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

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The unknown world

It is that part of the universe that is often seen as the “far side of the moon”, where shadows befall and eyes never perceive, witnesses never survive and documents don’t exist.  Mount Everest was once that world; galaxies outside of our own, despite our best efforts to invent and create greater and stronger telescopes, or ones that float in the nothingness of outer space and send back digital images that are obscure and indistinguishable from inkblots accidently spilled upon a sheet of white paper, but somehow scientists can discern great discoveries by pointing to colors, hue, magnified analogs and complex algorithms that leave the rest of us scratching our heads and declaring, “You got all of that from this picture?”

There was life once on Mars and Jupiter since contained icicles that entrapped microbes billions of years ago, and just through a photograph of a fuzzy specter that the rest of us would have interpreted as Bugs Bunny leaning against a fencepost eating a carrot stick.  But of unknown worlds and the far side of the moon where shadows rest upon and hide the human toil of secrets and conspiracies, the truly mysterious one is the subjective mind of the person sitting next to you.  Yes, yes, it may not appear that way – perhaps each time you ask a question of that individual, he or she merely grunts and states in the same monotone of boredom and unexcitable drone, “Yep. What of it?”

And so when PBS or the National Geographic Society has some show about the complexity of the human brain, the neurons and the micro-conceptual foundations that make up the universe of human circuitry, dreams, images, thought-processes, Freudian and other “-ians” that delve into the human mind of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious and all spectrums in between, you turn, look at that same person and say, “Not.”  Or, that person one day does something completely out of the ordinary and during his lunch break takes out a book – say, Kant’s classic on the foundations of metaphysics, or some such esoteric material, and proceeds to mumble to himself, and you say, “Gee, didn’t know he was into that.”  But then you again try and engage him with, “So, what are you reading?”  And the familiar refrain comes back: “Yep. What of it?”  Beyond disappointments and non-engagements with universes parallel, mysterious and already predicted, there is still that “subjective” universe where pain remains, medical conditions are hidden and plans for the future are yet to be expressed.

That is the netherworld of the Federal or Postal employee who must contemplate 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.  It is also the world of “cat-and-mouse” – of when to tell the Federal agency or Postal service of your intentions; how much to tell; when to submit the Disability Retirement packet so that it obtains the greatest advantage against the Federal agency or Postal Service; and all of the complexities in between.

Yes, there are still “unknown worlds” and universes; you just became too much a part of it to recognize the wonder of it all, because the guy next to you keeps burping and saying, “Yep. What of it?”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The spam of life

Have you ever been amazed by how much “spam” there is?  Consider how many individuals, organizations, groups of individuals, people sitting in their bedrooms with a laptop, etc., trying to scam and spam, for whatever nefarious reasons hidden; it is as if the whole world has gone mad.

Is it true that the great majority of such leftovers often filtered by computer software dependent upon the dubious intent of those who would infect and harm, is produced for the most part by a single individual, group or entity, and the rest and residue by the remainder and leftovers less calculating and invidious?

How is it that we have accepted such human detritus as a normal component within our daily lives, such that we even have a special “folder” that is designated for “spam”, where the software mechanism kindly identifies and re-routes such unwanted crumbs into that neatly identified space, so that in the morning we can just click upon the icon next to it that deletes it into a “garbage” can.

In “real life”, is there such neatness?

But that there would be a software mechanism that rerouted all of the annoyances and irrelevancies in life itself, like the spam that is cordoned off, isolated and singularly quarantined so that we never have to actually deal with it.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  A person who you do not want to speak with begins to approach you.  Bam!  He is immediately carted away and placed into an isolation cell.  A problem within the family arises that is distasteful and irritating.  Slam!  It is summarily solved by swiftly being designated as a spam of life.

Symptoms of a medical condition begin to impact your health.  Pause.  Somehow, you cannot always equate the spam of the computer world with the spam of life; not everything can be simply rerouted and discarded, forgotten forever.  It would be nice if such were the ingredients of life, like that in the world of computers; unfortunately, some things have to be dealt with in a different manner, by a differing approach.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers needing to file 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, the spam of life is the medical condition itself, and despite our desire to have a computer software somehow make it go away like computer spams that try and infect the technological creations of modernity, there is no special manner in which it can neatly be tucked away into a separate folder.

Instead, the spam of life must be dealt with as with all other similar problems in life’s complexities – by careful preparation, fastidious formulation and timely filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that other computer spams and unwanted spams of life can be more easily dealt with for a better tomorrow free from the junk mail of a future yet unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Moral Code lost in pragmatism

Kant is the best example, and is used often.  Of that arrogance defined by universalization of a query; and if we are willing to apply it in all circumstances, regardless of individual differences that may matter in the context of exceptions recognized, we are to adhere to that which may harm our own interests.  Why is transcendence important?  Why do philosophers insist that any “valid” moral basis possess a metaphysical foundation, transpired in order to justify a cornerstone unsullied by the meanness of common life?  Is the fact of relative significance unacceptable merely because it is subject to change?  Do we not, in daily life, have to adapt in every circumstance, all the time throughout every encounter with experiences, and is this not the very essence of survival?

We bought the posit of Plato and Aristotle – those two old Greek men who provided the foundation of Western Thought – that either (A) a transcendent Form of universalized principle must exist, or (B) that a methodological argumentation must be able to be advanced, in order to “justify” the ethical groundwork telegraphed.  That is how laws, statutes, and societal foundations have evolved – from the implicit assumption that, somehow, principles above and beyond the pragmatic are necessary.  But are they?  In a world that embraces pure materialism and the genetic predisposition of all that exists, without the inconvenience of a creator or grand inquisitor, is not the approach of pragmatism – of that which merely “works” – enough?

That is how the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service operates these days; they care less about any “principles” of fairness in the workplace, or employment “codes” that allegedly overshadow the work ethic applied to employees, and instead, approach it with a view towards the bottom line:  Profitability.  For so many years, the Federal Government was incessantly being compared to the private sector – in terms of output, efficiency and investment-for-returns.  Such comparisons failed to recognize the obvious:  the two general entities served different purposes and needs of society, and forcing them to coalesce and reflect each other merely denigrated the essence of each.

It is not so much the attributable similarities between Plato and Aristotle which form the foundation of such thinking; rather, it is the contrasting approaches between Heraclitus and Parmenides that conform our moments of contemplative underpinnings:  between change and permanence, betwixt relativity and transcendence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are 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, the question often arises as to a conflicting sense between one’s “Moral Code” and the pragmatic need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  Often, such a conflict is merely a result of muddled thinking – that, somehow, it is not “right” or “fair” to file for benefits when one is so young, or where one can still be productive, but not at the same level as before.  But that is precisely how the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is set up – to allow for a retirement from one’s particular kind or type of work, yet presenting an opportunity to remain productive in the private sector, and potentially make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Morality is all well and good for the elitists of our culture, but in the common world of pragmatism, we must embrace that which we are given, like breadcrumbs dusted off at the dinner table of the behemoth called, the United States Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Program: Word Piles

The etymology connotes the Biblical narrative found in Genesis, generally referred to as the Tower of Babel; in that case, not of words, but of civilizations attempting to reach the heavens in order to breach the power of the universe.  But Babel was more than the diaspora of a rebellious cabal of God’s children gathered to defy and deface; it had to do with evil, impure intent, and the conspiracy of human depravity in the face of a pure heaven and the violation of man’s sacrosanct relationship implicit after the metaphor of the Great Flood.

Words, likewise, hold such a contractual connection.  They were meant to convey the differentiation between Truth and Falsity, and to correspond to the objective universe in communicating the worth and beauty of a sanctified world.  The defamation of that level of spiritual relationship was violated not because of the tower’s construction; rather, Babel’s unanswerable sin had to do with the depravity of the human heart, and the essence of a soul’s darkening.

Whatever the motivation of the gathering’s aggregate will never be known; and of individual reasons for participating in the construction of such a structure, we can only guess at; but what is clear is that the response was one of anger, and such reaction must have had a reason:  the dispersion was both an explanation of the state of current affairs, a forewarning for any who might consider future similar actions, and a consequence of man’s violation of a once-sacred right.

Modernity suffers from a parallel state of affairs.  Though clinging to the paradigm of a Darwinian explanation of human history, and devoid of everything spiritual, mythological or generational transfers of traditional narratives, the metaphorical pile of words we amass reflect not just an attempt to become gods ourselves, but in the very process, to rebel against the very foundation of what words were meant to accomplish.

Once upon a time, in the flickering shadows and glow from fires where the village gathered to hear the storytelling ancients of the town historian, sorcerer and magic healer, the traditions carried forth from the inception of timelessness into the mysteries of the heart would pierce like the spear of the warrior, and children listened with wide-eyed wonder at the shaman who effortlessly rolled the tales from tongues emitting not mere sounds, but images and shadows of pictures more frightening than the lion’s roar or the wild boar’s tusks.

Words spoken, meant something, then.  Truth was bundled in the very telling of the tale; and falsity reflected the depravity of man’s heart, confounded by the loss of innocence in a world gone mad.

We can still get a sense of that — that encounter with words, meaning and truth; and, indeed, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must convey facts, circumstances and narratives of human experience when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the piling of words upon words must convey a test of reality, and a dose of the shaman’s storytelling.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is, in the end, not just creating a word pile; it is to communicate the essence of the human condition in a world which often fails to listen, and refuses to hear.  That is why it is important to formulate it effectively, accurately, and with a coherence beyond mere word piling, lest the fall be a cloud of dust greater than the collapse of the Tower of Babel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation and Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The stick figure across the street

We all drew them.  They are simple figures, one-dimensional, created not only by children and uncreative hands, but by sophisticated artists who convey complexity through their uncomplicated depiction.  Upon such lack of depth, we can project an unending dearth of fillers, precisely because the simple lines invite us to increase the servile skinniness by piling a composite upon the lean figures which are mere caricatures devoid of substance.

The neighbor across the street, whom we have never met, and who is but a figure the size between forefinger and thumb, and remains the remnant of a stick figure, and continues to convey, so; and when the annoying bark of a midnight dog awakens the sensibilities of insomnia and a sleepless night, or of such a thin veil of loss of restorative slumber that wakefulness becomes a better alternative, then we can fill in the gaps of the stick figure, add some meat and substance, with diatribes of invectives piled upon curses and unimaginable energies of words rarely considered and never previously uttered.

Coworkers used to be nothing more than such stick figures — before they earned that status of enamored stature.  That is why leaving a career, cutting short a lifetime of accomplishments, and turning away from the vindictive familiarity of a workplace once loved, is so difficult for the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset.

Once upon a time, the stick figures were mere appendages and afterthoughts in the life of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker; but over time, they gained substance, girth, and an unmerited significance merely by osmosis of daily encounters.  Thus, when a medical condition hits the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker with a force of plenitude such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be considered, it is not just the separation from mere commerce and economic entanglement which must be considered, but rather, extrication from a social network of figures who have evolved, over many years and sometimes multiple decades, into caricatures amassing and aggregating personalities, comradeship, shared sense of missions accomplished, and much more.

So long as they had remained mere stick figures from across the street, the distance of time, the separation of dimensions, and the wall of strangeness allowed for an ease of abandonment.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, however, the process is no longer merely a wave of goodbye to the stick figure across the street; no, instead, that has become the unwanted uncle who has no other home to go to, and must by obligation be evicted despite the relationship which has developed beyond the formless caricature painted upon our own minds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire