OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Responsibility

What is it about the ascription of such a word, that there can be a direct correlation or, if taken in a different context, some mere connection but no causality?  We can say of a person, “He is responsible for X”, and yet never have directly encountered X or (if a person) never even have met X.

Thus of monsters and thugs throughout history, for instance, we might say that “Stalin was responsible for 20 million deaths, at least,” or that Mao was “responsible” for a 100 million peasants dying during the late 50s; or, of course, of ascribing to Hitler the countless millions; and, so that we don’t leave out other “responsible” monsters of history, of Pol Pot, Idi Amin and many others besides, though we cannot link a causality that would pass Hume’s skeptical test of anything more than events following one upon another, we nevertheless accept that all such political figures were “responsible” for the deaths of millions.

What is the criteria in coming to such a conclusion?  Is it a negative proposition — that if X had the power or position to prevent such events from occurring, then Responsibility-Y can be ascribed?  Or must it be a positive declaration: If X engaged in Acts A, B and C, then Responsibility-Y can be attributable to Individual-W; and further, if only Acts A & B, but not C, then less so; and if only Act A, but not B & C, even less so?

Responsibility”, of course, is a malleable and transitive concept; it can change with the contextual winds of opinion, historical perspective and a cultural shift of viewpoints.  Look at how we approach our Founding Fathers — of responsibility for the slave issue in the United States, but somehow excusing each if (A) any one of them willed that they would be freed upon their deaths, (B) that one was “personally” against the issue but for economic, practical reasons were “forced” to go along or (C) they treated them “kindly” and “responsibly” (here, we have a double-meaning of the term, for such an individual was both “responsible” as well as being ascribed the “responsibility” of being a slave owner).

Or, look at the manner in which America treated Native Americans — of a genocidal history no less cruel than Mao’s starvation of the peasantry; and yet, because of such grand concepts as “manifest destiny” and the depiction of an entire populace as “uncivilized”, we can avert “responsibility” by distancing the causal agents; and the greater distance between the agents, the less we ascribe responsibility.

On a lesser scale, what about work?  If work suffers and there is no reason for it but laziness and lack of attention, we ascribe “responsibility”.  But what if a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — is that Federal or Postal employee “responsible”?

The short answer is a “no” — and that is recognized by “the Law”, in statutes, regulations and case-laws cumulatively aggregated under the conceptual aegis of “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.  It is precisely because society recognizes that a medical condition itself — and not the individual — is directly responsible for one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, that Federal disability retirement exists as a benefit to pursue.

But it cannot be accessed until and unless there is an affirmative step taken by the Federal or Postal employee, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  That is where “responsibility” comes into play as a direct causal link — of initiating the steps and actually filing.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Overload

The comparative life is an illusion of sorts; Plato’s theme throughout is established every day, as appearances hide the reality beneath, and the allegory of the Cave – where shadows constitute the seeming truth and the truth appears as hidden seeming – is merely an archaic anachronism that has been vanquished, if merely because no one gives much weight to dead philosophers and nobody has the time for reflection upon questions that cannot provide answers instantaneously, as Google and High Speed Internet have allowed us to become accustomed.

Looking about on any street corner, or walking among the populace at large, one would believe that everyone around is able to handle the daily stresses of modernity, and that overload – whether of information, activities, responsibilities, financial, ethical, family, commitments, work issues, health concerns, etc. – are all performed, accomplished, completed and fulfilled with but a yawn.  Somehow, we all know it not to be the case.

Statistically, a great number of us suffer from anxiety, depression, intolerance to any level of stresses, with physical manifestations and somatic consequences impacting; and how many among the seemingly “normal” crowd require daily intakes of pharmacological assistance by ingestion with serious side effects to boot, but like the three towers which – when viewed from a certain perspective of alignment, appears as a singular entity – presents one sense-impression and then another when movement of the perceiver alters the vantage point, we persist upon a given viewpoint despite knowledge to the contrary.

Sensory overload is a daily problem, a persistent concern and a philosophical conundrum, precisely because we have given up the opportunity for reflection, repose and reconciliation with life’s major questions.  No, philosophy was never meant for the masses – the Socratic dialectic made that clear; but the questions posed were meant to always and perennially be asked, such that each generation would attempt to make heads or tails of life’s serious concerns.

Instead, we have been told that there are no such questions to be answered; that mythology died at about the same time Socrates took his mandated hemlock, and all information is good, available and open to the public through Google, and we can all be happy with the lot of life given to us.  Yet, the overload we experience on a daily basis, somehow doesn’t quite fit that paradigm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the burden of overload – of having to “deal” with workplace harassment; of contending with the debilitating medical conditions; of deteriorating health and the impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue in the chosen job in the Federal or Postal sector – it may be time to consider 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, if the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you may be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is a long and arduous bureaucratic process that can take many stages in order to obtain, but the alternative may be of that appearance which defies the evidence of reality – like the Platonic Forms that represent the hidden truth behind the appearance of things presented – for, to remain without doing anything is to either continue to deteriorate in progressive debilitation of health, or to try and withstand the overload of life’s misgivings in a job which you can no longer do, or barely do, until the day comes when increasing pressure from the Federal agency or the Postal Service ends in a termination letter; and, that, too would be an overload beyond the ability to handle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Means to an end

There is a difference, with a real distinction, between utilizing a process as a means to an end, as opposed to using people for the same purpose.  Such a concept should be a “given” – that logical posit which is unquestionably true, without the likelihood of being controverted, and generally accepted as a foundational principle in a caring society and community.  Yet, modernity has contravened such a belief, and truth and falsity have become relative concepts on the pendulum of linguistic elasticity where the spectrum of facts, beliefs and opinions have become an amalgamation of conflated confusions.

Have we lost the capacity to recognize and identify distinctions that are substantively different because of their self-evident meaning and relevance?  Do we no longer teach logic – whether of the fundamental Aristotelian syllogism, or the greater complexity by extension as delineated in Russell’s three-volume magnum opus, Principia Mathematica – such that we can no longer argue for even the basics when confronted by once-accepted paradigms that Kantian categorical imperatives allegedly put to rest forever and a day?

Yet, that final proverbial “day” has now passed, purportedly, and such statements have become mere fodder for dismissive philosophical trash-heaps characterized by “Mereology” and other third-rate, Oprah-like condescension of forgeries masking as genuine belief systems.

Sartre and Camus presented their cases; the former, through a meandering philosophical treatise some would characterize as “Heidegger-Lite” (the comparison can be made superficially on the titles alone – of “Being and Time” as opposed to “Being and Nothingness”) and where his plays allowed for greater coherence than any of his “serious” attempts, while the latter conveyed the angst of human repugnance to becoming “objectified” through novels depicting alienation and the dilemma of human value in the very activity of defiance and rebellion.

Man, we are told, should always be treated as an end in and of himself, and never as a means.  Yet, in this mechanized, electronic-ized, technologized society, where the Smartphone is King and the tactile engagement with one another is merely an afterthought, we have to recognize that such inane beliefs are now mere archaic formulations of former times, previous generations and outdated constructs no longer applicable.  The Angst of Existentialism has come full circle; that which we scoffed at because it originated from Continental Europe is no longer a Sisyphean mythology, but a reality that now consumes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the weight and burden of a medical condition, being treated as a means to an end becomes part of the process.

Past accolades of dedication and loyalty fail to leave a trail of concomitant interest and empathy of warmth; you find out quickly that others don’t give a hoot about distinguishing between “means” and “ends”; but in the end, it is precisely the means by which you end up treating a fellow human being, and the very filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application should in and of itself warrant treatment of being an “end”, and not a “means” – but such self-evident principles appear to no longer be the accepted normative value within a society that cries tears for the Oprah show, but not for the real human experiences of the person in your own office, sitting in front of you, a foot away, real, not imagined, not a picture on Facebook, but a person of real flesh and blood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of human frailty

Youth is the folly that disbelieves; middle age, of a progressive realization that the past does not lie, but teaches us of existent graveyards we may have passed unnoticed just yesterday, with question suddenly more prominent about mortality, the afterlife, and whether it is possible to cheat illness, death or debilitation from its awaiting wages.  Do we call out to the gods in a moment of desperation, ready to make a Faustus-like contract, or buy into the cosmetic youth-movement with lotions, fitness regimens and, in the end, surgical alterations to cheat the fates of time?  Of human frailty, there is no avoidance.

We can demand damage-control and engage in the peripheral tinkering where the god’s of malevolent intent care not because of the harmlessly futile attempts we employ; and, in the end, nothing subverts but merely detracts, and only extends just beyond the embrace of our own egoism so long as we avoid the hanging mirror in the privacy of bathrooms unlit.

What cosmetic and artificial superstitions we initiate matters little; for human frailty is part of the joke that the mirth of mythological gods make game of, with mocking repose during lighthearted times of boredom refracted.  Frailty steals the clothes that hide, leaving naked the humanness of what we are, unearthed to reflect the very soil from whence we came and to which we return.

Medical conditions unravel the façade we create and surround ourselves, hiding the little we don’t already reveal, like Adam in those Medieval depictions with a leaf leaving the imagination to view beyond the superficial coverings of our own lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from such medical conditions, such that they prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties slotted, the reality of human frailty comes to the forefront.

For, ultimately, the purpose in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is twofold:  A recognition, acknowledgment and admission that the time has come to attend to priorities in life otherwise disregarded for too long; and an understanding that the history of human frailty does not merely depict and describe in dusty old books forgotten in the arcane halls of crumbling libraries, but lives on beyond the artificial facades of cosmopolitan egos that dwell beneath where the gods of fate, time and reincarnated echoes of forgotten graveyards remind with a cold whisper of tomorrow’s past.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Common Ground

What could it possibly mean, and how did that concept ever develop?  It implicates, of course, by logical extension its very inverted context in an insidiously opposing perspective; for, in the very admission that the rarity of the shared values that have to be “sought for” and “discovered” merely reflects the wide chasm of that which does not exist.

Once upon a time, a “community” never talked about “finding” common ground, for the very shared commonality expressed the very essence of the social contract itself, such that people assumed and presumed a set of normative values that characterize the intimate nature of the collective whole.  Thus, disputes which created fissures within a tribe, a neighborhood, a town or a nation merely revealed the inconsequential rarity of such factional events; it is only when the wideness of the chasm requires expressions like, “We need to find some common ground” or the need to reach some “foundational commonality” – that is when we know that the cavern is deep, the friction tantamount to an incommensurate duality of paradigms, and the torrent of vitriol an unbridgeable gap reflecting inconsistent values.

Modernity has manifested such a state of affairs; and, perhaps it is merely an inevitable process of a developing nation, like a Hegelian dialectical fate resulting from a history of wrongs committed and evils perpetuated – from the systematic genocide of the indigenous population to the history of slavery, suspension of Habeas Corpus, a divided nation ripped by Civil War, to the internment of citizens based upon race and ethnicity; it is, indeed, division in recent times which appears to dominate, with the constant drumbeat of voices calling for the identification, recognition and discovery of “common ground”.

Laws, of course, try and protect and preserve the ground lost to lack of commonality; and such forced and compelled imposition of laws, regulations and statutory enforcement can, for a time, keep the fissures covered and the leaking faucets somewhat dry.  But always understand that the enactment of laws becomes a societal necessity only when shared normative values can no longer restrain; it is, in some respects, an admission of failure for each law that is passed to protect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the chasm between reality and theoretical construct must be faced the moment the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is informed of the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the laws concerning administrative rights of filing, the requirement for the Agency or U.S. Postal Service to attempt to provide accommodations, and the absolute right to seek Federal Disability Retirement benefits are all there; the reality is that such laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits were fought for and maintained precisely because necessity compelled the recognition that that was a fissure widening into a deep chasm concerning the common ground of common decency in how Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service would, should and must treat Federal and Postal employees with an identifiable medical condition and disability, and it was precisely because of the loss of common ground that the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits came into being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: False Promises

Is it an oxymoron?  If it is made, how can it be negated by untruth; for, if it is a nothingness at the outset which compels null and void the substantive content of the thing itself, how can it purport to be what it is while at the same time creating an abyss of meaninglessness?  A promise cannot be false if it is to have the very meaning of a promise; and yet, we know that there exists such falsity of posited assurances, if not proposed by dishonest individuals and con-men, then at least by unintentional or otherwise mistaken pillars of vain malfeasance.

False promises are not promises at all; they are likened to nonsensical statements, which are similarly non-statements precisely because of the meaningless nature of the declarations.  Just as Bertrand Russell’s playful cunning in the statement, “The present King of France is bald” – that is both nonsensical and allegedly violates the laws of logic (specifically the Law of the Excluded Middle) – so, false promises cannot exist as either falsehoods or as promises precisely because they negate each other in their very existence side by side.

But in the world of pragmatic affairs, we know that they are made each and every day.  We are promised daily, and falsely, by individuals, entities, agencies and organizations, whether with or without a handshake, sometimes in writing, other moments by verbal implication, and even every now and again sprinkled with a smile, a nod, a wink and a prayer.  Promises made have an expectation of being kept; and broken promises, like false ones, cut deep into the wounds of betrayal, and haunt us with a profound sense of anger and reeking with the vengeful fury of a violation well beyond mere resentment.  There are few things in life that compensate for false promises.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, Federal Disability Retirement is just one of the few compensatory alternatives to the expectation of a false promise made, implied or otherwise denoted.  Perhaps it was the long hours of dedicated and uncompensated time devoted; or the expectation that loyalty would be a bilateral avenue, as opposed to a unilateral desecration of implied trust.

In any event, one would have thought that “accommodations” would be made upon the interruption of a medical condition, when the medical conditions resulted in one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal position or Postal job.  But, alas, such accommodations cannot be made; the dedication of those many years, and sometimes decades, cannot be recalled but for yesterday’s contribution; and the promises seemingly made cannot be false when, all of a sudden, a question is fired back:  Is it in writing anywhere?  What or who ever gave you that idea?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often not just the best alternative, but the most prudent option remaining and still available – in rebuttal to false promises made, and truth declarations long forgotten and left behind in the corridors of remembrances no longer written in stone, but disappeared into the office shredder worth the value of the paper it was never written upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire