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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: In the “not working” world

Excellence is rarely seen; the artisan is dead to the world; and we all struggle through knowing that trinkets from foreign countries symbolize the incompetence of the universe in which we must continue to exist.  Something is not working.  We all know it, feel it, worry about it and whisper in circles where such things are concealed and rarely revealed.

Life is formed by multiple concentric circles; we live within various spectrums of such parallel universes, sometimes entering into one and exiting another; at other times, remaining stuck in between.  There is the objective reality “other there”; there is, then, the subjective world of our own thoughts, emotions, anxieties and unspoken soliloquies.

There are “worlds” out there that we know nothing about – of corporate boardrooms where issues are discussed that we only read about; of high places and conspiracies; of dungeons in other countries where unimaginable torture and cruelty are conducted; and all throughout, we remain within the narrow concentric circle of our family, friends, the limited sphere of people we know, and the problems that loom large within the consciousness of our own worlds.

Throughout, we know that there was once a time, long since past, where the world worked better; maybe, perfection had never been achieved, but the age of politeness, of courtesy, of communities actually caring and thriving; or, perhaps that existed only in those old black-and-white television shows like “Leave it to Beaver” or “Happy Days” (yes, yes, the latter one was in color).

There is a sense, today, that something is not working; that we live in a “not working” world, and no repairman can be called to “fix it” because no one has the skill or expertise to diagnose the problem, and even if there were such a person, we don’t quite know what the “it” is, anyway.

It is quite like a medical condition that begins to impede, to impose, to interfere – like Federal and Postal employees who have dedicated their entire lives to working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then are beset with a medical condition that begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

What does one do?  Can the doctor “fix” it?  Often, we have to simply live with it.

In those circumstances, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, who lives in that concentric circle of a reality of living in a “not working” world, must consider the next steps – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to step into another concentric universe of sorts, and move on in life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Game changers

Rarely do we have advantages in life.  Instead, most challenges are full of obstacles in our way, advantages tipped in favor of another’s, and an imbalance that seems to make life’s lottery of spectral choices a weighted unfairness that no amount of complaining seems to make a difference about.  We hear about them; yet, they rarely attend to our own needs nor join “our team”.

Game changers are those influences or components that suddenly make winning more favorable.  They normally become a part of the “other” team, but every now and again, life may throw a ray of sunshine down our path, and game changers become an element of one’s own “team”.  Perhaps it is a secret piece of knowledge no one else is privy to; or a piece of information that others have not yet been provided access to; or a person with exceptional talent who has given indications of sympathy to a particular cause; or even a new methodological approach that has not yet been widely disseminated.

Whatever the element of advantage, game changers open up circumstances that favor the success of one side over another, and appear at an optimum time when others have yet to prepare for the surprise addition.  At least, that is what they appear to do in novels, movies, plays and fictional life.  In real life, there are rarely such advantageous elements that make a difference.  Instead, most of life is a steady monotony of hard work, less complaining and a representation of the tortoise-like ethic as opposed to the hare that dashes off and runs ahead of everyone else.

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 concept of a “game changer” should be a familiar one.  For, when the medical condition first began to impact one’s health, that– in and of itself — was a game-changer: against you.  And when your work began to suffer because of the medical condition — that, too — was a game-changer: against you.  And when you needed to take excessive Sick Leave and Annual Leave, then LWOP, that was again a game-changer – again and too familiarly, against you.

It is perhaps time to begin preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; that, too, may be a “game changer”; but this time, in your favor, so that you can perhaps begin to focus upon the changing games that need a true game changer – your own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: That Sudden Urgency

It happens all of the time in life; we leave things to fester, then suddenly the matter becomes important, then vital, creeps into a state of urgency, until it finally develops into a crisis.  The underlying impetus is based upon procrastination; the psychological explanation is deemed avoidance behavior, and the reality of experience merely recognizes it as the nature of human living.

We ask ourselves in wonderment, where did all of the intermediate phases dissipate to?  How did the incremental steps and half-steps in reaching this point of sudden urgency disappear unnoticed?  It is tantamount to children and puppies; that exuberance now gone, when yesterday they were seen with the innocence of youth and folly running through the field.  How does time suddenly evaporate and necessity emerge and develop into the here and now?  Is it mere hope of resolution, or laziness neglected upon a return of minimal investment?

Time was that once, in childhood years of visionary glories, we sought refuge in the calluses of existence where others took care and nurtured, and suddenly those “others” were no longer around, and growing up meant that responsibilities became our personal ownership, and we had to embrace those very things long neglected like faded photographs left discarded in the garden heaps of memories and fears, loathing and angst.

Medical conditions tend to be like that.  They are conditions of human existence which require attending to, and tending to like gardens left dying on vines of eternity; and suddenly it becomes clear that no one else really cares, but for self, family and the closest of friends.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered for many months, and perhaps years, because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there comes a day when the realization of reality suddenly comes upon us, and there is no more tomorrow, no room left for delay, and no time reserved for excuses.

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, is a long and arduous process involving multiple levels and stages of a bureaucratic morass, and it is this long and hard road of an administrative nightmare which must be dealt with when the sudden urgency of recognition and realization hits home.  And as home is where the heart and hearth are, so finding that restorative space of grace and fulfillment requires planning, deliberation, and a will to win, especially when dealing with a Federal agency such as OPM which views all medical conditions and Federal Disability Retirement applications with analytical suspicion.

Finding that it is suddenly necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits did not become an urgent state of being overnight; but through many nights and days of toil, it crept upon us like that unseen monster laying wait under the bed in the childhood fears of yesteryear, where protective mothers and fearless fathers long ago left for destinations still unknown, leaving the wide-eyed child of former days to fend for him or herself in this world of cavernous carnivores and restless winds of change.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: Identity Crisis

It is how we view ourselves as one entity among others; where the I-Thou relationship corresponds to the perspective we have of ourselves, of others, and within the micro and macro-communities we engage and with which we interact.  Who we are; how we see ourselves; what constitutes value and worth; whether productivity is defined merely by the volume of paperwork shuffled, or in the manufacturing of items shipped to far-off places; and the constancy of eyes which discern the essence of a person’s place in society.  One’s identity is intimately and intangibly intertwined with one’s job, profession and vocation of choice — or where one simply “fell into” the morass of growing from teenager to adulthood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s livelihood, the vocation one has aspired to for the past few years, decades, and throughout one’s lifetime; or for the Postal worker and Federal employee who have viewed the position as merely a “pass-through” job in order to obtain certain credentials and qualifying clearances; in either cases, when a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, there often erupts a crisis of identity, precisely because of the intimacy between one’s health and one’s capacity and ability to work.

The proverbial “identity crisis” occurs precisely because of the intersection between the tripartite conditions which society has placed with a burden of chaotic rationale:  Who we are; What we do; Our value tied to productivity and “doing”.  Where health begins to deteriorate, the ability and capacity to remain “productive” diminishes; regression of “doing” reduces one’s market value in a society which idolizes comparative worth; and as what we do becomes less valuable, who we are shrinks in the eyes of the macroeconomic stratosphere of societal valuation.

Time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to embrace the identity crisis of this vast bureaucracy of the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is time to move on.

“Moving on” is to simply accept the devaluation system of monetary policy of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; but it is the personal identity crisis which must always be dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s perspective of self-worth, it is time to exit from the abyss of deterioration, and take the positive and affirmative step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Netherworld between Sleep and Wakefulness

There is that moment of haziness, where sleep has not yet overtaken and consciousness has not yet been fully lost, where the philosophical abyss of Kierkegaard’s Either/Or stands in relation to knowledge, truth, insight and puzzlement, and where questions abound concerning the relationship between words and the objective reality of constellations clashing amidst bursting stars and black holes.

Sleep is a realm sought after; restorative sleep, a state of being which, without explanation or cause, we accept as a necessity of life’s conundrums.  Without it, or because of a lack thereof, functionality deteriorates, awareness becomes overwhelming, and the capacity to tolerate a normal level of life’s stresses becomes an issue of sensitivity and tearful breakdowns.  Sleep brings us to the other side of darkness; wakefulness, this side of paradise.

Whether because our genetic code has not yet adapted fully through the evolutionary process of survivability, or that technology outpaces the capacity of human intelligence to withstand the constant bombardment of stimuli upon organic receptors devised merely for hunting or gathering, we may never figure out.  Regardless, many are like the sleeping dead, where the netherworld between sleep and wakefulness remain unchanged, and profound fatigue, daily exhaustion and untenable mental fogginess and loss of intellectual acuity impacts one’s daily ability and capacity to make a living.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such an exacerbating and complex state of health, the reality of going through the day, of coming home exhausted and forlorn, yet unable to turn that profound fatigue into a period of respite and restorative sleep, is a reality faced with the concerns of being able to continue in one’s Federal or Postal career.

Sleep disorders are often secondary medical and health issues, following upon primary physical and psychiatric disabilities; but they can also be a primary basis for 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.

Whether diagnosed as Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, or a more generalized diagnosis of Sleep Dysfunction or Sleep Disorder, the impact upon one’s cognitive acuity as well as the physical exhaustion felt, which can lead to creating a hazardous workplace phenomena, the Federal or Postal employee who finds that the impact prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, should consider that the health issue itself is a valid one, and a firm basis for preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

One may, here and there, experience the phenomenon of entering that netherworld between the dark chasm of sleep and the full orientation of wakefulness, and know that drifting between one and the other is likened to the necromancy of human complexity; but when such a condition remains a constancy in one’s life, then it may be time to consider filing for a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, lest the sorcery of life’s dreamworld waves the wand which withers the soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire