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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The tenuous seat

It may be that where you are sitting, you have that constant sense of insecurity and angst; that the legs that are currently holding you upon the wooden seat are unstable, questionable, perhaps even possessing a history of prior breakage and collapse.  Is the position you hold flimsy, weak, subject to the winds of change and the moods that prevail?

Life isn’t supposed to be that way; or so we are taught from a young age.  There are “rules of the game”; people “have to” abide by certain unspoken (or openly declared) constrictors of behavioral acceptability; and yet, the rule-breakers seem always to be able to flaunt the exceptions and sidestep, overstep and trample upon the boundaries that everyone else must abide by.

The tenuous seat is the one that the person sensitive of and susceptible to the whims of societal constructs so diligently struggles to abide by; it is the vulnerable who always pays the price, while the brash and uncaring go on and pass by everyone else.  The tenuous seat is the one that the ordinary person sits upon; then, when a medical condition comes along and weakens the structural foundations even further, the very wobbling legs that barely withstood the vicissitudes of time begin to fracture and reveal their internal fissures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of sitting in the tenuous seat because the impact of the medical condition is beginning to take its toll, it is time to make plans to secure a more stable future — or, metaphorically, to consider sitting in another chair.

The tenuous seat is the one you have been sitting in for these past several years, and it is time to play the rules of the game of musical chairs, and to find the one that will “fit” the seat of your pants, by 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.

The tenuous seat is the one that needs repair, and the one that needs repair is also the one that needs replacement.  When life’s chair that once provided a sense of stability and rest begins to wobble with the changes of time, it is an indication that the next step in the musical chairs of life’s stormy periods calls upon the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the steps to embrace the change; it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes exclusively in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The spam of life

Have you ever been amazed by how much “spam” there is?  Consider how many individuals, organizations, groups of individuals, people sitting in their bedrooms with a laptop, etc., trying to scam and spam, for whatever nefarious reasons hidden; it is as if the whole world has gone mad.

Is it true that the great majority of such leftovers often filtered by computer software dependent upon the dubious intent of those who would infect and harm, is produced for the most part by a single individual, group or entity, and the rest and residue by the remainder and leftovers less calculating and invidious?

How is it that we have accepted such human detritus as a normal component within our daily lives, such that we even have a special “folder” that is designated for “spam”, where the software mechanism kindly identifies and re-routes such unwanted crumbs into that neatly identified space, so that in the morning we can just click upon the icon next to it that deletes it into a “garbage” can.

In “real life”, is there such neatness?

But that there would be a software mechanism that rerouted all of the annoyances and irrelevancies in life itself, like the spam that is cordoned off, isolated and singularly quarantined so that we never have to actually deal with it.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  A person who you do not want to speak with begins to approach you.  Bam!  He is immediately carted away and placed into an isolation cell.  A problem within the family arises that is distasteful and irritating.  Slam!  It is summarily solved by swiftly being designated as a spam of life.

Symptoms of a medical condition begin to impact your health.  Pause.  Somehow, you cannot always equate the spam of the computer world with the spam of life; not everything can be simply rerouted and discarded, forgotten forever.  It would be nice if such were the ingredients of life, like that in the world of computers; unfortunately, some things have to be dealt with in a different manner, by a differing approach.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers needing 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 spam of life is the medical condition itself, and despite our desire to have a computer software somehow make it go away like computer spams that try and infect the technological creations of modernity, there is no special manner in which it can neatly be tucked away into a separate folder.

Instead, the spam of life must be dealt with as with all other similar problems in life’s complexities – by careful preparation, fastidious formulation and timely filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that other computer spams and unwanted spams of life can be more easily dealt with for a better tomorrow free from the junk mail of a future yet unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement Benefits: Weather and the Prognosis

Prognostication of weather, beyond a day (or sometimes a couple of hours) can be treacherous and self-defeating.  With enhanced computer networks which reevaluate information as it is fed with information concerning patterns of predictability, shifting atmospheric changes and spectrums of barometric alterations; cumulatively, a pie in the face is preferable despite advanced technologies allowing for respectable predictability.

Similarly, the medical field is expected to provide predictions of future events and as-yet unforeseen consequences.  Because medicine is considered a “science”, the level of accuracy is required beyond mere witch’s brew, or the spell of waved wand cast upon an unsuspecting eye.  Thus do doctors engage in percentages and probabilities; of mortality, X-percentage, give or take a few months, based upon studies delineated in some obscure journal presumably respected and hidden in the esoteric towers of ivory bastions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the requirement for Federal and Postal employees includes information that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months (from the date of filing for Federal Disability Retirement).  Persistent and prevalent misinterpretation of this requirement pervades; one often hears the belief that the Federal or Postal employee must be away from work, or otherwise incapacitated, for that period of 12 months before filing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The requirement is merely one which denotes a prognosis or prediction, no more than what the medical field can predict and what the weather can portend.  It merely means that a Federal or Postal employee who suffers 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 positional duties, will be so prevented and impacted for a minimum of 12 months.

Any doctor worth his or her salt can provide a prognosis of how long the medical condition will last, and whether or not such a prognosis is as accurate as the 10-day forecast promulgated by weather entities is often irrelevant.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from the medical condition and who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, knows in his or her “heart of hearts” how long the medical condition will last, whether it is for a day or a season, or a lifetime of chronicity requiring longterm care and treatment.

As one’s own body, mind and soul rarely mistakes the shifting changes of life, so the weather and prognosis of one’s own health can be established through the experience of pain, agony, and the pounding of deterioration perpetrated upon the vulnerability of a mortal being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: House of Cards

We have all built them as children; those shantytown assemblages like the poverty-stricken and make-shift huts constructed by corrugated debris gathered from refuse and discarded materials, flimsy and ready to collapse, if not by architectural fault lines, then certainly from the sudden and malicious puff of air emitted by one’s younger brother or sister tiptoeing  up from behind in a sneak attack.  The House of Cards — they test the dexterity and patience of one’s character, and simultaneously represent anything built on a precarious foundation, including business ventures, family relationships, and of life itself.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of a House of Cards can become quite personal, and in the modern proverbial metaphor, “hit close to home”.

Daily, the precarious and tenuous state of one’s employment status is tested by sudden and unexpected winds of fate, by sneak attacks and underhanded methods of operational malice.  A sudden stir of the atmosphere, a deliberate act of adversity, or the unsuspected whisper of undermining; they all amount to the same:  an attempt to further weaken the foundations which were already being tested.

The option the Federal or Postal employee needs to consider, is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, because if the foundation of one’s life has already become shaky, the fall itself is an inevitability when confronted by the vast behemoth of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just as 2 out of the 3 little pigs came to understand and appreciate the necessity of a firm foundation, so the Federal or Postal employee should see the wisdom in fleeing from under the House of Cards, and consider filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits; for, they ran to the third when they could, and lucky for them, the Big Bad Wolf could not get to them — at least not in some versions of the tale.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Environment

There is pervasive talk about the importance of containing toxic waste dumps, keeping our air and water clean; of limiting the dumping of animal feces into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.; and, indeed, there are agencies and departments created by State, Federal and Local governments devoted to enforcing laws designed to protect us and preserve the pristine condition of our “environment”.

But what of toxic environments of another sort?  What of the poison inserted through malicious intent?  Of the constant harassment and hostility used to intimidate, cower and attain submissive unraveling of defiance?  For those, there are designated courts, commissions and laws passed to protect, for purposes of prosecution and pursuit of money damages.  Of course, the results from either and both arenas of judicial relief are difficult to quantify; whether and to what extent pollutants were introduced into the environment, and by whom; or of what level of toxicity caused harm and damage to an individual; the qualitative measure of damages is always difficult to ascertain.

It is, ultimately, only from the personal perspective and experience that one can gauge the damaging results.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is often a parallel track of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits and concurrently to go after the individuals or organization that discriminated because of the disability acknowledged and recognized.  For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to secure some semblance of “justice” in the process, the goal of the law has been misdiagnosed:  Justice is not the stated teleological motivation of statutory relief; rather, it is a means to appease.

But at what cost?  To what end?  By whose measure?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, sets a specific goal:  cut one’s losses and move on in one’s life.  By filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee is able to leave the toxic environment which may have even contributed to one’s medical condition or disability, or at the very least, exacerbated it; by fighting it, one must remain within the very environment which one is attempting to escape from.

Like Father Damien of Molokai who helped lepers live with dignity as a separate individual from without, but who later contracted the disease and died as “one of them” within, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may want to consider the consequences of the dual track of environmental toxicity before taking on a behemoth of mythical proportions, as opposed to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to exit the poisoning atmosphere.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire