FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The person who wasn’t

It sounds somewhat like a Hitchcock film — or, is that too archaic a reference these days?  Is Hitchcock a film director whom nobody knows, anymore — another person who wasn’t?  Or, more precisely, “Isn’t” but was?  Is that the greatest fear of most people — the negation that erases, and why immortality and the existence of an afterlife is so important?

It is like Berkeley’s problem of the disappearing room — it is easy enough to imagine that when we exit one room and enter another, the first or previous one still exists in quite the same manner as when we last observed it (with the exception, perhaps, of a mouse scurrying along the baseboards or someone else entering the room while we are gone, changing the placement of the furniture, sitting down and smoking a cigar and changing the atmosphere in the room, etc.) — and the definition of “existence” as tied to our capacity to observe or perceive an object.

It is the thought of our erasure from existence that is the fodder for fear; yet, the self-contradiction of such a fear is so obvious as to logically obviate such a fear, but it doesn’t.  For the contradiction goes as follows: Our fear is based upon our thought of an event that cannot be, precisely because our erasure from the image formed by the thought cannot remain since we no longer exist; yet, it is the prevailing image of non-existence that haunts even though the image would not exist except during the pendency of our existence in formulating that image.  Existence reminds us of immortality; non-existence, of our vulnerability.

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, remember that the mere telling of one’s intention to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may trigger a host of reactionary retributions by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, and so one should be carefully cautioned, guided and counseled by a lawyer when considering entering the administrative arena of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is as if the information about filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is a reminder of one’s mortality — that a medical condition that impacts you reminds those at the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that it could also happen to them — and thus the Federal Agency or the Postal Service moves quickly to erase such reminders by initiating adverse actions, harassing you, intimidating you, etc. — so that such reminders can quickly be erased in order to make you into the person who wasn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: On the other hand…

Do other species engage in the same games of options and alternative scenarios?  Does the Lioness, just before the charge and race to overtake its noontime meal, say to herself, “Yes, that one looks good; but on the other hand…”?

Or, does the fact that a subjective state of consciousness fails to include verbal statements or conceptual constructs coherent by human standards constitute an absence of such option-choosing methodology of thought processes?

Or, do we accept its silent substitute, where there is an antelope, a wildebeest and a wild boar , and as the lioness surveys the prey before her, the fact that she looks, views, takes into account the ease of capture as to each – in a silent, non-verbal manner – constitute the identical cognitive approach as that of murmuring to one’s self?  “On the other hand…”

Does everything have to be verbal in order to reach a level of “thought”, or can the silent surveying of a predator reach the same level of intellectual coherence as that of a verbalized statement?

What about pain?  If you go to a doctor’s office and the MRI shows multi-level degenerative disc disease and the nurse says to you, “You must be in considerable pain,” and you respond with, “Yes, but I haven’t ever said anything about it” – does that mean that you never had pain, or merely that you did not verbalize it?  Can existence of X remain in a private, insular and singular world, or must it be communicated in order to have a “reality”-based existence?

How is it different from the child who says, “I just saw a purple monster hiding behind the couch”, and the parent smiles and says, “What an imagination!”  The fact that the child saw it and no one else, but failed to verbalize it at first – does it make a difference?  And when the child declared its existence, do we doubt it any more than the admission of the non-stated pain because we don’t believe in purple monsters?  On the other hand…

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 job, is it better to constantly be a complainer and whiner and keep telling your supervisor and coworkers that you have a medical condition and the medical condition prevents you from doing essential elements X, Y and Z?

Or, like most Federal and Postal workers, do your remain silent for years and even decades, enduring the pain of physical deterioration or the tumult of psychiatric turmoil, and then get “penalized” for it when you file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, merely because “no one knew about it” until it became so bad that you had to file?  On the other hand…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Morning quietude

It is that early morning time when dogs remain still, mice scurry about and the soft snore of distant somber drifts down hallways without traffic of daily discourse.  Morning quietude is a slice of a coming day before the tumult of life begins.

Modernity possesses a level of activity heretofore untried and unimaginable; the constant barrage of emails, the connectedness that everyone feels pressured to comply with; the fact that we are glued to technology, dependent upon it, anticipating it for satisfying our every needs; and beyond the storms of everyday living, there is still a need for that brief period of morning quietude.  It is, in many ways, an extrapolated slice of a metaphorical interlude; for, like the stages of a linear life itself, there are periods of extremes that can be charted on any graph that reflects the daily heights and depths of human activity.

The other side of the spectrum, of course, is the nighttime rest – whether of the need for a period of “down-time” before turning in for the night; or even of sleep itself: how difficult, whether immediate or preceded by a period of insomnia; or even of tossing and turning throughout each night, every night.  Then, morning quietude dawns.  Does it last for very long, or will the rush of the day’s noisiness shatter any semblance of peaceful calm?

Medical conditions are likened to those mornings shaken and interrupted.  For, with unexpected rudeness, they awaken us from that slumber we feel where we were once immortal, invincible and unchallenged.  Then, one day we wake up and realize that we are all too human, and our bodies deteriorate, our minds begin to slip.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates one to begin considering 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, it is like that interruption of morning quietude that finally makes us realize that one has no choice in the matter.

Just as the peace and calm of early morning cannot last forever, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job cannot sit idly by and watch as events continue to deteriorate at one’s job, in one’s personal life, and the clash between health and work.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the next logical step after the morning quietude is broken – when the mice no longer make noises and the dogs begin to bark.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking it through

What does the concept even mean?  When we guide the child with such a statement, we are asking that the formative years of impulsive reactivity pause for a moment to try a different approach.

“Think it through” – is an admonition to figure out the tangled web of problems by applying a sequential, logical methodology where frustration should not impede, and when patience becomes the friend of success.

“Thinking it through” is a reminder that there is indeed a solution, but sometimes the problem will only be sorted out if some further time is given in reflective pose, or Sherlock Holmes-like investigative intuition based upon the scientific paradigms of rationality.  Yet, one must also be reminded of the fact that “solutions” to problems do not always lead to satisfactory conclusions; sometimes, there are a finite set of alternatives, and no one of them may be an option that one delights in.

But, then, life is often like that, isn’t it?

We are beset and faced with a challenge; we review them, thinking each one through, and in the end, we face a dilemma where the solutions offered or revealed are not necessarily the ones we like; nevertheless, we must choose, like entering into an ice cream parlor at the end of a summer’s day only to find that all of the favorite flavors are gone and we are left with rhubarb spice and cotton-candy mixed with peanut butter drops – somehow, not the best of combinations and understandably left for those who came too late.

Then, of course, there are the questions for everyone who posits the answers as “thinking it through” – does the person have the sufficient knowledge and preparatory tools to actually figure out the problem?  Or, are there necessary pre-performance insights that must be gathered first, before the proverbial “key” can be used to solve the problem?

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 question of “whether” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is best left to the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes the wisdom of the incompatibility between the Federal or Postal job and the medical conditions suffered.

It is only the “how” to file that needs some “preparatory” work and knowledge; for, that part of it involves the law, the regulatory morass and the bureaucratic complexity of submitting the 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 the latter, “thinking it through” may not be possible without the insight and knowledge of a Federal Disability Retirement attorney who specializes in that field of law exclusively.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirements: The Cynic’s Tavern

It occupies a dilapidated building on the edge of town.  The sign that once overhung the entrance is faded and barely noticeable; but, then, the patrons who enjoy the end-of-workday glass or the occasional wanderer who mistakes the place for the origins of exotic mixtures need not a neon of invitation, but merely a marker that beckons.  Laughter is allowed; speaking is optional; rude behavior is not tolerated.  Silence is golden.  People go to the place of drink and merriment because it lacks the pretentiousness of the world outside; and the large man with a stubble of a week’s shade serves with nary a word, and respects the look of fatigue and demeanor of defeat foreshadowing the heavy sigh accompanying the hunched shoulders of the breathless customer.

The Cynic’s Tavern is the place where old men gather, young men and women cluster, and those somewhere in between loiter.  The younger ones have not yet been tainted by life’s travails, and hopeful dreams still clutter the naïve souls of untouched innocence; the one’s who have moved through some years of agony, still retain a glint of smiling faith; but it is the elders of the universe who sit at the bar and despair of lives wasted, wars endured and years forgotten but for the joys of friendship and solitude.

Cynicism is like a virus infecting a town’s essence; it destroys by incremental advances of insidious fatefulness, and never returns the gift of life once gained but lost forever.  If it has not yet prevailed, then wait a few years; life itself guarantees it, as fairytales of beauty, essences of love and mythological lands embracing inclusion and empathy, exist only in the minds of children, the duped or the meandering demented of society’s wasteland.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to fight against joining the Cynic’s Tavern, the issue is often one of withstanding and withholding for so long, until succumbing is merely a matter of time.  If the daily harassment, deteriorating health and constant detours down the alley of worsening conditions has led to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, then it is time to take the next step and formulate the proper and most efficient strategy in order to increase the chances of an approval before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is one thing to enter through the doors of the Cynic’s Tavern for an occasional drink; it is quite another to find one’s seat there warmed by the constant occupation of one’s unmoved derriere.  The best antidote to prevent or curtail cynicism is to keep moving; otherwise, the stale drink and smoke-filled room will ultimately become a part of one’s vacant stare into a future less hopeful.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire