Federal Disability Retirement: Thought versus thoughtless

Does the former have an advantage over the latter?  Our tendency is to think so — as in, “Being a thoughtful person is better than being a thoughtless person.  And, in any event, it is always better to think about things than not to.”

Really?  Does reality bear such a thought out, and does thinking about something as opposed to its opposite — not thinking about it — gain any advantage?  Does Man’s biological advancement through evolutionary selectivity of genetic dominance necessarily favor those who engage in the activity of “thinking” over those who do not?

Take the following hypothetical: An individual must make a “serious” decision — i.e., perhaps about one’s future, career, marriage, etc.  He is told to “take some time to think about it”, and does so dutifully.  He speaks with others; does some reading; mulls over and “reflects” upon the issue; takes out a yellow-pad and writes the columns, “Pros” and “Cons”, and after days, weeks, perhaps even months, comes to a decision.  Within a couple of years of making the decision, he realizes that he has made a fatal error.

Now, the counterexample: Same scenario, but in response, the individual says, “Naw, I don’t need to think about it.  I just go on what my gut tells me.”  He goes out, parties, avoids “thinking” about it, and the next morning makes that “important” decision.  He remains happy with the decision made for the remainder of his life.  So, the obvious query: What advantage did one have over the other, and what fruitful outcome resulted from “thought” versus “thoughtlessness”?

Yet, we persistently hear the phrase, “I should have thought about it,” or “I should have given it more thought” — always implying that, had further reflection been accorded, had additional wisdom been sought, or multiples of contemplation allowed, ergo a different result would have been achieved.

The error in the logic of such thinking is that one assumes a necessary connection between “result” and the activity of “thinking”, when in fact it is the very activity itself which retains a value in and of itself.  “Thought,” “thinking” and “thoughtfulness” are activities which have a value by themselves.  The satisfaction of a result-oriented, retrospective according of value based upon an outcome achieved is to place the value upon the wrong end.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are “thinking” and engaging in “thoughts” about preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when a “decision” must be made.  “Thoughtfulness” is an activity worth engaging in, regardless of the outcome of the activity itself.

In engaging such an activity, it may be worthwhile to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — if only to consider the evolutionary advantages in thinking about thoughtful activities as opposed to the thoughtless decisions made by an unthinking thoughtlessness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Dimensions

We refer to the 3-dimensional world as being comprised of length, width and depth (where “length” can also be substituted for “height”, and “breadth” for “width”), with the added abstraction of time included in relativistic physics; and of course, when referring to personalities and individuals, we caustically apply the limitations of a dimension based upon the lack of character or absent crucial social graces, like empathy or a myopic viewing of life.

Thus does “John” live a one-dimensional life because all he ever does is work; or perhaps “Mary” is a one-dimensional figure in a novel because her character lacks development.

We tend to easily cross over between boundaries of physical space and time into personalities and complexities of individuals, and judge them harshly depending upon whether we like them or not.  Yet, human beings are comprised of complex levels of dimensions; it is only every now and then that we come across that 1-dimensional sociopath whose only desire is to satisfy one’s own cravings, one’s own focus and centrality of purposive intent which translates into evil.

Yet, despite the exceptions to the general rules of life, there are certain basic principles which one should follow when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee considering a Federal Disability Retirement application, such as: Always consider one’s Human Resource Office to be 1-dimensional — i.e., not on “your side”, but on the side of “Management” and the Agency.  And: Never assume that OPM will consider your Disability Retirement application to be 3-dimensional (i.e., to be considered as being straightforward, easily interpreted and quickly resolved) — but instead is almost always 1-dimensional (i.e., to be considered suspicious and found wanting).

Or another 1-dimensional approach: Never assume that your Agency or the H.R. Office of your agency is anything but 1-dimensional; to be 3-dimensional would mean that they are empathetic, are looking out for your best interests, and would protect the privacy of your medical issues with the utmost of sensitivity and protectiveness.  For, in the end, the 1-dimensional approach is to be flat, uncaring and without complexity of concern for others.

Thus, when you were taught as a child that we live in a 3-dimensional world, you were misled because no one had told you about the Federal Agency’s or the Postal Service’s reaction upon learning that you will be filing a FERS Disability Retirement application because of your medical conditions, and that the world is ultimately a 1-dimensional universe without empathy or concern beyond one’s own self-interest.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Horror Tales

Whether of Edgar Allan Poe’s many tales, like The Tell-Tale Heart or The Black Cat, or perhaps a taste that extends to more modern versions, of the Stephen King genre, people like to scare themselves silly, and then to be able to declare, “It was just a story”.  Whether reality reflects fiction, or that fiction can never truly recreate and mirror the sins of our own existence is a debate that will perpetually persist.

The horrors of genocidal mankind — from the Roman era of stadiums filled to capacity to witness cruelty as entertainment, to the Holocaust and Pol Pot’s mass killing fields; to the machete-wielding genocidal killings in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis; there never seems to be a lack of horror stories, whether by creative imaginations or in the reality of a universe gone berserk.

We read about them; experience nightmares of a reality so steeped in absurdity that they awaken us with a cold sweat; and some few of us have lived them, whether in wars, by being innocent bystanders, or somehow corollary victims otherwise referred to as “collateral” damage.  Each one of us walk about with horror stories; some of insignificant vintage narratives; others, of consequential victimhood to such an extent that we disbelieve our ears or refuse to listen to the whole story.

Then, there are the daily horror stories; maybe they don’t count as such and few would even bother to listen — like Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition and where the medical condition is about to end the once-promising career that has suddenly hit the “pause” button and ceases its once-ever-trajectory towards an upward trend.  Medical conditions at any age are “horror” stories that are often kept secret, stuffed in envelopes of silent lips unopened, and festering in the suffering inner minds of zombie-like peoples walking amidst the turmoil of a world gone berserk.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to prepare, formulate and file 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, the horror stories one carries about may not quite meet the plot or characters of an Edgar Allan Poe tale, or a Stephen King twist; but for the individual who must live and suffer through the process of ending one’s career and fight for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the tale of horror is nevertheless real, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law may well blunt the ending of a tale which is fated to otherwise end in a fit of screams and mayhem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Gathering

They come from afar, and wide across the expanse of multiple cities, towns, and whether from rural areas or suburban neighborhoods, the criss-crossing of America is a tradition reserved for those special holidays where families gather, friends reminisce and relations pick up where old memories had left off.  “The Gathering” may be a once-yearly event, or perhaps a couple of times, and only once in a decade moment; however often, whatever the occasion, it is a time of recollection, reminiscence, restoration and rejuvenation.

Sometimes, even a gathering with people you hardly knew, or didn’t particularly like, is enjoyable enough, and though you might in the middle of the chatter say to yourself, “Why am I even here?” —yet, it is the mere presence of belonging that harkens one back to the lanes of memories that will not let go, like the dog that has locked its jaws onto your pant-leg and will not release you until you have finally relented.

Of course, there are other “types” of gatherings that are not so enjoyable or which bring a sense of warmth and joy — as in the “gathering” of Supervisors or Managers in conjunction with Human Resource Personnel who attempt to subvert, initiate adverse actions and conspire to make the life of a Federal or Postal employee a “hell on earth”.

Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job are at a stark disadvantage when it comes to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits: Often, the Human Resource Office of one’s own agency is neither helpful nor mindful of the confidentiality of even asking a casual question.

A simple question like, “What forms need to be completed in order to file for Federal Disability Retirement?” — may suddenly lead to a wildfire of rumors and innuendoes concerning one’s motive, intention and future plans, and suddenly the “point-person” becomes the pariah and a gathering of managers and supervisors suddenly materializes like a an unexpected dust storm in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

Not all gatherings are equal; some are for the happiness of memories recollected; others, a conspiracy to initiate adverse actions and to undermine the future plans of a well-intended act.  For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, “The Gathering” one should be most concerned about is the one to which you were never invited, so beware of the things you say, to whom you say it, and when you make the query.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The formulation

There is, first, the preparation; then, the formulation; and finally, the filing and the waiting.  Are the sequence of steps necessarily separate and identifiable — cleanly bifurcated such that there is no overlapping of concerns?  Of course not; but the three elements in a OPM Disability Retirement application are necessary for the successful outcome of the endeavor.

The “preparation” is often skipped in order to get to the “filling out the forms” portion, which is contained somewhere between the preparatory stage of the process, extends into the formative arena and comes to fruition just before filing, as the finishing touches are placed in refinement of the final product.

The analogies are numerous: of baking a cake — first, one must have a “recipe” (the preparatory stage of the process); then, in between the preparation and the formulation, one must gather all of the ingredients necessary to fulfill the recipe: i.e., the medical documentation; the legal citations to be applied; perhaps other ancillary supportive presentations; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and the multitude of other papers which will ultimately accompany the Federal Disability Retirement filing; then, the filing itself — of placing it into the oven and waiting while it bakes to final product.

It is, in many ways, the “formulation” part of it that fails the Federal employee or Postal worker putting together an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the rush to get it done is often comprised by a furious sense of desperation in gathering whatever medical records can be amassed in the shortest time possible; of quickly jotting down the things “wrong” with you on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and then quickly “shoving” it into the oven hoping that it will bake quickly and come out well.

Yet, while the “recipe” is important, and the filing is crucial, it is the “formulation”of the OPM Disability Retirement packet — of the putting together in a thoughtful and persuasive manner the legal memorandum which cites the case-law, argues the evidence and providers a “road-map” for OPM to approve one’s Federal Disability Retirement application — that is often overlooked and becomes the unintended nemesis for a successful outcome in a OPM Disability Retirement application.

In skipping over that part —the formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application — it is likened to that “uh-oh” moment when you realized that you had forgotten to put any butter, milk or other essential ingredients into the cake after you have already put it into the oven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire