FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Use of Language

Some are better at it than others; others, still, can state in a single sentence what most will try in a paragraph or a novel.  Poets are linguistic craftsmen who utilize an economy of words but convey the greater qualitative vehicle of descriptions and word-pictures; and essayists, confined often by space limited by editors and restricted by practical concerns, not the least of which may involve the potential boredom or attention-span of readers, must by necessity struggle with clarity of content.

The use of language is a funny thought; for the best of those who engage in it effortlessly, the ideas, concepts and descriptive pictures conveyed is accomplished without concern of the process, but merely by “doing it”.  Language is something we use daily; yet, few of us pause to consider it as a tool or implement of our daily lives.  A gardener who has mislaid his or her spade will look for it and, if it turns out that it is lost, will declare, “I cannot go out into the garden to work, today.”

Do we do that with language?  Do we wake up and say, “Well, today, I mislaid my X, and therefore I cannot engage in the language game.”  Of course, we refer to language as a “tool” in a metaphorical sense, and so we recognize that there are practical distinctions to be made between a spade and language, but nevertheless, they are both “tools” which are used — or misused — in our everyday lives.

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 his or her Federal or Postal job, the time to consider the use of language becomes an important and relevant issue precisely because persuasion, description and argumentation are what must be engaged in presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an attorney in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; for, in the end, the use of language will be necessary in maneuvering through a complex bureaucratic process that also uses language to deny one’s right to a benefit which must be fought for, and language is just as much a tool of use as it is a weapon of abuse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability for Federal and Postal Employees: Comparisons

Does it help to make them?  Do we take comfort in judging the relative plusses and minuses in making comparisons — as in, X has A, B and C, but I have, in addition, D and E, and therefore I am more fortunate that X is.  Or, is it a comparison of one’s conditions, as in: “Boy, at least I don’t have X like Lisa does”, or “At least I am not in Y’s situation”?

To the extent that comparisons remind us of that which we are blessed with, they allow for a certain level of utilitarian value.  But there is a negative side to it: Of jealousy engendered by comparison, or of discontent resulting from making one.  Rousseau, of course, makes that point throughout his “Social Contract” analysis, of the purity of man’s intentions in that fictional state of “nature” that we were once in, but where society’s accretions of materialism created the artificial emotional response of discontent and jealousy.  But compared to what?

It is important to make the fair and correlative comparisons which are relevant — as in “apples to apples” and not “apples to oranges”.  For, it is the uniqueness of each entity, object or situation to be compared with the singularity of another that makes for a proper comparison.

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 inadvisable to compare one’s case to somebody else’s.  For, the proper comparison is not to evaluate one’s medical condition and the severity of one’s medical condition to that of another person’s medical condition; rather, the proper comparison in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to compare one’s medical condition to the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, comparisons made must always take into account the relevant connections which relate not just in terms of similarities, but as is the case in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in what the law allows for and considers significant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Social Security Requirement

There is often confusion.  In fact, some Federal and Postal employees think that the “Prerequisite requirement” of filing for Social Security Disability benefits means that you have to wait to get it approved before you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The unforeseen consequences resulting from such a misunderstanding is that some Federal or Postal employees wait, and wait, and become separated, and continue to wait and allow for the 1-year rule (of having to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service) to expire, then try and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Or, others confuse the two and somehow believe that filing for Social Security Disability benefits is the same as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such confusion is often based upon either misinformation or misinterpretation; either way, the consequences of acting upon, or failing to act as a result of, can result in irreversible damage.

If you are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law before trying to maneuver through the maze of confusing requirements, prerequisites and bureaucratic language.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit earned; to obtain it, however, it must be fought for and granted, and in order to do that, representation by an experienced attorney is often the best in making your way through the legal maze of confusion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Who we are

That is a rather presumptuous title, one might declare; for, it is always the “we” that others presume to know, as opposed to limiting the declarative within the restrictive confines of one’s self, family and surrounding community.

What is the great equalizer that allows for the collective plural pronoun?  Is it television (i.e., do “we” all watch the same shows and thus form a conglomerate of a universal consciousness)?  There was once a time when one could argue that a unity of convention existed — especially harkening back to the days when there were essentially 3 networks to choose from, and where all three were similar in content, thought and approach.

In modernity, is it the Internet?  But the worldwide “web’ is too diverse to narrowly formulate a cumulative effect of similar normative beliefs.

Perhaps that is why society in general is so diverse and fractured; where even a simple consensus amidst a small community cannot be reached, and how geographic differences have become exponentially and irreversibly altered and separated from one another.

Who are we?  Yes, the inversion substitution of the second word with the third makes the declarative into a query, and changes the entire subject matter.  It is, perhaps, both a statement and a question, and neither make sense, anymore.  And so we are left with a singular voice — of a monologue and an aside, or as in a play, a soliloquy, where the character asks the universal question, Who am I?  Am I the collective consciousness of my direct descendent, and does that have meaningfulness, anymore?  Why do we seek answers by purchasing and sending away “DNA kits”, as if the spiral spectrum of cellular anomalies would be able to answer the question which haunts us all?

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 potential loss of one’s identity within the community of Federal and Postal workers is often the step that is difficult to take.

One’s identity, purpose, drive and dreams are often bundled up into an inseparable conglomeration of work and identity, and to separate from that self-identification is often a difficult venture to undertake.  But the danger, of course, is that you may be forcibly separated if you do not take the steps necessary to protect your identity.

The Agency will ultimately terminate you, and the harassment because you have taken too much Sick Leave, Annual Leave, FMLA or LWOP is inevitable.  Better that you file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits and retain a semblance of who you are, lest the Federal Agency or the Postal Service does that to you unilaterally, leaving you with the question, Who do they think they are?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: The full emptiness

Beyond the definite article, the two adjectives would remain self-contradictory if the meaning attempting to be projected were either both (A) in the physical sense or (B) in the spatial, cognitive sense.

A further explanation may be in order, here.  Contradictions often occur when words are mistaken to be conveyed in a single dimension, but can be modified if explained that they represent different conditions, occupying a sense of distinction that can be differentiated because of the slight alteration of contextual bifurcation.

Certainly, the terms “full” and “empty” become self-contradictory when applied in a physical sense for both terms; but if either of the terms are meant to represent different dimensions — i.e., “full” in the physical sense and “emptiness” as an emotion or feeling, or vice versa (“full” in an appetitive meaning and “empty” as a physical fact), then the contextual distinction takes on a differentiated meaning.

One often says that such phrases containing self-contradictory terms are merely a “play on words”, and indeed, it is normally intended to convey a thought-provoking compound of a conceptual construct.  The “full emptiness” is an idea that can denote many meanings; perhaps of a life filled with activities, but somehow lacking in meaningfulness; or, of an individual whose outward appearance is one of fulfillment and contentment, but whose soul is wanting because of a tragedy in his or her past.

That has always been the essence of a life worthy of condemnation, has it not?  Of a friction that continues to rub against each other — of appearance versus reality, of internal versus external; the contrast between the inner sanctum of thoughts and the outer reality of what is expressed.  For, of what worth is a life if it cannot be condemned?

The full emptiness is what most of us project to others, and how others behave towards us; that is the unfortunate aspect of living among and amidst each other.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the self-contradictory concept of a “full emptiness” is a familiar theme.

The outward appearance must continue to be maintained — of competence, ability to multi-task, and capacity to take it all in; all of this, despite the ongoing medical conditions that debilitate and progressively deteriorate.  The inner reality often tells of a different story: of pain; non-restorative sleep; profound fatigue; physical and mental dysfunctions that are hidden and concealed.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a step towards vanquishing the contradiction of a life of full emptiness; it is to recognize that the negative circumstances of the medical condition need not dominate the positive hope that is still held that a career once deemed promising can yet open up into a future undaunted by the medical conditions themselves, by securing a Federal Disability Retirement and focussing upon getting one’s health back into balance so that the conundrum of a full emptiness can become a thing of the past.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: The unsolvable dilemma

Most of us live linear lives.  It is a characteristic of Western Civilization that the thought-processes involve a sequential, step-by-step, logical extension and advancement.

Much has been said about this approach, in contrast to an “Eastern” philosophical methodology, where there is a “circular” mind-set that often involves the complexities of reincarnation, capacity to assimilate inconsistent, incommensurate and seemingly incompatible belief-systems – and, indeed, to even describe the “other” as a “methodology” is an oxymoron of unfair proportions, for it is more of an amalgamation of acceptance without hesitation – like the symbiosis of Shinto and Zen Buddhism in Japanese culture.

Such an approach – of a straight line from Point A to Destination X – that reflects the essence of the Western culture, including Continental Europe, the British linguistic solutions and the U.S. pragmatism that dominates, leaves us with an emptiness when we encounter and engage the unsolvable dilemma.  Perhaps that is the primary deficit in “our” approach, as opposed to the “other” one.  For, in attempting to think always in a linear fashion, we become frustrated when the solution cannot be figured out or otherwise consummated.

A problem left unsolved is one that we consider to be a failure of sorts, because the pragmatism of Western thought requires that all problems have solutions; it is a paradigm that has been ingrained in the DNA of our very being and essence.  But life doesn’t quite work in that way, does it?  There are unsolvable problems – where we just have to accept what “is” and move on with the deficit of a solution.

Medical conditions comprise one such class of such unsolvable issues.  We like to think that the “science” of medicine provides for a cure through complex and technologically modern treatment modalities for every identification of diagnosed maladies; but it quickly becomes obvious that many medical conditions simply do not have a linear resolution.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the linear approach of Western Civilization often will not work.  There is an incompatible friction that quickly arises between the Federal agency and the Postal facility, and the Federal employee and Postal worker.

Often, the only “solution” is an exit via filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted for consideration ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Does it “solve” the problem?  Not really.  For the Federal or Postal employee, the medical condition continues with him or her after separation from the Federal workforce; and for the agency or the Postal facility, the loss of a formerly valuable and productive employee invested in for those many years, cannot easily be replaced.

But getting a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is a compromise of sorts; it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to seek other opportunities in the private sector, and to attend to the medical conditions with greater focus; and for the Federal agency and Postal facility, it allows for employment of another, more healthier worker who can fulfill all of the essential elements of the job.  Nevertheless, it remains an “unsolvable dilemma”, to be relegated to the “Eastern” approach, and leaving a void to the “Western” perspective.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Broken Promises

It is a surprise that we are constantly surprised by them.  Why should we be?  Do we elevate man to such a pinnacle of virtue as the angels who look down upon us with remorseful eyes?  Are there more of them today, like shattered mirrors or destroyed lives littering the highways of hopeful futures stretching out into a path of devastated backdrops in the history of unknown commoners who lay quietly in the tombs that speak not but in haunting whispers in muted graveyards long abandoned with the silence of church bells that no longer toll?

Promises are but linguistic constructs that are controlled by the good intentions of those who make them, and restricted by the constraints of social virtues that no longer exist, have been modified, disavowed and have now been deemed archaic in this modernity of relative moral standards.

Once upon a time (or so the fairytale goes), a handshake, a nod, a single word without the written confirmation, the 10-page fax to declare a deal made, or the fine-print of agreements incomprehensible – they constituted the affirmation of man’s purity of intent, motivation and virtuous underbelly unseen but for the flight of angels touching and tugging upon our conscience when evil forces attempted to lead us astray.

Now, we have found the power of linguistic elasticity.  It is no longer a “lie”, and perhaps it was always known, just as Eve realized the cunning of justification, persuasive argumentation and methodological coercion; no, broken promises no longer exist – instead, it is a mutual “misunderstanding”, failure of minds to meet, or just plain wrong-headedness on the part of the one who relied upon a promise made.

No one really believes anyone else’s handshake, anymore – and, in any event, who shakes hands these days?  What can it mean but a mere vestige of an arcane eccentricity that needs be relegated to those rustic movies where granddad and obscure relatives and neighbors would jump from frame-to-frame in old movies where a wave to the camera was the memorabilia to preserve, now replaced by thousands of Selfies stored in electronic devices neither for posterity nor discretion of family enjoyment, but for self-aggrandizement and public display for prurient intentions.

Like granddad’s smile that once reassured as the solid Rock of Gibraltar, promises don’t mean anything, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who think that assurances of accommodating medical conditions because, somehow, laws are in place that provide for that, think about it for a moment:  Without the laws, would a promise mean anything?  Further, do the laws really protect, or are they also just linguistic modalities easily manipulated?  Fortunately, however, laws can work both ways, and Federal Disability Retirement Law operates in favor of Federal and Postal employees with a standard of proof geared towards an approval – of a preponderance of the evidence.

No, the promises made by Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service may not amount to much, and the heap of junk piles left behind by broken promises may litter the once-beautiful landscape of arcane handshakes in years past, but the availability of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits remains a reality for those Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that there is now an incompatibility between one’s medical conditions and the performance of one’s essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire