OPM Disability Retirement: Arrive with bluff, depart with bluster

That has become the motto of universal exceptionalism; it is the bravado of the incompetent, the arrogance of the ignorant and the methodology of the unwary:  besides, it is a funny line plagiarized from a work by Evelyn Waugh (no, that is a male writer, not a female).

It is to come into a circumstance, a job, an assignment or a social conduit acting like one knows what one is doing, messing everything up, then leaving the desecration of incompetence and a heap of human detritus for others to deal with, while all the while turning up one’s nose, shaking the proverbial head in disgust, and departing with an unjustified defense of one’s own incompetence with:  “You guys are hopeless.”

That is the guiding declarative foundation of all self-help books, advice columns and Oprah-wanna-bees in columns of suspicious pearls of so-called wisdom:  “The key is to act like you know what you are doing, with confidence and assertiveness; the rest will follow and everyone will believe in you.”  Or, in other words, believe in yourself despite not knowing anything; act with declarative arrogance; be self-confident (of what, we are never told) and take charge of your life.  Then, if things don’t work out, don’t be too hard on yourself (or, better yet, not at all) and don’t ever allow others to get you down.

Such a foundational folly of methodological madness fits in very well, and is completely commensurate with the cult of youth; for, even if we all know that the younger generation knows not anything but having been coddled throughout their educational years (hint:  a euphemism for indoctrination for heightening self-esteem), the world generally operates on its own in spite of massive and daily incompetence, but that is precisely why there is a need to hire a dozen people for every job:  quantified incompetence somehow makes up for qualitative lack.

Once upon a time, bluster was known, recognized and dispensed with; and bluster was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.  Now, it is an everyday and common occurrence, because the substantive basis has been ripped out and the soul is now an empty cavern of echoing banter steeped in words of meaninglessness topped by nonsensical linguistic cacophonies of boundless chatter.

Yet, there are times when substance matters, as when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker experiences a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s ability and capacity to continue in the position one is designated in.  That is the time when neither bluff nor bluster is desired, needed nor welcome.

Honest answers and forthright advice is what needs to be obtained, both from Supervisors, coworkers and Human Resource personnel; in the legal advice rendered and received from one’s Federal Disability Retirement lawyer; and from friends, family and loved ones in pursuing this very difficult bureaucratic process couched within a cauldron of administrative nightmares.

We arrive into this world without a clue; we learn to bluff, even when we don’t want to; and when we depart, it is up to us as to whether there needs be an imprint of bluster, or whether the honesty that still resides in the essence of our soul may still reveal a vestige of the true character we maintained, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement System under FERS or CSRS: The footnote

Who reads them, anymore?  Defined as an ancillary or corollary piece of information beyond that which is stated in the body of the main text, the footnote represents that which reflects an addendum and not something that is considered “required reading”, but more likely for the benefit of those who enjoy quixotic minutiae and esoteric details of irrelevant import.*  As referenced in history, one who is relegated to the afterthought failed to reach the first order of things, and their lack of relevance is reflected by banishment to the bottom of the page.

Before computers were invented, long before the notion of “cut and paste” defined the laziness of intellectual prowess, the writer had to engage in prescient forethought, and calculate by measured deliberation the space to leave, the length of the footnote, and whether there was enough white-out left in the crusted bottle to make up for any lack of proper preparation.

The pretentiousness of the pseudo-intellectual, of course, was to have footnotes of greater length than the body of the text itself, spanning multiple pages so that the reader would become confused as to what constituted relevance in contrast to signification of purpose, where some pages barely had a sentence with but a horizontal mark demarcating the onerous esoterica of erudite irrelevancy.  And the worst, of course, is when a teacher or professor would ask a test question based upon one; for, again, the common refrain was twofold:  Who reads them?  Were we required to read them?  And the scoffing retort from the test-giver — that god amongst gods who held grades, fate and future plans in the palm of a single hand: If it was in the assigned material, it was “required reading”.

Much later, of course, we came to realize that “it was really good for us to read them” (though we never really believed such inane confessions), or to our own children, “When I was your age, and computers weren’t yet invented…” (with but a reactive facial expression beyond capacity to translate).  In the end (literally and figuratively), we all realize that the footnote itself represents mere distractions upon an otherwise ordered pagination of an author’s meanderings, and for ourselves, that they reflect a metaphor of who we are.

Most of us are treated as mere footnotes, left unnoticed, disregarded except for occasional reference by accident or happenstance.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has progressed to a deteriorating consensus of requiring an alternative plan of action, being treated as a footnote within a subtext of irrelevancy amongst a sea of bureaucratic inefficiency, is likely a feeling of growing concern.

As footnotes are deliberately disregarded, so the majority of people are like those masses of addendum relegated to unnoticed details of sub-citizenship.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often elevate one’s status and stature for a time, if only because the Agency or U.S. Postal Service is suddenly forced to read the footnote, and take notice of the subtext; but beyond that, it is the medical condition itself which relegates the Federal or Postal employee to that numbering at the bottom of the page and left to irrelevancy, precisely because you are not one of the “productive” ones.

How does one force the “outside world” to “read” you?

In the end, there is life beyond a career with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a first step in getting beyond being relegated to a mere footnote.

As with those generals who served alongside Eisenhower, Grant, Lee and forgotten Roman centurions, most of us are mere footnotes, and glad of it for the unnoticed joys we can embrace in the anonymity of our privacy, and for the Federal or Postal worker who wants to get beyond the notoriety accompanying that unwanted attention for merely having a medical condition — and thus temporarily assigned to the body of the “main text” for being a nuisance — preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is often the first step towards asserting one’s rights to getting back to the footnote of time and timelessness, where most of us want to remain, in the cocoon of irrelevancy and historical afterthoughts.

 


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*Footnote 1:  Just to make sure; otherwise, refer to page 3,275 herein, where you will be required to obtain a special password and key in order to access a pseudo-intellectual forum of erudition within an ivory tower of confounding thoughts, for further reference to important commentaries otherwise pretentiously inserted in order to appear intelligently cogent.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Myths of our own making

What stories we carry within our own heads; the narrative of our own lives, as well as the intersecting conveyances brought by others; the web of linguistic larcenies borrowed, bought and sometimes sold, become who we are and the essence of our being within the world of our phenomenology of existence.  Sometimes, when a lie is told and the piece of puzzle will no longer fit into the greater collage of the manifold tapestry we carry about within our psyche, a rearrangement of sorts must occur.

Perhaps, we discovered, through correspondence and other confirming evidentiary apparatus otherwise irrefutable, that the uncle whose reputation as the moral compass of fidelity had fathered an illegitimate child (of course, such an anachronistic term no longer applies, as marriage no longer validates legitimacy or otherwise).  Perhaps, a meeting with this “family” of prior anonymity becomes a necessity, which then opens experiential doors to other discoveries and nuances of life’s misgivings.

The narrative of one’s life, the connections intertwined and the stories told, must like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle misplaced, be rearranged or otherwise left blank, like the echo of a plaintive voice in a soft hum heard through a mist of cackling geese.  Are secrets worth keeping, anymore?

In modernity, where technology allows for the melding of myth and maxim; where demarcations between the creation of self and the posting of what constitutes the presentation of that being identified as the person who declares to be such, is merely one button away from the virtual reality of a gemstone shining in the moonlit cavern of a secret cave where treasures hidden from pirates of yore flutter with the ghosts of dead seamen and spinning yarns of horrors untold; what we are in the essence of our being has been replaced by the talent to tell of who we are not.  And yet — truthfulness, veracity, validation of identity, and certitude of conduct; they all seem to remain as vestiges of a necessary universe.

The myths of our own making have always been so throughout the history of storytelling.  Today, it is merely more so because of the plenitude of everyone wanting to tell his or her tale, and of every detail most of us don’t want to know.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, a unique sense of duality must be conquered:  there is the need, on the one hand, to “tell all” in the form of SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and, yet, what must be revealed concerns the most “private” of one’s narrative — that of the medical condition and the impact of the medical condition upon one’s professional and private lives.

“Myths” are not merely of make-believe; they are the stories told in traditional societies in order to make a larger point.  Indeed, the myths of our own making may sometimes include the fears we hold onto, as well as the uninformed presumptions we grasp at in a bureaucratic process which is both complex and administratively difficult to maneuver through.  Sound advice from a legal expert in the area of Federal Disability Retirement law will help to dispel the myths unwarranted, as well as validate the maxims required.

In the end, the myths of our own making often reflect the haunting fears of experiences we encountered in those days when childhood memories cast their shadows upon the dungeons of our lives, and when trolls and gnomes suspected to reside in hidden crevices scratch at the doorways leading to the most private of our inner fears.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Medical Retirement Help: Jobs — the true civil rights

Throughout history, across national and international lines of artificial demarcations; over barriers confining and limiting all conceivable sectarian ceilings; in every society, community and communitarian conglomeration where people must live and tolerate one another, there has always been an allegation of unfair treatment, discriminatory division, and biased cacophony of complaints.  Perhaps all of them are valid and legitimate; perhaps some are and others not as much.

Whether by ethnic identification, normative connection, racial similarities or shared sexual orientation, the treatment by any given society of a group bifurcated by an identifiable feature of appearance, lineage or historical caricature, is forever fraught with inherent complexities.  Politicians have their own motivations for agreeing or disagreeing with a group’s alleged violation of “rights” in a society; beyond the vote, they want the financial support and agreement to refrain from disruption of speechifying and rallying.

The problem with each identifiable claim of unfair treatment, however, is that the impact upon other groups outside of the chain of identification can be so alien as to defy empathy of relating; I am not my brother’s keeper if I cannot relate to the existential phenomenology of derisive treatment.  Yet, what has been “missing” in each historical movement shouting for equal and fair treatment, is the one and only true civil rights issue which touches every ethnic, racial and cultural divide — jobs.  It is the one component in every given society which touches every household, whether by racial, sexual or ethnic identification.  It provides for a standard of living; it gives purpose and substance to each individual; and it reflects upon the magnitude of a society’s caring for the aggregation of citizenry.

The flight of jobs leaves behind the devastation of towns and cities; and the abandoned homes and former factory buildings no longer bright with endless rows of fluorescent lights after many have gone home, is a testament to the blight of future hopes and dreams.  Decade after decade, we hear of “trade agreements” which will “brings jobs back”; but to whose benefit?  No one ever asks that question.  And as each year the jobs flee, the trumpeting of the next great “agreement” is touted from the soapbox of hope.

Sometimes, it seems that we all fall prey to the conmen of political expediency, where taking up causes which divide and separate, while ignoring the only true cause which matters, is done with purposive infamy.  Indeed, that very same issue is often the stumbling block for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 Federal or Postal employee who suffers 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 his or her position, will often pause because of the very nature of change — of the loss of one’s job, lessening of income, and alteration of circumstances.

Having a job is always a comfort of security, and sometimes a luxury of sorts, especially if you are healthy and able.  In many ways, it is the one and only true civil rights issue, and for the Federal and Postal worker, to “give up” that “right” when it has been the source of one’s identity — not to a group or with a status based upon a cultural divide, but upon the singular factor which matters to most — of pride, productivity and purpose, it is often understandably difficult to take the next but necessary step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire