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

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed of, 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, is not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Claims: Hanging on a contingency

The metaphorical image representing such a phrase allows one to pause and reflect: the dichotomy between the physical world and the conceptual one — of a person “hanging”, as from a cliff, with his fingers turning white from gripping the tenuous life-line of a flimsy branch, a loose boulder or an outstretched hand of another; and of the technical term that possesses meaningful discourse only in a purely theoretical universe of conceptual constructs — denoting the idea of a future event or circumstance that cannot be relied upon with certainty, but may trigger a series of consequential future contingencies or further occurrences, etc.

Thus does the physical and the conceptual come together in an aggregation of a compound conceptual construct that may connote thus: You are in a tenuous situation where your physical well-being is dependent upon a future uncertainty that may result in events that may or may not yet happen.

Such a conditional circumstance is often how the Federal or Postal employee feels, who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may result in the necessity of 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.  For, it is indeed the “physical” part of the entire event — the medical condition itself — which makes one feel “as if” one is dangling from the edge of a cliff.

And it is the “contingency” — the uncertain triggering mechanism, such as the anticipated adverse reaction of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the tenuous reliance upon a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment; the growing inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — that makes the medical condition all the more magnified in its exponentially-exacerbated conditions of anticipated calamities.

Life is often an unfortunate series of having to hang on to a contingency, but when a medical condition enters into the fray, it makes it doubly more tenuous, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is at least a concrete step that allows one to grip the reality of one’s situation, and perhaps leave all future contingencies, tenuously anticipated, aside.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Technically correct

What does a person mean when it is said, “Yes, that is technically correct”?  Does it matter where the inflection resides, or which part of the statement is emphasized?  If greater syllabic magnification is placed on the word itself, whilst the remainder of the sentence is left in a monotone of boredom, is something else being conveyed beyond the mere words declared?

What if the hesitation on the first word is elongated, as in, “Ye-e-e-s, you are technically correct.”?  Or, how about this one:  “Y-e-e-e-s…you ARE technically correct.”?  Further, why do we always expect a conjunction to follow, as in, “Yes, you are technically correct, but…”?  Does such a sentence imply that a person can also be un-technically correct?  If so, what would that mean and what factors would be included in coming to such a conclusion?

What practical or real-life consequences are inherent in the truth of such a statement, such that it might alter or modify our approach to a given subject?  If an engineer is building a skyscraper and turns to the architect and says,” Yes, you may be technically correct, but the entire building could nonetheless collapse” — how is it possible that the architect could be “technically correct” yet mistake the un-technical side of things such that it could result in a life-threatening disaster?

Or, in law, if a lawyer is “technically correct” but might nevertheless lose a case before a jury, does that mean that the “technical” argument in the law may not carry the day because the jury might take into consideration factors other than the law itself in rendering its collective decision?  Yet, isn’t “the law” nothing more than an aggregate of technicalities to begin with, and therefore, does it even make sense to speak of being “technically correct” within the purview of the legal arena?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be technically filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether technically under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it may be technically correct that certain legal criteria must be technically met; however, when putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application, just remember that the technically sufficient Federal Disability Retirement application should always, technically speaking, contain an aggregation of medical documentation, legal argumentation and personal narrative combined to make an effective presentation, better guided by a legal technician otherwise known as a counselor, attorney or lawyer in this technically empowered universe — technically speaking, of course.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Weekend Survival

The segmentation of time may be artificial; the rhythms of life, are not.  The 7-day week, 30-day month (give or take a couple here and there) and the 12-month cycle constitute human constructs that impose a rigid system of divisions based upon productivity, leisure, an admixture of both (isn’t it universal that Saturdays are spent in doing chores otherwise unattended to during the week, and Sunday is that respite and escape in total destitution of depleted dreariness?) and then a reset button pushed and the beginning of the cycle all over again.

Yet, while the system itself is based upon a conceptually artificial construct, the rhythmic underpinning of nature that glides above and beneath on a daily, quiet but consistent basis remains unperturbed.

That is why Daylight Savings Time makes grouches of us all — it is another artificial construct that jolts everyone from the natural rhythms of monotonous apathy twice a year, and breaks up that flow of biodynamic symbiosis between the planetary rotations, the daily sunrise and sunset, and the body’s reaction to a natural order within the constructs of an unnatural way of living.  The only compensation we feel grateful for is that extra hour of sleep that we are “given” in the Fall — only to have it stripped mercilessly and robbed from us in the Spring.

Thank God for the weekend — those two days of respite and leisure; of restorative rest and a quietude away from the mad dash of work and productivity; and we believe that we owe to the gods our lives and sacrifice our health for those pittance of days that are given to us.  But what are those 2 days worth?

Half of one is given up to do those things that we had no time to do during the five days of labor; the other half, spent in frozen immobility in front of a screen that blasts frightful images both from news of the “real” world as well as stories that are supposedly “entertaining”.  Then, with the one day remaining, we try and compensate for the exhaustion from the previous 5+1, only to wake up the following morning to engage the rush of the work-week that suffers and harms.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition becomes a trial of survival during the week in order to make it to the weekend just to survive, it is worse because — not only is the “natural” rhythm interrupted by the medical condition itself — days, weeks and months all meld and melt into a singular whole of survival and consternation of life’s trials.

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, may be the only option remaining in order to re-order the rhythm lost in the daily struggle to reach that weekend survival where the cycle of life’s natural rhythm has been shattered by the trauma of a chronic medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The beginning, middle and end

It is a cognitive invention, as most events and occurrences are a continuum without such neatly-trifurcated wholes segmented into a tripartite of sectional constructs.  That is why sophistry can rule — because thought fails to meet reality and conform with it.

So the argument goes: An arrow shot from a bow can never reach its destination, as the the distance the arrow travels merely cuts the chasm between Point A and Point B in half every second or a fraction thereof, and as a line can be divided into halves into infinity, so the tip of the arrow can never overcome the mathematical division of measurable distances.  Yet, the hunter knows this not to be true, and the deer that feels the pierce of an arrowhead recognizes not the hypothetical constructs of philosophers and madmen.

Similarly, we ascribe to various conceptual constructs the “beginning, middle and end” — as in a novel; a stage play; the chapters of a life lived; a career; a failed marriage or of a successful one.  As to the latter — the “beginning” is described with adjectives of romance, love and passion unadorned; the “middle”, often with children, debts incurred, a home purchased and a career undertaken; and as to the “end”, whether of irreconcilable differences, infidelity, death or together taking walks into the sunset of two lives joined for a lifetime, depends largely upon the story told from the beginning, extending into the middle and coming to fruition towards the end.

In telling such a story, it is often less important what happened in “the beginning” — though couples often focus far too sharply upon that period, like prurient interests magnified by the query, “So, how did you two meet?”  It is more often the “middle part” that determines the course of the end; of the stresses of family life; the enticements and opportunities that can derail the best of intentions and muddle the principled mind; for, the “happy end” depends largely upon the activities of the middle, and it is the middle period that sets the foundation for the end.

And, as with almost all things worth pursuing, preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal or Postal employee, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a solid foundation both in the “beginning” and the “middle” phases of the process, in order to bring about a favorable “end” to the complex administrative process.

The “beginning” part of the bureaucratic process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement” often involves the medical condition itself, and the recognition that a change is needed.  The “middle” part involves the complexity of preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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; and the “end” embraces the hope of a First Stage Approval, but if not, the Second Reconsideration Stage and, if necessary, an administrative hearing before a Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Whether you as the Federal or Postal employee find yourself in the beginning, middle or end of the process identified as “Federal Disability Retirement”, always remember that wise counsel in the beginning makes for a smoother path in the middle, and greatly increases the chances of a successful end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Predictability

Is it all mere statistical probability?  Or, can there be a fair amount of certainty in the “science” of predictability?  Is the weather an event that can be predicted, and if so, do past failures enter into the equation; or, if not, why is it that the vicissitudes of nature cannot be so easily anticipated or foreseen?  How is it that we predict predictability?  Does it come about by numerical analysis, or by experience?

If you talk theoretically about the chances of a person being attacked by a shark if you go swimming in this or that ocean, doesn’t it depend upon a multitude of additional factors, as in: Where are you swimming (if in the arctic seas of the upper northern hemisphere, isn’t that a factor to consider as opposed to, say, off of the coast of Australia or in Florida?); the time of day; and perhaps certain peculiar behavioral features, as in splashing vigorously as opposed to swimming with slow, silent strokes, etc.?

Such factors might be important to consider.

Then, consider that, during the course of a conversation on such statistical relevance, a one-legged man (or woman) walks in upon the conversation and says, “Oh, yes, I lost my leg in a shark attack”.  Would that change the statistical analysis?  Wouldn’t the probability for that particular person be 100%, inasmuch as he/she experienced the event and is speaking post-actualization?

Do acts which enhance the probability of an event simultaneously diminish the chances of failure, or are they dissimilar acts that travel on a parallel but never-intersecting course?  Can all events subject to predictability base such anticipatory analysis upon a statistical study, or are some events able to be accurately foreseen based upon intuition, the supernatural or some other transcendent other-worldly criterion?

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 position, the likelihood of needing to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, increases with each passing day.

Medical conditions that remain for an extended period of time tend to not go away; instead, chronicity is an indicator in and of itself, and if a degenerative, progressively debilitating condition, the factors that need to be entertained concerning the predictability of future events yet to unfold can be accurately foreseen.  The key, then, is to enhance the statistical probabilities of surrounding factors, such as:  What are the key components necessary in meeting the criteria for Federal Disability Retirement?  Will hiring an attorney who specializes in the field of OPM Disability Retirement significantly enhance my chances of success?  What are the criteria for predictability of a positive outcome?

These and other questions should be asked and answered when seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, so that the murky field of predictability can be somewhat clarified with the wisdom of past experiences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire