Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Time wasted

It all depends upon one’s perspective, doesn’t it?  For some, watching television is time wasted; for others, reading a novel, and even within that subset of opinions and viewpoints, it often depends upon “what” you are reading before the hammer of judgement is struck: If a beach-time novel, then it is a waste of time; if a classic, then you are utilizing your time wisely.

But what if you are, in fact, sitting on the beach enjoying the lazy lapping of waves, and merely want to get lost in the fantasy of a junk novel — isn’t relaxation a good use of one’s time?  When does “constructive” relaxation turn into time wasted — i.e., laziness?  Is it when the bare necessities of life are no longer attended to?

Of that proverbial brother in-law or other distant relation who is whispered about, who barely holds on to a job, is found spending more time at the corner pub than attending to one’s kids, or the one who constantly oversleeps, overstays his welcome or overstates his woes — is it just a guy who likes to relax, or is he a lazy bum?

Is there a mathematical formula in determining when time is well spent doing nothing, or is wasted?   Sort of like: Time multiplied by the extent of bare necessities required divided by the extent of need, minus particular circumstances that must be taken into account factored by 3.

Can a lifetime be wasted, and if so, what would be the criteria to be applied or imposed?  A wealthy person might contend: We have about 60 years or so to make our fortunes, and if a person has not done so within that timeframe, it is a lifetime wasted.  Some others might counter with: Amassing wealth is not the sole criteria of a worthwhile life; the fostering of human relationships, of making someone else more comfortable, or of even granting a dog some happiness, is what makes this life a worthy one.

Does a medical condition bring about a differing perspective?  For the wealthy person who makes enemies throughout and angers almost everyone with his or her single-minded focus while disregarding the feelings of all else, but who suddenly is hit with deteriorating health — does time take on a different meaning?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — is time being wasted by the struggle itself?  Does it appear that everything is an uphill struggle: of juggling doctor’s appointments, work, family obligations, etc.?

Preparing 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, may not be the best solution of all, but it may be the most prudent one, as time is not a friend to be wasted when it comes to one’s health and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: SF 3112C

As a “government form” it purports to provide guidance in general terms, and it is doubtful that the lack of clarity as to its purpose or utility will assist the medical professional into writing an effective report.

The plain fact is that SF 3112C is a confusing form — confusing both to the doctor or Nurse Practitioner who is presented with it, as well as to the FERS Applicant who is attempting to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.  It refers to a “position description” being attached, but fails to provide the necessary explanatory nexus between the PD and the medical opinion sought.

What part of the position description should be focused upon?  Is it the entirety of the PD, portions of it, or just the “essential elements”?  Is it relevant whether a person can work part-time, full time, or an erratic combination of both depending upon the severity of symptoms that may arise periodically?  Is SF 3112C meant to confuse, or like so many “government forms”, is the language inevitably misleading because it is (A) meant to be that way, (B) unintentionally written in an unclear manner or (C) is meant to be wholly unhelpful because OPM doesn’t want to go out of its way to help the Federal Disability Retirement applicant?  Must the SF 3112C, the “Physician’s Statement”, be used at all?

If you are still working with the Federal Agency or on the rolls of the Postal Service, or at least not separated for more than thirty one (31) days, must the prepared physician’s statement be sent directly to your H.R. Office without first being reviewed and validated by the applicant?  The form itself certainly makes it appear so, but is that really the case?

In the end, the applicant who is preparing, formulating and filing a 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, must make some initial and important determinations concerning the substance and content of the application itself.

Forms are tricky; the laws that oversee them, often vague; but if you are relying upon instructions written and formulated by the very government agency that will be making a determination on your application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in the very law that governs Federal Disability Retirement, before you begin “filling” out forms or having your doctor fill one out.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Functional architecture

It refers to those unnecessary trappings; but of course, the immediate question which follows is:  who determines necessity as opposed to aesthetic addendums otherwise of utilitarian vacuity.

The traditional approach in functional architecture is determined by the general principle that a building should be designed by the paradigmatic governance of the underlying purpose for which the structure should be constructed.  That is likely why government buildings are essentially drab and colorless, reflecting the purposive nature of a bureaucracy and administrative conduits.  The grandeur of the wealthy in pouring money into aesthetically pleasing facades, otherwise without any meaningful utilitarian basis, is a consequence of wanting to impress, as opposed to a functional capacity to reside.

In modernity, functionalism is akin to pragmatism, which is often seen as the heart and soul of this country’s success – of advancing towards the next technological innovation, accomplishing beyond the project paid for, and getting things “done” in order to calculate the worth and value of a person’s being.  At the cost of family, neighborhood, culture and normative constructs, we go for that which works, what pays and what can be sold.

Thus does the American model function on the motto of pragmatism:  Of what does it benefit a man if he cannot make a living from it?  And so the narrative goes that waves of immigrants gave up their native country, whether because of famine, wars, poverty or persecution, and traveled to a far-off foreign soil in order to carve out a living without the trappings once enjoyed.

But the concept of functional architecture can reach into other disciplines, as well – as in the composition of words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages of stream of consciousness.  One can, for example, add all sorts of unnecessary verbiage in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in response to the questions posited in Standard Form 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This can get one into what is often proverbially termed as “hot water”.  For, just as the three classic goals of architecture still remain relevant today – of utility, beauty and firmness (reflecting the conceptual generalizations of use, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and structural integrity), so the same can be applied in preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application in the statements made:  Writing to the point of the Federal Disability Retirement application (utility); being comprehensible and coherent, with a purposive narrative (beauty); and, finally, firmness (maintaining the structural integrity of the narrative by building the proper linguistic foundation in formulating one’s answers on SF 3112A).

Thus, as with most things in life, functionalism does not merely apply to the discipline of architecture, but can easily be transmogrified into the complex administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement.  As the fullness of life is an admixture of interconnecting experiences, so the principles undergirding architectural integrity can teach us lessons in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The caustic nature of disdain in parity

In human history, class structure — whether of bloodlines or lineage; of wealth or claim to title and royalty; or of validated descendants from ancestral superiority — has been the norm.

Then, along came a religious figure (unnamed herein to avoid risk of inflammatory offense and preventing the potential for implosions of alarming hashtags in fits of fear and panic) who posited the notion that the “poor” (that class of mass populace which comprises the greater part of the world) should take “pity” upon the “rich” (those in the minority of the greater class struggle who control and manipulate the invisible levers of the world) because of the difficulties inherent in obtaining the proper credentials to enter through the proverbial pearly gates.

He went further in word-pictures of masterful storytelling, painting images of hellfire, suffering and punishment for those who mistreated the former, and where rewards, awards and commendations bestowed were merely of a temporary and ephemeral nature, whereas the eternal damnation based upon pleasures enjoyed in the temporal world would last well beyond the palliative superficiality of currency beheld.

The problem unstated, however, when the concept of “pity” was introduced, was twofold:  First, the validation of such a feeling and perspective made equals of those in unequal circumstances, and one could even argue, reversed the roles maintained for societal conformity and stability, and enforced a parity of stature; and, second, the emotional and psychological make-up comprised in the very heart of “pity”, is akin to “disdain”, and is a close cousin thereof.  Yes, yes — the one attaches to charity, a desire to assist and retains elements of empathy, sympathy, etc.; but it is more than that.  “Pity” allows for parity of status and stature, just as “disdain” reverses the roles of societal convention.

That religious figure of yore (though we may impute total and complete omniscience upon the fella) injected into society a heretofore unnecessary and problematic component of societal disruption.  It is, indeed, the caustic nature of disdain, which can evolve from pity, that presents itself as the poison which kills and the infectious spreading of ill-will and discomfiture.  The feeling of unease quickly spread throughout nations and continents, and we are in the state we find ourselves in modernity, because of that uninvited infusion of dissatisfaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily toil with a medical condition, and face the onslaught of the Federal workforce and the Postal groups, the problem of pity and disdain, and their combined causticity is well-known.  So long as you were healthy and fully productive, your coworkers, Supervisors and Managers treated you within the well-defined “class-structure” of acceptable conduct and behavior.  Once it was “found out” about your medical condition, suddenly their attitude and treatment towards you changed, and altered dramatically, or perhaps (in some instances) in incremental subtleties of quiet reserve but spiteful turns.

Perhaps some “pitied” you, and you them; but such feelings have turned to disdain — not on their half, but from your perspective. Why?  How?  You are the one with the medical condition, who cannot perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job, so what right have you?

Precisely because of that historical figure of yesteryear; that the true essence of human nature is to be cruel, and thus the best alternative remaining is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in an effort to preserve the last vestiges of a class structure quickly fading in this world where the caustic nature of disdain in parity still survives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Trauma of Change

There is comfort and security in the monotony of routine; for many, even a slight alteration in the identity of daily action presents a threat to the coherence of a world created and maintained.  Old men and women who suffer from the destructive forces of dementia rely upon it; homes which house the aging population, abandoned by obligation and freed from trust of children now grown, lean upon the crutch of sameness, as if sanity depended upon a universe determined to defy detour of deference.

But such clinging to the security blanket of daily recurrence is not relegated to the old; for most of us, reliance upon the monotony of unchanging sameness is what provides for reliability and dependability; alteration of environment is for the youth to encounter, as excitement of differentiation can only be relished by those who can accommodate change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, and where the symptoms and ravages of the diagnosed medical conditions begin to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the winds of change present a formidable challenge to one’s sense of equilibrium, perspective of stability, and calm feelings for a secure future.

Change is traumatic; and, moreover, unexpected and uninvited alteration of circumstances by force of unwanted imposition, is like being hit over the head by the proverbial hammer of life, and we kick and cry in protest as we are dragged down the avenues of change.  And, like the addict who must undergo the steps towards rehabilitation, there is a recognition of stages:  Of having a medical condition; acceptance of the medical condition; realization that the medical condition results in an unavoidable impact upon one’s Federal or Postal career; then, to undertake the pragmatic and practical steps in 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.

It is this last step which is often the most difficult — to actually take those “real life” steps in applying for OPM Disability Retirement; and why is this?  Because, so long as we only “talk about” things, there is still stability and sameness in the objective world; but once we reach out and connect “talk” with “action”, the trauma of change becomes real, and the recognition that the world we left behind as a child — of gnomes, fairies, and the knight in shining armor — were really mere pictures in a storybook stored in the lost memories of innocence and warmth of a mother’s womb.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire