OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The last Edwardian

What does it mean to be an “Edwardian”?  The reign of Edward VII was brief, but its influence is often extended to periods both before and long after in an aggregation of understanding “trends” that were noted, and often idealized.

It is a period of little interest to most Americans, except perhaps when there is some vague reference during a period of a royal scandal or a royal wedding that somehow touches the fancy across the great ocean that divides.  And despite our English “roots”, scant attention is paid to the history of England in either schoolbooks or offered curricula, except in referring to those dastardly “redcoats” who quartered themselves uninvited and had the audacity to tax its colonies without proper representation in Parliament.  Or so the memory of one’s childhood history lessons are recalled.

That period — whether one extends it some decades before, or well into the “Roaring Twenties” — actually lasted only from 1901 – 1910, but left a romanticized memory of lazy summer days, prosperity, greater involvement of women and the “common man” into the political arena, and came to symbolize the dawn of the “modern era”.  Whether such an idealized recollection actually reflected any reality of the era is open to debate.  But, then, that is what we cling to when situations worsen, isn’t it — of an idealized “before” in contrast to the stark gloom of “after”?

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, that desperate “clinging on” to one’s job may in part be attributable to the need to be that last Edwardian — of a “before” (before the onset of the medical condition) when life seemed more rewarding, when pain, discomfort or overwhelming anxiety was not only unthought of, but never occurred as an issue of consideration — who “after” the onset of the medical condition can now only recall the romantic period that once was.

Filing 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, may not solve every problem that besets the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer consistently get to work and accomplish all that is required by the position; but it does allow the Federal or Postal employee to prioritize and focus more upon the reality of one’s current situation — one’s health — and not become entrapped in trying to be that last Edwardian.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Retirement Claims under FERS and CSRS: Rebirth

The term and the conceptual attachment possesses a connotation that is often repugnant to atheists and pagans – although, if reincarnation and a circular vision of regeneration of life are the belief-systems embraced, the declaration of “rebirth” or being “reborn” are not that foreign.

It can, too, have a very elementary meaning, to encompass merely a “new beginning” or a sense of transcending or climbing into a different stratosphere of thinking; sort of like “thinking outside of the box”, or of entering a “different phase” of life.  That, too, is interesting, is it not – where we never think in terms of “descending”, but always of “ascending” – as if the former is always related to death, catacombs and unmarked graveyards with cemeteries full of weeds and overgrown ivy?

Rebirth is physiologically an impossibility, and thus do we ascribe to a cognitive or spiritual transference where change is often dramatic, originating from a trauma of experiences that must be left behind.  But the experience itself – of a rebirth – can come about in a mundane, systematic, thoughtful and often enlightened means by nothing more than mere cadence of monotony – retirement; having children; getting married; becoming old; moving to a different country or even across a state line; these, too, can constitute a rebirth.

Or, how about adopting a dog from a rescue kennel and giving it a “rebirth” of sorts – doesn’t it reverberate back to the rescuer as well?  What we find when we do that is this:  We believe we are doing the “favor” for the abused animal, when in fact it is often the very reverse, where the animal brings out from within us a capacity for caring, empathy and love that we would otherwise have never known, and that, too, is a form of rebirth.

Filing 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 – can that, too, be a form of rebirth?  It all depends upon the attitude of approaching such a “next step” – Is it to escape, or to refocus?  Is it an indicator of a reshuffling of priorities?  Will it allow for an easing of debilitating pain and allow for a journey to attain a plateau of rehabilitation, such that a second career or further vocation will be possible?

Surely, rebirth is a wide enough concept to encapsulate a pathway through the bureaucratic morass of getting a Federal Disability Retirement application approved, and why not?

After spending years trying to hide the medical condition and the symptoms that naturally go along with it, moving on to the next phase of life can be nothing more than a rebirth, of sorts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Perspectives, now and then

We all have them; and, like opinions and other discarded detritus unworthy of further consideration, we can replace them with others.  It is what Plato warned against in his allegorical narrative about the shadows against the Cave walls, and how the true form of reality was presented only after we were unshackled from our lying eyes.

Perspective, now and then, or “now” as opposed to “then”, can change.  It is the “now and then” and how you interpret that dependent clause that often matters.  Is it something that comes along once in a blue moon, or a changed, modified and altered perspective that differs now, as opposed to that obscure “then” – perhaps in youth, in early adulthood or in middle age?  When does a perspective remain constant, wise, worthy and consistent with reality such that we can grasp a hold of “it” and never let go? Or, are perspectives changeable, mutable, subject to reality’s compelling of alteration based upon the fluid circumstances of life’s misgivings?

In law school, there is the classic lesson taught in Criminal Law 101, where the professor has two actors come into the class all of a sudden, struggle, argue, then a loud “bang” is sounded, and one of them runs and the other falls dead.  Then, the students are asked to write down what they saw.  The notoriety of eye-witness accounts being so unreliable is quickly shown by the disparities revealed.

Nowadays, of course, with body cameras and video mechanisms running nonstop , we are subjected to a replay of scene after scene, and perspectives can change – except, of course, as to camera angle; what is actually seen no matter the constant replay; and of when the “record” button was pushed and how much contextual evidence had been left out before, or sometimes even after.

Medical conditions, too, alter perspectives.  Sometimes, when “subjective” medical conditions such as chronic pain or psychiatric conditions of depression and anxiety are never noticed until the severity became too great to bear, the other side of the perspective has to do with believability and veracity of acceptance.

Remember that there is always a difference between having a medical condition, and proving it.  That is why in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with 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 must take into account the differing perspectives, now and then (in whichever form and whatever context) of your medical condition, how others see it, how it is proven, how your agency or the Postal facility views it all – in other words, perspectives far, wide, now and then, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Lives abstract and pointless

It is easy to speak about others in an abstract and pointless manner.  What is more difficult is to engage the complexity of a human being.  When we refer in such a manner, and reduce to a conceptual entity, the minimization allows one to refer to “it” as an object of derision.  Thus can one subordinate and state without feeling, “Oh, X is worthless” or “Y is a waste of time”, as if the value of an individual can be quantified like mineral ore or spectrums of inestimable qualities.

It is the cognitive process which is likely unique to the human animal, and has been variously evaluated, assessed, judged and analyzed by different philosophical schools of thought, under multiple titles like “An inquiry into human understanding” or “The puzzle of the human mind”.

Abstraction, placement of sensible objects into forms of conceptual paradigms otherwise negated by the particular; these generalizations have a duality of purpose, of utility that can be moral or evil, deliberative or of pointless venue.  Obliteration of the particular is consistent with the capacity of a nation to subjugate and murder in mass quantities, for it is by the vehicle of objectification that the subject can be ignored and shirking of humanity can be achieved.

From the ashes of the Second World War rose the stems of Existentialism, and Sartre and Camus positing the anguish of dead souls unable to experience the fullness of life.  And thus was the hero an unlikely one – of a solitary figure toiling despite the severing of that which gives impetus to life: the relationship between meaning and motivation.  For, Sisyphus was condemned to engage for eternity in the monotony of toiling to push the boulder up the incline, only to have it roll back down, then to repeat the senseless act endlessly.

It is this metaphor applied to life itself, and by which existentialism sought to bring meaning and purpose to the human condition.  That is why relegation to abstraction and subjugation to pointless conditions became the clarion call of protest for the tide of human suffering, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of war left to devastation and human misery.

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 positional duties, the experience of being referred to as lives abstract and pointless becomes a daily encounter; for, Federal Agencies and Postal facilities place value upon the Federal or Postal worker only so long as productivity and the advancement of the Agency’s mission continues; and thus is loyalty defined as a one-way street leading up to the Agency’s doorstep or the Postal Service’s bottom line; never does loyalty embrace the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a way to break that endless cycle of Sisyphean plunder; for, in the end, lives abstract and pointless are defined not by what “they” are doing, but what you – the unique individual – are capable to doing, and escaping the harassment and adversarial actions of the agency by obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is often the best and only choice to attain that purposive goal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fairytales, mythologies and lies

They all constitute the arena of “make-believe”.  Yet, we excuse the first, ignore the second, and feel guilt and shame for embracing the third – or, at least some of us, do.  Of fairytales, we share in the delight of passing on such tall tales of wonderlands and Eskimo nights full of shooting stars and talking Polar Bears; of mythologies, we recognize the need for lost civilizations to have embraced a means of explaining, but consider such trifles to be beyond the sophistication of modernity, and arrogantly dismiss such dusty irrelevancies as mere fodder for a fairytale told:  Once upon a time, Man lived in ignorance and could not comprehend the complexities of science, Darwinism and the unseen world of genetic engineering by happenstance of gravitational alliances in planetary designs of explainable phenomena; but we know better, now.  But of lies, the second is more akin; the first is excusable as an exception to the rule, especially when the innocence of childhood smiles warms the hearts of parental yearnings.

Rage, effrontery, a sense of betrayal, and a violation of integrity’s core; these become bundled up and spat out into the cauldron of people’s tolerance for acceptable behavior, and from an early age, we instill in children the parallel universes encompassing Fairytales, Mythologies and Lies without an inkling of self-contradiction.  And, again, of the middle one, we tolerate as mere poppycock by arrogance of modernity, in order to explain how our forefathers could tolerate that which we reflect in the first but not the third.  And of the third, we contend that we can abandon and banish the foundation of a Commandment, while preserving the moral explication justifying the mandate of Truthfulness, and so we embrace the linguistic gymnasts provided by forgotten giants of Philosophy’s past, like Kant’s maxims of universalization of principles otherwise untethered by metaphysical concerns, or even of John Stuart Mill’s failed Utilitarianism.

Then, we allow for exceptions – such as those hypotheticals where the black boots of horror’s past that knock on doors in the middle of the night and inquire as to hidden racial divides in the attic of one’s abode, but where lies and denials are justified in the greater cause of a choice between words and existence in the face of reality, Being and human cruelty.  For the person who must live daily within the consequences of what elitists and ivory-towered cocoons revive, the truth is that there never was a problem for most of us, between fairytales, mythologies and lies.  The first was for children to enjoy and learn from the lessons of innocence; the second, for adults to study in order to understand the origins of our being; and of the third, we recognize as the soul’s defect in Man.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with 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 position, the identification between the tripartite elements become quickly clear:  Fairytales are the promises made by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; Mythologies are the rules broken by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, but which are pointed to so as to create an impression of integrity; and lies are those statements made and exposed, but denied daily by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service.  In the end, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is one way of extricating one’s self from such fairytales, mythologies, and lies daily told.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire