Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Once upon a time…

There are such fairytales, as well as reminiscences of a bygone era; or, when a traumatic event in one’s life bifurcates a “before” and differentiates from the “after”, such that we wanly smile and with eyes distant for yearning of a time now gone forever, we whisper to ourselves, “Once upon a time…

Old men do that; grouchy grandmothers relegated to nursing homes and old people’s enclaves; those who have variously been diagnosed with “personality disorders” or other such general umbrellas that allow for living in a previous timelessness of shallow memories; but the uniqueness of the phrase is that, for old people and other grouches, to whisper, “Once upon a time…” is to look backwards; whereas, for children, when the story begins with, “Once upon a time…” – it is forward looking, to a world of imagination and creativity.

Yes, the story itself may have the setting of a time before, but within the child’s imagination, he or she is projecting forward in the wayward paths of creative fantasies.

Then, of course, there are people who are beset with medical conditions – such as Federal or Postal workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position occupied, and who whisper in a soliloquy of sorts, “Once upon a time…

Such reminiscences bifurcate a time “before” and a time “after” – where there was life before the onset of the medical condition, and the living hell after the medical condition became, and remains, a chronic state of being where pain, discomfort, inability to attain any restorative sleep, and profound exhaustion and fatigue sets in.

For that Federal or Postal worker who suffers from such a medical condition, that the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes also a kind of a “Once upon a time” moment.  For, once an OPM Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee no longer needs to struggle with the essential elements of one’s job, perhaps the Federal Disability Retirement annuitant can look back and whisper, “Once upon a time…” – but like the child who states it with a forward-looking smile.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Envy without hope

Can a footman in former times, or a scullery maid while scrubbing the floors, experience envy when class structures forbade any hope of advancing beyond?  In days before of rigid demarcations of social and class differentiations, where terms in modernity like “upward mobility” or “moving up the ladder” (have you ever wondered at the condescending connotation of such terms, where “up” is the direction of the movement, as if one were ascending to the heavens, even when such barometric activity often corresponded to moral degradation and sacrifice of one’s character?) were unheard of, was there an inner intimation of envy between watchful eyes by servants who observed the plenitude of decadence and obscene abundance of wasteful riches?

We can, of course, comprehend such sensations of jealousy and comparative desires in our times, for there is no inherent cultural device firmly implanted within the normative constraints, anymore.  As stories abound of the proverbial “rags-to-riches” narratives; and whether by intensive efforts of self-will and do-good stories, or of Wall Street wolves clawing and cheating, or even of the occasional lottery winner who accidentally wandered into a corner mart and took a chance with a last dollar, the conceptual animation within the realm of possibilities exists as to changing one’s circumstances, and with that comes the concomitant feeling or awareness of comparative lack.

But can such a sensation exist in a universe, both in the material realm as well as in the cognitive recesses of one’s imagination and creative thought processes, if one has not a concurrent concept of the possibility, or even the minimal probability, of hoping for an expectation of change?  If there is such hope, how then can there be envy, unless nature allows for an emotion of pure futility where hopelessness can incentivize a pathway towards an unfulfilled nothingness?

Nature is purposive; the teleological sense within us requires that instinctive sensations inherently existent follow the rule of Ockham’s razor, and refuse to allow for futility’s baseless conduct of entrance to nothingness.  Now, one might argue, as Rousseau did, that evils created by society’s influence beyond man’s natural innocence while in the state of nature, engendered by malevolent devices surfacing as appendages upon convoluted addendums not otherwise found except in complex civilized settings, go counter to such arguments; and, certainly, just as H.G. Wells and all dystopian writers since, and others such as Jules Verne possessed imaginations beyond the societal constraints imposed upon the creative mind, and so one might still be able to project such negative feelings without hope or expectations.

Again, however, it would be one based upon a deep chasm of futile exchanges.  That is the question and concern that the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker must contend with, when a 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 position.  Can the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker project into the future, a life without the chosen career to keep one occupied, and still remain happy?

Envy is the killjoy of distracted minds, and hope is the antecedent nectar that allows for poverty and discontent to continue.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, however, it may not be a question of envy without hope; rather, it is often just a pragmatic choice compelled by circumstances of chronic and debilitating medical conditions, and the hope resides in the promise that a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will be approved and allow for the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon the priority of a future not without hope – that of regaining one’s health, stamina and capacity to regain one’s equilibrium.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Imprisoned souls

Do we immediately know of the figurative sense of such a concept?  As the Medieval times of dark, dank and dire dungeons no longer house the tortured detritus of human excrement cast aside upon the nod of displeasure noted by a King, a Prince or a scorned Court of Royal Courtier, so the immediate presumption is that such a term must encompass some cognitive obstacle or encircling of a mind otherwise in agony.  And what of the second term in the concept – does it denote something separate and apart from the whole of a human figure – that essence of a person that tells us that there is something beyond an amalgamation of neurotransmitters and physical presence such that the entity is distinguishable from an amoeba, a flower or those closest of cousins, the chimpanzee?

When a person is looked upon with empathetic concern, is it the image of the individual that gives rise to the sensitivity, or the soul that is embattled within the confines of the exoskeleton that defines the profile like the shadow of an image one sees of a person standing against the lamplight in the dark of night?

When a scream is emitted from the depths of a human uttering, of the physical intonation and shrill cries reverberating through the caverns of a mouth widened in anguished turmoil, do we reach out to provide comfort merely to the physical shape and form of a human being because we can relate to an entity so closely recognizable as that which is reflected in the mirror of our daily lives, or is there that “something” which theologians continue to haunt us with, that transcends the superficial appearance of sense impressions that is discussed from ages foregone, from Plato’s Forms that constitute the “real” reality beyond the appearance of things, and the clinically antiseptic explanations of Hume’s Empiricism that provides a foundation of separation and divide that laid the groundwork for the future of Existentialism a century or more hence?

We are, all, in a general sense, imprisoned souls anguishing in the turmoil of daily angst, but for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must also contend with a medical condition, such that the medical condition is about to cut short a promising career, the future is often viewed from a bleak perspective, and the daily harassment from Supervisors and Managers only exacerbates the troubled lives we must all manipulate and maneuver through.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an easy process; it may be, however, the only option left and available for the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

In that sense, the Federal or Postal worker who is left with the best option available – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM – is considered an imprisoned soul, for it is not only the medical condition that impacts upon the choices left in life’s trials and challenges, but the constraints and curtailments one self-imposes by agonizing over one’s future as he or she steps forward in trying to maneuver through a complex administrative process.

How to free one’s self?  By simply acting; by moving forward, even if the future is somewhat unknown and uncertain; for, in the end, it is movement itself that distinguishes the difference between life, imprisoned souls, and deadened entities that merely survive.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The speechless silence of treachery

Treachery must by definition remain speechless; and it is in the silence of back stabbing in the cloak of darkness that one’s malevolent intentions become known.  In war, the act of such duplicitous betrayal is termed as an offense justifying execution; in business, the meter of rascality on a pendulum of public opinion ranges on a spectrum of embezzlement, insider trading or a keen sense of capitalistic endurance; and in friendship, it is merely the weeping vicissitudes of emotional upheavals.  It is the faithless double-cross of dual lives; of informants tipping the scale to the advantage of one’s sworn enemy and allowing for massacre of innocents to occur.

Where does conscience fit in, and where do scoundrels scurry to when the open light of day shines the revelation of actions deceitful like the snake in the grass and the insidious cannibalism of overturning honor, dignity and a snow-white heart of an eternally blackened soul?

To turn one’s back against friendships previously thought to remain inviolable and eternally of faithful concerns; to whisper secrets into corners blocked by history, hatred and enmity of ethnic cleansing; but to engage in such treachery requires a context of fidelity and honor without vice, where a society’s norms and conventions of acceptable behavior provide the fodder for allegations of misconduct; the question is, Do we have such constraining rules of engagement, anymore, to argue for a viable charge of treachery?  Or, has language subsumed all, and opinions are elevated to the level of moral equivalency, such that the speechless silence of treachery means nothing more than the din of cackling laughter reverberated down the hollow corridors of timeless dissent?

Rare is the person in modernity who holds to obligation more than to personal desire and self-satisfaction; and if profit for one’s own constitutes the sum total of a moral foundation, why not treachery?  But then, Why in speechless silence?  Or, is there something innately refutable, instinctively discernible, in an act of malevolent double-crossing, such that even by acts of Wittgensteinian language games where contingency of meaning of verbs and adjectives still rise above the linguistic gymnastics of twisted minds?

There are dangers in lives of duplicitous bifurcations; beyond the spy who comes in from the cold, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who begin the process of preparing, formulating and 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, the question often queried is:  When, and to Whom, does one confide?  The natural follow-on question is:  Of What, and to which extent?

It is peculiar how the administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement brings out into the open light the verbal distinction between “friends” and “true friends”; or, “allies” and the counterpart, “real allies”.  There are few rules to follow when considering the dangers inherent in the speechless silence of treachery, and preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits almost always reveals that traitorous acts are not limited to the fields of war, and silence left speechless should never result from surprise attacks engaged from corridors left unsuspected by innocent utterances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The things we leave for repair

What we attend to immediately; that which we procrastinate, and set aside; and, finally, the things we allow to falter, to deteriorate in a progressive decline of disrepair — slowly eroding, perceptibly corroding, a sight for sore eyes, as the proverbial adage goes.  And what if it is ourselves?

Of course, the cosmetic and physical fitness industry have cornered the market and turned selfishness into a virtue, and self-love into a cottage industry; something akin to, “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?” (or some such parallel inanity of vacuous nonsense as that); or even a better one:  Persuade the populace to eat more sugars and processed food, then blame them for nationwide obesity while simultaneously hooking everyone on the technological steroids of smartphones, computers and the acceptability of being couch potatoes; make sports into a spectator sport, video gaming into a money-generating interest, and all the while, open the floodgates of information dissemination and tell everyone how intelligent they are, or could be, because you need not memorize any facts or have the capacity to engage in critical thinking; no, you can always Google it if you need to know, and oh, by the way, a handful of individuals, unnamed, will control the bias of information on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter from which your feeds of knowledge derive.

Slowly, incrementally, rust forms on the edges of that which we leave for repair, with the admonition that we’ll “get around to it“, that priorities overshadow for the time present; and when we have more “free time”, we will attend to it.  If we counted up all of the seconds, minutes and hours promised by a new invention or a technological innovation, the aggregate would surpass the number of hours in a single day, and we should all possess the wealth of unlimited time.  But rust in the glint of morning sunshine reflects a glow of beauty nestled in the quietude of timelessness; of those things we leave for repair, it is that growing beauty which reflects our diminishing selves.

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 all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of leaving thing aside — important things — is well known and knowingly engaged.  For the work accomplished reveals the extent of self-denial; the “mission” of the agency, the volume of letters, parcels and packages to be processed at the expense of one’s own deteriorating health; the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole, at the expense of one’s own health.

In the end, for the Federal and Postal worker who comes to a point where preparing, formulating and 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, the things that were left for repair are those which needed most that neglected attention; for it is the “I” disregarded, the “me” left behind despite the self-identification of a named generation, and the hollow and gaunt eyes looking back from the mirror of time, where we keep “doing for others” when the one we forgot about in the collection and vast array of the things we left for repair, calls in a desperate cry for the tools left rusting in the untouched toolbox of an undetermined future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Linguistic Machismo

The term is derived from Spanish origins, and it is that characteristic which contributed most to the rise of Hemingway’s fame, and his ultimate act of self-destruction.  Of bullfights, big-game hunting, reporting amidst the Spanish Civil War, leaving unmentioned his encounter with death and devastation from his experiences in World War I, resulting in the Phoenix rising through his unforgettable fictional characters, Howard Krebs and Nick Adams, whose souls have been damaged beneath the surface of any physical manifestation of wounds or injuries, where reconnection with society, its rhythms of daily living and silliness of interests, can no longer be possible — these comprise the defining events of the meaning of the word itself.

Combined with the compounding prefix, it delineates the approach of modernity in engaging in communitarian communications.  You know — of bombast and lambaste; where subtlety of meaning is left without room for doubt, connotation, denotation or a question mark, but merely a hyphenated sense of an unstated thud followed by an exclamation point.

The famous debaters have now faded into the antiquity of forgotten dustbins; Lincoln-Douglas; Buckley-Vidal; the courteous but inquisitive Dick Cavett show; and the late-night show of Johnny Carson, whom many consider to encompass both intelligence and complexity of thought, especially when compared to parallelisms truncated by modernity.  Civility is gone; subtlety as an art form is all but lost; the only teleology of choice these days focuses upon the viral nature of a YouTube video, and only if it trumpets the extreme with the blare of sensationalism.

This approach — of linguistic machismo — has crept into the narrative of today.  Leaving aside the repugnance of the term for feminist causes, the substance of the concept implies an aggressive tone in setting forth a narrative.  The problem with engaging in such a consistency of intolerance in conveying as a vehicle of communication the toughness of a “no-holds barred” language game, however, is that it soon and quickly loses its efficacy.

Even an elephant struck repetitively to move the lumbering animal will develop callouses which defy the oncoming blows of future pain; encouragement by blunt force trauma is a discouraging device over time, if used without discretion.  Incessant screams become deafening to ears sensitized; physical pain becomes numb to repetition; repetition itself creates a havoc of unnoticed constructs; and so it goes.

This can be a lesson to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to construct an effective narrative in preparing one’s Statement of Disability for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When the Federal or Postal applicant for Disability Retirement purposes envisions who will be reading, reviewing and analyzing one’s Statement of Disability (as posited on SF 3112A), it is well noting that the Administrative Specialist who will be making a decision at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will have hundreds of cases to get to; and from that caricature of a singular soul peeking out from a mountain of files, the subtlety of a whispering voice immersed in truth, objectivity, and persuasive force of argumentation quietly encapsulated by law and proper documentation, will be the light which shines from the darkness of ineptitude, where even the emotionally-damaged, fictional heroes of Hemingway’s short stories may shed a tear now and again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire