OPM Disability Retirement: The Lie of Agnosticism

Bertrand Russell was famous for it (who would not be — of a tall, slender intellectual with a shock of white hair with that image of a long-stemmed pipe puffing with short bursts of tobacco smoke trailing pervasively behind between haltingly muttered sentences of profound logical confusions?); most of us are lulled into it; and the unwary may think that it is a more intellectually honest position to take, where neutrality stuck between traditionalists and the fervency of iconoclasm is preferable if only because avoidance of unpleasantries often directs of intents and motivations.

Yet, look beneath the surface: Russell certainly wrote and lectured enough against the existence of a supernatural being, as opposed to advocating on behalf of evidence supporting the existence of God.  Countless essays and arguments critical of the illogic inherent in Aquinas’ famous “5 Arguments” or Anselm’s Ontological Argument and — of more modern vintage, Kurt Godel’s formal argument (that is if we can even understand the mathematically complex propositions posited by Godel, who stands apart, along with his friend Einstein, in comprehending the mysteries of the universe) are propounded by Russell, with nary a sentence in support.

Most agnostics are atheists; they just don’t want to be bothered by being confronted with that fact.

Medical conditions are like the clinging to agnosticism: We want to avoid the direct assault and confrontation, and so we keep procrastinating, avoiding and delaying.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is like the conversion of an agnostic to the reality of atheism, or its antonym: The reality of recognizing that we can no longer avoid.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; at a minimum, you can see whether you are truly an agnostic, or merely ensconced in the Lie of Agnosticism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Changing Lives

The phrase can have multiple meanings, depending upon the emphasis given to the words.  On the one hand, it can imply an affirmative, active meaning — of some individual or organization implementing steps in order to alter the course of another’s life.

In this sense, it may be that a problem has been identified — for example, higher rate of drug addiction in a community; increase in crime rates; an intersection with a greater incidence of traffic accidents, etc. As a result of an identified problem, a person, group or entity goes about “doing something” about it — i.e., petitioning the city council to put a traffic light at the intersection; forming a community-watch program to reduce the crime rate; intervening and educating the community about drug addition, etc. Thus, the phrase “changing lives” in this sense can be characterized as an “active” involvement where X is impacting upon Y.

In another sense, it can remain inactive — as a passive onlooker who recognizes that there are alterations occurring in the lives of individuals.  Every day, changes occur in the lives of everyone about.  One may quip that such a manner of meaning is rather inconsequential, inasmuch as it is a given that lives must by necessity change and encounter adaptations every day; for, it is a tautology to include in a single breath the terms “life” and “change”, just as it is a redundancy to refer to the weather without admitting vicissitude.

Changing lives is to be presumed.  Life’s daily turmoils require it; it is an inevitability which cannot be avoided.  The greater question is: How do we respond to the changes?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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 Federal or Postal job, the issue about changing lives can take on a third meaning — that one’s life, career and employment status must by necessity undergo an alteration and modification.

The changes wrought are forced by an uninvited force — the medical condition — and the circumstances which mandate change cannot be controlled — of the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  How the Federal employee responds to this necessary change is where the relevant next step takes on greater consequences of potential harm.  What you don’t know in the changing life may harm you, and that is why consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law prior to initiating those next steps in changing lives, is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The person who wasn’t

It sounds somewhat like a Hitchcock film — or, is that too archaic a reference these days?  Is Hitchcock a film director whom nobody knows, anymore — another person who wasn’t?  Or, more precisely, “Isn’t” but was?  Is that the greatest fear of most people — the negation that erases, and why immortality and the existence of an afterlife is so important?

It is like Berkeley’s problem of the disappearing room — it is easy enough to imagine that when we exit one room and enter another, the first or previous one still exists in quite the same manner as when we last observed it (with the exception, perhaps, of a mouse scurrying along the baseboards or someone else entering the room while we are gone, changing the placement of the furniture, sitting down and smoking a cigar and changing the atmosphere in the room, etc.) — and the definition of “existence” as tied to our capacity to observe or perceive an object.

It is the thought of our erasure from existence that is the fodder for fear; yet, the self-contradiction of such a fear is so obvious as to logically obviate such a fear, but it doesn’t.  For the contradiction goes as follows: Our fear is based upon our thought of an event that cannot be, precisely because our erasure from the image formed by the thought cannot remain since we no longer exist; yet, it is the prevailing image of non-existence that haunts even though the image would not exist except during the pendency of our existence in formulating that image.  Existence reminds us of immortality; non-existence, of our vulnerability.

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, remember that the mere telling of one’s intention to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may trigger a host of reactionary retributions by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, and so one should be carefully cautioned, guided and counseled by a lawyer when considering entering the administrative arena of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is as if the information about filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is a reminder of one’s mortality — that a medical condition that impacts you reminds those at the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that it could also happen to them — and thus the Federal Agency or the Postal Service moves quickly to erase such reminders by initiating adverse actions, harassing you, intimidating you, etc. — so that such reminders can quickly be erased in order to make you into the person who wasn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Persistence versus giving up

The latter should never be an option, although it is too often contemplated; and the former requires either a dull sense of reality or an in-born stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge defeat.  Both are often the result of the countermanding characteristic of the opponent who relies upon the fact that a certain percentage of the population either lacks the characteristic of persistence or otherwise will ultimately give up with nary an effort or will to fight on.

How many battles in history’s billfold of forgotten memories resulted in defeat because of a ruse portrayed by the enemy?  It is the bold pretension that tests the resolve and allows for victory or defeat; the knowledge that there will always be a certain number of people who, upon facing any resistance or adversity, will simply “give up” and surrender.  Thus is it left up to those who will persist no matter the challenge, where adversity and contention will be endured no matter the cost.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who enter the arena of a Federal Disability Retirement process, one should always expect and prepare each stage “as if” the battle at the next stage will ensue.  If a denial is issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal Disability Retirement application, of course it is going to be written and conveyed “as if” the case never had a chance, “as if” none of the medical evidence had any relevance or significance, and “as if” you don’t even come near to meeting the criteria for eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement.

By sounding “as if” you never had a chance and failed miserably to meet any and all legal criteria for eligibility, OPM is banking on your lack of persistence and the concomitant reaction of simply giving up.

However, persistence is the key to success, and giving up is merely a prelude to a victory near at hand if only one steps back, takes a deep breath, and realizes that, from the very beginning, Federal Disability Retirement was never going to be an easy road to bear — but a consultation with an experienced attorney may well lift the burden of the beast where persistence is the key and not giving up is the pathway to a successful outcome at the next stage of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

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

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Morning quietude

It is that early morning time when dogs remain still, mice scurry about and the soft snore of distant somber drifts down hallways without traffic of daily discourse.  Morning quietude is a slice of a coming day before the tumult of life begins.

Modernity possesses a level of activity heretofore untried and unimaginable; the constant barrage of emails, the connectedness that everyone feels pressured to comply with; the fact that we are glued to technology, dependent upon it, anticipating it for satisfying our every needs; and beyond the storms of everyday living, there is still a need for that brief period of morning quietude.  It is, in many ways, an extrapolated slice of a metaphorical interlude; for, like the stages of a linear life itself, there are periods of extremes that can be charted on any graph that reflects the daily heights and depths of human activity.

The other side of the spectrum, of course, is the nighttime rest – whether of the need for a period of “down-time” before turning in for the night; or even of sleep itself: how difficult, whether immediate or preceded by a period of insomnia; or even of tossing and turning throughout each night, every night.  Then, morning quietude dawns.  Does it last for very long, or will the rush of the day’s noisiness shatter any semblance of peaceful calm?

Medical conditions are likened to those mornings shaken and interrupted.  For, with unexpected rudeness, they awaken us from that slumber we feel where we were once immortal, invincible and unchallenged.  Then, one day we wake up and realize that we are all too human, and our bodies deteriorate, our minds begin to slip.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates one to begin considering 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 like that interruption of morning quietude that finally makes us realize that one has no choice in the matter.

Just as the peace and calm of early morning cannot last forever, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job cannot sit idly by and watch as events continue to deteriorate at one’s job, in one’s personal life, and the clash between health and work.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the next logical step after the morning quietude is broken – when the mice no longer make noises and the dogs begin to bark.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire