OPM Disability Retirement: The Lost Illusions

In childhood, we retained many illusions; as adulthood came to fruition, such illusions were slowly stripped away, one by one, until reality hardened the sunlight of hope and replaced them with the gloom of daily existence.  Then, sometime later in life, when maturity formed the mold of contentment and latter-day fancies allowed for happiness to reside, we came to compromise with life’s misgivings, allowing that not everyone is bad, not everything is a failure, and not every regret has to be turned into a nightmare attributable to the fault of our parents.

In short, we finally grew up.  But what about those lost illusions?

We define an illusion as that which is wrongly perceived — in other words, it is our “perception” of X that is in error, and not the substance of what X actually is.  Encountering “Being” in the world is a scary matter [sic] in and of itself; for many, the elixir of living in a world of illusions is preferable to the ugly reality of pure Being; just visit any mental institution and one can get a sense of a universe where illusion dominates.

Throughout life, we must always adjust the world as we perceive it, the manner in which we desire to perceive, and the reality of matching perception with pure Being.  It is the game of expectations and the bumping into reality that is the hardest lesson to learn; and for most, the lost illusions of childhood yearning constantly battles to regain our need for a time past, a regret turned, and a desire snuffed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form 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 illusion that one’s Federal or Postal position was secure for a lifetime’s future engagement may be the first thing that needs to be shed.

Further, the illusion that your Agency or Postal unit will be cooperative during the long and complex administrative process — because you “earned it” or that your prior years of dedicated service should count for something — may also be an illusion that needs to be set aside.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will likely require the shedding of many illusions, and like those lost illusions once held by the innocent child that was once you, the illusions inherent in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is no different precisely because the encounter with Being is still the tumultuous affair that it always has been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Hypotheticals

Why do lawyers, above most other professions, utilize the tool of hypotheticals?  What is their evidentiary value, and in what way does it help to advance the cause of one’s case?

Say, for instance, you need an architect or an engineer (yes, yes, the humor here is that in speaking about hypotheticals, we are preparing to present one), would you be at all impressed if, after describing with precision the type of product you desire to have built, or in requesting a blueprint of a model house you are interested in, the architect or the engineer presents you with a hypothetical?

What, first of all, is a ‘hypothetical’?  It is, first and foremost, a proposition of non-existence, but with components of reality that may or may not have occurred or existed except in partial or disparate forms, delineated in an attempt to make or prove a point.  It is the tool of the attorney, just as the pencil and the blueprint are the resources of the architect, and the mathematical calculations the reliance of the engineer.  Often, it is used by means of analogical content to prove a point and to enhance the evidence gathered.

Take, for example, the lawyer who defended a bank robber.  He meets his client for the first time, and the criminal defense lawyer puts up a hand in order to stop his client from speaking, and says the following: “Now, take the following hypothetical, Mr. Dillinger: A man walks into a bank and hands a note to the teller that says, ‘Give me everything in your drawers.’  Now, that man was subsequently arrested.  No cash was ever exchanged; no weapon was ever found.  The question, then, is: What was meant by the words?  Only you know.  If, by way of a hypothetical, the man meant to obtain the contents of the teller’s drawer, it might mean 10 years in prison.  If, on the other hand, the note meant to be a lewd proposal about the teller’s anatomy beneath her undergarments, it would likely be a misdemeanor offense.  Now, Mr. Dillinger, which is it?”

Now, aside from some who would view such a presentation as somewhat unethical for “suggesting”, on the part of the lawyer, which intended “meaning” the defendant possessed at the time the note was passed, such a hypothetical is intended to denote the importance of hypotheticals within the purview of “the law”.  Hypotheticals allow for individuals to see the differences in paradigms or examples; it allows for options by way of analogy.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where 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, hypotheticals have quite likely become like unicorns and gnomes: no longer a figment of one’s imagination, but a reality that must be faced within a surreal universe of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that fails to possess the humanity necessary in dealing with a person with failing health.

Words of platitudes are often spoken; and, perhaps, here and there, you come across someone at your agency that actually cares.  But for the most part, such “caring” amounts to no more of a reality than mere hypotheticals; and when that realization comes about that the clash between hypotheticals and reality must be confronted, it is time to get down to the “nuts and bolts” and prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, as an aside, you may be asking, What was Mr. Dillinger’s response to the lawyer’s hypothetical? He punched the lawyer in the mouth, stood up and said, “Jeez, I ain’t no pervert!  Of course I wanted the money!”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The immovable individual

Aristotle’s unmoved mover is an interesting conceptual posit:  it is based upon the cohesive compromise between the Pre-Socratics as paradigmatic examples encapsulated by Parmenides and Heraclitus – of the universe as seen in a singular “oneness” as opposed to embroiled in constant flux and change.

The unmoved mover consolidates into a synergistic compromise the pendulum between the two extremes:  Here is the apex of perfection representing unchangeableness, surrounded by the universe of flux and constant metamorphosis striving towards that paradigm of perfection; and so the world of alteration and the oneness of the infinite are balanced in a yin-yang of a complete whole.

Within this universe of the immovable and inconstancy reflects the types of individuals roaming the world – of the indecisive and hollow man without a moral compass, to the principled and uncompromising stalwart whom some would characterize as narrow-minded and radical in holding extremist views unshaken by cultural alterations and daily vicissitudes of undermined normative paradigms.

But history portends of change, and it is the mounds of human detritus that combine to reveal that flux is the foundation of successful adaptation for survival in Nature, as well as in human society – of business models that must follow the trends of cultural metamorphosis, to the embracing of a changing society and structures of sociological tremors throughout.  Yes, having principles to abide by is important; but Man is neither perfect like the Unmoved Mover, nor touching upon the residue of angels and gods who pride in the near-perfection of heavenly bodies.

The immovable individual – while principled and relied upon for foundational support – is often the one left behind because when life clashes with the ivory tower of conceptual constructs, not moving is tantamount to seppuku – the traditional honor-killing by disembowelment by the samurai.

That is often the problem with life, living and beliefs that one clings to; and for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has a view that one’s Federal or Postal career path must by necessity strive towards the Unmoved Mover, the problem is when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers often will continue to work until it is detrimental to his or her own self-interest – i.e., to the cost of one’s health.

Yes, having a paradigm of principled beliefs is important, and yes, living by a moral compass can maintain the important foundation for integrity, loyalty, uprightness and reflecting all that is good in human nature.  But when reality clashes with principle – as when one’s view of working for “the mission of the agency” or for the good of the U.S. Postal Service begins to contradict one’s medical condition, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and not worry too much about being the immovable individual whose paradigm as reflected in how Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover may – while being a stalwart of perfection – be left behind in the dustbin of history’s irrelevant collection of ideas showing the vaunted state of angels no longer believed in, and gods removed because of the errors of myths and fantasies once created to tell the narrative of human folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Fear Untethered

It is of evolutionary advantage for a healthy dose to allow; what amount, whether it can be quantified, and to what extent instinct should be restrained before intersecting rage and reactive violence meet, is a question, a puzzle and a conundrum.  An animal in fear is both broken and dangerous, and the corollary of the two sides of a singular coin reveals the thin line between innate survival instincts which we attempt to linguistically describe, but are at a disadvantage precisely because words are ultimately inadequate in reflecting reality.

Tethering our fears is a lifelong process for everyone; the balance between healthy bridling and repressive dangers where outlets are disallowed but when expression of ignored or unattended trauma may erupt in later discourses of life and leniency of self, validates the delicacy of our sensitive natures.  To be overbearing or detachedly impervious; to allow for expression beyond therapeutic value, or to blithely shut down all channels of thought and numbing emotions of eruptive tremblings of sobbing heaves; the tightrope of life leaves little room for error on either side of the equation.

We often speak in terms of “how much” and “what amount”, as if human frailty can be mixed in a crockpot of ingredients thrown by whim of recipe; a dash of solvent emotion here, a teaspoon of corrective stoicism over here.  The reality of the situation is that fear rules most of us; we just never allow the untethering of it to be revealed too soon, for greater fear of being found out, like the emperor whose clothes we knew to not exist, but were too cowardly to admit, until the boldness of a child took the lead in shattering the facade of our own making.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the emotion of fear is a known quantity.  Little fiefdoms and feudal fares of power plays occur as daily soap operas unraveling despite the bureaucracy of rules, regulations and administrative forces of containment.

Then, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten and impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability or capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the fears which were once effectively tethered begin to uncoil, as future uncertainty and suspicion of motives in the unexplained actions of others and the agency whispers begin to foment those recesses of evolutionary cries for survival and rage.

Medical conditions tend to do that:  they feed upon themselves, and exponentially magnify and exacerbate those very fears we were previously able to restrain, contain and maintain.  It is important in the time of fear and untethering of emotions, to seek wise counsel and obtain some direction in preparing, formulating and filing for 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.

For, in the end, fear untethered is like the pinnacle of the forgotten nightmare, when the abyss of sweat and trembling reaches a climax of unknown proportions, and when screams are no longer heard, pleas no longer considered, and the grace of angels flying beyond into the netherworld of residues where the golden dust of forgiveness is sprinkled afar.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire