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

 

OPM Retirement for Psychiatric or Physical Incapacity: One among many

Does it tell us anything that we recognize that we are merely one among many?  Does such an awareness actually add anything to one’s conscious life, or is it just another one of those pithy egotistical “self-realization” statements that purports to sound profound but adds little, if anything, to any existential intuition beyond the words themselves?

Does a lone dog pampered by its owner have a similar awareness when it is taken for a walk, encounters other dogs or sees rabbits scurrying across the suburban landscape?  Does it pause and reflect: I am merely one among many?  Is language a prerequisite to conscious awareness of one’s place in the universe, or is the mere fact of existence enough to bring about an instinctive realization of the same relevance?

To be “one among many” certainly brings about a certain perspective, does it not — perhaps of one’s significance or irrelevance; that each has a burden or part to play, but is not necessarily responsible for the entirety of the problems encountered; and perhaps even of a sense of community or sharing-ness, that one is merely one cog in a complex multitude of wheels spinning about in a universe that is often impervious and uncaring?

Medical conditions, however, have a way of destroying even that perspective, in that it makes loners of us all.  When a medical condition hits, it leaves one with a profound sense of isolation, where one begins to think and believe that no one else in the universe experiences the pain, tumult, angst and loss of joy, and that the one suffering from the medical condition is all alone in the universe.  To that extent, the statement that one is “one among many” helps to remind one that, No, others too have gone through similar trials and circumstances, and such suffering is not unique in this 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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to recognize that while each person’s condition is unique, it is also shared by many others.

Federal Disability Retirement itself is a recognition that the frailty of the human condition must sometimes allow for an end to a career, but that further, productivity in some other career or vocation is still possible.

Federal employees and Postal workers are one among many, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to share the burden of self-realization that while your medical condition may indeed be unique to you, you are not alone in the need to change direction and move on into another and more promising future where the one among many may be many more than you first thought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: That voice within

Whose voice is debating within the insular corridors of the otherwise silent individual?  Which one is the dominant voice, and how does one determine if that particular voice should be the one which attains such a prominent status and stature within the cauldron of one’s own thoughts?

We assume, of course, that when we are pondering within the insularity of our own thoughts, that the voice which speaks within is our own voice; but is it necessarily so?  Yes, yes — the traditional concept of “madness” will begin to encroach, of strange voices which begin to invade and intrude, and where schizophrenia is considered the likely explanation whenever “other” voices are considered.

But that is not what is necessarily the case.  It may be that the voice within is simply a regurgitation from a memory stored long ago — perhaps of one’s parents; a friend; an old school chum; a brother, sister or a cousin; and it is retrieved as an amalgamation of many others, besides.  More importantly, who determines the validity of what is being said, the subject of debate and the substance of the winning argument?

The danger of a soliloquy is that the lone figure who tries to figure things out on his or her own may not have all of the facts or information at hand which can lead to the right decision being made.  An unheard conversation undertaken and engaged by a singular voice may be no discussion at all; it may merely be a wrong-headed delineation based upon errors in fact and missteps in logical analysis.  That is why it is important to consult a person who specializes in a field and is knowledgeable at the outset, so that the facts gathered and the analysis conducted are sound methodologies based upon superior analytical insights and resulting in expert advice.

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 is important to gather the necessary and pertinent facts about the entire process, the known administrative facets and pitfalls, etc., so that a superior decision can be reached in preparing, formulating and filing 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, so that the voice within will avoid the mistake of listening to too many voices without which may lead him or her down the false paths of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Order & Disorder

Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do for a good deal of time spent?  Not to compare it to such a “Biblical” extent — but like the figure in the very first chapter of the very oldest book some hold as “sacred”: out of chaos, order is created.

Throughout one’s day, from the very awakening of those sleep-encrusted eyes, when the dreams dissipate and the nightmares subside, we wake up and try to create order out of the chaos that surrounds us.  The key to sanity is to keep pace with, or try and “get ahead”, if possible, of the impending disorder around us.  Thus can insanity be redefined as: We “lose” it when the disorder around us becomes exponentially quantified beyond one’s capacity to maintain the level of order required.

Think about it: the bombardment of stress that continues to envelope us; of a time not too long ago when “correspondence” was a written letter sent by one individual to another that took 2 – 3 days by first class mail to arrive after the postage stamp was licked and carefully placed, now replaced by a quick email and a button-push with a singular finger, multiplied by hundreds, if not thousands, and in a blink of an eye one’s “Inbox” is filled with requests, tirades, FYIs and spam beyond the measures order needed.

Isn’t that what “bringing up children” is also all about — of creating order out of disorder?  Without discipline, guidance, schooling and a bit of luck, we would all become maladapted individuals running about in diapers devoid of the learned proclivities of polite society, and be left with the allegation that one is “eccentric” or, worse, an “oddball”.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of overwhelming a person with a sense of “disorder”, in that it forces a person to do things outside of the ordinary repetition of an ordered life.  That is why it is so difficult to “deal with” a medical condition, even if it is not your own.  It interrupts one’s goals, plans, and the perspective of order that is so important to one’s sanity.

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, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often necessary just in order to attain that lost sense of order that has become created by the disorder of one’s medical condition.

Medical conditions make the universe formless and void; and it is the regaining of a sense of stability — of molding some sort of order out of the disorder — by obtaining some semblance of financial security through an OPM Disability Retirement, that the devil of disorder can be overcome with the gods of order in a genesis of new beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire