OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: The Bellwether

It is the leading sheep of the flock, graced with a bell on its neck in order to establish its role for the others; or, in more colloquial parlance, the predictor or indicator of something.

Thus, a red sky may be the bellwether of a coming storm (not being a seaman, one forgets whether it is the night or morning sky which is the predictor).  If one is superstitious, a cracked mirror or the unexpected crossing of a black cat is likely a bellwether of something — although, in modernity, perhaps the anachronisms no longer apply.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in his or her Federal or Postal job, the question of a bellwether is appropriate.

Under FERS Disability Retirement laws, one must be able to show that a medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  One does NOT have to wait the 12 months in order file; merely, that a doctor can, within reasonable medical probability, “predict” or provide a prognosis that a medical condition will last for at least that long.

Most Federal and Postal workers “know” from the start whether or not a medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months; such a bellwether is not rocket science, but more of an intuition established by one’s sense of one’s own health.

Contact a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and see whether the bellwether rings for the pathway towards an early medical retirement under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement Representation: Guidance by Expertise

You can tell when it is “not” the case; the mishmash, the inconsistencies; the errors of content and significance; and it is precisely when guidance is lacking which the glaring inadequacies show, and can be taken advantage of by the other side.

When a play is performed on stage and the focus is upon the story itself — where criticism is targeted more on whether this actor or actress was better in her role here than in another play, or whether a certain scene accurately portrayed the story, etc. — and not upon the poor lighting, or the sound quality, then it becomes clear that the production itself was through the guidance of expertise.

When things go as they are supposed to, embracing the old adage of “smooth sailing”, it is likely that there was guidance by expertise.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, guidance by expertise means that there is a coordination of the facts, the evidence and the law.

It doesn’t mean that every case will be approved; however, the chances of an approval will be greatly enhanced precisely because guidance by expertise is performed by a master of the production.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Retirement: Time Off

Time off is supposed to be a healthy thing.  There is such a thing as being overworked, overburdened, overstimulated, over-everything.

The constant problems which are confronted, the “small fires” which must be put out each day, the creation of crisis captivating one’s attention, etc. — over time, the min-stresses of each can lead to a breakdown of sorts because the cumulative impact of the aggregate can be overwhelming.

We begin life with internal mechanisms designed to withstand the stresses abounding.  Childhood is supposed to be the preparatory stage for learning to “deal” with stresses — of frustrations felt where desires cannot always be fulfilled; of conformity to a society which cannot accept uniqueness; and where social norms are taught and learned, preparing one for the road to a civilized existence.

“Time off” is part of that learning process; but the question one must ask is, “Time off for what purpose”?  For, if the time one takes off is merely to spend in ruminations of anticipatory disasters upon one’s return, then the rejuvenating effect of such time off becomes a self-defeating proposition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to contact a OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

If “time off” is merely a vicious cycle where the off time fails to rejuvenate for the challenges of work, and does not reverse the slow progression of one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job duties, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Long Term Disability Federal & Postal Employees: Different Arguments

OPM will often make different and multiple arguments in denying a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Sometimes, they will make a single, or double argument; at others, it will appear as if a shotgun blast has been expelled in your direction.

Do you need to argue each and every point?  Each and every sub-paragraph?  Likely not.

Most of the arguments are merely different in their surface; the different arguments can be categorized under general headings, such as, “Insufficient medical evidence” or “lack of service deficiencies” — the two main categories which OPM focuses upon, in addition to a third, “No accommodations requested or provided”.

By categorizing the different arguments under a more generic and manageable major category, you can then begin to address the concerns expressed by OPM.  Better yet, contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of rebutting the different arguments of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Reactive Responses

By haste do we regret; by unthinking actions do we abide the fool.  Have you seen the sign often placed at the Clerk’s window at the local courthouse?  It will read something to the effect of: “Your procrastination does not create my emergency”.

Reactive responses, whether based upon a “real” emergency or one which seemingly appears so, are often the basis for later regrets and irreparable damage.  It is like the rule that everyone should follow in sending emails or posting comments on the Internet: Wait a day; sleep on it; set it aside for later consideration.

Few emergencies are rarely so; most are merely in the minds of the individual, burning like a forest fire out of control, but yet distant enough to suffer no lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the reactive response is often the fatal one.  Unless it is to meet a statute of limitations deadline, or to respond to an issue with a specific timeframe, most considerations which arise in a disability retirement application are rarely true emergencies and can be thoughtfully approached and resolved.

Contact a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest haste results in waste and the thoughtless action reverberates with unintended consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Federal Disability Attorney

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: The Port

It is the Roman Stoic, Seneca the Younger, who wrote that, “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable”.  It is, in the end, the essence of Stoicism — of living life without complaint and without being impacted by the hardships of the objective world, all the while clinging to a path of virtue unfettered by worldly concerns.  That is why the quote above — of the internal “self” in contrast to the metaphor of the objective world: the winds which guide the ships — encapsulates the essence of the philosophy of Stoicism.

In modernity, it matters little from whence the winds come, for we engineer our own direction through engines and mechanical devices which propel the marine vessel by the power of our own creation.  But of that time when ships relied exclusively upon the breath of gods that blew the winds which filled the sails — it was a time when we relied heavily upon the favor of fate and nature’s appeasement.  Yet, even today, whether by the propulsion of machines invented or reliance upon prayers of guidance, no wind is favorable until and unless a person knows where he or she wants to go.

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 his or her position, it is important to make a determination as to “where” one plans on going before determining the “how” of the approach.  If a medical condition has clearly begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then where one must “go” becomes clearer: You cannot continue to stay at the job precisely because the medical condition prevents you from doing so; and so FERS Disability Retirement becomes the option by default.

The next question, then, is the “how”, as in — How does one get from point A to destination B?  Consult with an attorney to discuss the further particulars of your case; for, in the end, whether you believe in the philosophical tenets of Stoicism or not, once you realize the port to which you wish to sail, you need the favorable winds of counsel from an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to help guide the sails of your journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Counting the days

Do we count the days when vacations lapse within the final hours and minutes, when in the beginning sunsets were timeless moments of restful hours yet to come?  What anticipation of worry-less days, and of looking forward to sleeping in, letting one’s guard down and the muscles relaxing from the tensions of anxiety-filled build-ups: No emails (at least for a few days, maybe…until the thought begins to intrude, then grow, then overwhelm, of the accumulation of those hundreds sitting there waiting…waiting…), no phone calls, no need for the greatest necessity in modernity — the ability and capacity to multitask.

The days began with lazy hours and hazy minds; of the sleepiness still caught between eyelids barely opened, and thoughts of the rat-race still barely behind.  It takes days just to unwind, and just when you begin to relax, it dawns on you that you are already counting the days when summer is over, the kids are back to school, and even the commercials on television are already pushing to get those supplies that are blaring with fanfare of sales and super-sales.

Do lions in the wild count the days?  Do the salmon as they fight to go upstream relinquish the solitude of mindless numbers?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition forces one to count not just the days when vacation is at hand, but every hour, every day, every week because survival to the end of the week is the mode of existence, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, counting the days is nothing but a clear indication that the numbered days are shrinking exponentially, and lost with the sequence of each count is the unalterable truth that days counted are days lost, especially when one’s health is at stake.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Fair Games

It depends upon how you read the concept, which word or syllable you place the accent or emphasis upon, doesn’t it?

In one sense of the concept, it has to do with games found at the county or state Fairs — you know, where cotton candy is sold and prizes are awarded for the largest potato grown or the fattest pig shown.  In another sense, it is in contrast to its opposite — of games where you have a good chance because rules are imposed and upheld, as opposed to “unfair” games where the proverbial deck is stacks against you.  It is in this second sense of the term that we apply.

Fairness itself is a difficult concept, precisely because of its malleability.  One concept of fairness is an arguable delineation based upon rules, perspectives, and even perhaps of cultural backgrounds.  Rules themselves can be attacked, and are “fair game” when it comes to disputatious boundaries, where there are essentially none to circumvent.

You can argue that such-and-such a call was unfair, and that obnoxious fan sitting next to you might counter, “But that’s within the rules of the game,” and you might then counter to the counter, “Then the game is rigged and the rules are unfair!”  What would be the counter-answer to the counter of the counter?  Perhaps, to say: “Listen, buddy, I don’t make up the rules.  It’s fair by definition if everyone who plays the game has to play by the same rules.”  Is that the silencer — the conversation-stopper — that cannot be argued against?

But what if everyone theoretically has to “play by the rules of the game”, but the rules are administered in a lopsided manner?  Is that what makes the game “unfair”?  Isn’t that what fans the world over complain about when the umpire, for example, sets the “strike zone” (or in other contexts, the “foul zone” or some such similar animal) too wide for some pitchers and too narrow for others?

Or, wasn’t there something like the “Jordan Rule” where a certain player was allowed to take an “extra step” (or two or three, for that matter) and no “traveling violation” was called, because the beauty of his fluid movements surpassed and transcended any “rules” that might disrupt the mesmerizing effect of such human defiance of gravity right before our eyes?  Could you imagine what an uproar that would have caused, where the player-in-question flies through the air with such acrobatic display of gravity-defying beauty, slam-dunks the ball to the rising wave of appreciative fans, and a whistle is blown — and the basket is disallowed?

That awkward motion that the referee engages in — you know, where both hands are balled up into a fist and made into a circular motion, indicating that a traveling violation has occurred — and then pointing to the scoring table and telling them to subtract the 2-points just previously awarded…is it “fair”?  Should fairness sometimes be overlooked when beauty-in-mid-flight entertains us to such ecstatic delights?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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, life often begins to appear as if “fairness” is no longer an applicable rule — for, is it “fair” that one’s health has deteriorated despite doing everything to take care of it?  Is it “fair” that others seem to have lived a life of excess but seem not to be impacted at all by the abundance of maltreatment?  Is it “fair” that others appear to be receiving favoritism of treatment, while your Federal Agency or the Postal Service appears to be targeting you for every minor infraction of the “rules”?

Life, in general, is unfair, and when a Federal or Postal worker seems to be the target of unfair treatment because of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, it may well be time to prepare, formulate and file 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.

Life is often unfair in general; but when it comes to applying and enforcing “the Law”, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney, especially when seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  And like the “Jordan Rule” concerning extra-rule-violation treatment, it is best to make sure that your attorney makes the Rules of the Game enforced — and fair.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Life puzzles

Depending upon the accent or inflection, the phrase can take on differing meanings.  If stated in a monosyllabic intonation, it can be a quiet declaration that the entirety of life is comprised of multiple puzzles in an inert, non-participatory manner.  The other way of “saying it”, is to pause between the two words in dramatic form, or even put a question mark at the end of the phrase, making the second word into an active verb and the noun of “Life” into a projectile that deliberately confounds and obfuscates.

In either form, we all recognize the truth underlying the sentiment: from birth to the continuum of living daily the challenges and encounters, it is always a constant struggle to try and maintain a semblance of rationality in a universe that continually creates flux and mayhem.  That was the philosophical strain that was always taught between the contrasting foundations of Parmenides and Heraclitus; of the wholeness and unity of Being as opposed to the constant flux and change that the world imposes.

Life puzzles us in so many ways, and the life puzzles that confront us daily confound and confuse.  See the subtle difference between the two ways of using the phrase?  In the first, it is in an “active” form, invoked as a verb (transitive or intransitive), whereas in the second, it is used as a noun.  We can get caught up in the grammatical form and usage of words, and in the process, get lost in the theoretical issues surrounding words, concepts and thought-constructs surrounding so many endless and peripheral issues; but the point of recognizing such subtle differences in the language we use is precisely to avoid and deconstruct the confusions we create within the language we use and misuse.

In either form of usage, it is important to state clearly how and for what purpose we are engaging in a formulation of words, thoughts, concepts and narrations.  We all carry narratives within ourselves that we must be ready, willing and able to use in order to describe, explain and delineate.  Those subtle differences that words create must always be untangled.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the importance of being able to distinguish between subtle forms of language usage cannot be over-emphasized.  For, Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is in and of itself a life puzzle that puzzles even the clearest of puzzling lifetimes; it is, moreover, a legal conundrum and a language puzzle that must be carefully reviewed, discerned, untangled and responded to by first recognizing that life does indeed involve puzzles, and such life puzzles must be approached in a non-puzzling way.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire