Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Road Maps

Does the “new way” diminish other manners and approaches?  Does an increase in technological guidance diminish and decrease the self-reliance and initiative required once upon a time?

Take, for example, the trip taken today — any trip: One merely types in the address or the phone number, presses a button and Google Maps guides you to your destination.  In days now gone and forever forgotten, one had to take out those old paper maps (you know, those multi-folded, accordion-like Rand McNally relics) stuffed in the side door compartment of one’s vehicle or dug out from under the piles of old registration cards in one’s glove compartment, and carefully follow the numerical and lettered cross-sections of quadrants in planning the course of a trip otherwise lost in the morass of unfamiliar territory.  Or, like most men — just “wing” it.

Does the loss of a road map — the necessity of its very relevance and existence — mean that there are reverberations in other sectors of one’s life, or in the way one’s brain works?  Do we, because of the ease of Google Maps, become lazier, expect that everything will be self-guided, and is that the future for everything in life, especially once the self-guided vehicle is perfected?  Does the expectation of technology’s ease make us lazier, allowing for procrastination to become extended beyond reason, where we no longer “plan” for things well in advance, assuming that whatever the issue or anticipated endeavor, it will all be taken care of by a click of a button, or at most, a few keyboard taps away?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, road maps are a necessity of life — both for the Federal or Postal employee in maneuvering through the complex administrative pathway of a Federal Disability Retirement application, as well as in preparing a “legal roadmap” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in approving the Federal Disability Retirement application.

In both cases, the road map is similar to that old Rand McNally map that required quadrants to be precisely followed: For the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, the need for precise guidance by the best route possible in order to obtain an approval from OPM; and for OPM, the proper legal citations and arguments that will persuade them to grant the approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The double-negative

Does it “tell” more than the positive?  Is the reduction by twice negating words of positive connotation a lesser meaning — a “softer landing approach” — than to declare it with a single positive note?

Thus, when a parent declares to a close friend or neighbor that his or her son or daughter is “not unpopular”, is it not the same as proudly stating, “He is popular”?  Is the double-negative more humble and sound less like bragging?  Is the meaning not unclear, or less unlikely, or not incomprehensible?  Or, what about a triple negative — say, if a person says that he is not not uncomfortable — is it a more polite manner of telling another that he is uncomfortable, but does each negative remove the bluntness of the root word such that the repetition of negation undoes what the foundation of the meaning provides for?

And how did grammar translate from linguistic insularity to real life?  When and how did we learn to speak in such negations?  Is it by stealth or cover-up that grammar reflects upon the negation of words, thus transferring such concealment into the language games we play?  Do we wear sunglasses to hide our eyes from remaining open as the window to our own souls?

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 Federal or Postal job, the application of the double-negative becomes infused in everyday encounters with the workplace — of needing to use Sick Leave in order to attend to one’s health, but trying to appear well at work so that the workplace barely notices; of trying to remain in corners of anonymity despite feeling the need to be “up front” about it; and of appearing to be “healthy” on the outside and yet feeling the dread of hopelessness on the inside.

The double-negative is too often a reflection upon the way we are forced to live, and for the Federal or Postal employee who by necessity must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is a reality that must unfortunately be faced every day.  But filing is important, and making that decision is a crucial one that must be faced — or, in the manner of the double-negative, it is not unimportant to begin the process of filing something as administratively complex as something which is not incomprehensible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Flavor of Our Times

Each generation has a flavor of the times — that obscure and fuzzy sense of “something” beyond which one cannot quite describe, but nevertheless leaves a distinctive aftertaste that remains and cannot be washed away.  Hypocrisy may come close to identifying it — of saying one thing, meaning another; of using words and virtual reality in order to conceal the true motive and intentions.  We see it in our politicians, in newspapers and neighborly barbecues; as truth is not the sought-after goal, and as relativism and the capacity to perform linguistic gymnastics at every turn of words, so the natural consequence of our deeds should not surprise us.  We claim empathy, but act indifferently; we teach our kids grandiose belief-systems, then act surprised when rebellion monitors the day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the stark reality of what they hear as the “official” pronouncement of one’s agency, as opposed to the practical and day-to-day occurrence and action in “real time”, is like the echoing chasm of a hollow pit which reverberates with each unintelligible sound.  All of the rules and regulations promulgated for public consumption about protecting the rights of disabled Federal employees sound like collected baseball cards reserved for showing off to guests who are gullible enough to gasp with excitement over items of dubious value; but it is the “behind-the-scenes” reality of how individuals treat each other, which tells the true story of shame, deceit and indifference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the gap between declared public policy and the reality of that insular shame, is a daily recognition of man’s inhumanity to his or her fellow man or woman.  Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers experience this violation daily.  That is why opting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best, only, and remaining self-preservation option, to secure one’s future and to separate from Federal Service with a semblance of dignity.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to obtain a base annuity, then go into the private sector and begin to pursue a second, or third, vocation of choice.  It is not an abandonment of one’s principles, nor a retreat from one’s beliefs. That was already accomplished years ago, when the flavor of our times became the official stance of an uncaring system which betrayed the dedicated Federal or Postal employee merely because of a medical condition beyond one’s control.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Medical Retirement: The X Factor

In algebraic equations, it is that unknown variable which remains elusive and concealed, and which must be figured out in order to arrive at the conclusion.  We love those teachers who inform us that “credit” will be “given” for work shown, and that it is not so important to come up with the answer as opposed to the methodology manifested in reaching it.

And so we devised a complex network of signs and symbols, hoping that they concealed the ignorance of our unlearned lack of wisdom.  But the fact remains that leaving the factor unexplained and unfulfilled is like turning one’s back upon a helpless puppy abandoned in the middle of a busy freeway; somehow, the hollowness of leaving behind haunts one with a sense of incompleteness, like the puzzle with a missing piece.

These vestiges of psychological appendages, like damaging mollusks on the underbelly of a drifting boat, remain long after the effort to solve the equation is abandoned; for, in life, we think that all variables have an answer, if only we had listened carefully in the classes we skipped or during which we daydreamed and slept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to seriously impact one’s ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements (or “essential elements”) described, the thought of abandonment through resignation or termination leaves that same taste of dismay and fear, like the residue of pine-goo on the palm of one’s hand.

The “other” option — which constitutes the solution of the X-factor — is to file 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.   While not widely advertised, OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is offered when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to, because of a medical condition, perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, instead of remaining static in a state of utter frustration, attempting like those childhood years of yore when scratching one’s head, peeking over surreptitiously at the blank paper on the next desk, or looking with wonderment at the ceiling above as if the gods of information will reveal the answer through the illuminating fluorescence of those linear tubes, the Federal or Postal employee has the ultimate solution for the X-factor within grasp:  preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explicit versus Implicit

The former leaves no room for confusion or doubt; the latter, a bit of “wiggle room” where insinuations, hints and suggestive openings are characteristic invitations of open regards.  They are not mutually exclusive within a paragraph or even a sentence; they are, however, antonyms, and should be used with context-defined relevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the choice of either can determine the future viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Certainly, there are times in life when one chooses the latter methodology, for various reasons — perhaps being forthright and blunt is not the “right” approach; perhaps there is fear of offending, or mere laziness and sludge of confrontation prevents one from being straightforward.  In the legal arena, the former approach is preferable, if only to squeeze out the light of linguistic malleability and flexibility in supercilious argumentation.  But in the context of an OPM Disability Retirement packet, there will often contain multiple usages.

One’s Supervisor, in completing SF 3112B (Supervisor’s Statement), may present contradictory information by checking a box which is relatively unequivocal (is that an oxymoron — to use the terms “relatively” and “unequivocal” in the same breadth of a sentence?) but placing remarks implying the exact opposite in response to “explanatory” and more expansive questions.  Or, for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, in completing SF 3112A, the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability”, there may be a strategy in mixing both explicit statements and providing for implicit openings for meanings and connections.

Certainly, the “law” of Federal Disability Retirement allows for it; but one must always take care in addressing the nature, extent and susceptibility of statutory interpretation in formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Ultimately, as in most things in life, the former is preferable to the latter; though, wiggle room and the dictates social conventions may sometimes require one to be explicitly implicit in order to be inefficiently efficacious.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire