Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Higher and lesser standards

Does anyone ever go into something, engage an activity, begin a project or initiate a hobby thinking that a “lesser standard” would be acceptable?  Or, is the “higher standard” always the option preferred? — and if we fall somewhat short of the goal intended, isn’t it better to strive towards that height of vaunted “unreachable-ness” like the lesser angels who try and climb up the ladder to heaven but fall short because of the misgivings of sins committed or blemishes of imperfections left unchanged?

One can always argue, of course, that all standards are somewhat “arbitrary”, and perhaps they are to the extent that we can always “do better”, and the self-satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of any standard set is merely to realize that there can always be another step to take, a further goalpost to conquer, and a next and higher challenge to face.  To begin with a lesser standard is to foretell defeat before a journey is begun; whereas, to demand an unreachable standard is to despair of an idealism that cannot be fathomed.  What, then, is the “proper” standard to set?

To set it too low is to achieve mere mediocrity; to preface a too-high-a-standard is to defeat one’s advocacy before efficacy can be tested.

We, none of us, want to begin a journey with a defeatist mentality, and it is the setting of a standard — however low or high — that often determines the success or failure of any endeavor.  It is only when we “know” that a self-set standard will never be reached, cannot be attained and will never be near to the heart of our wishes and desires, that then we realize the utter futility of our own efforts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have set a high standard in their careers and employment goals, it is a difficult road to take, both mentally and/or physically, to realize and come to the conclusion that one’s professional standards can no longer be met because of a medical condition that impedes, precludes and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

No one ever sets out to reduce the standards of a life’s goal, but when outside forces such as a medical condition impact upon the standards set, the choice is to prepare, formulate and file 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.

Federal and Postal employees have always set high standards for their work ethic. Sometimes, however, it is not the higher standard that defeats, but the lesser standards of reality — such as a medical condition that comes about unexpectedly in life — that forces the necessary adjustments that remind us of our own mortality, imperfections and the gap between the higher standards we set and the truth of our own misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal & Postal Workers: The packet

The packet to be submitted in an OPM Disability Retirement filing is the entirety of what is constituted by the evidence, the statements and documentation — in other words, the compendium of all that will be used in order to seek an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

At the beginning of the process — i.e., when the Federal or Postal employee first contemplated engaging this administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement” — the Federal or Postal employee was faced with a slew of blank forms, beginning with the SF 3107 Series (Application for Immediate Retirement, Schedules A, B & C and the other forms that need to be completed by the Agency’s Human Resource Office), along with the SF 3112 Series (Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Supervisor’s Statement; The Physician’s Statement; Agency’s Efforts for Reassignment and Accommodation form; the Checklist).

The “middle part” of the process is comprised in gathering the medical documentation that would support the Federal or Postal employee’s packet, as well as filling out the various questions.  Perhaps, during the administrative process — whether now awaiting a decision or still in the middle of completing the packet — the Federal or Postal employee asked one’s self: “Is it merely a matter of answering these questions, or is there a legal criteria that must be followed?”  For, while the questions on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, may appear fairly straightforward, do not ever think that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has assembled the Packet so that you can easily qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The “Packet” contained Standard Forms to be completed; it even gives instructions at the beginning of each form.  However, as for the legal standard to be met and the requirements of what must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence — those little gems are nowhere contained in “The Packet”; that is something which the Federal or Postal employee must go out and seek, and the best place to begin is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Confidence games

We all know (or, by a certain age or stature of wisdom, should know) about the psychology behind the scam:  Of gaining one’s confidence by first including one into a select group of people who are “in the know”.

There are two primary senses to the word, aren’t there?  The first being a sense or feeling of self-assurance, as in, “He is very confident in his own abilities.”  The second, and somewhat connected, is the definition pertaining to a relationship of trust and reliance, where there exists or builds upon a sense of camaraderie and intimacy, as in: “He brought me into his confidence.”  In both cases, there develops a relationship of bonded certainty, whether in one’s self or in the connection between two or more individuals.

Thus, the “confidence” games encompass those activities or endeavors that build upon a relationship based upon trust, and engender the hapless victim to possess a sense of self-assurance that what he or she is giving up is of sacrificial value because the trust relied upon has been built on a foundation of friendship, relationships entrusted, and a shared affinity of intimacy exclusive of others.

Thus does the classic confidence game begin in a parking lot where a a cache of money is found and you are roped into becoming a select group within a conspiracy of two, or maybe three, and you are asked to put up a “deposit” of trust — then, when it is all over, you open the bag of money that you were left holding, only to find that it was merely a bundle of newspaper clippings.  Or, of more complex pyramid schemes, ranging from the simple to the incomprehensible, ending up sometimes like Bernie Madoff’s decades-long game of roping in even the most sophisticated of unweary investors.

But then, aren’t we all conditioned from a very early age to believe that “confidence” games are acceptable, and that we get on through life’s difficulties by acting a part?  Don’t we teach kids to “act self-confident”, be self-assured and walk with your head held high and play the “as if” game — as if you know what you are doing; as if you are the best qualified; as if you can have it all?

That is often the veneer we put on, and how thin the veil of confidence can be, only to be shattered like the delicate china that give off the clink-clink of refinement until the first fissure begins to show, then shatters upon the hardness of the world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be that your self-confidence is beginning to wear off.  As the Federal Agency or the Postal Service steps up its campaign of harassment and intimidation, the Federal or Postal worker has to deal with a double-problem:  The profound fatigue from the medical condition itself (which impacts one’s sense of self-assurance) and concurrently, the loss of self-confidence as one realizes that one’s physical or cognitive capacity to continue in the chosen career is beginning to wane.

We all play the “confidence game” — that of going through life winging it and hoping that no one else notices; but at times, when the “real game” of life suddenly imposes its presence upon us, it is time to become “real”.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must face a real-life crisis of confidence because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the focus of one’s efforts can be redirected upon the greater importance of one’s health and well-being, as opposed to being drawn into the parking lot schemes of further confidence games.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The constant pruner

Without the constancy of the activity, the growth itself saps the life within and extends to expend energy that ultimately reacts with a self-immolation that harms itself.  Pruning is a necessary activity to lop off the unnecessary; otherwise, the diseased branches and the weakened limbs rob from the underlying life that needs less in order to live more.

Limbs that have weakened and are dying; the weak extensions that are yet strong enough to cling on as useless appendages that refuse to break and crack despite the winds of storms that test and weed out; and in clinging, deplete the sap of life that must still run its course through to the end of each.  The constant pruner knows that less is more; that by lopping off and ending the dependencies, the life that remains will be extended all the more.

So much of the world reflects the same approach; history is a constant pruner, of importance, significance, relevance and of what remains within the consciousness of a living society.  Bodies need pruning; or, at least, a refinement and readjustment, just in order to survive.

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 Federal or Postal job, there is a reflective duality in the act of pruning: for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, they may look upon you as that useless appendage that must be pruned, leading to a systematic campaign of pressuring you to either resign (self-prune) or terminate (a third party act).

For the Federal or Postal employee, the steps necessary for “pruning” can involve:  Resignation; Filing a Federal disability retirement application; or just “staying put” — which, in the end, is an inactive, passive way of self-pruning, anyway, because it will ultimately lead to one of the first two, in the end.  The question is: Do you want the agency or the Postal Service to do the pruning, or do it yourself?

In order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal disability retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is necessary to first take out the metaphorical “shears” by consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in the law of Federal Disability Retirement.

That is the beginning of becoming the constant pruner — to first learn, then to proceed, lest you lop something off that should not have been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The concise sentence

What is the difference between being concise and performing with precision?  The former is often applied in the universe of words and communication; the latter, in areas where quantitative measuring tools can be determined, such as in science or in mathematical sectors.

We say of a person who speaks voluminously but with little substance that he or she represents the antonym of conciseness; and so a comparison is often made between volume spoken or written and concepts or thoughts conveyed.  Of Literature, most would agree that Hemingway is the representative paradigm of conciseness, whereas Joyce and Faulkner reflect the very opposite, though all three are considered classic and great authors.

Do we excuse such authors as Joyce and Faulkner because, in literature, we tend to focus upon the stylistic brilliance of their writings as opposed to the “meaning” that captures the undercurrent of their works?  In other words, although they may give us “too many” words and thus are, by definition, lacking of conciseness, we nevertheless overlook such imprecision precisely because we do not attribute “amount” as the necessary and sufficient cause of determining the worth of good authorship.

Hemingway used to say that, in writing, he had already formulated each sentence before setting it upon paper, whether in handwriting (a lost art) or at the typewriter (a manual, when those contraptions existed and where the clack-clack of metal keys pounded deep into the twilight of a writer’s life).

Why do we applaud and celebrate the concise sentence?  Does it make a difference whether or not a sentence, say, with 7 words communicates a thought as opposed to a paragraph with a thousand words that conveys the identical conceptual construct?

Take the following 2 examples: 1. Lessening of debt equals wealth. Or, 2: If you have less to owe to others, then it is the same as savings; or, as Benjamin Franklin used to say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and the reality of it all is that we have more to spend and retain wealth, not so much because you have more money, but you have more because less is spent on paying other people your hard-earned dollars.

Now, both sentences convey essentially the same meaning.  The first one, however, is comprised of 5 words. The second one took…many words to communicate the same thought.  Does it matter whether a concise sentence is used, as opposed to one that is not, if the same two convey identically reflective thoughts?

It might make a difference, because of one factor that has not been discussed: Being concise often possesses the added feature of being precise, and precision is important in the accuracy of conveying thought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are thinking about preparing, formulating and filing 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, there is a dual-key component to preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability: Be concise, but do not forego length for completeness.

In other words, being concise in order to convey the proper information is important; but, at the same time, do not sacrifice wordiness just because of the limited “boxes” that are provided on SF 3112A.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing 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, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle

Dismissing all substantive imperfections, the phrase connotes that which we are left with:  a trope of magnanimous inanity.  The classic scene, of course, if one’s memory serves one well (and, concurrently, if one wants to reveal the generation from whence one came), is where “The Fonz” in the popular but antiquated sitcom, “Happy Days,” enters the bathroom at the local diner, and as he is about to comb back his grease-filled hair, stops, pauses, looks again, then declares with but a barely intelligible word, confirming the picture-perfect reflection of the image in the mirror, affirming that no amount of further effort would improve upon an already self-evident apogee of creation.

There are, of course, numerous excuses in life, some valid, others derived from pure laziness.  Somehow, the linear perspective of historicity makes of us a frozen frame in time.  Whether the line of demarcation is upon graduation from high school, or a community college, or perhaps even upon being awarded a university degree; we think it is acceptable to stop growing, cease learning, pause further development.

Leisure is often the powder-keg which explodes; the essence of human nature as encompassing the character trait of laziness — but what does that really mean?  Does it imply and denote that there is a genetic predisposition to refuse further growth, or merely an observation that, given the bifurcated duality of false alternatives, most of us would choose the easier path with the least amount of resistance?

If the latter, then it is merely a harmless tautology of observation, for it is self-evident that work and toil, as opposed to pleasure and enjoyment, are the lesser models of preference.  Emergencies; crisis; traumatic events; these, of course, constitute an entirely different category, altogether.  And, in a greater context and larger perspective, one could argue that such intersecting and often interrupting life-events in fact spur greater growth and maturity, by the experience of encountering death, tragedy or tumults of great struggle and endurance against odds stacked against one.

Life is full of challenges, and having a medical condition is one of the greatest of all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing in one’s chosen career-path, and where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity because of the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the endeavor to maintain a semblance of balanced perspective will often become a contentious force in and of itself.

It may sometimes seem as if the linear progression of one’s life has come to a stopping point, and that further growth is no longer possible.  Yet, the answer to a dilemma is often the process of the turmoil itself, and further growth and opportunity may be in some future arena yet unseen, after one has won an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and left the Federal or Postal workforce.

What one doesn’t want to do, is to remain stuck in a situation of stagnation, where all that one can look forward to on a daily basis is to hear a dismissive comment from the guy sitting next to you, who says, “Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire