Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Hope springs

“Eternal”, of course, is the ending and attachment that most would declare if asked to fill in the blank.  How many of us know of the origin of the statement, what it means, from whence it comes (yes, yes, a Google search is only one finger button away)?  It is often an afterthought – a “throw-away” line that one scatters about in response to someone else’s statement about “hoping to do X” or having “hope that X will happen”.

The reactionary response that is commonly stated is, “Well, of course hope springs eternal.”   The origin of the saying comes from Alexander Pope’s work, “An Essay on Man”, where he wrote:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

What was he referring to?  It could be interpreted in many ways – of a reference to a life hereafter and the reason for living, struggling and being tormented in this life, with a view towards an eternal reward; or, that so long as there is hope, things will change for the better if you just stick around long enough.

Without hope, the devastation of life’s turmoil may never allow for a person to get beyond this day; it is with hope that is kept in the human breast that the eternal promise of a better tomorrow becomes possible; for, otherwise there is just fatalism to look forward to, or as Pope stated, a state of existence where “Man never is”.

The word-pictures evoked from Pope’s work are beautifully put, and provide images that allows for multiple interpretations.  The word “springs” is a carefully chosen word, for it gives the idea both of calm (as in the tranquility of a running spring) as well as a jump forward (as in “spring forward”), and thus establishes multiple meanings when tied to the reference point of “hope”.

Hope, ultimately, is the ingredient that allows for life to live for a future yet undetermined and yet to be defined.  That is what is important for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job.  For, what other hope is there than Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

As the ongoing medical condition and the deteriorating aspect of the medical condition begins to squeeze out any hope left; and the impact it is having on one’s career and future starts to question the viability of any hope to be had; it is hope from X to Y – i.e., a future with a difference – that allows for hope to foster and thrive.

That is why, for the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes that hope in continuing in one’s job is no longer a reality, it becomes important to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because hope springs eternal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Distractions

They are the projects of life of which Heidegger recognizes, allowing for avoiding the inevitabilities of life’s challenges; of fate, mortality, future insecurity, and death.  What quantifiable slice of one’s life is governed by distractions?  Must it always be less than 50% in order to remain so, and if it exceeds that halfway point, does it then become something substantive and not merely the peripheral meaning of what it means to “be distracted”?  If a distraction is considered to be an aside – that which waylays a person’s attention by focusing upon a central project of life’s endeavor – what then defines an inversion of that perspective?

Take, for example, the following:  A mechanical engineer is working on a technical project that consumes one’s focus, concentration and attention to detail, but has a unique and eccentric ophthalmological condition, whereby the eyes are compelled to follow any and all red objects that pass by.

Now, the company has attempted to accommodate the medical condition by requesting that no employee shall enter into the mechanical workshop wearing red, but on this particular day, some investors are visiting, and a man in the troop of intruders is wearing a red tie, and a woman in the entourage is sporting a red sweater.  They go from bench station to the next cubicle, within the purview and arc of dimensional periphery of the eccentric man’s attention, and with each movement, every sidelong blur, his eyes are “distracted” by the red moving objects.

Out of every minute of work, fully 45 seconds are spent on focusing upon the red objects that detract from the necessary mental acuity attending to the project at hand, and indeed, while they are far enough away such that from an objective viewpoint, the objects are mere inches in proportion and are of a distance as to almost be unnoticeable to others in the group of engineers, for the eccentric mechanical engineer, it is the focal point of his attentions.

The distraction is such that it disrupts the sequence of testing conditions and interrupts the validity of the technical precision required, and a coworker finally declares, “You’ve been too distracted and the project has to be scrapped.”  Would we agree that, because of the numerical disproportionality of concentration attributable, “red-object observation” takes precedence as the primary project, and it is the engineering project that is the distraction?  Or, because it is a medical condition of which he “cannot help it”, do we excuse the distraction in its entirety?

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 positional duties, the central point made here is precisely how the Federal agency and the Postal facility views the issues significant in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service possess a myopic view of “work”, and even if the Federal or Postal employee is able to continue making valuable contributions to the workplace, they often see the differentiation between “work” and “distractions” as one quantifiable by time alone.  This is too bad, but a reality that must be faced.  For, medical conditions are not mere distractions; they are life’s interludes that can often be faced and overcome, if only outmoded ideas about what constitutes workplace contributions are set aside, and realize that even distractions delaying the central mission of a Federal agency or Postal facility are not the most important, or even of much significance, when it comes to the worth and value of a human life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation from Federal or Postal Employment: Passion

No, this is not April, and Easter has long passed.  Have we done a disservice by admonishing our youth to pursue it?  That the worth of a thing is inherently determined by our response to it, and not in the thing itself?  If passion is defined by an emotional fervor, barely controllable and unable to be contained, have we set up the wrong criteria by which to live life?  Work, vocation, career — are they as fungible as life’s castaways, rejected based upon a momentary or fleeting sense of acceptance or denial?

In Western Classical tradition, the “ordering” of the soul in Plato’s Republic, or the search for balance in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, was always the standard to pursue, and was essentially commensurate with the Eastern approaches of Zen’s denial of the body, the warrior’s acceptance of karma and the fate of life as determined by death; and the circle of life as represented by the Rigvedic deity of fire.

Now, how we feel, the passion one embraces, constitutes the totality of acceptance in a world denounced of living spirits and reduced to materialism and Darwinian determinism of the lowest order.  Often, what is lacking is more revealing than the manifestation of a thing; and thus do bifurcated paradigms such as being and nothingness, worth and junk, life and inertness — it is the erasure of one which magnifies the other.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost the “passion” for their vocation because of the introduction of 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 positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker — the “loss” has a determinate criteria by which to evaluate, and is not merely based upon the lack of an emotional response.

The laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an employment criteria signed on by the Federal and Postal employee when you became part of the Federal Sector, and it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to apply for, and become eligible to receive, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity when a medical condition arises such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

In such circumstances, “loss of passion” may simply be a factual observation; the loss of vocation because of a medical condition is then a further consequence, and preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes a necessary next step upon the consequential abandonment of that passion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Word Additions

When viewing a landscape, does the utterance of words add anything to the beauty or desolation?  When rage wells up within a tormented soul, do words which convey a rational thought process ameliorate the temperament in any way?  Whether, in the evolutionary progression of one’s biological apparatus, the appearance of language beyond fundamental communication (e.g., for advanced warning of dangers, conveying of location, and similarly basic devices of informational immediacy) enhances the meaningfulness of the thing itself, is a question beyond mere pedantic interest.

Does a person add anything to the beauty of a red dawn, by describing it with words and conceptual constructs?  Or, better yet, do we glean any greater understanding by descriptive means, or does it merely camouflage the exquisiteness of the thing itself?  There are exceptions.

Medical conditions, and the need to understand their origin, impact, treatment modalities and prognosis allow for individuals to makes decisions based upon information gathered.  The pain itself, or the destructive and progressively debilitating nature of a medical condition, may not require descriptive devices of deciphering linguistic dalliances; but for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must map out one’s future course of actions, the words which one chooses to employ can make all the difference in the conceptual world we live in.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available to all Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS (which most Federal and Postal employees are under, inasmuch as CSRS and CSRS Offset employees are becoming rarer by the year), a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service must be accumulated; but once that threshold is met, it is the evidentiary sufficiency based upon the legal criteria as mandated by statute, the courts, and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which must be complied with through the use of words.

In viewing beauty, words rarely add; in experiencing feelings, language often merely complicates; but in engaging a complex bureaucratic process, words and conceptual constructs add to the future viability of one’s capacity to meet the complex challenges of an ever-changing world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire