Federal Disability Retirement: Circumstances and choices

When is it too late to begin reflecting upon one’s circumstances and choices?  Do we already do that daily, and does the length of rumination engaged depend upon where one’s station in life has reached? Do old men and squeaky rocking chairs justify such reflective modes of behavior, or do the young as well take the time to ponder upon choices made, circumstances encountered, and the spectrum of clashes in between?

Do we formulate a fauna of false representations of ourselves, and depict upon the screen of a mind’s inner movie of the “self” with edited versions so that, when queried, we can make those “bad mistakes” of past choices appear to fit into circumstances where we can innocently declare, “I had no other choice!”?  We “make the bed we lie in”; suffer from the “messes we make of our lives”; or of what other adage or declarative falsehoods may we come up with to excuse our own choices in life’s travail of valleys full of mournful echoes?

Circumstances often dictate the choices we make; or, at least the metaphor of “dictation” leads us to believe.  For, the very idea of “X dictates Y” as in the previous statement, “Circumstances dictate the choices we make”, removes us of the responsibility in making the choice, by making it appear as if the choice made is not really a choice at all, but merely an action that is necessitated and you are therefore merely an unwilling agent.

What is lost in such discourse, of course, is the lengthy history of sub-choices previously presented and ignored, where choices that could have been made before circumstances became so dire that the narrowing of alternatives dissipated until a crisis point came to the fore — that is where circumstances and choices require careful analysis before the alternative juncture of varying pathways disappear.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to early on recognize the circumstances unfolding and the choices presented, before the multitude of “forks in the road” begin to disappear, and life’s circumstances begin to impose — not binary choices — but choices that begin to dictate.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like a choice that one wants to undertake, but it is often the circumstances that one has no control over that dictates the future course of choices, and not the choices themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: The warmth of a thought

Does it even make sense to cross over between tactile-based sensations and conceptual transmissions?  We’ve heard variations of that muddle — of how a thought brings warmth to one’s body; meaning, thereby, that there is a causal connection between a thought and a subsequent sensation, as in, “I was sitting there one evening thinking about my childhood, sitting on my grandfather’s lap when a secure feeling of warmth overcame me”.

In such an instance, we realize the cause-and-effect consequences at play — of a thought that leads to a sensation, where mind-to-body interaction is “proven” by the symbiotic relationships and coherence of and between the two.

David Hume, ever the doubter and cynic, would likely have argued (beyond a mere declaration of dismissiveness in saying, “Bosh!” with a distinctive Scottish accent) that no necessary connection between the thought and the sensation has occurred, any more than the sequence of one following upon another.  Yet, we all believe that there is some sort of a connection, whether directly causal or otherwise.

Thus do we accept the descriptive custom when a mystery write speaks about the “cold chill” that ran up the victim’s spine just before the killer put his hands around the woman’s throat — a clear indication that observation following upon a thought resulted in a tactile sensation.  But the subtle distinction made here — not of a thought that brings about a sensation, but the “warmth of a thought”, is a somewhat slight variation of the causal connection.  Not that the thought itself links to a consequential sensation, or that there is a causal linkage between thought and tactile phenomena, but that the two are one and the same — of the very sensation within, of and encasing and encapsulating the thought itself.

In other words, the thought itself is the warmth, and the warmth is the thought, such that the “of” is not a causal consequence brought about by a sequence of X-following-upon-Y, but the space between concept and sensation doesn’t even exist.  It is somewhat like the difference between the following 2 sentences: “The discontent in winter” and “The winter of discontent”.  Is there a distinction with a difference?

Linguistic subtleties abound only within the ivory towers of academicians; for the rest of us, such separateness of meanings rarely impact with significance or relevance (ah, now that is the rub, isn’t it — to argue over the difference between “significance” and “relevance”?).  The warmth of a thought — can the tactile sensation be separated from the conceptual construct?

It is like the medical condition that a Federal or Postal employee suffers from — the one (or many such ones) that begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Can the medical condition itself ever be separated from the life that one lives?

Others talk about “it” as if the “it” (the medical condition) is some other entity or stranger, but for the suffering Federal or Postal employee, the “it” is part and parcel of the life itself.  That is why, for a Federal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to be clear, elucidating and coherent in writing up one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A when making one’s “case” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to approve a Federal Disability Retirement Application — for, when the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from a medical condition and is in need of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the warmth of a thought is the same as the suffering felt and the anxiety one is left with for a future yet uncertain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last stands

Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians.  Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.

It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public.  We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee.  Or, is it the “last straw”?  Is there a difference between the two?  The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice.  But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.

Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents.  It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived.  Yet, Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.

But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Maintaining a schedule

We all abide by them, strive to meet them and toil to achieve them.  We claim that we control “it”, but in fact, it often becomes the monster which completely constrains and restrains, overpowers and undermines.

Maintaining a schedule in life is important.  Some, because of unknown past issues or current difficulties, cannot stand by and allow for a violation of it; others, with more daring personalities and flighty egos, defy it deliberately and result in floundering about without a purposive intent or constructive content.  Maintaining a schedule is often essential to the daily lives of all; for those who have certain learning disabilities, it allows for a structuring of a universe which would otherwise appear chaotic and undisciplined; for others, the very structure imposed restricts the inner creativity of brilliance, and we are left with the genius who follows no man’s path.

Babies and children do well with it; the creative genius who is always distracted by the brilliance within his or her own subjective world, often cannot abide by it; but the rest of us follow a fairly monotonous routine and stick close to it, if only by excuses given of being “five minutes late” or the sorry excuse that the bedside alarm clock failed to rouse us.

Then, there are companies and agencies that seem to fall apart at the seams, where overwork, underpaid staffers and unreliable workers seem to disrupt that most important of schedules – meeting deadlines.  Then, there is the incongruence between one’s personal schedule and the schedule of another entity, and when the two fail to agree or work in consonance, then frustration begins to develop.  The tumult of frustration is often based upon the chasm that occurs between what one expects and the reality which unfolds.  Closing that “gap” is the solution to one’s growing frustration in this world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to, are about to, or have already filed a 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 key to containing one’s frustration over the time-period that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is taking, extending, violating and ignoring in performing their duties in approving or denying a Federal Disability Retirement application, is to recognize that their “schedule” is one of complete and utter power, and that the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant is in a position of complete powerlessness; and, on top of that, to maintain a schedule apart from what OPM does, while one waits for an outcome that is hoped to be favorable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Life’s burdens

In chaos, where does one find refuge?  One suspects that for children of modernity, the escape into the virtual world of computer games, Internet conversations, constant checking and updating of profiles, and the entire gambit of projects unrelated to the reality surrounding, is that very reservation of constancy which is needed by all.

Life has burdens; parents have an obligation and duty to contain and protect throughout those crucial periods of growth; but what happens when parents have never known the stability of life’s promise and become parents even before being ready themselves?   Do they, as well, have the leisure of becoming lost and transfixed upon the unreality of a virtual universe?  It would seem so, just by mere observation of local lore, of walking down any street in the country and seeing seemingly mature individuals transparently ensconced in a trance beheld by a mobile device.

Life has real burdens; upon birth, there was never an accompanying set of detailed instructions as to how to “deal” with them; and, in the end, it is questionable as to whether any generational transfer of wisdom could be imparted within a society where independence is encouraged and separateness of lives is demanded.  In a society where age determines adulthood, where division defines maturity and fissures constitutes the unassailable stamp of approval in becoming independent and partitioned; neighborhoods are merely so defined because of their antiseptic aggregation of nearness by cluster, and not because anyone is expected to actually interact with one another.

No, there is no such thing as sharing the burden, or lessening the load which one encounters in the course of living a life.  It is, indeed, an absurdity – and Sartre’s play, No Exit, reflects upon that issue, as we are born without asking, live without a means of filing an appeal, and die with souls extinguished without value or worth of knowing.  Knowing what?  Of that certainty of teleological embracing as in foregone eras, when faith, trust and a sense of belonging defined a life.

One may scoff and say that all of that is mere tripe; that there never was a time before when society breathed as an organic unit and life lifted burdens within the constancy of sustained relationships.  Even the old places are now being destroyed, and one sees the devastation of sectarian wars and ravages of inherited hatreds in countries where wealth and technology has not quite arrived, but where family units were still fairly intact.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, life’s burdens become exponentially magnified when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  When that situation arrives, it further alienates and separates, especially in a society which trumpets the virtues of independence, when in fact it merely identifies the loneliness.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one avenue to undertake, especially when it becomes clear that neither the Federal Agency nor the U.S. Postal Service is going to do what communities and neighborhoods of yore once did – of caring by providing an “accommodation” for one’s medical condition.

For, in the end, just as there was never a set of instructions accompanying a newborn’s life, so there is very little information “out there” for the Federal or Postal employee whose career may come to an end because of a medical condition, except for specialized areas of legal help which serves to lift some of life’s burdens in the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: “The Work Of 10 People”

We have all heard the boast:  “I do more work in an hour than most people do in a week”; “I earn the wages of 10 people before breakfast”; “I do twice the work for half the pay”; and on and on.  The plain fact is that each individual, no matter the self-interested tropes of inane contradictions, performs the quantitative and qualitative labor of that singular effort, and no more.

Some may meet greater production quotas; others may appear to make significantly faster headway into concluding projects and assignments; but the boast of self-worth is nothing more than a comparative analysis which ultimately fails when proper relative proportionality is conducted; there are always others whom you have not met, hardly know, or will likely never encounter, whose competence outshines the vast and endless ego of your own self-assessment.

Where does such self-delusion originate?  And are there more such self-assurances in modernity than times of yore, when the steady hand of methodical progression marked the greater component of accomplishment than the technological rapidity of keyboard firing squads?  Or, of that other boast that one’s work has already been completed an hour into a workday, while others move in segments of slow motion, like a reel of film stuck in the ink spot of eternal delay?  What ever happened to the idea of a team effort, a communal approach, or even of a collective combine of aggregate accomplishments, where personal valor and individual recognition is sacrificed for the greater whole?

In modernity, in this millennial, during these self-aggrandized times, the focus of vulnerability is based upon an egocentric mirror of reflective selfishness.  As one has been taught throughout grammar school and higher education that the war hero is merely likened to a sports hero, where the term “courage” is another fungible word that can be applied as much to the battlefield as to a spectator sport of button-pushing, so the worth of an individual is relatively compared to a production quota, like mere means to the end of a drama.

In the administrative law of Federal Disability Retirement, that sense of worth is greatly diminished and deliberatively demeaned by the hostile attitude towards a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  Don’t think that the years of productive accomplishments touted previously will mean a farthing’s worth of reserved good will; it means nothing.  What is done today and promised tomorrow are the two components of meaningful discourse; any delay or doubt evinced by one’s medical condition, is but a red-light indicator for termination or administrative sanctions.

For Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, preparing, formulating and filing 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, is indeed a means to an end – to escape the growing boast of that Supervisor or Manager who believes that the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is the same one who hinders by being an obstacle of existence for doing the work of 10 people, when in fact he or she is merely one of a greater collective effort, nor more than the worth of the dismissive “you”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Well-Digger’s Daughter

It is a French film directed by Daniel Auteuil, and depicts an age just before, during, and after the First World War, when rural life still embraced a contempt for modern values, and the pastoral context defined the the quietude of family life yet unblemished but for private shame of family secrets.  It is in the title itself which reveals much; for, there is no independence of a person’s name, and the underlying theme throughout encapsulates the right to a surname, the identity of an individual, and how the interconnectedness of one’s essence, being and substantive community is itself defined by the proper ascription of who we are related to, how, and by what legitimacy.

It is, in that sense, outdated and “old fashioned”; for, in modernity, we cast no aspersions when it comes to heredity, lineage and source of being, anymore.  But the historical context reflects the time of its relevancy; here, names matter; formal acknowledgement of marital unions within a community of acceptance and celebration are expected; and the child who comes into this world must be identified by the proper surname through label of sacrament.  At the outset, the title itself reveals much; for, we immediately note that it is not the name of a person, but an identity within the context of a family lineage.

In this day and age, names are no more important than the identification of inanimate objects; relational identities have been cast aside; we are known, each of us, by the names we have been given, have shed and taken on in rebellious denial of former connections, or so easily abandon and recreate, like so many pseudonyms used on the technology of our former selves.  But try as we might, somehow the haunting connections seem to matter; otherwise, how else to explain the persistent cries of orphans and abandoned children to search and discover who their parents are, and to open up sealed court documents to embrace identities formerly unknown?

Is it a mere mirage and vestige of an antiquated mutation, where the genetic lineage served to fulfill Darwin’s fantasy of survival of the fittest, somehow misinterpreted by one’s cellular make-up to include direct inheritance of a particular DNA?  And why is the language so precise and important?  Would the story have been any different if it had been titled, say, “The Girl who wore a pink bonnet”?  The narrative could still have remained; but, somehow, by merely identifying the character by what she wore, is not the same as to whom she is related to, of how she is named, and by what relationship her being is connected.

Words — and names — matter.   Identifying the proper relationships, and the context of connectedness, all together form the “wholeness” of a coherent narrative.

That is why, in preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to coordinate the medical documentation with the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability with any legal arguments to be made and cited; and any legal arguments with both the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  For, each are not mere separate codifications of independent entities unrelated to the other; together, they form a compendium of a cogent narrative, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; and when such force of coherence is submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it heightens the statistical favoritism for an initial approval.

And, like the Well-Digger’s Daughter, we must always remember that the interconnectedness of life, living, and the essence of everything around, is defined not merely in our individual capacities, but by the sacredness of who we present ourselves to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire