OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Of human endurance

We marvel at the cheetah, at the graceful way in which it can outrun a prey, overtake it with such effortless ease and kill its target with efficiency and purposive aplomb; but of a longer race, we all know that only endurance can defeat such focus of a killing machine.

Endurance is the unique reserve of human beings; for, what other animal can withstand the overload of stimuli bombarding each of us on a daily, persistent and incessant basis?

The city dweller who must contend with the noises unrelenting from all directions; even a drive through the countryside requires such focus and concentration to avoid pitfalls and potholes; and, of course, daily living in the modern era can no longer allow for a quiet, plodding existence in a pastoral setting where the milkman arrives to deliver morning freshness and the bells of a church can toll in the midday sun of lazy summers.

Of human endurance we think is limitless, and so technology marches on, ever creating faster and more efficient interconnections, and with each new invention we are told that — not only will it save us time and allow for greater comfort — hardships will resolve and melt away.

Certainly, the minimal technology has brought comfort to us all — you know, those things we take for granted, such as electricity, central heating, air conditioning, etc.  But of the Internet — of this constant need to be “connected”, and to amass hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of “followers” or “friends”; of human endurance, can it be withstood?

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 the test of human endurance that is often the issue.  For, how much more can a person stand?

Things were once going “smoothly” — if by “smoothly” is meant that one’s existence with the balance between work, family, rest and health had been maintained within a tenuous string of efficiency and lack of disruption.  But once the medical condition was added to the mix, suddenly the test of human endurance was being stretched beyond its limitations.

That is what FERS Disability Retirement is meant to alleviate — the overload of stimuli, responsibilities, the proverbial “to-do list”, etc., in order to focus upon the one thing that both cheetahs and human beings require in order to test the limits of endurance: health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Adversity in B-Minor

But that we could live life as if playing a musical score, then changing the tonality in a different pitch, thereby perfecting a piece for the final performance.  Adversity is an unavoidable event; no matter the effort to avoid it, the encounter inevitably catches up to us.

Can we ever replay it, but in a different pitch?  Can the musical score be altered, but this time without the raised voices or the heightened stress?  What is it about a certain look, a particular tone, that gets one’s gander up; and while some are tone-deaf and wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a major or a minor score, does the same apply to social graces and the cues that trigger responses otherwise better to be left unsaid?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, becomes a necessity in the height of adversity, whether played in B Minor or C Major.

It always appears as if adversity can never be avoided.  First, there is the medical condition itself; then, to compound matters, making them worse, there is the pressure of the Agency; and suddenly, one feels as if the musical score so often rehearsed has fallen out of tune, and we begin to wonder if the chords played, the instruments used and the conductor followed, makes any sense at all.

The jumble of life is too often like the mixture of one analogy into another.

In order to sort out the proper “chord” to be played, it is important to consult with an attorney to sort out all of the elements in properly preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application: the documentation to be gathered; the guidance of how the narrative reports would be formulated; the legal memorandum that persuades and the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement packet that is “effective”, leading to an approval by OPM.  Otherwise, your life may remain in adversity in B Minor, or some other discord unanticipated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The peril of procrastination

Time is considered to be a continuum; it remains throughout, and except for artificial slicing imposed by seasons or bifurcations recognized by night and day, sunlight or darkness, or other natural categorizations which creep beyond our calendars, “time” remains a rhythmic cycle barely noticed until deadlines scream to be met and the ageless alarm clock suddenly awakens.

Noticed when the hands on a clock move; of the hour hand, slowly and with slumbering care; of the minute hand, more deliberatively; and of the second hand that ticks away while we watch time pass by.

In this digital era, time refuses to “march on” as the metaphor once informed us, and instead stares silently through the redness of a glaring, impassive face.  Waiting makes for awareness of passing; waiting in line to get into this or that establishment; waiting in a doctor’s office; waiting for a train; or do we just wait because there is nothing left to do?

Procrastination is a form of waiting, except we put the proverbial cart before the horse: Instead of waiting for the allotted time or event to occur, we wait for its non-occurrence, then rush to complete the non-occurrence before the expiration of the allotted time.

Certain events make for pleasantry of time — as in being with others you enjoy; performing a deed of delight; or merely resting, relaxing, engaging in activities of mirth; while others extend the laborious into an unbearable anguish of unending torment — of pain, unwanted relations and uninvited calamities.

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, time can become an enemy if one fails to foresee the peril of procrastination.  At some point — and often, early on — it becomes obvious that filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Trying to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and complex administrative process, and delaying that which one knows must be done is not merely the peril of procrastination, but an exacerbation and potential worsening of circumstances that may already require your attention today, if not yesterday or the day before.

For, in the end, it is not procrastination itself which creates the peril — rather, it is the peril of the medical condition left to time and its progressive deterioration — and that is why procrastinating can itself be avoided by consulting today, without delay, with an attorney who specializes in the the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Now, as for that chore that was left for tomorrow…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: “As if”

Why are OPM’s denials of a Federal Disability Retirement application written “as if” it is an “all of nothing” proposition?  Conversely, why does an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application (with the exception of the single sentence which identifies the medical conditions upon which the approval is based) reflect a regurgitation of a template used on countless occasions dating back decades?

Wouldn’t a more “honest” approach be for both the denial and an approval to have a touch of: “Well, okay, evidence X does clearly show that you likely couldn’t do essential element Y” and “Yes, all and all, despite having a good performance review in the past year, your absences aggregated to establish evidence that you weren’t able to maintain a satisfactory attendance, and therefore, even if it is a ‘close call’, we have decided that you have met the preponderance of the evidence criteria and grant you your disability retirement request” — or, “Therefore, even though it was a close call, we believe you have NOT met the preponderance of the evidence standard, and therefore deny your application for Federal Disability Retirement.”

In other words, why is the “as if” standard applied as a one-way street, where every Denial invokes a disparaging and often scoffing-tone as to every bit of evidence presented, and seems to selectively diminish even the most compelling of evidence submitted?  Is it because of the very human need for self-justification, or are there other, more nefarious reasons girding the foundation of every denial?

Certainly, when a “no” is presented, one is taught to make it worse than it actually is in order to justify the negation; sort of like when you really do feel deathly ill, but by all appearances, you don’t sound it, and may not even look it, so when you call in sick or you tell your mom you can’t make it to school, you put it on “as if” you are on the verge of mortality’s early calling.

But don’t be fooled.  OPM’s denials are presented “as if” you never stood a chance; “as if” there was never any basis for even making an effort to file; and “as if” you have wasted your time even bothering to file — is meant to discourage, if not dissuade, any further effort of fighting onward.  But that is not the reality of a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — for, the reason why you have multiple stages in which to fight on is precisely the reason why you must: “As if” you have a chance, and not “as if” you never did.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Enduring, surviving or achieving victory

The first two in the tripartite of conceptual constructs are similar in meaning; the third and last, an extension beyond where it may include a historical background of the first two but emerge with a separateness of conclusion from them.  To endure is similar to surviving; to survive, to endure the difficulties and maintain a semblance of remaining intact.

One can “endure” a traumatic event and survive it; similarly, one can survive such an event and, in retrospect, realize that to have endured the experience was the very key to such a conclusion.  One can endure and survive, however, and yet fail to achieve any victory.  For, victory is the conclusion and outcome of how one has endured and survived; the first two are thus necessary condition precedents, in one sense, in order for the third to occur.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal job, the necessity in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may become a reality.

For the time being, perhaps the medical condition has not gotten “too bad”, and the Federal or Postal employee may be able to endure the difficulties, go into work and maintain a level of productivity such that no adverse actions from the Federal Agency or Postal Service may result.  Or, the medical condition may be tolerable such that the Federal or Postal employee may be able to survive for the next year, or even the following few years, and be able to endure the turmoil of balancing work, family, progressively deteriorating medical conditions and the essential elements that the Federal or Postal employee must be able to endure.

If and when the time comes, however, for the Federal or Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the test at that point will not be whether or not the Federal or Postal employee can endure or survive the lengthy administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but rather, whether one can come out at the “other end” by achieving victory.

In order for that to happen, knowledge of the legal basis to be argued, the necessary connection between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job – all must be effectively compiled, argued and persuasively presented.  For that to happen, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 job, the issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: “Can” and “have to”

Does freedom allow and liberty mandate, or have the two concepts been conflated such that we envision a proverbial “free-for-all” in either and both instances?

Much of human history has been comprised of the latter – of Kantian obligatory categories imposed upon human behavior.  It is only of recent vintage that modernity has spurned the traditional categorical imperatives that wills the ought which spurs one to have to initiate, engage and complete activities despite a want of denial.  Today, the thought of “have to” is but a mere passing and flittering touch upon a calloused conscience no longer enlivened enough to compel movement, and “can” is the lie like the Marxist concept of the opiate that makes thoughtlessness the fog that is never lifted, and remains with the common man and the populous at large as the force of subservience throughout.

We are inculcated with the banal repetition of inane nonsense that we “can” do, be, reach anything and everything, and we don’t “have to” do anything that we do not want to.  Yet, concurrently, the implicit science of genetic predisposition dooms the concept of free will, and where once freedom meant something to slaves and their evil traders, and liberty required responsible sensitivity to the greater societal constraints that provide the foundation of a cohesive community, the current level of the combined, unfettered amalgamation – of freedom without restraint and liberty without responsibility – has brought us to the brink of a parallel universe with the history of Rome and its disintegrated empire.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition compels the Federal or Postal employee to “have to” file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the clash of cultural historicity that we witness all around – of the simplistic tension between freedom and liberty, responsibility and obligation, and “may” and “ought”, comes to the fore because the Federal and Postal worker with a medical condition used to be in a state of “can” when it came to career, leisure, activities and unrestrained potentiality, but now replaced with “have to” because of the intervening forces of an unwelcomed medical condition.

Don’t fret about it; we are all part of a larger force of history; we just never realize it until the coalescence of fate, history, destiny and personal behavior come together, where “can” was never anything but a fiction, anyway, and “have to” was always part of the human dilemma cajoling the rebellious spirit to subvert that which we can never fully avoid – the touch of the gods upon our inner conscience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire