OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Footprints in the snow

Snow makes a flashlight irrelevant.  Even without a moon to shine, and of clouds to mask the twinkling stars, somehow the pure whiteness allows for visual acuity.  At dawn, the footprints betray the activity that once was; and the current inactivity shadowed by the early morning yawn makes one wonder: who noticed, and what if I were standing quietly under the elm tree, making myself a part of the stiff objects in the wintry twilight?

It is similar to the Zen query of the Sixties — of a falling tree with no one around, and the pondering: Was there a noise?  And then the rush of activity as the daylight dominates and the darkness recedes and the purity of the blanket of white that once betrayed the footprints in the snow is replaced by human trudging, winds blowing and the mere vestiges that are now only images in one’s memories.

People are born daily, live their lives and die; and like footprints in the snow that appear for a moment in history’s unmentioned footnotes, they disappear with barely a trace but a few words in the obituaries. Oh, try as we may in our futile attempts at being remembered — of graveyards with larger stones; of “memorials” pasted on the back windows of cars; or even of yearly vigils; the fact is that we are mere footprints in the snow.  Yet, what is important is that the footprints did, in fact, once exist, even if the windswept vanishing of once-seen imprints disappear like vapors of steam curling into the midnight sky.

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 sometimes like footprints in the snow — you realize that you were once “relevant” in this world and that the Federal Agency once looked upon you as a “valuable member of the team”; but now, you are treated as the windswept footprints that were once clearly visible in the snow, and now no longer.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the last act before the wind sweeps away the footprints; it is a means of recognizing what is important in life, and to focus upon your health and well-being and to leave behind the footprints in the snow that are so easily forgotten in the hubbub of the world’s daily activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The real me

Are there societies in which the non-existence of the concept of “self” reveals a qualitative difference in approaching life in general?  Does the fact that language embraces the singular personal pronoun in contradistinction to the plural, communal form (i.e., “we” or “us”) make a difference in the manner in which we see the world?

If “I” as the subject/nominative form or the “me” as the objective (accusative and dative form) were to be expunged from the English Lexicon, would the universe be shaken and the axis upon which rotation occurs be shattered such that earth would no longer remain as we have known it?  Or — beyond the modernity of linguistic philosophy, where there are no substantive philosophical problems which cannot be solved by Wittgensteinian means of clarifying, modifying or overhauling the language game utilized — will we merely go on as before and act “as if” the “I” and “me” did not exist, but carry on for selfish purposes, anyway?

There is always that hankering by each one of us that “if only…”.  If only people knew the “real me”; if only she could recognize the uniqueness of the “I” that doesn’t quite come out right because of my nervousness, shyness, etc.  If only the boss knew; if only my wife knew; if only my husband knew….

The cynic, of course, would counter with: Good thing no one knows the real you….  Or, is it really just another form of the philosophical conundrum that we have cornered ourselves into — sort of like Ryle’s “Ghost in the Machine” argument where Cartesian dualism doesn’t exist, and so there is no “real me” beneath the surface of what we present to the world — that, in fact, we really are boorish, one-dimensional and unsophisticated creatures who put on a good show, and that is all there is to the “I” and “me”: A composite of the Neanderthal who puts on a necktie and pronounces words and phrases in monosyllabic forms of grunts and groans?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the real “I” or “me” is certainly not the person whom the Agency has tagged as “less than whole” because of the medical condition itself.

Yet, that is how the Federal Agency and the Postal unit will often approach the unfortunate circumstances of the Federal employee or Postal worker who reveals an intent to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.  No longer as part of the “we” or “us” team of Federal employees or Postal workers, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant is often shunned and sequestered, and generally harassed and placed under administrative sanctions — merely for revealing a vulnerability resulting from a medical condition.

That is essentially where the problem of the “real me” resides: Of how we pigeonhole one another.

To avoid that as much as possible, it is a good idea to consult with an Attorney who Specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, to fight back against the notion of the real me that the Federal Agency or the Postal Service wants to depict, as that malingering worker who once was X, but is now seen as Y.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The Statement

We often hear of various events or transactions in the public arena where a “statement” will be issued, and such a conveyance of information is often prepared, pre-written, read from a piece of paper or plastered upon a teleprompter where the delivering individual merely reads from a text that has been previously written and composed.

It is like a musician who varies not from the score before him, or the player who follows the conductor’s baton with precision of a mime; to vary is to veer, where error becomes the hazard to avoid.  That initial “statement” to the listeners, the recipients, the audience, or however and whomever you want to characterize it as — why is it so important that it is conveyed, portrayed, delineated and communicated in just a “right” manner?

Is it not similar to the importance of preparing an SF 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  Isn’t the SF 3112A a foundational, “first impression” statement that needs to be prepared carefully, with meticulous formulation, like a novel’s opening sentence that must captivate and draw in the reader’s attention?

Granted, the SF 3112A is answered in response to questions required to be formulated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee to provide, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; but the limitations imposed by space and the relevance of the answers given to questions queried should not detract from the importance and significance of preparing the “Statement” well, in a preconceived and well-prepared manner.

What is the sequence?  When should it be prepared?  What content must it possess?  Should direct quotes from the medical records and narrative reports be included?  How carefully should it be annotated?  Must the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A be confined to the spaces provided?

These, and many other questions besides, should be carefully considered, and to do so, the best way to be well-prepared is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement Application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Hope springs

“Eternal”, of course, is the ending and attachment that most would declare if asked to fill in the blank.  How many of us know of the origin of the statement, what it means, from whence it comes (yes, yes, a Google search is only one finger button away)?  It is often an afterthought – a “throw-away” line that one scatters about in response to someone else’s statement about “hoping to do X” or having “hope that X will happen”.

The reactionary response that is commonly stated is, “Well, of course hope springs eternal.”   The origin of the saying comes from Alexander Pope’s work, “An Essay on Man”, where he wrote:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

What was he referring to?  It could be interpreted in many ways – of a reference to a life hereafter and the reason for living, struggling and being tormented in this life, with a view towards an eternal reward; or, that so long as there is hope, things will change for the better if you just stick around long enough.

Without hope, the devastation of life’s turmoil may never allow for a person to get beyond this day; it is with hope that is kept in the human breast that the eternal promise of a better tomorrow becomes possible; for, otherwise there is just fatalism to look forward to, or as Pope stated, a state of existence where “Man never is”.

The word-pictures evoked from Pope’s work are beautifully put, and provide images that allows for multiple interpretations.  The word “springs” is a carefully chosen word, for it gives the idea both of calm (as in the tranquility of a running spring) as well as a jump forward (as in “spring forward”), and thus establishes multiple meanings when tied to the reference point of “hope”.

Hope, ultimately, is the ingredient that allows for life to live for a future yet undetermined and yet to be defined.  That is what is important for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  For, what other hope is there than Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

As the ongoing medical condition and the deteriorating aspect of the medical condition begins to squeeze out any hope left; and the impact it is having on one’s career and future starts to question the viability of any hope to be had; it is hope from X to Y – i.e., a future with a difference – that allows for hope to foster and thrive.

That is why, for the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes that hope in continuing in one’s job is no longer a reality, it becomes important to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because hope springs eternal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Struggles

It is a law of life, is it not?  To struggle; to always have to thrash about just to survive, whether in the world of employment, the world of self-control, the universe of just maintaining a semblance of sanity within a greater complex of madness we face each day?

And, indeed, that is the basis of most philosophical systems that have been posited – from the Ancients who posited permanence as opposed to constant flux (Parmenides and Heraclitus); of the tension between Forms and the world of appearances; of the universe of perspectives empowered between one’s spatial imposition of human categories as opposed to an objective reality that one can never reach (Kant); or merely reducing all philosophical problems to one of linguistic inconvenience (the British Empiricists); and on and on, the struggle to learn, to maintain, to survive.

Life is a constant struggle, and when once peace is attained, we then die, or at least retire to an old person’s home for the forgotten and the ignored.  Even the fairytales we read to our children begin with the struggle, then end with a world of make-believe; only, those types of endings don’t occur in “real life”, and so we have to explain to our children when they get older that, well…heh, heh, heh…it was all a lie – that, unlike the stories told, mom and I hate to tell you this, but the struggles in life never end.  There is no “happily-ever-after” after all.

Then, life brings about a medical condition – those pesky irritants that hopefully can be controlled or maintained with a pill or a stiff drink, but otherwise an indicator that either we are growing old or something in our bodies are trying to forewarn us of the future.  Then, the medical condition begins to magnify, exacerbate, and turn into that state of being “chronic”, and slowly, it begins to deteriorate and progressively impact how we feel, who we are, and what we can do.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the recognition that life is a constancy of struggles is nothing new; but, what is new is the realization that such a struggle now can become worsened by entering into arenas previously held inviolable – of work and the productivity that was once taken for granted.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a surrender to that constant struggle, but merely a change of direction and planning.  We all know that life is a constant struggle; sometimes, the struggle must be circumvented by moving onto the next phase of an ever-struggling life, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is that next phase of the constant struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Adrenal Fatigue

One need not be officially diagnosed with Addison’s Disease in order to incur the wrath and ravages of adrenal insufficiency.

Life’s multiplicity of compounding and complex stresses; exhaustion beyond merely feeling “run down” or otherwise out of synchronized balance from everyday feelings of adequacy; a sense of profound fatigue, where cognitive dysfunctions develop, and where symptoms of falling asleep at meetings, where the world appears at times to become a distant echo chamber and what others view as a normal pace appear in dizzying fashion of incomprehensible clatter of distractions; and where visual disturbances occur systematically as one attempts to view the computer screen and perform work which, in previous times, was merely mundane and monotonous, but now requires an effort beyond sheer force of will.

Does modernity and technological stress contribute to medical conditions which may have no name, and often defies pigeonholing because of the mysteries of the human body and psyche?  A broken arm is easy to identify, and normally just as correctable; a cervical or lumbar disc degeneration, perhaps a bit more complex, but often manageable; chronic pain, but for a parallelism between objective testing and pain points, sometimes an anomaly; psychiatric conditions, of greater mystery which has become too often a pharmacological corridor for treatment modalities; but where profound and intractable fatigue more often than not is beyond the capacity to be diagnosed.

However one characterizes it — of adrenal fatigue, insufficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other designations of type; it is ultimately the reality of the daily toil and turmoil with which the patient must contend.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience such a state of physical and psychiatric condition, 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, may be the best and only alternative available.

In the end, adrenal fatigue may be more than an endocrine imbalance; there is often a complex component where multiple medical conditions ravage the body and mind, and as with so many issues in law and life, there is a vast chasm between having a medical condition, being properly treated for the condition, and proving one’s medical condition in law such that one can be found eligible for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Fatigue, whether of the adrenal kind or of resulting impact from a lifetime of stresses, is a basis for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; attending to the condition should always be the first order of business; proving it, the second and subsequent thereafter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Consistency

For over twelve years, the lack of intervening language contradicting the narrative as put forth by the NBC news anchor allowed for an intended image to prevail; it was only when language from other sources began to intersect, and to refute or otherwise unravel, the factual underpinnings as propounded by the individual, that retractions, admissions and apologies had to be declared and conveyed.  But for those other intervening statements, the language game as played by the news anchor would have continued to dominate, and history would have been remained unquestioned.

Language games, as described and discussed by Wittgenstein, are funny animals; there are, of course, the “facts” and the reality as first encountered in the objective world surrounding us; but once that encounter has occurred, what is left is the correspondence and communication through the medium of our language.  It is through language that past historical occurrences are communicated; and so long as the language used by all others do not contradict or otherwise make misfits of the language game one is playing, all goes well.

It is like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; the longer one stays at it, the greater the picture becomes entrenched; but once a piece of the greater puzzle manifests a misfit, or it becomes clear that there are either pieces missing or ones that don’t belong, then the entirety of the whole begins to crumble. We tend to place all of such occurrences under the general aegis of “consistency“.

Submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker has a parallel effect.  You begin with a factual basis:  the medical condition.  Beyond the factual basis, one must then begin to formulate a “Statement of Disability” as propounded on SF 3112A, where the description and delineation must include the logical connection to one’s positional requirements and why you cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position.

Here, consistency is crucial; how one characterizes the nexus between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; the manner of one’s description; the consistency of application and bridge between the two elements of the case, the medical condition and the positional requirements of the job.

It is, ultimately, a language game precisely because a Federal Disability Retirement application is a presentation submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and whether the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the pieces of the puzzle which make for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application all must fit to make up the wholeness of that which matters most in any language game:  consistency.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire