OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Seeking stability

It is the constant tension between Parmenides and Heraclitus — those Pre-Socratic philosophers who first looked for a metaphysical foundation in comprehending the complexity of the universe.  In general, the former is known for his view about the ”oneness” of the universe; the latter, famously attributed with the statement that “No man steps into the same river twice”.  Both address the issue of the encounter with “Being” as Being itself, and not for any particular being.

Do the perspectives and philosophical beliefs of such “ancients” matter to us today?  Of course, we have only mere fragments of the writings of both philosophers, and so any attribution of thought may be tenuous, at best.  Nevertheless, it is the ongoing and historical tension between the two lines of thought which has any relevance or applicability for the modern individual.  That tension has to do with the manner in which we live, the outlook of our perspectives and the human need for constancy in a universe that often seems to be in perpetual turmoil.

Whether on a “macro” scale — i.e., of world affairs, the domestic front or even local news — one needs only to turn on the television to recognize the multifarious troubles of daily life.  Or, on the “micro”, more personal side: perhaps the illness of a loved one; the loss of a job; interpersonal relationships deteriorating — or a medical condition that has become chronic, where a Federal or Postal employee is concerned.

We all seek stability — a view like Parmenides’ philosophy — where we seek to have a sense of calm and quietude.  But the fact is that reality seems to always favor Heraclitus — of life as a stream that changes minute-to-minute, and a medical condition represents just that: a state of constant flux where stability will not yield.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to find some stability in their lives, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the next logical step out of the turmoil and crisis that is created at work.

Seek the advice and counsel of a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to know your full rights.  Seeking stability in a world of turmoil is a very human need which we all desire, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the pathway of Parmenides is preferable to the rivers of Heraclitus.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Ruins

We take extraordinary steps just to visit them; of the Parthenon, the Athenian Acropolis; of the Great Wall of China; of unspeaking relics where life once bustled, and still does but in a different way; of mere onlookers to a civilization once vibrant, but now twice removed — first, in the incremental abandonment of a society no longer relevant, and second, by the implicit concession that tourism establishes the death of the substantive content of any collection of structures.  Or of Aleppo, where modern-day devastation intersects with the ruins of old, and where actual suffering echoes throughout the ancient cascades where antiquity overwhelms the current screams of flesh and blood.

Why visit ruins when they are mere shadows of a former civilization unable to speak of its gradual decay and deterioration?  For, it is not the crumbling structures of haunting architectural tenacity which represents the truth behind the concealment of that which we visit to observe; it is the hidden narrative of human suffering which fails to utter the words in silence.  And what of lives untold?

What “ruins” have we failed to visit, right in one’s home, in one’s neighborhood, or just across the street?  Why be a world traveler, when the devastation imposed upon those who depended upon the promises given and assurances uttered mean nothing but some slices of memories of a yore-time of laughter and gaiety?  Is that what life is all about — of a good time here, a shared cackle of laughter in drunken states of unspoken ruination?

In the end, it matters not of crumbling structures and photographs taken of cavernous hollows in distant places where footwears matter; we trample great lengths to ooh and ahhh, and snap shots to send back to the origin of our trail of selfish devastation; but it is the ruins of human lives which touch upon the essence of a human soul, and not the marble and concrete which we gather to observe.  Flesh and blood rarely bespeak of decay and crumbling, but for the wrinkles of time which gather around the furrows of brows and corners of unsmiling lips.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the devastation of a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short the career of intended purposes and teleological foundations of a future untold; the consequence of other actions, the worker sitting beside, or the supervisor behind the private door of an office uninviting, can exponentially increase the devastation already felt by the medical condition itself.

The tendency is to become a tourist of sorts, by standing about like so many detached onlookers — when, in fact, the solution is to become a part of the society itself.  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, takes you out of the realm of mere tourism and into the arena of actual living.

Visiting the ruins of another culture is one thing; allowing for the ruination of one’s own career, future and livelihood is quite another.  To be ruined; to visit a ruin; to allow for ruination; all such forms of linguistic allowances become stalwarts of reality unless you take the necessary steps to advance forward.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is the first step towards ensuring that one will not become another ruin to be photographed, but a living, vibrant entity who has escaped the devastation of an ahistorical context.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The script of life

Seeking out the pathways of precognition by consulting with the ancient oracles, was merely that same attempt.  Prediction and foreknowledge were the precursors of script writing; as the former failed to provide an advantageous statistical weighting, so the shift to a more pragmatic approach reflects the recognition that the gods provided no greater insight than mere chance, and so we’d better get on with life and attempt to control fate, destiny and the travesties of life’s lottery by writing the narrative ourselves.

Thus do economic systems of varying control mechanisms arise, where socialism and fascism, state-run artifices constructed to ensure prevention of extremes, thereby comforting us from the worst nightmares and fears born of childhood insecurities.

Virtual reality is safer than real reality; staring into a smartphone and chasing figments of imaginative characters and ghosts that exude cuteness in violent but funny ways, are all preferable to facing the harshness of daily living.  We may not know when we will capture the prize, but the script has been written so that it becomes settled law as to whether.  Reality shows may sometimes surprise, but the unexpected itself is easily anticipated; that is part of the deal, and there is not much art in it after all.

Shakespeare’s quote comes from his play, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII:  “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

Such was the surrender to fate, now replaced by inane self-help books which purportedly boosts one’s self-confidence, makes one look like a Reality T.V. personality, and allegedly creates wealthy patrons of us all.  All throughout, we seek merely to obtain a copy of the script of life so that we can practice our parts, and not have to think about what must be done.  We seek predictability when the world offers chance; beg for mercy, when all there appears is savagery; and fall prey to the oracles of modernity, when even the ancients failed to deliver.

In the sphere of Federal and Postal employees, of course, it is the medical condition itself which was never asked to be included in that script of life.  It is one of those “curve-balls” which happens to the other guy, and never to us; or so we always played our part to live by.  But when it occurs, and life presents the unpredictable in a chaotic universe of harsh reality, we are asked to simply “deal with it”, and so we must.

For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal positional duties, the script which must be ad-libbed is the part where decisions concerning the future must be engaged.  Should I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  When should the process be started?  Is it ever too late?  Is the Federal Disability Retirement application filed with my agency, or with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Should I consult with an attorney?

These questions, and many more, even the ancient oracles would not have been able to answer.  The undeniable fact is, that the script of life rarely is written to reflect the reality of life’s harshness; it simply “is”, and must be acted upon according to what is given, even when consulting with the high priest or priestess of the ancient oracles provides only silence and an impervious unresponsiveness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement System under FERS or CSRS: The footnote

Who reads them, anymore?  Defined as an ancillary or corollary piece of information beyond that which is stated in the body of the main text, the footnote represents that which reflects an addendum and not something that is considered “required reading”, but more likely for the benefit of those who enjoy quixotic minutiae and esoteric details of irrelevant import.*  As referenced in history, one who is relegated to the afterthought failed to reach the first order of things, and their lack of relevance is reflected by banishment to the bottom of the page.

Before computers were invented, long before the notion of “cut and paste” defined the laziness of intellectual prowess, the writer had to engage in prescient forethought, and calculate by measured deliberation the space to leave, the length of the footnote, and whether there was enough white-out left in the crusted bottle to make up for any lack of proper preparation.

The pretentiousness of the pseudo-intellectual, of course, was to have footnotes of greater length than the body of the text itself, spanning multiple pages so that the reader would become confused as to what constituted relevance in contrast to signification of purpose, where some pages barely had a sentence with but a horizontal mark demarcating the onerous esoterica of erudite irrelevancy.  And the worst, of course, is when a teacher or professor would ask a test question based upon one; for, again, the common refrain was twofold:  Who reads them?  Were we required to read them?  And the scoffing retort from the test-giver — that god amongst gods who held grades, fate and future plans in the palm of a single hand: If it was in the assigned material, it was “required reading”.

Much later, of course, we came to realize that “it was really good for us to read them” (though we never really believed such inane confessions), or to our own children, “When I was your age, and computers weren’t yet invented…” (with but a reactive facial expression beyond capacity to translate).  In the end (literally and figuratively), we all realize that the footnote itself represents mere distractions upon an otherwise ordered pagination of an author’s meanderings, and for ourselves, that they reflect a metaphor of who we are.

Most of us are treated as mere footnotes, left unnoticed, disregarded except for occasional reference by accident or happenstance.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has progressed to a deteriorating consensus of requiring an alternative plan of action, being treated as a footnote within a subtext of irrelevancy amongst a sea of bureaucratic inefficiency, is likely a feeling of growing concern.

As footnotes are deliberately disregarded, so the majority of people are like those masses of addendum relegated to unnoticed details of sub-citizenship.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often elevate one’s status and stature for a time, if only because the Agency or U.S. Postal Service is suddenly forced to read the footnote, and take notice of the subtext; but beyond that, it is the medical condition itself which relegates the Federal or Postal employee to that numbering at the bottom of the page and left to irrelevancy, precisely because you are not one of the “productive” ones.

How does one force the “outside world” to “read” you?

In the end, there is life beyond a career with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a first step in getting beyond being relegated to a mere footnote.

As with those generals who served alongside Eisenhower, Grant, Lee and forgotten Roman centurions, most of us are mere footnotes, and glad of it for the unnoticed joys we can embrace in the anonymity of our privacy, and for the Federal or Postal worker who wants to get beyond the notoriety accompanying that unwanted attention for merely having a medical condition — and thus temporarily assigned to the body of the “main text” for being a nuisance — preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is often the first step towards asserting one’s rights to getting back to the footnote of time and timelessness, where most of us want to remain, in the cocoon of irrelevancy and historical afterthoughts.

 


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*Footnote 1:  Just to make sure; otherwise, refer to page 3,275 herein, where you will be required to obtain a special password and key in order to access a pseudo-intellectual forum of erudition within an ivory tower of confounding thoughts, for further reference to important commentaries otherwise pretentiously inserted in order to appear intelligently cogent.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire