Federal Disability Retirement Law: Sound legal arguments

Arguments in general share a characteristic within the more limited field of those involving legal issues: soundness is based upon factors involving coherence, cogency, consistency and the application of the rules of propositional logic.  The latter — of propositional logic — can get lost in general arguments when they become wrapped in multiple compound statements, shouted with ardor and passion, and conveyed with a sense of unequivocal belief as to one’s “rightness” and doubtless self-righteousness.

Propositional logic within the field of legal argumentation, however, takes on a more limited and restrictive nature, for it normally is contained by the text of legal opinions and cases that have a value of precedence.  The “soundness” or its antonym — of an “unsound legal argument” — largely depends upon how much the legal practitioner will “stretch” the foundational apparatus involved: the analogical arguments used in citing legal precedents.

Future legal opinions — those evolving from the very attempts by lawyers to stretch those precedents into areas heretofore disallowed — are based upon the persuasive propositional logic argued at the appellate level, and even in the various stages of an OPM Disability Retirement case.  On an informal level, of course, one will want to cite legal precedents to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at the first two stages of the process — at the Initial Stage of the OPM Disability Retirement process, as well as the Second, “Reconsideration” Stage.

At both levels, sound legal argumentation should be employed — by “sound”, meaning that the basic and well-known legal precedents should be cited involving what constitutes meeting the burden of proof in a Federal Disability Retirement application; what meets the legal requirements of an “accommodation”; the importance of medical evidence and the criteria that must be applied in assessing and evaluating the content and substance of the medical evidence presented; as well as the foundational basis of “sound” legal cases which delineate, in a persuasive manner, the compendium of evidentiary documentation which comprises one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

At the “Third Level” of the process, of course — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (or more familiarly known as the “MSPB”) — one must take extra care in presenting sound legal arguments, because there, an Administrative Law Judge will be attuned to the “stretching” and “extension-attempting” arguments that citation of legal precedents may pose, and the “soundness” of one’s knowledge of “the law” is often a prerequisite in even trying to make one’s case before such an Administrative Law Judge.

For, in the end, sound legal arguments are not too dissimilar from arguments sound or unsound in general; they just require an extra component of legal training allowed that involves the proper and effective use and application of arguments by analogy based upon case-law precedents.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: “It would happen, anyway…”

This can be a catch-all excuse, of course.  Fatalism is a self-contradictory philosophical perspective; one cannot by definition remain in such a belief-system without experiencing the self-immolation of one’s own convictions.  What if we prefaced each and every one of our actions with such a statement. “It would happen, anyway.”

The operative principle falls behind the “It”, of course, and the remainder of the fatalism makes sense when once we identify the opening dummy subject that is otherwise left unstated, as a pronoun that remains unattended, often purposefully.  The “It”, of course, can mean many things, including: death; failure; a disastrous outcome; complete destruction, etc.

To conclude that X would happen regardless of the causal interventions of human resolve perpetuated by the will of a conscious mind, is to attribute to the universe a determinism that is without design or goodness.  Is there such an omnipotent being that cares not, perhaps similar to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover?  Of such a being, Aristotle of course did not conceptualize a meddling kind of god, good or bad, but rather where perfection caused others to desire reaching towards its apex of unperturbed immovability.

But why must fatalism always posit the negative?  Why must it always end in disaster, death or progressive decay, and not towards some optimism of a future yet to be determined?  Why don’t we hear anyone say, instead, “Oh, it would happen, anyway…”, but implying that the dummy subject of “It” is meant to connote greater fortunes for tomorrow, a happier life to be had, or better days ahead of health and joy?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are stuck in the rut of a negative outlook because of a medical condition that pervades and will not go away, it is time to replace the dummy subject of “It” with a pronoun or other grammatical subject that conveys a positive outlook upon life’s travails.

Filing an effective 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 an important first step in filling in the “unknowns” of life’s tomorrows.  And, ultimately, that is the key point, isn’t it?

To avert, subvert and otherwise replace the negative with a positive — and for a Federal employee who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, it is the negative “It” that must be replaced with a positive and effective Federal Disability Retirement Application, lest fatalism lead to a determinism that undermines the positive tomorrows that are yet to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Verbosity

The word itself has an effective resonance — similar in tone and texture to “grandiloquence”, which implies a flourish of rhetorical verbosity; and if one were to combine the two, as in the sentence, “He spoke with verbose grandiloquence,” one need not say anything more about the subject, but the statement says it all.

Verbosity does not necessarily carry a negative connotation, for excessive use of words does not logically entail ineffectiveness.  For instance, if one is attempting to kill time for a greater purpose (e.g., a lecture to the entire police department personnel while one’s co-conspirators are robbing a bank), being verbose (and while at the same time, being grandiloquent) may have a positive benefit.

On the other hand, being either verbose or grandiloquent which results in providing too much peripheral information, or information which may ultimate harm the essence of one’s foundational purpose, may in fact lead to unintended negative consequences.

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must of course engage in the narrative prose — through medical reports and records; through crafting and submitting one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  In the course of the narrative statement of one’s disability, it is often the case that Federal and Postal Workers will tend to be “verbose”. But purposeful verbosity is the key.

Choose the words carefully.  And make sure that, if along the way, you are also being grandiloquent, try not to be bombastic at the same time.  Imagine that sentence:  “He spoke with a bombastic, verbose grandiloquence.” That says everything.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGil, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foggy glasses

Sometimes, we realize it at the outset and pause, take a moment to clean them, then proceed with the clarity we presupposed but were ineffectual in recognizing and correcting.  At other times, we stumble through the maze of reconditeness, failing to identify, or even to recognize, the source of our abstruseness.  Those who never need glasses, have but their imaginations to project a world of persistent perceptual perplexity; others must live with the unruly contraption encased ever so prominently upon the facial protrusion high atop the control center of one’s physique.

Of course, there are advertised surgical methods, or implantations of organic lenses upon the window of one’s soul (as Plato would describe it); but in the end, most defer to those convex lenses which provide for magnification, invented sometime during the Dark Ages and before.  But clarity of perceptual comprehension, if merely a physical defect, is at least correctible; whereas most walk through life with foggy glasses of another sort, and have greater and more dire consequences resulting therefrom.

That is precisely the problem with wisdom, or the lack thereof, but more accurately, the means to attain it.  It is one thing to walk about with foggy thoughts; another altogether, to never be able to recognize it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are caught in a quandary of the frozen steppes of indecision, where a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and therefore one’s status as a Federal employee or Postal worker is likened to a purgatory awaiting further harassment, being forced to work with one’s medical condition despite every medical advice to the contrary, or worse, merely waiting to be fired — the time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is “now”, or perhaps even yesterday.

But if one is unable to have the perceptual clarity needed to arrive at a judgment of insight, how is one to proceed?

Advice is plentiful, as is information of irrelevance; but first, to even wake up to the most basic needs and address the elementary concerns for securing one’s legal rights, future prospects, and a promise for advancement beyond the present condition of malaise, it is necessary to wipe away one’s foggy glasses, and view the world with a level of perceptual clarity beyond the confusion ensconced in the belief that the obstacle that stops us is not a mountain to climb, but one’s own nose obscured by the device so prominently placed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire