OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Character

If a person points to another and states, “He is really a character”, is it different from positing:  “He really has character”?  Can both statements mean the same, or is the subtle difference there to denote?  The former is customarily stated in defining a person as somewhat of an oddball, or perhaps eccentric to a degree that places him outside of the conventional norms of acceptable conduct.  The latter, on the other hand, could also mean that – the possession of it modified by the adverb describes one with a plenitude of extraordinary traits.  Or, it could connote the more classical meaning:  A worthy person of honor, dignity, courage, moral foundation, etc.

That is, in the end, what most of us consider to be the pinnacle and apex of that very noun, isn’t it?  Possessing it is that which makes of us; displaying it, what demands respect and attention; and abiding in it despite trials that test to compromise, what we hope and expect of ourselves.  Indeed, character is both tested and surfaces especially in those times of tumult and tribulation; it is the mettle challenged at the depth of the soul of being.  Yet, in this age of modernity where materialism prevails, power seems to overarch all else, and the traditional reference to one’s “character” no longer means much more than a rumble in one’s stomach as evidence of hunger or impoverishment, it is clear that neither form of the meaning evinces much curiosity.

Materialism is dominant; those in power dominate; and the once-vaunted “indomitable spirit” carried forth as a burden of possessing character no longer has much substantive weight.  Where it does reveal and manifest itself, however, is in the very lack thereof.  So long as things are going relatively smoothly; while the good fortune lasts; or, perhaps during those times when monotony merely puts one into a slumber of sorts, and actions and deliberations through life’s daily routine are placed on an unthinking mode of automatic pilot, the revelation or concealment of character matters not.

But take that onerous instance – as, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life, and for Federal and Postal employees, compels one to consider filing 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; does character count?  One’s own and reliance upon another’s; both come to the fore and require an evaluation that will test the mettle of the substantive foundation.

For the Federal or Postal employee who begins to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – tested to endure the administrative process and the onerous test of the entire bureaucratic procedure.  For those coworkers, family members and other encountering Federal or Postal employees, including Supervisors, Managers and Human Resource Personnel – of how they respond and what they do to make the process smooth and seamless.  In the end, character comes to the fore, and reveals the content of who we truly are.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS and CSRS: Doubt

Is certainty its antonym – or is it too rigid and lacking of linguistic elasticity to merit such a position?  For, doubt allows for an openness to both sides, doesn’t it – whether God exists or not; whether, in the end of life’s spectrum, judgment will deem our microscopic deeds worthy or not; and of illnesses, an erupting disability, or one which cravenly lingers beyond mere chronicity of irritation, but continues to periodically debilitate, and progressively annihilate the soul of patience for furtherance to hope.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must begin to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – where does doubt end, and certainty begin?

To begin with:  Doubt as to whether one’s medical conditions are severe enough to warrant consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and certainty as to the strength of one’s own case.  Doubt as to whether the medical evidence gathered is sufficient to meet the preponderance of the evidence test, and certainty as to the relevance and strength of a meritorious compilation of demonstrable material.

Doubt as to whether the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will provide a fair evaluation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, and certainty as to the case being a “slam-dunk” venue for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Doubt as to whether one’s Human Resource Office will protect the privacy of the medical evidence submitted (if the Federal or Postal employee has not been separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days), and certainty that any violation of privacy will likely occur, but considering the options available, proceeding anyway.

How healthy is doubt?  How unhealthy is certainty?  Is doubt more akin to uncertainty than being the opposite of certainty, and if so, why would the negation of the root word transform it into a synonym?  Is it a grammatical rule that the test of an antonym is to negate its root, and if it becomes a synonym, then by logical extension, the root was its antonym?  Is that the same with feelings as opposed to beliefs; or of rationality in contradistinction to the Aristotelian appetitive parts of the soul?

In the end, the Federal or Postal employee must contend both with doubts and unrealistic expectations of certainty; for, when dealing with an administrative Juggernaut such as the likes of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in filing a CSRS or FERS Disability Retirement application, a healthy dose of doubt, combined with an aggressive approach bordering on certainty, is the best mix of medicines one can take or – to put it more quaintly:  go it alone with doubt, take an aspirin, or consult with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that you can at least arrive at some semblance of doubtful certainty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: The cruelty of our nature

Note that we are not positing that nature in general is cruel; for, in nature, predatory behaviors and devouring of one another is merely a tautological definition of nature itself, in the constant balance between prey and predator, betwixt overpopulation and dominance of one species over another, etc.  No, the “our” refers to a specific species – of the human kind.

Whether engendered and triggered within our genetic predispositions, or as Rousseau and Locke would have it, spurred on by the artificial constructs evolved from the social contract created for self-preservation, there is little denying that “our” nature is the cruelest of them all.  Little evidence needs to be pointed at in order to establish the case proving such a perspective – of wars, treatment of others, disregard for fellow members, neighbors and even strangers; no, the cruelty of our nature betrays the inherent meanness of our selves.

Yes, yes – there are always sociological and anthropological explanations – of mistreatment by a structural and inherent canopy of defiance; people left without hope for any future; lives destroyed by government regulations and other societal pressures; wars driven by sectarian and genocidal triggers further explained by economic changes and shifts of monetary and global policies; and of the rise of dominance by a few over the general populace.

There is little doubt that we are cruel because of who we are – at the top of the food chain, everyone struggling to merely survive.  Yet, it was always the belief that within us, there was a spark of the angel – of being just above the beast, and slightly below the heavenly orbs where wings of perfection remain yet to strive for.

When medical conditions erupt, necessitating the Federal or Postal employee to prepare, formulate and 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, it is well to keep in mind the cruelty of our nature – not necessarily in ourselves, but in the capacity and human capability of acting upon it by revealing to others the vulnerabilities caught in the web of our own genetic predispositions.

Care needs to be taken in protecting privacy; never underestimate the reactions that might occur by a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and always bear in mind the wisdom of Shakespeare, who recognized the cruelty of our nature, “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.  They kill us for their sport.” King Lear, Act IV, Scene i.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: How truly ordinary we are

Every now and again, someone will make that inane statement that seems to fly by in a discourse of overwhelming linguistic overcrowding of so many such pearls of wisdom:  “Oh, we’re all just human.”  Is it a logical tautology in a strict sense?  The “we” referred to is obviously a subject which includes individual human beings; the “human” described and identified, is the same as the “we” previously posited.  So, it is the same as saying:  “Oh, humans are all just human.”

If that were said, instead, would we not turn with a puzzled look of suspicion, as if the statement made was uttered in such a nonsensical term that the meeting of eyes would, or at least should, erupt with uncontrollable laughter like two hyenas cackling at the full moon?  Or, despite the inane nature of meaninglessness, do we all have a shared cultural norm of language, such that we recognize and comprehend such statements?  For, the sentence itself evokes meanings of shared belief: We are all less than perfect; Don’t worry about it, we all do that from time to time; The ordinariness of human frailty allows for each to give another the benefit of the doubt.

It also points to a slightly deeper meaning:  That, in our humanity, how truly ordinary we are.  Yet, isn’t that very ordinariness that which allows for the shared commonality of community?  The fact that we are ordinary is precisely what allows us all to “fit in”, and concurrently, touches upon that darker side of human nature to spur cruelty, arrogance, superiority and disdain.  For, it is the Darwinian predisposition to conquer and defeat, of “showing up” everyone else that we are what we are not created as – being ordinary.

That is why, when a medical condition is revealed, it is the weakness and the vulnerability that suddenly causes others to shy away, to shun, and to harass and prey upon.  Our ordinariness, in combination with the scientifically and anthropologically explained behavior traits of “survival instincts” and aggressive, predatory inclinations, somewhat defines why we are who we are and how, in a society that supposedly advances continually, we still revert back to your roots of caveman-like follies.

Medical conditions depict our ordinariness.  Manifested medical conditions attract the predatory inclinations within, like predisposed genetic and cellular triggers that cannot be stopped.

That is what Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition triggers a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, need to understand:  That we our human; our humanness reveals vulnerabilities; that such vulnerabilities will manifest themselves in quite ordinary revelations, including medical conditions; and, once medical conditions are revealed, it will likely trigger aggressive and predatory reactions, and attract those very hominids who, by Darwinian triggers of genetic predispositions, will react in an attempt to rise above our humanity.

Agencies act that way; the U.S. Postal Service certainly treats it employees in that thread of behavioral responsiveness.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, keep in mind that, in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, how truly ordinary we are is merely another way of recognizing that not only are we just human, but we can also reveal that dark side inherent in all in the rise to subvert just how truly ordinary we are, which only further uncovers how truly ordinary they are, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Soul’s need for silence

If the world was merely one constant clatter, would we be able to stand the din of life?  Just as existence needs nothingness in order to have the separation of meaningful discourse, and as sentences need grammatical pauses (except in the cases of Faulkner and Joyce, perhaps), so the soul requires silence in the face of difficulties uninterrupted.

Medical conditions create havoc in lives; at first, perhaps just an annoyance or a nuisance, and the natural inclination is to rely upon the past that we know, and how – in remembrance of youthful vigor and quick rebounding and recuperation by mere strength and steely reserve – we were always able to ignore the pain, get past the turmoil and move beyond the anxious feelings of panic and depressive symptoms.  “It will pass,” we tell ourselves.  But then the long-view sets in; it is not merely a passing season, nor even a brief interlude of a cold north wind.

Instead, like the clinging vine that keeps coming back despite digging and chopping at the base of its roots, the chronic nature of the medical condition tells us that, as the unwelcomed uncle or aunt who has no other home and stays with you “just for a little while”, you cannot get beyond the season of pain and the intercession of turmoil.  It becomes a constancy, a persistence, a monotony of unsettled disquietude.  It is as if the soul’s search for silence finds only a din of unending noises as you search behind door after door for a room where relief and quietude may long for a bit of peace.

Souls need silence; silence allows for the interruption from din and darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from the dual attacks brought on by a medical condition – of increasing workplace harassment as well as the loss of the soul’s quietude and peace – there comes a time when preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes as necessary from a medical standpoint, as it is for the soul’s inner health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end – a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to produce at the level of acceptability, and a tolerance for allowing that same Federal or Postal employee to “move on” so that a basic retirement annuity can be obtained, and yet remain productive for the future in the private sector, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee may make up to 80% of what one’s former job currently pays, on top of the amount of Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

It is also the allowance and recognition of another important factor – that the soul’s need for silence is a necessary component in the midst of din and darkness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The factors to consider

Whenever a problem arises, are you the kind of person who immediately rushes headfirst in order to “solve” it?  Are you like a first responder who by necessity, duty or conscience of being, sprints to save and runs to resolve?  Or, in contradistinction to circumstances that require thoughtless effort but urgent actions, do you consider the factors and ask the question, What criteria must be applied?  What would be considered a resolution of the problem, as opposed to a temporary cessation of a crisis-driven implementation?

The two are somewhat dissimilar, of course, in that the first example often does not have the luxury of pausing for a query, and the latter may allow for an ebb of questioning.

Thus, one would not want a philosopher pondering the conundrum of existential posits when the primary pipe draining sewage away from one’s home has a crack that is growing into an open fissure.  On the other hand, if repetition of recurring problems have haunted for some time, and the solution appears to require something beyond mere pragmatic settlement but a higher order of principled restraint, the factors leading to an overarching criterion may be mandated for a more far-reaching solution.

This is true in much of life.  There are many who repeat the same thoughtless actions only to find that the temporary solution comes back with ever greater fervor; few who ponder the underlying principles; and lesser still of a community of thoughtful cadavers who awaken from the slumber of daily monotony to consider the underlying factors that gird the first principles of life itself.

What factors need to be considered?  Where do we go from here?  Can we live on such reduced income?  Can we make it to the age of retirement, or the required combination of service time plus age, and still be in good enough health to enjoy some semblance of a retirement?  Will my agency continue to harass, employ mechanisms of onerous leave restrictions, and ultimately impose the sanctions of constant workplace hostility, and can I survive them all?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a crossroads of sorts, where the medical condition, the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and the pressure that can no longer be withstood with the coalescence of such onerous burdens, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in resolving the repetition of a horrendous culture of dismay.

Life is never perfect, but when a problem which appears persistent and chronic will not simply go away because being a first responder is not the right solution to the difficulty, then the Federal or Postal employee must consider the factors that underlie the problems which constitute the principles inherent, and move forward with pragmatic steps towards a brighter future for tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Knowing where to stop

In life, it is often just as important in knowing where one is going, as it is to recognizing where to stop.  We all know the individual with “a mission” – always self-confident, never tentative, and rarely pausing to catch one’s breath except to regain one’s composure before blindly forging ahead with uninterrupted fortitude and resolve.  Military men and women are like that; born leaders and megalomaniacs follow suit; and only the timid bear the brunt of being pushed aside and trampled upon.  Overreaching is a problem in a society that knows only excess and limitless pleasure.  In the midst of being human, we forget our own humanity.

In the history of Philosophy, Rationalism has been usurped by Idealism; the latter, superseded by the reality of human depravity, and science the victor in the tension between theology and pragmatism.  In the end, Darwinian declarations of equality among the species have come to prevail, and in the post-Existential era of seeking merely pleasure above purpose, and the more modern parlance of embracing the “Happiness Principle” – where one’s minute-by-second assessment of one’s emotional quotient has trumped obligation, duty, convention and rational essence of an Aristotelian definition of Man – we now have no boundaries, no social conventions of constraints, and so long as we can avoid violating the basic laws that govern our society, we can do what we want.

In such a state, society and civilization, how can we know where to stop?  If everything is okay to do, how do we determine that which may harm ourselves, or otherwise breach the boundaries of decency and what it means to be human?  If all species are of equal value, then what worth is there in having humanity?  How do we know where to stop?  This applies, as well, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Often not knowing all the current laws that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law, the initiating applicant will proceed forth and barrel ahead like Military men and women and born leaders, without first consulting a lawyer who is knowledgeable about OPM Disability Retirement Law.  For, never underestimate the underlying principles behind questions posed on a Federal Disability Retirement application – especially as it relates to one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s official position.

SF 3112A can be a landmine of sorts, and while it is well and good to proceed in a forthright and affirmative manner, it is equally as important in knowing where to stop, as it is in realizing the direction the Federal or Postal employee must go in order to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Avoiding the repetitive in a narrative

Why do we believe that adding the repetition of words, especially adverbs, will create a compelling narrative?  If you ascribe an adjective to an object, then ad an adverb – say, “very” – does repeating and inserting another magnify the significance of the narrative itself, or detract by placing a grammatical marker by bringing attention that the very necessity of the addition undermines the efficacy of the noun to which all of the additions point to, in the first place?  May not the noun itself stand on its own two feet, so to speak; or, at least with the supportive crutches of an adjective?

If a person posits that things are “very bad”, does the person responding who adds, “No, things are very, very bad” contribute to the discourse in that singular addition?  And what of the third in the discussion, who says, “Yes, I must agree, things are very, very, very bad”?  And what if a fourth person – unassuming and generally unemotional, who puts a sense of finality to the entire conversation by declaring:  “No, you are all right.  Things are bad.”  Did the last statement without the adverb and the repetition of additional tautological ringers, say anything less in the utterance, and conversely, did the third contributor add anything more to the discourse?

Often enough in life, that which we believe we are enhancing, we are merely detracting from in the very repetition of discourse.  It is like a signal or a marker; the red flag that arises suspicion is sometimes waved through the unintentional attempt to bring about attention through repetitive enhancement, and it is often the noun with the singular adjective that evinces the quietude of force in grammatical parlay.  Pain, anguish and medical conditions often seek to descriptively reveal through unnecessary repetition.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who is working on preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through one’s own agency or the H.R. Shared Services Center (for Postal employees) in Greensboro, N.C. (if the Federal or Postal employee is still with the Federal Agency, or not yet separated for more than 31 days), preparing adequate and sufficient responses on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, must be embraced with care, fortitude, forthrightness and deliberation of factual, medical, legal and personal weaving of a compelling narrative.

Inclusion of too many adverbs may be a distraction; meanderings of thought and unnecessary information will undermine the entirety of the construct; and while the linguistic tool of repetition can be effective and compelling, too much of a “good thing” may undermine the singularity of a narrative’s natural soul.

In the end, the Statement of Disability prepared by a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant should be a compelling narrative delineating a discourse of bridging the nexus between medical condition and one’s positional duties.  It should be descriptive.  It should be very descriptive.  It should be very, very descriptive.  It should also include the descriptive, the legal and the personal, just not very, very, very so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Our narrative of discourse

Do we all carry about multiple narratives within?  Perhaps, one for public consumption; another, for family gatherings; yet another the edited version only for the ears of the young and uninitiated; and perhaps more, depending upon the audience, the susceptibility to believe, and the necessity for coherence as opposed to self-promotion and puffing up?

How about those “Service experiences” – where we get carried away in exaggerating the feats of bravery and encounters with the enemy?  How many politicians have been driven from office for telling a slight (or even not so slight) deviation from the “truth” in reenacting wartime stories and narratives of consummate manliness and Stallone-like fearless feats?  “Oh, the DD 214 doesn’t even begin to tell what I had to go through…”  Or even of high school days of athletic prowess and academic achievement in college; if only transcripts would remain silent in the archives of shrouded mystery in safekeeping for secrecy.

We do, each of us, carry multiple narratives of discourse, often dependent upon the audience we encounter and the susceptibility of suspending disbelief and the receptiveness to our meanderings.  So, why is it that we often fail to conform to the change of necessity, when it counts most?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, involves providing a narrative discourse in response to specific questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This is the moment when truth must push aside exaggeration, and where some specificity of delineation must be attended.  The “nexus” or “bridge” between one’s Federal or Postal position and the impact by one’s medical condition must be established, and the targeted audience (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – not your own agency, your supervisor or anyone related thereto) must always be kept in mind.

In the end, our narrative of discourse that we carry about in our own minds has always been about revealing some part of ourselves to an audience receptive to specific needs, and preparing an effective SF 3112A is no different from that perspective, and must be kept in mind when composing the narrative of discourse in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Natural empathy

Is there such a thing, or do we just fake it even when we do not naturally “feel” it?  If the official, technical definition fails to make the distinction between “feeling” and “understanding”, does it not discount the differentiation of the traditional bifurcation – that of rational capacity as opposed to part of one’s emotional quotient?

Further, if it is merely an emotion, do some have a greater capacity because of a genetic predisposition, while others at a minimal level acquired through accident of birth, and thus can one be held responsible for merely being who we are?  On the other hand, if it has a closer affinity to an “understanding” one possesses, then can it not be cultivated and enhanced, and therefore within the purview of an educational system that includes “empathy instruction”?

How would one “teach” empathy?  Would you present slide shows of unfortunate events, and by instructional imprinting, have the teacher or headmaster unravel with emotional turmoil and manifest tears of sorrow, and hope that the students will by some mysterious osmosis embrace that capacity to experience such travails “as if” one were in the other’s shoes?  And, what do we mean when we attribute empathy as a “natural” course of human characteristic – is it counterintuitive to the distinction made of its opposite, of an “artificial” construct?

In Darwinian parlance, of course, there is little room for Natural empathy – the weak merely dilute the sacrosanct genetic pool of the strong and those fit to survive, and time wasted in trying to protect the weak or to understand those less fortunate will only succumb to the inevitable devouring by prey otherwise in waiting.

In the “civilization” of the human animal, there are certainly historical instances of unexplainable natural empathy, but whether there was always even therein a hidden agenda, a personal motivation, or a self-centered glint of purpose, we shall never know.  The naïve will posit that natural empathy is central to the human character; the cynic, that it is neither natural nor a tendency discovered in any species known, but just another societal construct forced upon the strong as part of the social contract to defend the weak.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the health condition has resulted in testing the natural empathy of coworkers, supervisors and managers at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, there may well be a division and diversity of opinions on the matter.

Whether natural or artificial, unfortunate events do indeed test the capacity of human character, and when the Federal or Postal employee prepares a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the uncaring and impervious attitudes of those encountered along the long and arduous process in attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, can indeed test the attitudes of a generation yet to experience the cruelty of an otherwise imperfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire