Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Smelling the roses

It is a simplistic attitude, but one whose truism dominates and attracts: to enjoy life and have the capacity to relish in it.

“Stopping to smell the roses” is all well and good to declare when you don’t have much to do, or when you are in a position to reverse life’s onward march; however, for most of us, the stresses of daily living, of trying to make a living, and of the uncontrollable demands that beset us every day, undermines the advice of the sage: yes, tranquility can reflect a healthy mind and slowing of pace can lead to longevity and stave off mortality’s inevitable decline; but how does one contend with and control modernity’s screaming frenzy?

The appendage to the image of “smelling the roses,” of course, is the admonition to “pause” or “stop and” take the time; but is our loss of olfactory sensitivity a result of our lack of use?  How many of us even notice the scent of a flower, whether when we walk into a room or meander along a country path? Instead, most of us sneeze with irritation, beset with asthmatic symptoms of allergic disdain, and view such niceties as merely one of life’s obstacles to overcome and ignore.

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 job, the concept of pausing and “smelling the roses” is the last thing to consider, and life’s travails will only continue to shout and scream to prevent such a prosaic declaration.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily allow for greater time to smell those roses, but it will allow for more time to attend to one’s own health — and isn’t that the point?

We take for granted our health, but when our health begins to deteriorate, the stresses begin to compound and exponentially aggregate.

Smelling the roses comes only after the priorities of our life have been placed into proper order, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits when it becomes necessary is the first step towards reaching for the ultimate paradigm of life’s resistance to the stresses inherent and overwhelming: Health; life; relationships — then, to pause in order to smell the roses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Coincidences & wrong attributions

Two events occur within a fairly close span of time; we relate them; we attribute one to have caused the other.  Was it mere coincidence, and was the causal attribution wrongly implied?

We learn from a friend that a certain person X visited the house of person Y.  Y was a good friend.  X never liked you.  A week or so later, you bump into Y and you say, “Hi. Haven’t seen you in a while.  How has the family been?”  Y looks at you, turns the other way without responding, and coldly walks away.

You attribute the behavior of Y as being related to the fact that X, who doesn’t like you, had visited Y the week before.  You connect the coincidence of Y’s behavior and the visitation of Y by X, and create a narrative around the encounter: “X must have bad-mouthed me when he went over to Y’s house.  Y must have believed him, and that is why Y is behaving so coldly to me.”  In other words, you attribute Y’s behavior as the effect caused by X’s coincidental meeting with Y the week before.  Are you right in doing so?

Say, sometime later, you learn that it wasn’t X, after all, that had visited Y the week before, but it was T — another good friend of yours.  Further, you learn that Y’s sister had recently passed away, and Y calls you up and apologizes for the past behavior, explaining that Y simply “didn’t want to talk to anyone that day, and had been walking around in a daze of sorrow.”

Coincidences and wrong attributions; we all make them.  We go back and retrace our steps of logical reasoning to try and discover the flaw of our thought-processes.  It happens often.  What is the rule to follow to try and minimize such flawed approaches to logical reasoning?  First, to get the facts.  Next, to wait before coming to conclusions.  Finally, to try and limit one’s creative imagination from bleeding beyond the borders of known facts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where 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 important to first “get the facts” concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and not get mired in the fears of coincidences and make wrong attributions.

It may well be that certain actions initiated by the Agency are not mere coincidences; and it may be true that your “feelings” about the future can be directly attributable to what you have “heard” from others.  But before coming to any conclusions or making any decisions, it is well-advised to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest those coincidences lead to wrong attributions, resulting in making the wrong moves based upon baseless causal connections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement: Absurdity with an explanation

According to Quine, the great mathematician and logician, that is the definition of a paradox.  It is an event or a concept that seems at first glance to be an impossibility, or a conundrum of some complexity, but can be explained to unfold the absurdity first displayed.  Thus — of the man who has walked the earth for decades but is technically only 9 years old, until one realizes that his birthday falls on the 29th of February, a date that appears only once every 4 years; this is a paradox, until the absurdity is explained and it suddenly makes sense.

Similarly, a medical condition is a paradox: It is an absurdity of sorts, especially when it hits a person in the prime of his or her life.  What possible explanation can be had?  Where is the “fairness” in it, and why do some people who eat all sorts of junk food for years on end never experience the calamity of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition?  Where is the “equal employment opportunity” of a devastating medical condition?

Where is the sense of “fair play” displayed when a medical condition pounces upon a Federal or Postal employee and suddenly no amount of past accomplishments make up for the sudden loss of productivity and need to use the accumulated sick leave, and even invoke FMLA rights in order to attend to one’s health?

For Federal and Postal employees 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 position, the paradox comes in the form of when to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is indeed an admission of a need for change; yet, paradoxically, change is precisely what your Federal Agency or the Postal Service does NOT want — they want you to continue as before the onset of your medical condition.

The absurdity resides in the lost sense of priorities: work, as opposed to one’s health; stresses that exacerbate, as opposed to relieving those elements that contribute to one’s deteriorating conditions.  The only explanation that makes sense is to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM in order to be able to focus upon one’s health.

That is the paradox, and the absurdity with an explanation for a Federal or Postal employee who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The tumultuous years

The tumultuous years are often remembered with a sense of awe, if not with some fondness.  The suffering endured; the turmoil experienced; even the pain sustained and seared into the consciousness of nightmares and scarred memories.  But one often looks back upon those years and reflects: I survived, and though the remembrances are a blur of activities that generously skips over the details of the suffering experienced, it was a time of enormous productivity where things were accomplished in spite of trauma of obstacles placed.

Yet, when the tumultuous years are in the “here and now”, that is not how one describes it.  It is only when it is in the distant past, when it has already been overcome, and when that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” has already been reached. When you are still in the thick of it, fondness of memories does not prevail, and the old adage that time heals all pain is yet tested.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 may be a necessary next step to prepare, formulate and file 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.

For such a Federal or Postal employee, those “tumultuous years” are still in the here and now, and have not been overcome; and so it is understandable that you cannot yet reflect back with any sense of perspective, awe, or of fondness for those days of turmoil.  Instead, as you are still in the thick of things, the goal is to reach that end of the tunnel where the sunshine still is bright with hope for the future, and then, years later, to look back and remember, and hopefully those memories will be one with an exclamation point of having successfully met the challenge, survived it, and have put it behind you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: That uncluttered mind

How do we remain so in this world of cacophonous and discordant barrage of sounds, images and the overload of information?  Is it even possible to remain as the quietude of mind within the meditative spirit of a Zen monk reflecting upon the pool of uncertainty yet contemplating the serenity of a mind’s eye?

The cluttering is deafening; and, with it, the anxiety, stresses and paralyzing fears that accompany the world writ so large and looming so fearsome.  The uncluttered mind is the one that, with singular focus, yet accomplishes goals in life, reaches destinations otherwise fraught with obstacles, and continues to grow and progress despite all challenges that impede its way.  Is it still possible to retain an uncluttered mind?  Can there be such a state despite the overburdening of a world obsessed with “connectivity” to one’s technological devices, where the staring into the void of one’s Smartphone, laptop or other such distractions can rarely be avoided?

We tend to think that we are the “exception”, and despite our slavery and slovenly attachment to the technological innovations of modernity, we make excuses and allowances for our own weaknesses – oh, I’m not really into that sort of thing; it’s just a tool that is necessary for a time; Facebook?  Twitter?  Nah, it’s just a hobby.  Yes, before long, we get sucked into the very crevices we once laughed at and scorned.  The uncluttered mind is indeed a rarity, these days.

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 ‘clutter’ becomes exponentially quantified because, not only must one contend with the world of clutter, but the medical condition itself is an additional stress that must be faced.

This is a complex and complicated world, full of challenges and untold stresses.  To be able to maneuver through the bureaucratic maze of a Federal Disability Retirement process is itself a cluttered road of administrative complexities, and when one must contend with the medical condition itself – which is the primary purpose for preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – the clutter of the medical condition itself becomes an obstacle, leaving aside the obfuscation and obstacles that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management puts up in the pathway towards success or failure.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is a step towards reaching the goal of the uncluttered mind – of simplifying priorities so that the primary priority is that which is most important: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A mote in society’s dustbin

What is the greatest fear?  Is it to be forgotten, cast aside, without a mere footnote in the linear history of societal acknowledgments?  Must society now adjust to the credited observation of Warhol’s dictum, that fame’s span of 15 minutes is too lengthy, given the fast-paced nature of modern technology?  Is watching one’s self in a public forum the satisfying conduit for vicarious living, such that it makes content the populous who would otherwise revolt in the disparity of despairing livelihoods?

The Biblical reference of comparing the mote in someone else’s eye, as opposed to the beam in one’s own, is of interest beyond the failure to recognize the reflection of insincerity displayed by lack of self-awareness; more than that, it is the comparative disparity which fails to prod.  While the mote itself is the foreign substance which irritates and prompts the pointing finger, it also represents the insignificance of life’s judgments in general, to the way in which we all live.  It is the tiniest piece of substance, and yet the finger-pointing it prompts reveals a readiness to judge, and is reflective of a character defect in us all.

And when that mote is extracted and flicked away, it floats unnoticed into the greater dustbin of society, where morning mists evaporate in the rising sun of daily tumult, and where giants of men with promise and potentiality fall with a thud and a shudder for all to hear.

It is irrelevancy of which we fear; that no one will have noticed, and the imprint of our lives will matter not against the rising tides of artifices constructed in the imagination of our own awakenings.  How many nameless tombs echo the mournful solitude of an estranged life in a world devoid of warmth and snuggles?  Why are teddy bears, stuffed animals and lifeless companions purchased with purrs of gleeful delight?  We are but mere motes in the dustbin of society; moreover, we fear being extracted, even from that status of being an insignificant irritant, and flicked away where even the shadows remain unnoticed and when mice scurry away with but barely an ear’s twitch.

That is why Heidegger’s comment that we engage in projects to avoid the ultimate meaning of our lives — the extinguishment of one’s conscious soul — reverberates with haunting excess.  Of course, some would scoff at that philosopher and retort that his shame in participating in the Third Reich revealed the true nature of his philosophy; but that is for another day to reflect upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe — nay, “feel” — that their work is not “done” with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and therefore must endure the humiliation piled upon the progressively worsening medical condition despite the self-immolative process of remaining, the real fear is the underlying, subterranean seething of man’s refusal to be cast aside as a mere irrelevancy, like a mote in society’s dustbin.

In the end, however, does it really matter whether the “mission of the agency” has been accomplished (remember that bureaucracies and their foundational rationale for existence never comes to a terminus; a new one is always adopted as perpetual replacements in the linear eternity of a behemoth’s lifespan), or the last truckload of mail has been delivered?

Federal and Postal employees are known for their “dedication” and conscientious resolve; but when 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, becomes a hindrance because of an unfounded and unjustified adherence to a principle which does harm to one’s own health, then the mote in the eye of one’s brother becomes more than an simple comparison to the beam in one’s own eye; it becomes itself a mote which should be flicked aside into the dustbin of society’s joke, where the laughter is directed upon all who have fallen for the epic comedy of life itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire