Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Distractions

They are the projects of life of which Heidegger recognizes, allowing for avoiding the inevitabilities of life’s challenges; of fate, mortality, future insecurity, and death.  What quantifiable slice of one’s life is governed by distractions?  Must it always be less than 50% in order to remain so, and if it exceeds that halfway point, does it then become something substantive and not merely the peripheral meaning of what it means to “be distracted”?  If a distraction is considered to be an aside – that which waylays a person’s attention by focusing upon a central project of life’s endeavor – what then defines an inversion of that perspective?

Take, for example, the following:  A mechanical engineer is working on a technical project that consumes one’s focus, concentration and attention to detail, but has a unique and eccentric ophthalmological condition, whereby the eyes are compelled to follow any and all red objects that pass by.

Now, the company has attempted to accommodate the medical condition by requesting that no employee shall enter into the mechanical workshop wearing red, but on this particular day, some investors are visiting, and a man in the troop of intruders is wearing a red tie, and a woman in the entourage is sporting a red sweater.  They go from bench station to the next cubicle, within the purview and arc of dimensional periphery of the eccentric man’s attention, and with each movement, every sidelong blur, his eyes are “distracted” by the red moving objects.

Out of every minute of work, fully 45 seconds are spent on focusing upon the red objects that detract from the necessary mental acuity attending to the project at hand, and indeed, while they are far enough away such that from an objective viewpoint, the objects are mere inches in proportion and are of a distance as to almost be unnoticeable to others in the group of engineers, for the eccentric mechanical engineer, it is the focal point of his attentions.

The distraction is such that it disrupts the sequence of testing conditions and interrupts the validity of the technical precision required, and a coworker finally declares, “You’ve been too distracted and the project has to be scrapped.”  Would we agree that, because of the numerical disproportionality of concentration attributable, “red-object observation” takes precedence as the primary project, and it is the engineering project that is the distraction?  Or, because it is a medical condition of which he “cannot help it”, do we excuse the distraction in its entirety?

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 positional duties, the central point made here is precisely how the Federal agency and the Postal facility views the issues significant in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service possess a myopic view of “work”, and even if the Federal or Postal employee is able to continue making valuable contributions to the workplace, they often see the differentiation between “work” and “distractions” as one quantifiable by time alone.  This is too bad, but a reality that must be faced.  For, medical conditions are not mere distractions; they are life’s interludes that can often be faced and overcome, if only outmoded ideas about what constitutes workplace contributions are set aside, and realize that even distractions delaying the central mission of a Federal agency or Postal facility are not the most important, or even of much significance, when it comes to the worth and value of a human life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Terms

Language is a malleable vehicle.  There have been times in the history of language, when the staid and stodginess period of loss of vibrancy became the rule, followed by epochs of radical vicissitudes, upheavals and counter-conventional revolutions in the medium of language games.  Whether this encapsulated slice of linguistic alteration, upending traditional forms of communication because of electronic media and the hype of language abbreviated by Twitter, Texting and Tablet Titillations, will last the short life of technological innovation and obsolescence, is yet to be determined.

For example, the time of Shakespeare’s linguistic explosion of experimentation and expansive usage became in retrospect a richness of entering into connotative language meanings from which we benefit to this day.  But steadiness, continuity and conditions of stability are also important in order to take the proverbial breather to accept, embrace and assimilate (a term widely used for contextual purposes in modernity applied to immigration reform, as well) the linguistic revolutions that become incommensurate with meaning, communication and conveyance of terms.

Terms are important, both in common usage and in technical application.  In the arena of Federal Disability Retirement Law, different words are splayed about, sometimes without regard to proper application, especially when the “law” often requires a greater attention to precision of meaning.  Some simple and common crossovers of linguistic confusion involve:  “medical retirement” and “disability retirement” – do they mean the same thing?

If reference to either term involves the submission for an early retirement to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the answer is “yes”, they do mean the same thing.  Federal Disability  Retirement is identical to “Federal medical retirement” if by such words the query is referring to filing for an early retirement based upon the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, and therefore the intention is to access an early annuity because of one’s early retirement based upon the medical condition, and submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Some other terms often confused or conflated:  “On-the-job injury” or “pre-existing condition”; these terms are often used in the language-arena of Worker’s Compensation issues, and rarely have any import – or applicability, at all – in the context of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it matters not whether or not one has been disabled “on the job” or away at a skiing accident; instead, what is important is the impact of the injury or disease upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  As for a “pre-existing” condition – that, too, is more likely appropriately defined in an OWCP context, and rarely in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In any event, “terms” are meant to be used within a context-appropriate content of filings, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to clarify and conform to the applicable statutory mandates in defining and using the terms which are most appropriate and effective.

For, in the end, the explosion of language during the era of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age reverberates with critical linguistic richness to this day; yet, if we were to have a conversation with a bloke from that era, the terms employed would not only confuse us, but confound us with a profound sense of despairing lack of cogency despite our self-aggrandizing declarations of superiority and advancement in the modern parlance of greater self-esteem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Enthusiasm of Life

There are those we sometimes meet in life where the infectiousness of enthusiasm cannot be avoided.  Whether such active energy can be truly sustained, to what extent, and for how long; and, whether such enthusiasm is matched within the essence of the being behind the veil of smiles and outward appearances, only the heart and soul knows in the privacy of one’s chambers.  Whether an artifice for show and appearances, or a true bundle of vitality, the reality of such people and their existence is besides the point; rather, the real issue to consider is the contrasting starkness which is revealed when encountering such people.

Most of us walk through life with limited energy, complaining of life’s inequities, and performing tasks with minimal effort.  The automaton is merely a person once removed from the daily monotony of life.  Then, when a medical condition hits the person, all of the fears and predictions of gloom merely become reinforced and proven beyond a doubt.  Thereafter, the logical sequence of events often occurs, and the “piling on” follows, where family, acquaintances, supervisors and coworkers known or otherwise forgotten begin to avoid and shy away from further contact.  The “disease of failure”, or that which lacks the look or scent of success, begins to pervade.  People are funny beings; they treat the maladies of others as if it can be caught like a viral epidemic.

Medical conditions prevailing upon Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers can have a similar effect and impact:  suddenly, the pandemic of avoidance and negative perspectives pervades all sides:  the Federal or Postal employee is no longer treated with respect by Supervisors, co-workers and the agency (the cynic, of course, would question whether such respectful treatment ever occurred in the first place), and proposed administrative sanctions and actions follow not too far behind.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s agency if the Federal or Postal worker is still with the agency (or has been separated from Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a step in the direction of regaining and reasserting one’s enthusiasm of, and for, that which life offers.  Staying in an environment where one is shunned and unwanted, will only exponentially magnify the stamping out and extinguishment of the afterglow of human endeavor.

Life is often short and stunningly cruel; and when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, consideration needs to be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, if only to escape the hostile work environment which further exacerbates the medical conditions from which one suffers.

The enthusiasm of life is not merely a viral cavity gnawing at the annoying person we encounter here and there; it is the essence of who we are in our natural state of being, but shaken and turned out of us by the incremental and subtle weight of burdens gained over time and troubled waters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Self-predication

Some people are uncomfortable in doing it; others relish the repetitive self-reference, enjoying the first-person attribution and the incessant pronouncement of the personal pronoun, the centrality of dramatic characterization every time the “I” is inserted; throughout, everyone recognizes that the identification of the “I” can never be fully expunged despite a heightened level of modesty or humility.

There is an artfulness to speaking about one’s self while at the same time making it appear as an objectification of the referential focus.  Talking about oneself; constantly inserting the self-attribution throughout a narrative; dominating every element of a conversation with self referential accolades; these can all be overwhelming, leaving aside the issue of being irritating.  But in some circumstances, such self attribution cannot be avoided.  There are times when we must talk about ourselves, but the manner of how it is done can be the difference between repetitive boredom and referential relevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file 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, the requirement to prepare, formulate and file one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A is something which must accompany every Federal Disability Retirement application. That is where one tells one’s “story” about the medical condition, the impact upon the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and upon other and personal aspects of living.  Of course, self-reference and attribution of the personal pronoun must be used; but it is also a time and place where a prevailing sense of objectivity should be garnered, and where peripheral irrelevancies should be strictly limited and contained.

Concise brevity should guide one; reference to outside sources and medical evidence should be encapsulated; the story of centrality should be about the impact upon the personal “I”; and yet, throughout, the truth of the narrative should come out such that self-predication does not constitute self-promotion with an ulterior motive, but rather, that the universe of living beings has for a brief moment in time, allowed the spotlight of significance upon a singular entity who has dedicated him/herself to the mission of an agency, but where unforeseen circumstances of life beyond one’s control has necessitated the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire