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 Disability Retirement: Silence of the Unasked Question

If we don’t ask, we will never know.  Are some questions better left unasked?  In life, is it better to keep your head stuck in the sand and living in ignorance than to know what may come one’s way?  Do we say to the child who is constantly curious, “Shush. Better not to know how things work”?

Fear of the unknown is often the basis of silence; and silence of the unasked question is that pause which reverberates within with trembling hesitation, but where holding one’s breath merely extends the agony of the silence and never resolves the fear.

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 duties, silence often becomes the norm; leaving aside the unasked question is the pathway to comfort, except for the fact that medical conditions never go away.

Contact an OPM Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer and break the silence of the unasked question.  It is a free initial consultation, so what have you got to lose — except to break the silence of the unasked question?

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: Preparing for the unknown

How does one prepare for the unknown?  If the very basis of preparation is to prepare for something, how can you then engage in that activity if X is an anomaly, a conundrum, a mystery yet to be uncovered and revealed such that the prior stage of preparing for it can be accomplished?  Is there a necessity for the pre-preparation stage?  Does one have to prepare in order to prepare to perform the actual act of engaging the substance of that which must be prepared for?

Certainly, learning about a subject — reading, researching, analyzing and evaluating — prior to performing acts which constitute “preparation” is an important component, but how many people have time to do such things?

Nowadays, if a person is asked whether they can “do X”, we just whip out our Smartphone, Google it and watch a You-Tube video and declare, “Yeah, I can do that.”  Is that what self-appointed lawyers do, these days — winging it by quickly reading some summarization of an article, then head into court and stand before a judge and make motions, argue cases, etc.?

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, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may well become a necessity.

It is the “preparing” part of the entire process which may be the lynchpin of success or failure.  Yes, you can read various articles (including this writer’s many pointers, legal articles and the like), but always understand that each case is unique — as is yours — and legal guidance based upon the individual circumstances of a particular case is very important in preparing for the unknown.

The “unknown” is the Federal Disability Retirement process, the administrative venue and the bureaucratic morass that encompasses the entirety of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and while no lawyer should contend that he or she knows “everything” about a subject, an experienced lawyer can certainly provide for valuable “pre-preparation”, as well as the preparation and the substantive work on formulating and finalizing that which is yet unknown, but ready to be revealed, uncovered, and refined into a Federal Disability Retirement application that stands a good chance of challenging the unknown.

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

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The complexity of 2

It is the solo flight that presents the escape of simplicity; inclusion of another, and suddenly the complexity of responsibility, duty, obligation and sense of “ought” becomes a part of the entire equation.  At first, it may be love born upon an equal plane; any sense of disproportionality is easily ignored, quickly deflected and unselfconsciously dispensed with; but over time, the complexity of 2 begins to creep in.

It is neither insidious nor inherently negative by artifice; rather, it is the most natural of sensibilities, arising from a knowledge that reliance upon one another not only acknowledges and validates the vows of matrimony, but moreover, the eternal commitment each makes to the other forever forges the bonds of undiluted friendship, like kindred spirits floating in some ethereal universe unperturbed by distractions of consternation consecrated upon the altar of destruction.

Have you ever observed the interaction of singularity?  That is correct – it is simple and uncomplicated.  The asides are mere reflections of one’s own troubles; the soliloquys stated without puzzlement or obfuscation.

Then, if you add a second, the complexity of 2 comes into play – of misunderstandings, miscommunications and loss of solidarity in the oneness of judgment.  What if there are three?  Then, suddenly not only are there relationships between the first and second, but between first and third, second and third, as well as the tripartite interaction between all three simultaneously.  And of four?

The exponential complexity that arises from adding one more to each magnification of interrelationships enhances beyond the mere introduction of another, but creates a havoc beyond the singularity of such an entrance.  Why is this?

One would, on a purely conceptual level, likely argue that since the simplicity of 1 remains so, ergo the combination of each should logically retain such lack of complication.  But such an argument based upon theoretical argumentation and rationality elliptically conducted in an antiseptic environment and context fails to recognize the innate complexity of each human being.

That is why, in preparing 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 simple-enough questions posed and queried on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, can never be characterized as “easy” or “straightforward”.

Why?  Because there is the complexity of 2 – or more.  For, while the questions themselves are answered by the singular Federal or Postal employee, there are multiple facets of that same employee which requires a response – the Federal or Postal employee in the status of an employee who suffers from a medical condition; the relationship between the medical condition and the positional requirements of the Federal or Postal job; the Federal or Postal employee in the capacity of his or her personal life; the introduction of the diagnosed Federal or Postal employee with a specific medical condition.

Do you see the complexity?  It is, as always, the complexity of 2.

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 Disability Retirement: The sweater draped over a chair

You look in the room and see the sweater draped over a chair.  You turn your gaze elsewhere, engage the ongoing conversations and the din of others distracted.  Later, you turn back your gaze again, and the sweater is gone.  You look about to try and see whether someone picked it back up, is wearing it, or perhaps put it somewhere else.

You imply and infer – yes, one must follow the general grammatical rule that the speaker implies while the listener infers; but you are both the speaker and the listener, the one who observes and the same one who steps outside of the conscious universe to observe the observed.  You imply that someone put the sweater over the chair, and that same person (or someone else) took it at a later time – all during a period when your eyes were diverted elsewhere.

You assume that the world continues to operate even outside of the purview of your deliberate and conscious observation, as we all do.  You infer the same; of a world otherwise not within the limited perspective of observation, either by visual or audio awareness.  Yet, where is the evidence of such inference or implication; and that is, of course, what Bishop Berkeley’s restrictive definition of “existence” and Being was meant to encapsulate in perfect form:  Not that there are no mountains on the far side of the moon when we cannot observe them, but that we limit the definition of Being such that peripheral philosophical conundrums created by language’s difficulty with implied Being and inferred Existence can be avoided.

Perhaps we dreamt the draping of the sweater over the chair, or had a fit of phantasm and imaginative discourse that went astray.  In any event, you never saw the person either drape the sweater over the chair, nor dispossess the chair of its warmth and concealment.  Instead, you infer and imply – ignoring the grammatical rules previously mentioned.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the relevance here concerns writing up an effective narrative of one’s medical condition, its impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s position, and the legal argumentation to make in order to persuade OPM:  to what extent should facts and other statements be directly delineated, as opposed to leaving certain matters presumed or otherwise to be inferred or implied?

OPM is a bureaucracy, and with all such administrative entities, is made up of varying levels of competence and acuity of observation.  For the most part, in writing up the narrative on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the general rule should be to make that which is implicit, as explicit as possible, and never to leave the room where a sweater is draped such that disappearance of the garment may leave a mystery otherwise unable to be solved except by implication and inference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire