FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Death of the metaphor

Metaphors and analogies are how we communicate; without them, it is the mere drone of sounds emitted, and even if without the directness of a simile where we place the comparison of two or more differing entities and connect with the word “like”, it is the only means of striving to reach a greater understanding of the world around.

The death of the metaphor is a certainty.  Modern technology has eviscerated the capacity of human beings to remain curious; and curiosity is not what killed the cat, but allowed it to remain a force in evolutionary stages of increasing survival instincts, as the trait of the inquisitive allows for greater mastery of the universe.  Smart phones allow for a person to defer memorization; computers deaden the natural instinct for query; and technology in general denies the relevance of a metaphor precisely because we need not struggle to explain – the machines do all of the explaining for us.

The death of the metaphor means the rise of the deadened soul, and suppression of everything that was uniquely human.  Would Shakespeare have survived in this day and age, or the complexity of language allowed for such subtleties of linguistic shades of meaning?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s job duties, the need to employ metaphors still exists, as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications – must still be persuaded by argumentation and logical sequencing of thought processes.

Yes, the death of the metaphor is imminent and inevitable, but in the greater corners of administrative law, the metaphor, the simile, the analogy that persuades must yet be utilized in order to make effective a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Benefits: The Wind-Up Man

Before the age of batteries and electronic sophisticates, there were wind-up toys.  Mere mechanical wonders involving hidden spring actions and tightly wound coils for deliberative unwinding to propel movement, they betrayed a sense of wonder for their independence once released by the child’s hand.  But the movement stopped; the unwinding of spring actions released to their full extent; and further human involvement was necessary.

In stage plays of yore, what amounts to a “deus ex machina” required intervention; and so the thumb and forefinger would grasp the flat key inserted in the back of the toy, and wind it up all over again.  Many of us feel a kinship to such a descriptive process; the “winding up” may involve an unseen hand, but the rest feels eerily similar.

Medical conditions tend to magnify such a state of feeling; for, like the wind-up toy of childhood joys, the need for an intervening hand is required of both.  But for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who needs to go home for that restorative sleep, or that 3-day weekend in order to regain a semblance of stamina for the week ahead, whatever winding up process may occur, is never enough.

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, often find that — as each time the “winding up” process takes place, it becomes less and less effective, and more and more necessary to keep going back to the source of intervention — and so the vicious cycle ensues.

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, is never the “total solution” to one’s medical problems; but, at the very least, it allows for one to reach that plateau of restorative rest, in order to recuperate.  As the wind-up toy must come to the end of its uncoiling mechanical actions, so the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer continue in the same manner, must consider options available to him or her, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is certainly an alternative to consider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire