Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Proof

What constitutes it, and how do we learn of its sufficiency or relevance?

Take the following scenario: A group of boys are gathered together along with Billy, the “town bully”.  A discussion of sorts ensues — who is the toughest kid in town?  Some of the boys offer that “Dave” from across town is the meanest and toughest — a black belt in Hapkido, a state wrestling champion and a middle line backer for the high school football team.  Some others counter that Dave was once beaten up by Joe back in February, and doesn’t that “prove” that Joe is the toughest?

Then Billy suddenly stands up and everyone else becomes quiet.  He starts slowly and deliberatively pounding his right fist into the open palm of his left hand, and juts his prominent chin out in an intimidating manner, and says, “Okay!  Enough of this talk!  How ‘bout me?  Which of you weaklings says that I’m not the toughest guy in town?”

There are multiple sounds of gulps and fearful drops of sweat begin to trickle down the backs of each, and one of the other kids — a skinny little weasel with thick, black-rimmed glasses, suddenly shouts, “That’s proof enough for me!”  Following was a loud and unequivocal consensus of unanimous agreement.

In such a scenario, two things occurred: One — Billy “proved” that he was the toughest kid in town, and Two — all of the other kids took the lesson to heart that the proof of a physical presence and the threat presented was “sufficient” proof, as well as relevant as all get-go.

Thus are all of the components necessary to establishing verification of a propositional truth established: the town bully’s declarative utterance, backed by the force of a metaphorical persuasion (for one would argue that no overt coerciveness was used, but merely an innocent act of pounding one’s fist into the open palm of one’s other hand, and if asked whether Billy “threatened” anyone into declaring him as the toughest kid in town, he would and could innocently declare that there is “no proof” of any such accusation established or verified), and further reinforced by the scientific consensus of his peers and fellow students.

Proof was offered, considered, and accepted in full by a persuasive methodology of a succinct and effective form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the systematic and methodological “proof” which must be gathered and presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in establishing the Federal or Postal employee’s eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits must, of course, be somewhat more sophisticated than the rudimentary — but effective — amassing of proof portrayed by Billy the Town Bully.

Of course, some of the characteristics may still be relevant — of what constitutes “effective” proof; of what works as “persuasive” proof; of what is comprised of proof itself.  But the difference is that, while proof that leads to an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should last for the lifetime of the Federal or Postal employee, “proof” for the kids who agreed that Billy was the toughest guy in town lasted only so long as the threat presented kept everyone convinced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Conversation of one

Are we the only species which engages in it?  Do we ever see a dog standing aside and participating in such a phenomena?  Or a cardinal pausing in its morning melody of exuberant sing-song in order to address a non-existent other?  And, it isn’t even an artifice or convention for which the actor is being paid, as in an “aside” or a “soliloquy” where private thoughts are spoken aloud for the benefit of the audience, but where others in the drama act “as if” such thoughts are unspoken and shared not.

But we engage in such dialogues of diatribes:  with friends whom we practice in order to share; of spouses concerning the most intimate of matters; of bosses and coworkers to whom we failed to respond at the crucial moment, but now vent by a conversation of one of that which we wished we had said, desired to rebut, and cared to ponder.

The proverbial quip, of course, is that we are “okay” so long as we have such unilateral dialogues; it is only if the imaginary “other” begins to respond, that we then must consider the state of our own sanity.  But such colloquies occur daily, and throughout life; in quiet moments of reflective self-searching; of what we “would” have said, could have uttered, and in retrospective fashion, desired to have conveyed.

The conversation of one is often never shared; once exhaustively vented, it withers away like the ashes from a once-roaring bonfire, consuming all of the human detritus piled in anger, disgust and resentful remorse, then with watchful eyes applauded as the engulfing flames consume the aggregation of the collective angers, hurts and inflicted bruises of a shattered inner self.  It is sometimes the tool in preparation for a necessary confab; or an exchange with a worthy opponent; and where ad libbing without proper preparation is acknowledged to result in likely disaster.

The conversation of one — we have all had them; with parents and siblings; of sons and fathers; and for cardinals who chirp in the morning glory of a dew-filled mist in the obscured world of linguistic artifices constructed upon vacuity of purpose, it is the beauty of a filled universe without the complexities of human drama unfolding, that makes for worth and value.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, however, the need to have that conversation of one is often a prerequisite precisely because medical conditions comprise the most private of concerns, and absolute confidentiality must be adhered to and the strictest of trust kept.

Attorneys have an inviolable rule for trust, confidence and confidentiality, and privacy concerns should never be a question.  At some point, that conversation of one needs to be expanded to include an exchange involving proper medical documentation, the statutory criteria, the legal strategy to pursue, and the content and context of what must be included in order to prepare, formulate and file for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will often begin with a conversation of one, and that is understandable; but if it remains a mere soliloquy, as in a Shakespearean play where each in an audience believes that he or she is the sole soul who heard it, then it will remain merely as the unconquered thoughts of countless past warriors who gave up lives for a cause left in futility, and where the present is never confronted, and the future left unsecured.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic & the laziness factor

Magic is something we cling on to, if only as a last vestige of the light of hope, flickering ever so delicately against the tumultuous winds of a world gone mad.  In childhood, it was an imagination enlivened by the pure delight of fairytales, mythologies and rhymes of wands in the single sweep where the golden dust of insurmountable problems is suddenly a trail of corrective bygones with mere words of incantations mysterious to eyes agape with wonderment and awe; and in the middle-to-growing times, the words altered somewhat, the concept changed and the linguistic construct evolved to imply an attitude, a hope, an approach to future life based upon hard work, honesty and mere cannibalism of negative thoughts.

To remain positive was to overcome the vicissitudes of reality; to forego immediacy of pleasure, a pathway to self-discipline.  But time has a way of defeating and beating down even the best of men; there are few limits to the unseen enemy, and much which constrains the visible.

Is there magic to be gotten?  That hope without substance which we pray for; that lottery ticket in the face of statistical impossibility; and that verbiage we throw about by inane moments of meaningless contexts — “There is always tomorrow”.  What have we not shed but to which we cling?  To what do we cling that no longer applies?  Or is it mere laziness, the factor that we dismiss but for everyone else?

In modernity, of course, such tendencies and proclivities toward the magic of superstitions have become exponentially magnified through games of virtual reality, and the numerical chimera of Facebook “likes” replacing actual friendships and human bonds.  Then, when reality hits us square in the face, we fall apart all the more easily, for want of preparation in the face of true vicissitudes that shake the cavernous combustions of this world we live in.

Medical conditions are just one of those realities that cannot be ignored.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who one day wake up to the realization that there is no magic to impart when a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and that the pragmatic step of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the best alternative available, the conjunctive one must often face — “and the laziness factor” — is a reminder in two ways:  First, in making sure that you do not allow procrastination to impede the path towards a future for success, and Second, to not be deterred by coworkers and others who criticize ignorantly by alleging that it is all “made up” in order to “game” the system.

The law is what the law is; and Federal Disability Retirement is a system reflecting a progressive perspective on workers who can no longer perform a particular kind of job in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, but who may be able to remain productive in some other capacity in the private sector.  That is why Federal Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed to make up to 80% of what his or her (now former) Federal or Postal position currently pays, in addition to the annuity being received, and continue to retain the Federal Disability Retirement annuity — precisely because it is a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is not “totally disabled“, but rather, disabled only from performing one or more of the essential elements of a particular job.

The “real world”, as a grown-up views it, must set aside the magic of make-believe trailing upon a disillusionment wrought in the face of experiential encounters that incrementally beat down and squeeze out the wonderment of childhood thoughts; but hope for a better tomorrow should never be extinguished, and while the flicker of a dying flame emitting light in the deep abyss of despondency overshadowing the magic of bygone days may indeed threaten the future, never allow for the appendage of the laziness factor deter the best step forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of consideration and comity

The singular identifiable factor that destroys is the very reflection which elevates; for, it is power which undermines the source of comity.  With it is accompanied the shedding of a need for appearances; that which genuinely festers beneath the surface can bubble up into the tyrant which we all can become, and of that which we suppress and repress throughout our miserable lives.

Why does “winning the lottery”, in whatever proverbial form that can take, destroy lives, divide marriages and deconstruct lifelong friendships?  How often does a promotion crumble the fragile structures of co-working symbiotic relationships within an organization?   When has empowerments resulted in the disseminated good of the organic whole?

An appearance of comity within a societal structure can endure for a time, given conventions which protect, preserve and punish; but the tendency of consideration will crumble when the normative constraints collide with freedom and forgetting; and, in modernity, where self-expression trumps the towering temperament of talking tantrums, any semblance of putting forth an appearance of comity and consideration can quickly evaporate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who often ask the question, When should I inform the agency (or the Postal Service)? — the general answer given is:  Only when there is a compelling reason to do so.  For, when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the urgency of a need to inform should be proportionately weighed against the likelihood of the disintegration of any prior structure of consideration and comity shown in the past.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are bureaucratic structures of power centers; while the symbiosis of a working relationship with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may have served well both the worker and the organization in past terms, once it becomes known to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service that the Federal or Postal worker is about to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately to be received by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is likely that the fragile structures of consideration and comity will quickly and decisively deteriorate and deconstruct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Of the politics of human discontent

Long ago, it was figured out; by men and women smarter than the general population, the ingredients of democracy and seizing of power became fixed in a formula of compromise; in politics, discontent is the source of unrest, and change is the power switch that turns the electorate around.

Rousseau over-romanticized that mythological “State of Nature“, but accurately recognized the human tendency towards the need to accumulate the leisurely graces of societal accouterments.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” was a nice, pithy way of putting it; the sardonic undertone has outlived its meaning, and today, economic survival has overwhelmed most of us.  The fact that the greater gods in back rooms of whispered consciences have recognized the need for portraying the hope of stability in exchange for demagoguery and cultish following, has even the power players wishing for a time of yesterday before a week hence.

Ultimately, human discontent has to do with the spectrum of a chasm between expectation and reality; when that pose of separation divides too far, an abandonment of common sense, historical lessons, and an approach of rational foresight becomes the blaring trumpet of the vaunted white knight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in the Federal or Postal position because it intersects with the ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the interceding reality of the politics of discontent come to the fore.

Left in the quandary of false choices, the chasm between “what the law says” and how the power structure at the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service reacts to the news of the medical condition, is tantamount to the poverty of expectations in the face of reality.  The Federal bureaucracy can pay lip service to the touted declarations of fairness, efficiency and good government, but people will always be people — a tautology which everyone knows the meaning of, especially if you are a Federal or Postal employee.

Fortunately, the law also allows for the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  And of the politics of human discontent?  Leave that for the next generation of brave souls who may enter into the realm of Rousseau’s elevated sense of the Social Contract as the foundation of society’s misgivings; but just remember that the French Revolution resulted in the beheadings of many, and a change for none.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire