OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Servitude

It is a term that is viewed as neutral in one sense; for, the concept itself, while implying subjection to an owner or master, does not require it.  “Slavery”, on the other hand, necessarily connotes a system of ownership and involuntary compulsion; “servitude” can quite simply be tied to the idea that there exists a lack of freedom.

Taking it a step further, one can experience servitude if one has complete freedom; for, the excess of X often results in the opposite of X, as in the statement, “If everything is nothingness, then nothing is everything.”  Thus do we believe that, in modernity, everyone has greater liberty and freedom.  Fewer and fewer issues are any longer societal taboos – from what entertainment we prefer to any constraints on the choice of a career, Western society claims to have the greatest extent of freedom.

Yet, why is it that people don’t “feel” free?

That economic limitations and restrictions seem oppressive; that no one has time to gather together as families; that the more technology accords and claims to give us greater freedom to do “other things”, the less time we feel we have to do anything but work and rush about in this world where the intrusiveness of technology has had its opposite effect – not of granting greater freedom, but of voluntarily goading us into a servitude of acceptance.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of creating that bondage of servitude.  Somehow, when a medical condition begins to develop, it ties us down, requires us to change the way we have been living, and forces us to think again about the priorities in our lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have “served” their Federal and Postal “masters” well, the rise of a medical condition often magnifies how much we are a “slave” to time, to productivity and to the pursuance of goals that somehow, in light of the medical condition, become less and less of importance.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a necessity required by and resulting from a medical condition that makes the Federal or Postal employee realize that he or she can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

All the while, the anomaly of life intrudes: One had believed that one had chosen freely one’s Federal or Postal job, but when the medical condition began to impede, and the demands of the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility made it clear that it had become a job of servitude, it may be time to cut those chains of bondage and free one’s self to attend to the greater arena of liberty – one’s health, by preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Of good humor

Can it last, and for how long?  Are there such people in this world, who wander about and retain a sense of good humor no matter what egregious worldly circumstances devastate and make destitute the trying soul?

Or, like that chime that attracts little children to run with abandon into the streets upon hearing the approach of the good humor truck – you know, the company that was sued for creating an attractive nuisance, because children respond like cats and dogs to sounds associated with tasty ice cream (come to think of it, not just children, but all of us as well) – are there people as well who are like the memories of lazy summer days just waiting with that nickel to spend upon to soothe the saliva that drips with the heat of bygone days?

Of good humor – is it merely a human trait, or do dogs, cats and even undomesticated animals possess it, as well?  Have you ever met an individual of whom we say, “Oh, he is the guy possessed with an unalterable and unique advantage in life – of good humor”?  There is something attractive, is there not – to be able to smile despite tragedy, to find the satirical side to every turn of a trial, and even to consider a chuckle in the midst of a painful encounter?  The person who can smile throughout the tides of life is one who can withstand the tsunamis of unbearable pain and tragedy.

Certainly, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with the lengthy bureaucratic trials in waiting upon a Federal Disability Retirement application filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, possessing a sprinkling of good humor is somewhat of a “must” in order to endure the administrative procedures involved.

For, the choice is somewhat clear – of being the good humor truck that brings satisfaction to mouth-watering children running for relief from the heat of summer, or being that child who gets run over by the good humor truck.  In the end, the goal of getting an OPM Disability Retirement annuity is not for the purposes of good humor, but to be able to ring the chimes of life in order to step into a brighter future and a better tomorrow, no matter what flavors of ice cream may be hidden behind the panels of the good humor truck.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation a nd Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The nose beyond which

The human animal has reached a point of evolutionary pedigree where constant vigilance with the outside world is generally thought to be unnecessary; although, still when an individual walks through an unlit parking lot in the dead of night, the hairs which straighten and stand at attention on the nape of one’s neck would belie such an expression of civility amongst the savagery of newsworthy crimes printed daily.

Most of us live and walk about completely immersed within our own thoughts and reflections; and when encounters with the “outside” world suddenly jolt into an awareness just beyond, to focus upon the individual, event or incident which indicated a need for such engagement, the capacity to readjust and comprehend the alien nature imposed by a cacophony of sight, sound and a compound admixture of both, often confuses and torments.

Kant and Wittgenstein were correct in questioning the conventional views of a philosophical approach which wedded language to reality (to even combine both names into a single sentence is blasphemy, and an oxymoron of conceptual contradiction); the former, by proposing that there were human dimensions and constructs imposed upon an impervious universe of objectivity where the “thing-in-itself” bore little relation to how we perceive them; and the latter, by deconstructing the link between language and reality.

How we engage the world; what level of comprehension and understanding we bring to the fore; whether and what “success” we achieve in tackling the problems we face in a society that neither cares nor thinks about empathy and comity of human endeavor and suffering; the volume of questions posed and queried always surpasses the answers derived.  The nose beyond which we recognize is rarely embraced.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such a statement of truism is rarely denied.  Others fail to notice; the chasm between knowing that a medical condition is impacting a fellow worker, leaving aside the greater and universal perspective of a “fellow human being”, expands exponentially in a proportional widening defined by the intersection between title and pay grade, and the level of empathy lacking and sympathy non-existent.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who think that having a medical condition, after years and decades of loyal and dedicated service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, will automatically inspire a return of such vaunted conduct of responsive grace, become quickly and sorely disappointed and disillusioned.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option to take, if only for the sake of preserving one’s health, whether psychological, emotional or physical.

For, in the end, the nose beyond which a person may suddenly see, is that neighbor waving across the street, the lost child crying on the corner of the next block, the homeless person wandering the inner city desolation past the invisible lines of suburban sterility, and the infirm dilapidation of rotting humanity abandoned in old people’s homes which we euphemistically deem as “retirement communities“; and that which circles back to the Federal or Postal employee who remains unaccommodated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, who must prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because the shame of humanity has dissipated into an uncaring universe of ethereal space defined by an unperturbed imaginary deity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step in 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, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire