Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

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, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The facade of happiness

There are weather-related “fronts” — of “cold fronts” and “warm fronts” bringing in the freshness of change, a sudden modulation of temperature and a gust of windy hollows echoing through valleys and down into the chill of our bones.  They change the temperature of the air around us, and often moods are impacted as well.

Then, there are also “fronts” of human characteristics — of “putting on a brave front”; of making a “frontal assault”; and of these latter, we realize that there is always something behind, like the wizard concealed by the curtain undrawn.  We all of us put on “fronts” — and like the weather fronts that fool us at first that Spring may be nigh or Winter’s discontent may be around the corner, the “brave” front may be just a put-on, just like the “frontal assault” is likely a ruse to deploy one’s forces all at once to meet the enemy head on.

Of all the fronts, it is the facade of happiness that fools the most, even one’s self, into thinking that contentment is the amassing of objects surrounding, careers advancing and problems left avoiding.  The facade of happiness works well for a season, so long as the fool who buys the bridge of smiles never lifts the veil an inch to peer into the darkness of a soul in anguish.  Happiness is a fleeting state of existence; here for a moment today, it vanishes like the spirits of yesterday’s underworld where gods were chosen to wander the earth in ashen looks of greying days.

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, the facade of happiness has likely been an essential tool for survival in this past year, if not longer.

It allows for the Federal or Postal worker to put on a “brave front”, to fool the others for a time — somewhat like the cold front that descends upon the south in the middle of summer to remind one that change is in the air, or the “architectural front” that gives an old building a facelift and draws people inward as an inviting new asset.

But don’t be fooled; for the facade of happiness can never hide for long the suffering beneath, and for the Federal or Postal worker, preparing 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 often the first real step towards an abiding and real happiness, as opposed to the fake smile that conceals beneath the facade of happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The complexity of 2

It is the solo flight that presents the escape of simplicity; inclusion of another, and suddenly the complexity of responsibility, duty, obligation and sense of “ought” becomes a part of the entire equation.  At first, it may be love born upon an equal plane; any sense of disproportionality is easily ignored, quickly deflected and unselfconsciously dispensed with; but over time, the complexity of 2 begins to creep in.

It is neither insidious nor inherently negative by artifice; rather, it is the most natural of sensibilities, arising from a knowledge that reliance upon one another not only acknowledges and validates the vows of matrimony, but moreover, the eternal commitment each makes to the other forever forges the bonds of undiluted friendship, like kindred spirits floating in some ethereal universe unperturbed by distractions of consternation consecrated upon the altar of destruction.

Have you ever observed the interaction of singularity?  That is correct – it is simple and uncomplicated.  The asides are mere reflections of one’s own troubles; the soliloquys stated without puzzlement or obfuscation.

Then, if you add a second, the complexity of 2 comes into play – of misunderstandings, miscommunications and loss of solidarity in the oneness of judgment.  What if there are three?  Then, suddenly not only are there relationships between the first and second, but between first and third, second and third, as well as the tripartite interaction between all three simultaneously.  And of four?

The exponential complexity that arises from adding one more to each magnification of interrelationships enhances beyond the mere introduction of another, but creates a havoc beyond the singularity of such an entrance.  Why is this?

One would, on a purely conceptual level, likely argue that since the simplicity of 1 remains so, ergo the combination of each should logically retain such lack of complication.  But such an argument based upon theoretical argumentation and rationality elliptically conducted in an antiseptic environment and context fails to recognize the innate complexity of each human being.

That is why, in preparing an effective 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 simple-enough questions posed and queried on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, can never be characterized as “easy” or “straightforward”.

Why?  Because there is the complexity of 2 – or more.  For, while the questions themselves are answered by the singular Federal or Postal employee, there are multiple facets of that same employee which requires a response – the Federal or Postal employee in the status of an employee who suffers from a medical condition; the relationship between the medical condition and the positional requirements of the Federal or Postal job; the Federal or Postal employee in the capacity of his or her personal life; the introduction of the diagnosed Federal or Postal employee with a specific medical condition.

Do you see the complexity?  It is, as always, the complexity of 2.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Fear Untethered

It is of evolutionary advantage for a healthy dose to allow; what amount, whether it can be quantified, and to what extent instinct should be restrained before intersecting rage and reactive violence meet, is a question, a puzzle and a conundrum.  An animal in fear is both broken and dangerous, and the corollary of the two sides of a singular coin reveals the thin line between innate survival instincts which we attempt to linguistically describe, but are at a disadvantage precisely because words are ultimately inadequate in reflecting reality.

Tethering our fears is a lifelong process for everyone; the balance between healthy bridling and repressive dangers where outlets are disallowed but when expression of ignored or unattended trauma may erupt in later discourses of life and leniency of self, validates the delicacy of our sensitive natures.  To be overbearing or detachedly impervious; to allow for expression beyond therapeutic value, or to blithely shut down all channels of thought and numbing emotions of eruptive tremblings of sobbing heaves; the tightrope of life leaves little room for error on either side of the equation.

We often speak in terms of “how much” and “what amount”, as if human frailty can be mixed in a crockpot of ingredients thrown by whim of recipe; a dash of solvent emotion here, a teaspoon of corrective stoicism over here.  The reality of the situation is that fear rules most of us; we just never allow the untethering of it to be revealed too soon, for greater fear of being found out, like the emperor whose clothes we knew to not exist, but were too cowardly to admit, until the boldness of a child took the lead in shattering the facade of our own making.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the emotion of fear is a known quantity.  Little fiefdoms and feudal fares of power plays occur as daily soap operas unraveling despite the bureaucracy of rules, regulations and administrative forces of containment.

Then, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten and impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability or capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the fears which were once effectively tethered begin to uncoil, as future uncertainty and suspicion of motives in the unexplained actions of others and the agency whispers begin to foment those recesses of evolutionary cries for survival and rage.

Medical conditions tend to do that:  they feed upon themselves, and exponentially magnify and exacerbate those very fears we were previously able to restrain, contain and maintain.  It is important in the time of fear and untethering of emotions, to seek wise counsel and obtain some direction in preparing, formulating and filing for an effective 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.

For, in the end, fear untethered is like the pinnacle of the forgotten nightmare, when the abyss of sweat and trembling reaches a climax of unknown proportions, and when screams are no longer heard, pleas no longer considered, and the grace of angels flying beyond into the netherworld of residues where the golden dust of forgiveness is sprinkled afar.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The reservoir of vitriol

Do you ever wonder at the seemingly inexhaustible volume of time people spend on expending and expiating their reserve of malice, hatred and sheer meanness of being?  Time and energy spent on gossiping about others; of planning conspiratorial devices to undermine fellow coworkers, or to initiate harassing administrative sanctions and bureaucratic snafus in order to make life tougher, more miserable and uncomfortable for someone else.

More modern cars have a warning indicator informing the driver that the low fuel has resulting in the use of the “reserve tank”; for those whose carelessness can result with inaction ad infinitum, perhaps the depletion of such should require a further reservoir, and on and on — except for the impracticality of finding room for further gas tanks.   Ultimately, it all amounts to the same source, doesn’t it?  Whether you call it a “reserve tank” or from the primary one, depletion results from the aggregate of all, and the warning is merely a reminder to the clueless, and an excuse to nudge.

Similarly, at what point does a reservoir for vitriol need a warning indictor to light up for the source of such malice?  Or is human nature such that his or her depth of evil is irrepressible, and possesses an infinite chasm of depravity?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered at the hands of an agency or the U.S. Postal Service, through harassment, intimidation and sheer vitriol, and merely because the Federal or Postal employee has committed the crime of suffering from a medical condition and therefore is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is time to consider the innate nature of human malice, and determine whether it is even worth staying in an environment and atmosphere of negative returns.

Yes, careers are important, but at what cost?  Of course financial certainty provides a semblance of comfort, but to what end?  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 a step not just to “get away”, but further, to reach for a goal in which health and human sacrifice are not exclusive possessions of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Understand the essence of human depravity; the reservoir of vitriol is inexhaustible, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the malice of man is only beginning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire