Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

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, the necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking

What constitutes it?  What is the evidence that it was engaged in?  When a person is charged with “premeditation” in the perpetration of a crime, and therefore ascription of full responsibility is used to convict and assign a greater length of incarceration, what methodological intricacies are involved?

Take the following hypothetical:  A man walks into a candy store and grabs a Snicker’s Bar, and runs out of the store without paying for it.  He is nabbed.  At the trial of the matter, the prosecutor gives the following summation to the judge:  “Your honor, this man clearly thought about it.  He entered the store, looked about, and deliberately took the Snicker’s Bar and ran out without paying, knowing that he did not pay it — otherwise, why would be have run?  Indeed, when the police caught him, he yelled, “I was hungry!”  That statement alone shows that the man knew he had not paid for it, for it was an admission of a motive, and thus, it is a clear indication that he thought about stealing it, walked into the store and with criminal intent stole the candy bar.  Only the death penalty would be appropriate for one with such premeditative intent, as he is a danger to society!”

Now, contrast this with the following:  The Candy Store’s automatic door opens, and an animal — a neighborhood dog — saunters in, sniffs about, and no one really notices.  The dog grabs a Snicker’s Bar, gobbles it.  Passersby watch.  The store’s owner notices, laughs, shoos the dog out the door.  Why do we not think that the dog “thought” about it?  Why is “thinking” ascribed to the human being, but not to the animal?  What is it about the actions of the two species that differentiates them?  Does the mere fact that we able able to speak, formulate words and convey thoughts, whether pre-or-post action confirm that any extent of reflective processes occurred?  Is the process of “thinking” always productive — i.e., leads to actions that are fruitful, or is much of it simply an insular activity that results in no great consequence?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are “thinking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “thinking” about it is to take the next step and act upon the thought.  People often think that thinking is a productive activity, so long as it remains active and continuous.  But thought can also negate and prevent, and too much thinking, or not enough, can often become an obstacle to the necessary next step.

In order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the key to productive thinking is not merely to engage in it as an insular, solitary activity, but to have the consultation and advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, lest merely thinking about it leads to an unthoughtful act that leads one to believe that the very thinking itself was thoughtless.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The smile

Some say that dogs don’t do it, but dog-lovers know better.  Cats certainly do, but with a slyness that betrays sincerity; and chimpanzees, hippopotamuses and elephants.  Birds cannot because of the rigidity of their beaks; and squirrels, certainly, with their flitting movements as they run joyfully across lawns and up treetops where nuts galore await their anticipation of delight.  But of human beings; we all engage it, but whether with sincerity or to conceal, that is always a question that needs pondering.

The eyes often tell all; as Plato and others have described it in metaphorical terms, the window to one’s soul; and so one may walk about and force upon the watching world the curl around one’s lips, but the vacant stares or the look of pain, the distant eyes that betray the insincerity of the smile will often manifest the anomaly of what the expression means.

Only human beings can portray the opposite of that which is natural.  For, with animals (and yes, that includes dogs, as well, despite what the so-called “experts” say) the smile is just that – an expression of the facial features that impresses upon the world that happiness, contentment and a tummy rub (i.e., for dogs) produces the effect that naturally comes about – the smile.

For humans, however, it may be to conceal; of the smile that says to the world, yes, I am happy by all appearances, so leave me alone and allow me to wallow in my own secretive misery.  Or, the expression on the face that curls the lips just before the smiling face stabs one in the back.  Or, in a group of people where everyone is talking and smiling, you spot across the room the person who is also smiling, but still you wonder, for the eyes don’t quite match the curling expression.

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 and position, the smile that conceals is often the one that is worn day in and day out – to conceal the pain, to hide the truth, to cover the anguish.

One cannot be genuine and continue on in life if the inner turmoil does not match the outer reality of life’s living.  It may be time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if only to have the smile on one’s face return where the genuineness of the expression matches the reality of one’s situation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around us.

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, the issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The importance of seeing a way out

The strategic approach of allowing for a route of retreat is well-known; by providing an exit option, casualties are lessened and the proportional ferocity of battle often parallels the availability or non-existence of such a pathway out.

Cornered animals behave in the same way – and why would they not?  Do we think that we are somehow exempt from the genetic predisposition of Darwinian inherency?  And the cornered enemy who sees no exit – with the final bullet retained for self-annihilation, the option of surrender not a reality for the traitorous residue to such an act, or of the potential for torture and mutilation naturally following revenge upon actions taken previously; or a kamikaze-like final hurrah met with a hail of bullets; it is the importance of seeing a way out, that often determines the course of future conduct.

That is how the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker views the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement:  as the “way out” of an otherwise untenable future course.  Without it, the options are often:  Die trying to get to work each day; resign with nothing to show for the many years of investing in one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.

What is so interesting in engaging Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers for multiple decades, now, is the singular and unassailable fact that is contrary to the misperception held by the general public:  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are among the most dedicated of workforce servants, putting in long and uncompensated hours beyond what they are required, and never wanting to take the “exit option” but for the chronic and severe nature of a rising and debilitating medical condition.  And, how many who obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity go on into the private sector and “pay back” into the very system from which they are being compensated the Disability Retirement annuity?  Many, if not most.

Without the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, many would struggle and ultimately lose the battle either with the agency or the Postal Service, or with the medical condition itself.  Even with the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the pay is not so enticing as to encourage any mass exodus via the vehicle of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, and it is only because of the progressively deteriorating nature of a medical condition that finally impels and compels the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker to take that exit option, and to seek to reach a plateau of rehabilitative serenity such that a further career or vocation in the private sector could be possible.

In the end, like enemies in a fierce firefight, the importance of seeing a way out is just as relevant to the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, as it is to the kamikaze warrior who tightens the band of fate by an emblematic headscarf in preparation for the final battle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Indeterminate Deterioration

Some events come with it a specific date, and even a time; others, within a span of identified moments and blocks of weeks, sometimes months; the rest, undetermined, unspecified, like the lost soul who wanders the traversing echoes of eternal reverberations left to the sifting cleansing of a foaming ocean washing and lapping, ever repeating the comforting sounds of surf and salt strolling like the footprints gone in the sands of countless castles disappeared.  But that medical conditions would conform to the science which attempts to treat, and approach one with technical precision and certitude.

When did you first notice the symptoms, the kindly doctor asks, as you scratch your head and stutter forth an incomprehensible gibberish of a response.  A similar question is posed on SF 3112A, concerning the “date” (approximate) the Federal or Postal employee became disabled from one’s position.  How does one answer such a question?  Fortunately, it asks not for a day or time, but merely the month and year, and to that extent we can be thankful for its inherent foresight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who attempt to answer this question without much thought or reflection, be forewarned and with a hint of suspicion; trap doors abound everywhere, and while one may overstate issues like the paranoid cousin who points a telescope not at the moon and stars, but directly at the next-door neighbor’s bedroom window, it is well to consider carefully the answer to be given.

The context of intermingling meanings:  Was it during one’s tenure as a Federal or Postal employee (for those separated but contemplating filing within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service)?  Will it prompt the question, Does the medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months, including the time encapsulating the prognosis of the doctor?  Does it coincide with any event or issue arising at work?  Does the date identified precede any adverse action promulgated by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  Truth is always the guide for integrity in all cases, but the reality of a medical condition is that time is often discovered on a spectrum, where chronicity and deterioration spans over many months, and often years.

To pinpoint is to be precise; but where deterioration is progressive and indeterminate, the fading sounds of an unspecified echo which bounces from cave walls to the expansive skies beyond the realm of certainty, the date recognized may be one which floats and fades like the dust of angels left as a residue of virtue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Insular Delusions

The advantages of holding one’s own counsel are multiple:  little internal strife; dictatorial rule; decision by fiat; complete control and dominance; no blame can accrue to others.  The downside, of course, are just as numerous:  no input from others; the limitation of new ideas, constrained by the perspective of one’s own thoughts and concerns; the fool’s impropriety of listening and following one’s own judgment; little to no brainstorming.

Judgement and decision-making by singular counsel has worked well in countries, corners and civilizations which respond subserviently to dominance and domineering.  But when the populace begins to realize that the emperor is not as wise as once thought (or declared by fiat to be by the dictates of the royal palace, issued in blaring tones and trumpeted daily in printed leaflets used by the peasantry for bookmarks and beddings), then the rumblings of a hunger beyond mere need and wants begins to pervade.

Insular delusions occur because the holding of one’s own counsel ultimately results in a circularity of logic and judgment, and unless new and fresh perspectives are allowed in, self-immolation is the resulting loss of vigor and vitality.  Further, when a deteriorating force begins to gnaw away, such as an unexpected medical condition, then sound judgment and rational perspectives give way to exaggerated and exponential quantification of fear and paranoia.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need 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 decision-making process should always include counsel outside, above, beyond, and objectively-attained, in making decisions about one’s future and security from the ravages pending by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Federal Disability Retirement is not just about securing one’s future; it is, moreover, a matter of establishing a capacity of reaffirming one’s potential in becoming employed, without penalty, beyond the Federal sector; of making sure that one’s accrued Federal time in-service is not for nothing; and to ensure that one’s rights have been protected in order to move forward into the future.

Insular delusions occur when an individual retains the sole counsel of one’s own accumulated wisdom; but as wisdom is not merely the aggregate of one’s own opinions and perspective, the delusions which follow are like the windmills of old where knighted grandeur resulted in the myth of Sisyphus, where the toil of rolling a boulder up the hill of agony left one depleted in the soul of the absurd.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire