OPM Disability Retirement: Holidays and weekends

It is often a difficult time for many, if not impossible for most.  Holidays represent the heightened requirement of gaiety and relaxedness (is that even a word?), where people get together, families gather and children run while without knowing the underlying reason, if only to reinforce the belief that had already been in place from the previous year – that holidays and weekends are a stressful time.

There is the familiar refrain: “Oh, the weekend is coming up!”  To which the afterthought by the grump always reminds: “And Monday always follows.”  Similarly, with holidays, the anticipation is often better than the reality: “Oh, the joyous holidays!”  And yet…  For many, if not most, it is a time of greater stress, of needing to get together with obligatory family members, and especially with those whom one doesn’t even care for.  Exacerbating the situation is often an underlying medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the vicious cycle may be the weekends that are used to merely recuperate in order to survive during the work week.  Thus, instead of enjoying, relaxing, “doing things”, tinkering, etc., the weekend becomes a haven and refuge to regain just enough strength or rest the aching body in order to get through the grueling week of work.  Similarly, holidays become merely an extension of a weekend, and a 3-day weekend is just a longer excuse to hide away and lick one’s wounds.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a psychiatric condition, including Major Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, agoraphobia, Bipolar Disorder, etc., holidays and weekends can further deepen the heightened reality of anxiety and depression, as the stress of the holidays themselves and the anticipation of what follows after a weekend can become magnified beyond comprehension and tolerance.

Consider preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; for, if holidays and weekends have become a tumultuous time of overwhelming pain and despondency, and not the interlude to be enjoyed and become excited about, then it may be time to consider that the impact of the medical condition upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job is the underlying reason why the medical condition itself is worsening.

Holidays and weekends are not meant to be exclusively lived for; they are supposed to be mere intermissions where the rest of the week as well is looked forward to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Levels of Argumentation in OPM Disability Retirement

In a perfect universe, logic should prevail and the superior argument would be identified, recognized and accepted.  In a less-than-perfect universe (the state in which we unfortunately find ourselves), pragmatic factors involving power, authority, competency and non-substantive, peripheral issues must always be considered, and incorporated accordingly.  In the “unofficial rules” of argumentative methodology, three elements must be present:  (A) The ability and capacity to recognize a superior argument, (B) the willingness to concede one’s own inferiority of the proffer, and (C) acceptance of one in replacement of the other, which is to admit and submit.

In modernity, however, loudness and persistence, even without a basis in systematic logic, will often prevail, and one need not accede to a different position so long as ownership of the microphone or loudspeaker is never contested.  Which brings us to the pragmatic realities of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and the denials issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  First, it is important to recognize that all denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications by OPM “sound like” they are based upon “the law”.  They are meant to appear that way.  But are they?  If read too carefully, the internal inconsistencies, the lack of logic, and the repetitive nature of declarative conclusions without any supporting methodological argumentation will be quite evident.

How should one approach and rebut such a decision?  Does each and every point brought out by the “administrative specialist” need to be addressed, or just the “main points“?  Should the rebuttal arguments form the basis of the step-following the Reconsideration Stage of the process of attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits — the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board?  Are there any repercussions for not addressing each of the “points” delineated in a denial by OPM?

These, and many other questions, should be addressed by a Federal lawyer who is experienced in handling OPM Medical Retirement applications through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, as some Federal or Postal employees attempt to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits without the aid, guidance, counsel and assistance of an OPM Disability attorney, when a denial of the Initial Stage is received from OPM, more extensive analysis and “corrective” efforts may be required.

And those three elements of argumentative methodologies discussed herein, are they relevant to the process?  Perhaps.  But OPM is a powerful and large bureaucracy which holds the future security of Federal and Postal employees in their hands, and a denial by OPM must be taken seriously, both in substantive form and qualitative content.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process 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, the similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: What Was It All For?

In the midst of a crisis, when the security of the mundane is replaced by the turmoil of fears, “what ifs”, pain, intrusive nightmares, suicidal ideations, profound fatigue, and the uncertainty of one’s future, questions begin to haunt and abound, enveloping decisions of past moments, reevaluation of present concerns, and furrowing eyebrows for an anxious anticipation of possible events to come.

Medical conditions have a tendency to interrupt present plans, and to degrade the list of priorities once thought to be of significance, or even of any relevance.  But all things must be kept in their proper perspective.  Balance of thought, and prudence of action, should always be paramount.

For Federal and Postal employees who are confronted with a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, and therefore one’s livelihood and capacity to survive in this increasingly difficult economic climate, the prospect of being unable to perform one’s Federal or Postal job is a daunting challenge which must be faced.

One’s agency can rarely be relied upon to exhibit any lengthy period of empathy; jobs and tasks left undone constitute a basis for termination.  As such, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a consideration the Federal or Postal employee must evaluate early on.  It is the one who begins to take those initial, prudent steps, who may later be able to answer those universal questions emanating from fear of the future, such as: What was it all for?  It is for securing one’s future, and to be able to retain one’s place in this often disjointed universe of bureaucratic morass.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum eligibility requirements met (for FERS, 18 months of Federal Service; for CSRS, 5 years — normally a “given”); and it is precisely that which is offered, which should be accessed when the need arises; and when applied for, perhaps to answer those questions engendered by the trauma of the moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Fragrance of Fear

One rarely associates fear with fragrance; perhaps with a malodorous scent, mixed with angst and perspiring anxieties just before flight; but, no, fragrance is generally linked to perfumes and similarly heightened pleasantries which enhance the attraction of attention.  But to dictators and emperors of insignificant fiefdoms, fear emits a sweet fragrance, one inviting sadistic responses and enlivening a meanness awoken by the subtle aroma of vulnerability and susceptibility.

Medical conditions invite fear; fear within the individual suffering from the injury or disability, for the future, for the pain and suffering associated with the diagnosis and prognosis; fear from without, expressed by loved ones and those whose associations can be counted within the circle of friends, family, and close acquaintances.  Beyond the normal parameters described, however, the ethereal fragrance of fear is caught by the olfactory nerves of predatory consciences awaiting the whiff of anticipated anxieties; as an evolutionary conduit to survival, it serves also to invite the unintended to exacerbated difficulties of life.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, whether of a physical or psychiatric nature matters not, the progressive deterioration and manifestation of the medical condition engenders a proportional heightening of fear; fear, in turn, further impacts one’s inability to perform the full functions of one’s job; and failure revealed at one’s Federal or Postal employment tends to invite a hostile work environment, bringing out the worst in people.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which the Federal or Postal employee should always consider, when once the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Such a step is often the only pragmatic option to attain the needed context of restorative health, and to quash the fears which envelope and accompany the crisis. For, it is often the fragrance of fear which wafts through the still air and invites the things that go bump in the night, and where washing one’s hands clean is the single best route, as opposed to dousing one with perfumes, scented soaps and smelling salts, only to exacerbate the greater troubles of multiplied turbulences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Fear, Anxiety, Loathing and Acting

To “act” can have multiple meanings; one can be engaged in “make believe”, or merely doing something as opposed to talking about it. One can participate in a pretense (“he was putting on an act”); but perhaps engaging in pretense is not dissimilar (forgive the double negative; it sounds phonetically pleasing — but, then again, to say “sounds” and “phonetically” requires further forgiveness for unnecessary redundancy; and finally, is it not a double redundancy to speak of unnecessary redundancy?) to being on stage, or in a movie, and acting as actors do, except in an unpaid status.

In that sense of the word, we all engage in such semblance of who we are or what we want to appear to be.  Further, such pretense and concealment of one’s essence is often based upon the fear one imagines; the anxiety one experiences; and the loathing one encounters if such outward appearances are not performed.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must be hidden from public view because, to fail to conceal would mean that one would become subjected to an agency’s or Postal Service’s reactionary retaliation in dealing with such issues — the emotional turmoil of fear, anxiety, loathing and acting is a commonplace, daily experience.

Fear of what the agency will do; anxiety from the constant fight against the medical condition and the concealment in order to continue working; loathing of what may have to be faced today; acting in order to cover and hide to get through another day. But it is often in the secondary meaning of the verb, “to act”, which finds the penultimate resolution of such a quandary.

Acting — “doing something” — as opposed to engaging in pretense, is the solution.

Preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is the concrete step from mind-to-matter. It is often the act itself which resolves the turbulence of a crisis.

For, it is the actor on the greater stage of life, in real time, in genuine situations, where pretense and make-believe are shoved aside for masks and make-up artists, and when the reality of the essence of what is important in life comes to the fore — that is where action intersects with the artificial world of acting, and where one must walk off the stage of make-believe and instead cook one’s own meal, as the reality of necessity overtakes us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Cower v. Cowardice

To cower paints a word-picture of crouching or retreating in fear.  Cowardice, on the other hand, is the cumulative character of a man or woman, wrought upon through a lifetime of milestones and the reactions to each.  The latter can represent the aggregate of the former; the former may be, but is not necessarily, a singular action symbolizing the former.

Sometimes, there is a basis for being fearful.  Fear is quite obviously an evolutionary instinct which has a survival value attached; how one responds to the overwhelming stimulus of fear will often determine the value of such survivability instinct. But to cower in response to a given circumstance, a sudden crisis, or an unforeseen emergency is not to conclude cowardice; it is, as Aristotle would point out, merely one indication in a lifetime of red flags determining the linear value of one’s essence.

For the Federal or Postal employee who must face the crisis of a medical condition, such that important decisions must be faced, made and lived with, the step to Federal Disability Retirement is one fraught with the fear of the unknown: for one’s future, one’s vocation, and one’s financial security. To cower in confronting such a major decision is understandable; it does not indicate a character of cowardice. Facing a medical condition takes fortitude and clarity of mind, and in the midst of dealing with the crisis itself, it is often difficult to make cogent decisions ancillary to contending with one’s health issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a daunting task which requires mental acuity and intellectual stamina. In one’s weakened state, it is often advisable to have objectivity and good counsel. To cower in the face of a challenge is sometimes understandable; but to reveal cowardice is unnecessary, especially when the Federal or Postal employee who must decide upon the issue of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can turn to competent assistance to guide one through the complex process of the administrative morass.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Identification Recoil

Is it the identification which, if recognized, prompts one to engage in a commensurate reaction?  Does recognition of the identified condition require a societal conditioning, such that fear becomes a learned response as much as a sudden movement or a shrill shriek piercing the midnight hours of darkness?  Does the expansion of knowledge have a parallel and exponential quantification of fear and the list of things we fear?

Uncontrollable screams

Or is fear a singular emotion, triggered by multiple sensors and perceptual sensitivities such that variegated pathways may find their way to a single receptor which determines the responsive requirement, as in a shudder, a trembling, flight or uncontrollable screams?

The list of medical diagnoses has expanded over time; whether this means that there are more diseases, conditions and syndromes today than a millennium ago, or the bureaucratization of mere annotative indexing of that which has existed, been parsed and more precisely been categorized, is a question for the “experts” to debate.

Death sentences are rare; but lesser commutations of conclusions regarding one’s mortality and health are often regarded in the starkest of terms. When a Federal or Postal employee learns of a medical condition which impacts the ability and capacity to continue in one’s chosen vocation, the residual consequences which must be considered are indeed serious and life-altering. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is not an easy decision to make. It is considered within the context of a bundle of issues, including medical, legal, financial, family, social — and dealing with the fear of the unknown.

Just as a child may at first identify an object of fear without recognition of the underlying reality of that emotion, and recoil without thought; so the Federal and Postal Worker who first learns of a debilitating medical condition may react in a similar identification recoil. Taking that next step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, often requires a pause and an indentation of time, precisely because one must first deal with the cumulative fears crowding out the voice of reason.

Gargoyles of Fear

Gargoyles come in different shapes and sizes; like a chameleon in the wild, it is often our reaction which impedes our progress, and less so the objectivity of the thing to which we respond.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Universe of the Possible (Part I of II)

Children are brought into the extensive and unlimited world of the “possible”, precisely because (we believe) it provides for greater expansion of the fertile, creative mind.  But for the adult, the world of the “possible” is conceptually meaningless, and without objective import; for, the statement and belief, “X is possible”, retains no boundaries, and therefore it allows for all manners of fears, frauds and frivolities.

It is interesting to listen to news stories which confuse the concepts between the universe of the “possible”, and that which is “probable”.  When a report is issued beginning with, “Sources say it is possible that X occurred,”, it is of no greater or lesser value than if one declares that it is “possible that aliens from Mars intervened in an event”.  Both are equally possible.  It is only when facts enter an equation that the universe of the “possible” becomes contained to the smaller world of the “probable”.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered the “real” world of medical conditions, dealings with unsympathetic agencies, confrontations with supervisors and managers, the world of the “possible” quickly shrinks to the harshness of one’s immediate environment.  Concurrently, however, as fears and thoughts of potential agency actions magnify concerns and ruminating upon the unknown, one often allows for those childish dreams to wander, and to entertain the universe of the possible.

Get the facts; obtain proper counsel and advice; for it is only when facts and advice based upon real-world events are gathered, that one can properly limit the unlimited universe of the possible and deal with the reality of the probable.

For Federal and Postal employees who must make decisions for a real future, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must be seriously considered, and where an encounter with the bureaucracy and administrative processes circumscribed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be followed, it is important to recognize that the universe of the possible is merely for children and the unbounded imagination of childhood; whereas the world of the probable is what adults must contend with daily.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Fear & Darkness

The veil of darkness provides a contrast; for the predator, it allows for an advantage in stalking its prey; for the prey, the shimmering shadows reverberate of the unknown, but still, if one remains calm and quiet, an equality of disadvantage is allowed for, in that the predator must maneuver through the identical lack of visual acuity as they prey.

The singular equalizer for both predator and prey, in the calm shadows of darkness, is fear.  For the former, waiting and hoping that fear will flush out its prey by making a noise or venturing out thinking that a different location will provide for a safer haven; for the latter, it is the extent of one’s imagination which often leads to defeat; of fear instilled and mixed with images of what may happen, what could be out there, and where will it all end?

Why nightfall stirs the deep recesses of one’s imagination is a mystery; and even in the midst of civilized society, in the safety of one’s home, as one attempts to turn to the refuge of sleep for restorative relief, it is often then that thoughts of fear pervade in the dark of night, and in the void of one’s mind.  Such fear reaches back to the days of primitive life, and is complicated by the unknown.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s job performance; and where supervisors and agencies have been stirred to initiate adverse actions or discussions have already occurred of such dealings, it is often those primitive chasms from times past, of fear of the unknown, which must be countered with systematic and pragmatic steps to secure one’s future.

Man, in his essence, has not changed much over time; those in power still act as predators, and prey upon the scent of weakness.

Federal and Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, in order to escape the predatory practices of one’s agency.  Ultimately, the modern equivalent of the veil of darkness is ignorance, and in this case, not knowing the law and one’s rights is often the greatest harm suffered by Federal and Postal employees; and the modern equivalent of fear?  It is still the stepping into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire