Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Sorrow behind the facade

How do we know a person’s sorrow?  Of other emotions, we question and retain suspicions, but why is sorrow placed on a separate plane, untouchable and abandoned as sincere despite warranted evidence to the contrary?  Of love, we question constantly — as to sincerity, whether fidelity has been maintained and preserved; of joy or happiness, daily do we self-analyze and evaluate; but of sorrow — once the tears pour forth upon the event learned and considered, there are few who doubt for fear of being tarred as the cynic who had no feelings or remorse.

There are instances — of an unnamed president who purportedly was seen joking and laughing on his way to the funeral, but suddenly turned dour and despondent in facial expression once recognition was noted of cameras filming and spectators observing; or perhaps there are relatives who are known to have hated a deceased kin, but arrived at the funeral out of obligation and duty; of those, do we suspect a less-than-genuine sorrow?  Is it because sorrow must by necessity be attached to an event — of a death, an illness, an accident, or some other tragedy that we consider must necessarily provoke the emotional turmoil that sorrow denotes?  But then, how do we explain the other emotions that are suspected of retaining a facade and a reality beneath — again, of love and happiness?

Medical conditions, especially for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, are somewhat like the sorrow behind the facade.  Few will openly question it — whether because to do so is simply impolite or impolitic — but some will suspect as to its validity, especially when self-interest is at stake.  The declaration, “Is there a malingerer within our midst?” will never be openly spoken.  For, what is the evidence — excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP; frequent doctor’s appointments; inability to maintain the level of productivity previously known for; lack of focus and concentration at meetings; inability to meet deadlines, etc.

For others, these are harbingers of irritants that delay and impact the agency as a whole; for the Federal employee or Postal worker suffering from the medical condition, they are the symptoms and signs beneath the brave facade that is maintained, in order to hide the severity of the medical condition in a valiant effort to extend one’s career.  There comes a time, however, when the reality of the medical condition catches up to the hidden truth beneath the facade, and once that point is reached, it is time 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 is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In like manner, the sorrow behind the facade is similar to the medical condition in and around the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — both may be real, but it is the “proving” of it before OPM that is the hard part.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: Tranquility times turmoil equals?

Alliterations often require deliberate disentanglement; for, the focus is often upon the consonant being repeated, as opposed to the coherence of the alliterated sequence of words.  Both can be attained, however – of coherence and of repetition without incomprehensible aggregation, and in this instance, the multiplying effect of the calm of one’s life by events beyond one’s control can easily result in turmoil that was never requested, never desired and remained always unasked and unrequested.

Tranquility x turmoil is the idea that we fail to enjoy the relative calm in our lives because of the anxiousness of knowing that all good things cannot last for long, and must come to an inevitable end, no matter how hard we try to remain the solitary stoic in life, regardless of the hermitage we seek and irrespective of the complications we shed in order to attain a Zen-monk-like livelihood.

That is when, for instance, a medical condition hits us and the complexities of the life we attempted to avoid come to the fore and become all the more magnified, times 10 in an exponential ferocity that we simply cannot ignore.  True tranquility, however, requires the ability and capacity to keep all things in perspective, and to resist the temptation to allow for the turmoil to overwhelm us.  Keeping in mind that the concept itself can never be reduced to a mere mathematical equation, the question then becomes: What is the multiplicand, the multiplier, and finally, the product?

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, it is when the monotony of daily living (tranquility) becomes interrupted by the medical condition itself (turmoil), that the product of decision-making is forced upon one’s life.

There are multiple options, and none of them are very satisfying: The Federal or Postal employee may just endure and continue on “as if”; the Federal or Postal employee may get terminated or sanctioned because of excessive usage of leave, whether of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP, or a combination of all three; the Federal or Postal employee may ultimately believe that resignation from Federal employment is the only option left; or, the Federal or Postal employee may recognize that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the most viable conclusion to a mathematical equation that one never expected to have to calculate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foreground-background

Perspective is always an important component in all that is seen, done and accomplished.  For, without it, a self-contained sense of importance in light of irrelevance and insignificance always seems to dominate.

Seen from afar, standing in the background, can we always determine that which constitutes the background, as opposed to the foreground, of an individual or perspective some distance away?  Does a myopic vision constrict and further complicate, where we miss the details some distance beyond and make assumptions and presumptions to the detriment of a more “balanced” viewpoint?  Or, what of “tunnel vision”, where the peripheral views are restricted, and we are left with a centrality of focus but lacking in taking into account the contextual surroundings often necessary to determine a more accurate assessment?

In appreciating a painting or a photograph, does shifting one’s vantage point make a difference, even when the reality of the object observed reflects a one-dimensional canvas covered with colors and pigmentation which alters not despite nearness or farness of viewpoint?  Of the child who has not yet figured out the difference between a bucket and a photograph of a bucket – and raises himself on his tiptoes to view what is inside of a bucket upon a table, and does the same when viewing a picture of one (or in a supermarket line in trying to discern the cleavage of a magazine’s cover), is it important to recognize the distinction between foreground and background, and if so, at what age and why?

How does one attain a level of balanced perspective, and who determines when such achievement is arrived at?  Are we just born with the capacity and ability to calculate, assess, evaluate and analyze, and the natural outcome of conclusions derived are to be entrusted merely because “it is so” and the innate character of inherent superiority of man’s solutions can be applauded?  Does unwavering certainty by tone of voice and utterance of words deserve no suspicion of questioning?  Or, if a person comes along and says confidently, “Trust me”, we are to do so merely because – what?  If we walk through a dark forest and see afar a clearing where the sun has opened a spot of visual beauty, does it matter what constitutes a foreground as opposed to a background when the undisturbed scene asks not a question of impertinence or care?

In every situation, one’s background should be taken into account, in determining the relevance of the foreground to be assessed.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who intends on preparing a 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, the importance of “how much” background to impart must be balanced with the foreground to be detailed, and it is always the combination of both which will determine the ultimate effectiveness in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Foreground provides for the content of a background inserted with instrumental brevity, and too much background can dominate to make the foreground appear less compelling.  Perspective is always important, and a reasoned balance between background of a case, providing contextual information to understand the foreground of the narrative, is essential in the effective formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Trauma of Change

There is comfort and security in the monotony of routine; for many, even a slight alteration in the identity of daily action presents a threat to the coherence of a world created and maintained.  Old men and women who suffer from the destructive forces of dementia rely upon it; homes which house the aging population, abandoned by obligation and freed from trust of children now grown, lean upon the crutch of sameness, as if sanity depended upon a universe determined to defy detour of deference.

But such clinging to the security blanket of daily recurrence is not relegated to the old; for most of us, reliance upon the monotony of unchanging sameness is what provides for reliability and dependability; alteration of environment is for the youth to encounter, as excitement of differentiation can only be relished by those who can accommodate change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin to suffer from a medical condition, and where the symptoms and ravages of the diagnosed medical conditions begin to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the winds of change present a formidable challenge to one’s sense of equilibrium, perspective of stability, and calm feelings for a secure future.

Change is traumatic; and, moreover, unexpected and uninvited alteration of circumstances by force of unwanted imposition, is like being hit over the head by the proverbial hammer of life, and we kick and cry in protest as we are dragged down the avenues of change.  And, like the addict who must undergo the steps towards rehabilitation, there is a recognition of stages:  Of having a medical condition; acceptance of the medical condition; realization that the medical condition results in an unavoidable impact upon one’s Federal or Postal career; then, to undertake the pragmatic and practical steps in 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.

It is this last step which is often the most difficult — to actually take those “real life” steps in applying for OPM Disability Retirement; and why is this?  Because, so long as we only “talk about” things, there is still stability and sameness in the objective world; but once we reach out and connect “talk” with “action”, the trauma of change becomes real, and the recognition that the world we left behind as a child — of gnomes, fairies, and the knight in shining armor — were really mere pictures in a storybook stored in the lost memories of innocence and warmth of a mother’s womb.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire