Lawyer for Federal Disability Retirement claims: Fact and opinion

These days, the distinction between the two has been almost completely lost.  One must qualify such a statement with “almost”, only because there may still be minority bastions and pockets of hope still holding out that the madness prevailing will someday be overcome.

Somehow, the lines bifurcating the distinction that once were so obvious became obscured, until suddenly it was no longer a matter of just blurry lines, but the lines themselves had disappeared, and no one spoke as if there was a difference to be had.  Facts were confirmed and established “somethings” in either the objective world or of tradition-laden statements that we could all agree upon; opinions were various interpretations of those commonly-accepted facts, interspersed with the subjective content that often prefaced with, “It is my opinion that…”.

We have now discarded even the prefatory admonition, now, because it has become an unnecessary addendum; since there are no longer any facts, and everyone is privileged to hold an opinion, we go ahead and speak not facts because our opinion holds out just as well, thank you very much.

Where did it all begin?  Was it because Plato made too much about the difference between reality and appearance — so much so that he was forced to manufacture his conceptual fiction of ethereal “Forms” that itself became so problematic?  Or was it with Descartes, where certainty of one’s own existence became relegated to the subjective “I”, and so it was bound to become a muddle as more and more philosophers came to realize that, like Russell’s muse about language and the destruction of the traditional correspondence theory of truth, statements made could not so easily be identified as either fact or opinion.

It becomes much more problematic when statutory, reputation, education and logical methodology are altogether discarded and made irrelevant, and so we come back full circle in questioning ourselves, the categorizations we have imposed, and how to get beyond the conundrum of modernity’s own making.

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 job or Postal position, the question concerning “fact or opinion” is an important one, because the weaving of one into the other is queried in Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

How one’s answers are formulated and presented; whether they can be verified, established, “backed up with facts” as opposed to being left as mere subjective opinions — are all bundled up and contained within the questions asked, and how you will be answering them.

Fortunately, there is still remaining an approach and methodology of presenting facts as facts, and setting aside opinions and interpretations of the facts, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to recognize the difference still, and be cautious in completing SF 3112A in light of modernity’s obsessional disorientation on the difference between fact and opinion.

Just the facts, as stated by my opinion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in preparing, formulating and filing 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Different gradations of form and tint

The former often refers to architectural structures; the latter, to the exterior or interior paint, color and hue; and, together, they present to the observing eye the sensible objects that we experience through sight, smell and at least as to the former, tactile encounters.

Words are funny things; we not only create and apply them, but concurrently establish rules for utility and usage such that restrictions apply, expansiveness beyond certain boundaries become prohibited, and modifications for allowances in the placement of a particular sentence are constrained.  Can concepts concerning different gradations of form and tint be applied to human lives?  Yes, but we allow for such deviancy by imputing analogy, metaphor or simile, and the distinction is created through the parallel thought processes which are invoked by such literary devices.

Narratives have that sense of gradations, both of form and of tint, but in somewhat of a different sense.  “Form” in that context goes to the structure of sentences and how the story is molded for presentation to the listener, while the “tint” is more likened to the “feel” and aura manifested by the speaker, whether first person, third person; is the narrator omniscient or limited in knowledge and scope?

Structures are inanimate obstructions presented by three dimensional appearances manifesting color and hue; human beings, by contrast, are complex structures who present more than mere unmoving or unmovable obstructions, but instead embody form otherwise characterized as essence, tint often revealed as complicated personalities, and a psyche shrouded in mystery.

Thus, for Federal and Postal employees considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, that narrative written in response to the questions on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, should always consider what gradations of form and tint should be presented.

How much of the complexity of a human being should be infused, beyond the “inanimate” manifestation of cold medical facts and circumstances likened to the different gradations of form and tint?  Or, should there be a flood of emotionalism that reveals the “feel” and impact of a medical condition?

Human narratives are indeed complex, and can never be pigeonholed into predetermined categorizations without some aspect of a person’s subjective experience.  Ultimately, however, no narrative can be completely “cold”, like the inanimate structure based purely upon architectural integrity of form and tint, but must by necessity encompass the complexity of the human psyche.

Take care, however, that the narrative presentation does not border upon the maudlin, but instead presents a balanced admixture of facts, circumstances, legal precedents, symptoms of medical pain or psychiatric deterioration, with a clear pathway on a bridge to the positional elements of a Federal or Postal position.  For, in the end, it is an “effective” Federal Disability Retirement application that should be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and one which reflects well the different gradations of form and tint.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Designing a different biography

Each of us has one, but we know not what it states; for, it is what is written and carried by someone else, and not from ourselves.  Yes, yes, we also have an “autobiography”, as well – a narrative of how we see ourselves, in what manner, of what form, in what scintillating and scandalous light.  But it is the collective viewpoints of all whom we have encountered that comprise, constitute and in the compendium of the aggregate, tell the story of “that person” – you.

What would you gather if you went about to all family members, friends, relations and relatives, and to a lesser extent neighbors and acquaintances, whether close or distant, and interviewed each as to the narrative they have about you; collect them into a coherent whole and arrange them into a comprehensible amalgamation for self-reflective, unpublished anonymity?

It would likely be surprising, with tidbits of disconcerting salaciousness – not necessarily involving any vice, but if honesty were to be an unequivocal mandate in the responses to each query, it is likely that one would be taken aback by the responses received, not only in content and substance of answers, but from whence the source of information came.

Would we, if given the opportunity, begin to design a different biography in response to the amassing of such a narrative?  Or, like most people, would we merely engage in defensive self-justification, cutting off relations, reacting with anger and disappointment, and like a child without remorse, regret from wisdom or any greater understanding than the idiot savant who can mimic brilliance from learned behaviors, sit glumly with self-pity and blame those who provided their honest opinion and perspective, and continue on in the same mold as before?

Designing a different biography requires, at a minimum, a capacity to still process information for the intended purpose of alteration of behavior; and like the metamorphosis depicted by Kafka, there are few who have the self-reflective capacity in order to initiate that which cannot be comprehended by an ego which refuses to change.  What chance, then, do we have for redemption?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires designing a different biography for a future event (becoming a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant) because of a present circumstance of altering issues (a medical condition that has arisen, worsened or become exacerbated over time, such that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity), the concept of designing a different biography may require an honest assessment and evaluation of one’s physical and mental capacity, what the requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job entails, and when the time is ripe to consider initiating the long, arduous and complex process of considering the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, designing a different biography always requires a moment of self-reflection – something more complicated than editing our own unsolicited autobiography.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Loyalties unrequited

Like the letter expressing undying love, returned without a forwarding address and stamped with a vengeance with ink smudges unable to erase.  Of course, such imagery is likely to be a puzzle and an unknown quantity for most, as no one writes letters, anymore.  What would be its modern equivalent?  An email returned, a text message ignored, or a Facebook request blocked?

Loyalties, on the other hand, are a funny thing; if left unspoken and implicitly assumed, each party to the “agreement” of loyalty can walk about with differing perspectives and alternative understandings.  The one with authority may well see it as a tacit, unilateral bondage; all others assume (most often wrongly) as being a bilateral vehicle for mutual benefit.  For many, such presumptuous loyalties never reach a pinnacle of an actual test; for, the test is in the crisis created, when that which is implicit must be expressed in terms loudly declarative to all.

Then, of course, the sad truth is that linguistic elasticity (i.e., in modern parlance, “alternative facts”, “hyperbolic truth”, or in archaic language, “lies”, “falsehoods” and “deceptions”) has resulted in the devastation of language, truth and reliance upon certainty of constrained declarations.

Language once reached a pinnacle of communicative practicality, perhaps redacted in the British command of subtlety and decorum, reflecting the sophistication of Shakespeare, Milton, Waugh and Hitchens, and even coopted by that New England appearance of relative kinship as characterized by Buckley, Vidal, etc.  Now, in modernity, language has become a free-for-all, where volume dominates substance and we can all maintain a straight face even when encountering a logical inconsistency, a methodological fallacy, or an outright lie.

This is a strange universe, a convoluted time and a conundrum of an age gone mad – especially when it comes to the communicative tool of language, and the underlying meaning of what is said, what is expected, and what can be stated with any meaningfulness at all.

Loyalty requires language – whether implicit or explicit – which consolidates trust, accord and like-mindedness.  The test of the viability of such an agreement can quickly become abrogated when life, reality and events intervene.  There is thus, often, a “crisis” which arises, which tests the veracity of that which may have been unjustly relied upon.  As in the heat of battle, whether one’s “own” will do as commanded, follow to the end and sacrifice for that tacit agreement, one will never know until put to the test.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who mistakenly believe that loyalty between the Federal agency and the Postal facility is a bilateral condition precedent – of work for these many years, and dedication beyond the agreed-upon hours of compensation, in return for commitment and caring when times become tough – the loyalty unrequited becomes a reality too quickly realized.

Letting the Federal agency know, or giving the U.S. Postal Service a “heads up”, of a mere intent to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, can readily result in unwelcomed reactions and initiation of administrative movements previously unexpected.

Family relationships often become frayed because of intimacy of care; friendships can fluctuate as the howling winds of clashes between warm and cold fronts; and loyalties can be mistaken as to whether it is unilateral or bilateral, and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application can echo the hollow reverberations of loyalties unrequited, and we often walk away astonished at our own naïve beliefs, now dashed and damaged into the hallways of life’s cynicism learned.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Moving on

That is what people want to do, and in the aggregate, the world around.  In engagements with others, there is a limited and quantifiable extent of patience.  It is tantamount to that ‘arc of flight’ that every animal possesses – as long as you remain outside of that safe-zone, you will be a suspicious entity perceived by watchful caution; once you enter and breach the invisible periphery of an unseen arena, you become more than that and declare yourself a danger, a predator and a spoiler of tacit agreements.

Similarly, that interest shown in conveyed concerns – of domestic problems; complaints about personal issues; workplace conflicts that exacerbate common tolerance of stresses experienced; of medical conditions, procedures and impact upon physical and cognitive capacities – may last but a day, a week, a month, or even a year; but then, empathy intersects with everyday life forces, and patience wanes in proportion to an unstated ‘arc of human callousness’, and the justifications begin to echo forth:  “He’s a nice guy, but…”; “I’ve never met someone who has so many problems…”; “Boy, how long is she going to go on complaining?”

We give lip service to the problems of others; we try and maintain that eyebrow of concern, that look of interest and that grim frown of sympathetic pose; but, in the end, people want to move on.

Words allow for linguistic comprehension; spoken communication may touch upon emotional neurotransmitters that convey and enhance the angel in human beings, but there is a limit to the capacity of feeling what a person experiences in the shoes of that proverbial “other”, but in reality, we always remain in our own shoes, constrained within the self-contained egoism of cocoon-like lives, and “moving on” is both the engine of human progress and the regressive malfeasance of an uncaring lot.

In the end, we are left to our own devices.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, the empirical experience of others “moving on” will become a familiar refrain, and one that cannot be avoided.

You are no longer part of that mythical “team”; no longer the golden boy or girl who won those accolades translated into merit pay and promotions; and because of the chronic pain, the loss of mental acuity and cognitive decline from the progressively deteriorating, chronic medical condition, the need to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes that indicator that not only may others be ready to move on – but, more importantly, you are ready to move on.  And the entities that “move on” go about in different directions, and such disengagement and extrication is a natural phenomena resulting from a most unnatural condition of human frailty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The power of dialectical shrewdness

The Middle English noun form of the term connotes a conniving and negative tone, as in the focus of Shakespeare’s play, “The Taming of the Shrew”; but the adjective form merely denotes a practical astuteness in utilizing scarce resources in creative and constructive ways, whereas the altered noun form of “shrewdness” simply extends upon that kinder, gentler meaning.  When truncated as a compound concept with the term encompassing language and communication, however, it is meant to imply a practical force of conveying which sheds itself of unnecessary embellishment and unrequited force of utterance.

We live by narratives.  They form the foundation of who we are, the essence of that image which we carry about, and we readily push the proverbial “button” of the subconscious when queried about our past.  It is not so much that Grandpa or Uncle Ben are getting senile when they repeat the same stories, tell the parallel jokes, or convey the identical remarks from the previous merriment of holiday cheer; no, the narratives kept deep within the treasure troves of the inner soul and psyche are mere traces of a recording played with repetitive muse.

Can they be altered or amended?  Of course.  Can corrections occur? Always.

That is why, when a third party is invited to dinner, who by happenstance was present to confirm or deny a shared and common experience, or to correct a detail not heretofore known (it turns out that Grandpa wasn’t quite at the “first” landing of D-Day, but arrived a few days later as part of a “clean-up crew” in a more “administrative” capacity), the sudden need to rearrange and reorder the ensconced narrative forever frozen in a timeless eternity of thought, historicity and remembrances, becomes more of an irritation than a grudging concession.

That is why it is vitally of importance when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application, to recognize a need to depart from the automaton-workings of life’s daily routine.  Language is more than a conveyance of directions and recipes to prepare a meal; it is the manner of osmosis for higher animals and angels unseen in a universe of trolls and trollops.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must file 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, recognizing the power of linguistic shrewdness, wrapped in the methodology of forceful dialectical argumentation — of that combination of words, facts, forming narratives of undulating emotional sensations which reach down into the depths of souls unmoved, and yet pragmatic to the core because of the sufficiency of correlating and confirming documentation gathered and research unearthed — these are what make for the fine gold dust which must sprinkle from the wings of angels when the flight of the Phoenix must arise from the ashes of a Federal or Postal career ended by no fault of your own, but through a medical condition unplanned for and unnerving to the unknown exponent of a future to be followed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire