Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: Errors Compounded

We all make mistakes; that is a given, and one of life’s irrefutable truisms.  Aside from the Pope and the untouchables in the movie industry, errors are committed daily, and spouses are there to make sure that we recognize the ill-conceived nature of perfection’s boast, no matter how much we try and cover them up.

An error is forgivable; a repeated error, sometimes laughed at; but errors compounded which could have been avoided are often the ones that retain the lasting vestiges of damage unable to be undone.  Every now and again, you come across a misprint in a newspaper; that is almost to be expected, because newspapers have a deadline, and even with the aid of technological editing in conjunction with the human eye, the rush to print will almost always prefer the tortoise’s path of guarantee.

When one comes across an error in a book — a misplaced word, a misspelled adjective or a skewed layout; well, that is an exception, given the fact that there are less constraints to rush to print, and multiple eyes should have caught the mistake.  If the book becomes a classic, it may well be more valuable with the misprint or error; if it is further enhanced with the author’s autograph, it becomes priceless.

For the rest of us, we simply try and trudge through the self-evident fact of life, that we all commit errors; what we try and do is to prevent errors from compounding.

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 key is to try and not makes errors in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Yet, how can you do that if you don’t know the entirety of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”?

Errors compounded, in the end, often comes about because of lack of knowledge, and to gain that knowledge, it is often a good idea to consult with an “expert” who specializes in the subject-area that one pursues.  For preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, you may want to first consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, if only to avoid those errors compounded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and 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 image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Truth and Falsity

There is much discussion about the nature of truth and falsity in our world — if, indeed, shouting and counter-shouting constitutes discourse rising to the level of a “discussion”.  Whether there is Truth with a capital “T”; or are there various versions of multiple “truths”, where my truth is just as valid as your truth, and falsity as merely the negation of yours at the sacrificial behest of mine?

There are apparently “truths”, “alternative truths” and “parallel truths”, and perhaps all of them can “get along” and vie for the vaunted position of the lofty “Truth” with the capital “T”, so long as we all don’t roll upon the carpet with laughter within our bellies demeaning the statements made by various politicians claiming a corner of their truth as opposed to the truths that we all know to be true.

The truth is, Truth can take various forms, and it is the subtle distinctions that are lost in the inane discourse of modernity where relativism, lies, inaccuracies and the capacity to conflate and confuse have made it all “bosh”.

To begin with, there is a presumption of a truthful statement — otherwise, the entire concept of a “lie” would become meaningless.  Then, of course, there are statements of truth that are contextually relevant, as in the statement, “I am staying home today with my sick child.”  If such a statement were to be declared on another day, it may be an untruthful statement.  Furthermore, personal experiences attached to statements undermine the objectivity and universality of the utterance, as in the simple declarative, “I feel good today”.

The very concept of truth and falsity is much more complex than the simple and inane discussion that has developed from the recent discourse of truths, alternative truths and what constitutes factual statements, inaccurate ones or outright lies; but suffice it to say that most people can recognize the difference between truth and falsity, just as people know the difference between day and night even if there are shades of twilight and dawn.

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 his or her Federal or Postal job, the distinction between truth and falsity is represented by the stark reality of the medical condition itself, and may often determine the course of future actions yet to be contemplated.

The truth:  The medical condition is beginning to impact my ability to perform my job duties at work.  The falsity:  If I just ignore everything, it will all just go away and I will wake up from a bad dream.  And the subtle distinctions like the dawn of light or the quietude of twilight: Federal Disability Retirement is not something that I want to choose, but it is the best option available for my situation.

Sometimes, it is not the stark choice between Truth and Falsity that matters, but the option taken must take into account the contextual reality of what is —that is, if you can even know these days what the definition of “is” is.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Favoritism

There was an interesting article the other day, where certain public schools were attempting to banish the use of the term “best friend” from the ordinary and daily usage by students.  Now, the immediate reaction by some would be:  Uh-oh, here comes another “politically correct” movement that is based upon the foolish idea that social engineering can be attained merely by manipulating language’s daily discourse by simply expunging the vocabulary we engage.

That is what Orwell’s point was, isn’t it — in that part in his novel, 1984, when there is the discussion of the New-speak dictionary that would be coming out in the fictionalized society of Oceania — of a dystopian world that determines thought by controlling the available words we use?  By expunging and extracting, diminishing and destroying certain words, phrases, concepts, etc., we then limit the ability of an individual to engage in certain thoughts — thereby restricting and ultimately erasing any capacity to discuss and communicate such conceptual constructs.

Some positive idealists would believe that human creativity would somehow remain victorious over such totalitarian methods, and find ways to communicate, then create “new” ideas — newer than the anomaly and counter-insurgency of New-speak — and still come up with alternative words and phrases to replace any such attempt at erasure and extinguishment.  But even Orwell doubted the success of such an endeavor, no matter how hard we try; and thus the dark ending to the novel, 1984.

But back to “outlawing” the references made on the playgrounds all across the country or, likely, across the spectrum of the world — would two or more children still engage in the behavior of “best friends” regardless of the expungement of the language identifying it as such; and if so, what would be the purpose of extinguishing the language if the underlying act itself continues to remain?  Won’t children on playgrounds the world over engage in favoritism and concomitant exclusion because unexplainable attraction is the natural order of the universe?

Of course, social engineering initiated at an early age has a purposive direction which can be seen in later life — as in the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker, where favoritism prevails no matter how many laws, statutes, regulations etc. are imposed and upheld.  Fiefdoms of every kind will always exist, and totalitarianism will often prevail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of “favoritism” — growing out of the tender years of “best friends” but taking on another name and form — begins to take on greater meaning.  For, its opposite — disfavor — begins to be applied for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is no longer “as productive”, not fully a “member of the team”, and shows signs of slowing down; and then the harassment begins, just like when we were children and the pecking order always favored the bully and disfavored the weakling runts of the world.

At that point, it may be time to consult with an experienced attorney and begin the process of initiating 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 — sort of like going and “telling” on that bully.  Maybe so — but it is a necessary next step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Goldilocks Principle

Most of us are familiar with the fairytale; but in modernity, the principle extrapolated has been extended thus: the natural pendulum of occurrences must fall within a certain set of margins, as opposed to reaching the outer limits of extremes.  And, indeed, most things settle into a comfortable compromise of corollary constancy; it is precisely because of the anomaly of extremes that we take special note of the exceptions which develop and manifest.  And that is always the continuing hope of most individuals — for a reaching of compromise, and static settling into a middle ground, etc.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the Goldilocks Principle will often fail to apply.  Increasing pressure is brought to bear (no pun intended) upon the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who shows signs of vulnerability; perhaps an initial verbal warning, then a written admonishment; then, the placement of a PIP within the constant environment of hostility; restrictions upon leave usage, and finally, a proposal to remove.

Medical conditions require priority of purpose and attending to the medical condition itself.  Actions by agencies and the U.S. Postal Service often serve to exacerbate the medical condition.  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, is an option which should be considered earlier, than later.

In the end, of course, the Goldilocks Principle is somewhat relatively determined by where those margins or goalposts are placed; for, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the realization that the middle ground of comfort is far from the fences of the extreme, depends upon where the Federal or Postal employee is standing, in relation to the medical condition, the harassment received, and the empathy shown (or more precisely stated, the lack thereof) by the agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement (FERS & CSRS): Computational Intentionality

Presumptuous intentionality will lead to an assumption which ultimately undermines one’s own argument; and in every endeavor, a computational approach based upon a general algorithm of life’s experiences will often leave out key factors and essential elements.

The problem with one’s own medical condition is that the person who experiences it is one and the same as the person who must convey the experiential factor to others.  That is what is often termed an “epistemological privilege“, in that the subjectivity of the medical condition, the pain, the psychiatric disorder, the cognitive dysfunction, one’s inability to focus or concentrate, etc., is ultimately reserved to the confinement of the person relating the factors.

There are, of course, objective methodologies in determining the subjective experience, by testing, diagnostic applications, manifested physical symptoms, etc.; but pain and other self-experiential factors are, by their very definition, subjective in nature.  A computational intentionality will take the experience of one’s own pain, consider the length and volume of medical treatment and records amassed, and presume that the compendium of the whole will make for an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

One hears it all the time: “Mine will not have a problem”; “I am sure you hear it all the time, but…”  What is heard “all the time” is not necessarily shouts from success; rather, the voices heard are more likely to be in response to dismay and disbelief, as it is a denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application which evokes the loudest sounds of discordant trumpets.

The information which is placed into a computer determines the quality of conclusions arrived at when a computational intentionality is formulated; what one does not know, and fails to include and assimilate, may in fact be the harmful error which defeats.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the compendium of evidence to be culled and calculated, then disseminated as an effective and persuasive presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not what standard government forms account for.  But that “forms” were the primary foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement, then all Federal Disability Retirements would be easily passed through.  But then again, if that were the case, Federal Disability Retirement would not be a benefit to be proven, but a right to be asserted.

Yes, Standard Forms are a “part” of the process, and so for FERS employees, SF 3107 and their sequential series must be included; for CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees, SF 2801 and their sequential series must accompany the Federal Disability Retirement packet; and for all Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C, SF 3112D and SF 3112E must be filed as well.

But in the end, be fully cognizant that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not merely based upon a computational intentionality of a mechanical nature; the “human element” is always pervasive and ever present, precisely because a medical condition itself is the ultimate revelation of the human condition, wrapped within the context of questions involving human frailty, empathy, sympathy, and the evocation of humanity within a universe of cold and mechanistic deliberations of silent computers.

And for those movie buffs, remember to pay homage to the HAL 9000.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire