Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The present preference

Given the choice, it is almost always the present preference that is chosen, while the long-term goals, aspirations or necessary planning are set aside, ignored, subverted or otherwise delayed for another day.  We prefer to remain in the present circumstances, in lieu of future contexts unknown, for the familiar is always to be preferred to the strange and unrelated.

The key to change away from the present preference is often based upon the spectrum of a “tolerance/intolerance” gauge — an informal, almost unspoken manner in which we react based upon various factors that have developed over many years: tolerance/intolerance of pain levels; quality of life issues, whether consciously realized or intuitively maintained; the balance between weekends encroached and the weekdays approached; whether productivity rises or falls; and other similar factors, both involving professional goals and aspirations as well as personal perspectives upon the worth of maintaining the status quo or allowing for the tumult of change.

Medical conditions often warrant a move away from the present preference.  In reality, no one “prefers” the present when the change is imposed from external sources, or where there is simply little control or influence to exert upon stopping, hindering or otherwise slowing down the change itself.  The present preference is merely borne of laziness or the pure enjoyment of non-change, as the known is almost always preferable to instability and the strangeness of other worlds.

That is why we take short vacations and jaunts to other cultural enclaves, but return home to the safety of our known environments.  But when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, as it can with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the changes impacted from the external forces of an unwanted medical condition may necessitate the modification of the present preference for the status quo.

Living with a medical condition itself is traumatic enough; altering the present preference of a life one is used to, is almost always a further tumultuous necessity that one instinctively resists, but recognizes the inevitability of.

For Federal and Postal workers who have come to a point of realizing the necessity of modifying the present preference, preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step towards conforming to an unfair external influence characterized by the medical condition itself.

Consulting an attorney who specializes in the administrative complexities inherent in the Federal Disability Retirement process will often help to buttress some of the changes that are necessary, if only because information and knowledge allows for the decision-making process to prevail with needed insights presented in order to adapt away from the present preference of an increasingly debilitating medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sorrow behind the facade

How do we know a person’s sorrow?  Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary?  Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.

There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow?  Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes?  But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?

Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade.  Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake.  The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken.  For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.

For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career.  There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: What we have to do

In once sense of the phrase, it denotes a duty or obligation; in another, the foundational basis of a practical, pragmatic nature – of that which we do, simply because it needs to be done in order to survive, to maintain a certain standard of living, or because we believe it is the “right” thing to do.  Each individual must decide for him or herself, of course, as to the criteria by which to determine that which we have to do, and the “what” will often be placed on a wide spectrum of moral ends that are meant to justify the means by which to proceed.

What we have to do – it is also a phrase that is said when shaking one’s head, as in the whispering to one’s self in gritting one’s teeth or biting our tongue and engaging in a soliloquy of thoughtful silence, saying, “What we have to do.”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, despite the medical condition beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, it is a familiar refrain – of working through the pain, of trying to endure the paralyzing panic attacks or the heightened anxiety and depression that pervades, and to try and hide the medical condition and do what we have to do in order to economically survive – until it reaches that crisis point where the medical condition cannot be controlled, cannot be hidden, and comes bursting out like NFL players running through the tunnel from the locker rooms of one’s mind and body.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is just one of those other things that can be characterized as what we have to do.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition that begins to impede and prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the filing itself of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is what we have to do, especially if the alternative is to stay at the job or walk away with nothing, which are actually no choices at all.

What we have to do – a familiar refrain for the Federal or Postal employee, and a necessary next step if you suffer from a medical condition that impedes or prevents you from performing one or more of essential elements of your job.  After all, you’ve been doing what you have to do all of your life, and this is just one more instance of it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a 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, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: DDD

It is what Moynihan said so many years ago, of constantly reinterpreting normative constructs such that the subtle, insidious reduction of acceptance allows for normalization of that which was rejected and repugnant just a few years before, a generation ago, or never at all.  Or, it may refer to a medical condition of the spine – of the condition identified as “degenerative disc disease”; but in either case, the acronym used as a convenient route for linguistic economy has some similarities involved.

For, in both cases, DDD allows for the slow and steady deterioration of a process – the former, of a cultural rot and standards once ensconced firmly in the very fabric of society; the latter, of a slow process of debilitating “eating away” that reveals a condition progressive over time, decaying by crumbling of bone, cartilage and repetitive overuse traversing time’s despondency due to labor’s unnatural pose.  Or, one can just make it up and ascribe it to a tripartite conceptual compound; for instance, “dual deficit denominations” or “dark, dim and dumb”, or other such consternations of linguistic accolades.

In any event, it is the original of the two that seems to share a common ground of meaning; for, in both, it is the essence of a slow process of change; one, cultural in nature, of an acceptance of lesser standards whether by willful determination or accidental submission; the other, the debilitating disease that – over time and resulting from old age – progressively worsens.  One could simplify the concepts by dismissing the first as “cognitive” and the other as “physical”.

In either case, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to continue in the same position and compels one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement, both concepts can apply.

For, an expansive and liberal interpretation of Moynihan’s argument is similar to the Federal or Postal employee’s acceptance of the lower standard both in terms of his or her quality of life, as well as in seeing the adversarial nature of the Federal agency or the Postal facility as “normal” in the treatment of its employees.  And, as to the “other” definition of DDD – of the chronic neck or back pain – whether in a sedentary job or a very physical one, the high distractibility of pain that impacts upon one’s capacity and ability to safely focus, concentrate and attend to the job itself is often a qualification for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Thus, the acronym itself – whether for “defining deviancy down” or as “degenerative disc disease” – can fit the proverbial bill in considering the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted through another acronym of sorts – OPM – otherwise known as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire