OPM Disability Retirement: Horror Tales

Whether of Edgar Allan Poe’s many tales, like The Tell-Tale Heart or The Black Cat, or perhaps a taste that extends to more modern versions, of the Stephen King genre, people like to scare themselves silly, and then to be able to declare, “It was just a story”.  Whether reality reflects fiction, or that fiction can never truly recreate and mirror the sins of our own existence is a debate that will perpetually persist.

The horrors of genocidal mankind — from the Roman era of stadiums filled to capacity to witness cruelty as entertainment, to the Holocaust and Pol Pot’s mass killing fields; to the machete-wielding genocidal killings in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis; there never seems to be a lack of horror stories, whether by creative imaginations or in the reality of a universe gone berserk.

We read about them; experience nightmares of a reality so steeped in absurdity that they awaken us with a cold sweat; and some few of us have lived them, whether in wars, by being innocent bystanders, or somehow corollary victims otherwise referred to as “collateral” damage.  Each one of us walk about with horror stories; some of insignificant vintage narratives; others, of consequential victimhood to such an extent that we disbelieve our ears or refuse to listen to the whole story.

Then, there are the daily horror stories; maybe they don’t count as such and few would even bother to listen — like Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition and where the medical condition is about to end the once-promising career that has suddenly hit the “pause” button and ceases its once-ever-trajectory towards an upward trend.  Medical conditions at any age are “horror” stories that are often kept secret, stuffed in envelopes of silent lips unopened, and festering in the suffering inner minds of zombie-like peoples walking amidst the turmoil of a world gone berserk.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to prepare, formulate and file 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 horror stories one carries about may not quite meet the plot or characters of an Edgar Allan Poe tale, or a Stephen King twist; but for the individual who must live and suffer through the process of ending one’s career and fight for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the tale of horror is nevertheless real, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law may well blunt the ending of a tale which is fated to otherwise end in a fit of screams and mayhem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The Chosen Word

Words chosen bespeak of the artfulness of the one who chooses them, but the true artist remains anonymous and allows for the words themselves — the “artwork” of the word-meister — to make its quiet impact.  It is the vehicle of communication; it is the goal of the sentence, the “umph” of the connotation and the hyperbole of a paragraph’s ending.

In a universe inundated by words — some would argue that the essence of modernity is people merely spewing out words, because that is all we ever do, now, and can do, is to talk a lot without getting anything accomplished — and thus the importance of the chosen word, or more precisely, the carefully chosen word, becomes all the more significant.

In this post-modern era, the question is no longer about Truth or Falsity; rather, it is about sifting through the maze of overabundance, where the impact of words fail us precisely because we can no longer appreciate the subtlety of connotations, derivations, implications and innuendo.  As brashness blunts the art of derivative meaning, so overabundance of words dilutes the craftsmanship of a well-composed sentence.

It is like the orchestra with one too many violins; the extra becomes an overkill to the sensitive ear that cannot differentiate because the sounds of repetition dulls the distinctiveness of each.  Words await to be chosen, lost in the void and vacuum of unused dictionaries, and in this age of the Internet, forever relegated to the ethereal universe of the vanquished scenery of outcasts and extinguished, waiting to be rescued for an insertion into a sentence, a hyperbole within a parenthetical clause, or a hyphenated relevance amidst a sea of declarative thoughts.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the thing to remember is that the final Federal Disability Retirement “package” that is filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a “paper presentation” of a bunch of jumbled words — “jumbled”, unless each has been carefully chosen in order to communicate effectively, well, and persuasively.

It is the untying of the knot of complexity, the smooth and controlled sequence of words that become aggregated into a paragraph, then a full page, and in the end, it is the chosen word precisely crafted, picked like the ripened fruit of ideas that must persuade and win over the thousands of worthless and meaningless other words that will fail the test of an OPM Disability Retirement application — and like that perfectly chosen word, be careful to choose which word-meister you hire to represent you in this most important of endeavors!

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Narrative for the Ages

The Age of Modernity is too cynical to believe; or, at the very least, too arrogant not to disbelieve.  It was once thought that information is all that is necessary to propel humankind into a state of sophistication, but time has revealed that Orwell’s reverse effect merely compels us to rely upon devices more and more, and that neither knowledge nor greater wisdom is gained by the wide dissemination of data and content.

We want a “cause” to believe in; yet, each day, we encounter those who allegedly toiled throughout their lives for just such a motivating core, only to find a shell of a person, neither interesting nor interested, and grubbing for amassing of life’s toys, like everyone else in the neighborhood.  Is it, in the end, true that the one who “wins” is defined by the last person standing with the toy and a smile?  We seek for the narrative which fits, and one which declares truth for all ages; but whether we would even be able to recognize “the One” if we passed by it, is doubtful.  This is a time for reflection and re-dedication to one’s core belief-system, despite the world’s agony bereft of such a centrality of intuition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must contemplate changes in the coming year because of a medical condition which is impacting the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to remain in the Federal or Postal position, the narrow focus of formulating one’s statement of narrative on SF 3112A is an important microcosm of effective conveyance.  The questions asked on SF 3112A are simple enough; but the narrative which the Federal or Postal employee must prepare, formulate and submit, will determine the future course and causal impact in getting an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Prepare it carefully; formulate it thoughtfully; submit it only with wise counsel and guidance, wherever and whatever the source.  Yes, perhaps one’s narrative on SF 3112A is not as “grand” or “timeless” as the narrative for the ages of which we seek; but for the individual life of the Federal or Postal employee who is searching for answers for an uncertain future yet to dawn because of a medical condition, the significance and importance may be just as great.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Balance of Information

Most administrative entanglements involve some measure of balancing.  How much information to provide; determination of that which constitutes satisfaction of the request; whether, and to what extent, the information is sufficient to complete the transaction; and other similar analytical evaluations prior to submitting the compendium of data.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers struggling to complete a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s agency (if still on the rolls and not separated for more than 31 days), and then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (unless one has been separated from Federal Service for more than 31 days, but not more than 1 year, as all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be submitted within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service), the key component and measure is the effectiveness of Standard Form 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The act of balancing begins upon an initial review of the questions posed by SF 3112A.  While other forms require basic information concerning one’s personal data and the agency for whom the Federal or Postal employee works (e.g., SF 3107 series, including Schedules A, B & C), the SF 3112A is the linchpin of it all.  Care should be taken in answering the questions; reflection upon the character and extent of the data provided; editing and review of any final submission.  Too much, or too little.

The Goldilocks principle should always be applied, and when served in just the right amount, the true test of the balance of information has been finally met.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire