Lawyer for OPM Disability Claims: The interrupted signature

The signature is the great identifier of a person.  It is, in some countries and cultures more than others, and even here in the United States, a feature that distinguishes, a type of rite of passage into adulthood, and in many ways a revealing characteristic.

It allows for the voluntary identification of a feature emanating from one’s own free will; an act which seals a compact; a stamp that distinguishes the person who completes the signature, from that of another; and declares to the world that this act, the signature stamp, with all of its unique swirls, crosses, dots and turnabouts, like some spinning basketball move that tells everyone else that you have arrived, is different, distinctive and peculiar to only the very individual who has picked up the pen at that moment in time and inked the singular characteristic upon a piece of paper.

Consistency in the written signature is important in establishing the uniqueness and distinctive feature; that, in and of itself, is a kind of oxymoron, is it not, when one pauses to reflect upon it?  For, to be “unique” and “singular” is to be a “one-time” event and a distinguishing peculiarity that cannot be reenacted or copied beyond the soliloquy of the act itself; and yet, for a signature to be effective, one must be able to repeat the same curves, the mimic again and again of the lines, crosses, dots, etc. of the signature hundreds of times over and thousands over a lifetime of signing one’s signature.

And then, once one has mastered the ability to sign one’s name in a unique, singular form, and be able to repeat it over and over again – have you ever notice how difficult it is to complete the interrupted signature?  It is as if the body itself is separated from the mind, and it is the hand and fingers that hold the pen that “remembers”, and not the eyes that guide or the brain that follows.  When once the flow of the signature has been interrupted, the uniqueness remember is suddenly forgotten.

It is likened to a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  The medical condition intervenes and begins to interrupt, “preventing” one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position that the person has been so uniquely qualified to do for so many years.

That is the insidiousness of a medical condition.  Such an interruption, however, is much more serious – for it doesn’t merely interrupt or impede the completion of a signature, but of a career, of goals, of family financial support, and every other aspect of a person’s life.

Preparing, formulating and filing a 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, is an important next step in taking up the proverbial pen and completing one’s signature.  And like the signature itself, the Federal or Postal employee need not fret about the uniqueness lost; you are still the same person, singular in every respect, whether your health has forced you to move on in life, no less than the signature that distinguishes you from all others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker 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, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foreground-background

Perspective is always an important component in all that is seen, done and accomplished.  For, without it, a self-contained sense of importance in light of irrelevance and insignificance always seems to dominate.

Seen from afar, standing in the background, can we always determine that which constitutes the background, as opposed to the foreground, of an individual or perspective some distance away?  Does a myopic vision constrict and further complicate, where we miss the details some distance beyond and make assumptions and presumptions to the detriment of a more “balanced” viewpoint?  Or, what of “tunnel vision”, where the peripheral views are restricted, and we are left with a centrality of focus but lacking in taking into account the contextual surroundings often necessary to determine a more accurate assessment?

In appreciating a painting or a photograph, does shifting one’s vantage point make a difference, even when the reality of the object observed reflects a one-dimensional canvas covered with colors and pigmentation which alters not despite nearness or farness of viewpoint?  Of the child who has not yet figured out the difference between a bucket and a photograph of a bucket – and raises himself on his tiptoes to view what is inside of a bucket upon a table, and does the same when viewing a picture of one (or in a supermarket line in trying to discern the cleavage of a magazine’s cover), is it important to recognize the distinction between foreground and background, and if so, at what age and why?

How does one attain a level of balanced perspective, and who determines when such achievement is arrived at?  Are we just born with the capacity and ability to calculate, assess, evaluate and analyze, and the natural outcome of conclusions derived are to be entrusted merely because “it is so” and the innate character of inherent superiority of man’s solutions can be applauded?  Does unwavering certainty by tone of voice and utterance of words deserve no suspicion of questioning?  Or, if a person comes along and says confidently, “Trust me”, we are to do so merely because – what?  If we walk through a dark forest and see afar a clearing where the sun has opened a spot of visual beauty, does it matter what constitutes a foreground as opposed to a background when the undisturbed scene asks not a question of impertinence or care?

In every situation, one’s background should be taken into account, in determining the relevance of the foreground to be assessed.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who intends on preparing a 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 importance of “how much” background to impart must be balanced with the foreground to be detailed, and it is always the combination of both which will determine the ultimate effectiveness in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Foreground provides for the content of a background inserted with instrumental brevity, and too much background can dominate to make the foreground appear less compelling.  Perspective is always important, and a reasoned balance between background of a case, providing contextual information to understand the foreground of the narrative, is essential in the effective formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Peripatetic Nature

But for a rarity, we seek its very opposite; consistency, stability, and the duration of longevity; these, we believe, provide for that which we didn’t have ourselves, yearn for, or seek to give to our own offspring.  In domestic legal proceedings, we hear tell of incongruent arguments where, in the midst of separation, the parties delineate what is in the “best interests of the children” — of remaining in the family home, maintaining a stability of regularity, etc.

From our limited micro-perspective, the loss of constancy when contrasted with the length of one’s own mortality from birth to death, is but a linear insignificance in comparison with the age of the universe.  Conceptually, we recognize this; and yet we constantly fight against it.  Our forefathers maintained a single job from youth to death; then, someone thought of the idea of “retirement”, and suddenly there were mandatory age requirements and proposals floating about concerning the “golden years”, all the while keeping pace with mass constructions of nursing homes and home healthcare services.

The incongruity and self-contradictions are palpable, but somehow we get away with it all.  Is man a seeker of stability, or does he possess a peripatetic nature?  Beyond such a question is the tendency to reject and resist being “forced out”.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker 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 one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the persistent harassment, the hostile work environment created, and the progressive insistence of pernicious pettiness invoked to make life unpleasant — these are all signs to acknowledge that one must “move on” with life.

It is difficult enough to deal with a medical condition; harder still to attend to it in conjunction with work-related pressures.

Stability of purpose is often what we thought we wanted; and for the peripatetic traveler, perhaps moving to another phase of life is an easy thing; but for the rest of us, change — even recognizing the necessity and inevitability, especially for the Federal or Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is something that is hard to accept, given the true nature of man, even if we all think of ourselves as Aristotelian philosophers.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The distance marker

Highways have them; sports arenas and fields are littered with their recognizable placements; and runners rely upon them.  On highways, they are often coordinated with exits upcoming, but most drivers fail to recognize their relevance, and rarely take note of them.

What most people don’t understand, comprehend, and fail to appreciate, is that their importance is not merely about the distance still left to go, but how far one has already traveled.  The former is often tied intimately to the struggles one foresees extending into the future; the latter, forgetful or forgettable, as life’s accolades are rarely declared, and seldom trumpeted.

Thus, when a career is cut short, or a change in the course of a person’s life is necessitated by unforeseen circumstances, the internal agony and angst of life is always focused upon how much further we must go, as opposed to taking a breath and appreciating what distances we have already traversed.  Perhaps that is for the best; for, if pause were to become a pattern of petulance, progress would never be permeated.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with the performance of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the thoughts are always projected towards the future, and should be, as that is a “good” thing.

Too much reflection upon past accomplishments rarely does one good; and, in any event, the Federal agency certainly doesn’t care (don’t hold your breath for an anticipated office party recognizing your accomplishments and contributions), and except for some modicum of acknowledgements in performance reviews, will not give any leeway for future considerations based upon past successes achieved.

Perhaps that is why distance markers are ignored, except by those who have a purposeful drive in reaching a designated destination.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, becomes a necessity and a choice for the future, the distance marker to recognize is the attaining of that Disability Retirement annuity — and beyond, where life can be lived after Federal Employment.

And of the distance already traversed?  Reflection upon past successes can be the foundation for future endeavors; mark them, and even remember their placement and location; but never pause longer than half a breath, before moving on to the coordinated exit recognized as the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, lest not only the distance marker passes you by, but you miss the coordinated exit, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Leaving without a Blip

Remember those old films, of silence, submarines and sonars (an acronym we have forgotten from the combination of terms, SOund, Navigation And Radar)?

There were those tense moments of complete silence, where heartbeats and perspiration could be palpably heard when life and death depended upon it, and the moment when someone coughed or dropped an object at the crucial moment; then, the sudden entrance of old Navy footage of depth charges being flung like spitballs from a rubber band, splashing into the ocean, then the angst of awaiting the slow sinking until the violent detonation of that camera-shaking explosion.

Was it close enough to have caused damage?  Can the heavy metal doors be shut in time to prevent deadly flooding?  Can the engineer fix the dent in the tin can just enough to chug along to the nearest base for further repair?  In the end, it all depended upon the blip on the screen, as the clockwork motion of the round screen revealed the positioning of the enemy vessel as the ghostly residue of existence left behind one’s presence, if only for a brief moment in time.

It is, in many ways, a metaphor for all lives; as merely a blip on a screen, and whether we are noticed, to what extent, by whom, and if one’s location deserves the catapult of a depth charge, or to be ignored as not warranting an adversarial response.

That is often how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contend with a medical or health condition which threatens to cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service:  Has enough of a blip been made?  Will a greater blip, or a longer presence of that ghostly residue on the clock-like screen, make up for the difference of extinguishment of existence?

There are those who enter a room quietly, and leave without notice; others, who must make a splash with each entrance, and falter in the exit because they have extended their welcome beyond polite niceties; and still others, who refuse to leave until formal recognition has been wrought from gated societies of diminished returns.  Which is preferable —  a blip which returns with a detonating device, or barely a yawn with the resulting quietude of an unnoticed exit?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a OPM Disability Retirement application — the question of being noticed or leaving a lasting mark is often a subconscious pull which unknowingly damages or delays.

But like the submarine in those old films, it is always the capacity and ability to control that moment of anxiety and fear which propels the successful endeavor of formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and lest we forget, avoidance of the depth charge is just an indicator of how much of a blip we really were, and not a precursor of what ghostly residues the Federal or Postal worker may become on the clockwork screen for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The language of law

Wittgenstein recognized that there exists various forms of languages within a community of a shared language — with words everyone understood, sentences all were familiar with, but the usage and meaning of which were unique to a particular group or set of individuals.  Such comity of meanings and esoteric application of language were designated as “language games”.  Information Technology groups have their own set of insulated meanings; advertising agents, insurance companies, and children who form an exclusive club may formulate within-community code words exclusive to the group alone, and alien to all around.

What, then, is the language of law?  Certainly, analogy and hypothetical models of similar situations and transactions are a part of it; and the methodology of argumentation is to show the familiarity of classes of subject-matter issues and identical-sounding situations which penetrate the judge’s capacity to accept and anticipate precedent-setting citations of prior acts.  Why the language game of the legal arena accepts as a primary basis of interaction similar-sounding prior fact-scenarios is often a mystery to “outsiders” (i.e., non-lawyers), and confounds with frustration the enormous expenditure of time and money in engaging such circuitous narratives of persuasive argumentation.

What about my case?  What difference does it make whether or not a decades-old case applies in an analogical manner to the facts at hand?  But that is precisely the point of the language of law; for, it is consistency of application and perpetuation of stability which makes for reverence for “the law”.  Arbitrariness and malleability creates suspicion of motives, and justice requires the fair constancy of applying “the law”.

This is important to understand in all arenas of the “language game of law”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who may need to entertain the potentiality for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into “Administrative Law” (which is what filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM falls under) is no different.

Precedent-setting cases develop over decades and epochs of lifetimes; and whether the OPM Disability Retirement applicant is aware of it or not, the compendium of rules, regulations and decision-setting conclusions are all guided by, constricted within, and influenced throughout, by prior cases handed down by judicial opinions rendered “on high” by administrative law judges and Federal Court of Appeals mandates.

Should case laws be cited in the submission of a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application?  As the law is the hinge upon which society survives, so the question of persuasive argumentation may live or die based upon the vocalization of precedents.  But always remember that the language of law is a specific type of language game, and the exclusive club of legalese requires some training of usage, where applicability may sound like gobbledygook unless formulated with an ear towards coherence within the insular language game of law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire