OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Pleasure & the ascetic

The two concepts are often thought to be antithetical, from opposing philosophical frameworks and inconsistent in their expending of energies to achieve.  Of the latter, it connotes self-discipline and an aversion, if not outright refusal and avoidance, of any indulgences that are implied by the former.  The former, of course, is what most of us strive for — if not openly, then surreptitiously while denying that it is one’s singular goal.

Pleasure in its excesses can be harmful, of course, just as too much of anything can lead to self-immolation through abundance and gluttony.  Both, however, have something in common: they are like two sides of the same coin, where life doesn’t allow for the existence of one without the recognition of the other.

Thus: Being cannot be distinguished without Nothingness (e.g., it is because there is the “nothingness” of space between the bookshelf and the wall that you can differentiate between the two entities); life cannot be identified without its opposite —death, or inertness; wealth is created in contradistinction to poverty, or lack thereof; a smile can be recognized, but so can a frown; and so forth and so on.

What the ascetic fails to realize is that the extreme of self-indulgence in striving for pleasurable activities need not be the only methodology of interacting with this world; there are more moderate ways of living than the pure rejection of all pleasure.  Conversely, the one who strives only for pleasure — i.e., pleasure as the sole motivator in one’s life and goal-seeking — fails to realize that its corollary — pain — is a necessary posit, and if not rearing its ugly head presently, will do so sometime in the near future.

Pain is an existential reality of life, just as pleasure is the rare interlude that we all seek, and it is the ascetic who has realized that life’s pleasurable moments will often follow with a period of pain, as the reason why some seek to limit the pain by denying all pleasure.  That is why monastic orders come into being, and why Zen Buddhism founds its roots in the denial of reality in order to deal with pain — all because pleasure could not be ultimately achieved without the pain that accompanies.

That is the reality that Federal and Postal employees come to realize when a medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, those “pleasures” that were once taken for granted — of a health body; of a mind that has focus, concentration, and mental acuity to multi-task on a daily, sustained basis — begin to wither and wane.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, and when one is forced to take that necessary step, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

For, in the end, neither pleasure nor the ascetic have grasped the true point of living a worthwhile life; as worth is determined by the priorities ones sets in the course of existing, one’s health should thus be a major element to achieve within every web of goals set, whether in striving for pleasure or regarding the ascetic who renounced it for the sake of a mistaken belief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The tentative step

This is a tough and dangerous world.  No longer a Hobbesian State of Nature nor of War, the Social Contract as envisioned by Locke or Rousseau provides some nominal protection, and thus do we identify ourselves as “civilized” entities in yet a dystopian universe where a greater majority of the rest of the world acts with unconcerned insanity by engaging in senseless wars of mass killings and genocidal encounters.  In such a world, we thoughtlessly bring newborns who must contend with an uncertain future, fraught with challenges unasked for and conflicts yet to be encountered.

Those tentative first steps of a toddler – how we watch with awe and observe with wonderment.  Why is that?  Why is the transition from ambulating as most other mammals do on four legs, to engaging an awkwardly wobble as a bipedal hominid, of such significance?  Is it because it marks the steps of initiation into the club of “civilized” society – that to stand upright and walk with our two feet, as opposed to the addition of the other two appendages, signifies the next stage of growth and maturity?  Yet, that tentative step reveals all, doesn’t it?

It marks the magnification of uncertainty for the future; it reveals the imperfection of the human animal; and it manifests the symbol of insecurity by deliverance of a vulnerable entity thrown into a pit of vipers and hyenas.  We do this to ourselves, and to the ones we say we love.  And as the toddler grows up, through further steps of initiations into a cruel world, how that tentative step cements and molds itself into a characterization of so much of life’s violent encounters.  Whether remembered or not, those nascent steps of uncertainty carry along with us like Pilgrim’s burdensome backpack, weighing upon us at different and varying stages of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition reenacts those tentative steps taken as a toddler, one becomes reminded that we came into this world uninvited, presented without a guide as to how to go about living life, and suddenly find yourself with a challenge:  No longer able to perform all of the essential elements of your job, your choices are to stay and endure the pain; leave, resign and walk away without anything you worked so hard to attain; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, like the toddler taking those first tentative steps, this is a new endeavor, a next phase, but probably without those doting parents cheering you on.  As a result, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, if only to steady those two feet as you jump forward into an uncertain future by submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The pendulum swing

Time used to “march on”, and the pendulum swing was a metaphor which everyone understood.  No more.  The digital age of technological superiority has made such inane profundities left stacked upon the history of obsolescence.  But for cherished grandfather clocks in hallways of mansions forgotten, or in the mysteries of worn novels where the tick-tock represented the anticipation of the sudden death scream; the slow, mechanical device which moves to and fro, left to right, right to left, and into the eternal progression of marked time, is but an irritant for the noise it makes.

Have we outlasted the utility of mechanical complexity?  Does the software program in which we see nothing but an algorithm of undecipherable content ever transcend the fascination we glean from springs, weights and mechanisms of human innovation?

The time piece too heavy to carry about, yet never replaced the pocket watch transferred with generational delight, and reflected the craftsman’s care in perfecting the soul of a person’s worth.  Somehow, the digital face of a blinking light flashing when the electrical surge fails to protect, is not the same as the quiet peace of an undisturbed house when the pendulum ceases to swing because the owner forgot to adjust the weights.  And history now forgets, too, doesn’t it?

Are we at the far side of the extreme, never to swing back, because there is no pendulum to remind us?  Can the death of the clockmaker mean the end of reason and compromise, because there is no metaphor to realize, anymore?  We tend to believe that such metaphors follow upon a literary device of recognizing something more than the mere fodder of mechanical devices; but what if the opposite were true – that the cadence of history required the invention of the pendulum itself, and the stoppage of such back-and-forth, to-and-fro means that only the extremes of disproportionate swings will remain frozen as the epicenter of man’s egregious faults?

We assume much; and when we presume to follow history’s dialectical progression without considering the actions within our own willpower, Nietzsche’s eternal return to the bosom of our follies will surely unravel and reveal itself in the face of our reflected foolishness.  And so, as the proverbial pendulum has stopped, stuck in the timeless middle of muddled quietude, so the failure to make any progress in our own personal lives will be another lost metaphor in the eternal dustbin of forgotten concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who want to break the cycle of being stuck perennially in the quicksand of mediocrity, it may be the ripened time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, as time fails to move without the movement of objects surrounding, so the human frailty of non-movement and inertia is a broken mechanism deep in the recesses of the human heart.

Taking the next step – any step – in filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits with OPM, is at least a slight movement, a reverberation, of that time harkening for the pendulum to swing back to its proper place of origin.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement (FERS & CSRS): Computational Intentionality

Presumptuous intentionality will lead to an assumption which ultimately undermines one’s own argument; and in every endeavor, a computational approach based upon a general algorithm of life’s experiences will often leave out key factors and essential elements.

The problem with one’s own medical condition is that the person who experiences it is one and the same as the person who must convey the experiential factor to others.  That is what is often termed an “epistemological privilege“, in that the subjectivity of the medical condition, the pain, the psychiatric disorder, the cognitive dysfunction, one’s inability to focus or concentrate, etc., is ultimately reserved to the confinement of the person relating the factors.

There are, of course, objective methodologies in determining the subjective experience, by testing, diagnostic applications, manifested physical symptoms, etc.; but pain and other self-experiential factors are, by their very definition, subjective in nature.  A computational intentionality will take the experience of one’s own pain, consider the length and volume of medical treatment and records amassed, and presume that the compendium of the whole will make for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

One hears it all the time: “Mine will not have a problem”; “I am sure you hear it all the time, but…”  What is heard “all the time” is not necessarily shouts from success; rather, the voices heard are more likely to be in response to dismay and disbelief, as it is a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application which evokes the loudest sounds of discordant trumpets.

The information which is placed into a computer determines the quality of conclusions arrived at when a computational intentionality is formulated; what one does not know, and fails to include and assimilate, may in fact be the harmful error which defeats.

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 compendium of evidence to be culled and calculated, then disseminated as an effective and persuasive presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not what standard government forms account for.  But that “forms” were the primary foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement, then all Federal Disability Retirements would be easily passed through.  But then again, if that were the case, Federal Disability Retirement would not be a benefit to be proven, but a right to be asserted.

Yes, Standard Forms are a “part” of the process, and so for FERS employees, SF 3107 and their sequential series must be included; for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees, SF 2801 and their sequential series must accompany the Federal Disability Retirement packet; and for all Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D and SF 3112E must be filed as well.

But in the end, be fully cognizant that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely based upon a computational intentionality of a mechanical nature; the “human element” is always pervasive and ever present, precisely because a medical condition itself is the ultimate revelation of the human condition, wrapped within the context of questions involving human frailty, empathy, sympathy, and the evocation of humanity within a universe of cold and mechanistic deliberations of silent computers.

And for those movie buffs, remember to pay homage to the HAL 9000.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Misfit

The herd mentality must of necessity have a survivability factor; otherwise, there is little to explain the illogical repetition of the historical recurrence of human folly for behavioral anthropology.  In the modern era, being “different” is a sign of rebellion, and the cultural tidal wave of the Sixties in altering the normative landscape of music, art, religion and social customs, revealed the pinnacle of self-destructive behavior — until it became clear that being a misfit itself was merely the convention.

Behaving “normally” means that one does not make “waves”; in a highly bureaucratized society, the importance of non-innovation and complete compliance is regarded as sacrosanct.  Loud, boisterous behavior; conduct outside of the normative inflexibility of societal perspectives; that which is acceptable as quirkiness or eccentricities, as opposed to destructive explosions of tendencies bordering upon insanity; the invisible line between the misfit and clinical commitment to a psychiatric facility is a thin reed, indeed.

Often, however, it is uncontrollable circumstances which impose upon an individual the unwanted label of being an “outsider”.  Medical conditions often have a tendency to promote such a state.  It is like being labeled a plague-carrying contagion by the CDC; once whispered, the rumors begin to spread.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, being labeled a misfit becomes a “given”. Others begin to shy away from an association; some are told bluntly not to have contact with “that one”.

Loss of normative acceptance within any community or society is an important factor for success; somehow, despite all of the legal safeguards, EEO regulations and protective statutes applying to disabled individuals, the herd mentality of yore nevertheless prevails.  For Federal and Postal workers, the only pragmatic exit is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Is it a retreat or an escape?  Not really; rather, just a means of looking out for one’s own best interests.  The medical condition itself should always be paramount in considering one’s life; attending to it properly means that one must have the time and energy to treat the underlying malady; and continuing in an employment atmosphere where acceptance is avoided, and empathy is rare, is also an unstated definition of engaging in self-flagellation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Fundamentalist

It often evokes a negative connotation, of a rigidness and adherence to principles which refuses to concede allowances for exceptions lest the singularity of excusable violation permeate and tarnish the very paradigm of inflexibility; and in a religious context, it represents a historical movement of a “going back” or rediscovery of basic principles of faith.

But being considered a fundamentalist in a secular sense does not necessarily result in a negative implication; strict concurrence with a standard of excellence and an unwavering fealty to ensuring that basic principles are followed, can be a positive thing. Of course, that is not how the term is usually applied, and so we shy away from such labels of convenient certitude.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who is considering 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, it is important to be a “kind of” fundamentalist — of an adherence to certain foundational principles in approaching the formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application. For, in the end, pursuance of excellence can be a “kind of” fundamentalism, and insistence upon doing something “the right way” is an element of that most basic of approaches and paradigm of beliefs.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM should be viewed as a systematic, methodological endeavor which always encapsulates three basic principles (thus, as in theological circles, the trinity of fundamentalism):  Medical reports and records manifesting an impacting medical condition; a Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A; Legal argumentation of a persuasive and logically powerful delineation.

These are the three foundations which comprise an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  And if your neighbor shouts at you for being a fundamentalist in adhering to the basic principles of disability retirement faith, point out the beam in his eye, and merely wash out the mote in yours.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire