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

 

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

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Unwillingness

What is it about a personality that is unwilling?  Is it pure obstinacy?  Or, perhaps a personality trait of stubbornness that goes against the very nature of a person’s essence?  Such traits or quirks of personalities are interesting, precisely because they can fluctuate depending upon the particular context encountered.

Take, for example, an important conference where negotiations are occurring — say, in the settlement of a lawsuit or the consequential merger of two giant companies, etc.  If one of the principals in the negotiations has a reputation of “unwillingness” to compromise, or during the course of back-and-forth give and takes, it becomes apparent that the chief negotiator is unwilling to move an inch, we say of the person that either his (or her) unwillingness to reach a common accord is X or Y — i.e., tenacious to certain unmovable principles; stubborn; intractable; a “brilliant” tactical negotiator, etc.

Now, take the same example but with an individual who is willing to bend and allow for concessions — we might say of that person that he or she is “reasonable”, or that he is a wimp or she is without integrity.

But “unwillingness” has a special characteristic and connotation, does it not, from the rest of the personality traits described?  Especially if it is a permanent feature of a person’s makeup, and not merely a temporary, stubborn streak that may change and alter later on, or in a week, or in an hour’s time.

There is both something admirable as well as exasperating when referring to a person who has a personality characteristic of “unwillingness” — whether based upon an inner principle that drives the intractable nature, or perhaps a quirkiness of nature that refuses change.  The test of that unwillingness, and whether it is apparent only in certain particular and unique circumstances, or whether that is a permanent feature of a person’s internal mechanism, can only be tested through the spectrum of one’s life.  Such a personality trait can be admirable and reflect an evolutionary advantage in surviving the encounters with the world at large, or they can be a self-inflicting wound that can destroy and defeat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have an unwillingness to throw in the proverbial white towel despite all evidence that shows that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the alternative one must face can be daunting: continuing to endure the medical condition despite the debilitating nature of the trauma; the increasing harassment that must be faced because of excessive taking of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP; the the questioning looks from Supervisors, managers and coworkers, etc.

Federal Disability Retirement, of course, is an alternative course of action — of recognizing the need for change, the requirement of pliability, and the necessity for modification in one’s life.

Yes, “unwillingness” is often an admirable trait to cling to, but for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it can be an obstacle to a necessary next step 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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Little battles fought

It is the minor skirmishes of life that maintain the vitality of everyday existence; they are fought in preparation for the greater battles and campaigns.  That is why a ‘strategy’ is important; otherwise, taking the same hill countless times in a day leads one to wonder what the greater plan is.  For, futility and the sense of meaninglessness are what defeat any motivation to continue.  Incentives for advancement; a sense of growth and an optimism for the future; these and other values are what one fights for, engages in skirmishes, and those little battles that are fought with a worthwhile sense of gaining something.

Medical conditions, especially of a chronic kind, tend to diminish the will to fight.  They not only weaken and debilitate; they begin to eat away at any sense of accomplishment and striving for those valued goals.  It is, in the end, a sense of hope for which we all fight the little battles fought; otherwise, the major wars would fail to be worthwhile.

Medical conditions are the “unfair” factor in any war, sort of like roadside bombs planted in this new war of hit-and-run attacks.  They often come upon one slowly; and whether in a sudden, traumatic event or evidencing a slow progression of debilitation and subtle changes over a period of days and months, the insidiousness of not knowing how to battle it, of doctors telling of being patient, of medications themselves sometimes having worsening side effects that complicate, exacerbate and exponentially magnify in frequency, severity and other realms of wounds endured – these all cumulatively combine to create a sense of frustration like fighting an enemy you cannot see and will never be able to actually “fight” in the traditional sense.

That is why 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, is an important step in those “little battles fought” – for, unless the little ones are taken care of, the large ones that loom ahead may not be properly engaged in.

Reorganizing priorities; focusing upon one’s health; determining the future course of relevancy; these are all part of the metaphorical battles to be fought, but for the individual who experiences the medical condition and specifically for the Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, they are no less real than the sudden devastation of a roadside bomb exploding beneath one’s Humvee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employment Early Medical Retirement: That state of cognitive dissonance

For all other species, even a momentary state of unawareness can mean death.  Predators seek the narrow window of advantage; that is the evolutionary determinism which propagates death, and shows mercy of life for those who close all such seams of opportunities; or so the Darwinian theory goes.  Man possesses a peculiar capacity to become lost in thought; whether in daydreaming, deep in slumber; contemplation amidst conceptual constructs of word pictures dancing before one’s eyes; we can walk in a funk or a daze, and drive long distances on super highways and at the end of the trip, not recall a single moment of how we got there.

Do words promulgate action?  Does instinct necessitate reaction?  Does the plethora of informational datum result in the intermediary of thoughts, first, then of engaging with the objective world?  Most of us have periods of cognitive dissonance — that aggregate of formless thought not having a consistency of connections between mindfulness, decisions, actions and judgments; it is only when there arises a lobotomy of capacity to care for one’s self from the daily necessities of life, that suddenly it becomes important enough for people to notice.

How such a species of that of a human being can survive these centuries while increasingly expanding into cognitive dissonance is a mystery to behold.  Whether by loss of awareness through technology; of staring vacantly at computer and smartphone screens, or merely enjoying the fantasy of daydreaming; perhaps the disappearance of open predatory behavior has dulled the once-sharpened edge of instinctive survival mechanisms.  But, in fact, there are wolves around, and they abound in plenitudes of concealment.  They just don’t advertise themselves in that way.  Just ask the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s productivity and capacity to show up for work, whether or not predators exist in a the workplace.

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, can be a form of escapism for many who are threatened by the modern carnivore wandering through civil society.  The ruthless exploitation upon the preys of modernity are not necessarily limited to the impervious universe of wildlife in Nature; it can all occur before our very eyes, in those rare states of clarity and sagacity when our normal state of cognitive dissonance becomes momentarily suspended in order to see the reality of a circumstance which necessitates the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pipe Dreams

The origin denotes an unsavory history of imperialistic exploitation and deserved degeneration of culturally unseen and unforetold consequences; of an encounter between foreign soils bridged by greed, necessity and inevitable destinies, but where the conqueror reaped more than what it sought.  In the opium dens which followed and the devastation of addictions ensuing, the phantoms derived from the processing of a plant which otherwise concealed the deadliness of its essence, beautiful in its floral toxicity amidst the sweet aroma that diffusely pervaded an unsuspecting population — dreams, indeed, of unreachable heights and great expectations otherwise squandered.

It is from that 19th century term — of the wafting scent of doom combined with the forgotten troubles of an industrial age, when repressive measures could be meted out by colonial strength, and insulting terms denigrating the humanity of an entire population could be thrown about by the lowliest of the low, and yet with superiority by race and ethnicity merely because one nation conquered and took advantage of the subservient nature of a quietude yet open to a coming storm.

In the end, who were the victors and what vestiges of the vanquished remained — only the untold stories of unmarked graves, whispering by twilight of plunder and portage of cultures; for, is it the country which invaded, or the one who imported the pipe dreams which subjugated the populace to an addictive essence?

In modernity, of course, the term itself has been shed of its subjugated past, and merely connotes an unrealistic expectation, a pursuance of a dream devoid of pragmatism, and a picture of flightiness attached to those who express such creative dimensions of unconstrained exuberance.  Children and the insane have them; and perhaps, still, those who partake of illicit moments of addiction and self-abuse.  But reality is always where we meet again, and the loss of time, efforts and futile exertion of wasted energy ends up back to the proverbial “square one”; what we squander in labor, we make up for in foolishness.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must daily be challenged not only with the workplace hostility of repetitive annoyances, but further, work with a medical condition which progressively deteriorates and diminishes the Federal or Postal worker’s capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties — pursuing a pipe dream that it will all just “go away”, or that tomorrow the medical condition will miraculously heal itself, or the day after the harassment will cease:  these are mere phantasms of a hope diminished by reality.

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, is an acknowledgment that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer relying upon a pipe dream, and has taken a pragmatic step towards facing the reality of one’s situation.

In the end, a pipe dream need not be a mere vestige of a lost culture steeped in the wayward historicity of timeless depravity; for, as the past continues to haunt both individuals and the greater society, so the words which follow may describe a regeneration of that which was once forgotten, but still remains in the residue of unvanquished sins.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire