OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The Grammar of Life

How we speak about the world; the words we use, the vocabulary inserted; and of the commas, hyphens and semicolons inserted; are they merely contained within the language games engaged, or are they reflective of a greater whole within aworld that views reality through the lens of language? Does what we say, how we speak, the words we choose and the accent intoned make a difference – and, if so, how, to whom and to what extent?

Certainly, it shapes how “others” see us, but what of our own self-image and the role we play in the everyday discourse of life?  When we refer to the “grammar of life”, the connotations and insinuations are endless; for, in this age of modernity, where most of us rarely encounter the objective world – except when crossing streets, sitting down for a meal or engaging in private acts otherwise unseen and unheard – but remain within the various “language games” of discourse, thoughts, self-reflection, analysis, contemplation and soliloquys.

Think about it; what amount of time is spent on reading, writing, responding to emails, getting on the computer, viewing, watching a movie, a video, discoursing with someone else, on our smartphones, texting, etc.?  In all such amalgamations of activities just described, we are merely engaging in the grammar of life – of the rules of speaking, emailing, texting, commenting, responding, initiating, etc.  The remainder – of actual engagement in the reality of this “objective” universe we must contend with – has become but a fragment of this surreal, virtual and insular world.

How much time have we spent on “perfecting” or otherwise becoming more skillful in maneuvering through the curves and pitches of this new reality?  Have we mastered the grammar of life, or are we just bumbling through the discourses as if reality is merely a byproduct and encountering the “world” is but a means to an end?

The Grammar of Life is important to recognize, because we spend a great deal more time in it than we recognize or admit to, and we were drawn into that alternative universe without any deliberative intent or acknowledgment of choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, you need to prepare to engage a “special” section of the Grammar of Life when coming up against your Federal Agency, the Postal Service and OPM, when preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet.

For, in the end, it is the “ultimate” of putting together a compendium of language games – from how the medical reports and records are presented; to the legal arguments made; to the fashioning of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A – all constitute and are comprised of the Grammar of Life, and if you have not been preparing throughout your life to take on such a challenge, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who has honed the skills of what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, which are the three essential rules in the Grammar of Life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Usurping dreams

What happened to them?  Where did those once youthful and exuberant conduits taking us beyond the monotony of the present disappear to?  When did we allow for “practicality” and “being real”, of “growing up” and “becoming responsible” to usurp the dreams of our youth?  Did we misjudge, misunderstand and misapply the principles first taught, and confuse the two concepts – of having a “realistic viewpoint” and abandoning all dreams and hopeful fantasies?

The two are not mutually exclusive; one can still work upon one’s dreams, yet go about the work-a-day world to make a living and pursue a career.  Ah, but then, life intervenes and interrupts, doesn’t it?  Is that why children are delayed, trips are cancelled and i-phones are kept in sacrosanct altars beneath the altered photographs of our imagined pasts?  Is the procrastination invited, the delayed life intruded upon and the project-time of 5-year plans extended, precisely because if we keep pushing beyond and giving ourselves excuses for inaction, there will one day come a time when we will admit that it is too late?

Usurping dreams is the insidious encroachment of cynicism shadowing our once promising beginnings, and the pendulum that allows for the heavy turn when clocks no longer run, thoughts become stale and creativity is suddenly disposed of, then the stench of human decay begins to set in, and we slowly die a death we once mourned in the youthful hope of our former times.

Usurping dreams is like the virus that gnaws away at the flesh of joy; usurping dreams is like the broken cane that once held the weight of an old man’s hand and allowed for ambulation, and no matter how many time you tape it together or glue the fissure, the weakest point of the break never quite heals; and usurping dreams is like the Book of Plans once gathered, then put aside into the cellar of one’s forgotten memories, only to remain in haunting whispers, always calling, never being heard but in the darkness where fears are touched and enlivened by the sunlight never quite seen for want of bringing back those youthful memories of exuberant smiles and unselfish shouts of pure happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the question is:  Did the career do it; did the medical condition do it; or is there still hope beyond the medical condition and the career?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, has now become a necessity.  The only real question remaining is whether the same pause which allowed for usurping of dreams those many years ago is the identical weakness of groundless fears that prevents you from taking that next step into a still-hopeful future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: How truly ordinary we are

Every now and again, someone will make that inane statement that seems to fly by in a discourse of overwhelming linguistic overcrowding of so many such pearls of wisdom:  “Oh, we’re all just human.”  Is it a logical tautology in a strict sense?  The “we” referred to is obviously a subject which includes individual human beings; the “human” described and identified, is the same as the “we” previously posited.  So, it is the same as saying:  “Oh, humans are all just human.”

If that were said, instead, would we not turn with a puzzled look of suspicion, as if the statement made was uttered in such a nonsensical term that the meeting of eyes would, or at least should, erupt with uncontrollable laughter like two hyenas cackling at the full moon?  Or, despite the inane nature of meaninglessness, do we all have a shared cultural norm of language, such that we recognize and comprehend such statements?  For, the sentence itself evokes meanings of shared belief: We are all less than perfect; Don’t worry about it, we all do that from time to time; The ordinariness of human frailty allows for each to give another the benefit of the doubt.

It also points to a slightly deeper meaning:  That, in our humanity, how truly ordinary we are.  Yet, isn’t that very ordinariness that which allows for the shared commonality of community?  The fact that we are ordinary is precisely what allows us all to “fit in”, and concurrently, touches upon that darker side of human nature to spur cruelty, arrogance, superiority and disdain.  For, it is the Darwinian predisposition to conquer and defeat, of “showing up” everyone else that we are what we are not created as – being ordinary.

That is why, when a medical condition is revealed, it is the weakness and the vulnerability that suddenly causes others to shy away, to shun, and to harass and prey upon.  Our ordinariness, in combination with the scientifically and anthropologically explained behavior traits of “survival instincts” and aggressive, predatory inclinations, somewhat defines why we are who we are and how, in a society that supposedly advances continually, we still revert back to your roots of caveman-like follies.

Medical conditions depict our ordinariness.  Manifested medical conditions attract the predatory inclinations within, like predisposed genetic and cellular triggers that cannot be stopped.

That is what Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition triggers a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, need to understand:  That we our human; our humanness reveals vulnerabilities; that such vulnerabilities will manifest themselves in quite ordinary revelations, including medical conditions; and, once medical conditions are revealed, it will likely trigger aggressive and predatory reactions, and attract those very hominids who, by Darwinian triggers of genetic predispositions, will react in an attempt to rise above our humanity.

Agencies act that way; the U.S. Postal Service certainly treats it employees in that thread of behavioral responsiveness.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, keep in mind that, in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, how truly ordinary we are is merely another way of recognizing that not only are we just human, but we can also reveal that dark side inherent in all in the rise to subvert just how truly ordinary we are, which only further uncovers how truly ordinary they are, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The advantageous disadvantage

In life, we often fight over things even when the goal has already lost its meaning, or the resources expended far outweigh the benefit to be gained.  We take advantage of things, people, and other concerns, despite knowing the consequences of harm to the very essence of our being.  It is as if the evolutionary core of our DNA determines our actions, like addiction upon the dawn of broken promises and childhood wisps of tearful mournings left behind.

Determination of actions despite knowing, and despite the constant drum of billboards, radio advertisements declaratively preaching against, and the distant voice of one’s nagging mother — ineffective reminders like shadow boxing before the perfect storm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who struggle daily with 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 positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the daily fights and taking advantage of the slow process of justice in remaining in the Federal job or the Postal position, is a toil of principle; but of what gain is there if one’s soul is being destroyed?

The Leviathan of Legendary Lore bespoke of creatures who destroyed without care or compassion; and today’s metaphor of such monsters are represented by gargantuan bureaucracies which crush without blinking an eye, unaware of just another number in a long line of conquests like unnamed tombstones in an abandoned graveyard.

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, is a step towards taking advantageous advantage over a situation which has become untenable; the procrastination and delay in order to fight the Goliath of modernity, is to remain in a rut where one may continue to take advantage of a disadvantageous situation, and remain in the clutches of a slow torture, like the frog who sits comfortably in a pot of warm water, unaware that it sits on a stove set for boil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire