology these days?  Where human nature is concerned, one need not stray too far from the general knowledge of the masses.

If one has lived long enough, you know that you should always walk through the busy streets of a city with one hand on your back pocket, protecting your wallet.  Pickpockets are everywhere, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the Federal and Postal worker should always be cognizant of the fact that the adaptable criterion is not the fault of the agency or the promulgators of legal standards, but merely reflects the fact that Pandora’s box was left open long ago, and the serpents of horror and dishonesty were left to roam the earth like never before.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire