FERS Disability Retirement: Preparing for the unknown

How does one prepare for the unknown?  If the very basis of preparation is to prepare for something, how can you then engage in that activity if X is an anomaly, a conundrum, a mystery yet to be uncovered and revealed such that the prior stage of preparing for it can be accomplished?  Is there a necessity for the pre-preparation stage?  Does one have to prepare in order to prepare to perform the actual act of engaging the substance of that which must be prepared for?

Certainly, learning about a subject — reading, researching, analyzing and evaluating — prior to performing acts which constitute “preparation” is an important component, but how many people have time to do such things?

Nowadays, if a person is asked whether they can “do X”, we just whip out our Smartphone, Google it and watch a You-Tube video and declare, “Yeah, I can do that.”  Is that what self-appointed lawyers do, these days — winging it by quickly reading some summarization of an article, then head into court and stand before a judge and make motions, argue cases, etc.?

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, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may well become a necessity.

It is the “preparing” part of the entire process which may be the lynchpin of success or failure.  Yes, you can read various articles (including this writer’s many pointers, legal articles and the like), but always understand that each case is unique — as is yours — and legal guidance based upon the individual circumstances of a particular case is very important in preparing for the unknown.

The “unknown” is the Federal Disability Retirement process, the administrative venue and the bureaucratic morass that encompasses the entirety of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and while no lawyer should contend that he or she knows “everything” about a subject, an experienced lawyer can certainly provide for valuable “pre-preparation”, as well as the preparation and the substantive work on formulating and finalizing that which is yet unknown, but ready to be revealed, uncovered, and refined into a Federal Disability Retirement application that stands a good chance of challenging the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Denials: Selective reasoning

Of course, we all engage in it; some, merely by withholding certain known facts; others, by emphasizing and asserting portions of the logic employed while ignoring or deliberately averting the focus of other aspects.  Selective reasoning through deliberate omission is the height of pragmatic oppression; for, when it is accomplished with knowledge and self-admission of premeditation, it involves a mind that knows the difference between proper application of logical reasoning and the intentional misrepresentation of facts.

We engage in such folly during the course of normal fights and argumentation; for, to win is the basis of arguing, and the ends often justify the means.  Logic is a learned tool.  It is the foundation of sound reasoning.  It is not an inherent, in-born or even in-bred character of man, but it can bring out the evil therein.

As a tool, those who are good at it have a greater responsibility to use it wisely, honestly and with proper motives.  It is the “selective” part of the reasoning that makes for honesty of dishonesty in the reasoning process, and the anomaly and irony, of course, is that the process itself — of reasoning — necessarily involves selectivity, for logical argumentation encapsulates proper and effective selection of facts, syllogistic approaches and propositional logic all bundled into one.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management engages in selective reasoning, and their denials of Federal Disability Retirement applications reveal a level of such selectivity that one must conclude that it is being done intentionally and with deliberate knowledge.

Beware of denials; for, they try and make it appear as if you never had a chance to begin with in your FERS Disability Retirement application. OPM will selectively choose to extrapolate from various medical reports and records, and fail to mention or highlight the selective portions omitted, then reason that there was “insufficient” medical evidence despite facts and rational argumentation to the contrary.

Do not despair, and do not simply allow for the 30-day time period in which to file for Reconsideration to lapse; for it is precisely such selective reasoning that is meant to discourage, and to make you think that the denial is dismissively disproportionate so as to justify giving up altogether — which is precisely what their selective reasoning is meant to accomplish.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Ghosts that haunt

Presumably, there are those that do not; for not all ghosts haunt; some merely wander through the houses of happy memories without a peep.  It is the ghosts that haunt that appear suddenly when things aren’t going so well, or when sorrow brings memories that once had been repressed, forgotten, and tidily stored away in the dusty shelves of memory banks where the lapping waves of avoided sadness once pervaded in the reality of dreams unfulfilled.

Do we all have them?  Do they walk the earth in silent steps because of events that would not allow for the soul to remain at peace?  Do they haunt because of a turmoil in the essence of a person’s Being, where trauma would not satisfy the yearning for solace for a troubled memory?  Or is it all just bosh; that Freud has replaced all such mythologies of past narratives and we can all rid the houses of haunting ghosts by psychoanalysis and therapeutic intervention?

We make gods of different disciplines, at various times, in a multitude of eras; yesterday, the gods traveled in mythologies of fanciful underworlds; today, we are left with materialism, where man is a god unto himself, with no mystery left to unravel.  But, whatever the source, the ghosts that haunt remain with us, and often it is the stresses of life that suddenly resuscitate from the entombed memories of forgotten catacombs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether that medical condition is termed “physical”, “emotional” or “psychiatric”, which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS is when the ghosts that haunt begin to debilitate and destroy.

Whether the source is from a trauma originating from one’s past, or from an accident unrelated to work — it does not matter.  The medical condition and the nexus to one’s capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is what must be proven; and of the ghosts that haunt — well, to remain with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will surely not resolve the haunting, but it may provide a better place to deal with the ghosts by allowing for greater focus upon dealing with one’s health issues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: The isolation

Generally, we accept the statement that Man is a “social” animal, and by that we mean that he or she prefers, all factors considered, to live in communities and interact voluntarily with others, as opposed to living in isolation, apart and separate.  That we congregate in bunches of aggregate intercourses is not uncommon; that we enjoy the company and camaraderie of social discourse is considered “normal”; but on the other hand, that we like to be alone at times is also not disputed.

There are those who cannot stand being alone; others who must always be in the company of someone; of still many who fear being alone in life, and desperately cling to partners who one neither deserves nor should solicit for the sake of one’s own well-being.  For, in the end, even the loner was born into the communal world; that he or she decided to betray the conventions of society and isolate himself is not an argument for normalcy of being.

It is, in the end, the isolation that is most daunting; of being targeted and separated and placed into a proverbial-type of sequestration or solitary confinement.

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, the concept of “isolation” is not a new one.  Whether because the Federal or Postal employee feels isolated because he or she cannot tell anyone about the medical condition or, having told about it, the Federal or Postal employee is deliberately being isolated because of the medical condition, matters little.  Both result in the same consequences.

The “targeted” employee; the one who is no longer “part of the team”; the one who has dared ask for an accommodation; the one who is no longer invited to meetings or in the general sharing of information; the isolated Federal or Postal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, lest the isolation results in the continued harassment and ultimately ends in a termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: The Traveling Show

Remember those amazing traveling shows?  Whether for a circus, an amusement park, of various booths and exotic people doing tricks, talents otherwise unappreciated; or, as in foreign countries, with a monkey (or two), a bear or some other intelligent species ready to perform for the gathering audience.

In modernity, they are, for the most part, erasures of history; forgotten, if barely remembered; shows that foretold of an earlier era, of a time when entertainment was scarce and anomalies fewer.  Of course, we are more sensitive to quirks of nature, as well — and find it repulsive to pay in order to stare at people with mishaps and disfigurements; and so that is perhaps a good thing, as we have a deeper collective consciousness for the feelings of others.

In a way, however, aren’t each of us somewhat of a “traveling” show?  We enter into the lives of others, “travel” through, then disappear, leaving behind memories positive or negative, departing for other destinations while separating from the sequestered lives of those we encountered, touched for a day or embraced for a fortnight.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often likened to those antiquated “freak shows” — everyone is interested; the crowd gathers; the gossiping reverberates throughout the trembling audience in anticipation of the story’s end.  What will they say about you?  How will they remember you?

The spectacle of the uneventful; that is what so many of us now live for but for the boredom of something different.  Or, perhaps, it is likened to the Roman Coliseum where the tigers and lions were about the devour for the entertainment of the masses.

Regardless of how it is viewed, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who needs to “travel” away from the crowd of curious onlookers, it is important to prepare well and formulate accurately an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, lest the “Roman centurions” over at OPM ready their swords to slash and destroy one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, looking upon it as nothing more than another traveling show making its way through the discourse of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Distant lights dimming

How can distant lights dim when they are mere specks upon a blanketed panorama of darkness?

One looks up at the stars and we are told, of course, that the sparkling tapestry may contain those which are already vanished, and what we “see”are merely the residue of a dead or dying star.  In a universe based upon a visual-centered arena, the reliance upon sight to establish facts and verify truth-statements cannot be avoided.

That was Berkeley’s problem, as well — and one which he deftly avoided by re-defining the definition of existence by tying it inextricably with “perception”, including visual, auditory and tactile means.  Much later, and after a series of devastating criticisms launched at the entirety of empiricist tendencies that some would counter artificially manufactured unnecessary philosophical problems (but isn’t that the “fun” of philosophy — to always be left with more problems to solve than the day before?) which haunts us to this very day, Wittgenstein came along and waved aside such conundrums by relegating all such issues to mere problems of linguistic confusion.

Thus was reality divorced from the language we use to describe the phenomena that surrounds us, leaving science left standing as the Last Man and the primacy of philosophy relegated to the dusty shelves of Medieval Times.  Distant lights dimming?  No more a problem than the campfire dilemma — for, do we say that because we cannot precisely pinpoint the demarcation between light and darkness at the periphery of a glowing campfire, that therefore no campfire exists at all?  Of course not!

It is thus not the result of the physical objectivity of the world around us that confuses, but the inadequacy of language that confounds.  Yet, as Man must communicate by means of language and operate effectively within the objective world, so the development of various “language games” must by necessity evolve into greater heights of absurdity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts upon the reality of the “objective” world — entrance and introduction into the binary universe of language games and the greater world at large must also, by necessity, come together in the form of preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

You have the medical condition; the medical condition is impacting your ability and capacity to continue in your present position as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker.  Such a medical condition may necessitate filing for Federal Disability Retirement — but understand that submitting a “paper presentation” to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you as the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires an adequacy of language that must go beyond the reality of the medical condition itself.

And like the distant lights dimming, what actually “is” may be divorced from the language which must be carefully chosen and transcribed, lest such inadequacy fails to describe and delineate the reality of the medical condition from which you suffer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire