FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Death of the metaphor

Metaphors and analogies are how we communicate; without them, it is the mere drone of sounds emitted, and even if without the directness of a simile where we place the comparison of two or more differing entities and connect with the word “like”, it is the only means of striving to reach a greater understanding of the world around.

The death of the metaphor is a certainty.  Modern technology has eviscerated the capacity of human beings to remain curious; and curiosity is not what killed the cat, but allowed it to remain a force in evolutionary stages of increasing survival instincts, as the trait of the inquisitive allows for greater mastery of the universe.  Smart phones allow for a person to defer memorization; computers deaden the natural instinct for query; and technology in general denies the relevance of a metaphor precisely because we need not struggle to explain – the machines do all of the explaining for us.

The death of the metaphor means the rise of the deadened soul, and suppression of everything that was uniquely human.  Would Shakespeare have survived in this day and age, or the complexity of language allowed for such subtleties of linguistic shades of meaning?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is suffering 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 employee’s job duties, the need to employ metaphors still exists, as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications – must still be persuaded by argumentation and logical sequencing of thought processes.

Yes, the death of the metaphor is imminent and inevitable, but in the greater corners of administrative law, the metaphor, the simile, the analogy that persuades must yet be utilized in order to make effective a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: By what measure?

Does a formula, a paradigm or a standard instill in us the direction we so desire?  How is it that we compare X to something, and is the contrast a necessary prerequisite to achieving and accomplishing, or is that some artificial, societal construct that we have manufactured in order to sell ourselves a “bill of goods”?

Yes, yes – Western Civilization (remember that middle-school subject taught under the general aegis of that title?) always begins with the philosophical precept of Aristotle’s, of “First Principles” and the “causes” of events and occurrences, but where is it stated that we must have a “measure” by which to compare and contrast?  By what measure do we apply ourselves, or is not the evolutionary will to survive and the genetic predisposition to propagate a sufficient factor in the drive to excel?  Like peacocks during mating season and robins that reveal a ferocity of savagery in the spring months, is there a measure by which we are deemed a success or failure, and by a standard where comparisons are made, conclusions are reached and judgments are rendered?

Rare is the solitary figure who abandons all implements of societal judgments and goes it alone without the condoning nod of an authority figure.  Lone wolves are figments of mythological fables; the rest of us follow the herd by the measure set by others in a society of gossipers and watchdogs set upon us without warning or consistency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the standard of measure has always been some unstated and unfairly predetermined set of rules that are governed by a bunch of words we never agreed to – i.e., “productivity at the cost of health”; “loyalty to the mission of the Federal Agency without regard to medical conditions”; “repetitive work leading to stress injuries where proving causation is nigh impossible”, and other such silent statements of accord – but where the last bastion of hope often resides in 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.

All of these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has toiled under tremendous pressure by the measures set by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility; fortunately, the standard by which OPM Disability Retirement benefits are granted is predetermined by statutory authority, and not by arbitrary fiat by a supervisor, manager or some other head of the department or agency by will of authority or changeable character of an individual.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must follow certain eligibility guidelines and statutory confinements, as with most other set standards; but by what measure you may live your life after winning an OPM Disability Retirement annuity – that is set by you, the lone wolf.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: The topic of conversation

How does it come about – that “topic of conversation”?  Is it merely and completely randomly selected, and in a spurious manner caught like the quiet embers that ignite an out-of-control wildfire?  Or, does someone Google on the Internet, something like, “Good dinner conversation topics”, and then proceed to print them out so that silence does not pause the ebb and flow of a party’s chatter?

If you listen carefully at conversations (which, by the way, are becoming a rarity these days, as one becomes ensconced in one’s own insular world of smart phones and Facebook postings, Instagram obsessions and Twitter feeds of inane utterances), you realize the randomness of subjects embraced, and how they often travel like a drunken driver meandering without lights or signals to brace the passersby.  Is that how Darwinian evolution looks like as an analogy of sorts?  A senseless, meandering coveting of erupting utterances without guide, meaning, direction or purpose?

But what if you become the topic of conversation – does it suddenly change, where the ear is suddenly turned red, the interest enlivened, and the aura of disinterestedness suddenly lifts?  And what if you are not in the room, but left to freshen up or take a break, and upon your reentrance, the silence suddenly pauses and the topic of conversation reveals a fissure and a gravitational shift that suddenly embarrasses and shames?  The ears burn – is that merely an old wives’ tale, or does that really happen?

Isn’t that what occurs with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

As an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, the undersigned is often asked as to when the agency or the Postal Facility should be informed, prior to submission of an OPM Disability Retirement application, of one’s intent to file. It is a rather complicated question, and can have consequences unforeseen and not always positively received, and thus should be specifically tailored to each individual circumstance.

But do not be fooled:  The Federal or Postal employee who files a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, at some point during the process will inevitably become the topic of conversation; whether that should bother you, or you should care, depends upon many factors, and not the least of which is often influenced by sound representation by a Federal Disability Retirement lawyer who has guided the Federal Disability Retirement process throughout the gambit of the administrative process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Language of Choice

There are certainly other “languages” for conveying information, including (but not limited to):  foreign, other than English (but in this cosmopolitan world, where technology has made such barriers a moot point, it becomes almost provincial to speak of one’s native tongue); body; emotive; forms, including written or oral; other body, such as facial; coded; and others not listed here.  The choice of language one uses, is often determined by the context and circumstance mandated for various reasons, not the least of which would be the efficacy of the option taken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have, for many years, had to endure the “language” of hostility from one’s Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service, it is perhaps a self-evident point that it is the “written” form of language which must be opted for in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  But it is not the obviousness of the issue which one must accept; rather, it is in the very transition from one’s milieu to filing with another bureaucracy which must be directly recognized and altered.

There is a natural tendency for the mistreated Federal and Postal worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to react to another bureaucracy and administrative process (OPM) in a similar vein as one is used to because of the mistreatment for so many years.  But one must mentally transition from the reactive methodology of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which one has become accustomed to, and approach the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a different light.

As such, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one word of caveat:  let the foreign language of professionalism prevail, and approach OPM with a singular focus of linguistic content which sets aside all of those wasted years of workplace harassment and hostility one may have experienced in a previous life, and adopt the language of choice — of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application devoid of the garbage of past malice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life’s Alterations

Spring comes and we clean out old hoardings, discard past articles once thought to be valuable and inseparable from our identity; or perhaps what pop culture has deemed a justifying course of decision-making because there is an inevitable “mid-life crisis“, or some other equally biologically-driven, primordial determinism which compels one to act in one way, as opposed to another.

Life’s alterations are often considered with no greater thought than having the local tailor shorten the seams, or tuck in the waist, like face-lifts and other procedures which attempt to beautify an otherwise insufferable soul.  But in the end, it is always the innocent ones who suffer; it is well that children possesses greater than indexes of fragile psyches; otherwise, the emergency rooms of hospitals across the country would be attending to them around the clock.  But with euphemisms and a can of fresh paint, we may still remain viable cores as stellar pillars in the community; it was a “friendly divorce”; the kids are “better off”; and other such platitudes to justify the devastation wrought.  But some alterations in the cycle of life cannot be attributed to fault; they are, indeed, brought about by fate, nature, will and the indifference of a mechanical universe.

Medical conditions tend to be in that category; they force alterations in life’s choices, without a deliberative involvement on the part of the participant.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who recognize that he or she suffers 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 at the U.S. Postal Service or a Federal agency, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, while the medical condition itself may indeed be a life-altering circumstance, it is what you do, how you react, and what affirmative steps you take, which will determine in the end whether you allow for the tumult of fate to rock and roll you without oars up the proverbial creek of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a way to steady the unsteadiness, to steer where once you traveled directionless, and to secure a future where once uncertainty prevailed.  While the process itself is a long and arduous bureaucratic morass, the direction once taken allows for a compass to prevail, and a path to be taken.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded and offered to all Federal and Postal employees with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service, and should be considered if and when life’s alterations have determined that a change is necessary; and like the tailor who skillfully makes the suit or dress fit more eloquently upon a body forced into disquietude through years of untended gardening, so applying for a benefit to secure one’s future is merely to respond wisely to the unexpected vicissitudes of life’s offering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire