Legal Representation for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: ‘To’ and ‘For’

What would be the difference if, in the title of Willa Cather’s novel, “Death Comes for the Archbishop”, she had instead chosen to use the word “to” in replacement of “for”?  Would empires have fallen, world wars have been averted or earthquakes and other natural disasters have been delayed?

Likely, not; but would the countless minds that have encountered the novel, enjoyed its beautiful prose and admired its humanity and warmth in the telling of a tale of a time long past and a period now gone — would anyone have even noticed?  Is there a difference with a distinction: “Death Comes for the Archbishop” as opposed to “Death Comes to the Archbishop”?

Some might dismissively declare, “In any event, the Archbishop died, didn’t he?”  The subtlety of distinction — should it even be brought up?  Would that the title was of the latter instead of the former — would anyone have even noticed?  Is there a grammatical point of difference; is one “more” correct than the other?

Certainly, the “sense” that is employed exists — where, the “to” has a much more objective and distant, impersonal “feel” to it, whereas the “for” personalizes it, gives it warmth, almost as if “death” is a person as opposed to an event, and the “for” makes it a personal possessive as opposed to the “to” that connotes an arms-length relationship between the object and subject.

Are the prepositions interchangeable?  If a person is stricken with grief over a tragedy and a close friend arrives to provide comfort and says, “I came for you”, it would be a statement that would be considered heart-warming.  If, under the same circumstances, the person instead declared, “I came to you” — would we, again, mark the difference or even notice?  It is, certainly, a statement of objective fact — the person objectively traveled and arrived at destination Point B from origination Point A.

Again, the subtle distinction — the “for” connotes a greater personal warmth as opposed to a simple statement of fact.  It is, in the end, the subtle differences that sometimes makes the entirety of a distinction that makes the difference.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the distinction between “to” and “for” is often the difference between living a life worthwhile and one that remains cold and impervious.

Human beings are often careless in their personal relationships; and the test of such caring or uncaring attitudes will often surface when a person is going through a trial or tragedy, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the complex and impersonal administrative process of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will often test the workplace relationships because of the self-interested motives that exist with agencies and the Postal Service.

Some coworkers, supervisors and others will distance themselves immediately, and they will remain in the category of the “to” people; while other coworkers, managers, supervisors, etc., will surprisingly be there “for” you.  Willa Cather chose the preposition “for” over the “to” because she was an excellent author, and it is the excellence of a human being that is revealed in the subtle differences we often overlook.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Of other’s misery

It may give one a sense of short-term satisfaction; sort of like Chinese carry-out, it satisfies for an hour or so, then seems to lose its efficacy for fulfillment.  Whereas, there are other foods that tend to last for greater time; and so it is with receiving news or information of other’s misery.  It certainly allows for a comparison of sorts; of tilting balances imagined, or even for contrasting accomplishments forsaken, dreams yet unfulfilled or misery unabated.

Of other’s misery – we condescend, conceal our delight and contend that we care and “feel terribly”; in other words, we sit and do nothing about it, even if we were able to.  Oh, we give the proper lip-service, of course: “How terrible”; “What a shame”; “What can one do?”  But all the while, inside, we whisper in soliloquys that harbor those feelings of secretive annoyances that say, “Thank goodness it is the other guy,” and begin to take an inventory of relief and comparative analysis of how best to take advantage of the situation.

Is that too cynical a viewpoint?  Does Machiavelli live within all of us?  Perhaps not to the extent described.  Then, what of other’s misery?  At a minimum, it provides a contrast and places us in a state of reality that says, Maybe our situation is not so bad after all.  Contentment by contrast of balancing the misery of others, however, is no way to live.

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to preparing a successful and effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not by comparing the content of other’s misery, but by a direct creation of a nexus between one’s own medical condition and the essential elements of one’s position description.

Forget the instinctively wrong-headed approach of asking, “Well, does X-medical condition qualify if so-and-so had the same condition and was still able to work?” Or: “There are others more bad off than I am, so…”  So what?  Federal Disability Retirement is a specific legal basis that requires specificity as to individual circumstances.  It is irrelevant as to issues of other’s misery; it is one’s own that one must focus upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: Fatigue of Life

There is clearly a distinction to be made between the general fatigue which life blows upon us all; like the child left to play outside in days of yore, and comes back with the grime of healthy dirtiness, the imperceptible layers of life’s hardships cover everyone, like the light dusting of snow overnight revealed in the morning dawn of a winter’s day.  But the profound fatigue which overtakes one from the daily battle against an incapacitating medical condition, is a difference which cannot always be adequately described, if ever.

The medical condition itself creates a circumstance of unique debilitation; the fight against it, whether without one’s conscious involvement — as in the soundless battle of healthy cells against the invasion of marauding maladies, as opposed to the exertion of willpower to continue on in engaging the daily living of life’s challenges — is of somewhat irrelevance, inasmuch as the combination and totality of one’s entire being is always and every day in the midst of the fight.

It is that subtle distinction which the healthy person is unable to understand; it is not life’s fatigue which prevails upon the sick person; it is the sickness itself, in addition to the fatigue of life.

For Federal and Postal workers who must contend not only with the daily grind of life’s routine, facing the bureaucracy and administrative headaches of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency (if still with the agency or otherwise not separated for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a challenge beyond that foray of the day’s entanglement with the world.

Federal and Postal employees must do the everyday things that all of us do:  attention to personal needs; work, if possible; interaction with family, neighbors, coworkers; and beyond, the fight against the medical condition itself.

Filing for Medical Retirement through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to face another of life’s challenges, beyond the daily routine and call of one’s duty and commitment to everyday life.  And since defeat is never an option, and giving up is not in the American character of perceived self-image; whether one is faced with the fatigue of life, or of life’s challenges beyond the general malaise of daily living, it is how we face the cup of gruel we are served, which will determine the future path as yet unknown, as yet unsettled.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Random Happenstance

A determination concerning the random nature of a material and unconscious universe can only come about in contrast to a recognition that there is a comparison to be made, to its opposite corollary — that of a teleological state where will, consciousness and deliberation of action occurs.

Thus, one can bemoan the random happenstance of events, but to complain of an inherent “unfairness” becomes a self-contradiction, precisely because to do so is to declare otherwise than to acknowledge its aimless appearance and entrance into the consciousness before one who recognizes the arbitrary realm of an otherwise impervious and unfeeling world.

Further, while inanimate objects and their movement within the universe may further establish the arbitrary catapult of nature’s actions, when human decisions, and acts engaged by animals who are clearly aware of deliberative encounters interact within the arc of intersecting symmetries, one must always consider the history of how things came about, before determining whether or not the lack of teleological consequences betrays a truly random happenstance.

Medical conditions tend to prove the point.  Why does X occur to Y, but not to Z?  That is a question which involves an underlying sense of declaring the “unfairness” of a circumstance.  Whether genetic inheritance, an excess of negative and detrimental exposures, or perhaps an aimless accident resulting in injury, most often one will never know.  Doctors can discuss the contextual historicity of origins, but in the end, the medical condition must be accepted, and engaged.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives have been impacted by a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the time to consider the random happenstance of one’s condition, or whether there is behind it a purpose or lesson to be gleaned, is best put off for another day.

Instead, the practicalities of life’s mandates should prevail, and one such deliberative consideration is to determine whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should be one of the options to entertain.   Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal and Postal worker to maintain health insurance, continue an income based upon an annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year of being an annuitant, and 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point it becomes automatically converted to regular retirement; and, moreover, the number of years one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of Federal Service.

Yes, life’s random happenstance can sometimes appear unexpectedly, and seem unfair in a universe where we map out our existence from birth to death; but it is important to recognize that beyond the laws of physics allowable in the physical world of an impervious nature, there are no rules of the game except the ones we employ through devices concocted within the artifice of our own imaginations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Hostile Work Environment and the Centrality of the Medical Condition in a Government Employee Retirement Claim

Pithy quotes are replete throughout advisory or “self-help” books; it is a cottage industry involving coming up with linguistically sticky statements, like post-its tacked on to our sleeves in order to remind us of daily living tools to carry.  “Keeping the main thing the main thing” is one such quote, and numerous similar mutations, which remind us that prioritization of concepts, in any endeavor, is important to keep in mind, and to not allow for peripheral concerns to overwhelm and dominate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers intending on filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the centrality of the medical condition should always be paramount, penultimate, and properly placed atop the prioritized priority list of planned penmanship (such early morning alliteration is indeed a challenge).

This is normally not a concern; for, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, suffers from a medical condition, which is the primary basis for which such a life changing event must be engaged.  But in the course of encountering the adversarial administrative process — of the agency, the supervisor, coworkers, the H.R. Department, and in the end, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — it is easy to become sidetracked with issues of a hostile work environment, of harassment, increasing disciplinary measures, suspensions, initiation of a PIP, etc., and to forget that the centrality of the medical condition should be the guiding principle and light which drives the engine of success or leads to the drone of failure.

Getting sidetracked with peripheral issues remains the singular and problematic course of careening causal catastrophes; it is, as stated at the outset, the centrality of the medical condition which needs to be placed at the forefront, the mid-section, and the conclusory compendium of all carefully calibrated cases in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire