OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Of persuasive effect

What does it mean to possess “of persuasive effect”?  If a person argues in a debate for endless hours, and at the end of it all, various people from the watchful audience turn aside to one another and declare, “Well, he sure was persuasive, but I’m still going to vote for the other guy” — what can such a statement mean?  If an acknowledgment of persuasion nevertheless results in an opposite conclusion, can one still maintain that there existed any degree of the very element which was supposed to modulate otherwise?

And legal precedents which must be applied — say, in a Federal Disability Retirement case, where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is “required by law” to consider certain elements, such as under the Bruner case or the Simpkins case and subsequent case-law holdings which “mandate” that OPM consider the proffered evidence as cited by a Legal Memorandum — do they necessitate a certain outcome, or is it merely “persuasive but not determinative”, and what does that mean?  Is it that the level of persuasion was just “not enough”, and while it might have come somewhat close, it just didn’t have that final “clincher” to put it over the goal line?

And if we know beforehand that “persuasive effect” won’t necessarily result in a “determinative impact”, do we just not try at all, or is the mere possibility of “tipping the balance in one’s favor” enough to try and attempt to persuade?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, the impact of a Legal Memorandum — prepared and submitted along with the Federal Disability Retirement “packet” — is like traveling with Google Maps guiding one into unfamiliar territory.  Without it, the reviewing “specialist” at OPM will simply be presented with a stack of information with no indexing or cover sheet.

With it, the importance of persuasive effect is there to guide the OPM reviewer into seeing what is relevant and what is not; of the legal cases that are impactful and persuasive; and of the mandated requirements in applying the proper legal criteria, and not merely of empty arguments that seemingly possess of persuasive effect, but lead to conclusions otherwise left without direction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The option of nothing

The path of least resistance is often to simply do nothing.  To make an affirmative choice is sometimes a painful one involving sacrifice and steps taken which will determine an outcome, later to be judged by retrospective insight, as to whether it was the “right” one or a “wrong” one.

To negate, refute or otherwise do the opposite, and to say “no” in the choice-making process, is also an “affirmative” one, if only in the negative sense.  It is still a call made, a judgment asserted, and while the “no” may not be able to arrive at a retrospective viewpoint as to whether it was the “right” one or the “wrong” one (precisely because, in the very negation of making a choice, one may never see any further consequences, but merely a nothingness that prevails from the option to not do that something, which is essentially a double-negative that results in nothing).

The worst option to assume is to allow lapse to occur – to do nothing, neither affirmatively nor negatively, and allow outside circumstances to determine the course of fate.  In taking such a path of least resistance, two things occur: First, you have left it in the hands of circumstances, and failed to take any affirmative steps in the allowance of lapse; and Second, the fact that you will never know it was a good or bad idea to allow for the lapse means that you have forsaken the entire decision-making process, and thus you disengaged yourself from the importance of life’s major participation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the Statute of Limitations that imposes a restriction upon post-separation filing is One (1) Year.

Thus, the law is as follows: Upon separation, whether by termination or resignation, of a Federal employee, that Federal employee has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If the Federal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement within 364 days of the separation from Federal Service (give yourself at least 1 day, just to be on the safe side), then no harm is done.

If the Federal or Postal employee determines not to file (i.e., a negative – affirmative decision), then so be it, and after the 365th day, that Federal or Postal employee is forever prevented from asserting his or her rights under the Federal Disability Retirement laws, acts, statutes and regulations.

If the Federal or Postal employee simply does nothing – neither making an affirmative or a negative decision, and simply allows for the time to lapse and the opportunity to pass – then the path of least resistance has been taken, with the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of words and deeds

Does a personal pronoun necessarily attach itself to a deed?  If an opinion is expressed as a formal, generic pronoun, and not in the first person, nominative case, is it still the declaration of the author?  If, following upon the words written or spoken, the individual expressing the viewpoint follows it up with a deed or act, does the one follow from the other?  Is there a causal connection between the two?  Does it matter who says the utterance, as opposed to the content of the pronouncement?

Take the following hypothetical:  say a known liar — one who has been convicted of perjury and has a widespread reputation for spreading falsehoods, gives a speech about the importance of telling the truth, and the content, substance and every which manner of what he says cannot be disputed — do we say we “believe him”, or merely the speech given?

Take the same example, but exchange the individual for a saintly person whom everyone agrees is incapable of lying — but in the course of giving his expressed remarks on the subject at hand, misspeaks.  Does the “lying” suddenly attach itself to the individual, and does the misdeed forever mark the reputation of he who speaks with a badge of dishonor, like unwanted barnacles upon the underside of a boat?

The test of sincerity following upon words, is not more words, but an act which validates the declarative utterance spoken.  It is precisely because of the chasm which exists between words and deeds, that the necessary connection (that elusive element which Hume so brilliantly batted away in destroying the certainty of causation) which brings the two together must be in the retroactive affirmation of the latter to the former; otherwise, hypocrisy would abound (as it does) and words would remain meaningless (as they are).

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the added burden of the medical condition itself allows for procrastination to extend the widening chasm between words, intentions and deeds.  Life is a daily struggle where the complexities inure to the aggregation of confusion in prioritizing.  That which is important, may not seem so today, when the stark realities which impact and impede in the immediacy of time can turn theory into distant conjugations, left within the turmoil of thoughts and silent words unspoken.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM requires an affirmative act following upon an intention growing within an expanse of needs. Thus, of words and deeds — the former merely initiates the latter, but may never attach itself unless the actual steps are taken in the preparation of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, remaining hidden and obscured by the quietude of thoughts and the hidden screams of pain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Indeterminate Deterioration

Some events come with it a specific date, and even a time; others, within a span of identified moments and blocks of weeks, sometimes months; the rest, undetermined, unspecified, like the lost soul who wanders the traversing echoes of eternal reverberations left to the sifting cleansing of a foaming ocean washing and lapping, ever repeating the comforting sounds of surf and salt strolling like the footprints gone in the sands of countless castles disappeared.  But that medical conditions would conform to the science which attempts to treat, and approach one with technical precision and certitude.

When did you first notice the symptoms, the kindly doctor asks, as you scratch your head and stutter forth an incomprehensible gibberish of a response.  A similar question is posed on SF 3112A, concerning the “date” (approximate) the Federal or Postal employee became disabled from one’s position.  How does one answer such a question?  Fortunately, it asks not for a day or time, but merely the month and year, and to that extent we can be thankful for its inherent foresight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who attempt to answer this question without much thought or reflection, be forewarned and with a hint of suspicion; trap doors abound everywhere, and while one may overstate issues like the paranoid cousin who points a telescope not at the moon and stars, but directly at the next-door neighbor’s bedroom window, it is well to consider carefully the answer to be given.

The context of intermingling meanings:  Was it during one’s tenure as a Federal or Postal employee (for those separated but contemplating filing within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service)?  Will it prompt the question, Does the medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months, including the time encapsulating the prognosis of the doctor?  Does it coincide with any event or issue arising at work?  Does the date identified precede any adverse action promulgated by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  Truth is always the guide for integrity in all cases, but the reality of a medical condition is that time is often discovered on a spectrum, where chronicity and deterioration spans over many months, and often years.

To pinpoint is to be precise; but where deterioration is progressive and indeterminate, the fading sounds of an unspecified echo which bounces from cave walls to the expansive skies beyond the realm of certainty, the date recognized may be one which floats and fades like the dust of angels left as a residue of virtue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Delaying the Inevitable

Projection of future events, anticipation of coming circumstances, and rumination upon conflicts yet to occur; these are very human experiences beyond mere base anxieties.  Other primates may recognize and prepare to react to events about to develop, but the wide spectrum of time between the current state of affairs, and the projected future event, is perhaps the most telling factor in differentiating the complexity of human beings from other animals.

It is precisely because of this capacity to foretell, and thereby choose to forego, that we often allow for troubles to exponentially quantify, despite out own self-knowledge as to what is in our own best interests.  Perhaps that, too, is a telltale sign of complexity:  the ability to do that which is against one’s own egocentric universe.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the recognition that current circumstances cannot last forever, or even for very much longer, occurs fairly early on.

Is it the fear of actually acknowledging the truth of the inevitable?  Or, perhaps, merely a prayerful hope that things will change, that the next doctor’s visit will further enlighten, or that the medication prescribed, the surgery noted, and the therapy scheduled, will somehow improve such that one can continue to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job?

Medical conditions, however, have a blunt and honest way of informing; it is not like a whisper or a winter’s cold which nags for a few days; the former can be clarified by asking to speak louder; the latter can be attended to by rest and a generous infusion of liquids.  But a medical condition?  It is that stressor in life where, despite out best efforts to ignore or wish away, the reality of its existence portends of our vulnerability and our fragile nature.

Preparing, formulating and 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 often the next, and inevitable step, towards securing a better tomorrow.  It is that “tomorrow” which cannot be delayed for too long, and despite the greater nature of our souls in hoping for a brighter future, the truth is that delaying the inevitable does nothing to stop the rotation of the earth on its axis; it merely fools the fool who foolishly fails to fully follow the path away from folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Carousels of Summer

The mounts littered throughout the roundabout can be diverse and captivating; in the swirl of the rotating platform, the child in us wants to sit upon every creature, from unicorns to zebras, the traditional horse and the mythological creatures of one’s limitless imagination.

As we grow older, we come to realize that the spinning sensation itself remains static; the difference between climbing into the bosom of one creature as opposed to another, is indistinct and ultimately irrelevant; when one’s childlike imagination and excitement wrought in ignorance of the cruel world becomes extinguished, the fun of being naive and clueless is no longer an option.  Cynicism comes with maturity; the older we get, the less likely are we to allow ourselves to travel into the realm of the unreal.  Life tends to do that to us.

The road of hard knocks is littered with tales of turmoil and turbulence; storms come and go, and while the devastation left behind can be somewhat repaired, the psyche and soul of damaged people can rarely be glued back together, as fragile porcelain leaving behind fissures wide and gaping as the childlike wonderment we once knew.

Federal and Postal employees know the experiences of life:  the internal battles, the power struggles and the herd-like mentality of agencies and departments.  Then, when a medical condition hits, and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer the golden-boy of past cliques, one is cast aside like the child who is left outside of the teams picked in linear sequence, until the silence of being ignored becomes a reality as shame and embarrassment shouts in muted suffering.  Sometimes, the wisest move is to move on.

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 the best and only option remaining.  To attempt to stay is like the biblical admonition of “kicking against the goads“; to walk away and do nothing is merely to spite one’s self; and so the Federal or Postal employee who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, should always opt for the best remaining alternative.

To prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is ultimately not an admission of defeat.  Rather, it is to enliven that imagination once grasped, but since forgotten; of the child who discovered that changing from the seat of a dragon on a carousel to the bosom of a resplendent unicorn makes all the difference not in the change itself, but within the comfort of the limitless imagination of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire