OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: What we believe

Belief is a funny animal.  So long as what one believes is never uttered, one can change them from day to day, or even from one hour to the next, without consequences attached.  Of course, you can do that, anyway, and many do in this day and age.  Once spoken, however, a belief takes on the figurine of a furnace-fired ceramic piece; to change is safe only in engaging the linguistic language-game with those who never heard of the belief, but there is a danger that such third parties could report back to the first party to whom the belief was conveyed.  Then, of course, there is the potential charge of hypocrisy.

On the other hand, there is always the disarming disavowal that it was all merely a “misunderstanding”, or perhaps that the other person didn’t get the “nuance” of the utterance; or the catch-all detachment:  “I was joking”.  Facts, of course, can alter beliefs, and that is supposedly acceptable because one has evolved through maturation of knowledge (unless, of course, you are running for political office, in which case you are reserved the allowable space to maintain the cognitive bifurcation like a schizophrenic, concurrently holding a “private belief” while concomitantly stating a “public stance” on certain sensitive issues).

Further, beliefs can become transformed via genetic, life-stage or “aha”-moments; the first because of some recognition that the wired-DNA that constitutes the “real” self has finally been revealed; the second, because there are recognized stages of living – of those prepubescent years, of middle-aged crisis and menopausal breakdowns, or in the end, just because a spouse and his or her lifetime commitment “grew apart”; and the third, by religious conversion and the “road to Damascus” experiences which allegedly justify a transcendent transformation.

In many ways, they are like opinions, though purportedly of a higher order.  Of opinions, it is often said that we all have them – of no greater consequence than the urgency to utilize the bathroom, with the latter having greater significance than the former; but of beliefs, they were once contingent upon study, reflection, coherence and rational methodology.  Somehow, in the linear progression of Darwinian evolution, the higher order of thought processes lost its way, and the meandering of human folly became the prominence of epic conundrums.

We have come to a point in human history where, what we believe is of an irrelevancy based upon our lost hope in discarding reverence.  For, the “what” must have a prefatory methodology, and that foundation was the reverence for creation.  We no longer believe “in” anything, because we no longer have any faith in anything of consequence.  Without awe, the human factor of hope, and therefore of belief, becomes a vacuity of thoughtlessness.  As all of creation is constituted by material equivalence, so our beliefs are of no greater worth than the gaseous ethereality emitted from the guy sitting on the next stool.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate 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, the loss of belief is an important factor to recognize – for, the one saving constancy throughout is that there still remain “laws” which people, agencies and even the U.S. Postal Service must abide by.

Adherence to the law is often the only saving grace in the craziness of this world, and knowing it, applying it and arguing it in meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, is the best way to avoid that catch-all dismissive, that it is all merely “your opinion” as opposed to “my belief”, when in fact pointing out the precedential case-law and arguing the statutory basis is precisely what is needed to get beyond the irreverent assertion of that which we believe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM: Major Depressive Disorder

The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”.  One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.

The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned.  Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition.  If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.

We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact.  Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases:  most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise.  But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).

It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for filing a 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.

Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual.  But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Nature’s Purposive Divide

Teleological ascription accounts for the rational foundation behind the activity of an organism, and explains the “why”, but not that it necessarily “is” or how it came to be.  Inertia is the very opposite, or perhaps in Heidegger’s universe, the “nothingness” as opposed to “being”.  When bees swarm in a frenzy, there is a “reason” for their activity; and just as the skittishness of a herd portends a sensing of danger, so the aggregation of ants streaming back and forth from a given point normally means a food source attracting for plunder.

We may speak about these occurrences in academic and esoteric ways, but the underlying foundation to it all is actually quite simple, but not necessarily simplistic:  Nature provides for a purpose to pursue, and that is what divides the living from the inertia which surrounds us.  And the rule of Nature and the idea of teleological impulse is that, when we lose that purposive divide, we become like the non-living substance which everywhere reminds us of the corollary of life:  death, and the loss of one’s soul.

Constancy of deterioration, progressive destruction, systematic downgrading, and persistent harassment can dampen the soul; but it is ultimately the loss of Nature’s purposive divide which finally stamps out the glowing flame within one’s soul.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, unbeknownst because of the flurry of daily activity, it is often the meaningfulness of the work one engages, which provides for that teleological impulse.  When a medical condition begins to pervade, and systematically denigrate and degrade the quality of that aspect of meaningfulness, and further, when the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service constantly and persistently acts to exacerbate and rob one’s joy of the projects of life, then it is time to consider 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.

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM allows for a further teleological chance and opportunity, by first securing a lifetime annuity, then allowing for earning income in the private sector and beginning a second career or vocation.  While many may not consider the securing of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity as a meaningful endeavor for one’s financial security, it is precisely the stability of income which allows for the Federal or Postal employee to turn one’s energies upon other and more important things, and to allow for Nature’s purposive divide to propel one forth into the community of men and women who separate themselves from the mass of humanity who see drones and crestfallen vestiges of souls who once rushed where fools had remained and lost that flickering flame of teleological pull.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire