Attorney for OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The gist of it all

When do we want the “gist” of something?  The essence or the “main idea”; or to filter it into the short version, somewhat like the “spark notes” of the thing of which we seek.  Is it appropriate if a student is sitting through a boring lecture and raises his or her hand and asks politely, “I have an activity to attend this afternoon. Can you just give us the gist of what you’re trying to say?”

Or of the greater meaning of life itself — you know, that grand design that everyone is seeking, which is why so many people believe in such things as the “Da Vinci Code” or, more recently, “The Chamberlain Key” — codes to codices that reveal the heart of ancient secrets lost in the trash heaps of history or otherwise forgotten because of wars, famines and changes of the proverbial guards.

Why is it that such “keys” must always be “ancient”, and shrouded in the mystery of “secret societies” who will murder in the dead of night to protect the gist of it all?  How does that reflect upon modernity — that we are too superficial to invent or discover such codes?  Or, is it merely that the cynicism of scientism and the reliance upon the physical universe, the influence of British Logical Positivism and the Age of Science have all subsumed such romanticizing of mysteries beyond the age of reason?

In this fast-paced society where technology surpasses by lightening speed the insular world of secret societies and the unraveling of veiled codices, what we want in the end is the gist of it all — to bypass the tangential details and get to the heart of the matter.  We have little or no time for anything else.

So, 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, what is the gist of it all?  In other words, what is the essence of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity?

Well, to begin with, under FERS (which most people are, as the dinosaur of CSRS or even CSRS Offset have now been relegated to the Pleistocene Era of Federal employment) the Federal or Postal employee must have at least 18 month of Federal Service.  Second, we must be able to prove that a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing at least one, if not more, of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  And third, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months.

Now, this latter bit of a requirement is often confused with thinking that a Federal or Postal worker must therefore wait for at least 12 months after the onset of a medical condition before the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  No, that is not the case — for, most doctors and treating medical professionals can render a prognosis as to the chronicity of the medical condition, and that is all that is needed.

Of course, that is precisely the problem of getting merely the “gist of it all” — because, in the end, the annotated version of an important text, issue or pool of information can rarely be filtered down into a cup that can be gulped with one swallow, but is often an ocean full of undercurrents and dangers consumed with sharks, whales and stingrays — sort of like the metaphor of life itself, only more complex because preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is a complicated administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls that cannot ultimately be confined by the gist of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The arbitrary life

Some would counter that it is a mere tautology; for, life itself is arbitrary, and the very definition of arbitrariness consumes the conceptual construct of living.  Thus does the subject subsume the predicate, and vice versa; or, in this case, the adjective and the noun.  But of course it all depends upon how we define both the adjective and the noun.

Do we mean by “arbitrary” that things just happen without a cause, and that there is no “Grand Designer” that intervenes as in the old Greek plays where the expectation of a deus ex machina would always appear to make everything “right”; or merely that we didn’t know, were unaware, and simply the alteration of life’s sequence of anticipated events appeared suddenly and unexpectedly?  And of “life”, do we mean in general, or a specific incident, carved out with special significance, from all of the other sequential and incremental compendium of events that aggregate the entirety of one’s consciousness of that which constitutes the “history” of a living being?

Those who believe in an omnipotent being, of course, cannot concurrently hold that life itself is an arbitrary phenomena, unless by that one means merely that one cannot have the same omniscient perspective as the Grand Designer of Fate.  If arbitrariness is meant to encompass randomness, and that the universe is a mere series of unanticipated events, then the question becomes:  Is it the lack of anticipation, or the randomness of events that constitutes the bulk of arbitrariness?

For, the human capacity to anticipate events unfolding is fairly unlimited.  Yes, it takes time, study, research, effort of cognitive insight, etc., in order to engage a process of anticipatory predictability, but that is a price one has to pay in order to subvert the anxiety of the unexpected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an arbitrary trauma of life — another way of describing an unexpected medical condition (for, who in his right mind “expects” a medical condition, unless one is a statistician or a pessimist of the highest order?) — it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, this too will possess some components of the arbitrary life — as in whether the Federal or Postal employee’s Federal Disability Retirement application will be approved or not; but such arbitrariness can be somewhat controlled by seeking and following the advice of an attorney who specializes in such matters.

For, in the end, part of the solution in tackling the arbitrary life is to anticipate the random events that are unexpected, by controlling those peripheral and tangential issues that increase the odds of predictability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Future uncertainty

It is a peculiarly human endeavor to reflect upon and ruminate; to consider that which has not yet occurred, and to worry about it, turn it over, consider the options, become so ensconced in the details of that which is still yet to become, if at all, and to will anxiousness and even harm one’s health over it.

Does the dog that one has known for many years engage in such conceptual angst, and project one’s self towards a time yet to become?  Well, yes — there can be a similar sense of anticipation; of prefatory behavior in response to an approaching hour.  If, on every Sunday at noon a tremendous noise is heard, dogs and other animals can be ‘trained’ into becoming anxious for several hours before the event, and act accordingly.

Is that merely an inculcated imprint, or is there some lengthy thought process — reflection, rumination or anticipatory consternation — involved in the anxious behavior exhibited?  Is there a distinction to be made in the manner in which human beings behave towards future uncertainty, or is the difference merely one of degrees?  Does our capacity towards an insular universe, self-contained within thoughts and boundless tangential roads that lead to greater depths of despair and self-inflicted despondency differ from the trained responses as exhibited by other species?  Or, is our capacity simply of “more”, and the extent of our means merely one of exponential exhibitionism?

Future uncertainty — what is it?  Is it a learned response or a human peculiarity of untold evolutionary need?  How does one engage in it, and are there better coping mechanisms than others?  Does life’s experiences grant any reprieve, or are we all subjected to its devastating effects?  Do the wealthy experience it in the same manner, or does it merely take an extremely selfish personality — one that cares nothing for others and thus feels no sense of obligation in forestalling any belief in future doom that may befall family members — to avoid the angst of foreboding tides?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have that sense of future uncertainty because of a medical condition that has begun to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the obvious antidote to such feelings is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, the future may appear uncertain at this moment; yes, the sense of not knowing gives a recognition of anxiousness that seems never-ending; and no, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is not the answer to all problems presented.  However, it is at least a start — to refocusing one’s attention to the priorities of life’s foundational precepts: of health and in securing some semblance of a future yet to be determined, but to be anticipated not with a foreboding sense of gloom, but of a tomorrow that may yet promise a day after.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tantum ergo

It is the incipit of the last two verses of a Medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas is best known for his inclusive osmosis by fiat of stretched logic to accommodate and force commensurability the texts of the ancients (i.e., Aristotle) within the essential boundaries of Christian theology.  His methodology in accomplishing this feat was to posit the weakest of straw man arguments, then to systematically appear to knock them down, and then to declare a forceful conclusion as if the ergo naturally and rationally followed.  That the conclusion is followed by verses subsequent, reflects how life works as well.

Sometimes, we mistake the “Hence” or the “Therefore,” and believe (wrongly) that nothing should follow.  But such conjunctive adverbs are often confused as if they denote answers to mathematical calculations.  Life rarely works in that manner, and it is entirely right that the tantum ergo should follow with additional discourses upon the beatific vision of the hymnal’s content.  Indeed, that is how we often and mistakenly live our lives – to accept with resignation that the declarative utterance, “Therefore, so great,” results in a quietude and silence of subsequent ceremony.  We wait upon it, and when it comes, we submit and concede.  Or, as in cases more common, it never comes, and thus do we surrender.

That is how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on the verge of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, approach the impending suspicion of doom or failure; the Tantum ergo is declared by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker accepts it as gospel truth, when in fact one should always recognize a countervailing principle of life:  a lie is a lie, is an untruth, is a lie, is a mis-statement of the law, is still a lie.

This author will not go so far as to say that Human Resource offices throughout the Federal Agencies systematically engage in disseminating falsehoods; perhaps, many merely relate the misinterpretations gained through osmosis of gossip; but, in any event, whether from a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the groundless surrender based upon a seemingly unassailable declaration that, “Therefore, so great” – whether referring to itself; whether in misstating the legal consequences of failed accommodations and the impact upon filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; of failing to inform the Federal or Postal employee of the rights of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal and Postal employee should always be cautious of taking as face value a declaration by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service that single utterance of self worth:  “Therefore, so great.”

Especially when it is referring to itself; always, when ascribing motives unstated; and forever, when trying to undermine the Federal or Postal employee.  And as to the multiple verses which follow upon the Tantum ergo?  Mistake not:  there is always life after Federal Disability Retirement; and let not one be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Cloud of thoughts

The metaphorical connotation represents the state of many who wander about the earth; that is why the statistical reflection of accidents and injuries can never quite be diminished, and the constancy of conundrums concerning catastrophic clemency of uncharacteristic conduct can never conclusively conceal the calamity of creativity.  Sorry, but once alliteration is initiated, it is difficult to extricate one’s self from the poetry of consonants and vowels dancing in tandem.

But more to the point:  the Human Animal is unique in that it is the only one of the species that walks about in a cloud of thoughts.  Moreover, in modernity, the exponential magnification is starkly evident because of the draw by Smartphones, computers and other hand-held devices.  Once upon a time, long ago, there was the public phone booth; then, doctors and other impressive individuals carried around pagers (or otherwise known as “beepers”), and anyone who suddenly received notification through this anomaly of a wireless device was immediately recognized as someone important, for who else would need to be contacted as so indispensable as to require interruption during a meal at a restaurant, or in the middle of a gathering or event?

Then, of course, technology and the inventors of the universe decided that, democracy being what it is and value, worth and significance of each individual being equivalent to one another, we should all be deemed special – and so, instead of being forced to wear dunce-hats and be made to sit in a corner excluded from participation with others, either because of our behavior or our witless comments – fast-forward to today, and everyone is special, all are important, and none are lesser than the next person.

And so we now have everyone lost in checking text messages, updating, button-pushing, twitter-feeding, whatnots and no-nots and know-hows and know-nots; all deep, deep in clouds of thoughts.  Or, not.  Is there a difference between walking and wandering the surface of the earth, lost in a cloud of thoughts, as opposed to being glued to one’s Smartphone or other electronic device?  Is one of greater value or relevance than the other?  Is there a difference between the cognitive input or brain waves of distinction, or is it all just a fuzzy feeling of angst and suspicion?  Do MRIs reveal anything when we see the graphic images of cranial activity and color-enhanced dullness of inactivity?  Or do such images merely provide a parallel sense of correspondence, as opposed to causal efficacy?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing an effective 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, the engagement of a cloud of thoughts can be twofold:  One, it does take some thought and preparation in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and so being under a cloud of thoughts is a “good” thing; but Two, that proverbial “cloud” that overshadows the Federal or Postal employee because of the concerns surrounding the ongoing medical condition, can only be “lifted” by moving beyond the job and career which only serves to exacerbate one’s circumstances and conditions.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM involves both a cloud of thoughts, and services to lift one from the burden of those clouds.  Now, if only we could do something about those hand-held devices which provide us with those scary images of brain inactivity, we might also save the world at the same time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire