FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Man from Mars

It is a strangeness that cannot be avoided.  Sort of like Thomas Nagel’s famous philosophical essay, “What is it like to be a bat — for a bat?”  It is the “for a bat” that makes all of the difference; for, as Nagel himself pointed out, it is easy to imagine what it is like to be a bat — i.e., have wings, fly in the dark of night, screech, eat bugs, etc.  However, the uniqueness of actually being another creature — of having a separate and distinct perspective from that of a human, man-centered purview — is something that we will never be able to achieve.

Others, like those in Daniel Dennett’s camp, counter that there is no Searle-like “ghost in the machine”, and that consciousness is merely comprised by the aggregate of the neurological connections that make up the human body, and there is nothing metaphysical beyond the physical, no “trans” or “meta” existence beyond the firing of neurons and wired transmitters — in other words, the uniqueness of an individual is nothing beyond what we see and experience.

The cynic, of course, would look at the neanderthal that we have become, where we stare into our Smartphones like zombies and laugh uproariously as the crudest of jokes, and nod in agreement.  But what of the experiences of the extraterrestrial — does that shed any further light upon the issue?

Take, for example, the concepts explored in works like, The Man who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie, or Robert Heinlein’s story of science fiction, “Stranger in a Strange Land” — where an alien culture and perspective meets with the consciousness of the banality found on earth; is it any different than when Native Americans first saw the ships appear upon the horizon of the Americas?  What is the natural response of the Man from Mars, and what is our response when confronted by an alienation of cultures, processes or foreign encounters?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the strangeness of the experience itself is often daunting, at least in two or three ways: First, the medical condition itself is a phenomena that is alien, where previously the Federal or Postal employee was a healthy, vibrant individual.  Second, the fact that the Federal or Postal employee cannot “do it all” is another foreign concept that one has to adjust to, and that is often difficult enough.  And Third, the experience of meeting adversity and sensing a negative reaction by one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Facility one works at — that, too, is a foreign and alien experience, where before the Federal or Postal employee felt like he or she was a member of that “team”, and now the treatment accorded is one likened to a plague or infectious disease.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether he Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an experience likened to the Man from Mars — and because of this, the Federal or Postal employee who needs to consider Federal Disability Retirement might want to consult with a tour guide, otherwise known as an attorney who specializes in the attractive sights on Mars and within the purview of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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 job, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Judgment

How does it develop?  Does youth necessarily, by definition, undermine the existence of it, and if so, why does such a “rule” become obviated by the old fool who rests his arms (and other elements of the anatomy) upon the shoulders of one who could be one’s grandchild, only not by birth?

Is life not linear, but circular, and thus do we all revert back to childish ways when old age and decrepit bodies reveal the sanctity of our fragile mortality?  When Darwinism prevailed upon the civilization of discontent, did we not recognize that ultimate reductionism to pure materialism would trickle down into a singular desire to discover the fountain of youth?

It is involved in both the process as well as the conclusion; to have good judgment is to necessarily engage in a careful weighing of all information, consider opinions and analyze relevant data, dividing significance from irrelevancies.  To make a judgment, or arrive at one, does not necessarily involve the former; one can have good judgment, yet make a bad one; but, then, retrospective evaluations would define the latter in light of the former, and vice versa.  How can quality of judgment mature without direct and consequential experience?

If a young driver, on the first day after obtaining a license, comes upon a primary roadway accessible from a side road, where cars are traveling at the maximum speed limit in both directions, including trucks and commuters rushing to meet deadlines and timelines; where, the new driver must traverse across one lane in order to make a left turn – what experience does he have to judge distance, timing, suppression of fear and capacity for quickness of movement?

Or, in either love or war, what is the foundation in which to act, or recognize the difference between hormonal ravages and meeting the lifeline of a soul mate destined for longevity; and in the trenches of the latter, to fire at the moving target that may not be a threat, but a child needing to rush to the facilities in the far-off village where rumors of enemies lurk?

What constitutes the finality of conclusions as to who possesses “good” judgment, as opposed to “bad”?  Wisdom, experience, analytical capacity and evaluative abilities – which came first, the chicken or the egg?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to make a judgment on one’s career, future, and decisions about timing, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an area where judgment becomes crucial.  There are many legal pitfalls and obstacles throughout the administrative process, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a behemoth of an agency that can try one’s patience and defeat one’s purposive goals.

Lack of judgment is no crime, and not even a sin; but where such lack leads one to blindly enter into the arena of land mines, failing to consider legal representation is tantamount to the young driver who, in frustration of waiting at the busy intersection, closes his eyes and puts his foot on the gas pedal, hoping for a foolish act to defy the gods of fate, when all that was needed was for judgment to seek the advice and counsel of one wiser from years and experience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Fated Lives Intersecting

To state that, because something has happened, it was fated to happen, is to merely confess a tautology of meaningless repetition; and so there must be more to it than what the words themselves seem to logically undermine.  Thus, when Cassius lamented to Brutus that men at times “are master of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” he was referring to the clash between human will and the predetermination of events already set, and despite our best efforts, our condemnation by force of will, it is our own pathos that evinces tragedy.

From Classical Greek mythologies to Heraclitus and beyond, the one constant throughout is that, like the river which ever flows and shifts to erode the currency in time, there is little that we can do to forego the fated intersection of lives.

The people we sit beside in school, whether we reach out to make friends or ignore in silent disdain; the lives we impact, whether by choice or by unintended disregard; it is because we cannot live in seclusion and the profound truism of John Donne’s poetry that, indeed, the bell tolls not for everyone else, but specifically for each person, that hamlets and hermitages abound in defiance of fated encounters.

That loneliness and sense of abandonment by all around, is never more powerful than when a person is beset with a medical condition, and suddenly it is as if one is either a martyr or a person shunned for contracting leprosy; either way, the doom of fate and the promising stars have banished any history of meaningful contributions previously attributable.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker 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 the Federal position or Postal craft, the sense that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will not be supportive of a filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not just a mere chimera based upon unfounded psychosis; it is, instead, a very real dilemma.

And that is where fate, will and intersecting lives must be deliberatively evaluated and carefully analyzed; for, who is informed, at what point, and when to speak words of intended acts, may govern the future course of an Agency’s reactive motive.  For, the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time has clearly come when one may well believe that fated lives intersecting must be viewed not merely as a tautology of inane beliefs, but where careful scrutiny must be engaged in so that the stars do not interfere in the playful laughter of gods and karma, in the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire