Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The inner voice

It is always the private conversation that is the most dangerous and unpredictable; for, the voices within are unknown to the surrounding conversations without amidst the public domain, and are most persuasive precisely because the multiple participants come down to a single voice: The “I” or “me” of the inner ego.

The soliloquy is a theatrical device which allows for the audience in a play to hear the “inner” thoughts of a character on stage; sometimes, the actor will stand aside while other characters on stage act “as if” they do not notice the separate thoughts being conveyed to the audience, and both the audience and the stage players engage in a suspension of disbelief while the soliloquy is deliberated; and at other times, the private thoughts are given over to the audience in a lengthy speech — a monologue of sorts, revealing the inner turmoil of a given character.

In real life, such oratory mechanisms are unnecessary, precisely because the voices within remain in a constant monologue of insularity, unimpeded by overzealous listeners who may hear the gossips within.  What voices are spoken within the mind of the wandering individual?  In a crowd, where the cacophony of multiple voices dominate and criss-cross, how many other voices are loudly vying for position within each of the minds that remain silent to one another?

Often, it is the very voices within which are the most dangerous, if only because there are no others countering the logic — or illogic — of the arguments made, and it is precisely because of the singular voice without a countering perspective that makes for greater danger of persuasiveness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position within the Federal government, the voices within must often remain private and hidden precisely because the voices without lurk about as potential hazards to be avoided and carefully sequestered.

The mere “asking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement may trigger reactions that are unwanted from the Agency; the questions that begin to be asked, the administrative actions that could be imposed, and the harassment that often follows — these will often force the voices within to remain within.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the first and most important step that a Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can take; for, the voices within more often than not needs a counter-perspective and guidance beyond the singularly lonely voice of a soliloquy that has no audience but one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Present who of past what

It is a peculiarly human endeavor: of looking at a photograph (yes, digital nowadays, no doubt), and trying to discern from a present who what the one-dimensional picture says about what we were doing some years past, or maybe a few weeks or even yesterday.  It is the present “who” of one’s identity, trying to extract meaningfulness from a singular snapshot of an emotional freeze, whether of self-conscious “cheese!” declared knowing that the picture was being taken, or of a cold stare that locks out the soul’s essence of what we actually felt, and trying to extrapolate within a 3-dimensional universe the foundation of what had occurred.

We all play that peculiar game, do we not — of standing in the present by the very being of who we identify as ourselves and looking at a photograph of someone whom we can identify as the “I” in the image before us, and then remembering, with the contextual history hidden within, of the past what that depicts the picture present who stands before staring at the past what; while others may be doing the same thing many times over, multiplied exponentially in volumes unimaginable, yet each instance being insularly singular because there may never be a discussion about the present who of past what that no one talks about?

It is akin to having a medical condition, isn’t it — and of continuing to smile, walk about, carry on “normally” and everyone else in their insular universes not knowing about the medical condition you carry about, and the suffering you must endure because of the present who of who you are but of the past what where others see you and judge you as you were, what you were, who you were, while all the while it is the present who of today that has changed and is no longer the past what of who you were?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, that feeling is often familiar and well known — the present who of past what.

Others see you and expect the same; you may even appear to be unchanged, but inside, you know that the present who is no longer of the past what, and that is precisely what must be conveyed in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a Federal or Postal employee you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for it is precisely the present who of past what that is the you of today with the historical context of the past what, but nevertheless needing the present who for a future whom no one but you can know or discern.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Unwillingness

What is it about a personality that is unwilling?  Is it pure obstinacy?  Or, perhaps a personality trait of stubbornness that goes against the very nature of a person’s essence?  Such traits or quirks of personalities are interesting, precisely because they can fluctuate depending upon the particular context encountered.

Take, for example, an important conference where negotiations are occurring — say, in the settlement of a lawsuit or the consequential merger of two giant companies, etc.  If one of the principals in the negotiations has a reputation of “unwillingness” to compromise, or during the course of back-and-forth give and takes, it becomes apparent that the chief negotiator is unwilling to move an inch, we say of the person that either his (or her) unwillingness to reach a common accord is X or Y — i.e., tenacious to certain unmovable principles; stubborn; intractable; a “brilliant” tactical negotiator, etc.

Now, take the same example but with an individual who is willing to bend and allow for concessions — we might say of that person that he or she is “reasonable”, or that he is a wimp or she is without integrity.

But “unwillingness” has a special characteristic and connotation, does it not, from the rest of the personality traits described?  Especially if it is a permanent feature of a person’s makeup, and not merely a temporary, stubborn streak that may change and alter later on, or in a week, or in an hour’s time.

There is both something admirable as well as exasperating when referring to a person who has a personality characteristic of “unwillingness” — whether based upon an inner principle that drives the intractable nature, or perhaps a quirkiness of nature that refuses change.  The test of that unwillingness, and whether it is apparent only in certain particular and unique circumstances, or whether that is a permanent feature of a person’s internal mechanism, can only be tested through the spectrum of one’s life.  Such a personality trait can be admirable and reflect an evolutionary advantage in surviving the encounters with the world at large, or they can be a self-inflicting wound that can destroy and defeat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have an unwillingness to throw in the proverbial white towel despite all evidence that shows that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the alternative one must face can be daunting: continuing to endure the medical condition despite the debilitating nature of the trauma; the increasing harassment that must be faced because of excessive taking of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP; the the questioning looks from Supervisors, managers and coworkers, etc.

Federal Disability Retirement, of course, is an alternative course of action — of recognizing the need for change, the requirement of pliability, and the necessity for modification in one’s life.

Yes, “unwillingness” is often an admirable trait to cling to, but for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it can be an obstacle to a necessary next step in 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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: That uncluttered mind

How do we remain so in this world of cacophonous and discordant barrage of sounds, images and the overload of information?  Is it even possible to remain as the quietude of mind within the meditative spirit of a Zen monk reflecting upon the pool of uncertainty yet contemplating the serenity of a mind’s eye?

The cluttering is deafening; and, with it, the anxiety, stresses and paralyzing fears that accompany the world writ so large and looming so fearsome.  The uncluttered mind is the one that, with singular focus, yet accomplishes goals in life, reaches destinations otherwise fraught with obstacles, and continues to grow and progress despite all challenges that impede its way.  Is it still possible to retain an uncluttered mind?  Can there be such a state despite the overburdening of a world obsessed with “connectivity” to one’s technological devices, where the staring into the void of one’s Smartphone, laptop or other such distractions can rarely be avoided?

We tend to think that we are the “exception”, and despite our slavery and slovenly attachment to the technological innovations of modernity, we make excuses and allowances for our own weaknesses – oh, I’m not really into that sort of thing; it’s just a tool that is necessary for a time; Facebook?  Twitter?  Nah, it’s just a hobby.  Yes, before long, we get sucked into the very crevices we once laughed at and scorned.  The uncluttered mind is indeed a rarity, these days.

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, the ‘clutter’ becomes exponentially quantified because, not only must one contend with the world of clutter, but the medical condition itself is an additional stress that must be faced.

This is a complex and complicated world, full of challenges and untold stresses.  To be able to maneuver through the bureaucratic maze of a Federal Disability Retirement process is itself a cluttered road of administrative complexities, and when one must contend with the medical condition itself – which is the primary purpose for preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – the clutter of the medical condition itself becomes an obstacle, leaving aside the obfuscation and obstacles that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management puts up in the pathway towards success or failure.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is a step towards reaching the goal of the uncluttered mind – of simplifying priorities so that the primary priority is that which is most important: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Giving lip service

What does it mean to merely give “lip service”?  Ultimately, it is the hypocrisy of committing to words the sincerity of inaction.  In other words, it is merely the utterance of words, with nothing to follow.  This is a society that speaks much, and does little.  We give lip service to the braggadocio of being a productive society, yet, concurrently admit to the massive loss of the manufacturing sector of our country.

Can a country whose primary essence is built upon a “service industry”, actually declare itself to be “productive”?  Can we truly instill fear and dread upon our enemies while simultaneously confessing that no ground troops will be deployed?  Can unmanned drones win wars?  Can we actually claim to have hundreds of “friends” if we have never met them, never been irritated by the subtleties of undesirable traits and personalities, yet have spats by mere tapping of the fingertips on a keyboard?

It is little wonder that we are a society of mere utterances, less action, and where words pile upon more words to voluminously detail the insincerity of the greater cumulative mountain of meaningless words.  Lip service is to promise the world and leave the scraps of society with mere leftovers.

Admiral Yamamoto was only half-right when he feared that, by successfully launching the sneak-attack upon Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into the Second World War, he had inadvertently awoken a sleeping giant; for, generations later, who remembers the words of the victors in the history of fallen empires, but the faint snoring of the giant gone back to sleep?

It is lip service we give, today, and the same we receive in return.  In a universe where language is both the essence of life, as well as the primary barrier to living it, the duality of clashing worlds where virtual reality dominates the phenomenology of currency, it is little wonder that we can, as a species, survive even a day.

What other animal turns to the technology of texting in the midst of an endangered life?  Of embracing an impotent shield of linguistic panorama when threat to safety prevails and calls upon the urgency of action?  Do other predators – and we are one, despite our denials by protecting endangered species who mirror our own violent history – scream when attacked, or do they growl with aggressive energy to compel our enemies to take heed?

Beware of the lip service, especially by those who would do us harm.

For Federal and Postal employees who begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the inclination is to be “fair” and to inform one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service of one’s “intentions” concerning the process; but such information prematurely disseminated may come back to haunt, and one must always be wary and cautious of inane platitudes from coworkers, supervisors and managers who are empowered to harm.

For, the passing comment made, and returned with the innocuousness rising to the level of inaction in the lip service of those who pretend to be friendly, may come back to haunt with an administrative sanction which does some actual harm in this world of virtual reality in a language-filled emptiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire