Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Distractions

They are the projects of life of which Heidegger recognizes, allowing for avoiding the inevitabilities of life’s challenges; of fate, mortality, future insecurity, and death.  What quantifiable slice of one’s life is governed by distractions?  Must it always be less than 50% in order to remain so, and if it exceeds that halfway point, does it then become something substantive and not merely the peripheral meaning of what it means to “be distracted”?  If a distraction is considered to be an aside – that which waylays a person’s attention by focusing upon a central project of life’s endeavor – what then defines an inversion of that perspective?

Take, for example, the following:  A mechanical engineer is working on a technical project that consumes one’s focus, concentration and attention to detail, but has a unique and eccentric ophthalmological condition, whereby the eyes are compelled to follow any and all red objects that pass by.

Now, the company has attempted to accommodate the medical condition by requesting that no employee shall enter into the mechanical workshop wearing red, but on this particular day, some investors are visiting, and a man in the troop of intruders is wearing a red tie, and a woman in the entourage is sporting a red sweater.  They go from bench station to the next cubicle, within the purview and arc of dimensional periphery of the eccentric man’s attention, and with each movement, every sidelong blur, his eyes are “distracted” by the red moving objects.

Out of every minute of work, fully 45 seconds are spent on focusing upon the red objects that detract from the necessary mental acuity attending to the project at hand, and indeed, while they are far enough away such that from an objective viewpoint, the objects are mere inches in proportion and are of a distance as to almost be unnoticeable to others in the group of engineers, for the eccentric mechanical engineer, it is the focal point of his attentions.

The distraction is such that it disrupts the sequence of testing conditions and interrupts the validity of the technical precision required, and a coworker finally declares, “You’ve been too distracted and the project has to be scrapped.”  Would we agree that, because of the numerical disproportionality of concentration attributable, “red-object observation” takes precedence as the primary project, and it is the engineering project that is the distraction?  Or, because it is a medical condition of which he “cannot help it”, do we excuse the distraction in its entirety?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the central point made here is precisely how the Federal agency and the Postal facility views the issues significant in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service possess a myopic view of “work”, and even if the Federal or Postal employee is able to continue making valuable contributions to the workplace, they often see the differentiation between “work” and “distractions” as one quantifiable by time alone.  This is too bad, but a reality that must be faced.  For, medical conditions are not mere distractions; they are life’s interludes that can often be faced and overcome, if only outmoded ideas about what constitutes workplace contributions are set aside, and realize that even distractions delaying the central mission of a Federal agency or Postal facility are not the most important, or even of much significance, when it comes to the worth and value of a human life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sunshine, briefly

Life is mostly dark clouds, with a ray of sunshine briefly upon a small patch of wet grass.  Yes, yes – such a perspective is a mirror reflection of the conflict between the “half-full” versus “half-empty” outlook; but is it helpful for young people to posit a world view, a paradigm or, in the philosophical realm of ivory towers, that king of all royalties in linguistic sophistication that is dropped nonchalantly to impress and raise eyebrows –  Weltanschauung (since when did a German word rise to the level and replace Latin phrases, when one can barely clear one’s throat in enunciating such concepts?) – when reality doesn’t quite parallel such a fairytale ga-ga-land of fantasy reserved for bedtime stories and dream-filled comforts?

Do we not restrain children from engaging strangers?  Do we not warn of criminals, conmen and conspirators and step cautiously into dark alleys and isolated parks in twilight’s eyesight because the world lurks with malevolent intentions and evil thoughts?

There is no questions, of course, that there are periods of respite; of sunshine, briefly, by rays of telescopic precision warming for a time, before the inevitable clouds rub out the finite orientation of a limited gap emitting brightness of hope.  Is balance the stain of righteousness, and if so, where on the spectrum of both extremes does one draw the line of correctness, and is there a singularly myopic perspective where no other can claim moral equivalency?

Cynicism is attributable to the extreme of the “dark clouds” perspective, and naïve idealism to the other end of limitless sunshine; and somewhere in the middle is where reality protrudes into the conceptual realms of unease:  daily living, the encounters with meanness, harassment and unmitigated callousness that must endure the diminishing dereliction of youth’s untarnished cavity of hope.

It is, in the end, that ray of sunshine, however brief, that we live for, even if it only comes about once in a proverbial blue moon.  It is likened to the 80/20 rule:  Eighty percent of people you meet are not worthy of your time; it is the other 20% that you hope to encounter and engage; the identical proportion applies with work – much of it is monotonous and mindless repetition; it is for that remaining sliver that you do the treadmill stuff in order to apply the relishing technicality of challenging concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the idea of life’s sunshine, however briefly, is precisely the point, isn’t it?

The medical condition that shortens one’s promising career is but the dark clouds which have gathered and overcast upon your life, career and ability and capacity to enjoy; Federal Disability Retirement – thought as “negative” in the sense that it replaces that which you worked so hard to attain – is that sunshine, briefly, so that you can go out with an annuity, a semblance of security, and focus upon the priorities of life:  Health, family, friends and tranquility.

Now, if that is not sunshine, however briefly, no one can fathom what is.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Memorial Day 2017

Remember; reflect; take a moment to consider how fortunate we are, and to whom we owe for the sacrifices made.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Life erasing

In youth and early adulthood, we add; in later years, life erases.  Kids grow up and move elsewhere; vigor depletes; living spaces are downsized; mementoes once meaningful are discarded into a trash heap of forgotten memories; and health deteriorates, with diminution of lives by incremental depreciation both in appearance, worth and human value.

Life erasing is the natural decomposition of matter; the energy that we expended in bringing up our kids has now been complete, and transference of that vigor has become a permanent fixture.

Somehow, what we gave never seems to be enough, and no matter how much we tried, loved, cared for and nurtured, that part of all has separated and journeyed away, never to be sought in unenlightened venues of thoughtless abandonment.  It is as if life reaches its pinnacle, as the arc of never-ending geometric feats of engineering and technological defiance; and then it tapers, becomes warped and disappears into the far horizon.  What ever happened to those youthful dreams once embraced, promised, forever committed to, and now a dash of trailing dust left behind like so many of life’s erasing features?

Medical conditions and deteriorating health tends to symbolize that; for, as one reaches the pinnacle of an incomplete life (is it every complete, even at the point of oblivion, and do we not hang on for a moment more?), the tawdry reality is that we fear the vanishing of all that we have surrounded ourselves with, because we do not walk about this world with a mirror to appease our own insecurities.

Isn’t that why people amass great wealth; invoke power-plays to demand and command loyalty; hoard possessions as if they reflected quantifiable worth; and apply every cosmetic trick into believing that appearance of youth is the same as easing life’s erasing by concealing the decay beneath?  Why is it that such a natural deterioration is fought against, when the peaceful calm of wisdom tells us that life erasing is the easing of burdens amassed in youth and adulthood, and thus to be enjoyed?

Life erasing means that responsibilities garnered previously have now been alleviated, but instead of accepting that natural digression, we buy into the advertising colonnade that age is merely of deceptive appearances and a “mind set” that can be averted merely by acting more foolishly, accepting cosmetic alterations by stretching the wrinkles away, and taking on greater obligations for self-aggrandizement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beset with medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal employee from extending a career chosen, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement is actually an acceptance of the natural course of life erasing – by the proverbial course of “downsizing”, of recognizing the medical conditions impacting one’s life and pursuing Federal Disability Retirement so that life’s erasing can attain a level of focus upon a priority long ignored:  Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mistakes we make

There are those who make it their life’s goal not to have remorse for decisions made; but is that truly a worthwhile achievement?  At the end of it all, is there a special space on the unwritten tombstone that lists the mistakes avoided, the embarrassments averted, and the admissions of deficiencies concealed?  Is that not where much of Shakespearean web of deceits are constructed from – of attempting to cover up the insufficiencies otherwise already apparent in the foreboding appearances we attempt to portray?

Tenuously though we approach the daily chasms of darkened pitfalls menacingly threatening each day of our daily lives, we refuse to admit, fail to recognize or are too weak in the egocentric falsities of fragile souls to merely utter the simple words that allow for expiation of our weaknesses and quickly move on:  “Sorry, I made a mistake”.

No, instead, the complex rationale, the justifications of convoluted sequences of condition precedents that fall upon the next as dominoes of perfectly aligned decoys; and the blame then shifts upon an eternal direction of fingers pointing one to the next, until there is no one left except for that proverbial last figure on the totem pole, who cares not because he or she is the runt forgotten or the brunt of everyone’s joke and display of pure human meanness.

But at what cost do we avoid admitting the mistakes we make?  Of what layers of calluses formed, souls injured and responsibility averted, until the unquantifiable element becomes so saddled with a guilty conscience no longer able to feel, to be human, to rise above the bestiality of man’s base instincts?

The mistakes we make often harm another, but those we do not admit to, diminish the essence of who we are, what we are capable of, and always forestalls the capacity to grow.

As in any process that is complex, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can have a pathway full of difficult decisions and a complicated morass of complex legal precedents, statutory obstacles and sheer obstructions of meandering deliberations.

The mistakes we make can haunt us with consequences difficult to reverse, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is one of the rare instances in which he who makes the fewest errors, likely will win.  Mistakes in this area of law can range from the innocent and inadvertent, to the meandering blunders that lead to a denial from OPM.  It is often not enough to avoid a mistake in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; indeed, it is the blatant mistakes we make without the guidance of wisdom and experience that determines the future course of events, as in life in general.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Keeping

Keeps; keeping; kept; the endurance of retention reflects the vitality of human obstinacy.  To retain, to own, to possess; in the present tense, present simple passive, present perfect passive, past perfect passive, present modal, past modal, and a dozen other forms of grammatical conundrums.  It is the action of owning, maintaining or  possessing; often, with implications of forceful protectiveness despite demands of rightful ownership by third parties.  “He kept it!”  “He keeps coming back!”  It is the persistence, the refusal to abandon and the resistance against another’s claim, whether rightful, justified or otherwise questionable.

Then, there are forms which imply honor and integrity:  “Keeping the trust”; “Keeping the flame aglow”; “She kept her word”.  The boys “kept their promise”; He kept up appearances.  In all grammatical forms, whether of a passive nature or active tense, there is always throughout a sense of an activity of the will.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” is not merely a passive inactivity, but an affirmative movement and stratagem focused upon advancing beyond a social inertia that encompasses tentacles of thought, consideration, judgment and planning.

It is a simple word, used without much thought, never pausing in a conversation to see whether others gathered will be impressed by the perfection of such a choice – that unique word which describes an image so poignant that to have inserted it nonchalantly in a sentence without the help of a Smartphone in Googling it before uttering the inserted grandness connoting linguistic excellence is next to leaving one breathless and in disbelief.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who understand the simple concept of “to keep”, whether in the present tense, present simple passive, past perfect passive or the multitudinous other grammatical forms, there are caveats to maintain when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, not the least of which are:  Keep your cool; have your files kept and maintained; keep persisting; recognize the importance of keeping a balanced and coherent narrative; keep the faith; insist upon keeping informed; and never keep allowing for injustice to prevail.

In keeping with tradition, always remember that preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex administrative process which must be kept in mind, and that the formulation and filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires keeping a patient, sane and insistent attitude, much like keeping a promise made despite those who have not kept their word.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire