OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Book Review

Generally, this blog does not review books; however, exceptional works may prompt exceptions to the general order of things, where relevance of subject and beauty of personality may coalesce to consider a slight change of venue.  The work itself will neither become a masterpiece nor a conversation focus beyond a generation or two, as the world it describes is quickly fading into the sunset of eccentricity and scarcity of understanding.

Tim Sultan’s book (and from the jacket cover, it appears to be his first one at that), Sunny’s Nights, is a mixture of reportage, love of character and annotation of provincial myth.  It somewhat follows a format of modern trends in such novels: alternating upon a spectrum of the microcosm of life (Sunny’s, the extended family, and the author’s own) to wider philosophical insights (history of the neighborhood, cultural changes from the turn of the last century into the 20th and to modernity) portending of the macro-impact of a lost and fading relevance; but it is the author’s love of the main character (Sunny), the loss of humanity (through shared anonymity of a genuine speakeasy) and the wit, humor and sharing of stories, which makes for a work beyond an ordinary read.

The author is quite obviously a good listener (to the multiple tales of life and love as told by Sunny); his love of words reflects the warmth of camaraderie he feels for his characters; and his own insertion as a participating protagonist never detracts from the trilogy of subjects:  the place (the bar which is discovered in the outer periphery of societal acceptance, where the characters meet and enjoy the company of each other); the people (Sunny, his heritage, and the people who gather at the bar); and the growing loss of community with the encroachment of technology and cultural upheaval.

It has all of the ingredients for the making of a quiet work of art, as it reveals the best of any great story — a main character of complex fortitude.  For, in the end, every book worth reading should provide for an understanding of complexity, human failure and microcosm of achievement, and not necessarily in that order.

Tim Sultan’s work, Sunny’s Nights, is an enjoyable read at worst, and at best, a recognition that in the end, life fails to mean much unless one listens carefully and plods along searching for the company of community.  And, in the end, isn’t that the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek an alternate venue when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee must 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?

When the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the loss of a similar trilogy occurs:  the place (one’s position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service); the people (coworkers and friends developed over the many years through work and community of contact); and the upheaval from the changes prompted from one’s medical condition and the inability to continue in the career of choice.

Not everything in life is limited in relevance or meaning by the circumstances of one’s present condition, and for the Federal or Postal worker who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, taking a moment to read Tim Sultan’s book, Sunny’s Nights, may allow for a momentary time of distraction from the daily agony of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, and to help focus in the preparation of an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application and the challenges the Federal or Postal worker must face in the days ahead.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Court of Sycophants

The word itself is a linear sequence of consonants and vowels which delight the linguistic palate of parallelism between sound and meaning; rolling off of the tongue, it begins with the soft purr of the ‘s’, then slides midway into the harsh and guttural clash of a germanic cough, as if something untoward has been stuck in the center of one’s throat which needs to be cleared, like phlegm gathered in the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages; then flows to the end and drifts off into a quietude of irrelevance, disregard and dismissal, as the pointed meaning of application coincides with the diminishing utterance of fading signification.

In feudal times, when kings and princes of minor fiefdoms pockmarked the divided provinces of Europe and Asia, the gathering of sycophants pervaded each hour with daily tributes of flowery adjectives added effortlessly in conjunction with backstabbing motivations; the smiles of agreement and infusion of words to puff up the royal kingdom were offset by the murderous rage hidden in the dark corridors of dungeons where the abyss of human cruelty and malevolence resided with unfettered and ravenous appetite.

Does the modern presence of such and the like represent a fading vestige of that former calumny of bacterial servitude, or merely a reflection of the true nature of man’s essence?  The court of sycophants does not exist merely in dusty books of historical irrelevance; it survives in small pockets of sibling rivalries where inheritances are favored by means of embellished compliments combined with fading cognitive capacity for recognition of the distinction between words and sincerity; and in workplaces where no hostages are taken when one’s livelihood is at stake.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are intimately familiar with the darkened hearts of sycophants, there are more colorful words used to describe them — as in the kissing of another’s behind; but whether one uses the original one or a replacement of a more informal vernacular, the meaning all amounts to the same.  Especially, when a medical condition begins to impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform at the same level as before, the wide range of sycophants begin to make their appearance.

Somehow, denigration of others is believed to elevate one’s own status and stature, and indeed, the feudal court of sycophants was based upon that system of favoritism and derisive discourse.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, however, such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes necessary, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the escape from the constant backbiting and backstabbing becomes necessary not only to maintain and further one’s health and well-being, but is also a recognition that one has lost the favor of the court itself, and it becomes incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to recognize that the Court of Sycophants has been powdering the nose not of the king’s face, but of the emperor whose clothes has disappeared and where the cheeks which quiver with frolicking laughter are at the wrong end of the anatomical map.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Farmer’s Market

They have cropped up everywhere, and have become popular sites where suburbanites can sense a closer connection to the food they put on their tables.  But as with all seasonal exchanges, the level of interaction is based upon the changing environment, the availability of produce, and the trending nuances of health, life and manner of living.

In the wintertime, the abandoned stalls and the empty inventory tells of a change of seasons.  We walk, observe, pick and choose, and if the color of the tomato doesn’t quite seem right, we pass by with nary a nod, or word of silent question mark.  Which side of the Farmer’s market are we on, in any given day?  Are we the seller of produce, or the buyer of selective goods?  Do the seasons change, and the temperatures ebb and flow, and are we malleable like the sea breezes that touch upon a morning surf?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers often feel the interchangeable position, and the vulnerability on any given day, based upon the changing of seasons.  Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are likened to Farmer’s markets which come and go, and who set up stalls for selling of goods and produce, or were once like visitors looking for something different than the frozen foods at the chain supermarkets.

Once, the sense of being in control prevailed — whether in displaying one’s produce as the seller, or as the consumer choosing based upon the look of the fruit or vegetable.  Then, suddenly a medical condition comes into play, and options seem to diminish; whether from the perspective of the merchant, or of the buyer, you can’t seem to last the season in either role.

The option of 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 something that becomes a necessity for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition which prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

Like the changing of seasons, it brings to the fore the availability of one’s “product”, and makes of one the onlooker who doesn’t purchase, as well as the weekend merchant who tenders at the local Farmer’s Market, only to get back to one’s “real job” of toil and turmoil, like the rest of society who must contend with the forces of nature’s changing seasons.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Out to Pasture

There is a natural proclivity by the previous generation to resist the transference of authority before its designated time; the conflict arises not as to the inevitability of such change, but rather as to the appropriate context, procedural mechanisms instituted, and the care and sensitivity manifested.  And that is often the crux of the matter, is it not?

The brashness and lack of diplomacy and propriety; the insensitive nature of youth in trying to take over before paying one’s proper dues; and a sense that the young are owed something, without paying the necessary price through sweat and toil.  And the older generation?  From the perspective of the young, they are often seen as intractable, unable to face the reality of the inevitability of generational transfer; the ideas once seen as new and innovative are mere fodder for laughter and scorn.

Such treatment of those on their “way out” are often given similar application for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who show a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Such employees are viewed as those being “put out to pasture”, and as something less than human, partial in their worth, lacking of completeness, and needing to be shoved aside to make room for the healthy and fully productive.

Resentment often reigns; the insensitivity of the approach of agencies in their bureaucratic indifference is often what prevails; and once the exit is complete, those who were once the warriors and conquerors of yesteryear, are mere vestiges of forgotten remembrances of dissipating dew.

Always remember, however, that there is another perspective than the one which is left behind.  For the Federal or Postal employee who is put out to pasture by one’s agency, there is new ground to break, fresh challenges to embrace.  The pasture that one enters need not be the same one that the former agency considers; it is the one which the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement annuitant plows for himself, and whatever the thoughts and scornful mutterings of that agency left behind, they now have no control over the future of the Federal or Postal employee who has the freedom to follow the pasture of his or her limitless dreams.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Incremental Destruction

It is the slow, destructive force of incrementalism which presents the greater danger in life.  Most people can respond to a full-blown crisis; those are events where the human chemistry of adrenaline flow and reactive thoughtlessness results in heroic acts as told in epic narratives.  But what of the slow and deliberate acts of daily sniping?  How well do we respond, and in civil discourse where physical challenge to such cowardly encounters is no longer acceptable, what does one do?

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must contend daily with supervisors, co-workers, managers, etc., in the deliberative incrementalism of destructive criticism, heightened hostility, and the slow churning of pressure by the drip-drip method of administrative sanctions, actions and reprimands, the cost of remaining in an atmosphere of toxicity is high, indeed.

When the medical condition begins to impact the capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service engages in a fairly routine manner of acting — of ostracizing, impeding and obstructing.

One would think that, with all of the laws and public awareness concerning disability discrimination, that society — and especially the Federal sector — would be sensitive in the treatment of Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition; but, alas, civilization rarely progresses in response to genteel laws reflecting intellectual advancement; rather, they remain within the constraints of the origin of one’s species (hint:  the reference is to the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary determinism).

Filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best choice remaining for Federal or Postal workers who must contend with the incrementalism of sure destruction.  For, in the end, one must always reflect upon the priority of values — of health, continuation in a toxic environment, and whether it is worth it in the end.

It may be years before the adverse effects surface, or mere months; but that is the legend of the age-old torture methods which are most effective; the ones who administer the pain have all the time in the world; it is the victim who must live with the consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Catharsis

Medically, it is the process of purgation; in experiential moments of truth and recognition, it is the causal impetus to sudden change or need of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, there comes a time when recognition of the linkage between the medical condition and the mandate for change conjoins to create a cathartic moment of realization.

We can fight against it; one can ignore, disregard, suppress or otherwise pretend; but whether one’s imagination and creative cognitive dismissal can continue a fantasy of make-believe, the objective world around us remains steadfast in reminding one that Kant’s bifurcation of the world we live in, like cocoons in a protective shell of discontent, cannot alter the reality of the noumenal reality beyond the cognitive constructs of our own making.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in recognizing the need for change; and waiting upon a true catharsis will often only result in the self-immolation of destructive purgation — for, by waiting for a crisis-point of that moment where change is necessary, the shock of coalescence where circumstances, the medical condition, and the sudden realization of the true state of affairs come to the fore, may be greater than was ever necessary.

Waiting by ignoring is never a wise decision; procrastination of the inevitable is merely an artificial extension of the coming moment of realization; and in the end, disregarding that which everyone else has implicitly recognized, will only allow for the fate of cathartic gods to send down that bolt of lightening when one least expects it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: Sifting

Life requires sifting through a sieve; otherwise, the unwanted and undesirable particles of coarseness and garbage will become part and parcel of the component of one’s daily living.

Have you ever watched how the screen picks up, prevents and protects against intruding contaminants attempting to interlope?  How dust sticks to likeness and filth collects upon kindred spirits?  Are we talking about particles and contaminants — or of humans by analogy and metaphor?  Those descriptions which fit the picture frame of sifting screens can certainly apply to life’s encounter with fellow humans; how we change filters, when, and to what degree, applies to human interaction, as well.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage the bureaucratic process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement through one’s agency, and ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, there is often a metaphorical sifting process which applies beyond changing the filter of one’s heating and cooling system.

It involves the prioritizing of important and significant issues; of whether work should prevail over health; of recognizing true friends and colleagues, of those who show loyalty beyond one’s contribution to the workforce and reveal an empathetic soul when needed; of securing future needs and differentiating between that which is necessary as opposed to sufficient; and in the end, of crystallizing human relationships, where the refractory nature of family, friendships and filial fondness may flower with a collage of hues and colors bending with the corridors of time.

Does all of that occur with merely filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  It is a difficult process, evolving through the origination of a medical condition, and it is often the time when triumph treasures the tragedy of origins, and where sifting of life’s undesirable particles begins.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire