OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Mercenary

Why is it that money taints with toxicity of motive?  If a person does something with no compensatory demand, does that fact alone make it less suspect?  Does the professional soldier who gets paid by one’s own country show a level of patriotism unblemished, but the one who hires out for monetary rewards by another, belie a code of honor?  What gives the scent of blemish, the hint of a soul’s impoverishment, and the sullied character of an inner decay?

Are we merely taught to remain in silent awe at the poor woman in the story of the miserly penny, and frown if a child begins laughing and saying, “What a fool to give up the last penny!”  Are saints born, or are they taught and disciplined, when the innate signs of cynicism may yet win out over the empathy of a fool’s errand?  What good is “goodness” in an evil world?  Do we remember Bonhoeffer, or was his courage forgotten amidst the thousands of graves both marked and without remembrance, in a world where community no longer exists and friends are counted by Facebook likes and never by the warmth of human comity?

Somehow, money taints, and the toxicity of the transfer sticks like mud to the boots of a killer, leaving tracks and traces in the bogs of lives tarnished.  Yet, it is the exchange by which dreams are made, the goal for which daily toil is endured, and the chances taken in bribes received in order to attain a measure of financial security and the declarative success of an age where hypocrisy dares to utter its laughable voice of despair.

Is it because we believe that mercenaries fail to believe in that which is being fought for, and instead confuse the means for an end we misguidedly believe should be the end in and of itself?  Does engaging an individual for purposes of honor, country, faith and other tropes of a nation’s visage of vacuous promises make it any more substantive if the abandonment of a country of its own vital principles reaches a point where such terms no longer apply?

There are those who romanticize the independence of the mercenary, despite the Geneva Convention restrictions which grant lesser protections in the event of capture; and, yet, history is replete with their use and presence, from Ancient Egypt during the rein of Pharaoh Ramesses II  to the French Foreign Legion and the British Gurkha regiments, and beyond to modern warfare.  But romanticization and reality often conflict and collide, and the remaining entrails of toxicity remain with the scent of avoidance.

In more quiet arenas of modern life, the term itself is often applicable not to fields of the battleground, but to individuals who “go after” others for rewards and reasons of similar taint and toxicity.  In the employment arena, there are mercenaries aplenty, and they are predators that devour with equal ferocity.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who suffers 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 job, and therefore must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the duality of dangers must be faced.

First, the allegation that the Federal or Postal employee is merely being a “mercenary” by “taking advantage” of a generous system of medical retirements, and Second, to beware of the mercenaries of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service who aggressively go after the Federal or Postal employee weakened and unable to defend him or herself during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because of the medical condition itself.

In both instances, it is the mercenary instinct itself which dominates, and no amount of honor or faith in country can withstand the onslaught of the vicious outliers of such gossiping geese.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The numerical veil

Statistical constructs indicate group shifts and movements; numbers, based upon controlled samplings, provide the substantive fodder for analysis of trends and patterns of population deviancies.  There is, however, the question of the incommensurate nature between mathematical paradigms and linguistic application; stated more simply, Do numbers hide more than reveal, and can anything be extrapolated from them and interpreted in terms we can understand and comprehend?

To a winner of the lottery, the numerical phantasm “one in a billion” remains meaningless; and to the dismissive statistical irrelevancy stated in language more readily comprehended, that there is a greater chance of dying in an automobile accident than from a shark attack, becomes inconsequential and of little comfort if you are laying in a hospital bed with a good part of your flesh missing from such a traumatic event.  That’s the problem with numbers, of course, and the use, misuse and abuse of statistical analysis; in the end, it depends upon how it is used, the methodology of discourse, and the manner of application.

To be hit by lightening may well be more uncommon than death by drowning, but if your job is to be a caddy for an eccentric billionaire who enjoys golfing on days of severe weather patterns, the generalizations ascribed by comparative mathematical analysis may be somewhat skewed.  And, of course, for romance of young couples who scoff at divorce rates and patterns affirmed by celebrity lives and the cultural meltdown pervasive throughout, the lack of life experiences, the want of provocation through trials and turmoils yet to be encountered and not yet encumbering, allows for hope, charity and a sense of optimism despite the universe which surrounds of cynical diatribes.

We take comfort in the veil of numbers, precisely because we can manipulate them in the ways we want.  Facing a bleak outlook, we can justify resistance with a dismissive wave of the hand (or that invisible wand of magic and sorcery) and declare, “Well, the chances are…”  Numbers never tell of the human emotions and toil of reality; they remain as cold mathematical calculations, jiggered and manipulated by the picture of emotionless bureaucrats who wear spectacles to magnify the inconsequential harm imparted upon the lives left behind.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Such individuals, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, become part and parcel of the statistical conundrum who once had names, faces and identities, but somehow became relegated into the numerical aggregate of “those” people who departed by filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, all because they could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties assigned.

Does such fear of becoming a mere irrelevancy of statistical obscurity make the Federal or Postal employee pause, despite the chronic pain or the psychiatric despondency which tells of the urgency to file for the benefit?  Probably.  Yet, beyond the numerical veil which hides, each Federal or Postal employee who departed and left behind such a statistical imprint, go on to live productive lives thereafter, with ongoing emotional ups and downs, as real people, living authentic lives untold by the hidden abyss echoing from the chambers of silent digits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire