Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The unread novel

Is it as irrelevant as the one that is read but quickly forgotten?

Writers are a funny breed; their very existence, significance and existential relevance depends upon the interests of others.  Isolation is inherent in the vocation itself; for every writer is a singular and lonely depiction of an inner battle of cognitive construction, the soliloquy upon a blank slate endeavoring to create, to master, to show and to imagine; and of what nightmares and horrors the writer must endure in order to transfer self-doubt upon the paper, or the virtual existence that spans the spectrum from despair unto public acknowledgment.

The unread novel exists in drawers and cubbyholes forgotten and unopened; and like Bruno Schulz’ lost novel, The Messiah, the shot that killed before the fruition of greatness came to be may reverberate with a nothingness that no one knew, precisely because, to not know something is to not experience that which cannot be grasped, where ignorance is merely the negation of an emptiness never experienced.  Which is worse — to be never read, or to be read and forgotten, or to be read, remembered, then slowly dissipate from the minds of appreciation over an anguished length of time?

The unread novel sits like the individual who once was recognized — a solitary figure who was once appreciated, known, recognized and even sometimes applauded; then the starkness of anonymity reminds us all that such recognition is fleeting, temporal, like the winds of history that grant accolades to rising stars only while the smile lasts and the last salute is given to the parade that slowly fades.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, the feeling that the Federal or Postal worker undergoes is often likened to the unread novel that sits in the drawers of anonymity.

Perhaps you were once recognized and appreciated; now, it is as if the medical condition itself has become an infectious disease that everyone else is loathe to catch.  The Federal Agency or the Postal Service is beginning to treat you like The Plague.  You fear that your career — like the Great American Novel that was once thought to be a success — is coming to an end, and the harassment and furtive looks have become emboldened in a way you previously could not have imagined.

It is then time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you as a Federal or Postal employee are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, like the unread novel, the drawer within which you sit in solitary despair will not make the unfamiliarity of it become a great success; that, in the end, is a decision only you can make, as to a future where the unread novel remains so, or a step forward to change the course of human destiny.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of 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.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The narrative we write

Each of us carries a narrative within; the David Copperfield segment of our otherwise unrevealed lives.  It is who we are; the past that enlivens or diminishes; the memories of yesteryear or just a fortnight ago; and it resides continually until that day of atonement or the diminishment though dementia of fated unkindness.  What we say; how it is written; how it is related through the handed-down oral traditions of storytelling and bemused tales of a Dickensian happy endings (excepting Little Nell and other debatable few unnamed); and how it is told, in what manner, with what punctuations and unctuous phraseology applied; these matter, especially when others are listening.

Perhaps, in modernity, the oral traditions of storytelling have disappeared, like graveyards unvisited because of loss of faith.  Once, family members were buried on the plot of land in the pasture behind; now, that plot is another suburban home, easily fungible and sold if profits justify enough.  Lineage is irrelevant, except to search one’s genealogy in order to establish the bloodlines unique to resist disease and incest; and as children listen not to the storyteller at dinnertime, but to rap singers on iPods and Smartphones, and digitized voices in virtual fields of games and electronic media; even they get their sense of who the “I” is, by songs uttered with vitriol and You-Tube clips streaming for self-aggrandizement.

We lament that which we have no control over, yet do nothing to exert but a trifle of influence.  The standard adage should remind us:  “Garbage in, garbage out”; and, yet, who among us steadfastly maintains the duties of the vanguard who must imperviously maintain a standard of who is invited and what is kept out?  Or, does “popularity” rule, and the old edict by a shoe company trying to dominate the cutthroat world of sales and profitability, “Just do it” – is that the philosophy we follow?  Or, how about, “If it feels right (or good), then…”

The narrative we write is the storyline that follows, and the byline that stamps its approval at the bottom of the tale acknowledges who we are, what we believe in and where we intend to go.  What would your response be if a child suddenly came upon you and asked, “Who are you?”  Would the narrative that bespeaks include struggles encountered, battles engaged and promises kept?  Or would the story be a confused delineation of a skeletal clutter, barely recognizable as a unique reflection of the angels we fly with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are 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 narrative we write, especially on the Standard Form 3112A, is perhaps the penultimate component of the essence of the effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  How it is written; what information it should contain; the relevant period of discourse; the proper delineation in answer to the queries; these must all be taken into account before submitting it to OPM.  And, just as the response to the query by the curious child should give one pause, greater reflection before submitting an SF 3112A to OPM should be taken, lest the narrative we write reflects that which we no longer want to own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Chekhov’s gun

It is the ultimate principle of substantive minimalism, where extraneous and peripheral elements should be eradicated unless used, essential, or otherwise central to the narrative.  Teasing merely for the sake of itself is denied; a serious venture if always pursued, and open honesty with the audience forever relied upon.  Chekhov disdained and avoided the superfluous; his short stories and other works were paradigms of linguistic economy, where words were valued and cherished, without room left for an unused element.

Compare that to modernity; of Franzen and works where volumes are spoken to merely illustrate a simple point contrary to Ockham’s razor.  The “gun”, as the metaphor of utility or otherwise, first introduced in the first chapter or Scene I of a play, must by a few chapters hence or a scene or two later, be fired, pointed or struggled over; otherwise, never introduce it in the first place.  And of the razor of rational argumentation, the lex parsimoniae of scientific observation, let not human complexity and self-delusions of grandeur in constructing untenable principles of convoluted thought-processes cloud the simplicity of nature’s design; for, in the end, it is in the simple that complexity finds its apex, and of the complex, where simpletons gather.

In the end, economy of words allows for room of thought and invitations of acceptance; it is only in the crowded gallows of condemned men where cries for space echo into the chambers of unheard cries.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in 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 principle of Chekhov’s gun, or its correlative paradigm of linguistic economy, Ockham’s razor, should always be applied:  Keep to the centrality of one’s narrative, and never allow the teasing of an unloaded gun direct the masthead of a sinking ship to tip too perilously towards the unforgiving winds of want and self-importance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Jobs: Canards and Caustic Characters

Life is tough enough without having to deal with unfounded rumors, mongering of fears (the term “fear-mongering” is itself an interesting one, denoting a tradesman or merchant who specializes in the sale of specific goods, and thus implying a commerce of black-marketed ideas connoting instability, undesirable and shady commodities) and encounters with unpleasant invertebrates masking as human beings.

Canards float throughout workplaces like pheromones released and attracting species of a similar ilk, and suddenly the ravages of the herd mentality provoke a carnivorous feast of mauling and prey-stalking.  The “fix” is in, and you know it, and wait for it to come, like the inevitability of a season’s change and the waxing and waning of the crescent moon; only, when it is you as the bulls-eye target of caustic characters, the eternity of time in anticipation of the forthcoming tidal wave and onslaught of adversity seems like the slow travel of a singular teardrop down the dry gullies of a pock-marked surface.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in need of 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, that feeling of impending doom is familiar, close, and nevertheless unpleasant.

Agencies of the Federal kind (we speak not of State, County or Local ones, as this author has no knowledge of their characteristics and internal workings, although one may presume that, by stint of metaphor and symbolic comparison, there may be a kinship between and betwixt) and the U.S. Postal Service have a reputation to uphold, and the prevailing one always seems to involve canards and caustic characters, especially when it comes to treatment of fellow Federal and Postal employees with medical conditions, such that the medical conditions begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

When the time comes — and the inevitability of when and how the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will conduct itself is never without a shade of doubt — as to the need for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, hopefully the Federal and Postal employee will leave the scene of the crime and go on with life with an OPM annuity, with mere memories of fading glories, for this canards and caustic characters who are left behind to boil in the meanness of their own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: How Long Can Negation Define Living?

The tipping point where negation of living constitutes greater time spent than affirmative enjoyment of the activity engaged, is determined by individual choices and preferences.  Some individuals retain a higher threshold for pain, discomfort, and capacity to endure; and the fact that an MRI reveals a degenerative or decaying physical attribute does not necessarily correlate with the capability to ignore or otherwise minimize the magnitude of pain.

To what extent one avoids “doing something” in order to contain the pain; deny the self from pursuance of an activity in order to endure; to maintain quietude and an immobilized sedentary state of being in an effort to make the worn body and troubled mind last for a day, a week, or a decade longer; such are the efforts expended in a life of negation, in order to continue to “live”.  But is life defined by a quantum?  Or, is quantity in any way related to quality?  In “elder law”, there is often a discussion about “quality of life” issues, but the fact is, such a question and concern pervades with significance throughout one’s life, and not just towards the twilight of living.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition,such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, the question of when “enough” is already “too much” is one which haunts, tails, latches on as an appendage of inflamed emotions, and refuses mere hand-waving as an irritant to swat away.

Yes, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a major step in one’s life, but at some point, the alternative left unstated and ignored must be directly confronted and faced with courage, pragmatism and prudent behavior.

Habit of negation can become so intertwined with one’s daily life, that it remains as a compromise allowed because one believed that no alternative was offered.  But as a life defined by negation becomes, at some point, a qualitative issue where all joy has been sucked out of the vibrancy of rightful ownership, so the choice to change in order to attain a semblance of a past life, memorialized in times of youth where pain and psychiatric disorders were merely hypothetical constructs hinted at by “others” in the community, so taking an affirmative step in order to be released from the confines of daily toil and turmoil is often the best and most hopeful avenue towards a life of positive images.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is often the best choice left in order to “move on” towards a greater definition of “life as living” once forgotten because of the constant harassment and fear imposed by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service.  At some point, negation cannot define living, as life is more than avoidance, and there is joy to be found beyond Federal employment and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire