FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: On a tenuous ridge

How do you know whether to proceed; whether it is safe to proceed; whether the roads or pathways are safe enough? What constitutes success? Is it known before it is anticipated, or is it just a self-delusional sense of confidence that sometimes deceives and at others, proves us wrong?

To be on a tenuous ridge combines the two negative aspects of objectivity and subjectivity: Of a physical place that is sharp and often dangerous (the “objective” world) and the mental determination that encompasses a sense of weakness and lack of confidence (the “subjective” perception of a situation); and the combination of the two provides a compounding of a conceptual negation that places one is a precarious state of being.

To be on a tenuous ridge can be a metaphor for proceeding in life, in whatever endeavor or misadventure, without the benefit of experience, hindsight, wisdom or knowledge.  That is the sense and feeling that the Federal or Postal employee possesses when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career — to be walking on a tenuous ridge.

For Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the approach that must be taken should be to get off of the proverbial ridge of tenuousness, and instead to walk upon firm ground with a sense of confidence entering into a future.

Although the future may remain somewhat uncertain during the complex process of maneuvering through a Federal Disability Retirement application, nevertheless, the knowledge that one’s case is the best one that has been put together, goes a long way in avoiding the pitfalls of a tenuous ridge.  Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; for, there is another adage similar to “being on a tenuous ridge” that you also might want to avoid — of “jumping from the frying pan into the fire”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The gist of it all

When do we want the “gist” of something?  The essence or the “main idea”; or to filter it into the short version, somewhat like the “spark notes” of the thing of which we seek.  Is it appropriate if a student is sitting through a boring lecture and raises his or her hand and asks politely, “I have an activity to attend this afternoon. Can you just give us the gist of what you’re trying to say?”

Or of the greater meaning of life itself — you know, that grand design that everyone is seeking, which is why so many people believe in such things as the “Da Vinci Code” or, more recently, “The Chamberlain Key” — codes to codices that reveal the heart of ancient secrets lost in the trash heaps of history or otherwise forgotten because of wars, famines and changes of the proverbial guards.

Why is it that such “keys” must always be “ancient”, and shrouded in the mystery of “secret societies” who will murder in the dead of night to protect the gist of it all?  How does that reflect upon modernity — that we are too superficial to invent or discover such codes?  Or, is it merely that the cynicism of scientism and the reliance upon the physical universe, the influence of British Logical Positivism and the Age of Science have all subsumed such romanticizing of mysteries beyond the age of reason?

In this fast-paced society where technology surpasses by lightening speed the insular world of secret societies and the unraveling of veiled codices, what we want in the end is the gist of it all — to bypass the tangential details and get to the heart of the matter.  We have little or no time for anything else.

So, 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, what is the gist of it all?  In other words, what is the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity?

Well, to begin with, under FERS (which most people are, as the dinosaur of CSRS or even CSRS Offset have now been relegated to the Pleistocene Era of Federal employment) the Federal or Postal employee must have at least 18 month of Federal Service.  Second, we must be able to prove that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing at least one, if not more, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  And third, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months.

Now, this latter bit of a requirement is often confused with thinking that a Federal or Postal worker must therefore wait for at least 12 months after the onset of a medical condition before the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  No, that is not the case — for, most doctors and treating medical professionals can render a prognosis as to the chronicity of the medical condition, and that is all that is needed.

Of course, that is precisely the problem of getting merely the “gist of it all” — because, in the end, the annotated version of an important text, issue or pool of information can rarely be filtered down into a cup that can be gulped with one swallow, but is often an ocean full of undercurrents and dangers consumed with sharks, whales and stingrays — sort of like the metaphor of life itself, only more complex because preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a complicated administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls that cannot ultimately be confined by the gist of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Evidence of Sincerity

We question it; contest it; challenge when necessary by bringing up counter-evidence that seems to undermine it; and we all act with outrage and become highly offended when our own underlying intent is questioned, as if everyone else in the world is suspiciously lacking of it with the exception of one’s self.

“Sincerity” is a funny animal, and evidence of it is like the bond between the wrong committed and the arena of court applied: preponderance of the evidence?  Clear and Convincing?  Or, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

The choice depends upon the gullibility of the beholder and the relationship between the teller and the believer; then, for some, a breach and violation of a single instance forever condemns without recourse of forgiveness.

What is the evidence of sincerity?  Is it merely words upon words, or must actions follow, and constancy and consistency of behavior?

Take the following hypothetical: Person X says that he will meet you for lunch at Time-T, at location Y, and so at Time-T, at location Y, you go and wait.  And wait.  Person X never show up.  A few days later, you see Person X and you remind him that there had been a luncheon agreement, and why didn’t you show up?

Example A: The person apologizes profusely and reveals that he/she became gravely ill and was taken to the hospital at that very moment, on that day, during the time of the luncheon date.  Example B: The person says: “Oh, I found something better to do,” and essentially casts you aside.  Example C: The person (who has a wide and well-known reputation for being “flighty”), explains: “Oh-my-gosh!  I completely forgot!  I really meant to be there but I just completely forgot about it!”

Obviously, most of us would respond to each with: Forgive persons A and C; be angry at B.  Why do we react like this?

Again, the obvious answer is: We presume sincerity on the part of A and C (though, as to C, we give some leeway for a reputation preceding the doing, and if we were unaware of that reputation, we might want to proceed by putting the person on a “probationary” status of wariness and suspicion for the next time); as to B, the person has explicitly reversed any semblance of sincerity, and has told us to essentially go fly a kite.

Now, change the hypotheticals slightly: As to A: We later discover that he was seen precisely at Time-X to have been out and about with another person, and was never in the hospital.  In other words, he lied.  And as to C: Whether “flighty” or not, the person never honors a commitment, and consistently makes promises but each time breaks them.  In other words, whether sincere at the time or not, that person can never be relied upon.

And as to the problematic B: We later learn that at that very Time-T, he was actually in the hospital caring for his dying spouse, but did not want to burden you with the long and tragic narrative of his personal trials, and furthermore, his reputation prior to the promise broken is so far out of character that it had left you scratching your head with befuddlement in the first place.

Who, out of these examples, ends up being the “sincere” person, and what is the evidence that changed your mind?

Evidence of sincerity is often a touchy subject, where reputation, reality and roles of engagement coalesce to provide the “full” picture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared for submission to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the evidence of sincerity is often important in assessing friends, coworkers and trusted individuals in the dissemination of sensitive medical information.

Appearance cannot always be trusted; reputation, perhaps; but in the end, the evidence of sincerity is often merely a gut instinct that tells you who to trust and why.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: The helpful other perspective

Before going “whole-hog” with anything in life, the greater wisdom often confirms that we should try and obtain a differing perspective on the matter, if only to affirm the correctness of our own, or to consider the fissures and weaknesses we are blind to.  Wise people seek wisdom; fools travel down roads not merely untested, but even unprepared.  Such a tautology is a mere self-evident fact of life, but we nevertheless follow blindly where the blind leads.

If an individual discounts the criticisms of everyone else, then the wisdom one holds is merely the price of one’s own mistakes, and so long as others are not required to pay for them, the pathway to disaster can be easily paved without involving the toil and anguish of others.

One may query:  assuming it is wise to seek the input of another, how does one nevertheless know that such a differing viewpoint is “helpful” at all?  What if that other perspective is even worse of a disaster than my own?  Such a question, of course, is likely asked in a vacuum; for, there are varying indicators that one may discern in seeking advice from others –  reputation; demeanor; knowledge previously revealed; capacity to listen; established specialty in a particular field, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 –  the need to seek the helpful “other” perspective is often a necessary prerequisite.

Why?

Because, when a medical condition is impacting one’s health – whether singularly physical, or mental or a combination of both – the debilitated state that one experiences often provides a skewered perspective, and that is why garnering and employing the advice of an attorney who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often a necessary component of the process.

Yes, there may well be those rare “slam-dunk” cases, whether gathering and submitting the medical records alone will obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  But, then, everyone who files a Federal Disability Retirement application believes his or her submission to be just that –  undeniable, unequivocally established, and unassailably confirmed.

Why is that?

Because the person who experiences the medical condition is the same person who is preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application – and he or she who feels the pain, presupposes that everyone else must also be able to comprehend such a state of decline.  Unfortunately, this is not the case – at least, not from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is also another one of those “other” perspectives that must be contended with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tantum ergo

It is the incipit of the last two verses of a Medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas is best known for his inclusive osmosis by fiat of stretched logic to accommodate and force commensurability the texts of the ancients (i.e., Aristotle) within the essential boundaries of Christian theology.  His methodology in accomplishing this feat was to posit the weakest of straw man arguments, then to systematically appear to knock them down, and then to declare a forceful conclusion as if the ergo naturally and rationally followed.  That the conclusion is followed by verses subsequent, reflects how life works as well.

Sometimes, we mistake the “Hence” or the “Therefore,” and believe (wrongly) that nothing should follow.  But such conjunctive adverbs are often confused as if they denote answers to mathematical calculations.  Life rarely works in that manner, and it is entirely right that the tantum ergo should follow with additional discourses upon the beatific vision of the hymnal’s content.  Indeed, that is how we often and mistakenly live our lives – to accept with resignation that the declarative utterance, “Therefore, so great,” results in a quietude and silence of subsequent ceremony.  We wait upon it, and when it comes, we submit and concede.  Or, as in cases more common, it never comes, and thus do we surrender.

That is how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on the verge of preparing a 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, approach the impending suspicion of doom or failure; the Tantum ergo is declared by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker accepts it as gospel truth, when in fact one should always recognize a countervailing principle of life:  a lie is a lie, is an untruth, is a lie, is a mis-statement of the law, is still a lie.

This author will not go so far as to say that Human Resource offices throughout the Federal Agencies systematically engage in disseminating falsehoods; perhaps, many merely relate the misinterpretations gained through osmosis of gossip; but, in any event, whether from a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the groundless surrender based upon a seemingly unassailable declaration that, “Therefore, so great” – whether referring to itself; whether in misstating the legal consequences of failed accommodations and the impact upon filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; of failing to inform the Federal or Postal employee of the rights of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal and Postal employee should always be cautious of taking as face value a declaration by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service that single utterance of self worth:  “Therefore, so great.”

Especially when it is referring to itself; always, when ascribing motives unstated; and forever, when trying to undermine the Federal or Postal employee.  And as to the multiple verses which follow upon the Tantum ergo?  Mistake not:  there is always life after Federal Disability Retirement; and let not one be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Perspective

It is a different species from either judgment or understanding; for, of the former, it is often the basis and foundation to make one; as to the latter, it is the result from the procedural content in order to attain it.  Perspective is an admixture of multiple components:  experience adds to a balance of it; proper facts relate to the accuracy for it; consideration of judgments others proffer enriches it; and the capacity to connect all of the information gathered and provide previously unimagined ties within a historicity of intersection, relevance and significance of balance empowers it.

To possess it is to fail to react merely to a given situation while others around disintegrate in self-pity.  To apply it, is to become uplifted as a paradigm for others to follow, and to integrate the fusion between past, present and projection into future courses of action.  For, in the end, to have a proper “perspective” is nothing more than to realize the “now” in light of past experience and apply it to future predictability.  But what if the human constitution does not always allow for identical natures inherent to all?  Why do some lack it, while others are deemed to be forever secure in wisdom and reliance?  Solomon is reputed to have possessed it; the women who approached him, lacked it; and the audience surrounding had no clue of it.

In law, generally, it is the tactician who can strategize by means of understanding the applicability of precedents relevant to a given case, and if it goes before a Hearing or a Trial, to incite the emotional empathy of jurors and the sense of justice uncommonly deviated from the Judge’s aplomb of impervious fortitude that wins the day.  In Federal Disability Retirement law, perspective is often needed in order to make the right kind of judgments throughout the administrative process of preparing, formulating and 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.

Having the “wrong” perspective – first, about filing at all, and second, about the administrative process and procedural hurdles itself – can result with inaction leading to detrimental consequences.  Possessing and applying the “right” perspective encompasses a wide range of issues:  whether to file; when to file; how to file; what evidentiary annotations of facts, argumentation and laws should be included in order to implement the most effective pathway to an approval of the Federal Disability Retirement application.

Perspective:  it is something that legal counsel and experience of advice can provide within a framework of a time in one’s life when it is sorely lacking.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

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, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire