OPM Disability Reirement under FERS: Dylan Revisited

The British have the Beatles; America has Dylan.  Martin Scorsese’s ongoing documentaries covering the life of Bob Dylan (“No Direction Home” and “Rolling Thunder Revue”) reveals the obvious differences as well as depicting interesting tidbits of entertainment value, for those even remotely interested.

Dylan is the quintessential American — of the lone troubadour; the composite of a self-made star from multiple personalities, including Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters; and despite playing off and on with “The Band”, forever the loner — remote, distant and undefinable.

Bands come and go — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., and when they disband and disburse, some individually go on to similar heights of fame; but of Dylan, he has always stood apart with his soulful voice, his trance-like story-telling, and the enchanting universe of words conveyed on the airlift of music that brings one into a lyrical fantasyland.

In the end, Robert Allen Zimmerman remade himself from the outskirts of a rural town into the spotlight of musical genius over a span of a time when cultural revolutions were shaking the very foundations of a country at war.  We all yearn to be like him — if not for the fame, then for the uniqueness that becomes apparent when you listen to his voice: Not quite on beat and never able to be defined.

Whoever “Zimmerman” was, we will never know; for what we know is the folklore surrounding even the whispered utterance of “Dylan” — a name and word which provokes images, stories and memories that have cluttered the shadows of a legend like the barnacles encrusted on the underside of a drifting boat.

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, the tragedy of the medical condition can be likened to the duality found in Dylan Revisited — that the person who is beset with the medical condition is not the same person who once forged ahead with a promising career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, the Dylan of today is not the Zimmerman of his past, just as the Federal or postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is not the same person as before the medical condition, and the whole point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to get back to a place where we can define ourselves within the uniqueness of who we are and were.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: How is it?

How is it that the world became the way it is without our knowing it?  How is it that the rules were already in place, the lands already divided, the waters already polluted, the debt already ballooning, the inventions already made — how did that come about, and who told us the history of the “what”, “when” and “where” of the past?  Can a society long endure while ignoring the past of how it developed and came into being?  And who gets to tell the tale of who we are, how we came to be, and why we are the way we are?

Berkeley’s epistemological approach was to confine knowledge to that which we can perceive, thereby attempting to limit the problems inherent in Being, Truth and Reality.  Like so many of the British Empiricists, philosophy was being reduced to mere “language” difficulties and, indeed, history itself may bear out their “rightness” in this question and problematic approach.  There is, of course, a quiet revolution going on about our past, our history, and the telling of who we are.  That is always a good thing, so long as “Truth” is the end-goal of such an endeavor.

But when Truth itself has become relativized as mere language games malleable in the hands for greater artificial intelligence, and where algorithms rule instead of human input which confines it within stated ethical boundaries (and even that is questionable, given the underlying motives and intent of human beings generally), then perhaps Wittgenstein was right after all; it is all a matter of who sees the “truth”, who gets to “tell” it, and who maintains the Tower of Babel in this universe of increasingly unfettered liberty.

In the end, the “how” of the world will forever be revised as perspectives, opinions and viewpoints change; but it is the “who” that controls the lifestream of information and historical data as to what is important; and in this Orwellian world where the glut of information has relativized all truths, we care less about the “how” than the “who”, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition now impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position, the history — or the “how — is important in preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability as posited on SF 3112A.  However, remember that all historical contexts must be provided in streamlined form; for, causality is not an issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application (whereas, in OWCP cases, it almost always is), and thus undue focus upon the “how” can detract from an effective Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A.

The world around us may be concerned with the “How” of a question; for an OPM Disability Retirement case, it is the more current “what” that is the necessary focus of articulation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Bugs

Some are systematically exterminated; others, kept by organic farmers for their predatory advantages, including killing others; and still others are quickly brushed off as pesky little creatures not necessarily bothersome in numbers or even in appearance, but because “bugs” are simply not tolerated in an antiseptic universe where good order and neatness cannot include the appearance of a creature that may do nothing but crawl, creep and fly about in the open space of a garden, within a house or along the fence posts.

They have become a generic “catch-all” phrase that includes anything that moves about that is smaller than a rodent and larger than a speck of dust.  We have, additionally, transferred the sense of anathema in a more metaphorical manner, as in “bugs” in computers or in other appliances that fail to work properly, as if the living bugs in the universe are equated with those imaginary deficiencies of human technological innovation.  Then, there is the phrase, of course, of being worried about something, or having something bother one’s thoughts and invading the peace of one’s mind, as in the question, “What’s bugging you?”

We attribute and project from experiences we have had, and by analogy and metaphor transmit reputations that may never be deservedly ascribed.  Bugs are, in the end, creatures that are avoided, entities that have a reputation encompassing something less than desirable, and for the most part, have become a focus for instincts to exterminate, no matter that they are environmentally positive and have contributed to the balance of nature for endless ages.  And yet, we squash them without a second thought, brush them aside and swat at them to rid them from this universe.

They are, in many respects, tantamount to a microcosmic manner in which some people treat other and fellow human beings.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very concept of the “bug” applies in so many small and almost insignificant ways, but we just don’t realize it.  Has it “bugged” you that the Federal Agency or Postal facility mistreats you because of your medical condition?  Are you considered now as nothing more than a pesky “bug” that irritates, and does the Agency wish to treat you as nothing more than a “bug” to be squashed if given half the opportunity?

Yet, despite having contributed to the mission of the Agency or the work of the Postal Service for all of these many years, just like the bugs that have made the environment better throughout, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition is considered expendable.  It may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Trains of life

There are trains that come and go daily; others, with lengthy destinations, like the Trans-Siberian Express traveling from Moscow to Vladivostok or the Venice-Simplon Orient Express visiting Paris, Venice, Istanbul, and places in-between; and others merely for the monotony of going to work and coming home.

Those who engage the latter often find that vacations utilizing trains are boring and uninviting; yet, for others who struggle through the vehicular traffic jams by rush-hour standards prefer it because you neither have to man the controls nor keep your focus upon the roads to avoid those who are inattentive to the rules of the road.

Relaxation takes many forms, multiple definitions and countless contextual feeds; we are all different, as are the trains of life.  Where it is going; the ticket we purchase; whether we have boarded the “right” train; whether the mistake was made at the ticket office or our lack of identifying the proper one to take; and, if the wrong one, can we still enjoy the scenic view or do we become consumed by the direction we are being taken?

What if we boarded the wrong train, but it turns out that the direction it is taking us fulfills every hope and dream we ever desired – do we still get off at the next stop, or do we muster courage enough to remain still and enjoy the view?  What if we stepped onto the “right” train, but knowing that we don’t really want to go that way, realizing that it has always been a mistake and nevertheless do so with reluctance and dread – do we force ourselves to continue on the journey despite our unhappiness and angst of drudgery?

Or, take it a step further – what if we buy a ticket, board a train and realize that it is not the right one expected, but upon being asked by the ticket-taker mid-trip, the official – whether intentionally or by lack of observance – makes no comment, punches the proper hole and moves on; do we sit with gleeful quietude and just let the train take us where we did not intend but are happy to experience?

That is often how life works – of trains that we intend to board, sometimes mistakenly take, and otherwise inadvertently travel upon; and that is how a Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition should view filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Sometimes, the ticket fails to match the trip; other times, while the intended destination corresponds perfectly, there is a “mishap” on the trip itself.

Perhaps the Federal or Postal employee never expected a medical condition; so be it, but plans for the ongoing train of life must nevertheless be made.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the next step where a Federal career must end because the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform all of the essential element of one’s Federal or Postal position.

For, as the trains of life may be many, choosing the right “ticket” while waiting to board is just as important as identifying the train that will take you to the intended destination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step in preparing, formulating and 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, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Problematic Loss of Confidence

Confidence is an ethereal character trait; in some ways, it is self-perpetuating, as success relies upon it, and feeds it, which in turn reinforces any lack thereof.  At once fleeting but full, the loss of it can be devastating.

For some, a mere look of doubt or suspicion from others can undermine the fullness of possession one may have had of it just a moment before; for others, whether lack of competence or never having had any reason for possession of it appears to matter not, and like self-esteem in the generation of modernity and “me”, a complete void of accomplishments seems not to overturn those who accumulate an abundance of it.  But weakness or negation from outside sources can be the final straw in undermining that sensitive sense of self, and a medical condition which attacks the body, mind and psyche of an individual can be devastating.

Thus, when the Federal or Postal employee who has confidently strode throughout a long and satisfying career, whose performance has raised eyebrows of accolades beyond mere efforts of competence, and where performance reviews have always included adjectives and superlatives searched out beyond mere templates previously applied with thoughtless automation, the introduction of a medical condition into the life of such a Federal or Postal employee can be like the Martian Chronicles revealing the strangeness of alien cultures clashing in a battle of titans heard beyond the roar of civilizations long lost and forgotten.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle with this, resist the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because the disbelief is overwhelming that, somehow, this loss of what was once taken for granted, could possibly be.  But as “possibility” includes the building of concrete structures in thin air, whereas “probability” involves the hard computation of one’s life and “reality-living” in a harsh and uncaring universe, so the Federal or Postal employee must take into account that past foundations of accomplishments may not uphold the confidence once shared and held by a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Confidence, indeed, is like the golden dust sprinkled sparingly by the fluttering angels of yesteryear; and today is a dawn of dying expectations, where the harsh realities of a medical condition must be faced with a freshness of purpose, reserved for that fight which may require one’s presence on a day in future pasts, unforseen and as of yet unfought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Game of Calumny

If not one’s reputation, what is the remaining value?  If truth is not a goal, then what fills the void?  Yes, from ashes to ashes, and back to dust, and the elements which make up man are constituted by nothing unique beyond the environment from which he originates, and to which he returns; but the linguistic act of reductionism fails to achieve a full embrace, and just like the defensive football player who hesitates for a moment and sees the blur of the ball carrier speed past, so the aftertaste of materialistic reductionism is somehow unsatisfying.

For, to say that X is “nothing more” than an aggregate of atoms is to characterize a masterpiece as a mere collection of colors, and that is precisely Roger Scruton’s point, isn’t it?  Then, there is the game of calumny, of the capacity to try and strip another through slander and innuendo.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, that game by other Federal and Postal employees becomes a daily onslaught.

Somehow, it is not enough that one must suffer from the gods of fate and contend with deteriorating health.  Instead, one must further deal with the sudden isolation into disfavor, like lepers of yore shipped to colonies in deserted islands beyond the reach of virulent populations scared of their own shadows.  Slavery was outlawed decades ago, but the treatment of workers barely has changed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file 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, the game of calumny by one’s “fellow” workers is merely another indicator that we are not merely a collected mass of elements to be spat upon, and that is a positive side to man’s inhumanity; but, then, finding out the truth about one’s fellow man is always better than to live in ignorance thinking that one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service was going to be supportive through thick and thin.

The time of “thin” has arrived, and it is in the thick of things that one must now fight for one’s rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire