OPM Medical Retirement: Empathy: What it Says About Us

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article, there was a story about 3 people who died — of professional individuals who had purchased cocaine, but where the “product” was tainted with fentanyl and perhaps some other deadly additives.

Why was it so difficult to feel a sense of empathy for these people?  The fact that they all seemed “privileged” — of having good jobs, being young and having all of the alleged “appearance” of having social, professional and financial advantages — seems to come into play.  The judgment we make is: It was their “choice” to buy the drugs, to take them, to understand the chance they were taking, and so….

Yet, how are they any different, substantively, from the child who grows up in the “projects” and is daily surrounded by drug dealers, criminals and bad parenting?  What is the substantive difference between the two?  Why do we have empathy for the child who grows up with disadvantages and succumbs to them, but not for the ones who seemingly have all of the advantages in life, and yet, squanders them and descends to the level of those who have always been without?

Empathy is a funny animal; and moreover, it probably says something about us when we show it for some, feel it for others, and yet for those “others” — none at all.  Which is a lesson for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from an injury or disease, and who have shown a sense of loyalty to their Federal Agency or Postal Unit for many years, and expect to find some sympathy when they file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the FERS system.

Perhaps you believe that you will receive some modicum of empathy from your Agency or Postal Service.  Don’t.  And when you do not, don’t begin ruminating about it; for, in the end, it says something about your Agency, and not about yourself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Other World’s Thoughts

Are there other worlds which think differently?  When you hear of other cultures; of other societies; of people speaking in response to questions posed — Do we suddenly become jolted by the cultural differences, of thought processes which sound foreign and alien, and think, “Wow, is it possible that they think differently than I do?”

Perhaps, it has to do with marriage — of arrangements that still lead to a happiness which we cannot fathom.  Or, of cuisine that doesn’t quite agree with what we consider acceptable staples; or even of freedom — of restrictions, of political speech which is restrained and constrained by fear, intimidation, etc.  Are there, within a reach’s distance, other world’s thoughts which appear foreign and distant?

Certainly, for Federal Gov. employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the FERS system — the foreign language required by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; it is, in essence, Other World’s Thoughts.  It is a language replete with legal jargon and foreign phrases; of case laws applicable and statutory authorities inviolable.

In order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the FERS retirement system, it is tantamount to needing to know a foreign language.

Contact a FERS Attorney who is familiar with that “foreign language” of OPM Medical Disability requirements, and understand that, yes, it is indeed Other World’s Thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: Before and After

Do you remember those old pictures on the advertising pages of various magazines?  Or, perhaps they are still there?

Whether for diets, some “Atlas He-Man” powder to build muscles; where the “before” picture is always grainy and indecipherable; whereas the “after” photograph is of a beaming, smiling, clearly and visibly an ecstatic person, satisfied and happy with the product and the end results.

comparison of the two — the person “before” and the individual “after” — is always of dubious quality (at least with respect to the “before”), and triggers the question:  Is it the same person?

But the question itself is somewhat irrelevant — for, of course, in one sense, it is not the same person; the person “after” is different because that is the whole purpose of the advertisement, to convey to the reader that the person “after” is a different person from the person “before”, and the photographs are meant to show you the difference.

So, is it false advertising if the person photographed in the “after” picture is not the identical person as the one shown “before”?

In one sense, it obviously is, because the advertisement is trying to persuade you that the product being sold is what caused the change, and surely if you photograph the “before” person as being the same — but now different — as the “after” person, some semblance of subterfuge was engaged in.

On the other hand, if the whole purpose of the advertisement is to convince you that both the “before” person and the “after” person (both of whom presumably used the product being sold) are, in fact, “different” from one another, then how is it that there is any falsity in the advertisement?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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, clearly — and without false advertising — there is a difference between the “before” and the “after”.

Before the medical condition, the Federal or Postal employee was a vibrant, productive worker.  After the chronic medical condition — well, the clear necessity to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under the FERS system tells the whole story.

Contact a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Medical Disability Retirement Law, and let not the dubious advertising of those “before” and “after” photographs in those old ads detract you from pursuing the need for FERS Disability Retirement benefits before the after of the debilitating health conditions worsens and goes too far.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

FERS Disability Retirement Law: The Great Lesson

Once upon a time, people went through experiences without the need to put them to some greater advantage.

Stories abound of WWI and WWII veterans who earned medals for bravery — even the Medal of Honor — and never mentioned it to anyone, until some grandchild wandering up into Grandpa’s attic found a shiny ornament in some dusty old chest, brought it down and asked the old man, “What is this?”  Or, of the Olympic Gold Medalist who similarly went to work, got married and lived a “normal”, unassuming life without make a big todo about his or her accomplishment of being the top athlete in a chosen field.

Nowadays, everyone who experiences anything has to turn it into The Great Lesson.  It becomes an awakening; a springboard to some Eureka moment that propels the person into a higher purpose, a metaphysical transcendence to attaining a greater consciousness, and then to become a corporate motivational speaker who has some profound insight into life, its misgivings and that “Great Lesson” that was allegedly learned from some traumatic experience or other.

The reality is that, the greater lesson beyond any “great lesson” is that the experience itself — whatever it is — is not the hard part; the hard part is to go beyond that experience, and to continue to live a quiet, productive life without trying to sell to everyone how “The Great Lesson” lead you to profound, metaphysical insights which corporate motivational speakers can charge an arm and a leg to hear about.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a disabling 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 Great Lesson of a medical condition is quite simple, and will not get you to some metaphysical consciousness beyond the simplicity of the lesson itself:  Get a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, and begin to focus upon the priority of your health.

There — that’s all there is to it.  Of course, maybe you can package it into some extended motivational speech and make up to 80% of what your former Federal job pays today, so that you can WOW them with some transcendental meditational speech and charge them that arm and a leg, but only after you have regained your health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Disability Retirement: Sufficiency

There is always a measure of subjectivity involved, of course.  Following the Council of Trent, the issues which prevailed as a response to the Protestant Reformation involved Church doctrine and clarifications needed concerning issues involving “sufficiency” of grace, whether the human will could engage in acts of the “Good” without it, and so many other interesting minutiae of proper wording which is now irrelevant in this postmodern era.

What is sufficient; what qualitative or quantitative determinations meet that criteria; is there an objective set of rules and regulations requiring sufficiency, and how is it determined to have been met?

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, “sufficiency” of information is a critical criteria to be met in every Federal Disability Retirement case.

There has been no “Council of Trent” to clarify what would meet the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s criteria for what constitutes sufficiency of medical and other information; although, there have certainly been many “edicts” issued, both by OPM and the Federal Courts, as well as by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (the “MSPB”).

What is sufficient; how is it determined; who decides on the issue; what can be done to meet the criteria — these are all questions which can differ from case-to-case because of the inherent uniqueness of each case.

Contact an OPM Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement benefits and avoid the proclamations issued concerning heresies and violations of doctrinal clarifications, whether by the Council of Trent or by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Disability Law: How We See Ourselves

Disturbing studies keep seeping out from these technological times of unfettered advancement: Of kids having greater anxiety, being placed on medications at earlier and earlier ages; of technology — Facebook, Instagram and other “Social Media” outlets — contributing to how we see ourselves.

In a predominantly agrarian society — of which we were until after WWI (the Great War to end all wars — how did that work for us?) — with no technological connection between towns, cities, and even families, how we saw ourselves differed drastically than in the modern era.

We did not compare ourselves to total strangers.  We did not snap images of ourselves constantly and obsessively.  We did not view pictures of ourselves, nor had the capacity to alter, modify, “improve” or otherwise change the way we were reflected.  In fact, the grainy images of black-and-white photographs barely captured the outer shell of who we are.

So, how did we see ourselves “back then”?  We didn’t.  Instead, the focus was outward — towards the objective world we had to maneuver through in order to survive.

In modernity, the focus has shifted inward — within the universe of words, language, thoughts, images, and the aggregation of an insular world.  This shift is important to recognize, for we have to counterbalance the overemphasis upon how we see ourselves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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, How We See Ourselves is important in light of the devastating impact that the loss of one’s career and instability of one’s future is looked upon.

Greater stress and anxiety likely dominates.  The insular and the objective feed upon each other and trigger greater difficulties.

Contact an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of taking a greater balanced view of How We See Ourselves by prioritizing your health, and therefore, your future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Primary Questions

You can easily get entrenched within a morass of details.  Primary questions — those issues which, when addressed and answered, essentially take care of sub-questions and lesser categories of details — need to be identified and prioritized.

Many people are unable to recognize, identify and extract the primary questions.  Why? Because, if you are unfamiliar with the paradigmatic, upper echelons of the legal criteria being applied (for instance, in a legal matter), then how are you going to be able to “separate out” the proverbial grain from the chaff?

At all 3 of the main stages of a Federal Disability Retirement case — at the Initial Stage; if denied, at the Reconsideration Stage; if denied a second time, before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — it is important to either preemptively or actively discern and discard the unimportant side-issues, and to focus upon the primary questions in a Federal Disability Retirement case.

The rule of life always applies: Prioritize; identify the primary questions and issues; take care of what is relevant; then, the rest of the “minor details” will often naturally fall to the wayside.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Reactive Responses

By haste do we regret; by unthinking actions do we abide the fool.  Have you seen the sign often placed at the Clerk’s window at the local courthouse?  It will read something to the effect of: “Your procrastination does not create my emergency”.

Reactive responses, whether based upon a “real” emergency or one which seemingly appears so, are often the basis for later regrets and irreparable damage.  It is like the rule that everyone should follow in sending emails or posting comments on the Internet: Wait a day; sleep on it; set it aside for later consideration.

Few emergencies are rarely so; most are merely in the minds of the individual, burning like a forest fire out of control, but yet distant enough to suffer no lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the reactive response is often the fatal one.  Unless it is to meet a statute of limitations deadline, or to respond to an issue with a specific timeframe, most considerations which arise in a disability retirement application are rarely true emergencies and can be thoughtfully approached and resolved.

Contact a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest haste results in waste and the thoughtless action reverberates with unintended consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Federal Disability Attorney

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: A Reason for Everything

Why must we attach one to each event, every occurrence, all episodes?  Is there one for everything?  Must there be a “reason” for every event in life?

We require explanations — whether of a transcendent nature, a motive or a foundation explaining a causal connection; but is the necessity inherent in the event, or does it reveal more about ourselves as a species which demands a rational explanation?  Does it matter, ultimately, whether the rising of the sun is explained by referring to the awakening of the gods or that the revolution of the earth rotating around the sun explains the phenomena, and that the sun doesn’t actually rise, but because of the spinning cycle of the earth, dawn comes upon us?

Of course, in daily living, whichever explanation we accept — whether of the gods yawning and awakening or the more “scientific” explanation about planets and their rotational movements — matters not except perhaps to raise eyebrows during the course of a conversation with your boss, but it does, of course, make a tremendous difference if you work at NASA and are planning the next space mission.

We seek a reason for everything; that is the nature of human beings, and for Federal employees 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 reason given to the question, “Why me?” may not be a simple one.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS may not answer the age-old questions concerning causality, but it will at least allow you to focus upon your health and the priorities in life.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement; at the very least, some of the questions and reasons concerning the complex conundrum concerning disability retirement may be answered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
FERS Disability Attorney

 

FERS Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: The Port

It is the Roman Stoic, Seneca the Younger, who wrote that, “If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable”.  It is, in the end, the essence of Stoicism — of living life without complaint and without being impacted by the hardships of the objective world, all the while clinging to a path of virtue unfettered by worldly concerns.  That is why the quote above — of the internal “self” in contrast to the metaphor of the objective world: the winds which guide the ships — encapsulates the essence of the philosophy of Stoicism.

In modernity, it matters little from whence the winds come, for we engineer our own direction through engines and mechanical devices which propel the marine vessel by the power of our own creation.  But of that time when ships relied exclusively upon the breath of gods that blew the winds which filled the sails — it was a time when we relied heavily upon the favor of fate and nature’s appeasement.  Yet, even today, whether by the propulsion of machines invented or reliance upon prayers of guidance, no wind is favorable until and unless a person knows where he or she wants to go.

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 his or her position, it is important to make a determination as to “where” one plans on going before determining the “how” of the approach.  If a medical condition has clearly begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then where one must “go” becomes clearer: You cannot continue to stay at the job precisely because the medical condition prevents you from doing so; and so FERS Disability Retirement becomes the option by default.

The next question, then, is the “how”, as in — How does one get from point A to destination B?  Consult with an attorney to discuss the further particulars of your case; for, in the end, whether you believe in the philosophical tenets of Stoicism or not, once you realize the port to which you wish to sail, you need the favorable winds of counsel from an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to help guide the sails of your journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire