FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Hardship Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Life’s Patchwork

Repetition and regularity provides a semblance of orderliness; somehow, patterns in life remain relevant to sanity and stability, and it is the disordered patchwork which creates havoc for want of consistency.  There are those who seek regularity, and are criticized for embracing boredom; then, the one who constantly lives on the edge, where being fired and not knowing the future of tomorrow is handled with a mere shrug and an attitude of libertine disregard.

Most of us live in the middle of extremes; that is why, in reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, no extent of profundity is discovered; the median between two extremes is what most of us naturally seek, anyway.  And we appropriate a sense of comfort and security by presuming that others are somewhat like us; to that extent, Kant is probably right in his philosophical belief that we impose structure and order into a universe which is essentially chaotic, in an effort to maintain an internal phenomenology of coherence and comprehension.

Every now and again, however, interrupting forces disrupt the quietude of life’s fortune, and misgivings begin to define those territories we thought had already been conquered, where the savages had been beaten down and the goblins had all been captured.  How we manage crisis; what manner of internal fortitude becomes tested; and what mettle of essence to which we may succumb; these are all questions which we would rather avoid.

It is the contending dialectical forces that are represented by the “Peter Principle” as opposed to the “Dilbert Principle“, by which most of us must endure; where, the former is quickly dampened by cynicism of actual experience, and the latter is always confirmed daily by encounters with a surrealism called “life”.  Life is, indeed, a patchwork of sorts; of different people, coming from a variety of experiences — and yet boringly similar and predictable.  Eccentricities have already been tested and stamped out, contained, restrained and trained into oblivion through the system called, “the public schools” — where uniqueness of thought is curtailed via the pecking order of peer pressure and standardized testing.

Then, of course, there is the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker — caught in a bureaucracy in which competency and creativity are rarely acknowledged as the avenue for advancement in an administratively hostile universe.  When the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker suddenly finds himself or herself facing the dilemma of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in a chosen career because it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — then, it is time to consider 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.

For, in the end, life’s patchwork must by necessity and self-definition reflect the complexity of the world around us; yes, we seek out the “middle ground” — that boring stability of repetitive humdrum of life — while recognizing that the extremes are there for a reason; and while it may not be for us, it exists and always presents a threat.  The key is to avoid it, or even depart from it; as escapism allows only for momentary gratification, and the pattern of life’s patchwork must be sought in the future discourse of our collective sighs.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: That oppressive air

There are circumstances in life when the environment becomes so intolerable, that one just has an inkling to “chuck it all” and walk away.  Fortunately, the human animal possesses a measure of self-discipline and restraint; although, looking at the excesses of the world around us, one would never know it.  If you watch and read the news, one would logically conclude that the world around us is falling apart and disintegrating at the seams.  If you hermetically seal one’s life and shut down all communication devices, happiness may well abound in the bliss of ignorance, but you will be deemed to be either mad or uncouth.  That is, in fact, what the ad agencies wanted us to believe, wasn’t it?

The term of modernity has been “connectivity”; everywhere you go, it is essential to life’s essence to remain in communication through various electronic devices and systems; portable “hot spots” had to be maintained, and even roadside motels got into the swing of things by posting neon signs which first touted a low price for an internet connection; then, later, when the foundational economic principles of supply and demand forced a steep decline in pricing wars, a mere announcement that free WiFi was available replaced the spectacle of flashing signs touting those strange numbers, such as “$19.95” or “$9.99”, as if we were ordering a family meal at Denny’s as opposed to maintaining that vaunted “connectivity” (what an ugly word!) for our various electronic devices.

If I had been paid a dollar for every device and newfangled invention that delivered the advertised promise of allowing me greater “freedom” and “saving more time” in order to do those things which one never has time to do, we would all have retired to gated communities in wealth, luxury and comfort.  Instead, it seems that technology, the constant barrage of information and the heightened level of stress seems to compound the problem; and with a collective sigh, one may ascribe the generic term of that “oppressive air” to describe the state of malaise in which we find ourselves.

Such generalized pressures of life are further exacerbated for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must contend with the added difficulties of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties.  Fortunately, for the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there is a Federal benefit to be applied for — Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The process itself can be described as onerous and a maze of bureaucratic complexities, confounded by administrative ineptitude of an unquantifiable degree; but in comparison to that oppressive air which the Federal or Postal employee must endure at the hands of an increasingly hostile Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service — one that never seems to tolerate the disabled, infirm or otherwise “unfit for duty” — filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the preferred option, especially if connectivity to some semblance of future financial security remains an important component of life’s growing anomalies.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Artistic precision and the caravan of words

The two words in the initial linguistic compound are rarely combined; for, as the former denotes a free-wheeling flow of undisciplined handiwork, it resists against the latter for its constraining methodology of instrumental pragmatism.  Thus, an “artist” by definition belies the very definition of precision, and “precision” connotes too rational an approach within the contextual themes of scientism and material fortitude.

Are they oxymorons?  Not quite.  Inconsistent in an aggregation of conceptual constructs?  Perhaps, to a degree of some incommensurability.  Nevertheless, as even opposites can still attract, and manage to discover ways to synchronize, so the free-flowing phenomenology of creativity inferred by an artistic hand, can with the guiding principles of methodological precision, garner a coordination of approaching beauty by analogy and pastoral effect by metaphor.

With that, we approach the latter half of the title — of a “caravan of words“.  Some would picture in the mind’s eye of a distant past, where antiquity and modernity clash in a final battle of lost yearnings; of a line of camels against the sunset of a desert’s sky, when languages uttered were foreign and exciting in their romantic interludes.  Nowadays, in a world gone mad, no one cares a twit about such scenes except to fear the violence and mayhem which is represented by a technological world having replaced the transport of goods by beasts of burdens.

It is, however, the addendum of “words”, attached to the concept of a caravan, which qualifies for significance and meaning.  For, by conveyance through a manner lost now in the fading antiquity of time, memories and forgotten worlds, we once communicated through a caravan of words, but now simply rush upon a computer key or a smartphone app.

We thus come to the ending chorus, the finale, the drumbeat of closure:  True communication can only occur through a series of burdensome approaches in transporting language into an effective word picture, utilizing both the imagination of artistry and the deliberations of scientific precision.

This should be kept in mind when a Federal or Postal employee who is preparing the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, that the narrative to be told in response to questions asked, should encompass all of the elements discussed:  unrestrained by the questions themselves, yet precise in formulating the argument; conveyed not by mere convenience of transport, but carefully packed upon the backs of reliable caravans.

Words mean something, and when the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker sits down to prepare an effective Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A in order to formulate a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to engage in the artistic precision of a caravan of words, lest the means for conveyance of one’s narrative be delayed by an obstacle of technological obfuscation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire