Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Forced Choice

One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit.  However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?

Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.”  There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”

Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?

Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter.  Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

What are my choices?  Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service?  Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?

These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all.  For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker considering Federal Disability Retirement, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to understand the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Problem with Familiarity

“Familiarity breeds contempt” — was the unspoken rule within the military class which built a wall between officers and enlisted, supervisors and subordinates, bosses and workers, etc.  Why is that?  Is it because, beneath the veneer of superiority, we all know that we’re no better than others, and once the imperfections cleverly concealed are unraveled for others to witness, the scoffing laughter and the smirking undertone will openly splatter with a defiance of disdain?

Familiarity, over time, likewise brings us to take things for granted — of the monotony of everyday rhythms, that what we experienced yesterday will similarly occur today; that the sun will rise tomorrow with perhaps a cloudy interlude that hides the radiance of a clear sky for a brief respite, but knowing that regularity will return with a force of continuity.

What does it mean to “take X for granted”?  Whether of people, events, objects, pets or circumstances, it is how we approach things — whether with a freshness of purpose or an old rag of expectations.  What did we do differently “before’ the problem of familiarity?  Did we bring flowers every day to win the heart of a loved one — only to later expect that, well, since the heart has already been won, why waste the money upon such frivolities?  Does familiarity lessen the fervency of love, or does “commitment” undermine the urgency of conquest?

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, the problem with familiarity is that the basis of constancy breeds not contempt, but comfort.  It is “comfortable” to stay where you are — despite the harassment, the adversity and the problems inherent in remaining; nevertheless, that which is “known” is preferable to the unknown.

Becoming a Federal Disability Annuitant may be a scary thought, but a necessary next step.  Taking that first step is to break away from familiarity, and that is where the problem lies — of stepping into the abyss of the unknown.  To smooth the pathway away from the road of familiarity, think of Robert Frost’s poem and consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  It might make all the difference in your life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Dismal

At the outset, you realize that something is wrong with the caption.  Not being a noun, the space following demands the question, “The dismal what?”  Adjectives require it; we all learned about them in grade school (if that is even taught, anymore) about grammar, and how they “modify” the noun.  It cannot stand alone.  It is a peculiar adjective, isn’t it?  It is one that cannot modify a noun except in a negative way.

Others can be modifiers but can themselves become altered by the mere fact of relational influence.  For example, one may refer to the “beautiful ugliness” of a landscape, and understand by it that the contrast between the two modifies one another.  But with the adjective “dismal’, it seems never to work. Whatever noun it stands beside; whatever word that it is meant to modify; in whichever grammatical form or content — it stands alone is a haunting sense of the dismal — of down, depressed and disturbed.

It is like the medical condition that attaches and refuses to separate; of an embrace that will not let go, a hug that cannot be unraveled; and a sense that cannot be shaken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the adjective of “dismal” often precedes the realization that one’s career must be modified in order to attend to one’s medical condition.  Work takes up a tremendous amount of one’s time, energy and strength of daily endurance, and obtaining a FERS Disability Retirement annuity is often required just so that one’s focus can be redirected in order to attend to one’s health.

The process of preparing, formulating and filing, then waiting upon, a Federal Disability Retirement application is a daunting one, and you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the dismal turn into a morass of a bureaucratic nightmare which fails to modify the noun that all applicants yearn for: The approval.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The option of nothing

Inertness for a human being is always an option; although normally a default choice, it is nevertheless an alternative one chooses, rather than what we state to ourselves in justifying the negation of doing something: Just disregard it, and it will go away.  The default is embraced once the choice is made to do nothing further.  Governments are great at that, and ours in particular — of kicking the proverbial can “down the road” and letting the next generation of voters decide upon the non-decision of critical goods and services, all the while talking a good game about what “needs to be done” and “should be done.”

The question that remains unanswered throughout is always: Is the option of nothing the best option? And further: Do we always have to take the best option, or is “letting it go” and disregarding the option to affirmatively make a decision on an important matter sometimes “good enough”?

One can always avoid these latter questions by positing the conditional of: “It all depends” upon the particular circumstances, and that may be true to the extent that, in certain situations, the option for nothing is the better option given the other options available.  In general, however, inertness is merely the lazy man’s out, or an avoidance that is emphasized by a desire of negation — of not wanting to make a decision at all.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, the option of nothing will normally exacerbate matters.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a long and arduous path through multiple administrative facets which requires expertise and thoughtful planning in maneuvering beyond the bureaucratic morass.  Because of this, the option of nothing is really not an option at all; it is, instead, a self-harming decision that can have dire legal consequences resulting from the inaction.  As such, consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits becomes a critical step in a Federal or Postal worker’s “next step” in deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the option of nothing is no option at all; it is merely the non-option of inertness, which ignores the greater option of doing something about that which needs to be done.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Presumptuous Act

What would we say about a person who, having bought a lottery ticket, goes out and spends lavishly, quits his job and becomes indebted far beyond his means — all prior to the day when the “winning numbers” are declared?  We would consider that he or she is: Crazy; irresponsible; or, perhaps, has some “insider knowledge” that we are not privy to.

Most acts lack a presumptuous intent; many, merely of thoughtless motivations; and rarely but some, of such egregiously bold-faced assault upon common decency that we disbelieve and attempt to substitute some rationally-based justification to explain away the presumptuousness of such an act.  Would our opinion of such a person — the one who buys a lottery ticket, then quits his or her job and proceeds to spend lavishly while abandoning all “reasonable” displays of conventional wisdom — change if additional facts were to be posited?

How about: The doctor has given him 30 days to live, and when we ask the person about the lottery ticket, the response is: “Oh, I don’t expect to win; it is just a metaphor for my life’s prognosis”.  Would such a response change our opinion; for, no longer is the person “crazy”; perhaps somewhat “irresponsible” in that the debts left behind will still have to be paid by someone; but yes, we would likely lean towards the third option in our thought processes: that the “insider knowledge” was the very private knowledge held close to his or her heart: Mortality suddenly betrays careful living, and abandonment of conventional lifestyles is a natural consequence of having nothing left to lose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer a similar (but perhaps not quite as devastating a scenario) situation like that of the hypothetical individual noted above, the “presumptuous act” that others may deem so may not be so outlandish as one may first assume.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not quite like the example above, but often, some see it as such; for, to “give up” a well-paying job, a reliable career or a secure position in the Federal System is certainly a drastic situation; and the alternative may not allow for much of a choice: To remain and suffer, and continue to deteriorate until one’s body or emotional state has been so damaged as to suffer through life for the rest of one’s allotted time on earth; to ignore that is indeed the height of presumptuousness — of taking things for granted.

Health should be a priority, and preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not a presumptuous act; rather, its opposite is what presumes too much — that your health will continue to withstand the deteriorating condition that you have all along experienced for these many years.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of an effective 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire