Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation OPM Disability Retirement: A good turn

At what point does a “good” turn transform into a negative?  Can one help so much so that dependency becomes the habit and negates the “goodness” that was once always a part of the deed?  Isn’t “going to work” a “good” thing?  When does it turn bad?  Is there ever a point where the quality of X becomes diluted so much so by the quantitative increase of the primary identifying ingredient of X to where the essence of X becomes negative-X because of too much X within X?  Can there be, in the simplest of terms, too much goodness where goodness itself turns bad because of the overwhelming goodness involved?  Why is it that the following syllogism doesn’t quite work, and where is the fallacy involved?

Water is a necessary component for life
Life requires water in abundance in order to survive
Therefore, the more water, the greater abundance of life

But we all know that consuming too much water can kill a person.  And, isn’t that the complaint that we have in almost all aspects of living — that we come back to Aristotle’s essential wisdom that there is a “mean” or a “middle ground” of moderation where the extremes on either sides — neither too much nor too little — is the balance in the life that one should always strive for.

That is the basic component of happiness reduced to its pure essentials: of the porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”; of leisure time that relaxes but doesn’t rob from sustained periods of productivity; of a nap that satisfies but doesn’t make one groggy; and of entertainment that borders just to the edge of credibility but stays within the boundaries of allowing one to suspend disbelief, such that one can enjoy it without sighing, turning to a loved one and declaring, “That just isn’t believable.”

But where technology comes into our lives, perhaps we have come to a saturation point where we no longer believe that the “next new innovation” is going to save us any more time or enhance the quality of our lives anymore than the last version of our Smart Phone give us the promise of nirvana that we all stand in long lines to attain.  And so the question again turns full circle: When does a “good” turn into a negative?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose medical conditions have come to a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the vicious circularity of the circumstances makes it into a paradigm where a good turns into a negative: Coming to work exacerbates the medical condition; the stress of being unable to perform the full essential elements of the Federal or Postal job further increases the stress; the Agency or the Postal facility begins to turn upon the Federal or Postal employee; and the job itself — once one of the many “good” things in life — now becomes a detriment and a negative.

It is then time to consider preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus turning that which was once a “good” but had transformed into a negative, back into a good turn.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: By what measure?

Does a formula, a paradigm or a standard instill in us the direction we so desire?  How is it that we compare X to something, and is the contrast a necessary prerequisite to achieving and accomplishing, or is that some artificial, societal construct that we have manufactured in order to sell ourselves a “bill of goods”?

Yes, yes – Western Civilization (remember that middle-school subject taught under the general aegis of that title?) always begins with the philosophical precept of Aristotle’s, of “First Principles” and the “causes” of events and occurrences, but where is it stated that we must have a “measure” by which to compare and contrast?  By what measure do we apply ourselves, or is not the evolutionary will to survive and the genetic predisposition to propagate a sufficient factor in the drive to excel?  Like peacocks during mating season and robins that reveal a ferocity of savagery in the spring months, is there a measure by which we are deemed a success or failure, and by a standard where comparisons are made, conclusions are reached and judgments are rendered?

Rare is the solitary figure who abandons all implements of societal judgments and goes it alone without the condoning nod of an authority figure.  Lone wolves are figments of mythological fables; the rest of us follow the herd by the measure set by others in a society of gossipers and watchdogs set upon us without warning or consistency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the standard of measure has always been some unstated and unfairly predetermined set of rules that are governed by a bunch of words we never agreed to – i.e., “productivity at the cost of health”; “loyalty to the mission of the Federal Agency without regard to medical conditions”; “repetitive work leading to stress injuries where proving causation is nigh impossible”, and other such silent statements of accord – but where the last bastion of hope often resides in filing 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.

All of these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has toiled under tremendous pressure by the measures set by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility; fortunately, the standard by which OPM Disability Retirement benefits are granted is predetermined by statutory authority, and not by arbitrary fiat by a supervisor, manager or some other head of the department or agency by will of authority or changeable character of an individual.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must follow certain eligibility guidelines and statutory confinements, as with most other set standards; but by what measure you may live your life after winning an OPM Disability Retirement annuity – that is set by you, the lone wolf.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Disambiguation

Aside from being an ugly word, it begins with the premise of negation and mistake.  As a reversing force, it clearly undermines the root word and takes away from the primary centrality of meaning.  It is the ambiguity which needs to be corrected.

In narrative forms, where stated purpose is important to convey, to begin with a lack of communicative clarity presents a problem of origins.  Where one begins; how one came to be formed; the historical context of one’s existence; these are all contained in the roots of the pretext of being:  “The beginning…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers embarking upon the voyage of formulating, preparing and filing 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 important lessons to be gleaned from such a concept is that the vehicle of the written word is best put forth at the outset without a later need for correction.

Arguing one’s medical condition, and the linguistic bridge between one’s positional description of duties for a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service job, requires a clear and linear methodology of logical argumentation.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application should not lead the reviewer at OPM to scratch one’s head in confusion; rather, there should be an unwavering “point-by-point” roadmap like an unequivocal teleology of straight and narrow discourse, without confusion, without puzzlement, and certainly without the creation of an endless maze.

There are times when convoluted discourse has an intended effect, and where lack of core clarity may have its advantages (look, for instance, at politicians who dissemble for obvious reasons on those sensitive “issues” during a debate); but walking on a bridge without railings on a thick misty morning has its dangers, and it is better not to have fallen, than to learn that the depths of the rushing waters below requires more than just an ordinary swimmer’s strength.

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