Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: DDD

It is what Moynihan said so many years ago, of constantly reinterpreting normative constructs such that the subtle, insidious reduction of acceptance allows for normalization of that which was rejected and repugnant just a few years before, a generation ago, or never at all.  Or, it may refer to a medical condition of the spine – of the condition identified as “degenerative disc disease”; but in either case, the acronym used as a convenient route for linguistic economy has some similarities involved.

For, in both cases, DDD allows for the slow and steady deterioration of a process – the former, of a cultural rot and standards once ensconced firmly in the very fabric of society; the latter, of a slow process of debilitating “eating away” that reveals a condition progressive over time, decaying by crumbling of bone, cartilage and repetitive overuse traversing time’s despondency due to labor’s unnatural pose.  Or, one can just make it up and ascribe it to a tripartite conceptual compound; for instance, “dual deficit denominations” or “dark, dim and dumb”, or other such consternations of linguistic accolades.

In any event, it is the original of the two that seems to share a common ground of meaning; for, in both, it is the essence of a slow process of change; one, cultural in nature, of an acceptance of lesser standards whether by willful determination or accidental submission; the other, the debilitating disease that – over time and resulting from old age – progressively worsens.  One could simplify the concepts by dismissing the first as “cognitive” and the other as “physical”.

In either case, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to continue in the same position and compels one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement, both concepts can apply.

For, an expansive and liberal interpretation of Moynihan’s argument is similar to the Federal or Postal employee’s acceptance of the lower standard both in terms of his or her quality of life, as well as in seeing the adversarial nature of the Federal agency or the Postal facility as “normal” in the treatment of its employees.  And, as to the “other” definition of DDD – of the chronic neck or back pain – whether in a sedentary job or a very physical one, the high distractibility of pain that impacts upon one’s capacity and ability to safely focus, concentrate and attend to the job itself is often a qualification for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Thus, the acronym itself – whether for “defining deviancy down” or as “degenerative disc disease” – can fit the proverbial bill in considering the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted through another acronym of sorts – OPM – otherwise known as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Cavalier extinctions

We focus much on lost species, forever erased at a rate of untold apocryphal dimensions, as if the deletion of undiscovered DNA material might never be recovered, and thus for once, we worry about things which we have never known ascribed as that which “could” have saved us from our own extinguishment, all the while ignoring the plight of human detritus all around us.  We do that with fading civilizations, too, don’t we?

We argue for egalitarianism, impartiality, and for all things being of equivalency in value and worth; but, somehow, the “primitives” remind us of that romanticized notion which touched our nerves, even as Rousseau created a fictional “State of Nature” in which we lived in complete harmony (but for those few who, through brutish force and uncivilized conduct, forced us into an unwilling social contract in order to aggregate our weaknesses against a Hobbsian Leviathan for self-preservation and protective numerical advantage) and to which we pay homage in childhood fantasies.  And so we strive to pursue our own environmental agendas, as if we can police the universe against the insanity of our own making; all the while, we engage in cavalier extinctions, ourselves, though we may name it by another identity.

We form and drop relationships; we friend, defriend, add and delete with a push of a button; we even divorce and break up so-called lifetime commitments, with the cavalier explanation that it is “better” to live in harmonious consonance than to subject the innocent to daily ravages of our own termpermantal tumults.  An electronic screen, whether on a tabletop, laptop or a smartphone, can easily bring the bright glare of activity as the blank blackness of nothingness.

That is why extinguishment of purported “friends” can occur just as easily as engaging artifices of friendships; the button itself determines the substance and depth of any such relationship.  It was hard enough actually know and tolerating people; it is easier still, to know them on the tablet of a screen, and not have to contend with irritants of behavioral eccentricities.

On the spectrum of human growth, we are stunting ourselves by relegating the mechanism and tools for human conduct to mere words and responsive utterances on lighted screens.  The tools which we provide to the innocents, to develop those traits for successful human interaction, are diminished by the limited resources available via distance interaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and who by necessity must consider preparing, formulating and 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, the notion that there is a negation of estimable empathy, sympathy, and just simple human caring, becomes a glaring reality too quickly, too forcefully, and with a dosage of untold reality.

Will it only get worse?  Probably.  As the new crop of managers and supervisors who have little contact with actual relationships, but whose voided perspective has been formed by online services of gratuitous and dubious authenticity, the level of understanding and mechanisms for human compassion become exponentially diminished.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is not a mere choice of optional engagement; it is spurred by necessity and human tragedy.  But beware, as this brave new world of cavalier extinctions will bring forth the worst in the unclaimed losses of genetic materials, where the Darwinian principles seem to finally win out in a battle of fierce and unwitting conflicts for the survival of the fittest — or meanest.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Court of Sycophants

The word itself is a linear sequence of consonants and vowels which delight the linguistic palate of parallelism between sound and meaning; rolling off of the tongue, it begins with the soft purr of the ‘s’, then slides midway into the harsh and guttural clash of a germanic cough, as if something untoward has been stuck in the center of one’s throat which needs to be cleared, like phlegm gathered in the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages; then flows to the end and drifts off into a quietude of irrelevance, disregard and dismissal, as the pointed meaning of application coincides with the diminishing utterance of fading signification.

In feudal times, when kings and princes of minor fiefdoms pockmarked the divided provinces of Europe and Asia, the gathering of sycophants pervaded each hour with daily tributes of flowery adjectives added effortlessly in conjunction with backstabbing motivations; the smiles of agreement and infusion of words to puff up the royal kingdom were offset by the murderous rage hidden in the dark corridors of dungeons where the abyss of human cruelty and malevolence resided with unfettered and ravenous appetite.

Does the modern presence of such and the like represent a fading vestige of that former calumny of bacterial servitude, or merely a reflection of the true nature of man’s essence?  The court of sycophants does not exist merely in dusty books of historical irrelevance; it survives in small pockets of sibling rivalries where inheritances are favored by means of embellished compliments combined with fading cognitive capacity for recognition of the distinction between words and sincerity; and in workplaces where no hostages are taken when one’s livelihood is at stake.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are intimately familiar with the darkened hearts of sycophants, there are more colorful words used to describe them — as in the kissing of another’s behind; but whether one uses the original one or a replacement of a more informal vernacular, the meaning all amounts to the same.  Especially, when a medical condition begins to impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform at the same level as before, the wide range of sycophants begin to make their appearance.

Somehow, denigration of others is believed to elevate one’s own status and stature, and indeed, the feudal court of sycophants was based upon that system of favoritism and derisive discourse.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, however, such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes necessary, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the escape from the constant backbiting and backstabbing becomes necessary not only to maintain and further one’s health and well-being, but is also a recognition that one has lost the favor of the court itself, and it becomes incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to recognize that the Court of Sycophants has been powdering the nose not of the king’s face, but of the emperor whose clothes has disappeared and where the cheeks which quiver with frolicking laughter are at the wrong end of the anatomical map.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: A Series of Refinements

Age does not necessarily result in greater wisdom; rather, for many, it merely sits in a puddle of stale intransigence.  As well, palpable advancement on a linear scale occurs only in the context of the capacity to make progress, but remains in a state of limbo without an intermediate causal impetus.  Throughout life, it is the refinements made which make for differentiation.  A minor tweak here; a self-reproachful reminder here; for, very few begin the journey needing a complete overhaul, but merely a readjustment and cleaning of those spark-plugs gone bad.

Thus, when a medical condition hits an individual, it often becomes a crisis of identity; for, throughout, up until the point of realizing that a change in career may be necessitated by the unexpected health condition, the thoughts and plans always included a series of minor refinements, and nothing more.

But Federal Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal employees is, in fact, nothing more than a greater series of minor refinements; it is the focus upon the change which transforms it into a traumatic event of sorts.  For, in the end, it is precisely those series of refinements made throughout the course of one’s life, which has prepared one for the vicissitudes wrought by unexpected circumstances; throughout life, we prepare for the next storm; wisdom is merely the ability to recognize the inevitability of change, and through a series of refinements, to adjust accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the need to file an OPM Disability Retirement application through OPM is often looked upon as a crisis-embroiled act.  And, indeed, it is certainly a troublesome venture, one fraught with headaches, obstacles and administrative confusion; but in the end, it is a step necessitated by circumstances beyond one’s control, and merely another in a series of refinements required by life’s bumps and bridges, and one which requires some amount of wisdom in going forward into the bureaucratic nightmare of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The language of law

Wittgenstein recognized that there exists various forms of languages within a community of a shared language — with words everyone understood, sentences all were familiar with, but the usage and meaning of which were unique to a particular group or set of individuals.  Such comity of meanings and esoteric application of language were designated as “language games”.  Information Technology groups have their own set of insulated meanings; advertising agents, insurance companies, and children who form an exclusive club may formulate within-community code words exclusive to the group alone, and alien to all around.

What, then, is the language of law?  Certainly, analogy and hypothetical models of similar situations and transactions are a part of it; and the methodology of argumentation is to show the familiarity of classes of subject-matter issues and identical-sounding situations which penetrate the judge’s capacity to accept and anticipate precedent-setting citations of prior acts.  Why the language game of the legal arena accepts as a primary basis of interaction similar-sounding prior fact-scenarios is often a mystery to “outsiders” (i.e., non-lawyers), and confounds with frustration the enormous expenditure of time and money in engaging such circuitous narratives of persuasive argumentation.

What about my case?  What difference does it make whether or not a decades-old case applies in an analogical manner to the facts at hand?  But that is precisely the point of the language of law; for, it is consistency of application and perpetuation of stability which makes for reverence for “the law”.  Arbitrariness and malleability creates suspicion of motives, and justice requires the fair constancy of applying “the law”.

This is important to understand in all arenas of the “language game of law”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who may need to entertain the potentiality for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into “Administrative Law” (which is what filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM falls under) is no different.

Precedent-setting cases develop over decades and epochs of lifetimes; and whether the OPM Disability Retirement applicant is aware of it or not, the compendium of rules, regulations and decision-setting conclusions are all guided by, constricted within, and influenced throughout, by prior cases handed down by judicial opinions rendered “on high” by administrative law judges and Federal Court of Appeals mandates.

Should case laws be cited in the submission of a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application?  As the law is the hinge upon which society survives, so the question of persuasive argumentation may live or die based upon the vocalization of precedents.  But always remember that the language of law is a specific type of language game, and the exclusive club of legalese requires some training of usage, where applicability may sound like gobbledygook unless formulated with an ear towards coherence within the insular language game of law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire