Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Law’s efficacy

When is “the law” effective?  Especially when speaking about an administrative procedure such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – what role does “the law” play in its procedural and substantive aspects?

Multiple distinctions are made on a daily basis with respect to the law’s efficacy; whether something is “legal” or not does not always mean that it is enforceable, for the costs associated may be prohibitively expensive.  To have a “legal right” does not always mean that one should necessarily assert it, for there may be practical considerations that come into play before moving forward with applying that which is rightfully existent.

Further, the mere fact that the law may be “on the books” may not necessarily mean that a society will always raise it up from the dead and apply it; for, as customs and normative constraints alter, modify and become transformed by evolution of thought, it may well be that dogs best left sleeping are the ones who are never bothered.

In Administrative Law – which Federal Disability Retirement issues are a part of – there is always the question as to what role, significant, relevant or somewhat in between, “the law” plays, as many steps throughout the procedure and process must deal with non-lawyers who have no clue as to the existence, force or applicability of legal matters.

Thus, should the “Bruner Presumption” be argued at the initial stage of a Federal Disability Retirement application even though the administrative specialist who is reviewing the Federal Disability Retirement application may have no clue about its impact, doesn’t much care and will likely not give much thought to its contextual relevance?

Does Bracey v. OPM matter when discussing the finer points of issues pertaining to accommodations and reassignment, or is that merely some esoteric legal argument that should be reserved for the Third Stage of the process, if and when a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied twice (both at the Initial Stage of the process, as well as at the Second, Reconsideration Stage) and is appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board and comes before an Administrative Judge?

Should Simpkins versus OPM always be argued for Veterans with Service-connected ratings, no matter what the ratings are comprised of?

The law’s efficacy is ultimately determined not necessarily by the quantitative bombardment of effective methodological argumentation, but by the qualitative selectiveness of who to argue to, when to argue and for what purpose.  In the end, law’s efficacy is a strategic component that may determine the successful or otherwise outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and should be considered thoughtfully and with great preparation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The informed paradigm shift

Often, in ages older and generations beyond, it somehow becomes more difficult to be malleable and bend with the times, circumstances and turmoil of the day.  Does staid decay by refusal to adapt become a law of sorts for the aged?  Is it only youth that can change, or bring about pliable lives, or can the irrelevancy of old men and women be altered with an informed paradigm shift?

There is always a tautness and tension between generational divides; youth believes in beginning over again, to invigorate all plans and prospects of accomplishments – even of reinventing the wheel by trial and error.  And of the old, whose wisdom is never accessed, whether because of pride of youth of an arrogance fraught with silliness, it matters little.  The pendulum that swings between the two extremes, must by law of gravitational pull come to rest somewhere in the middle.

Paradigm shifts come about so infrequently, but there is often an underlying reason:  Just as wholesale genetic overhauls rarely strengthen a Darwinian foundation for survival, so the principles upon which one lives one’s life should not be abandoned after a lifetime of experiences in learned cynicism.  The fact is, it is always difficult to change when circumstances dictate.

Somehow, we believe ourselves to be the masters of our own destinies; and whether the fate of a generation is collectively overpowered by a consciousness of unfathomable mysteries, or each of us must singularly carry the burden of our future lives as isolated pockets without friendship or love, we like to think that we can control our future.  But there are events and circumstances beyond our control, transcending fault or personal responsibility; and the social contract of good citizenry – of abiding by the laws, following the normative constructs of societal acceptability, etc. – follows upon that path of accomplishment.

That is true of a medical condition – for, when a medical condition begins to impact major life activities of a person, an informed paradigm shift must by necessity occur.  It is not a matter of bad fate or unfortunate luck; it simply is, and the sooner one becomes “informed”, the better the paradigm shift for one’s future.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from just such a medical condition, where the medical condition or event begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is may well be time to consider a paradigm shift.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, often requires just such a paradigm shift – a pliability in one’s thinking, and an alteration based upon the information (i.e., being “informed”) presented; and the next step once a cognitive paradigm shift has occurred, is to reach out in order to begin the administrative process of engaging the expertise needed in order to weather the trials of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The New Year

Perhaps it is not merely an arbitrary demarcation, after all.  It is around the time when the winter solstice reaches its pinnacle, and the days become lengthier, the nights shorter.  The year following – the “new” year – begins its ascendancy, leaving behind the frigid desolation yet to endure.

And the excesses of behavior – of drinking, celebration and abandonment of all societal decorum and convention?  It is a way of expiating the pent-up constraints of self-discipline and customary resolve; a way to release the energy of social boundaries for a few hours, a fortnight, and a morning after without regret or remorse.

It is often said that, in psychology and therapeutic intervention, the “aha” moment of gestalt realization is less important than the long and enduring struggles which must be faced immediately thereafter.  We often put too much emphasis and relevance upon that proverbial encounter on the road to Damascus, when in fact it is the long and arduous path that follows which will determine the success or failure of one’s life.

Marking a moment in time as the “cut-off” point of a new beginning may be convenience for multi-variegated purposes; in the world of objective reality, however, the artificial lines will only serve us so far.

This new year will bring out contradictory perspectives; some, as often as not, will predict doom and the soothsayer’s gloom; others, in herds of blind followings, will enter the dawn with hopes unvanquished and dreams yet to be realized.  The rest of us, as always, will have to plod along and live our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with 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 job, the artificial demarcation of “before” and “after”, and the insertion of the increase in the last digit from a 6 to a 7, will be marking an unnoticed blip in time.  That’s the thing about medical conditions; they cross cultures, time and even years.

When the medical condition becomes magnified to a point in 2017 where essential elements of the Federal or Postal job one is working in becomes impeded or otherwise unable to be performed, then the significance of the contrast as against the previous year becomes unmistakable, and the Federal or Postal employee may want to consider 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.

In the end, the “New” year is likely like the old one, and the one before that; only, our bodies deteriorate over time, and the uncaring behemoth of the federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service may only become exponentially worsened.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The dynamic duo and the perfect tandem

There are times when life “clicks”; the mistake is made to gaze at one’s navel at such times of apparent perfection, and to try and capture that something in a bottle and attempt a reenactment and regurgitation of that which works, when the reality is that it is merely a fortunate day to be experienced and enjoyed, like the perfect alignment of the planets in macrocosmic reflection upon a molecular structure of abiding mystery.

Batman and Robin represented the former; without words (except in comic-like expressions in the black-and-white version of the television series) and with the ability of almost telepathic-like eeriness, the dynamic duo could battle the forces of evil and protect the unfortunate city of Gotham with nary a wink, a word or a nod.

As for the latter, the team of coordinated bicyclists or the almost mechanized capacity of the coxed eight displaying the repetition of the anatomy of rowing that is all-important for consistency in order to gain the maximum leverage from each rower, as the “catch” and the “extraction” are engaged in a constancy of monotonous display in ballet-like fluidity.

The perfect tandem is a rare achievement; like the Unmoved Mover in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, we can only strive towards that perfection, without ever touching and glancing it.  Can it be reenacted and repeated by sheer will?  That would presume much – as if the arrogance of our own self-knowledge could replace the ignorance displayed in our everyday lives.  But as life does not come with a recipe to follow, that dynamism in duality and the penultimate construct of fluid coordination cannot be reconstructed, if merely because we never own the fullness of knowledge that Being never completely reveals.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the “dynamic duo” and the “perfect tandem” was often the coordination of one’s career and the accolades received in the very competence of work.  Work balanced one’s personal life in allowing for a sense of achievement to be had; and one’s personal life was enriched in the very mission being accomplished.

Then, along comes a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself became the interruptive and disruptive force; and, suddenly, the dynamic duo and the perfect tandem no long was, or is – depending upon what the meaning of “is” is (sorry, could not refrain from the obvious reference).  When that dynamic duo is fractured, or the perfect tandem disrupted, it is time to rethink a different paradigmatic foundation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is just such a remedy.  For, once the dynamism of duality is severed, or the perfections of a tandem diminished, it is a loss which can rarely be recapture, and thus it is the perfect time and place in one’s life to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed (ultimately) with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of 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, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire