FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Fooling ourselves

It takes extraordinary intelligence to play the fool, and an even greater cleverness to fool oneself; just read a few lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the interaction between Lear and the Fool, and one realizes the extensive capacity of self-indulgence in the deception of man in his need to guard his own ego.

In fooling one’s self, does one fool others, as well?  If a person takes on a persona, lives in a fantasy world, creates an identity separate and apart, and yet becomes consumed by the double-life to the extent that he or she comes to believe one’s own creative imagination, does the fact that others who knew the person from childhood onward destroy the fool’s own universe of make-believe?

Of the old adage and Biblical admonition that prophets are never accepted in their own hometown — is this because those who know a person from early life, “know better”?

If we fool ourselves only within the contained universe of our own thoughts, and never let the fantasies “seep out” into the objective reality of other’s awareness, have we fooled ourselves?  Others?  Is living a “double-life” the same as fooling ourselves and others, or is it only when we fool those closest to us where the “double” makes a difference?

What about hiding a medical condition?  What if a person is on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medication regimens, and yet everyone else believes that person to be the envy of the world, of the very definition of “happiness” exponentially quantified, until one day that very person is committed to an intensive psychiatric hospital and it comes out that he or she is the most unhappiest of individuals — has that person fooled himself, others, or both?

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, a great deal of “fooling” must go on in the interim.  You may overcompensate; you may appear to others to be “just fine”; and the tailored seams of normalcy may continue on for some time, until the wear and tear of self-deception begins to take its toll.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, is often the first honest step towards being “true to one’s self”, and like the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is the capacity of the King fooling himself, and not the honesty of the fool, that makes for the tragedy that ensues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Joy and trials

It is the defining of life itself; of the spectrum across a wide range of peaks, valleys, proverbial mountaintops and chasms of tumults like a groan beneath the terrain of the earth.  We attempt to avoid the latter and quantitatively expand the former, thinking that if we fill our experiences with joy, the trials will be lessened or the impact less eventful.

There are gauges of summer, the plateau of fall; we sense the discontent of winter and the exhilaration of spring; and like the subtle pull of the orbs afar that impact the tides and moons of horses galloping in the night, the shudder of sensations unfelt and the future yet untold make anxious of us all.

Joy is the experience of human beings; trials, the objective world impinging upon the subjectivity of our daily refrain.  Can we even have one without the other?

We posit fictional hypotheticals that probably never were; of Rousseau’s “State of Nature” where savages roamed in scant loincloths without a care in the world; and of paradise lost like Milton’s foreboding of a utopia now crumbling into the dystopian paragon of untruths and Orwell’s misinformation where totalitarianism becomes the choice of self-immolation.

As Being cannot mean anything without its opposite, Nothingness, so is it not the trials of life that magnify and make relevant the joy felt on any given day?  Can one truly exist without the other?

And yet we attempt to minimize and diminish the latter in thinking that we deserve the former.  But as the inane philosopher now long forgotten once stated with annoyance and greater impertinence, “It is what it is”.  Whatever that means.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are experiencing the “trials” period of one’s life because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the attempt to jump over and across the great divide so that one can get back to the “joy” part of life’s offerings by trying to “work with” the Federal agency or Postal service, or to “seek an accommodation” with one’s Federal department or Postal facility, there is another proverbial adage that comes to mind: “Banging one’s head up against the wall.”

It is often the case, unfortunately, that in order to get from the “trials” to the “joy” part of life, the Federal or Postal employee will have to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee wants to or not.

For, in the end, the truth of the matter is, the “trials” part of life is something you have little or no control over – such as a medical condition; it is only the “joy” part of the deal that you can assert some dominance over: by taking the affirmative steps to file an OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Life’s perverse fullness

As children, many are taught that life’s promise is unlimited in potentiality, full in its discourse of uncharted waters, and expansive in its promise for tomorrow.  Somewhere, in middle-to-late years, we begin to have a somewhat more “balanced” view: not of fullness merely painted with hope and promise, but with graffiti unasked for, undesired and unwanted: the perverse side of fullness.

Life can indeed contain and present a “full plate” (as metaphors go), but the question then becomes: What is on that plate?  When a potluck dinner is coordinated, there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs, where judgments are fairly quickly made by the systematic depletion of certain foods, and the untouched portions carefully avoided.  Anonymity is crucial to the success of the endeavor itself, but defensiveness is easily assuaged by the general rules of etiquette when asked and confronted: “Oh, I plan on getting seconds” or, “My plate is too small to get everything the first round!”

Excepting social pressures and avoiding hurt feelings, we all tend to gravitate towards that which we desire; yet, we also put on our plates the food items that “balance” the diet – with knowledge and admonitions that certain foods are “healthy” for us, while avoiding those that we have specific allergic reactions to, or otherwise leave us with uncomfortable residual gastronomic pains.

Every now and again, of course, we take on too much – or, as the saying goes and the wisdom that we impart to our children, “My eyes are too big for my stomach”.  It is then that we surreptitiously look for the hidden garbage bin, and infelicitously dump the “leftovers” beneath the mountain of other paper plates, and quickly scurry away from the scene of the crime committed.  Yet, why we fret over an infraction of taking on too much, is often a mystery; is it because waste balanced by greedy overreach combines to reveal a character flaw?  Or is it much simpler than that – that we are often too hard on ourselves?  Taking on “too much” is not a crime; it is simply an anomaly in the general dictum of life’s perverse fullness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who are at a critical juncture where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits – whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – becomes a necessity, it is often the case that one’s “life-plate” has become overburdened: work, career, personal obligations, medical conditions, effects of surgery, etc. – the balance can no loner be maintained.  Something has to “give”, and whatever that “something” is, it usually ends up further impacting one’s health.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits should not be forever stuck on the “pause” button; the longer it stays in a rut, the greater opportunity for deterioration and detriment to one’s health.  We often wait until it is almost “too late”; but just remember that, where life’s perverse fullness includes one’s deteriorating health, it is never a good thing to leave that which is most important, untouched – one’s health.  And, as Federal Disability Retirement is a means to allowing for one’s health to improve so that, perhaps, one day, a second career, vocation, or further productivity can be achieved, so preparing 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, is often the portion of the potluck meal that requires first attention.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire