Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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, it is important to recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Whispers of a former self

It is when the hushed voices pause as you pass by the proverbial water cooler where gossip is abandoned and conversations suddenly and abruptly cease; then, when distance is the safety net like the arc of flight envisioned by species in the wild, those coworkers nod, shake their heads and disperse like so many rats around a decaying carcass on the roadside until the oncoming truck rumbles close enough to sound an alarm.

There are whispers that echo and reverberate, and it is only when the sounds bounce back from the caves of despair does it finally dawn upon the soul it effects:  Those whispers are of a former self who, as a Federal or Postal employee, blazed new trails, always came early and left late, and never shirked responsibility in promoting the efficiency of the Federal Service.

The skeleton of that former self remains; and now, but for the whispers that howl like the winter winds across plains of abandoned and forsaken times, those voices begin to sound like the din of unlikely foes. What ever happened to that person who once lead the charge of the cavalry forward in each and every fight?

Health deteriorates, and over time, age and health become the combined enemy of youthful vigor that sprouted in innocence of antiquity in former times now gone.

When those whispers of a former self begin to speak, it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, lest the whispers of a former self remain to be subjected to further humiliation, like an unceremonious termination without applause or fanfare.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The arbitrary life

Some would counter that it is a mere tautology; for, life itself is arbitrary, and the very definition of arbitrariness consumes the conceptual construct of living.  Thus does the subject subsume the predicate, and vice versa; or, in this case, the adjective and the noun.  But of course it all depends upon how we define both the adjective and the noun.

Do we mean by “arbitrary” that things just happen without a cause, and that there is no “Grand Designer” that intervenes as in the old Greek plays where the expectation of a deus ex machina would always appear to make everything “right”; or merely that we didn’t know, were unaware, and simply the alteration of life’s sequence of anticipated events appeared suddenly and unexpectedly?  And of “life”, do we mean in general, or a specific incident, carved out with special significance, from all of the other sequential and incremental compendium of events that aggregate the entirety of one’s consciousness of that which constitutes the “history” of a living being?

Those who believe in an omnipotent being, of course, cannot concurrently hold that life itself is an arbitrary phenomena, unless by that one means merely that one cannot have the same omniscient perspective as the Grand Designer of Fate.  If arbitrariness is meant to encompass randomness, and that the universe is a mere series of unanticipated events, then the question becomes:  Is it the lack of anticipation, or the randomness of events that constitutes the bulk of arbitrariness?

For, the human capacity to anticipate events unfolding is fairly unlimited.  Yes, it takes time, study, research, effort of cognitive insight, etc., in order to engage a process of anticipatory predictability, but that is a price one has to pay in order to subvert the anxiety of the unexpected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an arbitrary trauma of life — another way of describing an unexpected medical condition (for, who in his right mind “expects” a medical condition, unless one is a statistician or a pessimist of the highest order?) — it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, this too will possess some components of the arbitrary life — as in whether the Federal or Postal employee’s Federal Disability Retirement application will be approved or not; but such arbitrariness can be somewhat controlled by seeking and following the advice of an attorney who specializes in such matters.

For, in the end, part of the solution in tackling the arbitrary life is to anticipate the random events that are unexpected, by controlling those peripheral and tangential issues that increase the odds of predictability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Procrastination and delay

The former denotes an active passiveness, while the latter connotes the former but may also include objective circumstances beyond the subjective input or control over the consequences resulting, whether from external forces, internal influences or a combination of both.

What compels one to procrastinate?

There can be a number of factors — of secretly not wanting to proceed; of the proverbial kicking the can down the road; of wanting to extend the known quality of the present and resisting the unknown quality of an uncertain future; or perhaps, just simple laziness.  Of the latter — of delays in a process, or of results expected — this can be because of actions taken or not by others, and a whole host of reasons not known by the expectant party.  Thus, for a delay to occur, much of the circumstances often cannot be controlled; of the former, most, if not all of it, is within the purview of one’s influence.

Further, it is often the monsters within that loom much larger than the reality without, and that is often true of things we anticipate we will not like, and of obligatory mandates that may be inevitable objectively but resisted subjectively.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating the necessity of 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 often that initial step that is the most difficult one to take.  And like that Chinese proverb that is often quoted, the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step, so it is likewise true that procrastination of that initial step is the one that prevents all subsequent steps and actions from being taken.

Procrastination is within the purview of one’s self; delays, beyond one’s control, or at least some part of it.  To overcome the obstacle of one’s self, it may be wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, so as to first understand the process of what it takes to file with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the intricacies involved and the requirements needed to meet the legal criteria for a Federal Disability Retirement application to “pass muster”, to realize what initiating steps are necessary, and to recognize whether the fears that delay are the ones that are merely in one’s own mind, or whether the pathway forward is as onerous as the fears that paralyze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire