Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Source

Every vibrant and expanding civilization relies upon it; the crumbling ones disregard it; and the stagnant ones begin to question their necessity. It is applied in various contexts, but the importance of maintaining its relevance as the authoritative foundation cannot easily be dismissed.

We hear the word used in different contexts: Whereof the source of the the River Nile? What are your sources in arriving at your conclusions? And are they “original sources”, or “secondary” ones? And of the infamous “anonymous” sources — can they be trusted, or does the mere intimation of anonymity betray an unreliability precisely because there can be no accountability by the very nature of a faceless and nameless origination?

In modernity, since everything is “sourced” through Googling, and very little attribution is verified by “original” sources, does it matter anymore whether one’s asserted authority for declaring X, Y or Z is based upon primary or secondary “sources”, or even if it was an anonymous “third-hand” source?

Furthermore, does an obscure source of a little-known citation have any greater impact than one that is well-publicized and of common knowledge to all? If, in the course of a conversation, everyone relies upon the believability of a “source” — say, a stockbroker who has never been wrong, but then someone pipes in that “so-and-so” says to stay away from that company because it’s about to crumble under its heavy debt-structure” — who do we believe? Does it matter if the “so-and-so” referred to is a Board Member, or some insider at the accounting department of the company who is “in the know”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is impacting the Federal or Postal Worker’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her career, the sources and resources that you put together in preparing, formulating and filing your Federal Disability Retirement application should be original, reliable and dependable. — from the doctors who support you, to the lawyer who will represent you, to the credibility of the “sources” you gather.

For, in the end, the search for the source of the Nile matters not for “where” it is, but from what mystery of origination would flow such that the beauty of a civilization would spawn such a wealth of culture and originality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Human & humane activity

Does the dropping of the single vowel make a difference?  Should it?  Or, should the very status of being “human” encompass and naturally include being “humane”, as well?  Should they not be synonyms, or even indistinguishable as an amalgamation of vowels and consonants, as opposed to two distinct words, even if one is considered as a mere extension of the other?

For, it is precisely the unique characteristic and capacity of the former to exhibit the latter, and it is the latter which defines the essence of the former; and so, in many respects, they are identical terms, even if the latter contains a total of 6 letters, comprised of 3 consonants and 3 vowels, whereas the former has one less, with 1 more consonant than a vowel, making it into an uneven number of letters as opposed to a balanced equality of 3 to three, and making it into a ratio of 3:2.

Yet, doesn’t the essence of X require the need for an antonym to exist in order for a contrast to magnify the truth of it?  Thus do opposites enhance each other – does “Being” make any sense without “Nothingness?”  Would “happiness” have an existential sense without “sadness”?  In that logical entrapment, doesn’t the essence of being “human” require, by logical necessity and extension, the capacity to act its opposite – of cruelty, inhumanity, genocidal tendencies and masochistic egoism of the highest order?

That is the unfortunate reflection of reality from the refraction of a word; being “human” does not necessarily compute to being “humane”, although its opposite is apparently not true – if one is “humane”, one necessarily posits that the active agent of such empathy, caring and sensitive treatment is that of a “human”, and not some other species of animal that can exhibit such a trait.  But is this true in all cases?  Do we not witness “humane” treatment by others – by dogs, cats and pigs, perhaps?  Or do we attribute other characteristics to explain away such behavior – such as “loyalty”, “habit” or “trained behaviors”?

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, “humane” treatment by other “humans” is often sorely lacking.  What is it about having a medical condition that somehow brings out the worst in others?  Is it a fear that such a condition reflects a future reality that others see and want to avoid, and therefore begin to treat the person who possesses it like a plague of some short?

Agencies are supposed to treat workers with identified medical conditions in a “humane” way and, if they do not, there are laws concerning the requirement to “accommodate” in place; and, if there are no accommodations, then preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application is the next “humane” law that is there for the human being beset with a medical condition.

That is the peculiarity of laws, of course – they are passed by humans with the knowledge that they do not always engage in humane treatment, and that is why laws governing Federal Disability Retirement are there to be applied – for the human who requires being forced to engage in humane treatment of others, precisely because humans have shown a consistency tendency in history to act inhumanely.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Outward appearance, inward thoughts

It is, of course, the core of Western thought, originating from Socratic arguments against placing one’s faith in the “appearance” of things as opposed to the Platonic Forms that represent true Being; and through Aristotelian arguments of a “substratum” that underlies the outward appearance, to the certitude of Cogito, ergo sum; then, the inner reliance where subjectivity and objectivity coalesce and the distinctions became undoable by Wittgenstein’s standards of banishing all Philosophical problems to mere linguistic confusion, and the belittling scoffs of Russell’s mischievous analysis; these, and many more in the history of contemplative reflection that has haunted the aggregate of outward appearance versus inward thoughts.

All of which brings us to the core of so many medical conditions – where so much cannot be seen and we often have to “exaggerate” just to get people to believe us.  Take “pain”, as an example – one can be in excruciating pain, and yet remain unemotional about it.  Even if an MRI result shows that there is a physical basis for which the pain is experienced, nevertheless, pain by definition is a subjective component, and cannot publicly be quantified.

That is why conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain syndrome, Failed Back Syndrome, not to even mention Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. – how does one persuade others of the “real-ness” of the condition?  Broken bones, malignant tumors, catastrophic injuries; these, inward thoughts (believability) are consistent with outward appearance.

There is, in the end, a distinction with a difference that must be acknowledged, between “having a medical condition” and “proving a medical condition” – especially when it comes to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  There are, moreover, certain factors that “favor” the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – such as the standard of proof (Preponderance of the Evidence, as opposed to higher legal standards out there); the weight and validity of a treating doctor’s opinion; and certain clinical evidence that moves the chess pieces beyond mere subjective opinion, thereby bridging the gap between outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application requires more than just gathering a pile of medical documents and submitting it. In the end, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must PROVE one’s case, in order to get beyond mere outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Coordinating the efforts

The amazement of tandem coordination is discovered in various corners of Nature – of tentacles of an octopus seemingly working without the complexity of entanglement; of an eagle’s capture in mid-flight of its prey, where the claws and wings attack and devour with perfect harmony; and in modernity, the capacity and ability to “multi-task”, as the parlance of efficiency has been noted.

The human animal is a formidable creature – perhaps not the best at any one thing (speed is set by the Cheetah; endurance, in the Wolf’s persistence; but of competence in all areas, the two-legged, vertical organism sets the standard for excellence), but able to compensate for deficiencies by exerting acceptable levels of efficiency in many.

However, we often confuse the ability and capacity to multi-task with the presentation of an objective, impervious world of multiple data bombarding simultaneously.  Thus, the fact that the tentacles of an octopus may seemingly work in coordinated fashion in swimming and engulfing does not mean that if a dozen marbles were thrown at it in a single shot, that it would be able to respond appropriately.  Similarly, speed in short bursts may be impressive, but it may not translate into an ability to adapt if objective conditions require greater endurance for quantitative calibration of speed.

There is a limit and a ceiling for tolerance in performing feats, and for the human animal, the mere fact of showing minimal competence in some forms of multi-tasking, does not necessarily convert well when the necessity arises to coordinate complex issues which are further impeded by a medical condition of an impactful nature.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the fallacy often arises that, because one has been capable in an administrative or executive capacity, one may be able to coordinate the efforts for one’s self in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Bridging the nexus between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties; conforming to “the law” in formulating one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A; of obtaining the proper medical documentation that will meet the standards of the compendium of legal opinions issued by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board – these, and many others, must be taken into account when preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

And, like the hunter in past lives who suddenly becomes winded, becoming the hunted is not where the Federal Disability Retirement applicant wants to be when coordinating the efforts in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Reconsideration Stage

Much time is often wasted upon rebutting incoherent arguments.  Such a statement is true in a great many sectors of life, as well as with an initial denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The first reaction in response to an Initial Denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to panic and become disheartened:  The Federal Disability Retirement applicant has waited many, many months, just to get to this point of being denied an application which was thought to clearly meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, and perhaps the medical narratives and treatment records clearly and unequivocally established the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

What could have gone wrong?  What was deficient?  What unanticipated mistakes were made?

To top it all off, a quick perusal of the denial letter makes it appear as if the application never had a leg to stand on –  seemingly contradictory statements extrapolated; selective quotes from doctors, supervisors, etc., that tend to undermine the proof needed; deficient documentation and multiple garbled references to the “Disability Retirement Law” that has simply not been met.

How does one counter and rebut such an overwhelming denial of one’s carefully gathered and constructed information?

There is the “proper” and “effective” way, but one’s initial inclination in reactive form is normally not the way to go about it.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds himself/herself in such a situation – of facing an initial denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will often want to just “give up” and try to endure the pain, anguish and cognitive deterioration by going back to work (if that is even possible and the Federal or Postal employee has not yet been separated from service), or just simply walk away from one’s well-deserved Federal Pension and early Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and forego the benefits earned and vested.

Of course, that is precisely the thought-process that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants you to embrace.

It is often stated (erroneously) that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an “adversarial” process – and that OPM is not there to “fight you”, but rather, to ensure that all Federal Disability Retirement applications fulfill the requirements of the law.

If that were truly the case, then why does an OPM denial point out only the deficiencies, and never the positive aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Why do OPM denials always present themselves as overwhelmingly unqualified and argued as if there is absolutely no basis or chance of an approval?

Precisely – because, despite stating otherwise, the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is just that:  an adversarial process which requires an advocate to fight for your rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire