OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Translation & Interpretation

On a superficial level, the difference between the two is often one of merely the “medium”: Translation involves the written text, while interpretation concerns the oral conversion from one language to another.  Used in a more complex, nuanced sense, however, both can involve oral and written communication; the difference being, translation encompasses the conversion of one language into another, whether orally or in written form, whereas interpretation involves the meaning behind the words translated.

We do this with ease each and every day; of listening to voices and sounds, warnings and admonitions, directions and requests — interpreting their meaning, force, relevance and impact as we live our lives.  We may translate the body language of another into what we deem as their “meaning”; or visit a foreign country with a dictionary in hand and attempt to comprehend the words and phrases spoken all around us.

We also interpret what is being said — of the content of the collective words and phrases jettisoned from mouths flapping words and emitting sounds, and how we interpret what we hear can make a difference in what we do, how we react and why we engage in the acts we embrace.  Law is an interpretive process, as well as a procedure involving translation.  It is a different kind of a language game involving statutes, case-laws and precedents that must undergo the complex translation and interpretation process.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to consult with a FERS Disability Retirement Attorney who specializes in the translation and interpretation of Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law.

Don’t be left lost in the “foreign country” of Federal Disability Retirement Law and its complex administrative processes without consulting a “dictionary” of terms and legal phrases.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Meaning

It is the centrality of being, the core of life and the essence of who we are, what we do and why we endure the hardships of daily living.  Without it, the soul drags, the body wanes, the mind begins to wander.  With it, there is the deliberative step, the bounce in one’s actions, the energy within and the purposeful glint in one’s eyes.

Meaning” is what drives; its lack, like a balloon which has been punctured and is allowed to sputter aimlessly through the air.  Whether philosophy can solve the conundrum that is questioned; or that faith can endure a lifetime of disappointments; and of what it is “made up of” — whether in answering the most profound of questions, or merely enjoying the company of friends and family — we may never know.

Is there a “formula” to having it?  Can there be meaning in one’s life without close family or friends?  Is there a singular definition of what “meaning” means, or is it different for each individual?  Is it something to “find” or discover, or is it something that we are either born with, or not?

Work is certainly a part of it; for, as so much time is spent in working, one must be able to derive some meaning from a vocation —otherwise, we would end up admitting that a greater portion of our lives is spent in meaningless endeavors.

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 one’s job, it often means [sic] that there is a loss of “meaning” in the job that one has because of the struggles one must endure in balancing family, personal obligations and work requirements.

Federal Disability Retirement may not be the answer to the loss of meaning; it does, however, allow for the Federal or Postal worker to secure a base annuity in order to make plans for the future.  And planning for the future is, at a minimum, a good start in finding that pathway for greater meaning in one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early FERS Medical Retirement: Inside Life & Outside Appearance

Each of us lives an insular life.  It is that “private” side of us which remains so at our option.

How much of it is allowed into the public arena, and to whom we may share with, those are dependent upon multiple factors — of desiring to; of releasing information about ourselves that may allow for one to become “vulnerable”; of secretive lies; of shameful pasts; of thoughts that may be considered imprudent or childish; of foolish past exploits that may embarrass; of actions committed that were long forgotten by everyone but the self; and many more besides.

Then, of course, there is the “Outside appearance” — the person who is a compendium and pieced-together puzzle.  That “person” is comprised of many facets: By those who “know” you at the office, but perhaps in a restricted, limited way; by neighbors and acquaintances; by closer family members; by people who may have only come in contact by telephone or the internet, etc.

How much of the Inside life and the Outside appearance overlap may be best illustrated by a Venn diagram — or by a multitude of concentric circles, depending upon who is asked about a particular person.  Some scrupulously guard the inside life; others, like an open book left unguarded and unmarked, allow for the two parallel streams to mix and mingle without thoughts of restricting access.

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 one’s Federal or Postal position, the concept of the “Inside life” and the “Outside appearance” is important to consider when entertaining the idea of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the Federal or Postal employee may be suffering from a medical condition, how much of that “Inside life” has impacted the “Outside appearance” — i.e., the medical condition’s impact upon one’s performance, conduct or attendance — will be questioned by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in determining the merits of the case.

It is, in a FERS Disability Retirement case, the “Outside appearance” that will be determinative, so that no matter the extent of pain or anguish experienced by the “Inside Life”, it is the “Outside appearance” which will be the facet of evaluative validity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS: The Pressure Cooker

As a practical device, it retains nutrients and cooks various foods faster because of the intensity of the heat, thereby quickly forcing nutrients out into the cauldron of mixed vegetables, all the while tenderizing the tough meat.  As a metaphor, it represents a symbol of the human condition: Stolid on the outside, reaching uncontrollable and explosive currents beneath the surface.

Other metaphors often accompany the picture of the pressure cooker: The “walking time bomb”; the “short fuse”; the “screaming boss” and the “fragile psyche” — these and many more describe the state of modernity’s human condition.  And the picture of the final straw that breaks the camel’s back — of the slow, subtle, incremental and progressively destructive forces which cumulatively burden the back of the beast until the final straw breaks it under the weight of stresses no longer bearable.

Life is difficult; and when a medical condition adds upon the pile of troubles we burden ourselves with, the image of the pressure cooker comes to the fore.  The chores that we leave undone; the work that demands; the relationships which wither; the time that is irredeemably lost; these, and many more, fall into the mixture of the pressure cooker that has no more nutrients to offer.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition has added to the pressure cooker of life’s travails, it may be time to contact a FERS Disability Attorney to consider representation for filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The pressure cooker is meant to serve, not to destroy; but if the pressure building gets to a certain level beyond the danger point, it is well past the time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Technically correct

What does a person mean when it is said, “Yes, that is technically correct”?  Does it matter where the inflection resides, or which part of the statement is emphasized?  If greater syllabic magnification is placed on the word itself, whilst the remainder of the sentence is left in a monotone of boredom, is something else being conveyed beyond the mere words declared?

What if the hesitation on the first word is elongated, as in, “Ye-e-e-s, you are technically correct.”?  Or, how about this one:  “Y-e-e-e-s…you ARE technically correct.”?  Further, why do we always expect a conjunction to follow, as in, “Yes, you are technically correct, but…”?  Does such a sentence imply that a person can also be un-technically correct?  If so, what would that mean and what factors would be included in coming to such a conclusion?

What practical or real-life consequences are inherent in the truth of such a statement, such that it might alter or modify our approach to a given subject?  If an engineer is building a skyscraper and turns to the architect and says,” Yes, you may be technically correct, but the entire building could nonetheless collapse” — how is it possible that the architect could be “technically correct” yet mistake the un-technical side of things such that it could result in a life-threatening disaster?

Or, in law, if a lawyer is “technically correct” but might nevertheless lose a case before a jury, does that mean that the “technical” argument in the law may not carry the day because the jury might take into consideration factors other than the law itself in rendering its collective decision?  Yet, isn’t “the law” nothing more than an aggregate of technicalities to begin with, and therefore, does it even make sense to speak of being “technically correct” within the purview of the legal arena?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be technically filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether technically under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it may be technically correct that certain legal criteria must be technically met; however, when putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application, just remember that the technically sufficient Federal Disability Retirement application should always, technically speaking, contain an aggregation of medical documentation, legal argumentation and personal narrative combined to make an effective presentation, better guided by a legal technician otherwise known as a counselor, attorney or lawyer in this technically empowered universe — technically speaking, of course.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Meaningful turns

How many turns do we make on any given day?  Not just actual ones, like those turns while driving a car, but figurative ones, as well.  If a person approaches you and asks, “Did you make the right turn?” — what is the response?  Is there a “right” answer?  Is there a relationship in the English language between the terms “right”, “left” and the physical attributes we possess?

If a person tells of another, “He’s way out in left field,” is that because we attribute the term “left” with residues of the negative?  And, how did the terms “left” and “right”, when referred to in politics, come to have a meaning of equivalency?  Was the fact that right-hand dominance was historically preferred to left-handedness, to the extent that teachers once used to punish those students who naturally attempted to utilize their left hands in handwriting, drawing, etc., account for the linguistic dominance and preference given to the term “right” as opposed to “left”.

Do we understand the concept with greater presumption when a person says, “He made a left turn and got lost,” even if the person actually made a right turn and found himself in an unfamiliar neighborhood?  And what of “meaningful” turns – are there such things, as opposed to spurious and meaningless ones?  How often we confuse and conflate language with figurative speech and objective facts; and then we wonder why most people wander through life with confusion, puzzlement and an inability to cope.

Russell and the entire contingent of British linguistic philosophers, of course, attempted to relegate all of the problems of philosophy to a confusion with language – and, of course, only the British, with their history of Shakespeare and the sophistication of language, its proper usage and correctness of applicability could possess the arrogance of making such an argument.

But back to “meaningful turns” – in one sense, in the “real world”, every turn is meaningful to the extent that we turn and proceed towards a destination of intended resolve.  But in the figurative sense, it refers to the steps we take in mapping out consequential decisions.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position and duties, the “meaningful turn” that one must consider should by necessity ask many questions:  How long can I continue in this job?  What are the consequences of my staying, both to my health as well as from the Agency’s perspective?  How long before my agency realizes that I am not capable of doing all of the essential elements of my job?  Will my excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP become a problem with the agency?  And what about my health?

These are just a series of beginning questions on the long road towards making one of the meaningful turns that confront the Federal or Postal employee in the quest for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Life can change in a day

A wise person once quipped that, If you don’t like the weather in this area, wait a day and it’ll come around.  The greater meaning of such a kernel of wisdom, of course, is that it is a microcosm of a wider reflection concerning life itself; wait long enough – sometimes a week, a month, a year, or a few years – and circumstance have a tendency to alter the course of one’s life and therefore one’s perspective.

Life can, indeed, change in a day; one day, you are happily drifting along, believing that nothing could be better; and the next, a calamity ensues, the human experience becomes a “topsy-turvy” matter and suddenly sours upon the smiling demeanor we carried just a moment before.

Or, one may begin the day in a negative and foul mood, but something changes, alters, moderates and impacts, and we come home despite the turmoil of work and daily problems with a smile on our face, and when asked “what is wrong?” (as opposed to, “What is right?”), we smile distantly and refer to the sunshine, the weather, the flower smelled on the road home, or that Frost-like metaphor of having taken the road less traveled on the way there.

Or, perhaps it is the simple recognition that there is more to life than one’s own narrow perspective, that suddenly creates the change in the day of one’s life.

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 positional duties as assigned, the idea that life can change in a day is as real as the sun rises and is expected to rise.

The process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is a long, complex and bureaucratically difficult process, and often the process itself can be a defeating proposition as one awaits for a positive decision.  A denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can have a devastating impact, and a second denial at the Reconsideration Stage can have a further deleterious effect.

With each decision, life can “change” in a day.

On the other hand, an approval effectuated from OPM can also have that same effect – of a change in one’s life, all in a day.  That is the ultimate goal – change, but in a “positive” sense; for, to remain static is to become an inert substance, and life, if anything, is a continuum of constant flux and change, like the weather that can never be correctly forecasted, and the life that can never be accurately predicted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Distractions

They are the projects of life of which Heidegger recognizes, allowing for avoiding the inevitabilities of life’s challenges; of fate, mortality, future insecurity, and death.  What quantifiable slice of one’s life is governed by distractions?  Must it always be less than 50% in order to remain so, and if it exceeds that halfway point, does it then become something substantive and not merely the peripheral meaning of what it means to “be distracted”?  If a distraction is considered to be an aside – that which waylays a person’s attention by focusing upon a central project of life’s endeavor – what then defines an inversion of that perspective?

Take, for example, the following:  A mechanical engineer is working on a technical project that consumes one’s focus, concentration and attention to detail, but has a unique and eccentric ophthalmological condition, whereby the eyes are compelled to follow any and all red objects that pass by.

Now, the company has attempted to accommodate the medical condition by requesting that no employee shall enter into the mechanical workshop wearing red, but on this particular day, some investors are visiting, and a man in the troop of intruders is wearing a red tie, and a woman in the entourage is sporting a red sweater.  They go from bench station to the next cubicle, within the purview and arc of dimensional periphery of the eccentric man’s attention, and with each movement, every sidelong blur, his eyes are “distracted” by the red moving objects.

Out of every minute of work, fully 45 seconds are spent on focusing upon the red objects that detract from the necessary mental acuity attending to the project at hand, and indeed, while they are far enough away such that from an objective viewpoint, the objects are mere inches in proportion and are of a distance as to almost be unnoticeable to others in the group of engineers, for the eccentric mechanical engineer, it is the focal point of his attentions.

The distraction is such that it disrupts the sequence of testing conditions and interrupts the validity of the technical precision required, and a coworker finally declares, “You’ve been too distracted and the project has to be scrapped.”  Would we agree that, because of the numerical disproportionality of concentration attributable, “red-object observation” takes precedence as the primary project, and it is the engineering project that is the distraction?  Or, because it is a medical condition of which he “cannot help it”, do we excuse the distraction in its entirety?

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 positional duties, the central point made here is precisely how the Federal agency and the Postal facility views the issues significant in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service possess a myopic view of “work”, and even if the Federal or Postal employee is able to continue making valuable contributions to the workplace, they often see the differentiation between “work” and “distractions” as one quantifiable by time alone.  This is too bad, but a reality that must be faced.  For, medical conditions are not mere distractions; they are life’s interludes that can often be faced and overcome, if only outmoded ideas about what constitutes workplace contributions are set aside, and realize that even distractions delaying the central mission of a Federal agency or Postal facility are not the most important, or even of much significance, when it comes to the worth and value of a human life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The din of distant darkness

There are often foreboding signs which we conveniently ignore.  In retrospect, how often do we hear of the lament of disregard?  “I never thought…”; “I heard the sound, but –“; “There were some indications, but I just assumed…”  Yet, later, we recognize those telltale footprints, and wonder why the creaking floorboards or the muffled murmur did not raise the cautionary instincts repressed by urge of avoidance.  If we were paid a dollar for every instance where…

Like Jim Croce’s remorseful song, if time could be saved in a bottle from every occurrence of wasteful distraction spent trying to figure out things which could otherwise be discerned through careful analysis, the extent of cumulative superciliousness in trying to act offended or incensed by charges of ineptitude might be reasonably contained.  There is so much noise, these days, that a fresh uptick in the volume of an additional din is barely noticeable.  And when then sound of emitted discordance strums a beat in the distance, who but the expectant and anxious parent recognizes the unique cry of a child’s shrill scream of alarm?

And if the sound is merely likened to darkness, where light no longer creeps between the door left ajar, or the seam between the floor and the locked metal gate, then how are we to recognize the silence of strangled light left abandoned in the loneliness of a world uncaring?

The din of distant darkness is precisely that foreboding sense of what may happen, but based upon “something”, as opposed to a baseless muttering of convictions unfounded when we suddenly “lose it” and cannot extricate ourselves from the frenzy of our own lies.  Much of life is about lying – not necessarily to others (although, we do that often enough, as well), but more to ourselves in order to shield our own fragile psyche from the fears we want to avoid.  But even darkness seen in the distant horizon comes creeping towards us, whether we want it to, or not.

How we nestle in the fears of our own making, or struggle against the timeless reverberations of anxieties unstated and never confessed, is the foundation of what makes for successful living, or failed attempts to conceal the cacophony of numbing onslaughts of life.  Yes, the din of distant darkness is yet merely a warning some months, years or decades away; but for Federal and Postal employees who already have a sense of what is coming, and the inevitability of life’s misgivings, the indicators are probably already there:  a medical condition that will not go away; the intersecting impact between the medical condition and the ability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position; and the question:  How long can I last?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to start considering the process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the din of distant darkness should never be avoided; for, in the end, it will come upon you like a thief in the night, stealthily, and without regard, just as your agency and closest coworkers and supervisors will turn the other eye even when the oncoming rush is about to hit you in a sudden fit of uncaring actions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire