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.

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Primary Questions

You can easily get entrenched within a morass of details.  Primary questions — those issues which, when addressed and answered, essentially take care of sub-questions and lesser categories of details — need to be identified and prioritized.

Many people are unable to recognize, identify and extract the primary questions.  Why? Because, if you are unfamiliar with the paradigmatic, upper echelons of the legal criteria being applied (for instance, in a legal matter), then how are you going to be able to “separate out” the proverbial grain from the chaff?

At all 3 of the main stages of a Federal Disability Retirement case — at the Initial Stage; if denied, at the Reconsideration Stage; if denied a second time, before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — it is important to either preemptively or actively discern and discard the unimportant side-issues, and to focus upon the primary questions in a Federal Disability Retirement case.

The rule of life always applies: Prioritize; identify the primary questions and issues; take care of what is relevant; then, the rest of the “minor details” will often naturally fall to the wayside.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Lawyer

 

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

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Internal Order, External Chaos

Whether the cult of Marie Kondo will last beyond a faddish response and 15 minutes of fame, only time will tell.

Japanese minimalism lends itself to making order out of chaos by discarding unnecessary clutter in one’s life.  The key word here is, of course, “unnecessary”, and how we categorized which items in our homes and offices to keep, and to what extent external chaos impacts one’s internal sense of order in this universe.

Does organizing everything in one’s home and office lead to greater internal calm and peace?  Does a person who has an overstuffed bookshelf — with books “arranged” in every which way upon a shelf, with no apparent order in the categorization of titles possessed — reflect a manner of internal chaos?

Conversely, does a person who appears to posses a sense of internal peace and order necessarily have a home and office which reflects that apparent order and peace?  Does the interior world of a person necessarily indicate the exterior state of one’s life?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition that impacts his or her ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of choice, the chaos of a medical condition — whether of an “external”, physical condition or of an “internal” psychiatric break down — should lead to a consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Consult with a Federal Disability Lawyer who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and consider whether or not the order of the day through proper representation by legal counsel might be the best course of action for both internal order as well as external competence in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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 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

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Kokeshi doll

They are wooden dolls that are colorful, with expressions painted upon that remain frozen except for the change that naturally occurs when viewed from differing angles of sight, reflecting altered perspectives and modified vantage points depending upon one’s own emotions.  They sit on tabletops, shelves and can be a child’s playmate, though parents often view them more valuably as display items rather than taking the chance that the little brother may play them as reenactments of a prior war imagined to be fought by banging pieces of wood and throwing them against the yet-undamaged wall.

The heads are often disproportionately larger than the remainder of the body; and the rest and remainder, often just a block of smoothed wood with hands painted in a one-dimensional pattern, revealing no motion but straddling limply alongside the rectangular shape, like a submissive figure shuffling down life’s difficult trials in the daily struggles we all face.

The Kokeshi doll never complains, but always delights; never talks back, but eternally agrees; and never fails to bring light into a dark corner, but forever allows for a reminder that it is the trivial joys of life that make for worthwhile endurance in times of misgivings.  We are all, in many ways, expected to be like these inanimate objects that we have projected our own emotional well-being upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the fact that you are no longer able to remain impassive, implacable, disaffected and unmoved by the manner in which the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has begun to treat you, is not an extraordinary insight to possess and be suddenly enlightened by.

Though we may enjoy the delightful colorfulness of a Kokeshi doll, we cannot expect to be nor act like one.  It was always the productivity released, the competence revealed and the level of contribution inputted that made the Federal or Postal employee “valuable” to a Federal agency or a Postal facility; but when a medical condition hits a person, it is simply “not right” that the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service should treat the Federal or Postal employee as merely another Kokeshi doll who should remain quiet and unperturbed standing in a corner.

Thus, when the Federal agency or Postal facility fails to treat the Federal or Postal employee as something more than the inanimate object a Kokeshi doll ultimately is, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before that rough-and-tumble younger brother comes along and really begins to mistreat that block of wood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Different gradations of form and tint

The former often refers to architectural structures; the latter, to the exterior or interior paint, color and hue; and, together, they present to the observing eye the sensible objects that we experience through sight, smell and at least as to the former, tactile encounters.

Words are funny things; we not only create and apply them, but concurrently establish rules for utility and usage such that restrictions apply, expansiveness beyond certain boundaries become prohibited, and modifications for allowances in the placement of a particular sentence are constrained.  Can concepts concerning different gradations of form and tint be applied to human lives?  Yes, but we allow for such deviancy by imputing analogy, metaphor or simile, and the distinction is created through the parallel thought processes which are invoked by such literary devices.

Narratives have that sense of gradations, both of form and of tint, but in somewhat of a different sense.  “Form” in that context goes to the structure of sentences and how the story is molded for presentation to the listener, while the “tint” is more likened to the “feel” and aura manifested by the speaker, whether first person, third person; is the narrator omniscient or limited in knowledge and scope?

Structures are inanimate obstructions presented by three dimensional appearances manifesting color and hue; human beings, by contrast, are complex structures who present more than mere unmoving or unmovable obstructions, but instead embody form otherwise characterized as essence, tint often revealed as complicated personalities, and a psyche shrouded in mystery.

Thus, for Federal and Postal employees considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, that narrative written in response to the questions on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, should always consider what gradations of form and tint should be presented.

How much of the complexity of a human being should be infused, beyond the “inanimate” manifestation of cold medical facts and circumstances likened to the different gradations of form and tint?  Or, should there be a flood of emotionalism that reveals the “feel” and impact of a medical condition?

Human narratives are indeed complex, and can never be pigeonholed into predetermined categorizations without some aspect of a person’s subjective experience.  Ultimately, however, no narrative can be completely “cold”, like the inanimate structure based purely upon architectural integrity of form and tint, but must by necessity encompass the complexity of the human psyche.

Take care, however, that the narrative presentation does not border upon the maudlin, but instead presents a balanced admixture of facts, circumstances, legal precedents, symptoms of medical pain or psychiatric deterioration, with a clear pathway on a bridge to the positional elements of a Federal or Postal position.  For, in the end, it is an “effective” Federal Disability Retirement application that should be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and one which reflects well the different gradations of form and tint.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire