Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Proof

What constitutes it, and how do we learn of its sufficiency or relevance?

Take the following scenario: A group of boys are gathered together along with Billy, the “town bully”.  A discussion of sorts ensues — who is the toughest kid in town?  Some of the boys offer that “Dave” from across town is the meanest and toughest — a black belt in Hapkido, a state wrestling champion and a middle line backer for the high school football team.  Some others counter that Dave was once beaten up by Joe back in February, and doesn’t that “prove” that Joe is the toughest?

Then Billy suddenly stands up and everyone else becomes quiet.  He starts slowly and deliberatively pounding his right fist into the open palm of his left hand, and juts his prominent chin out in an intimidating manner, and says, “Okay!  Enough of this talk!  How ‘bout me?  Which of you weaklings says that I’m not the toughest guy in town?”

There are multiple sounds of gulps and fearful drops of sweat begin to trickle down the backs of each, and one of the other kids — a skinny little weasel with thick, black-rimmed glasses, suddenly shouts, “That’s proof enough for me!”  Following was a loud and unequivocal consensus of unanimous agreement.

In such a scenario, two things occurred: One — Billy “proved” that he was the toughest kid in town, and Two — all of the other kids took the lesson to heart that the proof of a physical presence and the threat presented was “sufficient” proof, as well as relevant as all get-go.

Thus are all of the components necessary to establishing verification of a propositional truth established: the town bully’s declarative utterance, backed by the force of a metaphorical persuasion (for one would argue that no overt coerciveness was used, but merely an innocent act of pounding one’s fist into the open palm of one’s other hand, and if asked whether Billy “threatened” anyone into declaring him as the toughest kid in town, he would and could innocently declare that there is “no proof” of any such accusation established or verified), and further reinforced by the scientific consensus of his peers and fellow students.

Proof was offered, considered, and accepted in full by a persuasive methodology of a succinct and effective form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the systematic and methodological “proof” which must be gathered and presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in establishing the Federal or Postal employee’s eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits must, of course, be somewhat more sophisticated than the rudimentary — but effective — amassing of proof portrayed by Billy the Town Bully.

Of course, some of the characteristics may still be relevant — of what constitutes “effective” proof; of what works as “persuasive” proof; of what is comprised of proof itself.  But the difference is that, while proof that leads to an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should last for the lifetime of the Federal or Postal employee, “proof” for the kids who agreed that Billy was the toughest guy in town lasted only so long as the threat presented kept everyone convinced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Minor pleasures

At what point does the transference occur?  Minor pleasures are those interludes in life that make for everything to become, and remain, worthwhile; sometimes, because of various tumults in our lives, the designation of “minor” becomes altered, and becomes “major” – like the dream fulfilled of that kid who toiled in the minor leagues for so many years and finally got his big break by being called up to the majors.

Is such an indication of a metamorphosis a harbinger of something else?  If the minor pleasures of life – coffee with a piece of chocolate; reading a favorite book; a swim in the ocean; an early morning walk (or run) with the dog; or even a weekend, afternoon nap – are suddenly taken away, what (major) consequences would accrue?  Does subtraction of it, or negation of the enjoyment, determine the substantive input and extent of the designation?

If it is missed to the point where it makes you miserable, does it indicate that it was never “minor” to begin with, but of major proportions all along, but you just didn’t realize it?

How about its opposite – a “minor irritant” – does that possess a meaning encompassing a parallel but corollary effect?  What if your “significant other” engaged daily in a habit that irritated you, but in a minor way – you know, those things that, when you were dating (or, to show your age, applying the anachronistic terminology of “courting”) or just hanging out together until you both decided to make the arrangement permanent, it all seemed “cute” and attractive, but now is a bothersome dig, but not enough to engage a war over – like blowing one’s nose loudly in public, or picking one’s toenails and leaving the remains on the bathroom floor; or leaving a door unlocked, etc.

At what point does a “minor” irritant become a major one?  When you get into a fight and you point out the laundry list of such irritants?

But take it in another sense – all of a sudden, that significant other dies or departs, and you realize that all of those irritants are suddenly missed, and you actually wish that you were tormented by them, because they amount to minor pleasures that awaken the dull sensibilities of life’s monotony.

Medical conditions can be like that – like a minor irritant that becomes a major complaint.  Or, the absence thereof can be the minor pleasure, where you remember that once, not so long ago, you were fit and healthy, and just the mere fact of a medical condition’s absence is a minor pleasure in life.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, the question is, What is the point of life’s minor pleasures?  Is it to make everything else tolerable, or to be enjoyed regardless?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often not just a necessity, but a path towards regaining a sense of balance – of asserting those minor pleasures in life that have been erased and eradicated because of the constant harassment at work and the hostility that kills all joy.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is just the first step in the long road towards getting an approval from OPM. But it is a worthwhile step, especially if the goal of life itself is to enjoy those minor pleasures of living – like attending to one’s health as a priority in order to once again relish those minor pleasures.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic & the laziness factor

Magic is something we cling on to, if only as a last vestige of the light of hope, flickering ever so delicately against the tumultuous winds of a world gone mad.  In childhood, it was an imagination enlivened by the pure delight of fairytales, mythologies and rhymes of wands in the single sweep where the golden dust of insurmountable problems is suddenly a trail of corrective bygones with mere words of incantations mysterious to eyes agape with wonderment and awe; and in the middle-to-growing times, the words altered somewhat, the concept changed and the linguistic construct evolved to imply an attitude, a hope, an approach to future life based upon hard work, honesty and mere cannibalism of negative thoughts.

To remain positive was to overcome the vicissitudes of reality; to forego immediacy of pleasure, a pathway to self-discipline.  But time has a way of defeating and beating down even the best of men; there are few limits to the unseen enemy, and much which constrains the visible.

Is there magic to be gotten?  That hope without substance which we pray for; that lottery ticket in the face of statistical impossibility; and that verbiage we throw about by inane moments of meaningless contexts — “There is always tomorrow”.  What have we not shed but to which we cling?  To what do we cling that no longer applies?  Or is it mere laziness, the factor that we dismiss but for everyone else?

In modernity, of course, such tendencies and proclivities toward the magic of superstitions have become exponentially magnified through games of virtual reality, and the numerical chimera of Facebook “likes” replacing actual friendships and human bonds.  Then, when reality hits us square in the face, we fall apart all the more easily, for want of preparation in the face of true vicissitudes that shake the cavernous combustions of this world we live in.

Medical conditions are just one of those realities that cannot be ignored.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who one day wake up to the realization that there is no magic to impart when a 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, and that the pragmatic step of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the best alternative available, the conjunctive one must often face — “and the laziness factor” — is a reminder in two ways:  First, in making sure that you do not allow procrastination to impede the path towards a future for success, and Second, to not be deterred by coworkers and others who criticize ignorantly by alleging that it is all “made up” in order to “game” the system.

The law is what the law is; and Federal Disability Retirement is a system reflecting a progressive perspective on workers who can no longer perform a particular kind of job in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, but who may be able to remain productive in some other capacity in the private sector.  That is why Federal Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed to make up to 80% of what his or her (now former) Federal or Postal position currently pays, in addition to the annuity being received, and continue to retain the Federal Disability Retirement annuity — precisely because it is a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is not “totally disabled“, but rather, disabled only from performing one or more of the essential elements of a particular job.

The “real world”, as a grown-up views it, must set aside the magic of make-believe trailing upon a disillusionment wrought in the face of experiential encounters that incrementally beat down and squeeze out the wonderment of childhood thoughts; but hope for a better tomorrow should never be extinguished, and while the flicker of a dying flame emitting light in the deep abyss of despondency overshadowing the magic of bygone days may indeed threaten the future, never allow for the appendage of the laziness factor deter the best step forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Junkyards

It is the latter in the compound word which is left forgotten and unnoticed, precisely because of the screaming blare represented by the former, demanding attention by the sheer nature and character of its breaching sensibilities, like the spoiled cousin refusing to abide by the conventions imposed upon uninvited visitors and customs curtailing unwanted guests.

Once, before time forgotten and memories untarnished, the landscape was perhaps a pasture green with wildflowers and vegetation overgrown; then, a possessor who perhaps put up a fence to demarcate the beauty by identifying acquisition, tending to the weeds, creating a vegetable garden here, building a house over there, and all the while trying to maintain the beauty and solitude of a picturesque scene of pastoral quietude.

Initial intentions are rarely malevolent; it is time, circumstances and disrepair of incremental decay which, in their unnoticed aggregation of cumulative disregard, suddenly fall upon us like a tidal wave of gloom.  Perhaps it began more with the invention, creation and abundance of implements and industrial tools; or just the defect of human essence and the inherent laziness of the species.

An automobile which refused to throttle one early morning can certainly become the foundation of that linguistic pose at the forefront of the compound; later, a refrigerator where the condenser fan or the compressor, or some other such component which refused to make the proper sounds and conduct itself in a manner befitting cold air in the heat of a summer day, suddenly gives out, and what do you do with a monstrosity taking up valuable space within the limited dimensions of a cramped kitchen?

And thus, over time, where once the carefully tended landscape of pristine greenery unscathed by the clutter of unwanted debris, begins to dominate, as do most creations of human refuse.  The detritus of discarded wreckage scattered in the afterthought of one’s castle, as represented by the backyard of a home, is telling of a lengthy history of accumulation, decisions, riffraff of rubble unwanted — sort of like the history of human experiences comprised of emotional baggage gathered and garnered.

The outer reflects the inner, and the essence which expands within the soul of a tormented individual requires release and revelation, if only for a fortnight before an exponential explosion of psychic need claws to escape from the restraining membrane throughout.  Ugliness begs for concealment and a veil of hope; and so the grass and weeds which grow to cover the rusting wreckage in a junkyard of despair, often parallels the anguished inner being of the one who cries silently in hollows where no one can hear, or is unwilling to listen.

Junkyards are interesting case studies of the history of individual lives, otherwise undiscovered except perhaps by archaeologists who mistake an ancient site for a bevy of linear rationality.  But it is often the forgotten part of the junkyard which remains unnoticed — that of the inner component of man, left untended to and forgotten for fear of releasing the box which Pandora was entrusted with, containing all of the evils of the world, and what more to consign but the turmoils of human emotion and psychological scars, otherwise camouflaged by smiles and entreaties of normative concealment?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition — whether physical, emotional or mental — the junkyards most concerning are comprised of the illness and pain hidden from full view, perhaps left in the rear and avoided by others, which burdens the soul beyond capacity to endure.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often merely a first step in the process of clearing out the debris which accumulated over a lifetime of attempting to conceal and contain; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is at a point in his or her life, when the wreckage mounting in the unseen privacy of junkyards left unattended, requires help to haul those heavy components of human detritus away, and in the process, a forgotten jewel carelessly discarded in a time once known with laughter in the pasture of one’s past, may again be discovered for future joy and hope.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Linguistic Machismo

The term is derived from Spanish origins, and it is that characteristic which contributed most to the rise of Hemingway’s fame, and his ultimate act of self-destruction.  Of bullfights, big-game hunting, reporting amidst the Spanish Civil War, leaving unmentioned his encounter with death and devastation from his experiences in World War I, resulting in the Phoenix rising through his unforgettable fictional characters, Howard Krebs and Nick Adams, whose souls have been damaged beneath the surface of any physical manifestation of wounds or injuries, where reconnection with society, its rhythms of daily living and silliness of interests, can no longer be possible — these comprise the defining events of the meaning of the word itself.

Combined with the compounding prefix, it delineates the approach of modernity in engaging in communitarian communications.  You know — of bombast and lambaste; where subtlety of meaning is left without room for doubt, connotation, denotation or a question mark, but merely a hyphenated sense of an unstated thud followed by an exclamation point.

The famous debaters have now faded into the antiquity of forgotten dustbins; Lincoln-Douglas; Buckley-Vidal; the courteous but inquisitive Dick Cavett show; and the late-night show of Johnny Carson, whom many consider to encompass both intelligence and complexity of thought, especially when compared to parallelisms truncated by modernity.  Civility is gone; subtlety as an art form is all but lost; the only teleology of choice these days focuses upon the viral nature of a YouTube video, and only if it trumpets the extreme with the blare of sensationalism.

This approach — of linguistic machismo — has crept into the narrative of today.  Leaving aside the repugnance of the term for feminist causes, the substance of the concept implies an aggressive tone in setting forth a narrative.  The problem with engaging in such a consistency of intolerance in conveying as a vehicle of communication the toughness of a “no-holds barred” language game, however, is that it soon and quickly loses its efficacy.

Even an elephant struck repetitively to move the lumbering animal will develop callouses which defy the oncoming blows of future pain; encouragement by blunt force trauma is a discouraging device over time, if used without discretion.  Incessant screams become deafening to ears sensitized; physical pain becomes numb to repetition; repetition itself creates a havoc of unnoticed constructs; and so it goes.

This can be a lesson to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to construct an effective narrative in preparing one’s Statement of Disability for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When the Federal or Postal applicant for Disability Retirement purposes envisions who will be reading, reviewing and analyzing one’s Statement of Disability (as posited on SF 3112A), it is well noting that the Administrative Specialist who will be making a decision at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will have hundreds of cases to get to; and from that caricature of a singular soul peeking out from a mountain of files, the subtlety of a whispering voice immersed in truth, objectivity, and persuasive force of argumentation quietly encapsulated by law and proper documentation, will be the light which shines from the darkness of ineptitude, where even the emotionally-damaged, fictional heroes of Hemingway’s short stories may shed a tear now and again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire