Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

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 loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: These Holidays

Do We dread, or welcome them?  Is it a season to which we look forward, or hope that they will quickly fade into memories best left forgotten?  Is it to endure, tolerate, give a plastic smile to, or do we guffaw uproariously where our hearts flutter with sincere flushes of joyful tears?

On the other hand, must our emotions always be bifurcated into extremes of disjunctives?  Must it be “Either/Or” (to borrow Kierkegaard’s Title to his opus magnum)?  Can it not be some compromised “middle ground” where we enjoy certain parts of it, tolerate with indifference others, and leave the rest to the ash heaps of eternal drawers shuttering away in memories unrevealed?

The “Holidays” are a time of bustle; and though we complain of the “commercialism” of the modern era, we refrain and restrain ourselves because we know that, to do so is to be tagged a “Scrooge”; and so we quietly acquiesce, “go with the flow” and smile wanly as the world decorates itself in preparation for a single day in a time of multiple troubles.

But in the end, isn’t it nice to “make-believe?”  For, there are always the tomorrows and the day after; the day before, and other times of mundane and common occurrences, and to celebrate one out of all of those “others”, even if tomorrow brings back the reality of tumults and memories of better yesterdays — still, through it all, it is nice to gather around and sing a Christmas carol, to light a candle, to bow in prayer for thanks and wishes.

In the end, it is — after all — these Holidays that matter not because the world says so, but because we have an excuse to be with family, friends, hug and laugh, if only for a day in remembrance of these holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Whole is greater than the sum

The “full” adage, of course, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and connotes the idea that the interaction of the various components or elements constitute, in their entirety, a greater effect and impact than the efficacy of quantifying the singular components in their individual capacities added merely together.  It is the working in tandem of individual components that creates a greater whole than the sum of its independent parts, and this can be true whether in a negative or positive sense.

One has only to witness a crowd of individuals working together, whether in riot control or as a military unit, to witness an active, positive impact or, in a negative sense, a pack of wild dogs attacking their prey — working in coordination, circling, attacking in conjunction with one another, etc.  Medical conditions have a similar negative impact; we tend to be able to “handle” a single health crisis, but when they come in bunches, we often fall apart at the seeming enormity of the impact and the dire perspective it engulfs us with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of being overwhelmed, where the medical conditions seem to take on a whole greater than the sum of their individual components, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, it is necessary to recognize the dominance of the greater whole in order to focus upon the elements which have taken on a lesser role — like taking care of one’s health.  Prioritizing matters is important, and when one’s health has taken on a secondary status and where the compendium of medical problems have taken on an exponential effect deleterious to one’s well-being, the Federal or Postal employee should consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such a consultation may prove Aristotle’s wisdom to be correct — that the whole of such a consultation is greater than the sum of their individual words combined, or something close to that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The Grammar of Life

How we speak about the world; the words we use, the vocabulary inserted; and of the commas, hyphens and semicolons inserted; are they merely contained within the language games engaged, or are they reflective of a greater whole within aworld that views reality through the lens of language? Does what we say, how we speak, the words we choose and the accent intoned make a difference – and, if so, how, to whom and to what extent?

Certainly, it shapes how “others” see us, but what of our own self-image and the role we play in the everyday discourse of life?  When we refer to the “grammar of life”, the connotations and insinuations are endless; for, in this age of modernity, where most of us rarely encounter the objective world – except when crossing streets, sitting down for a meal or engaging in private acts otherwise unseen and unheard – but remain within the various “language games” of discourse, thoughts, self-reflection, analysis, contemplation and soliloquys.

Think about it; what amount of time is spent on reading, writing, responding to emails, getting on the computer, viewing, watching a movie, a video, discoursing with someone else, on our smartphones, texting, etc.?  In all such amalgamations of activities just described, we are merely engaging in the grammar of life – of the rules of speaking, emailing, texting, commenting, responding, initiating, etc.  The remainder – of actual engagement in the reality of this “objective” universe we must contend with – has become but a fragment of this surreal, virtual and insular world.

How much time have we spent on “perfecting” or otherwise becoming more skillful in maneuvering through the curves and pitches of this new reality?  Have we mastered the grammar of life, or are we just bumbling through the discourses as if reality is merely a byproduct and encountering the “world” is but a means to an end?

The Grammar of Life is important to recognize, because we spend a great deal more time in it than we recognize or admit to, and we were drawn into that alternative universe without any deliberative intent or acknowledgment of choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, you need to prepare to engage a “special” section of the Grammar of Life when coming up against your Federal Agency, the Postal Service and OPM, when preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet.

For, in the end, it is the “ultimate” of putting together a compendium of language games – from how the medical reports and records are presented; to the legal arguments made; to the fashioning of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A – all constitute and are comprised of the Grammar of Life, and if you have not been preparing throughout your life to take on such a challenge, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who has honed the skills of what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, which are the three essential rules in the Grammar of Life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Disadvantage of the I-Thou Perspective

People tend to expect the best results; and when a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the applicant who is unrepresented and prepares, formulates and files the Federal Disability Retirement packet on his or her own believes that an approval is forthcoming at the First Stage of the Process.  Yet, often unaware and unbeknownst to the Federal or Postal applicant, the lack of separation between the I-Thou construct fails to provide a proper perspective of objectivity.

Allow me to expand and explain:  As the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition (the “I”) is the same person who prepares, formulates and files the Medical Retirement application (the “thou” from the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management), any sense of objectivity is often lost because the I and the Thou are one and the same person, and the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition is simultaneously the same one who is seeking an approval of the OPM Disability Retirement application.

Of course, that same scenario is repeated even if the application is filed through a Federal Disability lawyer (in the sense that the Federal or Postal employee still seeks to obtain an approval from OPM) with one major exception:  there is another “thou” perspective included and involved — that of the Federal lawyer representing the Federal or Postal employee who is seeking to have a Federal Disability Retirement application approved.

Objectivity is a crucial component of a Federal Disability Retirement application; that is why so many “silly” mistakes are injuriously embraced without self-knowledge or with disengaged awareness.  It is like the cook who loved the taste of arsenic, and thought that everyone else should as well; and so he sprinkled the deadly poison onto his own food and enjoyed the taste of his own creation, only to slowly die from the feed of his own foolishness.

There are many “kinds” in the arena of foolish endeavors:  There is the “quantitative approach” (“I sent them thousands of pages of treatment records”) which fails to ask the question, Who will read it all?  There is the “trusting soul”:  “I just signed a release and had them send it all directly to my Human Resource Office”.  Then, there is the person of naive disbelief:  “How could they not approve it with the medical conditions I suffer from?”

The problem with all of these is the lack of objective perspective; the I-Thou connection is now given the distance, separateness and objectivity necessary to determine the viability and effectiveness of each and every piece of the puzzle needed to put together a proper Federal Disability Retirement application.  Are there ever any guarantees in life?  No.  Can a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement laws make a difference?  Yes.

Fortunately, unlike the metaphor arising from the cook and the salsa of arsenic, there are multiple stages within the administrative process of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and a denial at the First Stage of the bureaucratic pathway is not irreversible, and does not result in the inertia of life rendered by ingestion of substances otherwise tasty but harmful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Employees from the Postal Service and Other Federal Agencies: Things That Go Bump in the Night

The nightmare of filing for FERS Disability Retirement in times of financial, emotional, and medical needs

Whether or not childhood fear and traumas have a long-term impact in determinable ways upon reactive capacities later in life; to what extent regularity of behaviors, consistency of habitual living, and early imprinting mechanisms influence subconscious firings of synapses, remains within the mysterious realm of esoteric knowledge investigated and analyzed by the coalescence of science, philosophy and psychology; but it is the lay person who must, during the process of unfolding discovery and wisdom, live the consequences of actions impacted by others.

Sometimes, however, it is not what others do, but rather, circumstances which manifest of untold trauma and misery, for which no explanation but a shrug of one’s shoulders can presume.  Medical conditions fall into that category.  How one reacts to it; the extent of the impact upon one’s life, livelihood and future; and the preparations one must undertake in order to secure the betterment for one’s life when once you get beyond the condition itself, if ever; these are all concerns and pathways of responsibilities which fall upon a person who suddenly finds him or herself with a medical condition of significant magnitude.

Whether physical in nature — where orthopedic pain, limitation of flexion and movement; chronic pain, profound fatigue, or neurological issues resulting from disc desiccation, internal derangement of joints, etc.; or of psychiatric issues encompassing the many complex diagnoses, including Bipolar Disorder, pain and anxiety issues, Major Depression, depressive disorders; it matters not in the end, for either and both impact those decisions which one must make in determining the pathway of one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must always be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For Federal Disability Retirement, preconditions and pre-existing conditions matter not; it is not like an OWCP claim where the focus of query may attempt to undermine a claim based upon the origin of the condition; and so the “how” and the “why” are not relevant issues, as in “how did it happen” or “why did it occur”?  The relevant inquiry does not encompass the “time before”; it does not delve into the deep reaches of one’s damaged psyche, or of preexistent traumas in the far recesses of damaged lives.

Whether or not things go bump in the night when once we become adults matters less, than the experiential trauma of having to deal with present issues that impact one immediately.  Taking care of life’s interruptions is a necessary component of living, and for Federal and Postal workers whose future avenue of livelihood is impacted by a medical condition, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement is of paramount importance.

Bumps always tend to occur in the night; it is what the “thing” is that we must identify and resolve, and what bodes for the uncertain future into which we must venture.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire