Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The rabbits we chase

The rabbits we chase are the ones that reveal not so much about our preferences, but more about who we are and the priorities we place.  For, as one walks about in life, whether in suburban neighborhoods where rabbits abound because no one shoots them for meals, anymore, and so they can multiply without natural restrictions for lack of predators, the fact that there are other things to pursue — but instead we choose the rabbit — tells others something about you.

Of course, it is the proverbial rabbit we speak about — of work at all cost, of refusing to concede that which is quite obvious to everyone else.

Much of real rabbit hunting, of course, is done by knowledge and pure observation — of how the animal reacts; in scurrying away, what route does it take?  What avoidance tactics are engaged?  In suburbia, you can no longer shoot a rabbit within the confines of the city limits, but there is no law that prevents you from doing what the American Indians were so good at — chasing one down, swooping with a strong arm and grabbing those pointed ears, all for a good lunchtime meal.

But of the other “rabbits” we pursue — of careers at the cost of our health, of tangential distractions that ultimately provide no foundational meaning in determining the destiny of sanctified thoughts and goals.

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, chasing rabbits is a familiar refrain — not because it is being done in various acts of futility, but because the rabbit itself is not just any ordinary rabbit, and doesn’t follow the standard paradigm of “rabbit-hood”.

For, it becomes clear that the very nature of the rabbit has changed — the Agency no longer recognizes that your years of toil and loyalty should mean anything; coworkers whisper and spread gossip; the level of productivity is declining; you are using “too much” Sick Leave or LWOP; the rabbit you are chasing doesn’t quite act in the same way, and you begin to wonder, Is it even worth pursuing?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit that is there for the Federal or Postal employee who has finally come to the realization that not every rabbit is worth pursuing, and not every rabbit leads to a satisfying meal.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is likely the next best step in catching the rabbit of choice.  Now, for which rabbit hole to jump into …

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The buttons we believe accomplish

We believe, on faith alone, that pushing a button does the deed; and then we go on with life, and nothing really has changed but the belief in our own self-satisfaction.  It is that virtual world of computers, light switches, garage door openers and even the disc-like appendages to our shirts and sweaters that lead us to conclude that all such contraptions are of equal weight and value.

We see the cause-and-effect of the garage-door opener — of pushing a button and seeing the door slide open, then another push and it reverses course.  We push buttons on the computer keyboard, and with each tap the screen changes, or concludes with the deed completed; and of “buttons” on a shirt or sweater, we appreciate the invention that holds two sides of a separated apparel together to enclose our bodies with a warmth of a material embrace.

What does it mean to accomplish a deed with a mere pushing of a button?

We have been habituated into such thinking, and it is this disconnectedness that allows for society to continue to move “as if”.  It is only when we encounter the counter – belief that all of a sudden the world of buttons begins to sow some seeds of doubt — as when the boss comes and says, “Why haven’t you sent me X” and you respond, “I emailed it to you last week “ (it isn’t quite the same to say, “I pushed the button that accomplished the deed”).  “But I never got it” is the response which prompts you to go back and re-press the button, hoping somehow that doing so a second time will make a difference that the first time did not.

This time, however, just to be doubly sure, you go back and ask your boss whether he received it (not, again, “did my second button-pushing work?”), thus verifying the causal connection that had failed to occur previously.

What made the difference?

Somehow, in the ethereal universe of circuitry and magic we have no clues about, there exists a causal chain that “works” and “accomplishes” deeds — just like the garage-door opener that issues an immediate gratification of causation.  But that all of life would allow for such instantaneous confirmation — and of buttons we think accomplish.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a consideration to file 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, the buttons we need to push are many, varied, and long in waiting.

Whether they comprise of the metaphorical “buttons” to get people moving, or of emails that need to be sent, confirmations that require a response — what we do know, throughout, is that the reality of one’s medical condition has a discernible difference both of reality and of urgency when it comes upon the need for causation to occur.

The buttons we think accomplish remain somehow in that “other world” of magic and the unknown; the medical condition that remains is somehow the reality of the “now” that constitutes pain and suffering; and that is why preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is of greater importance than the buttons we believe accomplish.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Reality versus fantasy

What is the difference between reality, fantasy, dreams, nightmares and pure hallucinatory visions not otherwise categorized?  At times, we engage in the madness of asking such questions, all the while forgetting that the very reason why we are capable of making such a query is precisely because we already know the distinctions that divide the differences.

In philosophy, there is often the pure pablum and sophistry of asking questions that, at first sight, might be taken seriously.  For example, to the question: How do we know that the reality we are presently experiencing is not merely a dream of a butterfly?  Or: Upon exiting a room, how can we be certain that the objects left behind still exist despite our inability to observe them (similar to the query, Do mountains exist on the far side of the moon?  Or, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is nearby, does it make a sound?).

What we forget when we ask such questions is the precondition to the query in the first place: namely, the fact that we can talk about fantasy presupposes an acknowledgment of a reality that is distinct from fantasy, and it is precisely our “forgetting” such a presupposition that allows for the question to even make any sense in the first place.  It is similar to playing a video game, or watching a movie that skirts outside of the boundaries of believability; the mechanism to suspend disbelief is the pathway towards allowing for unserious questions to gain some credulity.

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 the Federal or Postal job, it is often this capacity and ability on the part of ordinary human beings to suspend disbelief in the reality of one’s situation that perpetuates a refusal to take the necessary next steps — of preparing, formulating and filing 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.

Thus can we suspend the disbelief of reality that tomorrow will be any different from today; or that the doctors will find a miracle cure; or that the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service will actually attempt to accommodate the medical condition for the Federal or Postal employee.  On the other hand, fantasies allow for the continuation of hope to fester, as the reality of working for a Federal agency or the Postal Service itself often represents a surrealism that cannot be believed.

In the end, however, the reality of one’s circumstances will “catch up” with you, and the fantasy that the Federal Agency or the Postal Service would do something to accommodate the Federal or Postal employee will ultimately turn into the nightmare that it always was, and only the replacement of a reality that is recognized will awaken you from the slumber of indifference or menacing glare.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Tone and tenor

In music as well as in grammar, the first word remains somewhat constant, in that it refers to the sound itself – how it sounds, the decibel level, the texture and coherence, etc.  Between the two, it is the tenor that alters, for in music, it refers to the male voice intermediate between the bass and the alto, while in grammar it is the content and substance of that which is said.

Thus, in either manner of usage, whether in music or in grammar, the combination of both is a bifurcated distinctiveness that goes to the duality of the following:  How it is being played or said, as opposed to what is being emitted or posited.  Both in verbal communication, as well as in written delineation and presentation, each are important.  In the former, one can often modulate the first upon the second, and even adapt the second in order to “soften” the first.

Thus, a person might say, “Go take a hike” in an angry, unforgiving manner, and the words spoken are consistent with the tone granted.  Or, one can say it in a joking, soft-spoken manner, and suddenly the tenor of the words take on an entirely new meaning – for, no longer do you actually mean the words themselves, as in “Please go away, I don’t like you and I don’t want to see you”; rather, stated in the second manner, it can simply be a cute retort, a friendly quip or a joking gesture.

In writing, however, one must be quite careful – for the tone of a sentence is encapsulated within the tenor of the written statement; the two, being entangled by the written mode of communicating, can easily be misinterpreted unless carefully crafted.  That is why texting, emailing and other written modes of delivery can be dangerous vehicles easily misunderstood and taken with offensive intent that otherwise was meant in a different manner.

The “tone” of a written sentence, paragraph or page must be intimately woven with the context of the “tenor” presented; and how the reader or recipient reads it, what internal “tone” is ascribed, can be misguiding.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must prepare 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, the tone and tenor of a Federal Disability Retirement packet is important to consider.

Will a somewhat “third-person, objective” persona be assumed?  Will the SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, be presented in a cold, clinical manner, where the tone is set “as if” someone else is describing the personal issues of the medical conditions, as well as their effect upon the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, or will it be more likened to a weeping bundle of hysterical cries begging for approval, or even closer to an angry shout that deafens the ears of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s assigned “specialist”?

Tone and tenor need to be decided upon early on in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it may well be that consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing such applications will ensure the proper modulation in both the tone and tenor of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of 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.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire