OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: ‘For’ and ‘to’

Do we ever pick up on the subtleties of language’s intentionality, anymore?  Is there a difference with a distinction between the use of the prepositions ‘for’ as opposed to ‘to’?  And, even if intentionally and with deliberative meaning, one inserts one as opposed to the other, would the person for whom it is intended, or to whom it is addressed, catch the difference, or would he or she merely respond as if there was never any difference at all?

Say the person began with one preposition but stopped mid-sentence and corrected it, inserting the ‘other’; would the correction be noticed at all, and even if it was, would that make a difference?  Say, for instance, a person says to another, “I would like to show my appreciation to you,” as opposed to saying, “I would like to show my appreciation for you.”  Is there a difference?  Is there a subtle intentionality hidden – where the “to” is just slightly less personal than the “for”?

What if the person speaking does not believe in any differences between the two propositions – would that make a difference?  Or, conversely, what if the person speaking does know the difference, or believes he does, between the two, but the person being addressed does not; does that make a difference?  Is there, objectively, a difference between the two, and can it be identified, delineated, understood and explained?

When we say, for example, that X is giving a gift to Y – is that different from saying that X is giving a gift for Y?  Or that Sally has shown great empathy to Mary, as opposed to showing great empathy for Mary – can the subtle difference of intentionality be derived?

Language is a difficult tool to master, to begin with, and grammar was once the medium by which correctness of communication could be embraced.  Much of grammar has now been discarded, abandoned and forsaken, and with the detritus of residue left behind, the subtlety of language – both in its usage as well as in its reception – has been lost.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, almost all of the encounters with the Federal agency responsible for review and determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application – i.e., the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will be wrought through impersonal “paper” transactions – submission of the Standard Forms (e.g., SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability) and medical narrative reports and treatment records, as well as any Legal Memorandum prepared to argue your case – will be through an impersonal communication via language known, language learned and language imparted.

Knowing the subtleties of language, and the correct approach, the context and content driven by legal precedents and argumentation are all an important part of the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  It may not have to get into the minutiae of the differentiation of prepositions like ‘for’ and ‘to’, but there is enough complexity in the language of such a strange frontier as Federal Disability Retirement Law so as to justify hiring an attorney who specializes in such administrative legal conundrums, whether to obtain a successful outcome or for attainment of one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Quiet

Is “quiet” the same as silence?  Or, of lack of noise?  Is it a state of mind-body consonance, where the body can remain calm and unmoving, yet the mind remains racing with thoughts, and in that state of being, do we fool ourselves to think that the outer world will not impact the inner mind?  Or, in reverse order?

Quiet is that which we strive for, in a world where din is the normalcy of life.  Can medical conditions that betray that which we strive for be understood by those who do not experience it?

Consider Tinnitus – that condition where there is a constant “sound”, whether of ringing, hissing or clanging that disrupts any consistency of a person’s striving for quiet, and this, despite everyone else in the “objective” world being quite oblivious to the “hearing” of such sounds.  Or, of the person who is deaf or progressively losing one’s acoustic acuity – can the rest of the world understand such a state of reality?

We assume, as we operate throughout the world on a daily basis, that because others appear to act in similar ways, that their inner beings and states of minds are similarly situated.  To “think alike” is to remain comfortable; and to attain “quiet” is not just to avoid the constant rush of living, but to reach a plateau where life is consistent, predictable and somewhat boring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience the disquietude of a medical condition, where a combination of multiple factors come to the fore: Of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties; of “noises” from one’s agency, supervisors and managers of deficiencies in performance, attendance or quota goals; of being placed upon a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP); of receiving a “warning” memorandum concerning one’s use of leave, whether Sick, Annual or LWOP; of harassment even when one has invoked FMLA rights; or of the step just prior to the last one – a proposed termination, then a termination; it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

“Quiet” is not just a state of how things are in one’s home; one can lose that goal of quiet by bringing home the stresses of work’s harassment and adversarial environment, and it doesn’t have to be an actual medical condition such as Tinnitus or progressive deafness – although those may also be a qualifying basis upon which to file a Federal Disability Retirement application – but multiple other medical conditions, as well, that result in the disquiet of robbing one’s quiet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Plato and Play-Doh

If a person says to another, “Have you used Play-Doh” and he answers, “Well, yes, but only as it applies to certain situations in my life.  Otherwise, I tend to rely upon Aristotle in a more pragmatic, scientific approach.”

Somewhat taken aback, the inquiring mind restates his position, saying, “No, no, I meant, have you played with Play-Doh?” Still not distinguishing between the inserted alternative of a consonant (the “D” in Play-Doh as opposed to the “t” in Plato), the responding individual states again, “Well, conceptually Plato is difficult to ‘play with’, as you state it, in that you have to first understand the conceptual paradigms he posits, then…” and the same person goes on to provide a full-fledged, half hour dissertation on the esoteric aspects of a Dead White Irrelevant Philosopher (otherwise known by the acronym, a “DWIP”).

At this point, frustrated, the inquisitive interrogator walks away, throwing his hands up in complete confusion and befuddlement.  What does one do?  How is the incommensurate encounter resolved?  Question: Does the fact that we “hold” in the base of our minds a certain spelling of a word make a difference as to intent and deliberative motive, when what we “speak” out into the objective world makes the receptor of the word, phrase or sentence interpret it as something different from that image that we behold in our minds?

How does one close the chasm between subjective thoughts and objective reality?  Do we approach it in a different way – and does the problem really remain in the subjective domain of the questioning individual insofar as he or she is unable to, incapable of, or otherwise unwilling to alter the originating course of his posited query?

In other words, shouldn’t the person have restated his conceptual query in the following manner: “Oh, I see.  You must have misunderstood.  I am talking about ‘Play-Doh’ – the clay-like substance that we all used to play with as children, and I thought I saw some when I visited your house the other day.”  To which the responder should appropriately state, “Ah, I see now.  You must excuse me. I am concurrently reading Plato’s Dialogues and I mistook your question to be referring to that.”

It is, then, the capacity to listen carefully, to recognize the response given, then to respond back appropriately and relevantly that often dissipates any compelling reason to become frustrated.

Similarly, for Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to respond to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s subsequent queries, or even in response to the Statement of Disability’s questions (SF 3112A) that need to be answered, the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must take care in bridging that gap between subjective reality and objective communication.

There are many “tricks” to the “trade”, and OPM has probably dealt with them all; but the one trick that OPM cannot ultimately ignore, is the tricky web of legal precedents and prior MSPB and Federal Circuit Court decisions that compel them to act in ways that they cannot forego.  Legal argumentation is an art form that should not be ignored, and whether you are asking about Plato or Play-Doh, remember always to include in any Federal Disability Retirement application an effective legal argument that persuasively argues the legal precedents applicable in your case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: The effective legal argument

What makes for an effective legal argument?  It is a question often asked, and pondered by many.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is often preceded by another question:  What makes for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Must legal arguments be made at the outset, or will the mere gathering of relevant medical documentation itself suffice, without the burdensome addition of legal argumentation?

Is the introduction of law and reference to legal citation necessary, and does such necessity enhance efficacy and chances of success at every stage, or just in the later stages – i.e., before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, or before a panel of Judges in a Petition for Full Review (often referred to as a “PFR”), as well as before a panel of 3 Judges at the highest level of the process, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit?

Certainly, the process itself does not “mandate” a legal requirement for argumentation of law; yet, inherent in the system itself – or, because there are multiple legal opinions, precedents and statutory foundations which form the core of every Federal Disability Retirement application – it is a “good thing” to include legal precedents and foundational arguments in preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Is it necessary?  Is it “absolutely” necessary?  Just as the insertion of more adjectives and adverbs do not enhance clarity of answers, so the question itself must be judged by the relative importance of omitting that which may not be required, but which may be helpful in increasing the statistical correlation to a successful outcome.

Law cannot ultimately be avoided, either in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application or other venues of justice and conflicts, anymore than one can drive down to the corner mart without having some nascent knowledge of the legal workings intermingled and intersecting with modern society.  For, in this complex society of compounding difficulties and systems of comingled conundrums, that which is not known or otherwise ignored, can indeed harm us.  Not being aware of the speed limit in traversing the short distance to the store can result in being stopped.  Not being aware of laws governing carrying or transporting of weapons can have even greater and dire consequences.

And, as all forms required to be filed in every Federal Disability Retirement application was and remains based upon statutes, regulations and precedent-setting opinions rendered by the Federal Courts or the Merit Systems Protection Board, so it is important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to have some elementary awareness of the relevant laws impacting upon the criteria governing Federal Disability Retirements.

Few things in life exist in a vacuum, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is no different.  In any arena of law, laws matter.  That may sound somewhat like a trite opinion, and an irrelevant repetition of a self-evident truth, but it is meant to merely be a reminder, that as in all other areas of life and living, in the venue of legal matters, providing an effective legal argument is an essential factor in winning a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Fodder for our own folly

We often collect that which we know we need not; and of fodder for other’s play, who but the foolish gather the refuse of one’s own folly?  Why does youth engage in a greater percentage of folly, and why do old men insist upon driving uncomfortable cars which make them look foolish once they park and struggle to get out from a position of near-supine discomfort so debilitating that you can almost see the decrepit arches of an arthritic back?  Foolishness, of course, is not the reserve of the young only, as middle-aged men with youthful grins and old men with conniving friends whose sole purpose in remaining a soul-mate is contingent upon peeking at the bank account of retirees, reveal and manifest daily.

In the end, the test that has always worked for this writer, is twofold:  First, that sincerity is never defined by more words piled upon a previous set of words, but action which follows to concretize the empty promises of uttered speech; and Second, that everyone in the world can do whatever he or she wants, so long as you are willing the pay the price.  Thus, as to the latter, it is all well and good to say you want to do this or that, but the problem occurs when consequences unfold, and you expect others to pay the fine, complete the obligation, satisfy the debt or expend efforts to extricate from the difficulties created.

For children, there is always an excuse:  Parental obligation and the minor’s claim of not having the maturity to “know better”, compels a feeling of empathy, a reminiscence of remorse, and a hint of guilt for not having spent that extra hour coaching youth baseball or embracing that “quality time” which forever harmed that fragile psyche of that young underling who – by all other measures of objectivity – is described as merely a “brat”.  Of the former, one must simply admit that the American folklore of a fool being born every minute – or was it every second? – is reinforced by our own inability to consecrate the condoning cadence of our corrugated cacophonies of constancy; sorry, but once alliteration becomes engaged, it is like putting a finger on the trigger of an automatic weapon and losing control.

More to the point:  Most arguments are non-substantive.  By that is meant the following:  there is rarely a “real” issue of disagreement, but rather, a mere necessity to renegotiate the words used in order to fit into a puzzle where two or more people interact.  That being the case, most issues that arise, are resolved with more words imparted, which is simply a further negotiation of words upon words in a language game of meaning, reinterpretation and declaration of purpose.

But as being foolish has a price to pay (refer to the Second Rule stated herein), so the need to follow up with a concrete action, instead of more words (i.e., the First Rule stated above) is necessitated when real issues that have an impact and consequence effect upon lives of others.  Most problems in life are self-creations; those who have a greater ability to justify by blaming others, simply get away with it without blemish or repercussions.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing on in the career of his or her choice, the exception to the above applies:  Medical conditions are never the fault of one’s own, and so Rule One and Rule Two should never be considered.  It is, instead, Rule Three (heretofore unstated) which should rule:  Prepare the most effective Federal Disability Retirement application you can, and file it as soon as practicable, as the wait before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is long and arduous, but always keep in mind the fodder for our own folly applies to everyone individually, including those within a massive bureaucracy as that of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: A break from the quotidian

Is there ever a release from the commonplace?  We take it so for granted – those mundane occurrences of daily living – until the greater pain of life’s misgivings overwhelm and supersede.  The quotidian is a fancy term for the everyday; that routine which we engage in from the moment our eyes open, the sleepiness is cast aside, and the feet are sheathed into slippers or socks, or perhaps not at all; and all that was just described, as well, constitutes the quotidian.

How can we speak of that which occurs daily, is of the commonplace, and provides no fodder for interest or spark of fiery eyes?  Have you ever had a conversation that recurs almost daily, as in the general small-talk with the clerk behind the counter brewing the coffee, or the next-door neighbor who relishes the horsepower of a lawnmower just purchased – and wonder how the stifled yawn might unravel the boredom of life’s privacy?  Where are the gods who once ruled the earth, the mammoths of being who roamed the terraces of epic battles now lost in mythologies severed from the culture of vacuous minds?

Yet, it is by the quotidian that sanity is maintained, where interest is imposed and character is developed.  We often wish for that which we do not possess, yet, upon the embracing of that which we desire, we realize the ineptitude of life’s misgivings and hope for change where alteration of purpose is the last thing we require.  Like Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence, the reenactment of life’s quotidian muse will, with boredom and repetitive insanity, compel us all across eternity of time and limitless space, to relive that which causes us to become overwhelmed with somnolence of misbehavior.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is clearly bored, until a word is spoken, a thought conveyed, and a spark of life is seen in those dull eyes which dispossessed life’s gifts just a moment before, and suddenly becomes a burning fury ignited by an unknown flintlock exploding with colorful trepidation?  Perhaps you cannot even fathom what compelled it, but it is there, deep in the recesses of the window to the soul of a being, and suddenly, there is life where once but a moment before, death’s promise had overwhelmed and overtaken.

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 positional duties, a break from the quotidian is often the search for that mundane part of life which seems forever lost.  For, when a medical condition begins to overpower, it is precisely the quotidian that is sought.  Others may not understand that, and many will never comprehend it.

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, is often the first step in that journey where the quotidian is indeed the epic goal to attain, and when the greater historical deed would be traded for a mere good night’s sleep and a moment of quietude away from the anguish of one’s own medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire