OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Seeking stability

It is the constant tension between Parmenides and Heraclitus — those Pre-Socratic philosophers who first looked for a metaphysical foundation in comprehending the complexity of the universe.  In general, the former is known for his view about the ”oneness” of the universe; the latter, famously attributed with the statement that “No man steps into the same river twice”.  Both address the issue of the encounter with “Being” as Being itself, and not for any particular being.

Do the perspectives and philosophical beliefs of such “ancients” matter to us today?  Of course, we have only mere fragments of the writings of both philosophers, and so any attribution of thought may be tenuous, at best.  Nevertheless, it is the ongoing and historical tension between the two lines of thought which has any relevance or applicability for the modern individual.  That tension has to do with the manner in which we live, the outlook of our perspectives and the human need for constancy in a universe that often seems to be in perpetual turmoil.

Whether on a “macro” scale — i.e., of world affairs, the domestic front or even local news — one needs only to turn on the television to recognize the multifarious troubles of daily life.  Or, on the “micro”, more personal side: perhaps the illness of a loved one; the loss of a job; interpersonal relationships deteriorating — or a medical condition that has become chronic, where a Federal or Postal employee is concerned.

We all seek stability — a view like Parmenides’ philosophy — where we seek to have a sense of calm and quietude.  But the fact is that reality seems to always favor Heraclitus — of life as a stream that changes minute-to-minute, and a medical condition represents just that: a state of constant flux where stability will not yield.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to find some stability in their lives, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the next logical step out of the turmoil and crisis that is created at work.

Seek the advice and counsel of a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to know your full rights.  Seeking stability in a world of turmoil is a very human need which we all desire, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the pathway of Parmenides is preferable to the rivers of Heraclitus.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Absurdity with an explanation

According to Quine, the great mathematician and logician, that is the definition of a paradox.  It is an event or a concept that seems at first glance to be an impossibility, or a conundrum of some complexity, but can be explained to unfold the absurdity first displayed.  Thus — of the man who has walked the earth for decades but is technically only 9 years old, until one realizes that his birthday falls on the 29th of February, a date that appears only once every 4 years; this is a paradox, until the absurdity is explained and it suddenly makes sense.

Similarly, a medical condition is a paradox: It is an absurdity of sorts, especially when it hits a person in the prime of his or her life.  What possible explanation can be had?  Where is the “fairness” in it, and why do some people who eat all sorts of junk food for years on end never experience the calamity of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition?  Where is the “equal employment opportunity” of a devastating medical condition?

Where is the sense of “fair play” displayed when a medical condition pounces upon a Federal or Postal employee and suddenly no amount of past accomplishments make up for the sudden loss of productivity and need to use the accumulated sick leave, and even invoke FMLA rights in order to attend to one’s health?

For Federal and Postal employees 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 position, the paradox comes in the form of when to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is indeed an admission of a need for change; yet, paradoxically, change is precisely what your Federal Agency or the Postal Service does NOT want — they want you to continue as before the onset of your medical condition.

The absurdity resides in the lost sense of priorities: work, as opposed to one’s health; stresses that exacerbate, as opposed to relieving those elements that contribute to one’s deteriorating conditions.  The only explanation that makes sense is to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM in order to be able to focus upon one’s health.

That is the paradox, and the absurdity with an explanation for a Federal or Postal employee who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Retaining innocence in modernity

Is it even possible?  Moreover, what would such a state of Being be like, in contrast to the conceptual entanglements in the aggregate as defined, say, 50 – 100 – 200 years ago?  For, as deviancy has been defined downwards in an uncontrollable spiral of destructiveness, so the very concept of “innocence” has altered in meaning, tone and implications, has it not?

Is “innocence” now merely the absence of cynicism, or perhaps a greater form of naiveté?  Is lack of sophistication the same as being in a state of innocence, and if the latter is lost, does it necessarily mean the consumption of the former as well?  Can one shelter a child today, anymore than one can “find” a rare discovery in an antique shop or a yard sale – for, with the Internet and the capacity of everyone to immediately establish the value of an item, can one really “discover” anything new, anymore than one can retain innocence in modernity?

Perhaps, instead of the concept of “retaining” – which implies that which one once possessed, then lost – the better avenue of investigation would be in discussing the possibility of “attaining” – where an admission is made of a foregone conclusion that the yesteryears of innocence can no longer be repossessed.

Where, once children were sent out into the woods with sticks imagined as Civil War weapons, and bullets whizzed by and grazed an arm and death was but a dramatic fall after an imagined battle pitched against the heroism of the Great War now forgotten or the Second One that was the defeating of the forces of evil; now, replaced with drone strikes, terrorism and massive shootings where political correctness cannot even allow the child to engage in pitched battles, let alone pitchforks that no one possesses anymore as a relic of the past, because now the Smartphone, the Internet, the email and the Instagram have replaced the human interaction we once relished but now dispossess and discard as human detritus of inestimable degradation of worth; and so it goes.

So the question comes full circle back to:  Is retaining innocence in modernity even a serious question?  Likely, not.  Instead, we must each, each of us, formulate a paradigm of self-worth; of who we are; of where we came from; and determine to chart a course of “right” living.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are subjected to a daily barrage of harassment and antagonistic behavior in the workplace because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the pathway to retaining some semblance of innocence in modernity may be to prepare an effective Federal OPM 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.

For, to stay will be to become a bitter and defeated jumble of cynicism with an endless chasm of turmoil; to seek help in the process by turning to an experienced attorney in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, then to exit the Federal workforce in order to focus upon the priority of one’s health, is to declare to the world:  I may not be able to retain innocence in modernity, but that doesn’t mean I have to play the fool, either.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Hardship Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Life’s Patchwork

Repetition and regularity provides a semblance of orderliness; somehow, patterns in life remain relevant to sanity and stability, and it is the disordered patchwork which creates havoc for want of consistency.  There are those who seek regularity, and are criticized for embracing boredom; then, the one who constantly lives on the edge, where being fired and not knowing the future of tomorrow is handled with a mere shrug and an attitude of libertine disregard.

Most of us live in the middle of extremes; that is why, in reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, no extent of profundity is discovered; the median between two extremes is what most of us naturally seek, anyway.  And we appropriate a sense of comfort and security by presuming that others are somewhat like us; to that extent, Kant is probably right in his philosophical belief that we impose structure and order into a universe which is essentially chaotic, in an effort to maintain an internal phenomenology of coherence and comprehension.

Every now and again, however, interrupting forces disrupt the quietude of life’s fortune, and misgivings begin to define those territories we thought had already been conquered, where the savages had been beaten down and the goblins had all been captured.  How we manage crisis; what manner of internal fortitude becomes tested; and what mettle of essence to which we may succumb; these are all questions which we would rather avoid.

It is the contending dialectical forces that are represented by the “Peter Principle” as opposed to the “Dilbert Principle“, by which most of us must endure; where, the former is quickly dampened by cynicism of actual experience, and the latter is always confirmed daily by encounters with a surrealism called “life”.  Life is, indeed, a patchwork of sorts; of different people, coming from a variety of experiences — and yet boringly similar and predictable.  Eccentricities have already been tested and stamped out, contained, restrained and trained into oblivion through the system called, “the public schools” — where uniqueness of thought is curtailed via the pecking order of peer pressure and standardized testing.

Then, of course, there is the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker — caught in a bureaucracy in which competency and creativity are rarely acknowledged as the avenue for advancement in an administratively hostile universe.  When the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker suddenly finds himself or herself facing the dilemma of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in a chosen career because it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — then, it is time to consider 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, in the end, life’s patchwork must by necessity and self-definition reflect the complexity of the world around us; yes, we seek out the “middle ground” — that boring stability of repetitive humdrum of life — while recognizing that the extremes are there for a reason; and while it may not be for us, it exists and always presents a threat.  The key is to avoid it, or even depart from it; as escapism allows only for momentary gratification, and the pattern of life’s patchwork must be sought in the future discourse of our collective sighs.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Loss of that subtle distinction — fun versus training

Reading older works of literature is a lesson in historical perspective; times were different, and not just slightly, but by leaps and bounds.  The linear nature of lives results in the incremental adaptation by evolutionary subtlety; that was precisely Darwin’s argument — that the metamorphosis reacting to physiological necessity in order to allow for the propagation of any given species, occurs not by genetic alterations involving sudden and drastic earthquakes, but by slow, almost undetectable nuances of change.

That is why there is no “missing link” to discover in the fossils of unrecorded history; the preservation of ancestry occurs by revealing closeness to modern kin, and the farther in time we discover, the greater the alienation of apparent relationship. Rarely does an anomaly of nature survive, for such mistakes test the forces of survivability; mutants are thus fodder for science fiction and stories about lost civilizations and catastrophic survivors of devastated ambience.  Dystopia is popular, as are zombies and mutants, but hardly reflect a reality generating scientific certainty or a foundation to base genetic discoveries for curing medical mysteries.

The aged who complain distressingly of “them good ol’ days”, have the ability and capacity to recognize the stark contrast between the ills of modernity and of the segmentation of remembrances decades ago; the comparison is not between today, yesterday, or even the day before; rather, it is by erasure of multiple middle years that we can realize the drastic alterations heaped upon us.

Thus, the slow boiling of a frog is the metaphor we can relate to; or, in literature depicting an age of innocence, where children played merely for fun, and not for training to be the next great olympian.  No longer can “playing” be for mere amusement and leisure; any and all activity must be measured as against future utility, and recruiters now roam the hallways and gyms — not of colleges or high schools, as one might expect, but — of middle schools and promising elementary classes.  There is, indeed, something drastically different between modernity and that “time before”, when “fun” is no longer allowed or allowable, and childhood, innocence and carefree disregard of world events must be a means to an end, and never a gemstone retaining value in its own right.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires consideration for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time of innocence past is like a distant memory difficult to hold onto, but ever often hard to forget.  The days of fun, like lazy summer afternoons spent on elbows supporting nodding chins and flushed cheeks full of promise, are long gone, like distant memories forgotten but for moments of reminiscences over barbecue grills and family get-togethers.  Life is tough being a grown up.

For Federal and Postal employees who must, in addition to the obstacles and pitfalls of daily living and career choices, contend with medical conditions and agency harassment, Postal disciplinary actions and other unwelcoming overtures, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best choice and option of promising resort.

Staying put, is no longer possible; simply walking away, is a fool’s act.  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is the wisest road to a tomorrow which promises a different phase.  These are no longer days of fun, and the training we received is to be applied by revealing growth, maturity and wisdom through our actions of pragmatic fortitude.  And like the crystal ball which children use as marbles in play, looking into one as a device for future insight spoils the fun of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire