Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Struggles

It is a law of life, is it not?  To struggle; to always have to thrash about just to survive, whether in the world of employment, the world of self-control, the universe of just maintaining a semblance of sanity within a greater complex of madness we face each day?

And, indeed, that is the basis of most philosophical systems that have been posited – from the Ancients who posited permanence as opposed to constant flux (Parmenides and Heraclitus); of the tension between Forms and the world of appearances; of the universe of perspectives empowered between one’s spatial imposition of human categories as opposed to an objective reality that one can never reach (Kant); or merely reducing all philosophical problems to one of linguistic inconvenience (the British Empiricists); and on and on, the struggle to learn, to maintain, to survive.

Life is a constant struggle, and when once peace is attained, we then die, or at least retire to an old person’s home for the forgotten and the ignored.  Even the fairytales we read to our children begin with the struggle, then end with a world of make-believe; only, those types of endings don’t occur in “real life”, and so we have to explain to our children when they get older that, well…heh, heh, heh…it was all a lie – that, unlike the stories told, mom and I hate to tell you this, but the struggles in life never end.  There is no “happily-ever-after” after all.

Then, life brings about a medical condition – those pesky irritants that hopefully can be controlled or maintained with a pill or a stiff drink, but otherwise an indicator that either we are growing old or something in our bodies are trying to forewarn us of the future.  Then, the medical condition begins to magnify, exacerbate, and turn into that state of being “chronic”, and slowly, it begins to deteriorate and progressively impact how we feel, who we are, and what we can do.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the recognition that life is a constancy of struggles is nothing new; but, what is new is the realization that such a struggle now can become worsened by entering into arenas previously held inviolable – of work and the productivity that was once taken for granted.

Filing 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, is not a surrender to that constant struggle, but merely a change of direction and planning.  We all know that life is a constant struggle; sometimes, the struggle must be circumvented by moving onto the next phase of an ever-struggling life, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is that next phase of the constant struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Etymology versus Entomology

The difference in spelling involves more than a single letter; but in using the words in a sentence, the subtle distinction of a single consonant makes for all the relevance in the world.  One refers to the very history and evolution of words, their meaning and usage; the other is a branch of a larger discipline of arthropodology, the subset of which focuses upon insects and the study thereof.

In speech, therefore, the mistaken insertion of the consonant can create a hilarious situation resulting from the unknowing misuse of the word; whereas, in written form, it would probably be quickly identified as a misspelling and overlooked without appreciating the “funny-ness” of the error.  And, as well, the difference between speech and written form allows for checks, re-checks and changes before the final submission of that which is presented to a viewer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the ability of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important component in the administrative process itself.

Often, one hears the grumbles and complaints of those who say, “If only I could just explain it…”  As opposed to?  Yes, the intonation and persuasive voice of speech can be an effective tool, and in contrast to the written form, which can be viewed and analyzed over time, the one-time urgency of the used-car salesman can certainly turn the immediacy of a decision into a statistically relevant sales pitch; but that is why submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received as a “paper-presentation”, precisely because it involves medical documentation, laws to be applied, and criteria to be analyzed by OPM in order to make a proper decision concerning all Federal Disability Retirement submissions.

It is the written form which allows for expungement and erasures of subtle mistakes; and when the final Federal Disability Retirement application is compiled, submitted and presented, it is the effort of careful deliberation in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet which will make all the difference to the administrative specialist at OPM.

For, while a quick sale may be made by the persuasive voice of the used-car salesman, that is precisely the reason why there are laws concerning changed minds after the ink has dried on the signature line of a contract; and like the distinction to be made between “etymology” and “entomology”, the pen must be the sword of choice in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire