OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Etymology versus Entomology

The difference in spelling involves more than a single letter; but in using the words in a sentence, the subtle distinction of a single consonant makes for all the relevance in the world.  One refers to the very history and evolution of words, their meaning and usage; the other is a branch of a larger discipline of arthropodology, the subset of which focuses upon insects and the study thereof.

In speech, therefore, the mistaken insertion of the consonant can create a hilarious situation resulting from the unknowing misuse of the word; whereas, in written form, it would probably be quickly identified as a misspelling and overlooked without appreciating the “funny-ness” of the error.  And, as well, the difference between speech and written form allows for checks, re-checks and changes before the final submission of that which is presented to a viewer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the ability of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important component in the administrative process itself.

Often, one hears the grumbles and complaints of those who say, “If only I could just explain it…”  As opposed to?  Yes, the intonation and persuasive voice of speech can be an effective tool, and in contrast to the written form, which can be viewed and analyzed over time, the one-time urgency of the used-car salesman can certainly turn the immediacy of a decision into a statistically relevant sales pitch; but that is why submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received as a “paper-presentation”, precisely because it involves medical documentation, laws to be applied, and criteria to be analyzed by OPM in order to make a proper decision concerning all Federal Disability Retirement submissions.

It is the written form which allows for expungement and erasures of subtle mistakes; and when the final Federal Disability Retirement application is compiled, submitted and presented, it is the effort of careful deliberation in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet which will make all the difference to the administrative specialist at OPM.

For, while a quick sale may be made by the persuasive voice of the used-car salesman, that is precisely the reason why there are laws concerning changed minds after the ink has dried on the signature line of a contract; and like the distinction to be made between “etymology” and “entomology”, the pen must be the sword of choice in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Medical Retirement: Kaleidoscopic Clash

The watchful eye of the human animal is quite different from that of other species; for the human interaction and interpersonal encounters bring together the complexity of past histories and memories; of present foibles as uniquely colored by one’s past; and always of projected future concerns and anxieties.  It is this admixture of kaleidoscopic clashes, where the past, present and future become wrapped into a tightly knotted ball of human thought, that the peculiarities of human personalities intersect with the needs and wants of societal conflicts.

Dickens was a master at describing the eccentricities of humanity; today, one wonders whether such straying from convention and normative confinements are allowed; or perhaps they are hidden, with barely a hint beyond superficial discourse as revealed on social media, but where heinous crimes are better concealed and the universe of sociopaths are scattered within the dungeons of private basements and base minds.

Is it because of the repressive nature of a seemingly open society that subtle meanness and baseness of spirit prevails?  One can witness it pervasively in the workplace; and, indeed, the greater the need for laws and restrictions, the manifested cruelty will find corners of inconspicuous outlets, like ratholes gnawed in the baseboards of concealed crimes. The worst of humanity always seems to reveal itself when the best is required.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in need of sympathy, compassion, empathy and understanding, when a medical condition hits them at moments of mid-career and accommodations would potentially lengthen an otherwise promising future with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; it is then that Supervisors, Managers, coworkers and the entire bureaucratic apparatus of human baseness seems to erupt.

Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s position, becomes the brunt of human complexity.  Perhaps human compassion exists, but we are too busy to reveal it; or that misunderstandings occur, and the grounds for explanatory eloquence is wanting; but whatever the reasons, the protective shields of legal applications have failed to adequately provide assurances.

Fortunately, there is the option for Federal and Postal employees to seek an “out” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  How one presents one’s Federal Disability Retirement case as described and delineated on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), and in any legal memorandum one files to accompany the justifying basis in law of eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, is all-important, and must be considered in light of collateral issues and parallel forums involving hostile work environments, EEO complaints, grievances filed, etc.

It is, indeed, this kaleidoscopic clash of separate entities of conflicting combinations, which must be sorted through in order to effectively present a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application.  Within the complex context of intersecting personalities, where the past, present and future come together in a cauldron of human conflict, it is important to have the advice and consultative opinion of an objective perspective in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life’s Alterations

Spring comes and we clean out old hoardings, discard past articles once thought to be valuable and inseparable from our identity; or perhaps what pop culture has deemed a justifying course of decision-making because there is an inevitable “mid-life crisis“, or some other equally biologically-driven, primordial determinism which compels one to act in one way, as opposed to another.

Life’s alterations are often considered with no greater thought than having the local tailor shorten the seams, or tuck in the waist, like face-lifts and other procedures which attempt to beautify an otherwise insufferable soul.  But in the end, it is always the innocent ones who suffer; it is well that children possesses greater than indexes of fragile psyches; otherwise, the emergency rooms of hospitals across the country would be attending to them around the clock.  But with euphemisms and a can of fresh paint, we may still remain viable cores as stellar pillars in the community; it was a “friendly divorce”; the kids are “better off”; and other such platitudes to justify the devastation wrought.  But some alterations in the cycle of life cannot be attributed to fault; they are, indeed, brought about by fate, nature, will and the indifference of a mechanical universe.

Medical conditions tend to be in that category; they force alterations in life’s choices, without a deliberative involvement on the part of the participant.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who recognize that he or she suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the U.S. Postal Service or a Federal agency, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, while the medical condition itself may indeed be a life-altering circumstance, it is what you do, how you react, and what affirmative steps you take, which will determine in the end whether you allow for the tumult of fate to rock and roll you without oars up the proverbial creek of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a way to steady the unsteadiness, to steer where once you traveled directionless, and to secure a future where once uncertainty prevailed.  While the process itself is a long and arduous bureaucratic morass, the direction once taken allows for a compass to prevail, and a path to be taken.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded and offered to all Federal and Postal employees with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service, and should be considered if and when life’s alterations have determined that a change is necessary; and like the tailor who skillfully makes the suit or dress fit more eloquently upon a body forced into disquietude through years of untended gardening, so applying for a benefit to secure one’s future is merely to respond wisely to the unexpected vicissitudes of life’s offering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: It’s a Dog’s Life

Animals are entities we encounter as subjects in a world of objects, but with whom we can have relationships and interactions beyond mere utility; the affection of a dog or similar pet, their importance in one’s life — these are beyond measurable quantification of significance.  But there is a difference in the “other” species; of the immediacy of need, the lack of concern for tomorrow, and happiness determined by thoughts of future occurrences or predicted circumstances.

Trouble makers

Looking for trouble (don’t try this at home … these puppies are trained professionals).

That difference is often what determines the linear intractability of human anxiety, as opposed to the fullness of joy seen in a dog or a cat.  Dogs are happy because they are; the present immediacy of their satisfied lives is contained within the existential presence of the here and now.  Worries about tomorrow, or next year; how will we get on with life? What is the meaning of…   These are not tangible concerns which dogs and cats, or other similar species, concern themselves with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, those anxiety-filled question impacting future security come to the fore, and begin to haunt.  But that life could be like that of a dog; yet, on the other hand, one need only visit the many animal rescue facilities to conclude that a dog’s life is not always a metaphor for endless joy.

Sleepy puppy

After a long day terrifying JWs, girl scouts and mail carriers, this puppy needs a nap. (This model is the nephew of a former Postal employee and client).

For the Federal or Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should have some weight of relief as an option for the future.

It is, after all, a benefit which is part of one’s employment and compensation package, but one which is often not emphasized at the initial stages of one’s career.  It provides for an annuity while allowing for employment outside of the Federal Sector, within certain guidelines and limitations.

During a time of medical need, the priority of concerns should always be:  attend to one’s medical conditions; get through each day to the best extent possible; secure one’s future, including filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits if one is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, as soon as the need becomes known.

For the Federal and Postal worker, such priority of circumstances is what determines the present and future happiness of one’s existence; for the dog, it is the second of the three which matters, but then, as long as the meal is served, and the after-dinner treat is offered, the wagging tail tells the tale of contentment at the end of a long day’s journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: The Eyes Which Betray the Laughter

Plato noted the significance of the eyes; as windows of the soul, they reveal the depth of emotion, character, empathy, interest, boredom, meanness, etc.; and just as true, the lack thereof.  Laughter provides the concordance of mirth to context; cacophony occurs when the harmony between the two somehow fails to connect.

The pinnacle of sadness is represented when one looks upon an individual, hears the laughter, and sees the revelatory sadness deep within the eyes of the soul.  The discordant contrast takes us aback; it is perhaps the height of self-contradiction, where the parallel universes which are never supposed to transect, suddenly violate the very content of definition, and betray the consciousness of self-doubt.

What has transpired?  What tragedy has befallen?  It brings to mind the poignant story by Chekhov, entitled “Grief” (or otherwise translated as “Misery”), where the death of the son is magnified by the haunting question, “With whom shall I tell my grief?”  As the world he continues to encounter is filled with passengers who laugh and carry on with life, the father must continue within the disharmony of his own tragedy.

Medical conditions tend to do that to people; it remains silent, but for the sharing beyond the perfunctory response to the passing, “Hello, how are you?”  We are expected to say merely, “Fine, thank you,” and move on.  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know about the emotional disjunctive between the eyes and the emitting laughter.  When the sound of mirth and the sight of pain clash, it is probably time to make an exit by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

While often not the “best solution”, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to leave one’s employment, secure a disability annuity, and seek a restoration of one’s health, in order to reinvigorate the soul behind the eyes of tragedy.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a long and arduous journey through a bureaucratic maze.  There is the process itself; the need to substantively put together and formulate an effective and persuasive disability retirement packet; and then the long wait before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Every Federal and Postal employee must make the decision of when and how; but as to the “why” of the foundation, it is when the eyes begin to betray the laughter, that affirmative steps need to be taken to begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: Fatigue of Life

There is clearly a distinction to be made between the general fatigue which life blows upon us all; like the child left to play outside in days of yore, and comes back with the grime of healthy dirtiness, the imperceptible layers of life’s hardships cover everyone, like the light dusting of snow overnight revealed in the morning dawn of a winter’s day.  But the profound fatigue which overtakes one from the daily battle against an incapacitating medical condition, is a difference which cannot always be adequately described, if ever.

The medical condition itself creates a circumstance of unique debilitation; the fight against it, whether without one’s conscious involvement — as in the soundless battle of healthy cells against the invasion of marauding maladies, as opposed to the exertion of willpower to continue on in engaging the daily living of life’s challenges — is of somewhat irrelevance, inasmuch as the combination and totality of one’s entire being is always and every day in the midst of the fight.

It is that subtle distinction which the healthy person is unable to understand; it is not life’s fatigue which prevails upon the sick person; it is the sickness itself, in addition to the fatigue of life.

For Federal and Postal workers who must contend not only with the daily grind of life’s routine, facing the bureaucracy and administrative headaches of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency (if still with the agency or otherwise not separated for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a challenge beyond that foray of the day’s entanglement with the world.

Federal and Postal employees must do the everyday things that all of us do:  attention to personal needs; work, if possible; interaction with family, neighbors, coworkers; and beyond, the fight against the medical condition itself.

Filing for Medical Retirement through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to face another of life’s challenges, beyond the daily routine and call of one’s duty and commitment to everyday life.  And since defeat is never an option, and giving up is not in the American character of perceived self-image; whether one is faced with the fatigue of life, or of life’s challenges beyond the general malaise of daily living, it is how we face the cup of gruel we are served, which will determine the future path as yet unknown, as yet unsettled.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire