FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Owning a landline

It is perhaps the single telling factor of a generational divide; if you own a landline, it is likely you are not a millennial.  Or from the generation just before, or even the one before that.  You are probably from the generation sometime within the timeframe of “just after” the Korean War and around the end of the Vietnam War.  It is the remembrance of unreliable “bag” phones and cellular connections that barely became audible; but more than that, it is the evidence of who one is based upon the generational divide that naturally occurs between sets of population growths.

Can there be similarity of morals, ethics and behavioral patterns merely because one is born into a designated generation, as opposed to other such assignations of identifiable features?  Is it really true that one generation has a characteristic trait that is identifiable, recognizable and with imprints that define it with clarity of traits?  Are there “lazy” generations, “psychotic” ones and those that are mere sheep in a fold of followers?  Does owning a landline betray such a characteristic, anymore than being a hard worker, a person who always attends to one’s responsibilities and never turns away from obligations ensconced in the conscience of one’s being?

Yet, at some point, we all become adults, make decisions separate and apart from a “generational identifier”, and go on to become responsible for the pathways taken, the decisions undertaken and the consequences wrought.  Can it be so difficult to abandon a landline, to cancel it, to unplug it?  Or is it the imprint of a generation, so steeped in regularity and reliance that the youthful days of one’s generation cannot ever be completely severed and forgotten?

Owning a landline is like the Federal or Postal employee who comes from a generation where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is almost unthinkable.  It is that characteristic trait that you have to continue working, striving, contributing and making it into work “no matter what”.

Yet, the silliness of such a thought process is about the same as paying for a landline despite the fact that you no longer use it, never rings and sits in a corner silently except for the occasional caller who happened to ring up the wrong number and got a hold of another occasional individual who, upon picking up the receiver, realizes that it feels somewhat strange not to be using one’s cellphone as opposed to this “thing” that you have to put back into the cradle of a time long forgotten.

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 point always is not to allow for some silly notion of a generational identifier to keep the Federal or Postal employee from doing that which must be done for the sake of a higher calling: One’s Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The greater monsters within

Have you ever engaged in lengthy ruminations, procrastinating because of fear, trepidation and cautionary constraints before proceeding, only to find in retrospect that there was really nothing – or, at least, not much – to have worried about?

Often, it is the greater monsters within that become compounded, exaggerated and increased in fearsome proportions beyond the reality of the objective world, in parallelism with the anxiety we release and the angst we allow.  Within the insular world of our language games and conceptual apparatus created by a complexity of admixtures involving conscience, history of childhood imprints, traumas and psychic damages, it is important to bifurcate the universes of our own makings from those of manifested plenary encounters that can be evaluated, assessed and properly analyzed.

The ability and capacity to judge between the reality of the problem and the internal struggle of an imagined encounter grows exponentially the longer we procrastinate, and that is why the anticipation creates those “butterflies-in-the-stomach” that flutter about like so many somatic consequences of the subconscious angst we create.

The greater monsters within roam about in the neurological fissures that connect the physical brain to the consciousness of life, and when they are allowed to exit from the jailhouses we have compelled them to remain constrained within, it is the damage done from roaming unrestrained, when they trample upon the safe zones we have created, meandering into secluded corners where previously we have carefully posted signs of “no entrance beyond this point”, but have let our guard down, allowed the nailed-down posts to deteriorate, and misplaced the orange cones to be shoved aside in our careless lack of disciplined living.

How do we stop such miscreants from wandering through the sensitive crevices of our own consciousness, and to restrict their access from creating havoc and tumult which we least can afford because of the vulnerabilities and fissures created by the objective world’s intrusion firstly, and secondly and all subsequent times, the exponential expansion of the greater monsters within.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the procrastination resulting from the greater monsters within becomes a vicious circle of eternal damnation:  The medical conditions are worsening, exacerbating the internal struggles and the external responsibilities compelled by the job itself, the requirements of the position and the Federal Agency’s and Postal Service’s expectations; concurrently, the greater monsters within create a turmoil that influences, impacts and worsens the medical conditions themselves, such that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of self-immolation.

It is the greater monsters within which must be challenged, slaughtered and vanquished, and that can begin by taking the first and subsequent steps in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and thereby successfully activating the proverbial ending of killing two birds with a single stone, and also overcoming the greater monsters within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The frog and the twig

Upon first encounter, the two appear not to have any correspondence or connection, leaving aside any explanatory significance to the issues of Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers.  Yet, it is always of interest to show how the “relatedness” of seemingly disparate concerns intermingle and intersect with each other.  The fact is, whether in a direct and non-subtle manner, or in some transcendent metaphorical context, Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who find themselves at a point in their careers where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes a necessity, constitutes a reflective representation of much of life’s challenges.

Loss of hope for the future; struggling with day-to-day work and family issues; contending with a medical condition; caring for one’s career and workforce, yet, being forced to make a decision contrary to the linear perspective of what is “supposed” to happen – of work, career, retirement and mandatory shuttling into a nursing home, then a tombstone with some etching of memorialized compassion.  The latter two (nursing home and tombstone) are stated in somewhat of a cynical humor, but the others comprise the core of real life in real time.

Of the frog, we know that experimentation reveals the effectiveness of methodical, incremental insidiousness where, placed in a pot of tepid water, it will sit unknowingly until the boiling point is reached, and it becomes too late to jump out.  Life has a tendency to do that to us – we wait and wait, and suddenly it becomes an emergency.

Fortunately for Federal and Postal employees who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is rare that the emergency situation is so dire as to undermine the capacity and ability to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, but nevertheless, one should always be wary of the metaphorical significance of the frog.  It is one of those “life-lessons” which should be considered.  Of the twig, it is perhaps a little less obvious as both metaphor and analogy.

Once a part of a greater organic whole, it splintered off and fell into the rushing waters of the river below, and drifts aimlessly down, coursing around jutting rocks and undisturbed banks of clay.  Slowly, incrementally, and just as insidiously as the frog in the pot of water, the underside of the decaying twig begins to soak in the waters which allow it to remain afloat, until sometime later, the absorbing principle reaches a point where weight of intake exceeds the capacity to remain buoyant.

That is where the connection appears, between twig and life; where unforeseen burdens weigh down the individual until one day, unknowingly, like the frog and the boiling point of unobserved conditions, nature suddenly overtakes and dominates. And so, from the time when the twig separated from the greater overhang of a vibrant life, the vicissitudes of a raging stream which carried forth the rudderless twig, pushing it to and fro and about without direction, sinks to the bottom of a silt-filled bed, until it, too, decays and becomes again part of a greater circularity of life’s regeneration.

It is with these two in mind that the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker needs to approach 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: both the frog and the twig represent a potential condition which we believe we are too smart for, but of which we find ourselves too often quite closely related to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Agencies and the Opium Den of Yore

They were dark caverns of gatherings; residual consequences of colonialism; and though denied in polite society, the lure of addictive aroma wafting ever pervasively brought men and women repeatedly to the doors which opened for the pleasurable moment of escape.  It was like going back, and staying, despite knowing the harm it did, would do, and could wrought, even with the knowledge of the harm portending.  But the residue of the sweet scent would remain, like an invisible thread tugging at the weakest corners of the soul, to return, return, return.

Life tends to do that; of drawing people back, and holding on despite knowing that it is not good for one; and perhaps that explains, in part, those who remain in abusive relationships and engage in self-harm and behavior of self-immolation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who remain with the same agency, in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, knowing that continuation in the same job inflicts harm and continuing, contributing deterioration of one’s medical condition, the agency itself and the U.S. Postal Service becomes like the opium den or yore.  One returns, knowing that the abusive behavior of the entity will only continue to pervade with a constancy of greater aggression.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to separate from the Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service — like the addict who requires the sheer determination and willpower to stay away from the opium den — often remains the only solution.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a planned escape route in order to (A) rehabilitate one’s medical condition and (B) secure an annuity in order to attain a semblance of financial security, both for now and for the future.  As such, any Federal or Postal employee who finds that a medical condition is impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, and who sees the sign of future adverse actions on the part of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, needs to consider the steps necessary to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

One need not be an addict of foregone years wandering through the streets searching for an opium den in order to engage in self-inflicting behavior; it may just be that one is merely a Federal or Postal employee engaging in similar behavior, and not fully realizing the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire