FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Preparing the case

For some reason, Federal and Postal workers who “prepare” and submit a Federal Disability Retirement application, do so without much thought as to what is entailed by the entire process.

They will often rely upon what the “Human Resource Office” tells them — of forms to fill out, what form to give to the doctor, the form to give to the supervisor, etc., and will spend more time trying to figure out the confusing life insurance form than in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) or the legal precedents that govern Federal Disability Retirement Law — and then, when it gets denied at the Initial Stage of the process and the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant goes back to the H.R. “Specialist” and asks, “Well, what do I do now?”, the response is: “That is not our problem; that’s a problem you have to deal with.”

Accountability is not known to be a commonly recognized characteristic in a Human Resource Office, and while there are never any guarantees in life, in any sector or endeavor, at a minimum, when one is being “assisted” and guided through an administrative process, it is important to know whether or not whoever you are relying upon will see you through to the end.

Why the Federal or Postal employee who begins the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application does so without the same care, scrutiny and comprehensive approach as one does in “other” legal cases, is a puzzle.

Federal Disability Retirement — whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — is as complex a case as any other, and should be approached with the same intensity, technical application and expertise as a patent and trademark case, or a complicated medical malpractice filing.  For, a Federal Disability Retirement case involves every aspect of any other type of complex litigation — of the proper medical evidence to gather; of meeting the established legal standard in order to meet the burden of proof; of citing the relevant legal precedents in order to persuade the reviewer at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and presenting a compelling description to a “jury” at OPM that one has met the nexus between “having a medical condition” and the inconsistency inherent with the positional duties required, etc.

In the end, preparing the case for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application involves greater complexity than what the layman can normally account for, and as the fine print in those television commercials state involving sporty vehicles maneuvering at high speeds, you may not want to try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Enduring, surviving or achieving victory

The first two in the tripartite of conceptual constructs are similar in meaning; the third and last, an extension beyond where it may include a historical background of the first two but emerge with a separateness of conclusion from them.  To endure is similar to surviving; to survive, to endure the difficulties and maintain a semblance of remaining intact.

One can “endure” a traumatic event and survive it; similarly, one can survive such an event and, in retrospect, realize that to have endured the experience was the very key to such a conclusion.  One can endure and survive, however, and yet fail to achieve any victory.  For, victory is the conclusion and outcome of how one has endured and survived; the first two are thus necessary condition precedents, in one sense, in order for the third to occur.

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 the Federal job, the necessity in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may become a reality.

For the time being, perhaps the medical condition has not gotten “too bad”, and the Federal or Postal employee may be able to endure the difficulties, go into work and maintain a level of productivity such that no adverse actions from the Federal Agency or Postal Service may result.  Or, the medical condition may be tolerable such that the Federal or Postal employee may be able to survive for the next year, or even the following few years, and be able to endure the turmoil of balancing work, family, progressively deteriorating medical conditions and the essential elements that the Federal or Postal employee must be able to endure.

If and when the time comes, however, for the Federal or Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the test at that point will not be whether or not the Federal or Postal employee can endure or survive the lengthy administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement application, but rather, whether one can come out at the “other end” by achieving victory.

In order for that to happen, knowledge of the legal basis to be argued, the necessary connection between the medical condition and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job – all must be effectively compiled, argued and persuasively presented.  For that to happen, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Latent dignity

There are people who, by their very carriage, command respect and deference; it is like the royal crest without intimate knowledge of lives or spoilage in whispers behind shuttered windows – it is just presumed.  Does man possess a latent dignity beyond the carrion of an eagle’s flight?  Are we, indeed, just below the angels, and above the fray of predatory delights?

Ah, but lest we forget the devastation wrought upon the concept of man, history and the inheritance of lineage, when materialism became the birthright of man and the genetic predisposition as espoused by the paradigm proffered by Darwinism became the penultimate penumbra of the image we carry forth of ourselves; and when we discarded faith in angels, affinity to the noble character of man, and association in the exclusive club of rationality as the essence of being – once these were ignored, dismissed and derided, then we refused the rightful inheritance of our rich ancestry.

Of what dignity, latent or expedient, may we claim, now?  How, and with what birth right, can we stake the soul of a mere mortal who reaches as the epitome of being nothing more than the cadaver upon which vultures feed?  Once discarded, the metaphysical lineage of man disappears, and any transcendence of being – whether of the three parts of the soul or even the road to Mecca – they have been forsaken for the eternal gluttony of human appetite.

Once, when wars were fought not for oil nor the glory of mercenary satisfaction, but words of honor and fidelity, for family, country and salvation of souls; and not of mere seedlings left for others to starve upon, but for things we once believed in, had faith of, and sought the worth of sacrifice in a universe otherwise left to others and countless ineptitude of bureaucratic morass.

There was, once upon a time, a story for mythology to fill; for giants to slay, dragons to conquer, and pathways to forge without fear of retribution.  But, somewhere along the way, something strange happened; we lost faith, left behind tradition, and allowed the foolishness of youth to prevail and rule upon the rationality of man’s heritage.  Beauty was accepted as the glamour of a television show; substance was interpreted as a funny one-liner on a late-night comedic episode; and instead of Western Civilization’s tradition of gratitude, humility and love of neighbor, we were suddenly left with nothing more than the emptiness of materialism and the promise of nothing more than death, decay and an unmarked tombstone with etched markings which merely revealed the beginning of life and the end of living.

In what promise, then, do we knock upon the door for that latent dignity we define as man?

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 engaging in that most meaningful of projects – one’s career, work and vocation of choice – because of the very medical condition itself, there comes a time when the harassment, intimidation and demeaning conduct perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service must be stopped.  Sometimes – and often enough – that plan of stoppage can only be sought and embraced through the effective preparation, formulation and filing of 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.

Only by moving beyond the arena of demeaning venues of life can we attain a status and stature of latent dignity; for, it becomes clear in this age of modernity, that such dignity is no longer latent, but remains for the individual to assert and declare, and not allow the silence of the lambs to drown out the pureness of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: And then we die

(It is the parenthetical previous statement that ultimately matters, left blank to be completed, and never to be presumed).  Actions of finality, or seemingly so, tend to create an aura of despair and angst.  Once, in a world where purpose was never questioned, and the teleological end of man never brought forth the hint of doubt, the cohesiveness of society’s resolve was never a pause.  It is the modernity of hesitation, trepidation and loss of judgment that brings us to the pit of incessant questioning, as opposed to “doing”.  This is a maddening world, where the rise of Existentialism and post-modern impotence leaves us to seek therapy at every turn.

What we do in our lives before that terminal event; what dreams we once possessed before the souring of cynicism overwhelmed us; and of those lazy summer nights when the dancing illumination of fireflies dotted the canvas of a blackened void, when thoughts would drift beyond the mere mediocrities of present lives, current circumstances and seemingly unassailable realities which constrained, restricted and limited the dreams shattered by the reality of our travails; it was then that a glimmer of hope, an expectation of possibility, and a hint of potentiality yet unrealized, would creep into the essence of our souls.

Fairytales matter, because youth cannot survive another day without some fantasy of hope; and doors left unopened and locked with the resolve of “forever” will only diminish and destroy, where the need for tomorrow yet shouts in a rashness of desire.  To shut the pathway to dreams or to construct obstacles for the mere sake of obstruction is to strangle that parenthetical gleam of light yet unextinguished and to betray the angels who look down upon us with the remnants of wings to be unfurled, in hopes of fluttering to pass by with a smile.

Perhaps, one day, there will still be such follies to believe in.  For now, there is only the toil of daily grind, and thus are we left with the question implicit in the statement:  And then we die.

In Muriel Barbery’s work, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a youthful life of advantage but of seeming meaninglessness is traded with an older woman’s upward trajectory once lost in the anonymity of class distinctions, and the theme throughout encompasses the essence of a life’s worth.  We all want to embrace meaning and value in the life which has been given; have we fulfilled our potential?  Did the dreams we once possessed, handed to us like jewels on a plate of limitless infinity, become realized, or was it a wasted phantasm like a handful of sand squeezed and escaping through the crevices of our closed fists?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the questions garnered by thoughts of future insecurity are natural and plentiful.  It is, in many ways, similar to the refrain repeated herein:  And then we die.

Once a Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee is separated from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, one wonders:  Was my work of any lasting value?  Did I leave an imprint upon the shifting sands of a prior existence?  Did I make a difference?

But those questions should be cast aside and left behind, and instead, it is still the future of one’s unfinished work that should always be focused upon, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to continue the narrative in working upon that familiar refrain, that the future still promises a fulfillment of unfinished potentiality, and the unmarked grave need not be one which is unvisited even in the twilight of our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire