OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Pleasure & the ascetic

The two concepts are often thought to be antithetical, from opposing philosophical frameworks and inconsistent in their expending of energies to achieve.  Of the latter, it connotes self-discipline and an aversion, if not outright refusal and avoidance, of any indulgences that are implied by the former.  The former, of course, is what most of us strive for — if not openly, then surreptitiously while denying that it is one’s singular goal.

Pleasure in its excesses can be harmful, of course, just as too much of anything can lead to self-immolation through abundance and gluttony.  Both, however, have something in common: they are like two sides of the same coin, where life doesn’t allow for the existence of one without the recognition of the other.

Thus: Being cannot be distinguished without Nothingness (e.g., it is because there is the “nothingness” of space between the bookshelf and the wall that you can differentiate between the two entities); life cannot be identified without its opposite —death, or inertness; wealth is created in contradistinction to poverty, or lack thereof; a smile can be recognized, but so can a frown; and so forth and so on.

What the ascetic fails to realize is that the extreme of self-indulgence in striving for pleasurable activities need not be the only methodology of interacting with this world; there are more moderate ways of living than the pure rejection of all pleasure.  Conversely, the one who strives only for pleasure — i.e., pleasure as the sole motivator in one’s life and goal-seeking — fails to realize that its corollary — pain — is a necessary posit, and if not rearing its ugly head presently, will do so sometime in the near future.

Pain is an existential reality of life, just as pleasure is the rare interlude that we all seek, and it is the ascetic who has realized that life’s pleasurable moments will often follow with a period of pain, as the reason why some seek to limit the pain by denying all pleasure.  That is why monastic orders come into being, and why Zen Buddhism founds its roots in the denial of reality in order to deal with pain — all because pleasure could not be ultimately achieved without the pain that accompanies.

That is the reality that Federal and Postal employees come to realize when a medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, those “pleasures” that were once taken for granted — of a health body; of a mind that has focus, concentration, and mental acuity to multi-task on a daily, sustained basis — begin to wither and wane.

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, may become a necessity, and when one is forced to take that necessary step, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

For, in the end, neither pleasure nor the ascetic have grasped the true point of living a worthwhile life; as worth is determined by the priorities ones sets in the course of existing, one’s health should thus be a major element to achieve within every web of goals set, whether in striving for pleasure or regarding the ascetic who renounced it for the sake of a mistaken belief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: In the end…

What is it about a phrase that predictably tells us about the mood, content or direction of the mindset?  If a person begins with, “Well, it all began when…” — we will often stifle a yawn, try to make excuses and begin heading for the exits.  Self-aggrandizing, prefatory remarks that set the stage for a narrative delineation that includes private details of individual lives often bore the pants off of most people, and yet many will “tell all”, as if such intimate details trigger a prurient interest within each of us.

Then, of course, there is the opposite, as in: “In the end…”.  What fills in the ellipses?  In the end…the world will all go to the trash bin of history’s footnotes; In the end…we all die, anyway?  Such opening phrases and closing remarks leave out the vast chasm of filling in “the middle”, of course.  How does a story begin, tell the narrative in an interesting manner in “the middle” and end with a bang?  That is the problem, isn’t it?  Most of us don’t have a clue as to how to tell an interesting tale.

And what about non-fiction — of a historical narrative or of a biography?  What makes for an interesting “telling” of it — of what details of a person’s life; what incidents should be included?  What peripheral, tangential details will make for an interesting and engaging read?  Is a biography incomplete if the author leaves out certain details, or does it matter?  What “events” are presumed and should therefore be excluded, and can it really be said that certain excluded moments are considered to be excluded at all?

For example, it is presumed that a person goes to the bathroom a few times a day, at least — but what if, during the narrative of a biography or a historical period, such activities are never mentioned?  Can we call up the author and demand to know why such historical “facts” were excluded from the biography of, say, an important figure?

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 may be necessary to begin to formulate 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.

As part of that “administrative process”, it is necessary to complete SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing the narrative story of one’s medical condition, it is important to convey the essential “story” — a historical account; a prefatory introduction; a “middle”; and an “In the end…”.

What details to include; the choice of words; whether in the first-person or 3rd-person narrative; of what legal arguments to include; whether to “exclude” certain details without being charged with “falsifying” a claim, etc. — these are all important considerations in the proper, complete and sufficient preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and it is vitally important to do it “the right way” when preparing SF 3112A — the core and essence of the Federal Disability Retirement application — which, in the end, is the story of your tale that needs to be told.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation OPM Disability Retirement: A good turn

At what point does a “good” turn transform into a negative?  Can one help so much so that dependency becomes the habit and negates the “goodness” that was once always a part of the deed?  Isn’t “going to work” a “good” thing?  When does it turn bad?  Is there ever a point where the quality of X becomes diluted so much so by the quantitative increase of the primary identifying ingredient of X to where the essence of X becomes negative-X because of too much X within X?  Can there be, in the simplest of terms, too much goodness where goodness itself turns bad because of the overwhelming goodness involved?  Why is it that the following syllogism doesn’t quite work, and where is the fallacy involved?

Water is a necessary component for life
Life requires water in abundance in order to survive
Therefore, the more water, the greater abundance of life

But we all know that consuming too much water can kill a person.  And, isn’t that the complaint that we have in almost all aspects of living — that we come back to Aristotle’s essential wisdom that there is a “mean” or a “middle ground” of moderation where the extremes on either sides — neither too much nor too little — is the balance in the life that one should always strive for.

That is the basic component of happiness reduced to its pure essentials: of the porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”; of leisure time that relaxes but doesn’t rob from sustained periods of productivity; of a nap that satisfies but doesn’t make one groggy; and of entertainment that borders just to the edge of credibility but stays within the boundaries of allowing one to suspend disbelief, such that one can enjoy it without sighing, turning to a loved one and declaring, “That just isn’t believable.”

But where technology comes into our lives, perhaps we have come to a saturation point where we no longer believe that the “next new innovation” is going to save us any more time or enhance the quality of our lives anymore than the last version of our Smart Phone give us the promise of nirvana that we all stand in long lines to attain.  And so the question again turns full circle: When does a “good” turn into a negative?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose medical conditions have come to a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the vicious circularity of the circumstances makes it into a paradigm where a good turns into a negative: Coming to work exacerbates the medical condition; the stress of being unable to perform the full essential elements of the Federal or Postal job further increases the stress; the Agency or the Postal facility begins to turn upon the Federal or Postal employee; and the job itself — once one of the many “good” things in life — now becomes a detriment and a negative.

It is then time to consider preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus turning that which was once a “good” but had transformed into a negative, back into a good turn.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Pension: In between preparations for vanishing

The Biblical reference is where John the Baptist declared that his role in the historical narrative would naturally diminish by relevance in order for the primary character to loom large upon a world in need of a coming Savior.  Each of us strive daily to accomplish, achieve and advance (ah, the 3 “A’s” might be the title of the next New York Times Bestseller on the mass marketing list of self-help books); that is the natural inclination from birth to death – or, at the very least, until one has expended and exhausted the reservoir of stamina each retains for the daily battle of life itself.

What we fail to recognize is that, as another book of wisdom in an age prior to the declaration of a coming earthquake that would split the earth and crack the old barrels of fermenting wine (figuratively stated) pointed out, there is a time, a season and the proper context when certain acts should be considered (paraphrasing here), and prominent among them the capacity to recognize the appropriate time to begin paring back, preparing to recede and allow for the next generation to take its successive position of assertive presence.

Do we embrace the in between preparations for vanishing, or do we fight against it because that is what we have done all throughout our lives?

It is important, for instance, to apply the principle of eventual vanishing when one becomes a parent, in order to foster the self-confidence of a son or daughter; to slowly, incrementally and seemingly naturally allow for the opinions and views of the younger ones to grow in stature, relevance and significance, such that when adulthood is reached, the lowering of the parent’s perspective becomes equal to the rising of the child’s self-image.

At that point, when the balance between childhood and esteem for one’s parents meets in the middle upon a spectrum of wide variance, parent and child can become co-equals of a sort, and “friends” as much as a parent and child can be.  In order to achieve that goal, however, it is necessary to engage in “in between” preparations for vanishing – not to totally obliterate the relevance of one’s historical accomplishments, but to incrementally diminish in magnification and presence.

Fighting against the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often based upon the lack of recognition that in between preparations for vanishing is a natural and necessary part, at a certain stage in life, during a particular season of one’s career, and when the time necessitates.  Yes, the Federal career and the Postal work provided a sense of identity and granted a purpose, focus and compelling force during the productive career – but now, the season has changed, the context has altered and the time has ripened in another direction.

It is time to engage the in between preparations for vanishing – not to totally disappear, but to diminish, such that when a Federal Disability Retirement is attained, the next stage of one’s life can be opened for that which we term the greater adventure of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Survival

The struggle to get through a given day can be overwhelming.  The complexity of the human phenomenon is beyond mere comprehension; and, as some mysteries are simply unsolvable, so the accepted view of evolutionary will for survivability is defied daily.  Can it really be explained by a language game encapsulating “instinct”, “genetic determinism” and “innate desire to propagate one’s species“?

Such a language game is tantamount to Popper’s falsifiability axiom; it falls into the category of a nice story, and even believable, but no historical data to test its veracity.  Each day is an extreme test of Nietzsche’s calculus of one’s will to live; and, by the way, it is always other people who truly compel the test.

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 one’s positional duties, the endurance of survivability is a test of daily will.  What makes it tougher?  It is a question of relativity, of course.

The increasing pressure from the agency for greater productivity was barely bearable before the advent of the medical condition, or its manifested symptoms exacerbated recently; the sudden whispers and glances askance when exiting or entering a room; and the cyclical viciousness of wondering what next the agency will do, is contemplating, or conniving, as the case may be.

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, may not look like the “be-all” solution in every case; but where the clash of survivability and the lowering of one’s stature within the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service from one of “golden boy (or girl, as the case may be)” to “questionable”, then the proverbial writing on the wall may necessitate the preparation of an “exit strategy” from the war zone of predators.

In the end, the anthropological account of man as merely one animal among others, and the predatory environment characterized by the paradigm, “survival of the fittest“, is both believable and compelling.

Hobbs, Rousseau and Locke were precursors in their literary genius of bifurcating the condition into that of “state of nature” and “civil society”, and we can still fool ourselves within the surroundings of technology and architectural wonders, that we are somehow above the beasts of burden, and other amoebas and prehistoric entities; but like tumors and other things that grow, survival cannot be the standard of living; otherwise, staying put would be the way to go.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pretending

It is the creative imagination which ultimately separates man from his counterpart; and, in the end, those costumes we display, and wear as vestiges of who we were, what we have become, and how we want others to appreciate us — in the aggregate, they reveal either our pretending selves, or at the very least, our pretentiousness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the extension from childhood through adulthood is best personified in the ability and capacity to “pretend” — assume the role of the loyal civil servant; march on in quiet suffering; brave through in silent grief the turmoil of a progressively worsening medical condition.  But when “pretend” encounters the reality of pain and self-immolation of destruction and deterioration, there comes a point in time where childhood fantasies and dreams of want and desire must be replaced with the reality of what “is”.

That annoying verb, “to be”, keeps cropping up as an obstacle of reality, forever obstructing and denying.  Reality sometimes must hit us over the head with harsh tools of sudden awakenings; for the Federal or Postal worker who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the wake-up call is often the alarm-clock that rings after a long weekend, when rest and respite should have restored one to healthy readiness on the workday following, but where somehow the face of pretending must still remain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Preemptive Actions

Knowledge can be a dangerous commodity; partial, or little knowledge, can be all the more damaging, precisely because actions can result based upon incomplete information and slices of factually curtailed composites.

The Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit has previously pointed out one of the methodological deficiencies engaged in by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in its review and determination of Federal Disability Retirement cases:  of focusing upon that which is not included in a Federal Disability Retirement application, as opposed to reviewing the information of what has been received.

Such a distinction may be a subtle one, and a difference which can be easily overlooked, but it reveals much more than mere word-play.  For, what it manifests is an application of a criteria based upon an erroneous assumption, and one which continues to be applied to this day, despite case-law which admonishes OPM to the contrary.

Vanieken-Ryals v. OPM, a 2007 Federal Court of Appeals case, points out the error of OPM’s ways in Federal Disability Retirement cases, where insistence upon “objective” medical evidence continues to dominate, despite the lack of such requirement to the contrary.  Such an issue is especially relevant, of course, in cases where psychiatric medical conditions prevail, and when OPM insists upon the lack of such “objective” medical evidence where none can be obtained, it leads to Federal and Postal employees to react desperately in a preemptively unreasonable frenzy of actions.

Not knowing the law is one thing; knowing, but deliberately ignoring it, is quite another.  But the price Federal and Postal employees pay for when a bureaucracy engages in practices which clearly defy the clear mandate of legal requirement, results in preemptive actions which ultimately lead to another day in Court, to argue that which one thought was previously already established.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire