Federal Disability Retirement: Thinking Straight

Why “straight” as opposed to curved or in a zig-zag manner?  Who first thought that it was preferable, desirable, and even “smarter” to “think straight” as opposed to a thought process which involves a greater complexity of circuitous routes?

Is the origin based upon a metaphor or an analogy — that, because the shortest distance from Point A to Destination B must by geometric necessity involve a straight line, and therefore one may extrapolate from such a mathematical truth that the thinking-process which yields the best results is compromised of a similar metric: Of a direct and non-convoluted form of cognitive input, without the wavering lines and complicated conundrums involved in any form other than a straight line?

Yet, the process of “thinking” itself is often one that must include reflection upon multiple and endless variables: What if this happens?  What about such-and-such circumstances?  What about conditionals and unknown factors, and how will it end up if X fails to materialize or Y begins to dominate?  What about the principle contained in Occam’s Razor?  Is that the analogy that prevails upon the concept of “thinking straight”?

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, the question as to whether you should consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS should, indeed, be based upon “straight thinking”, and the process of “thinking straight” should generally apply.

However, as Federal Disability Retirement Law is a complex administrative process that involves multiple facets that intersect with the Federal Agency, the Human Resource Office, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and complexities involving accommodations, potential reassignment issues, etc., the fact that a straight line may exist between the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application and the approval or denial by OPM of that application, does not make it any simpler.

Complexity is a fact of life.  To simplify things, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to make sure that “straight thinking” is achieved by thinking straight, and that should come from advice and counsel which gives you the right direction on how to get from Point A to Destination B.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: The time of purpose

Does purpose always guide?  Or do we sometimes work on automatic pilot — without thought, working our way through a morass of repetition merely because that is the way we have always done things and it is more comfortable to continue on that same path?  What does it mean to live without a purpose, or even to live with one?  Are we more motivated; does initiative power the inertness within, like steroids or extra fuel added where the flickering flame is about to be extinguished but suddenly someone pours a cupful of gasoline upon the embers of a dying bonfire and “poof!” — purpose places us back on track?

Are there “times of purpose” as opposed to a lack thereof — like seasons that come and go in repetitive rhythms that we are quite familiar with — and during those times when we know the “why” for which we live, it makes it that much easier to get though the day?

Seasons come and go; the rhythm of a life is often impacted by the circumstances that we find ourselves in; and whether we “have” a purpose — as in possessing a clear path or vision forward, or retaining a certain goal or perspective on the “why” of what we are doing — or not, there are those who believe in a higher order of teleological framework where there is an objective reality that guides the course of all human activities and events.

Whether there is such a higher order or not is the Question of the Ages; of theological debates and one’s place in the wider universe; these are all great issues and questions pondered by greater minds, but when the voices of certitude and preaching become silent and the conversation wanes into the late evening, it is only the lonely voice of the individual and the soliloquy of quiet thoughtfulness that remains — and it then comes down to:  What is this time of purpose for me?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is likely that the very consideration that one’s career and livelihood may be lost, will begin to drive the time of purpose.

Before the medical condition, the time of purpose involved one’s career and work; with the onset of the medical condition, the time of purpose encompassed getting back one’s health; and now, where it becomes clear that the medical condition and the Federal or Postal job are no longer consistent or compatible, the time of purpose must involve preparing, formulating and filing 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.  For, the time of purpose is driven by the circumstances that change and surround us, and one’s health is a significant life-event to compel that time of purpose.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sign Posts

Whether used as a noun or a verb, the second grammatical appendage can have multiple meanings: as a stick of lumber; as an activity placing information, warning, directional declarative or similar linguistic affirmations; and the combination of the two words can be read only within a greater contextual enlightenment depending upon what meaning is meant to be conveyed or how the inflection and accent is emphasized.

As a mere stick of lumber, it is a rather boring concept, even when attached to the first word, “sign”, precisely because the focus is upon the “post”, and so the emphasis goes directly to the sturdy piece of wood and not to the interests of the information posted.  If, on the other hand, one means to connote a different linguistic avenue – of different and varying posting of signs, then our interest is tweaked because we are immediately drawn into the various and wider universe of warnings, directions, admonishments and disseminated information useful to everyday living.

Sign posts are meant to guide, warn, betray or inform; and between the spectrum of the duality of linguistic translations, there is a natural reflection to life’s everyday humdrum itself.  For, like the analogy between information posted or merely a stick of lumber, living life is likened to a wide spectrum of activities mirroring boredom and repetitive monotony, and those instances where sudden tumult and excitement makes for an interesting day.

Being healthy can be viewed as a form of boredom; it is like the person focusing upon the stick of lumber, even if there are signs posting some warnings.  And, correlatively, when sickness and debilitating medical conditions occur, the viewpoint and perspective alters dramatically, such that the monotony of the piece of wood is now replaced with the blare of the warning, admonishment and legal declaratives, and life becomes a tumult, not merely a lapping wave but a tsunami of devastating impact.

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 the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the alteration of the perspective – whether seen as a “eureka” moment, a modified weltanschauung, or some reflective recognition of changed circumstances – the point is to shift the focus from the stick of lumber to the sign post itself: the job, the harassment, the constant antagonism and acrimony in the workplace – these are all the stick of lumber; one’s own medical condition, dealing with the doctors, the deterioration of one’s physical, emotional and mental capacity – these are the “signs”.

What we focus upon will determine the course of one’s future; and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the combination of both words as a compound concept: of recognizing the sign posts, and dealing with it accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The change is in us

We wake up each morning expecting the world to have remained unaltered during the night; yet, as Hume’s argument concerning causality would have us believe, there is no necessary connection we have identified or conceptually ascertained, but merely our imagination anticipating and projecting into the future, such that stability of the universe around us pervades in a constancy of regularity.

The surroundings remain familiar; the coffee machine is of the same make as when we left it the night before; even the dogs appear unchanged, ready to obey and begin the day in the fashion that canines are accustomed to.  Perhaps you bump into an object before turning on the lights, and you find that someone in the household has shifted it from where you last saw it.  You resolve to inquire about it later in the day, or are immediately satisfied that “X must have left it” and therefore the “mystery” is solved.  Never does it enter your mind that the world, in its own power of intended shifting, moved without direct causal intervention.  You step into the bathroom and look in the mirror, where the same features stare back.

Yet, what may be different, what results in a subtle but perceivable alteration, is not the world reflected on the wall behind, but the compendium of complex emotions, memories, thought-processes and cognitive intuitions having rested through the night, and now are awakened to perceive, judge, analyze and evaluate in the wakefulness of the moment.

It is us that changes.

As Kant pointed out, we bring human structures of perceptual constructs to the inert world which pervades and surrounds.  The universe we invade and occupy often remains constant, and in that rhythm of regularity, we find solace in a methodological quietude.  Yes, cars whiz by and honk their horns, and birds chirp in the early morning dawn, but such movement has already been anticipated and entered into the equation of our consciousness.  It is only if buildings move, like earthquakes responding to the tectonic shifts of unseen caverns, when we panic within the world of regularity we have created.

But then, sometimes, the outside force touches upon us directly, and that is when the peace and quiet of constancy becomes disturbed.

Medical conditions tend to do that — for they have a duality of existence.  It is a change “out there”, somewhere whether visible, as in a physical injury of open wounds, or “in there”, whether as an unseen pain correlated by a diagnostic test, or even a psychiatric condition which pervades and progressively debilitates.  But the duality exists precisely because the “there” is also part of the self which recognizes the change.

The change is not only “in us”, it is us.

And it is often that very duality of alteration which thus requires a further change in abutting against the unchanging and impervious universe around us.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, this realization that one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unwilling to change, to accommodate or to transform in response to the medical condition, is a knowledge which is gained often through the harsh reality of confrontation and harassment.  For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to this realization, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a consideration which must be seriously entertained.

It is, for many, a realization likened to “growing up” in a world which is often cold, uncaring and unconcerned.

As agencies are behemoths which reflect the character of a society, so it should not be surprising that Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities which respond well to change.  For, in the end, we must always recognize that the most significant change in the history of shifting burdens does not occur in the textbooks of time, but closer to the heart of every individual, and it is not change in the “other” which calls forth the earthquakes resulting in tsunamis, but it is the change in us, as it is change which is us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government: The Run

Stockings and watercolors do it; time, with quietude and solace of a steady march, moving with predictable sequence like the consistency of a drumbeat; and, of course, the rhythm reminiscent of cardiac health, as do joggers and concerned citizens chasing down a purse snatcher to retrieve a possession of identity.  And life, too.

Sometimes, there is a good “run” of something — a lengthy period of calm and productivity, where all of the pistons of a complex and interactive mechanism akin to a turbo engine are firing away in tandem, and life is good, fruitful and positive.  But the inevitability of a breakdown can always be around the proverbial corner; a medical condition, suffered by a Federal or Postal employee, is not merely a stoppage of such a “run”, but can be a disruptive cacophony of ceaseless interruptions, both to career and to personal contentment.

The key is to get beyond, over, or around the obstacle which lands in the middle of one’s pathway for future well-being.  The child who fails to see the watercolors running; the invention of the stockings that never run; the life that seemingly runs smoothly; all, a perspective wrought at a price of neglect or deliberate ruse.  The fact is, life always has interruptions.

A medical condition can be a major one, and when it begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset may need to consider an alternate course and begin anew a run of a different sort.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is indeed a change of course.  It involves a complex bureaucratic strategy to get from point A to destination B, and the administrative obstacles are many, but not insurmountable.  And, like the verb itself, it provides many meanings for differing circumstances, but the one and central root of the process involves embracing the paradigm that life is never as easy as one thinks, and like the child who believes that he is the next Picasso in training, the run of the unpredictable always betrays the truth of our condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Crumbling Walls of Professional Conduct

The aged bemoan of modernity; youth view the present as merely fodder for change and future potential; and caught in between, somewhere in the netherworld of inertia, those inconsequential individuals relegated to the irrelevant category of “middle age”, who must stand by and witness the slow and progressive destruction of the past, the deterioration of cohesiveness of the future, and the present infirmity of impotence.

Medical conditions are funny animals; because they are personal in nature, the revelation of such private matters tends to scare people, because the emergence of such confidential conveyance violates the unspoken walls of professional distance; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is often necessary to provide some component of one’s medical condition in order to ascertain and establish the extent of needed accommodations — for purposes of filing for FMLA, to take needed SL or LWOP, or to counter allegations of misconduct or violation of “leave policy”, etc.

Within the greater context of life, there is a sense there the walls of professional conduct which once protected privacy concerns and acceptable behaviors, are crumbling in modernity.  Anything and everything goes; there is no normative constraint, anymore, because the demarcation between private and professional have disappeared.

The same is true when applied to the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The entire bureaucratic process engenders privacy concerns because of the sensitive nature of the information which must be submitted.  But those are merely “side issues” which should be placed in their proper perspective; for, in the end, when the final wave of goodbye is motioned, and one has obtained an approval from OPM in order to exit with a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the crumbling walls of professional conduct as revealed by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service will be but a far echo of past misdeeds, as one walks out into the future of a brighter tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire