FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Little battles fought

It is the minor skirmishes of life that maintain the vitality of everyday existence; they are fought in preparation for the greater battles and campaigns.  That is why a ‘strategy’ is important; otherwise, taking the same hill countless times in a day leads one to wonder what the greater plan is.  For, futility and the sense of meaninglessness are what defeat any motivation to continue.  Incentives for advancement; a sense of growth and an optimism for the future; these and other values are what one fights for, engages in skirmishes, and those little battles that are fought with a worthwhile sense of gaining something.

Medical conditions, especially of a chronic kind, tend to diminish the will to fight.  They not only weaken and debilitate; they begin to eat away at any sense of accomplishment and striving for those valued goals.  It is, in the end, a sense of hope for which we all fight the little battles fought; otherwise, the major wars would fail to be worthwhile.

Medical conditions are the “unfair” factor in any war, sort of like roadside bombs planted in this new war of hit-and-run attacks.  They often come upon one slowly; and whether in a sudden, traumatic event or evidencing a slow progression of debilitation and subtle changes over a period of days and months, the insidiousness of not knowing how to battle it, of doctors telling of being patient, of medications themselves sometimes having worsening side effects that complicate, exacerbate and exponentially magnify in frequency, severity and other realms of wounds endured – these all cumulatively combine to create a sense of frustration like fighting an enemy you cannot see and will never be able to actually “fight” in the traditional sense.

That is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important step in those “little battles fought” – for, unless the little ones are taken care of, the large ones that loom ahead may not be properly engaged in.

Reorganizing priorities; focusing upon one’s health; determining the future course of relevancy; these are all part of the metaphorical battles to be fought, but for the individual who experiences the medical condition and specifically for the Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, they are no less real than the sudden devastation of a roadside bomb exploding beneath one’s Humvee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Annuity after a Disability in the Federal Workplace: Formulaic writings

It is both of predictability and boredom that we seek when enjoying such genres of form and content – of the “formula” in a who-dunit, or a love story that brings together two unlikely individuals in their awkwardness and geekiness, but somehow overcomes the considerable odds and obstacles placed in their way (and we don’t ask, in a 2-hours snippet, how can so much happen to two people when not even a smidgeon of such events were faced in our entire lifetimes?) and ending with an orchestral crescendo that brings tears that raises handkerchiefs throughout the audience, which we all quickly stuff into our back pockets with embarrassing quickness when the lights are turned on.

But that formulas could be applied to real life, and not just in presentations that appear slick, without error and marketed with such efficiency that we think it is just that the “other person” is naturally good at it, and we are not.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  Formulaic writings, formulaic plays, formulaic movies, formulaic – lives?

Perhaps it exists in the fictional world of fairytales and corporate pathways where certain individuals – whether because of the family name, the tradition of old wealth, or those “connections” that the inner circle depends upon for their very survival – are groomed towards reaching the top in some predetermined formulaic manner.  But for the rest of us, our lives are more likened to the undisciplined ocean where storms come at unexpected and unpredictable moments; strong surges and wind currents destroy that which we have so carefully built; and our ship’s rudder suddenly fails to guide or lead us towards our intended destinations.

There is no formula.  We are left without a map, less a compass, and more and more without the guidance of our parents or grandparents because, they, too, have become as clueless as the rest of society.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition has interrupted their career goals, hope for the future and dreams of security – preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity.

Then, when one researches and looks at SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, one realizes that the questions posed are the same posed to everyone who files – and so the information requested is based upon some “formulaic” approach from the agency’s side of things; but what about the individual Federal or Postal employee’s side of it?  Is there, also, a “formulaic” approach to winning a Federal Disability Retirement case?

Like everything else in life, it always seems as if the slick advantage that the large bureaucracy possesses is overwhelmingly in favor of going against the Federal or Postal employee.  However, there is, indeed, a “formulaic” response – and that is the “laws” that govern Federal Disability Retirement.

Life in general may not always have a winning formulaic approach, but in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to at least garner the formulaic support of the laws that protect and preserve.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

PM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Those goals

What constitutes a worthwhile goal?  Is it determined by the outcome – i.e., a retrospective, outcome-based proposal, as opposed to the gambling one where one must enter into the dangerous waters not knowing what the future provides?  Are we so safely ensconced in life’s predictability such that we will not longer accept as a goal that which cannot be ascertained unless and until there is some guarantee?

Do people immediately criticize and diminish the stated goal by categorizing it as either “realistic” or “unrealistic”?  Is there a distinction with a difference between “dreams” and “goals”, where the former is unbounded and unfettered by the reality of expectations, whereas the latter must be confined to that which can be reasonably ascertained as achievable?

What of the child who “dreams” of becoming a major league baseball player – do we cite the statistical odds against it, even at the tender age of 5?  What if the child works diligently and shows some promise – daily exercises, practices at every aspect of the game, and joins this league or that and shows “promise” and “potential” – at what point do we advise him (or her) to give up and “become realistic”?

Are some dreams okay to retain and have despite any semblance of “reality” intervening to make them come true – like secretly wanting to be a novelist (even though not a single page, let alone one sentence, has been put on paper) or a pro basketball player (even if you are 5’ 3”, and certainly no Muggsy Bogues), just because it makes one “feel good” or allow for self-confidence by carrying a secretive self-image that one is not what one truly appears to be?

At what point do dreams become goals, and goals merely dreams?  Is it when you actually take a “concrete” step towards making a dream become a reality, that then you have a goal, because the latter is “achievable” while the former is not?  Or is it like that old Chinese proverb that Kennedy liked to recite (or was becoming a writer for John F. Kennedy merely a “dream” and that is why Ted Sorensen, his ghost writer, is the one who did all the writing that the former President merely dreamed about?), that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Or, perhaps like the Federal or Postal worker who suffers 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 position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the goal is to become healthy again – or is it merely a dream?

Dream or goal, for the Federal or Postal worker trying to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be reviewed and determined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, like the potential baseball star or the best power forward in the business of pro basketball, the first step is the most important – of realizing dreams into goals, and goals into realistic dreams, whichever may be the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement Claims under FERS and CSRS: Rebirth

The term and the conceptual attachment possesses a connotation that is often repugnant to atheists and pagans – although, if reincarnation and a circular vision of regeneration of life are the belief-systems embraced, the declaration of “rebirth” or being “reborn” are not that foreign.

It can, too, have a very elementary meaning, to encompass merely a “new beginning” or a sense of transcending or climbing into a different stratosphere of thinking; sort of like “thinking outside of the box”, or of entering a “different phase” of life.  That, too, is interesting, is it not – where we never think in terms of “descending”, but always of “ascending” – as if the former is always related to death, catacombs and unmarked graveyards with cemeteries full of weeds and overgrown ivy?

Rebirth is physiologically an impossibility, and thus do we ascribe to a cognitive or spiritual transference where change is often dramatic, originating from a trauma of experiences that must be left behind.  But the experience itself – of a rebirth – can come about in a mundane, systematic, thoughtful and often enlightened means by nothing more than mere cadence of monotony – retirement; having children; getting married; becoming old; moving to a different country or even across a state line; these, too, can constitute a rebirth.

Or, how about adopting a dog from a rescue kennel and giving it a “rebirth” of sorts – doesn’t it reverberate back to the rescuer as well?  What we find when we do that is this:  We believe we are doing the “favor” for the abused animal, when in fact it is often the very reverse, where the animal brings out from within us a capacity for caring, empathy and love that we would otherwise have never known, and that, too, is a form of rebirth.

Filing 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 – can that, too, be a form of rebirth?  It all depends upon the attitude of approaching such a “next step” – Is it to escape, or to refocus?  Is it an indicator of a reshuffling of priorities?  Will it allow for an easing of debilitating pain and allow for a journey to attain a plateau of rehabilitation, such that a second career or further vocation will be possible?

Surely, rebirth is a wide enough concept to encapsulate a pathway through the bureaucratic morass of getting a Federal Disability Retirement application approved, and why not?

After spending years trying to hide the medical condition and the symptoms that naturally go along with it, moving on to the next phase of life can be nothing more than a rebirth, of sorts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire