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

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that 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, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The complexity of 2

It is the solo flight that presents the escape of simplicity; inclusion of another, and suddenly the complexity of responsibility, duty, obligation and sense of “ought” becomes a part of the entire equation.  At first, it may be love born upon an equal plane; any sense of disproportionality is easily ignored, quickly deflected and unselfconsciously dispensed with; but over time, the complexity of 2 begins to creep in.

It is neither insidious nor inherently negative by artifice; rather, it is the most natural of sensibilities, arising from a knowledge that reliance upon one another not only acknowledges and validates the vows of matrimony, but moreover, the eternal commitment each makes to the other forever forges the bonds of undiluted friendship, like kindred spirits floating in some ethereal universe unperturbed by distractions of consternation consecrated upon the altar of destruction.

Have you ever observed the interaction of singularity?  That is correct – it is simple and uncomplicated.  The asides are mere reflections of one’s own troubles; the soliloquys stated without puzzlement or obfuscation.

Then, if you add a second, the complexity of 2 comes into play – of misunderstandings, miscommunications and loss of solidarity in the oneness of judgment.  What if there are three?  Then, suddenly not only are there relationships between the first and second, but between first and third, second and third, as well as the tripartite interaction between all three simultaneously.  And of four?

The exponential complexity that arises from adding one more to each magnification of interrelationships enhances beyond the mere introduction of another, but creates a havoc beyond the singularity of such an entrance.  Why is this?

One would, on a purely conceptual level, likely argue that since the simplicity of 1 remains so, ergo the combination of each should logically retain such lack of complication.  But such an argument based upon theoretical argumentation and rationality elliptically conducted in an antiseptic environment and context fails to recognize the innate complexity of each human being.

That is why, in preparing 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 simple-enough questions posed and queried on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, can never be characterized as “easy” or “straightforward”.

Why?  Because there is the complexity of 2 – or more.  For, while the questions themselves are answered by the singular Federal or Postal employee, there are multiple facets of that same employee which requires a response – the Federal or Postal employee in the status of an employee who suffers from a medical condition; the relationship between the medical condition and the positional requirements of the Federal or Postal job; the Federal or Postal employee in the capacity of his or her personal life; the introduction of the diagnosed Federal or Postal employee with a specific medical condition.

Do you see the complexity?  It is, as always, the complexity of 2.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Where we are

Wherever we are, we believe that is where the focal point of life resides.  Yes, it is a truism that the wider the travels, the greater recognition that one’s life is relatively insignificant, and that there are others in distant places where greater importance and relevance is objectively established.

But the subjective, human perspective cannot ultimately abandon the compass of where we are; for, it is the center of the compass itself that controls the direction of the gravitational pull, and while the North Pole may be where the forces reside (including Santa, all of his elves and helpers, and presumably Rudolph and the offspring), the perspective of where the arrow points remains constant:  It is the I, where I am and what circumstances impact me (in whatever form the personal pronoun is enunciated).

Is it an inevitable perspective – this egoism of the subjective “I” from whence the world is viewed, around which swirls the universe that rotates, churns and erupts in unanticipated transcendentalism encompassing the universal karma denoting an insignificant place in the warped historicity of mankind?  Or, is it possible to have been brought up in a community where there is no word within the language game of the collective peoples that points back towards one’s self?

Thus, the “what if” game:  What if there is no personal pronoun?  What if the perspective embraces only some other, such that each views the importance of the other and the relative irrelevance of the one who perceives the other, such that there is no one but the ego in a reflection of a mirror pointing to someone else – would that make a difference, such that there would therefore be no personal possessiveness, neither in grammar nor in envious jealousies of owning that which is everyone else’s?  Can a person exist without being erased and stamped out, in a society where collectivism is constant and self-realization is an alien concept unable to be comprehended?

But that is not so; here, in modernity, there is but the subjective “I”, the royalty of self, and the self-importance of the fanfare where each and every one of us seeks and relishes the quarter hour of fame, now transformed into reality television shows and Selfies on an extension pole, or by min-drones hovering with a camera taking aim at every movement of our selfish worth.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, be cautious in determining “where” one “is” – for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can quickly become consumed by the subjective “I” in the narrative delineated in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A).

To be an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, there must by necessity contain and retain a certain sense of objectivity, tempered by the medical documentation and evidentiary compilation to be submitted.  Yes, yes – where we are is important in life, but remember always that where we are is only relevant from the vantage point of where we want to be tomorrow, and the day after that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sunshine, briefly

Life is mostly dark clouds, with a ray of sunshine briefly upon a small patch of wet grass.  Yes, yes – such a perspective is a mirror reflection of the conflict between the “half-full” versus “half-empty” outlook; but is it helpful for young people to posit a world view, a paradigm or, in the philosophical realm of ivory towers, that king of all royalties in linguistic sophistication that is dropped nonchalantly to impress and raise eyebrows –  Weltanschauung (since when did a German word rise to the level and replace Latin phrases, when one can barely clear one’s throat in enunciating such concepts?) – when reality doesn’t quite parallel such a fairytale ga-ga-land of fantasy reserved for bedtime stories and dream-filled comforts?

Do we not restrain children from engaging strangers?  Do we not warn of criminals, conmen and conspirators and step cautiously into dark alleys and isolated parks in twilight’s eyesight because the world lurks with malevolent intentions and evil thoughts?

There is no questions, of course, that there are periods of respite; of sunshine, briefly, by rays of telescopic precision warming for a time, before the inevitable clouds rub out the finite orientation of a limited gap emitting brightness of hope.  Is balance the stain of righteousness, and if so, where on the spectrum of both extremes does one draw the line of correctness, and is there a singularly myopic perspective where no other can claim moral equivalency?

Cynicism is attributable to the extreme of the “dark clouds” perspective, and naïve idealism to the other end of limitless sunshine; and somewhere in the middle is where reality protrudes into the conceptual realms of unease:  daily living, the encounters with meanness, harassment and unmitigated callousness that must endure the diminishing dereliction of youth’s untarnished cavity of hope.

It is, in the end, that ray of sunshine, however brief, that we live for, even if it only comes about once in a proverbial blue moon.  It is likened to the 80/20 rule:  Eighty percent of people you meet are not worthy of your time; it is the other 20% that you hope to encounter and engage; the identical proportion applies with work – much of it is monotonous and mindless repetition; it is for that remaining sliver that you do the treadmill stuff in order to apply the relishing technicality of challenging concerns.

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 idea of life’s sunshine, however briefly, is precisely the point, isn’t it?

The medical condition that shortens one’s promising career is but the dark clouds which have gathered and overcast upon your life, career and ability and capacity to enjoy; Federal Disability Retirement – thought as “negative” in the sense that it replaces that which you worked so hard to attain – is that sunshine, briefly, so that you can go out with an annuity, a semblance of security, and focus upon the priorities of life:  Health, family, friends and tranquility.

Now, if that is not sunshine, however briefly, no one can fathom what is.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire