OPM Disability Retirement: Living versus being alive

There is a difference, is there not?  Of hummingbirds and cardinals bright against the backdrop of an evergreen; of a child running across the grassy knoll; then of aged men in nursing homes, shuttered away in corners where the drool of saliva unwiped reveals the tarnish of human unkindness; and of prisons rotting away with crowded cells for addicts whose sickness is considered a crime where, in ages past, opium dens and other vices merely preached in empty churches of the difference between mortal and venial sins unrehearsed.  Yet, we have somehow been duped into believing that “movement” is the basis of “living”, and its antonym, the lack thereof, constitutes something less than.

It is often when a medical condition overwhelms one with a debilitating illness, or a chronic state of pain; or, even of inconvenience in not being able to function as other “normal” people do, that it begins to “hit home”:  living is good; being alive, also, is worth it.  Perhaps the distinction is scoffed at by the healthy; as youth believes in the immortality and invincibility of foolhardiness, and often tests it to the detriment of failure and embarrassment, so wisdom may accompany an insight of some rather insignificant profundity – that we can boast well when everything is merely a hypothetical, as in ivory towers of university concepts, but we are all willing to compromise when the stark choices of life present themselves within limited contexts of concealed alternatives.

Being alive isn’t all that bad; living is preferable, but sometimes we have to accept the choices as presented by the reality of our unique and individualized circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates ending one’s career and shortening one’s desire for continuation in a chosen field, the recognition and admission as to the limitations imposed by one’s mortality, health and physical boundaries, as well as the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s ability to have the cognitive focus, concentration and attention to detail, will oftentimes require compromises that come close to the distinction noted – of living, versus being alive.

Perhaps the contrast has not swung in the pendulum of such extremes of options, but the feeling is certainly something that hits close to home.  For, continuation in the job will only further and progressively debilitate, such that you will come to a point of no return and end up simply being alive.  Living, as the preferable choice, is to take the steps in preparing, formulating and filing 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, precisely in order to prevent that state of last option prior to the ultimate test of mortality’s humor – of merely being alive, as opposed to living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The clinical language

The antiseptic nature of language allows for the euphemism of linguistic cloaking to occur.  The corollary effect, however, is that it fails to provide a nexus to the humanity lost, and allows for an arrogance of language by imparting its distance and separation from warmth.

Clinical language has that characteristic, steeped in the mysterious and archaic history of Gregorian chants at altars once embodying the Eucharist’s theological secrets of transubstantiation with the priesthood undulating in phrases foreign to ears of modernity; and from that same pocket of incomprehensible linguistic sophistication that only New Englanders like Buckley and other intellectuals would bandy about with phrases we all nod at as if we understood them, comes the cold, clinical language that doctors, nurses and psychiatrists use in diagnosing conditions beyond the mere commoner’s ability to realize.

The clinical language bifurcates and objectifies; it is a way of keeping the discussion on a level of discourse where human emotions need not enter, will not intercede, and cannot invade through the impenetrable walls of the rational side of the brain.  Perhaps there is a need for that; a want, a desire and a worthiness to maintain that distance, so that the topics delineated, explained and obfuscated can be accomplished without the emotional turmoil of those consequences resulting from the realization that one is damaged goods beyond repair.

In the end, however, when the patient goes back home, discusses it with family, friends and close relations, the interpretive process must by necessity be utilized.

In former times, dictionaries were taken out, root words were defined and the Latin phrases whispered in secret murmurings of incantations incomprehensible were untangled, discerned and disassembled.  In modernity, we Google them and have the algorithm of computer intelligence in sunny California interpret the words for us to digest.  Then, the translation into the emotive language of kitchen-held talks in hushed tones where children strain to listen from stairwells around the corner; and tears wept, confidences given and lost, and the upheavals of families in crisis where the clinical language has been demythologized and demystified so that even the everyday person can recognize the human toil of a ravaged body and mind.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, whether that medical condition has been diagnosed in clothing termed by the clinical language used by the medical profession, or already interpreted in common everyday usage, the plan is to prepare an effective, understandable, cogent and coherent Federal Disability Retirement application, and one that can bridge that gap from phrases barely comprehensible to linguistic descriptions that present a viable case.

Doctor’s reports and office notes, clinical narratives and treatment records are all useful and necessary, but in order to create that legal nexus of presenting a persuasive argument and meeting the standard of proof of preponderance of the evidence in a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is always a good idea to interpret and translate that clinical language into a delineation that touches upon the everyday emotions common to us all, by breaking down the bifurcated walls and allowing for the warmth of humanity to pervade the narrative of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: False Promises

Is it an oxymoron?  If it is made, how can it be negated by untruth; for, if it is a nothingness at the outset which compels null and void the substantive content of the thing itself, how can it purport to be what it is while at the same time creating an abyss of meaninglessness?  A promise cannot be false if it is to have the very meaning of a promise; and yet, we know that there exists such falsity of posited assurances, if not proposed by dishonest individuals and con-men, then at least by unintentional or otherwise mistaken pillars of vain malfeasance.

False promises are not promises at all; they are likened to nonsensical statements, which are similarly non-statements precisely because of the meaningless nature of the declarations.  Just as Bertrand Russell’s playful cunning in the statement, “The present King of France is bald” – that is both nonsensical and allegedly violates the laws of logic (specifically the Law of the Excluded Middle) – so, false promises cannot exist as either falsehoods or as promises precisely because they negate each other in their very existence side by side.

But in the world of pragmatic affairs, we know that they are made each and every day.  We are promised daily, and falsely, by individuals, entities, agencies and organizations, whether with or without a handshake, sometimes in writing, other moments by verbal implication, and even every now and again sprinkled with a smile, a nod, a wink and a prayer.  Promises made have an expectation of being kept; and broken promises, like false ones, cut deep into the wounds of betrayal, and haunt us with a profound sense of anger and reeking with the vengeful fury of a violation well beyond mere resentment.  There are few things in life that compensate for false promises.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, Federal Disability Retirement is just one of the few compensatory alternatives to the expectation of a false promise made, implied or otherwise denoted.  Perhaps it was the long hours of dedicated and uncompensated time devoted; or the expectation that loyalty would be a bilateral avenue, as opposed to a unilateral desecration of implied trust.

In any event, one would have thought that “accommodations” would be made upon the interruption of a medical condition, when the medical conditions resulted in one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal position or Postal job.  But, alas, such accommodations cannot be made; the dedication of those many years, and sometimes decades, cannot be recalled but for yesterday’s contribution; and the promises seemingly made cannot be false when, all of a sudden, a question is fired back:  Is it in writing anywhere?  What or who ever gave you that idea?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often not just the best alternative, but the most prudent option remaining and still available – in rebuttal to false promises made, and truth declarations long forgotten and left behind in the corridors of remembrances no longer written in stone, but disappeared into the office shredder worth the value of the paper it was never written upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Wisdom’s hold on life

We never quite “get it”.  Trans-generational imputing of wisdom is not part of modern society.  In more “traditional” societies, multi-generational families live together out of practical reasons:  Not only is it less expensive if the earnings are pooled into a single resource of means, but until marriage or an offer of economic leverage pulls a member away from the core, imparting of wisdom, experience and voices of learned care may be passed down from generation to generation.  In the West, instead, the rush is to depart and fracture; to get away as quickly as possible; for, as youth is the cult of modernity, so folly of youth is the means by which we live.

That was the point of alternative interactions, as well – of apprenticeships, internships and other similar ships moored to more experienced hands; but even those are now relics of an age no longer relevant.  And of age – old men with decades of experience in handling matters of great complexity, shuttled away into homes smelling of antiseptic camouflaging of decay and devoid of respect or gratitude; women who once gained a stature of serene contentment, now deluged in a cauldron of impoverishment and relegated to the insignificance of lost memories.  Where is wisdom’s hold upon life?

There is, in the end, no means for generational transfer of wisdom, and the wheel must be reinvented at every turn, by an ignorant and inexperienced first generation where “first” is always reenacted and “generation” is merely something to submit to have a family tree drawn in order to boast of one’s genetic predisposition towards folly and foolishness.  Yet, we have come to believe that wisdom can be equated to information, and so we hand out Smartphones so that we can mindlessly look up data, soft news and questionable sources where references cannot be verified, plagiarism may be rampant, and esoteric knowledge has been forever generalized to a point of neutrality of purpose.

Where do we get wisdom?  From advice columns, gurus of booksellers hinting of “secret” formulas and self-serving wanna-bees of Dear Abby.  Once, wisdom’s hold on life resulted in an evolution of greater growth, as generational transfer allowed for each within the greater whole to advance beyond the elementary foundations of first principles.  Now, we are solitary, isolated and disconnected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, wisdom’s latent hold on life should not make one pause, but rather, as the dissemination of knowledge, information and guidance can be accessed through an experienced lawyer who has faced OPM many times, life need not be anticipated, but advanced beyond the folly of youth where wisdom’s hold on life is but a moment devoid of influence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Deprogramming a Preconditioned Approach

The preconditioned attitude of the general public is that, if X has a medical condition, then such medical condition, by the very nature of the condition itself, will either entitle one to benefits, or not.  Such an approach is what one is conditioned to expect — that by the very nature of the medical condition itself, means that it will either lead to, or not lead to, a specified result.  This viewpoint and approach is based upon a definitional standard, where the very essence of what it means to suffer from X already predetermines whether one is eligible and entitled to benefit Y.

Social Security assumes such an approach.  To some extent, so does OWCP, because the Department of Labor is willing to pay a certain amount of compensation based upon a predetermined calculus of a percentage rating, for loss of limb, loss of use, loss of functional capacity, etc.

This is why Federal and Postal employees who first contemplate preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, will attempt to tie the fact of having a medical condition with the question, “Does this qualify me for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?”  But that is the wrong paradigm to use in asking the question.  For, eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is not based upon a definitional ascription of a medical condition; rather, it is that “third element” — the connection between X and Y, X representing the medical condition and Y standing for the positional duties which the Federal or Postal employee must engage.

In many respects, Federal Disability Retirement answers the philosophical question which David Hume asked:  Is there a necessary connection between cause and effect?  For Federal Disability Retirement purposes, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The uncommon denominator

Why is it that the common denominator is always represented by the basest of related factors?  The answer is simple, of course, and a tautology of sorts; for, that which is uncommon, by definition, constitutes a rare and prized feature, and through sheer economic application of supply and demand, the latter is heightened when the former is scarce.

Thus, in issues of character and human essences, the core of an individual is represented by the base elements of evolutionary Darwinism, and would therefore constitute the most simplistic of instinctive drives; whereas culture, refinement and societal structures are developed beyond the commonality of base factors.

Rousseau could be said to disagree with such a perspective, as his romanticized postulate of man’s vaunted “state of nature” reflected a penultimate, idealized condition of peaceful coexistence; but as no one has yet discovered an actual sociological enclave where such existence of sympathetic amplitude resides, it is doubtful that such defiance of the general view of man’s iniquitous soul provides the greater factor for an uncommon denominator.

For most, then, it is that which we share with all others; and, indeed, the element which interrelates everyone, is that which we publicly declare to abhor, but summarily engage in within the confines of law, societal mores, and acceptable norms of behavior. Except, of course, when the weakest of victims display the wounds of life, and the predators circle and abound like vultures encircling high above in the wind streams of timeless watchfulness, waiting upon a crumbling civilization as the decay of flesh and dying carcasses fume in the heat of the midday sun.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the feeling of the common denominator; it is often that factor which brings everyone together in a semblance of denoted behaviors.  And it is precisely the uncommon factor which brings about the circling birds of prey; for, the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition is “different”, and therefore steps outside of the perimeter of commonality; and that which is separated and isolated becomes the focus of the threatening predator.

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, makes the Federal or Postal employee an uncommon denominator, and thus the target of baseness precisely because such a person has become the anomaly.

Evolutionary Darwinism requires the killing off of DNA structures which threaten the whole; and for the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM constitutes the uncommon denominator for a future set for tomorrow, beyond the pale of those predators of antiquity whose self-extinguishment is bound by the fate of a shrinking pool of genetic predisposition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire