Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Proof

What constitutes it, and how do we learn of its sufficiency or relevance?

Take the following scenario: A group of boys are gathered together along with Billy, the “town bully”.  A discussion of sorts ensues — who is the toughest kid in town?  Some of the boys offer that “Dave” from across town is the meanest and toughest — a black belt in Hapkido, a state wrestling champion and a middle line backer for the high school football team.  Some others counter that Dave was once beaten up by Joe back in February, and doesn’t that “prove” that Joe is the toughest?

Then Billy suddenly stands up and everyone else becomes quiet.  He starts slowly and deliberatively pounding his right fist into the open palm of his left hand, and juts his prominent chin out in an intimidating manner, and says, “Okay!  Enough of this talk!  How ‘bout me?  Which of you weaklings says that I’m not the toughest guy in town?”

There are multiple sounds of gulps and fearful drops of sweat begin to trickle down the backs of each, and one of the other kids — a skinny little weasel with thick, black-rimmed glasses, suddenly shouts, “That’s proof enough for me!”  Following was a loud and unequivocal consensus of unanimous agreement.

In such a scenario, two things occurred: One — Billy “proved” that he was the toughest kid in town, and Two — all of the other kids took the lesson to heart that the proof of a physical presence and the threat presented was “sufficient” proof, as well as relevant as all get-go.

Thus are all of the components necessary to establishing verification of a propositional truth established: the town bully’s declarative utterance, backed by the force of a metaphorical persuasion (for one would argue that no overt coerciveness was used, but merely an innocent act of pounding one’s fist into the open palm of one’s other hand, and if asked whether Billy “threatened” anyone into declaring him as the toughest kid in town, he would and could innocently declare that there is “no proof” of any such accusation established or verified), and further reinforced by the scientific consensus of his peers and fellow students.

Proof was offered, considered, and accepted in full by a persuasive methodology of a succinct and effective form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the systematic and methodological “proof” which must be gathered and presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in establishing the Federal or Postal employee’s eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits must, of course, be somewhat more sophisticated than the rudimentary — but effective — amassing of proof portrayed by Billy the Town Bully.

Of course, some of the characteristics may still be relevant — of what constitutes “effective” proof; of what works as “persuasive” proof; of what is comprised of proof itself.  But the difference is that, while proof that leads to an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should last for the lifetime of the Federal or Postal employee, “proof” for the kids who agreed that Billy was the toughest guy in town lasted only so long as the threat presented kept everyone convinced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: The key

It is both a tool of utility in order to gain entrance and accessibility to an otherwise abrupt encounter with an obstacle barring further forward progress, as well as a well-worn metaphor appropriately applied to miracles, magic and moments of mandatory martyrdom.  It is a wonder that a slight defect in the metallic shaving of the implement can allow for the turning of it, and opening into the entranceway, but for that additional indentation; or of a barcode smudged which refuses to make an allowance.  In either case, whether as a physical tool or an electronic pass embedded in the plastic sheen of society’s muse, what it opens is the foundation for its very existence.

Accessibility is the key, or so we are told; and the key, well, that is what must be sought, earned or otherwise stolen by stealth or whatever other means of perpetuity engaged in order to embrace the incantations of eternal youth.  It is that mythological “fountain of youth”, after all, which we seek; and the key to gain entrance into the club of rubbing elbows can only be obtained by smarts, good looks and intellectual prowess.

Time was that we were all sold on the idea that education and hard work was the “key” to success; but then, it turns out that the system itself was somehow unfair and weighted in favor of one class or group over another, and so the tinkering began, to right wrongs which otherwise wrongfully righted past and historical wrongs, by asserting rights previously unknown to have existed, but which now could be miraculously discovered in the subtext of originalism where intentionality could be denoted through greater concentration and willpower to discern.

The greater key, then, became who you know, what levers of power could be pulled, and the insider trading of such greater knowledge, while all the time throwing breadcrumbs to the greater masses in order to appease the rumblings of starvation times yet to arrive.

It is always a key of which we seek; whether by force, by protest, by assertion of rights unearned; and when we lose them, we scream with frustration at the unfairness of the gods of fate whom we turn to only when destiny denies the promised predetermination of an outcome-based society lost forever in the hollow utterances of vote-getters, who also seek the public arena of keys revealed in goodie-bags dispensed with public funds.  For, when doors close and open by devices of mysterious barcodes, the suspicion that something else is going on behind such closure and obstacles to accessibility somehow reverberates with a truth left undeniable.

The truth is, there is no single “key” to life’s puzzles or perennial questions remaining without answers; life itself is too wide an expanse, too great a concept, and too generalized a thought to allow for a device to insert into an emptiness of soul in order to turn and open for a final solution to a door otherwise unopened but by those who expend the greater effort.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek the “key” to questions unanswered in preparing, formulating and 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, there is no “master key” to uncover in order to understand the complex administrative process in such a greater bureaucratic morass.

Instead, the fundamental key to first determine is to prove that the medical condition suffered by the Federal or Postal employee prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  From there, the unlocking of inaccessibility will be determined by the key of legal criteria, opened only by those who possess the barcode of cogent argumentation upon uncovering the keyhole allowing for a nexus between the medical condition and the legal penumbras of technical application.  And, like all keys, it is that extra little shaving and indentation which will allow for accessibility, and turn the tides of a life otherwise barred.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Medical Retirement Help: Jobs — the true civil rights

Throughout history, across national and international lines of artificial demarcations; over barriers confining and limiting all conceivable sectarian ceilings; in every society, community and communitarian conglomeration where people must live and tolerate one another, there has always been an allegation of unfair treatment, discriminatory division, and biased cacophony of complaints.  Perhaps all of them are valid and legitimate; perhaps some are and others not as much.

Whether by ethnic identification, normative connection, racial similarities or shared sexual orientation, the treatment by any given society of a group bifurcated by an identifiable feature of appearance, lineage or historical caricature, is forever fraught with inherent complexities.  Politicians have their own motivations for agreeing or disagreeing with a group’s alleged violation of “rights” in a society; beyond the vote, they want the financial support and agreement to refrain from disruption of speechifying and rallying.

The problem with each identifiable claim of unfair treatment, however, is that the impact upon other groups outside of the chain of identification can be so alien as to defy empathy of relating; I am not my brother’s keeper if I cannot relate to the existential phenomenology of derisive treatment.  Yet, what has been “missing” in each historical movement shouting for equal and fair treatment, is the one and only true civil rights issue which touches every ethnic, racial and cultural divide — jobs.  It is the one component in every given society which touches every household, whether by racial, sexual or ethnic identification.  It provides for a standard of living; it gives purpose and substance to each individual; and it reflects upon the magnitude of a society’s caring for the aggregation of citizenry.

The flight of jobs leaves behind the devastation of towns and cities; and the abandoned homes and former factory buildings no longer bright with endless rows of fluorescent lights after many have gone home, is a testament to the blight of future hopes and dreams.  Decade after decade, we hear of “trade agreements” which will “brings jobs back”; but to whose benefit?  No one ever asks that question.  And as each year the jobs flee, the trumpeting of the next great “agreement” is touted from the soapbox of hope.

Sometimes, it seems that we all fall prey to the conmen of political expediency, where taking up causes which divide and separate, while ignoring the only true cause which matters, is done with purposive infamy.  Indeed, that very same issue is often the stumbling block for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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.

The Federal or Postal employee who suffers 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 his or her position, will often pause because of the very nature of change — of the loss of one’s job, lessening of income, and alteration of circumstances.

Having a job is always a comfort of security, and sometimes a luxury of sorts, especially if you are healthy and able.  In many ways, it is the one and only true civil rights issue, and for the Federal and Postal worker, to “give up” that “right” when it has been the source of one’s identity — not to a group or with a status based upon a cultural divide, but upon the singular factor which matters to most — of pride, productivity and purpose, it is often understandably difficult to take the next but necessary step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation a nd Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The nose beyond which

The human animal has reached a point of evolutionary pedigree where constant vigilance with the outside world is generally thought to be unnecessary; although, still when an individual walks through an unlit parking lot in the dead of night, the hairs which straighten and stand at attention on the nape of one’s neck would belie such an expression of civility amongst the savagery of newsworthy crimes printed daily.

Most of us live and walk about completely immersed within our own thoughts and reflections; and when encounters with the “outside” world suddenly jolt into an awareness just beyond, to focus upon the individual, event or incident which indicated a need for such engagement, the capacity to readjust and comprehend the alien nature imposed by a cacophony of sight, sound and a compound admixture of both, often confuses and torments.

Kant and Wittgenstein were correct in questioning the conventional views of a philosophical approach which wedded language to reality (to even combine both names into a single sentence is blasphemy, and an oxymoron of conceptual contradiction); the former, by proposing that there were human dimensions and constructs imposed upon an impervious universe of objectivity where the “thing-in-itself” bore little relation to how we perceive them; and the latter, by deconstructing the link between language and reality.

How we engage the world; what level of comprehension and understanding we bring to the fore; whether and what “success” we achieve in tackling the problems we face in a society that neither cares nor thinks about empathy and comity of human endeavor and suffering; the volume of questions posed and queried always surpasses the answers derived.  The nose beyond which we recognize is rarely embraced.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such a statement of truism is rarely denied.  Others fail to notice; the chasm between knowing that a medical condition is impacting a fellow worker, leaving aside the greater and universal perspective of a “fellow human being”, expands exponentially in a proportional widening defined by the intersection between title and pay grade, and the level of empathy lacking and sympathy non-existent.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who think that having a medical condition, after years and decades of loyal and dedicated service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, will automatically inspire a return of such vaunted conduct of responsive grace, become quickly and sorely disappointed and disillusioned.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option to take, if only for the sake of preserving one’s health, whether psychological, emotional or physical.

For, in the end, the nose beyond which a person may suddenly see, is that neighbor waving across the street, the lost child crying on the corner of the next block, the homeless person wandering the inner city desolation past the invisible lines of suburban sterility, and the infirm dilapidation of rotting humanity abandoned in old people’s homes which we euphemistically deem as “retirement communities“; and that which circles back to the Federal or Postal employee who remains unaccommodated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, who must prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because the shame of humanity has dissipated into an uncaring universe of ethereal space defined by an unperturbed imaginary deity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire