Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Inversion thinking

The dictionary definition often refers to a “reversal” of an opinion, position, order of sequence or relationships between entities, but may also connote the grammatical alteration of the normal sequence in a sentence, such as placement of a verb before its subject.

In modernity, we often hear about the admonishment to “think outside of the box” – and advertisements often try to play upon this concept by declaring some grand secret that is only available to a limited number of people who are smart enough to call in to the station within the next 5 seconds, lest the opportunity of a lifetime be lost (ignoring the fact, of course, as you are sitting singularly in the confined space of your car listening to the radio, that there are tens of thousands of other listeners who similarly have the mistaken belief that being alone in a vehicle listening does not mean the same thing as being the only person hearing the announcement).

The fact of the matter is, that once a person begins to be told to “think outside of the box”, it is already too late; for, inversion thinking must occur prior to everyone else engaging in the herd-mentality of being different.  Being different means doing so before everyone else has similarly become different, which is to say that everyone becomes the same.  At that point, one must try and become different from the collective differences already alluded to, and in so doing, it is already likely that many other people have already considered the next course of mutation and followed a similar suit; and so it goes.

Inversion thinking is just a different way of thinking outside the box; or, one might say, it is the same as thinking outside of the box, only stated in a different way.  We all like to think of ourselves as unique and singular, when in fact most of us are mere figments of an aggregated collectivism.

We all go to the same type of schools; we listen to the radio programs within the restricted airwaves of our communities or at least until the satellite programs expire and the constant flood of offers to extend become so annoying that we go ahead and give that credit card number to pay for programs we never listen to; and the spectrum of information we are bombarded with – from television to movies, internet and Facebook, et al – makes herds of us rather than mavericks upon the great plains of the creative mind.

We are told as we are growing up, how unique and “special” we are, but in the end, inversion thinking is a phenomena that rarely occurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is often the thought of being “different” that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from taking that “next step”.  Be not fooled, however; for, from the perspective of the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service, you have already been targeted as “different” because of your medical condition.

Inversion thinking requires taking that next step, and to think “outside of the box”, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is that distinguishing feature of human activity that will require a different kind of approach in order to step into the uncertainty of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Avoiding the anarchy of thoughtless acts

Life requires acting; successful living demands thoughtful acts.  Every good stage manager recognizes the signs; there are those who float through the script, with nary a cognitive engagement; others who involve themselves with an exhaustive turmoil of stipends unpaid; and still, those who think that talent alone will carry one through, despite the mediocrity which has surfaced unabashed, and where fingerprints left behind of tattered devastation betraying the lack of success.

Do we ever really “get over” our own ignorance or arrogance?  It is said that the two go hand-in-hand, like cousins who dress identically, or twins who hide their natural jealousies by inventing figments of unborn siblings.  It is because we need to compensate for our ignorance that our arrogant character traits surface; and by our arrogant personalities, we reveal the depths of our vacuity.

In history, there never has been a successful civilization based upon anarchical designs; despots and totalitarian conduits aside, such an institutionalization of disarray would never work.  We already have that in supposedly “organized” governments: bureaucracies of mammoth proportions that continue to thrive on indolence and disrepair.

In a state of anarchy, there isn’t even the semblance of competence; as everything is allowed to work without rules, principles or vicarious rationalizations for perpetual existence, so the inherent despair of personal destruction would prevail over any healthy ego or psyche which attempted to reassemble and reorganize.

But what of individual acts?  Does cruelty originate from an anarchy of thoughtless acts, or do they appear from a deliberative consciousness of knowing resolve?  Must institutions reflect the disarray of individual minds, or does a collective anarchy somehow transcend the singularity of thoughtful vacuity, and translate by pure osmosis a secularization of bifurcated consciousness?  Since when was cruelty excused because of lack of thought, when all throughout history it was precisely that principled requirement which mandated good manners and decorum of proper living?

We have come to a point in history where we have accepted a degraded standard, an institutionalization of mediocrity, and thus the faceless shame of inhumanity.  In the end, we will pay a price for such a state of concession, with a thousand cuts inflicted daily.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties, the daily harassment, hostile environment and constant bludgeoning of the fatigued workforce is but a microcosmic reflection of the greater macro-indicia of a world gone mad. One may take some consolation in the dismissive aside that, “It is nothing personal” – but that is indeed some minor conciliatory excuse.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the best option available, but it is that which attempts to preserve a scintilla of dignity, as a safeguard away from the daily imputation of cruelty designed, and a means to avoid the anarchy of thoughtless acts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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 never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Figures Larger than Life

Once, mythological figures and characters looming larger than life itself wandered amidst the common populace of everyday working folks; their very presence bestowed a greater sense of purpose, of a pride in knowing that better days lay ahead, and that even in the upheavals of tempestuous travails and turmoils which interrupted every economy and fiefdom because of the inevitable vicissitudes of economic activity, that somehow we would all survive through the common efforts of community.  But the pureness of the mountain stream became poisoned, diluted and polluted by egomaniacal intrusions of selfish constructs; “we” did not matter much, if at all, and the accolades of accretion demanded greater self-congratulatory spotlights of self-centered egoism.

Thus was the “selfie” born.  In the midst of such a society, empathy for the disabled will be wanting and rare; the saying that he would shove his own grandmother under a moving bus is not merely a warning, but a confirmation of normative character.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is well to know who, and what, one is dealing with.

Agencies and Post Offices which may have shown care and comaraderie during better times, may not continue the surface-appearance of comity and cooperation when it becomes clear that the Federal or Postal employee can no longer remain as fully productive as in years past.  Human nature being what it is, the self-contradiction of man’s thought processes can always amaze and delude:  One believes that one is neither naive nor ignorant; concomitantly, that the world is generally an evil arena of life; but, somehow, one’s own friends, family, and agency are the exception, when the callous experiences of life have shown us otherwise.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a clear indication to one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service that you are no longer “one of us”, and more to the point, can no longer contribute to the betterment of the agency, the Postal Service, or to the advancement of management’s careers and objectives.

You become considered as mere dead weight and fodder for the wasteland of problems and pecuniary penchants of piracy and pernicious paupers.  You become erased and digitally deleted from those seemingly happy images of office parties and ceremonial accolades where words of praise once were dispensed with generous helpings and heaps of adjectives and adverbs not often heard.  You become the nobody that you always were perceived to be behind those lying eyes, had always been, and forever considered; you just didn’t know it before the occurrence of confirmed establishment.

Perhaps we know too much today, because information is cheap and available; and perhaps giants never roamed the earth in epochs extinguished by time and modernity; for the figures larger than life are nowhere to be found, but in what we make of our lives through sheer effort, planning, and genuine concern for the man sitting right next to us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: Formulating the Effective Case

Is it inherently presupposed that a case to be formulated is one which should be “effective”?  By the insertion of that term, of course, it immediately implies a retrospective vantage point — an “ends” to “means” view of an outcome-based approach.

If a Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, receives a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one assumes that the case was not “effectively” formulated.  On the other hand, if an approval is received from OPM, one need not consider any such issue, but merely moves on to the “when” phase — as in, “When am I going to get paid“?

Outcome-based formulation of a case is never an unwise approach; but the mere fact that a denial is issued by OPM after reviewing a given Federal Disability Retirement application, does not mean that the case itself was not originally “effective” in the formulation and submission.

There are OPM “administrative specialists” who systematically deny cases; certain others who require a higher standard of proof beyond what the law mandates; and even those who extrapolate clear evidence in a denial which establishes eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement, but nevertheless concludes with a disapproval.  Such arbitrary outcomes may seem unfair and unwarranted, but it is a reality which must be faced.

In light of this, the positive outlook to embrace is the fact that Federal OPM Disability Retirement is an administrative process with multiple stages for appeals and additional bites at the proverbial apple.  From the outset, it is always a good idea to carefully prepare, formulate and file an “effective” case; but the mere fact that the first attempt fails to achieve the outcome desired, does not diminish or extinguish the positive assessment reached at the outset when first the Federal Disability Retirement packet was submitted; rather, it just means that additional proof and evidentiary addendum must be forthcoming to satisfy the bureaucratic process of further effectuating the efficacy of an already-effective case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire