FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The compelling reason

What makes a “reason” to do something “compelling”, as opposed to voluntary or optional?  Is it when the choices given are no longer existent and one must by necessity or default act — not out of choice but by being forced to?  Is it the unwillingness of the individual that defines the act, or the lack of alternatives remaining that determines the defined moment?

Or, perhaps it is a “feeling” of involuntariness that justifies the declaration that there was a “compelling reason” to do X or Y, which would create an oxymoron of sorts, to breathe the utterance of “feeling” alongside “reason” in the same sentence.  Is there ever a compelling reason to do or to say something, or is it all voluntarily undertaken, just some acts or declaratives taken with better reasons than others?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 oner’s Federal or Postal job, is there ever a compelling reason to inform the agency prior to a submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application that one has an “intention” to do so?

If the Federal or Postal employee is under pressure because he or she has already exhausted all SL and AL, and has used up the weeks of FMLA that have garnered some semblance of protection, is it a good idea to inform one’s Federal Agency or the Postmaster of one’s facility that you are gathering the necessary information to prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application?

The general rule in such matters is: Unless there is a compelling reason, Don’t.  However, each individual case is different, and unique and particularized circumstances may well define what the “compelling reason” is — as to whether it is indeed “compelling”, or even a good enough “reason”, as opposed to a “feeling” that one possesses.

In the end, the compelling reason is the one that is made without alternatives to consider; but alternatives are the reason why you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, precisely in order to consider those options which you may not even be aware of.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Upon the Altar of Work

They are structures where sacrifices or worship occur.  Not being mutually exclusive, the former can represent the act of the latter, and the latter can constitute the fulfillment of the former.  And while we, in modernity, think of ourselves as sophisticated and beyond the vestiges of former practices of superstition and unscientific religiosity, an objective view of our actions betray the ongoing reliance upon past residues of robotic constancies.

Of course we have to make a living; of course we have to support our families.  But at what cost, and to whom do we owe our allegiance?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sacrifice themselves at the altar of work, when medical conditions begin to clearly impact, deteriorate, denigrate and destroy the body, mind and soul of the Federal and Postal worker, then it is time to consider 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.

As most Federal and Postal employees are under FERS, the minimum eligibility requirement is to have at least 18 months of Federal Service.  Once that threshold is met, then the question is one of having the proper support from one’s treating doctor, psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, etc.  The true test for a Federal Disability Retirement application will be in establishing the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties of one’s official job, as reflected on SF 50 (Federal employees) or PS Form 50 (Postal employees).

Ultimately, when the altar of work becomes more than a means of support, and harkens back to the days of yore where sacrifice and worship intersected to pay tribute to the gods of the underworld, it is time to consider the alternatives available, and for Federal and Postal employees, that should always include the possibility of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: The Chasm between Expectation and Reality

Expectation constitutes the anticipatory goal to be attained sometime in the near or far future; reality is the actualization of the potentiality of one’s imagination.  That anticipatory potentiality, however, can be formulated based upon numerous factors, including:  baseless imagination (more of a child-like quality); desire and hope (with perhaps some admixture of factual context and content, and somewhat of a more mature basis); or sequences of planned actions culminating in a realistic fulfillment based upon actual circumstances analyzed, deliberated upon and ascertained (a mature consequence of purposeful strategies formulated and initiated).

The chasm which exists between one’s expectation, and the reality of fruition, retrospectively reveals the state of maturity (or immaturity) of one’s soul.  That is why gamblers and lottery tickets abound; for, the play upon adolescent wants and desires portends of dreams unfulfilled, desires still unrestrained, and creative imaginations unbounded allowed to wander aimlessly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who expected one’s own agency to embrace loyalty and constancy of support just because the Federal or Postal employee showed such honorable characteristics for many years previously, and perhaps for more decades than the half of one’s lifetime, the chasm of reality often hits hard.

Medical conditions can often be “accommodated“, if only in a loose, non-legal sense of the word.  But it is amazing how people and organizations suddenly become quite “legal” in matters where honor should prevail; and in that sense, to be “accommodated” takes on a new and restrictive meaning.  Medical conditions often bring out the worst in people and organizations, and concepts involving the humanity of one’s soul no longer become relevant, but mere irritants to be legally sequestered in order to protect and deny.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, 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 often the last bastion of hope — hope which bridges the chasm between expectation and reality, and one which sets the path for future security upon the solid foundation of a reality which one may want to shy from, but which one cannot escape in this world of love, hate, humanity and cruelty — the compendium of that complex animal called Man.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Environment

There is pervasive talk about the importance of containing toxic waste dumps, keeping our air and water clean; of limiting the dumping of animal feces into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.; and, indeed, there are agencies and departments created by State, Federal and Local governments devoted to enforcing laws designed to protect us and preserve the pristine condition of our “environment”.

But what of toxic environments of another sort?  What of the poison inserted through malicious intent?  Of the constant harassment and hostility used to intimidate, cower and attain submissive unraveling of defiance?  For those, there are designated courts, commissions and laws passed to protect, for purposes of prosecution and pursuit of money damages.  Of course, the results from either and both arenas of judicial relief are difficult to quantify; whether and to what extent pollutants were introduced into the environment, and by whom; or of what level of toxicity caused harm and damage to an individual; the qualitative measure of damages is always difficult to ascertain.

It is, ultimately, only from the personal perspective and experience that one can gauge the damaging results.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is often a parallel track of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits and concurrently to go after the individuals or organization that discriminated because of the disability acknowledged and recognized.  For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to secure some semblance of “justice” in the process, the goal of the law has been misdiagnosed:  Justice is not the stated teleological motivation of statutory relief; rather, it is a means to appease.

But at what cost?  To what end?  By whose measure?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, sets a specific goal:  cut one’s losses and move on in one’s life.  By filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee is able to leave the toxic environment which may have even contributed to one’s medical condition or disability, or at the very least, exacerbated it; by fighting it, one must remain within the very environment which one is attempting to escape from.

Like Father Damien of Molokai who helped lepers live with dignity as a separate individual from without, but who later contracted the disease and died as “one of them” within, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may want to consider the consequences of the dual track of environmental toxicity before taking on a behemoth of mythical proportions, as opposed to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to exit the poisoning atmosphere.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire