OPM Medical Retirement: Empathy: What it Says About Us

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article, there was a story about 3 people who died — of professional individuals who had purchased cocaine, but where the “product” was tainted with fentanyl and perhaps some other deadly additives.

Why was it so difficult to feel a sense of empathy for these people?  The fact that they all seemed “privileged” — of having good jobs, being young and having all of the alleged “appearance” of having social, professional and financial advantages — seems to come into play.  The judgment we make is: It was their “choice” to buy the drugs, to take them, to understand the chance they were taking, and so….

Yet, how are they any different, substantively, from the child who grows up in the “projects” and is daily surrounded by drug dealers, criminals and bad parenting?  What is the substantive difference between the two?  Why do we have empathy for the child who grows up with disadvantages and succumbs to them, but not for the ones who seemingly have all of the advantages in life, and yet, squanders them and descends to the level of those who have always been without?

Empathy is a funny animal; and moreover, it probably says something about us when we show it for some, feel it for others, and yet for those “others” — none at all.  Which is a lesson for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from an injury or disease, and who have shown a sense of loyalty to their Federal Agency or Postal Unit for many years, and expect to find some sympathy when they file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under the FERS system.

Perhaps you believe that you will receive some modicum of empathy from your Agency or Postal Service.  Don’t.  And when you do not, don’t begin ruminating about it; for, in the end, it says something about your Agency, and not about yourself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Subjectivity

The “aim” of Western Thought has always been to gain credibility — of attaining to Eternal Truths and Universalities.  In a dinner conversation, the quickest way to denigrate someone’s opinion or viewpoint is to merely say, “Yes, but what you have said is merely subjective; it has no objective basis in fact”.

In a previous epoch, John Adams is attributed to having said that objective facts “are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  He was making the distinction between the subjective world and the objective universe, and placing greater weight upon the latter.

In modernity, such a statement has lost some of its luster, if not its very essence of relevance, because we live in a post-factual world where objective facts do not hold such an esteemed status, anymore.  And yet…. Even in this world, there are somehow the remnants of elevated claims to greater significance, if something is “objectively” factual, as opposed to subjectively stated.

There is always the implication and inference that when something is deemed “subjective”, and purely so, that it is somehow concocted, imagined, “made-up” — like the child who believes that he/she is a master chef of world renown, when in fact the kitchen set-up in front of him/her is a toy kitchenette made of plastic and wood.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an illness or disability and who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, OPM systematically will make deriding and denigrating statements when it comes to “subjective” statements — of psychiatric symptoms, of chronic pain, of profound fatigue, etc.

They will say: “There is no objective verification of your X”.  Really?  Pain is subjective by its very definition; and so are psychiatric symptoms of depression, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, feeling sad, etc. How to counter it?  The good news is that the law is on the side of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant.

Contact a FERS Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and let not the unlawful tag of “subjectivity” defeat an otherwise valid Federal employee’s OPM Disability Retirement Application under the FERS system.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Annoyance or Irritant

They are both nouns, but the difference is one of perspective — of the view or angle from which it is felt, experienced, encountered or received.

To that end, it encapsulates the dichotomy between subjective and objective; for, the former normally refers to one’s subjective experience, the state of being or the sensation the “subject” experiences; while the latter refers to a substance — an “object” out there in the world outside of our internal, subjective sensations — which causes discomfort or a phenomena of displeasure.

An irritant may cause an annoyance, and an annoyance can be an irritant, and it is the classic distinction between the “inside” as opposed to the “outside” experience.  We can refer to certain chemicals, cleaning fluids and the like as irritants, but we normally do not declare that they constitute an annoyance; although, the linguistic lines are not so strict as to prevent a person from saying, for example, “That woman’s perfume is somewhat of an annoyance”.

On the other hand, one might refer to someone’s constant manner of clearing his or her throat in mid-sentence as an “annoyance”, but because it does not directly impact one’s own physical well-being, such a quirk is likely not referred to as an “irritant”, although one may use the adjective form of the word and confide that the person’s manner is “irritating”.

In the end, the two words are somewhat similar in meaning but reveal their differences from the aspect of perspective — of whom, or from where.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the basic elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to understand and appreciate the distinction which the U.S. Office of Personnel Management often makes between “objective” evidence and “subjective” evidence.

OPM will often twist and misapply the law, and make you think that certain medical evidence deemed “subjective” are like second-class citizens and less than credible, and will insist that only “objective” evidence is acceptable.  Don’t let OPM fool you.

Contact a FERS Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and let not the ignorance of the law defeat your quest to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and don’t let the word-games irritate or annoy you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill

Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Knowledge & Application

We tend to separate the two, and have generally been taught that the former — even without the latter — is a “good” thing.  Our grade school teachers certainly repetitively pounded it into our thick skulls; and higher academia relies upon the belief that knowledge, “in and of itself”, is a valuable thing.  Application — or utility — is of the “business” world, and for academicians, somewhat sullies the purity of knowledge.

Perhaps it began with Plato — on the other hand, doesn’t all of Western Civilization begin with Plato (and by fiat, Socrates)?  Knowledge of the Forms; the metaphor of the famous “Cave”; the conceptual ideal of the purity of ideas; the Socratic method of questioning for the sake of attaining wisdom — all of it, without the worth based upon application or utility.

The first poor fellow who discovered a vein of gold — certainly, the beauty of the glitter must have astounded, but even with that “knowledge” of beauty, did he understand the future application of value in the commodity markets?  And of those oddball individuals who love to collect bits of information — of knowledge — without any practical application — we have all met them; of people who suddenly spout statistical data just to show off their knowledge, etc.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, because of a medical condition, need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, be fully aware that both knowledge (of the laws pertaining to Federal Disability Retirement) and application (of the persuasive authority of statutes, regulations and case-law) are needed to win a Federal Disability Retirement fight against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Knowledge is good; knowledge and application, in the “real” world, are better.

Contact an OPM Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of not only knowing about the complex laws governing Federal Disability Retirement, but moreover, to have the powerful asset of applying that knowledge where it really counts — in the application itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

Long Term Disability Federal & Postal Employees: Different Arguments

OPM will often make different and multiple arguments in denying a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Sometimes, they will make a single, or double argument; at others, it will appear as if a shotgun blast has been expelled in your direction.

Do you need to argue each and every point?  Each and every sub-paragraph?  Likely not.

Most of the arguments are merely different in their surface; the different arguments can be categorized under general headings, such as, “Insufficient medical evidence” or “lack of service deficiencies” — the two main categories which OPM focuses upon, in addition to a third, “No accommodations requested or provided”.

By categorizing the different arguments under a more generic and manageable major category, you can then begin to address the concerns expressed by OPM.  Better yet, contact an OPM Disability Lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin the process of rebutting the different arguments of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Seeking Stability

It is what gives us hope and a sense of self-confidence: Stability.  How we seek it out; what is needed to maintain it; what satisfies the criteria for each individual; these are the questions that compel each of us in seeking stability.  Stability may differ for each individual.  For some, it may be satisfied by the certainty of a career.  For others, the requirements may involve family, friends and other relationships — that “internal” sense of stability that allows for greater chaos within the external world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and where that medical condition prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, seeking stability within the context of an unstable work environment becomes of paramount importance.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and stabilize the uncertainties that surround your career which has been impeded and made difficult from a medical condition which is beyond your control.  For, that which is beyond your control is the very foundation of instability, and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity may be the road’s end in seeking stability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
FERS Disability Attorney

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Reactive Responses

By haste do we regret; by unthinking actions do we abide the fool.  Have you seen the sign often placed at the Clerk’s window at the local courthouse?  It will read something to the effect of: “Your procrastination does not create my emergency”.

Reactive responses, whether based upon a “real” emergency or one which seemingly appears so, are often the basis for later regrets and irreparable damage.  It is like the rule that everyone should follow in sending emails or posting comments on the Internet: Wait a day; sleep on it; set it aside for later consideration.

Few emergencies are rarely so; most are merely in the minds of the individual, burning like a forest fire out of control, but yet distant enough to suffer no lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the reactive response is often the fatal one.  Unless it is to meet a statute of limitations deadline, or to respond to an issue with a specific timeframe, most considerations which arise in a disability retirement application are rarely true emergencies and can be thoughtfully approached and resolved.

Contact a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, lest haste results in waste and the thoughtless action reverberates with unintended consequences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Federal Disability Attorney

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Stress Test

It is meant to determine the vulnerability of structural foundations, or to gauge whether, under certain extreme circumstances, it will withstand catastrophic levels of pressure for safety and soundness.  Distress triggers the ultimate test; and whether a breaking point can be established is always a fear — of how low or high, and of what tolerance the test itself will reveal.  Objects, composite elements meant to reinforce; and most of all, people — to the extent that stress can damage, and whether such damage can be repaired.  “Repair”, of course, is a relative term, and whether or not the structural firmness can be attained after any damage has been repaired, to a level of pre-damage status, is always of concern.

Can a psyche once damaged be repaired to a state of original soundness?  Are the vulnerabilities inherent in individuals capable of withstanding the stresses of modernity, and is the “test”applied the same as the reality of daily stresses exposed?  Is there even a “test” that can determine the safety or soundness when it comes to human beings?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the daily stresses of the medical condition itself, with all of its inherent complications, are overwhelming enough; it is then the “piling on” of everything else — of Agency actions; of the adversarial nature and responses of the Agency; of the potential for denying continuation of LWOP while even under FMLA protection, and the concern for one’s future with an Agency that seems bent on making one’s life harder than it needs to be: These, and many other “stress tests” determine the need to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits.

Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin to apply the legal stress test to determine eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; for, in the end, the only Stress Test for a Federal or Postal employee seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits worth applying is the one which determines the potentiality for a successful outcome, and seeking the counsel and guidance of a FERS Disability Retirement attorney is the best way to relieve the stresses that surround such an endeavor.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Purposive sequence

Are all things in a sequence “purposive”?  If you are walking in the countryside and come upon a horse, a man and a pig, in that order, was there any “purposive” meaning in the sequence met, or was it random and a reflection of the chaos of the universe as a whole?  If it had been in a different order — say, you first came upon the pig, then the horse, and finally the man — would there be a question as to either the sequence or the meaning of the sequence?

Now, take a different hypothetical, where you come into a child’s room who is engrossed in fantasy and play, and the child has a sequence of stuffed animals: Again, they are in a line of a stuffed horse, a doll of a man, and a large plastic pig, in the very sequence you encountered while out in the countryside.  You laugh and say to the child, “Oh, that’s very peculiar, I just came across those three in the identical sequence you have them in.  Of course, it is just coincidence, but nevertheless odd.”  The child smiles, turns to you and says, “Of course it’s not a coincidence.  The horse is the most beautiful creature in the universe, and therefore comes first; the man is the cleverest, and therefore should be second; and the pig is the smartest, but since intelligence should come after beauty and be placed below being clever, he comes third!”

In such an instance, did the fact that a purposive assignment of intent change the sequence and the meaning ascribed?  In other words, did the “human” explanation as to the sequence presented alter the objective foundation behind the orderliness of the universe, or does it yet remain in chaos except for the subjective ordering by the child?  Or, is Kant correct in positing that the chaos of the universe is internally ordered by human categories structuring the outside world, and left without such subjective impositions, we would never be able to comprehend the disordered universe?

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, it is important to engage in a purposive sequence of completing the Federal Disability Retirement application.

The medical condition itself is chaos enough, as it impacts one’s life and livelihood, but it is the medical condition that becomes the center and foundation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  From the chaos imposed from the objective world, a purposive sequence must be countered from the subjective universe of the Federal or Postal employee, and that purposive sequence must begin with the chaos of the unordered world itself: The medical condition, from which all else naturally and artificially proves the case to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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