Lawyer for OPM Disability Claims: The interrupted signature

The signature is the great identifier of a person.  It is, in some countries and cultures more than others, and even here in the United States, a feature that distinguishes, a type of rite of passage into adulthood, and in many ways a revealing characteristic.

It allows for the voluntary identification of a feature emanating from one’s own free will; an act which seals a compact; a stamp that distinguishes the person who completes the signature, from that of another; and declares to the world that this act, the signature stamp, with all of its unique swirls, crosses, dots and turnabouts, like some spinning basketball move that tells everyone else that you have arrived, is different, distinctive and peculiar to only the very individual who has picked up the pen at that moment in time and inked the singular characteristic upon a piece of paper.

Consistency in the written signature is important in establishing the uniqueness and distinctive feature; that, in and of itself, is a kind of oxymoron, is it not, when one pauses to reflect upon it?  For, to be “unique” and “singular” is to be a “one-time” event and a distinguishing peculiarity that cannot be reenacted or copied beyond the soliloquy of the act itself; and yet, for a signature to be effective, one must be able to repeat the same curves, the mimic again and again of the lines, crosses, dots, etc. of the signature hundreds of times over and thousands over a lifetime of signing one’s signature.

And then, once one has mastered the ability to sign one’s name in a unique, singular form, and be able to repeat it over and over again – have you ever notice how difficult it is to complete the interrupted signature?  It is as if the body itself is separated from the mind, and it is the hand and fingers that hold the pen that “remembers”, and not the eyes that guide or the brain that follows.  When once the flow of the signature has been interrupted, the uniqueness remember is suddenly forgotten.

It is likened to a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the 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 job.  The medical condition intervenes and begins to interrupt, “preventing” one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position that the person has been so uniquely qualified to do for so many years.

That is the insidiousness of a medical condition.  Such an interruption, however, is much more serious – for it doesn’t merely interrupt or impede the completion of a signature, but of a career, of goals, of family financial support, and every other aspect of a person’s life.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, is an important next step in taking up the proverbial pen and completing one’s signature.  And like the signature itself, the Federal or Postal employee need not fret about the uniqueness lost; you are still the same person, singular in every respect, whether your health has forced you to move on in life, no less than the signature that distinguishes you from all others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

U.S. Government Employees Disability Retirement: Failing to meet those goals

Goals define an aspect of humanity that differentiates from the beast; just look at nature and the existential encounter with the “now” at all times.  Animals besides Man look at the world around and respond appropriately and accordingly.  For them, the future is the now; the past is merely a basis upon which to react in this moment of time; and what the appetitive parts of the soul require, the predator attempts to satisfy.

Goals, on the other hand, project into the future.  They require plans, painted by hopes and dreams, and follow upon the trail of golden dust left in residue by the wings of flying angels fluttering by to whisper thoughts of tomorrow and beyond the mortal constructs of our everyday lives.  Reality, of course, dashes those very hopes and dreams, and places obstructions to prevent the accomplishments of those very goals we set.

Humans love projects – whether because of Heidegger’s cynical view that we engage in them merely to avoid thinking about our own destiny to nothingness and annihilation, or merely because that is who we are:  sentient beings who can only be content by projecting into futures yet unrealized, such that our potentiality is always in the molding and making each moment of our lives.

What makes us tick?  Who are we?  What imprint do we want to leave to better the world before we depart?  What can we do to make the old lady across the way find a moment of happiness, disrupted because of tragedies felt and experienced in private lives of living hell?  What inventions, refinements and accomplishments may we reach before we depart this earth?  What is our 5, 10, 20 year plan – sort of like those old Russian declaratives in meeting thresholds of farm output in a communal setting of common goals defined?

We may scoff at them, but we all engage it:  Goals in our personal lives, and endured throughout our professional capacity.  The corollary, of course, is that those who set goals also experience the failure of having not met them.  That is the Yin Yang principle of life.  Being and Nothingness; Life and Death; Happiness and Misery; Goals and Failures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bitter taste of failing to meet professional goals is bundled up with complexity of emotional turmoil when a medical condition cuts short the career goals of the Federal or Postal employee.

Accepting the shortness of meeting those goals often extends, unwisely, the point at which the Federal or Postal employee should be filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Yet, that is simply part of being “human” – of exerting self-will beyond what is good for one’s self; of ignoring pain and anguish and just continuing to engage despite self-harm; and always attempting to “meet those goals” despite all cautionary indicators telling one otherwise.  But health is what should be the goal, now, and not the completion of those projects that we believe only we can accomplish.

Life will go on; and failing to meet those goals should never be the final impediment to the ultimate goal one should prioritize:  Of health, life, happiness and family, somewhat in the order stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Tethered, Tattered & Tortured

The first in the series connotes bonding; the second, the state of being; and the third in the tripartite application of this linguistic artifice, the conclusion to a life lived.

Camus and Sartre represent the despair and loss of innocence – of a melancholy realization in the disillusionment of life’s aggregate experience – born in the early days of existentialism which uttered its first breath of strangulated gasps in the aftermath of the horrors of the First World War, only to be reinforced with experiential encounters of greater dehumanization during the Second World War; then, finding its fullness of maturation, with the discovery of alienation and conduct of thinkers like Heidegger, counteracted by the courage of Bonhoeffer’s refusal to submit; and in that consummate realization of the inhuman, collective carnival of cruelty deliberated as the penultimate culmination of Man’s loss of his soul – once, when the bonding of a community embraced the gathering of warmth and caring, and the insertion of alienation from the ashes of despair; much like the Phoenix rising but unable to spread its wings because of the weight of ruin.

The soul once tethered was now severed from its bonds of innocence. The state of being – of the tattered soul – is much like the Japanese woman who once uttered with accusatory vehemence: “When you landed on the moon, you destroyed imagination, romance and the beauty of the gods smiling upon us.” Such was the state of being – of the tattered soul of modernity. And of that conclusion to Man’s fate? Of the tortured soul who finds no path out of the misery of eternal condemnation?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition separates one from the tethered bonding with one’s workplace, career and coworkers, it is but an obstacle from the tattered state of being which can only conclude with a tortured end, but for the option of preparing, formulating 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.  No, filing for OPM Disability Retirement is not the solution of and for all things misshapen; rather, it is an alternative to the complete loss of tethering, where the tattered remains may preclude the ambivalence of a tortured end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Stolen Soul

Superstitions often have a grain of truth in them; otherwise, they would not have endured the test of culture, time and governance of actions in ensuring their longevity and pervasive countenance.

Aboriginal tribes and remote communities far removed from the technological modernity of this growing world; pockets of secluded peoples and those who simply shy away from the spotlight of drones like druids of yore; once, there was a belief that having a photograph taken or an image drawn constituted the stealing of a soul.  We don’t believe that.  We no longer believe such nonsense.

Such belief systems constitute an anomaly tantamount to insanity, or at the very least a level of eccentricity bordering upon an unacceptable level of non-conformity.  Indeed, instead, we have gone in the opposite direction of the extreme: many no longer visit ancient and sacred sights with a view by the naked eye, but through the lens of a video camera never to be detached from the “on” button; and we deplete and exhaust the personal “I” within the sanctity of our selves by posting the most personal of information on Facebook and other public forums for full view and entertainment, reserving nothing of a private nature.

For, in the end, the technology of the internet is merely an advanced form of the singular photograph of yore; and as the daguerreotype of yesteryear represented the technological advancement of securing frozen images in a given time, of a place cemented within the historicity of events and contexts of human occurrences, so the voluntary dissemination of information about ourselves is merely a logical extension of that loss of privacy and depletion of the soul.

The soul is not inexhaustible; and is that not why there is so much emptiness and loss of value in the world?  Of the content of information which we consider “personal” and “private”, that which concerns our medical condition tops the list.  Yet, in the context of Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will inquire, demand of, and insist upon, release of medical information beyond that which constitutes allowable breach of confidentiality, leaving aside the issue of good taste.

Of course, when the Federal or Postal employee decides to file 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, then the onus of proof (by the legal standard of “preponderance of the evidence”) is entirely upon the Federal or Postal employee, and in that event, such submission of medical information is voluntary and must be done in order to secure the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  But before that, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will often demand medical information without limits or respecting of privacy.

A response by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker should be carefully considered, lest there be a later conflict when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  For, often, during a time and circumstance prior to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the issue is one of wanting to continue to work; and, in any event, unconstrained dissemination of information of the most private nature — that of medical information — should always be carefully guarded.

In the end, releasing of medical information is like that superstitious sense held sacredly by those aboriginal tribes now lost in the deep forests of forgotten time; once, we believed that a single photograph would steal our soul, to be forever tortured in the chasms of an enemy’s grip; today, such a suspicion has been replaced with the foolhardy belief that we can give of ourselves indiscriminately, without the stolen soul suffering the agony of public scorn.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire