Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Law: The Arbitrary Discount

When it is to one’s favor, of course, the arbitrary discount is a welcome benefit.  Every now and again, it happens — more often in an independent store, where the owner will say, “Well, you’ve been a great customer; I am going to give you a 10% discount just because…”.  Just because what?  No reason — just because it is Saturday; just because you are pleasant; just because I wanted to, etc.

That is the nature of an arbitrary discount.  However, what about an arbitrary discount when it is not in your favor?

In a Federal Disability Retirement case, the OPM “Medical Specialist” may deny a Federal Disability Retirement application with the following reasoning: “Your treating doctor is not a specialist in treating X.  The restrictions placed on you are therefore invalid and you have not shown that you are disabled.”  WHAT?  And yet — it is just another arbitrary discount — the discounting of your treating doctor as a valid person to make reasonable medical decisions; it just so happens that such an arbitrary discount is not in your favor.

Even though, of course, the law supports you in every way and even though OPM’s opinion should be discounted entirely.  But hey — OPM is the independent owner of the “store”, and they can do what they want, right?

Contact an OPM Disability Retirement Attorney who can and will fight against such arbitrary discounts.

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.

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Stoic Impassivity

Times are changing.  This is not a new phenomena — for, times always change.  Is it for the better?  Are we advancing linearly, or is history merely repeating itself?

The age of stoicism — that influence by Epictetus of recognizing Fate, Destiny, the things we have influence over and those things we do not — is replaced with this modern age of seeking happiness by controlling our feelings.  The “rational” part of our soul is no longer paramount; it is the “appetitive” side of our nature (borrowing from Plato and Aristotle’s distinctions) which we now allow to control the various aspects of our lives.

“Stoic impassivity” was once the norm — of the British “stiff upper lip” or the American “rugged individualism”, which are replaced with the “touchy-feely” normative imposition of society’s standards where rerouting one’s feelings may lead to greater happiness.  Likely, the pendulum swing from one extreme to the other will settle somewhere in the middle, where both the rational side of a human being and the emotional aspect are both recognized as equally part of Man’s nature.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have worked through their medical conditions — stoic impassivity may actually work against you in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

If you have “hidden” your medical conditions and continue to have great performance reviews, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will likely question the validity of your Federal Disability Retirement application by saying, “Well, your Agency says you’re doing such a fine job — where is the evidence that shows that you cannot do your job anymore?”

To counter this, contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law and map out a course of action which will be effective in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application which overcomes that stoic impassivity you have endured with your ongoing medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Inertia

It is the comma before death, the pause before becoming lifeless.  For a living entity, it is tantamount to self-destruction.  It is the point of inactivity and the silence of the moonscape where life perhaps once was, but the dust which settled has been there for quite a bit of time.

Inertia is not the natural state, but an unnatural one when life is at stake.  Observe the birds and their activities; the crocodile who lays still at the bottom of a bog, only to suddenly lunge for its prey who considered that the water’s inertia was a safe haven of seeming quiet; or the constant and perpetual motion of a squirrel who seeks the nut dug and safely hidden the previous week or month.  In all, the negation of inertia is life itself.

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, inertia constitutes the progressive decline of one’s past history of productivity and career.

Countering that inactivity — in other words, to fight against inertia — is to seek a different career, a diverging path and an alternate course of living; and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is one option to consider.

Call a Disability Retirement Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement and consider the benefits of rebutting the progressive inertia of a medical condition.  For, inertia is the rule against life; productivity, the law of living nature.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Callous Indifference

Can callousness be limited to indifference?  Or can it be active, affirmative, and intended?  Is there a qualitative difference between cruelty which is intended and that which disregard represents?

We often think of callousness as a passive activity — as in a person who walks past tragedy without giving a pause, a second thought or consideration.  But does it matter if a person instead stops, expresses empathy, speaks a lot of flowery words — then walks away still doing nothing?  Does the expression of “right and appropriate” words make a difference?  Or of the person who intentionally harms as opposed to refusing to intervene when cruelty is exposed — is there a qualitative difference between the two?

Agencies, entities, large corporations, bureaucracies, etc. — they are often charged with “callous indifference”, whether because they mechanically follow the dictates of an inflexible company policy, or because individuals within the company have become so attuned to a corporate attitude of indifference that they have simply lost their humanity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of the job, callous indifference is often the attitude encountered by the Federal agency or the Postal facility.  It is sadly a fact of life.  And if you decide it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, you will likely find a similar attitude of callous indifference from your Human Resource Office — yes, that very department which is supposedly set up to be of assistance in the process.

Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin to separate yourself from the callous indifference of the world around, and initiate the process to take care of yourself in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Forced Choice

One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit.  However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?

Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.”  There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”

Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?

Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter.  Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.

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 perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

What are my choices?  Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service?  Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?

These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all.  For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker considering Federal Disability Retirement, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to understand the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Persistence versus giving up

The latter should never be an option, although it is too often contemplated; and the former requires either a dull sense of reality or an in-born stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge defeat.  Both are often the result of the countermanding characteristic of the opponent who relies upon the fact that a certain percentage of the population either lacks the characteristic of persistence or otherwise will ultimately give up with nary an effort or will to fight on.

How many battles in history’s billfold of forgotten memories resulted in defeat because of a ruse portrayed by the enemy?  It is the bold pretension that tests the resolve and allows for victory or defeat; the knowledge that there will always be a certain number of people who, upon facing any resistance or adversity, will simply “give up” and surrender.  Thus is it left up to those who will persist no matter the challenge, where adversity and contention will be endured no matter the cost.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who enter the arena of a Federal Disability Retirement process, one should always expect and prepare each stage “as if” the battle at the next stage will ensue.  If a denial is issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement application, of course it is going to be written and conveyed “as if” the case never had a chance, “as if” none of the medical evidence had any relevance or significance, and “as if” you don’t even come near to meeting the criteria for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement.

By sounding “as if” you never had a chance and failed miserably to meet any and all legal criteria for eligibility, OPM is banking on your lack of persistence and the concomitant reaction of simply giving up.

However, persistence is the key to success, and giving up is merely a prelude to a victory near at hand if only one steps back, takes a deep breath, and realizes that, from the very beginning, Federal Disability Retirement was never going to be an easy road to bear — but a consultation with an experienced attorney may well lift the burden of the beast where persistence is the key and not giving up is the pathway to a successful outcome at the next stage of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: The warmth of a thought

Does it even make sense to cross over between tactile-based sensations and conceptual transmissions?  We’ve heard variations of that muddle — of how a thought brings warmth to one’s body; meaning, thereby, that there is a causal connection between a thought and a subsequent sensation, as in, “I was sitting there one evening thinking about my childhood, sitting on my grandfather’s lap when a secure feeling of warmth overcame me”.

In such an instance, we realize the cause-and-effect consequences at play — of a thought that leads to a sensation, where mind-to-body interaction is “proven” by the symbiotic relationships and coherence of and between the two.

David Hume, ever the doubter and cynic, would likely have argued (beyond a mere declaration of dismissiveness in saying, “Bosh!” with a distinctive Scottish accent) that no necessary connection between the thought and the sensation has occurred, any more than the sequence of one following upon another.  Yet, we all believe that there is some sort of a connection, whether directly causal or otherwise.

Thus do we accept the descriptive custom when a mystery write speaks about the “cold chill” that ran up the victim’s spine just before the killer put his hands around the woman’s throat — a clear indication that observation following upon a thought resulted in a tactile sensation.  But the subtle distinction made here — not of a thought that brings about a sensation, but the “warmth of a thought”, is a somewhat slight variation of the causal connection.  Not that the thought itself links to a consequential sensation, or that there is a causal linkage between thought and tactile phenomena, but that the two are one and the same — of the very sensation within, of and encasing and encapsulating the thought itself.

In other words, the thought itself is the warmth, and the warmth is the thought, such that the “of” is not a causal consequence brought about by a sequence of X-following-upon-Y, but the space between concept and sensation doesn’t even exist.  It is somewhat like the difference between the following 2 sentences: “The discontent in winter” and “The winter of discontent”.  Is there a distinction with a difference?

Linguistic subtleties abound only within the ivory towers of academicians; for the rest of us, such separateness of meanings rarely impact with significance or relevance (ah, now that is the rub, isn’t it — to argue over the difference between “significance” and “relevance”?).  The warmth of a thought — can the tactile sensation be separated from the conceptual construct?

It is like the medical condition that a Federal or Postal employee suffers from — the one (or many such ones) that begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Can the medical condition itself ever be separated from the life that one lives?

Others talk about “it” as if the “it” (the medical condition) is some other entity or stranger, but for the suffering Federal or Postal employee, the “it” is part and parcel of the life itself.  That is why, for a Federal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to be clear, elucidating and coherent in writing up one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A when making one’s “case” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to approve a Federal Disability Retirement Application — for, when the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from a medical condition and is in need of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the warmth of a thought is the same as the suffering felt and the anxiety one is left with for a future yet uncertain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire