Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

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, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Lip Service to Losses

It is admitted under the cover of gaining, and never standing alone as a mark of proud achievement.  To lose is to be forgotten; and while we give lip service in various ways — as in, “Oh, we learned so many valuable lessons from our losses”, or “Behind every success story is a failure of tenfold that allowed the person to learn and grow”, or ever the clincher: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game” — such losses always end up in the ash heaps of history’s forgotten events, while the “winners” move on into the next phase of life’s ongoing narrative.

Yet, we continue to perpetuate the myth that life’s lessons are best gained by the failures and disappointments that we encounter, and that is what “giving lip service” ultimately means: the insincerity of words in contrast to one’s belief as beheld close to one’s heart.  That is why it becomes increasingly difficult for this generation, as opposed to and in contrast with previous generations, to handle the stresses of daily failures and unmet expectations.

We cannot strip away the reality of the world throughout one’s upbringing and childhood, constantly telling every child that everyone is doing a “great job” and have “special talents” at every turn and hiccup of life’s turmoils, then expect them to be able to handle the daily and overwhelming stresses of life’s experiences that must by necessity include setbacks and the bumping into the harshness of stark cruelty of the world, then expect a placid, calm and positive view of experiential stability.

The harshness of reality is that, indeed, this is a hard life, and no matter how much technology may promise the easing pain and modernity the hope for a utopian society, the frailty of the human condition cannot be avoided.  That is the reality-check that a medical condition imposes — that we are not mere lesser gods among beasts of burden, but in fact have just as many burdens and are subject to the unexpected vicissitudes of life’s happenstances.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to realize that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may not meet the expectations of those who give lip service to the idea itself — i.e., that yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will “support” you in your application; that the Human Resource Office will do everything in their power to “accommodate” you; that your Supervisor or Manager is “sympathetic” to your situation, etc.

They may speak the words, but in their “heart of hearts” is that notion that filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is on the side of “losses” and not of categories empowered by “wins”, and therefore you must be careful in who you confide with when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Always remember, however, that consultation with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law will guarantee that “lip service” will not be mere words, but a careful guidance and strategizing of that which is in your best interests, and with full confidentiality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Trapped

Desperation is born of it; escape routes relieve the sense of it; and in the end, it is a belief in the hope that there are alternatives which provides a release from it.  The wild animal that is trapped will do everything to escape, including acts of self-harm if there is no alternative presented.  Whether of higher intelligence or some lesser level, the sense or “feeling” of being trapped leads to a suffocating belief of hopelessness.

Armies allow for it; battles often depend upon it; and the “it” which demands for an unconditional surrender is countermanded if there has been a history of genocidal atrocities committed.  It is the hope for some alternative to the present circumstances of despondency that results in a relief from the sense of being trapped; but options and alternatives often remain obscured by fear, lack of knowledge and the paralyzed state itself of “feeling” trapped.

For humans, it is knowledge which is the greater release from such a state of restrictiveness, and for Federal and Postal employees specifically, who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition is impacting more than their careers — from growing harassment to an imposition of a “Performance Improvement Plan” to further actions, including a proposed removal, etc. — including the tumultuous upheavals experienced in their personal lives, the sense of feeling trapped is a natural consequence of failing to act.

Animals are known to act in desperation and reactionary ways; humans, it is wrongly thought, engage in a more reflective mode of acting — i.e., in a more deliberative, considered approach.  But the sense of feeling trapped often undermines the rational side of humans, and it is in such a state of desperation that the Federal or Postal employee will submit a poorly-prepared Federal Disability Retirement application, increasing the chances of a First-Stage denial.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the assistance of an attorney will not necessarily guarantee success at any given stage of the process, but it may raise the chances of such success at each and every stage.  In the end, it is knowledge of the options available which allows for the release of one from “feeling trapped”, and consultation with an experienced attorney when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the best way to release the hope for a more secure future in entering into the traps of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The Cynic’s Corner

The Cynic’s Corner is that part of the mindset that has encountered the worst of human behavior; where sunshine is merely a prelude to a dark cloud; when brightness is predicted to last for only a short while; and where — when a declaration is made with a joyful sound of delightful exclamations like, “It’s the weekend!” — is immediately followed by the undermining postscript, “Yes, and then Monday follows.”

The view that life’s brutish perspective can be seen in stark contrast with the idealist’s naïveté that everything has a bright side to it, that human depravity always wins out by love, and sunshine always follows a cloud burst or a week of rainy Sundays.  Is moderation always the answer to the charge that truth never fits upon the spectrum of excessiveness, and it is the extremes of perspectives that defy the logic of truth?

The Cynic’s Corner is attained and reserved by and for the aged; for it is only by experience of life’s encounters with daily human depravity that one can come to the conclusion that the Cynic’s Corner has reached.  The fresh smile of youth’s hope; the innocent eyes for the swan in flight or the fawn in the hunter’s headlights; these will dissipate like time, wrinkle-less laughter and the fresh bones of a healthy body; and then the cynic whispers, “But in the end, we all wither and die.”

Perhaps.  Or, more to the point, Yes, there is certainly an end to everything, but isn’t the point not of how it ends, but of the manner it is lived?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition itself has reached a critical point of “no return”, it is important to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and submit it in a timely manner with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If you are already a member of the Cynic’s Corner, then you will have already concluded that everything that could go wrong in the preparation, formulation and submission of the Federal Disability Retirement application, can and often does go wrong, and that is why consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is an essential feature and component of the entire administrative process, lest you have renounced your seat at the Cynic’s Corner and have instead joined that “other” club — the Knights of Naïveté.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire