FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Trapped, the feeling

It is an unmistakeable sense; of panic which may ensue, or a narrowing of the universe where being shuttered, the walls shrinking, a sudden and overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia; and of physical manifestations, of an inability to breathe, of constrictions and lameness of limbs; it is all of being trapped, the feeling.

It need not be in a physical sense; a psychological condition that is just as real as the reality of the chair one sits upon; but others cannot see it, empathize about it nor conduct one’s actions toward ameliorating the condition; for, in the end, being trapped, the feeling, is an existential condition that can only be cured by first recognizing the source of one’s situation.

Observing an animal, trapped can evoke an empathetic comity of such feelings; we “know” how they “feel” just by the mere manner of actions they reveal.  The pacing back and forth; the eyes which tell you of their anxiety and distress; and constant movements in a frenzy of attempting to escape.

We have all been beset with being trapped, the feeling, and not knowing where to turn to, how to escape, what to do.  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, being trapped, the feeling, often accompanies one’s situation when handling both the medical condition and the reaction of the Agency or Postal Service.

The vicious circularity that begins to swirl like the formation around the hurricane’s eye or the tornado that touches down upon flat plains near an unwary midwestern town — of the increasing pressures being placed by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and the need to attend to one’s medical conditions — at some point, something has to “give”.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often the “escape route” available.  As to understanding the various exit points, the method and manner of escaping — for that, you should consult an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and one who performs the practice of law exclusively in the area of Federal Disability Retirement.

Being trapped, the feeling, is never a “good” feeling; but consulting with an attorney who specializes in finding the best approach in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application allows for its opposite and positive feeling: being freed, the sense of elation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Goldilocks Principle

Most of us are familiar with the fairytale; but in modernity, the principle extrapolated has been extended thus: the natural pendulum of occurrences must fall within a certain set of margins, as opposed to reaching the outer limits of extremes.  And, indeed, most things settle into a comfortable compromise of corollary constancy; it is precisely because of the anomaly of extremes that we take special note of the exceptions which develop and manifest.  And that is always the continuing hope of most individuals — for a reaching of compromise, and static settling into a middle ground, etc.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the Goldilocks Principle will often fail to apply.  Increasing pressure is brought to bear (no pun intended) upon the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who shows signs of vulnerability; perhaps an initial verbal warning, then a written admonishment; then, the placement of a PIP within the constant environment of hostility; restrictions upon leave usage, and finally, a proposal to remove.

Medical conditions require priority of purpose and attending to the medical condition itself.  Actions by agencies and the U.S. Postal Service often serve to exacerbate the medical condition.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option which should be considered earlier, than later.

In the end, of course, the Goldilocks Principle is somewhat relatively determined by where those margins or goalposts are placed; for, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the realization that the middle ground of comfort is far from the fences of the extreme, depends upon where the Federal or Postal employee is standing, in relation to the medical condition, the harassment received, and the empathy shown (or more precisely stated, the lack thereof) by the agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Life’s Dispensation

It is often a word which is accompanied with the adjective, “special“, as in “special dispensation”; but a close review of such a phrase would reveal the redundancy of placing the two words together.  For, to have a dispensation is to be offered a unique situation where one is already exempted from the usual and customary rules applicable; and to insert the adjective, “special’, adds little to the exclusionary nature of the occasion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition is beginning to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties occupied in the Federal sector and U.S. Postal Service, it is the disability and medical condition itself which gives rise to the dispensation requested, demanded or otherwise warranted.

That is precisely why resentment, hostility and exclusion occurs as a reactionary response by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service: because special treatment outside of the normal rules of employment tend to engender such negative responses.

Filing for FMLA; requesting an accommodation in order to continue working; becoming entangled in EEO Complaints, grievances and the like — they all set you apart, and require actions outside of the normative parameters of daily relationships within the employment sector.  And that ultimate reaction by the agency, of “sticking it to the guy” even when it involves a medical condition impacting one’s employment and livelihood — one wonders, how can others be so cruel?  It is justified precisely through the psychology of the “herd mentality“, reduced to its most natural form in a single question:  “Who does that guy think he is?”

For Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often becomes necessary to follow up with the ultimate dispensation of that which one’s employment offers — that of filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is not always the case that an employment package offers an annuity which (A) provides for continuation of insurance benefits and (B) allows one to work in a different vocation while receiving the annuity; but Federal Disability Retirement allows for both, so when the situation arises and there is a dispensation which reveals a solution to a problem, it is indeed a special circumstance which should be recognized as such, while ignoring the redundancy of life’s tautology.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire