OPM Disability Retirement Help: The Man from Mars

It is a strangeness that cannot be avoided.  Sort of like Thomas Nagel’s famous philosophical essay, “What is it like to be a bat — for a bat?”  It is the “for a bat” that makes all of the difference; for, as Nagel himself pointed out, it is easy to imagine what it is like to be a bat — i.e., have wings, fly in the dark of night, screech, eat bugs, etc.  However, the uniqueness of actually being another creature — of having a separate and distinct perspective from that of a human, man-centered purview — is something that we will never be able to achieve.

Others, like those in Daniel Dennett’s camp, counter that there is no Searle-like “ghost in the machine”, and that consciousness is merely comprised by the aggregate of the neurological connections that make up the human body, and there is nothing metaphysical beyond the physical, no “trans” or “meta” existence beyond the firing of neurons and wired transmitters — in other words, the uniqueness of an individual is nothing beyond what we see and experience.

The cynic, of course, would look at the neanderthal that we have become, where we stare into our Smartphones like zombies and laugh uproariously as the crudest of jokes, and nod in agreement.  But what of the experiences of the extraterrestrial — does that shed any further light upon the issue?

Take, for example, the concepts explored in works like, The Man who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie, or Robert Heinlein’s story of science fiction, “Stranger in a Strange Land” — where an alien culture and perspective meets with the consciousness of the banality found on earth; is it any different than when Native Americans first saw the ships appear upon the horizon of the Americas?  What is the natural response of the Man from Mars, and what is our response when confronted by an alienation of cultures, processes or foreign encounters?

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 strangeness of the experience itself is often daunting, at least in two or three ways: First, the medical condition itself is a phenomena that is alien, where previously the Federal or Postal employee was a healthy, vibrant individual.  Second, the fact that the Federal or Postal employee cannot “do it all” is another foreign concept that one has to adjust to, and that is often difficult enough.  And Third, the experience of meeting adversity and sensing a negative reaction by one’s own Federal Agency or the Postal Facility one works at — that, too, is a foreign and alien experience, where before the Federal or Postal employee felt like he or she was a member of that “team”, and now the treatment accorded is one likened to a plague or infectious disease.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether he Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an experience likened to the Man from Mars — and because of this, the Federal or Postal employee who needs to consider Federal Disability Retirement might want to consult with a tour guide, otherwise known as an attorney who specializes in the attractive sights on Mars and within the purview of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The heckler

We see them from afar, as lone voices suddenly erupting with disruptive force, often barely audible, sometimes unintelligible, but rarely unnoticed.  In some corners of the world, their acts can become dangerous; inciting violence, being put upon by the surrounding crowd; their license to interrupt has been somewhat muted by the responsive threat of retaliation, voiced in more recent days.  Most of us sit back and wonder who “those” people are — such fury and passion to deliberately interject without invitation or welcome, and with the full knowledge that the subsequent events will lead to being either escorted out in less than gentle ways, or set upon in more violent fashion.

Are there causes which still exist, worth fighting for, anymore?  Is it just boiled-over frustration against a political firestorm of ineptitude and economic vicissitudes which leaves the ordinary person powerless and voiceless?  Or, is that interruptor a paid badger from another camp, merely acting as an apparently passionate interlocutor, but nothing more in reality than an employed spoiler to reveal the disarray of discontent allegedly felt by the greater populace?

It is a tradition of American politics, certainly, to have the presence of at least one heckler rise from the quietude of the sheep’s fold; and like the wolf covered by the lamb’s clothing, with barely an eye peeping through to gauge the exact timing for the sudden uproar, the impertinence of a question posed, a harassing shout and a barrage of epithets and garbled sentences drowned out by a sea of groans from around; does it all really matter?

There have always been hecklers of time and badgers of dishonor; and like the crowd which follows blindly in sequence of movements, such temporary interruption of a planned event is but merely a nuisance of life tolerated.  How we treat the heckler is but a reflection of life itself. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a similar interruption of “the event” of life, such as a medical condition which cuts short the Federal or Postal career, and where a responsive interlude must follow — 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, is often the only choice left, and the best alternative to pursue.

Suddenly, it becomes the “quiet one” who must turn and heckle; for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant is often that part of the crowd which never made waves and rarely complained, but merely went about his or her business and accomplished quietly the “mission” of the agency or the daily repetition of work at the Postal Service.  Then, suddenly, the Federal or Postal worker was “singled out” as the “troublemaker” — all because of a medical condition which the Federal or Postal worker never asked for, never wanted, and rarely complained about.  But like the heckler who knows of the oncoming consequences, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is surely a cause worth fighting for — despite the rude exit which is certain to follow.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Our civilization of the spectacle

The concept is borrowed from the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa (there are two additional names he formally possesses, “Pedro” and “Jorge”, as in, “Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa”, which likely encompasses family traditions of heritage and linear identification of relations, but it is sufficient to identify this momentary act of plagiarism negated by referring to the common and known reference), and refers to the widespread acceleration across all societies in the public display of what we once considered tasteless and base.

The concept itself, of course, is further “borrowed” or likely evolved from a work entitled, “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord, which posited a critical Marxist theory about the evolution of Society where the greed in Capitalist societies in the hunt for accumulation of possessions naturally leads to the degradation of human dignity.  One gives away one’s age and antiquarian predilections in relating memories of childhood, when parents used to say to their children, “Johnny, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”

Nowadays, such admonitions would fail to be understood; for, it is the wish and dream of every parent to see that the very apex and aperture of opportunity remain opened to one’s offspring — to become the next spectacular spectacle in this universe of appearance, show and public display.  Have we come to a point where all conventions have been nullified?  Where discretion is no longer the mark of good taste, and humility is equated with failure and false pride?

It was once thought that when history evolved such that the Kardashians rule the levers of the universe, we would know then that human degradation had reached its lowest common denominator.  But, somehow, the shovel seems to be able to dig a little deeper, and find a lower space in which to crawl into.  For the common man (and woman, as one can no longer presume equality unless it is explicitly stated), revelations of human maltreatment are nothing new.

Look at Federal workers and U.S. Postal employees across the board, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates an “accommodation” in the workplace.  It is rare, indeed, for the Federal or Postal worker who requests an accommodation, that consequences are not imposed, results are not negated, and reputations are not soiled.  Medical conditions should, by definition, be a basis for empathy and special accommodations; but in this society and civilization of the spectacle, it merely represents another venue where the weak are taken advantage of, and the sickly are relegated to the corner stall, away from the window of display, and hidden in the crevices of windowless corners.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the treatment by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, of what it means to no longer be able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The choice is clear, and the alternatives defined:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, is the best and brightest hope for the future of an injured or debilitated Federal or Postal worker.

For, in the end, both the Society of the Spectacle and the Civilization of the Spectacle are one and the same; whether by evolutionary inevitability or description of the state of modernity, those who make a spectacle of one’s self, must pay the price of being a target for another who desires that high point of calamity, where only the strongest survive.  Darwin was right, after all; we just didn’t realize that he was describing both the human being as well as the lowest form of our animalistic essence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: When the superior argument no longer prevails

The potentiality of applying “jury nullification” opened the door to defiance, in a society constructed upon recognition, application and enforcement of “the law”; but of course, one may argue that such wholesale rejection of a conceptual construct deemed immoral or otherwise unfairly prejudicial, is itself a moral judgment which is allowable.

Would anyone argue that a jury which refused to convict during a trial in a repressive and totalitarian regime — say, in North Korea today, or during the Stalinist era — constituted “jury nullification”?  Or, would one simply declare that “the people” rightly and collectively decided to “stand up” against injustice, and applied a higher standard of the law — one which transcends the state’s attempt to impose an otherwise self-declared code of injustice by means of fiat and force?  It all depends upon the perspective; for, when the state empowers a group of individuals to possess, grant and apply the power of judgment rendered in the form of a verdict, then that collectivism of declared consensus constitutes the rightness or folly of a moral code itself.

In the end, the term itself is likely inappropriate; for the concept of “jury nullification” necessarily implies something underhanded or nefarious, as if the “jury” acting to “nullify” the law is somehow suspect, when in fact it is a declaration of rights asserted by means of granted power to do so.  The jury, by definition, is a law unto itself, as recognized by the state, and is therefore wholly independent and cannot be castigated for undertaking the very duty for which it was appointed to perform.

Now, as to whether or not it was receptive to, and embraced a lesser argument, as opposed to a superior one, is a fundamentally different question.  Were emotions swayed?  Did the eloquence of the opposing side overwhelm?  Did rationality and force of evidence persuade, or did the defendant’s mother back in the corner where spectators sat, weep silently and blow her nose into a soiled kerchief just enough to draw the attention of wandering eyes left pondering the fate of a devastated family? And does rationality always have to rule?  By what criteria do we demand that rationality always rule the emotive and appetitive?  Is it based upon the ancient code derived from Plato and Aristotle, of the various parts of the soul where the mind should govern the cosmos of the barbaric nature of our base selves?

But if circumstances and situations rule the day — such that in a “State of Nature” it is more advantageous for an individual to survive by pursuing instinct and animalistic aggressiveness, but in the more refined “Social Contract” basis the forms of civility and restrained interaction becomes the normative and accepted foundation, is not judgment of a fellow man a netherworld of intersecting universes, where the contradictory combining of war (a form thereof, as in a trial) and civility (of a jury deliberating in the quietude of a sequestered room) clash in culminating in a momentous fate of judgment?

The conclusion from modernity has already been rendered, of course; for, in the end, young people today care not for the force of rational argumentation, but rather, whether it “feels good”.  What reverberating consequences does such a force of change have upon society as a whole, and more specifically, for the Federal or Postal worker of today who must consider arguing to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved?

Superior arguments, of course, should always be employed; and the Federal or Postal worker should never underestimate the power of legal persuasion, or the citing of relevant laws, statutes and applicable regulations.  But there is a distinction to be made, between demanding and dereliction of decision-making.  The former is to use a hammer; the latter is to posit a systematic methodology of courteously opening the door for recognizing the sunlight of “being right”.

For the Federal or Postal worker who wants to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, remember that the concept of “jury nullification” applies only when the right to decide is somehow deemed improper or unsanctioned; but when it comes to a bureaucracy which possesses the sole power to decide, it is an inapplicable construct, and must be approached in a manner more akin to the grieving mother whose murderous son suddenly appears with a suit and tie for the first time in his hideous life, and speaks eloquently of his undying love for family and the victim upon whom he perpetrated his crime, and when the wink-and-nod between son and weeping mother remains unnoticed but for the love forged in treachery, justice yet smiles even in verdicts which betray the greater society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire