Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Mountain climbing

Whether for the exhilaration of the activity or the sheer confrontation of the challenge looming, it is a sport that captures the imagination of the fitness-enthusiast, the romantic and the eccentric loner alike.  It is the sport that engages the competitive spirit not against another’s ability or the coordinated capacity of large teams having practiced together, but against the inert heights of peaks and impervious rock faces that show no emotion as to one’s success or failure.

Mountain climbing has many phases and stages, both of skill and type; of a walk along a trail; a hike up an incline; or for the serious contender, the challenge against the fear of height and failure.  Is the challenge against one’s own fear?  Is the thrill that of attaining that climber’s high where energy is suddenly released and the conquering senses are suddenly embraced by the thrill of nature’s impassive will?

There are mountains to climb, and some of us do it in the physical sense, while the rest of us contend with the metaphorical mountains that need to be climbed each and every day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition itself is the mountain to climb, it will often become necessary to go on to the “next level” of the climb itself, by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For some, mountain climbing is an actual physical activity; for the rest of us, it is a metaphorical application that reflects the strenuous life challenges beyond ordinary encounters of daily living.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition itself prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it becomes more than a metaphor — it is, instead, the obstacle that prevents, no less than the peak that abuts before the first step is taken for the mountain climbing enthusiast.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: The soul’s net worth

What is one’s sole net worth?  In a written format, the distinction between the two concepts are quite obvious; but if in a verbal exchange, would we be able to catch that subtle distinction of nonexistent intonation?  For, the exchange of the vowel “u” in the middle of the word for an “e” attached to the tail alters the meaning of the query, does it not?

From an evaluation of one’s singular calculation – of taking the gross amounts of estimated value of possessions and purchases and subtracting outstanding debts, etc., and accounting for one’s sole net worth – not taking into consideration one’s spouse’s inheritance or assets predictably to be acquired – to a theological analysis of a particular person’s essence, is quite a modification in the very context of substantive investigations.

How do we determine the latter?  Can “assets” be exchanged for “good deeds” and “debts” for “sins committed”?  Or must we be restricted to such a theological paradigm based upon traditional perspectives of Western conventional values?

Instead, why not transform the soul’s acquired possessions for “those deeds which have advanced mankind’s happiness” and the debited side of the ledger calculated by the diminution of joys snatched and by the pounds of flesh extracted, the cups of tears compelled and the scars left for eternity’s judgment?  And, if there is to be a consequence to follow, a bifurcation between paradise and hell, a mansion with many rooms or a shanty for the mendicant, then the dervish that seeks may yet account for past deeds if the good intent revealed later in life may vanquish those miscreant motives once unfulfilled in the early days of youthful vigor.

Yet, can a soul’s net worth indeed be calculated in terms of a sole net value?  Can we use the identical mathematical method in determining such a vaunted essence of Man’s substantive Being?  If the answer is ‘no’, then why is it done each and every day, not only by others, but surely by you and I?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 position, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, does not the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service calculate the soul’s net worth in that very manner as a determination of his or her sole net value?

That is, in essence, what a denial of a requested accommodation constitutes; it is what a judgment of termination can be deemed as, and it is precisely what is done when workplace harassment and increasing pressures to “get rid” of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker – all of these are means of determining the soul’s net worth by the vehicle of an accounting method tantamount to the sole net value of a person.

The sad thing is, like gods, angels and unicorns held in the fancy of a child’s palm, such a calculation is not only a sin, but a travesty reflecting the darkness of our times, and but for preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the shooting of the unicorn would occur even more frequently while ignoring the pleading cries of a child’s trembling advocacy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Linguistic Machismo

The term is derived from Spanish origins, and it is that characteristic which contributed most to the rise of Hemingway’s fame, and his ultimate act of self-destruction.  Of bullfights, big-game hunting, reporting amidst the Spanish Civil War, leaving unmentioned his encounter with death and devastation from his experiences in World War I, resulting in the Phoenix rising through his unforgettable fictional characters, Howard Krebs and Nick Adams, whose souls have been damaged beneath the surface of any physical manifestation of wounds or injuries, where reconnection with society, its rhythms of daily living and silliness of interests, can no longer be possible — these comprise the defining events of the meaning of the word itself.

Combined with the compounding prefix, it delineates the approach of modernity in engaging in communitarian communications.  You know — of bombast and lambaste; where subtlety of meaning is left without room for doubt, connotation, denotation or a question mark, but merely a hyphenated sense of an unstated thud followed by an exclamation point.

The famous debaters have now faded into the antiquity of forgotten dustbins; Lincoln-Douglas; Buckley-Vidal; the courteous but inquisitive Dick Cavett show; and the late-night show of Johnny Carson, whom many consider to encompass both intelligence and complexity of thought, especially when compared to parallelisms truncated by modernity.  Civility is gone; subtlety as an art form is all but lost; the only teleology of choice these days focuses upon the viral nature of a YouTube video, and only if it trumpets the extreme with the blare of sensationalism.

This approach — of linguistic machismo — has crept into the narrative of today.  Leaving aside the repugnance of the term for feminist causes, the substance of the concept implies an aggressive tone in setting forth a narrative.  The problem with engaging in such a consistency of intolerance in conveying as a vehicle of communication the toughness of a “no-holds barred” language game, however, is that it soon and quickly loses its efficacy.

Even an elephant struck repetitively to move the lumbering animal will develop callouses which defy the oncoming blows of future pain; encouragement by blunt force trauma is a discouraging device over time, if used without discretion.  Incessant screams become deafening to ears sensitized; physical pain becomes numb to repetition; repetition itself creates a havoc of unnoticed constructs; and so it goes.

This can be a lesson to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to construct an effective narrative in preparing one’s Statement of Disability for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When the Federal or Postal applicant for Disability Retirement purposes envisions who will be reading, reviewing and analyzing one’s Statement of Disability (as posited on SF 3112A), it is well noting that the Administrative Specialist who will be making a decision at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will have hundreds of cases to get to; and from that caricature of a singular soul peeking out from a mountain of files, the subtlety of a whispering voice immersed in truth, objectivity, and persuasive force of argumentation quietly encapsulated by law and proper documentation, will be the light which shines from the darkness of ineptitude, where even the emotionally-damaged, fictional heroes of Hemingway’s short stories may shed a tear now and again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire