Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Inversion thinking

The dictionary definition often refers to a “reversal” of an opinion, position, order of sequence or relationships between entities, but may also connote the grammatical alteration of the normal sequence in a sentence, such as placement of a verb before its subject.

In modernity, we often hear about the admonishment to “think outside of the box” – and advertisements often try to play upon this concept by declaring some grand secret that is only available to a limited number of people who are smart enough to call in to the station within the next 5 seconds, lest the opportunity of a lifetime be lost (ignoring the fact, of course, as you are sitting singularly in the confined space of your car listening to the radio, that there are tens of thousands of other listeners who similarly have the mistaken belief that being alone in a vehicle listening does not mean the same thing as being the only person hearing the announcement).

The fact of the matter is, that once a person begins to be told to “think outside of the box”, it is already too late; for, inversion thinking must occur prior to everyone else engaging in the herd-mentality of being different.  Being different means doing so before everyone else has similarly become different, which is to say that everyone becomes the same.  At that point, one must try and become different from the collective differences already alluded to, and in so doing, it is already likely that many other people have already considered the next course of mutation and followed a similar suit; and so it goes.

Inversion thinking is just a different way of thinking outside the box; or, one might say, it is the same as thinking outside of the box, only stated in a different way.  We all like to think of ourselves as unique and singular, when in fact most of us are mere figments of an aggregated collectivism.

We all go to the same type of schools; we listen to the radio programs within the restricted airwaves of our communities or at least until the satellite programs expire and the constant flood of offers to extend become so annoying that we go ahead and give that credit card number to pay for programs we never listen to; and the spectrum of information we are bombarded with – from television to movies, internet and Facebook, et al – makes herds of us rather than mavericks upon the great plains of the creative mind.

We are told as we are growing up, how unique and “special” we are, but in the end, inversion thinking is a phenomena that rarely occurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing an effective 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, it is often the thought of being “different” that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from taking that “next step”.  Be not fooled, however; for, from the perspective of the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service, you have already been targeted as “different” because of your medical condition.

Inversion thinking requires taking that next step, and to think “outside of the box”, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is that distinguishing feature of human activity that will require a different kind of approach in order to step into the uncertainty of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The change is in us

We wake up each morning expecting the world to have remained unaltered during the night; yet, as Hume’s argument concerning causality would have us believe, there is no necessary connection we have identified or conceptually ascertained, but merely our imagination anticipating and projecting into the future, such that stability of the universe around us pervades in a constancy of regularity.

The surroundings remain familiar; the coffee machine is of the same make as when we left it the night before; even the dogs appear unchanged, ready to obey and begin the day in the fashion that canines are accustomed to.  Perhaps you bump into an object before turning on the lights, and you find that someone in the household has shifted it from where you last saw it.  You resolve to inquire about it later in the day, or are immediately satisfied that “X must have left it” and therefore the “mystery” is solved.  Never does it enter your mind that the world, in its own power of intended shifting, moved without direct causal intervention.  You step into the bathroom and look in the mirror, where the same features stare back.

Yet, what may be different, what results in a subtle but perceivable alteration, is not the world reflected on the wall behind, but the compendium of complex emotions, memories, thought-processes and cognitive intuitions having rested through the night, and now are awakened to perceive, judge, analyze and evaluate in the wakefulness of the moment.

It is us that changes.

As Kant pointed out, we bring human structures of perceptual constructs to the inert world which pervades and surrounds.  The universe we invade and occupy often remains constant, and in that rhythm of regularity, we find solace in a methodological quietude.  Yes, cars whiz by and honk their horns, and birds chirp in the early morning dawn, but such movement has already been anticipated and entered into the equation of our consciousness.  It is only if buildings move, like earthquakes responding to the tectonic shifts of unseen caverns, when we panic within the world of regularity we have created.

But then, sometimes, the outside force touches upon us directly, and that is when the peace and quiet of constancy becomes disturbed.

Medical conditions tend to do that — for they have a duality of existence.  It is a change “out there”, somewhere whether visible, as in a physical injury of open wounds, or “in there”, whether as an unseen pain correlated by a diagnostic test, or even a psychiatric condition which pervades and progressively debilitates.  But the duality exists precisely because the “there” is also part of the self which recognizes the change.

The change is not only “in us”, it is us.

And it is often that very duality of alteration which thus requires a further change in abutting against the unchanging and impervious universe around us.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, this realization that one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unwilling to change, to accommodate or to transform in response to the medical condition, is a knowledge which is gained often through the harsh reality of confrontation and harassment.  For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to this realization, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a consideration which must be seriously entertained.

It is, for many, a realization likened to “growing up” in a world which is often cold, uncaring and unconcerned.

As agencies are behemoths which reflect the character of a society, so it should not be surprising that Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities which respond well to change.  For, in the end, we must always recognize that the most significant change in the history of shifting burdens does not occur in the textbooks of time, but closer to the heart of every individual, and it is not change in the “other” which calls forth the earthquakes resulting in tsunamis, but it is the change in us, as it is change which is us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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, is never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: Avoidance

It begins with a subtle turning away, perhaps; reduction of contact, lessening of coincidental interactions, etc.  The fact is, in an office environment, or out in the proverbial “field” of employment, if a coworker or supervisor wants to get a hold of you, they normally can, and with aggressive intent, quite quickly.  But suddenly and in a spiral trajectory of avoidance, people begin to shun and shove aside.

It’s not like the medical condition is contagious, or will by some mysterious process of osmosis spread like a viral wildfire merely by standing next to you; but that is how it is perceived and attributed.  When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, whether the person is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the palpable sense of ostracizing begins immediately.

Loss of productivity; being placed on a PIP; developing a reputation for being on the wrong side of an agency’s favor; these are all of the ills which portend; and the greater the degree of avoidance by fellow workers, the increasing pressure of evidence to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement.  Federal Disability Retirement is a process which can take many months, and is ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The inevitable is written in the rosters of future events; avoidance merely delays that which will come about, anyway; and procrastination exponentially compounds the cumulative problems aggregated by neglect.  Thus does avoidance work to wound, and rarely to enhance, the fragile future of the Federal or Postal employee in securing one’s financial stability, by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: Formulating the Effective Case

Is it inherently presupposed that a case to be formulated is one which should be “effective”?  By the insertion of that term, of course, it immediately implies a retrospective vantage point — an “ends” to “means” view of an outcome-based approach.

If a Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, receives a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one assumes that the case was not “effectively” formulated.  On the other hand, if an approval is received from OPM, one need not consider any such issue, but merely moves on to the “when” phase — as in, “When am I going to get paid“?

Outcome-based formulation of a case is never an unwise approach; but the mere fact that a denial is issued by OPM after reviewing a given Federal Disability Retirement application, does not mean that the case itself was not originally “effective” in the formulation and submission.

There are OPM “administrative specialists” who systematically deny cases; certain others who require a higher standard of proof beyond what the law mandates; and even those who extrapolate clear evidence in a denial which establishes eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement, but nevertheless concludes with a disapproval.  Such arbitrary outcomes may seem unfair and unwarranted, but it is a reality which must be faced.

In light of this, the positive outlook to embrace is the fact that Federal OPM Disability Retirement is an administrative process with multiple stages for appeals and additional bites at the proverbial apple.  From the outset, it is always a good idea to carefully prepare, formulate and file an “effective” case; but the mere fact that the first attempt fails to achieve the outcome desired, does not diminish or extinguish the positive assessment reached at the outset when first the Federal Disability Retirement packet was submitted; rather, it just means that additional proof and evidentiary addendum must be forthcoming to satisfy the bureaucratic process of further effectuating the efficacy of an already-effective case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire