Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Expression

The title itself plays upon multiple meanings and combinations of words otherwise with connotations and implications intended within a panorama of conceptual constructs utilized in everyday discourse.

‘Art’ itself is an expression of sorts; “Expression’ is both a form of ‘Art’ and an actualization of it; and so to refer to the ‘Art of Expression’ is not merely somewhat of a redundancy, but further, a tricky combination of two entirely separable concepts, independent and yet expressing [sic] a specific duality of meanings.  Expression, whether of the verbal sort or, as in this instance, of the written variety, is indeed a form of art.  It is so by default.  Not being a discipline of precision; not anywhere near a science of any sort; not an academic major or even a subject that can ever be fully mastered; it is, nevertheless, an art form that thrives or places an indelible blemish upon the language of one’s upbringing.

Good writing, concise discourse, proper grammatical usage and persuasive argumentation in delineating a perspective and point of view continues and remains an art form that is lost in the daily plethora of linguistic garbage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition requires the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to ponder preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, consideration must ultimately be given to the art of expression when formulating the answers to SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing, formulating and putting the final edits and touches upon one’s Statement of Disability, the Art of Expression must be considered:  Does it adequately describe your medical conditions and the symptoms experienced?  Do the legal arguments persuade?  Does the medical documentation support the statements put forth?  Does the statement paint a picture of coherence within a universe of incoherence engendered by the medical condition itself?  Is the nexus sufficiently created between the medical condition and the positional duties?  Has one applied the principles of Henderson v. OPM, the Bruner Presumption, the Simpkins application, the Bracey Principles and multiple other legal underpinnings?

The Art of Expression is the capacity to pull together the vast compendium of expressive resources available, and the first step in reaching that goal is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Circumstances and choices

When is it too late to begin reflecting upon one’s circumstances and choices?  Do we already do that daily, and does the length of rumination engaged depend upon where one’s station in life has reached? Do old men and squeaky rocking chairs justify such reflective modes of behavior, or do the young as well take the time to ponder upon choices made, circumstances encountered, and the spectrum of clashes in between?

Do we formulate a fauna of false representations of ourselves, and depict upon the screen of a mind’s inner movie of the “self” with edited versions so that, when queried, we can make those “bad mistakes” of past choices appear to fit into circumstances where we can innocently declare, “I had no other choice!”?  We “make the bed we lie in”; suffer from the “messes we make of our lives”; or of what other adage or declarative falsehoods may we come up with to excuse our own choices in life’s travail of valleys full of mournful echoes?

Circumstances often dictate the choices we make; or, at least the metaphor of “dictation” leads us to believe.  For, the very idea of “X dictates Y” as in the previous statement, “Circumstances dictate the choices we make”, removes us of the responsibility in making the choice, by making it appear as if the choice made is not really a choice at all, but merely an action that is necessitated and you are therefore merely an unwilling agent.

What is lost in such discourse, of course, is the lengthy history of sub-choices previously presented and ignored, where choices that could have been made before circumstances became so dire that the narrowing of alternatives dissipated until a crisis point came to the fore — that is where circumstances and choices require careful analysis before the alternative juncture of varying pathways disappear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to early on recognize the circumstances unfolding and the choices presented, before the multitude of “forks in the road” begin to disappear, and life’s circumstances begin to impose — not binary choices — but choices that begin to dictate.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like a choice that one wants to undertake, but it is often the circumstances that one has no control over that dictates the future course of choices, and not the choices themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking it through

What does the concept even mean?  When we guide the child with such a statement, we are asking that the formative years of impulsive reactivity pause for a moment to try a different approach.

“Think it through” – is an admonition to figure out the tangled web of problems by applying a sequential, logical methodology where frustration should not impede, and when patience becomes the friend of success.

“Thinking it through” is a reminder that there is indeed a solution, but sometimes the problem will only be sorted out if some further time is given in reflective pose, or Sherlock Holmes-like investigative intuition based upon the scientific paradigms of rationality.  Yet, one must also be reminded of the fact that “solutions” to problems do not always lead to satisfactory conclusions; sometimes, there are a finite set of alternatives, and no one of them may be an option that one delights in.

But, then, life is often like that, isn’t it?

We are beset and faced with a challenge; we review them, thinking each one through, and in the end, we face a dilemma where the solutions offered or revealed are not necessarily the ones we like; nevertheless, we must choose, like entering into an ice cream parlor at the end of a summer’s day only to find that all of the favorite flavors are gone and we are left with rhubarb spice and cotton-candy mixed with peanut butter drops – somehow, not the best of combinations and understandably left for those who came too late.

Then, of course, there are the questions for everyone who posits the answers as “thinking it through” – does the person have the sufficient knowledge and preparatory tools to actually figure out the problem?  Or, are there necessary pre-performance insights that must be gathered first, before the proverbial “key” can be used to solve the problem?

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 positional duties, the question of “whether” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is best left to the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes the wisdom of the incompatibility between the Federal or Postal job and the medical conditions suffered.

It is only the “how” to file that needs some “preparatory” work and knowledge; for, that part of it involves the law, the regulatory morass and the bureaucratic complexity of submitting the 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.

For the latter, “thinking it through” may not be possible without the insight and knowledge of a Federal Disability Retirement attorney who specializes in that field of law exclusively.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Implicit Questions

In many questions, there are multiple sub-questions.  Take, for example, the question:  Why are you so tired?  You may respond first by answering the unasked but implicit question by declaring:  “But I am not tired”.  That is not what the question asked.  Such an answer is a response to the implied question within the question, of:  “Are you tired?”  To the question actually asked, the proper response might be:  I stayed up late last night reading.  The presumptive sub-question unstated and silent but implicit in the major question posited in duality of a contingent combination, is precisely what is often termed as “lawyerly”, and thus somehow deceitful, tricky and attempting to subvert by having the responder accept a non-explicit presumption of facts.

The classic example, of course, is the cross-examination query stated variously as:  “When did you stop beating your wife?”  Before an objection is launched, the unwary witness might respond, “I didn’t” – meaning (from the witness’ perspective) that he never beat his wife in the first place, when in fact such a response evokes a different meaning – that the individual never stopped beating his wife, and continues to do so up until the present.  There is, in such a duality of question/sub-question combination, the presumptive prefatory inquiry, stated as:  “Have you ever beaten your wife?”

It is, in many ways, the capacity and ability to dissect and recognize the need to bifurcate or even trifurcate linguistic bundles that require thought, reflection and insightful methodologies in order to help define existence as successful or otherwise challenging.   Life is a tough road to forge; language opens the world by allowing for avenues and pathways of communication, but it also compels constructing obstacles that deflect and defeat the reality of Being surrounding us.

In the linear historicity of language and the explosion of thought, conceptual paradigms and communication inventories, the commingling of questions, the looseness of language and the careless ways in which thoughts are provoked, may lend itself to confusion, puzzlement and an inability to solve problems.  That is, of course, the strength of argument impounded by the British Empiricists, and while their collective denial of any substantive issues inherent in philosophical problems is itself suspect, their contribution in attempting to identify peripheral, “non-substantive” issues arising from the imprecise usage of language, in contradistinction to central and essential conundrums, helps us all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to formulate 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, a word to the wise:  SF 3112A contains multiple implicit questions, and bifurcation – nay, trifurcation – is an important element to consider and resolve.  Be cognizant of the implicit question – lest you answer the major question without considering the prefatory query.  Standard Forms are replete with compound questions, and the unwary will inevitably fall into the trap of answering the question posed on the surface, and in so doing, admit to facts presumptively “hidden” in sub-questions unasked.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application requires the effort of untangling such compounding and confounding queries; it is up to the unwary Federal or Postal employee to bifurcate and trifurcate such attempts, and to dissect, with precision of purpose, the questions unasked, and answer those which are both prefatory and sequential.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire