FERS Disability Retirement: Who I Am & Who Am I

One is a question; the other, a declarative statement.  The latter of a more subjective nature; the former, perhaps a composite of observations by third parties together with self analysis.  Both must begin with a query — of analyzing a statement “about” myself, through others who are well-known as well as of opinions rendered and judgments passed by acquaintances and passersby strangers barely acknowledged.

“Who I am” is often answered in response to a preceding query by a third party: “Who are you?”  It might be answered with fairly objective and short statements which are incontestable: I am X’s brother in-law; I am the husband of Y; “Oh, I am Sarah’s father” (in response to Sarah’s classmate who sees you standing outside of the classroom); or, “I am nobody”.  This last statement, of course, has implications well beyond being an unresponsive nullity; for, it goes to the heart of one’s own assessment of one’s self, one’s consequential impact upon the limited universe of one’s role, and the very essence of an ego left abandoned.

The other — Who Am I — is often followed by the grammatical punctuation of a question mark.  It is often a self-reflective query — one which causes a pause, a momentary furrowing of eyebrows raised, and then a regrouping of having just previously been taken aback by a question which stabs too closely to the essence of one’s being.  Perhaps a soliloquy follows.  One will normally cast the question off with a shrug and answer the self-query with, “I am X” and then move on to take out the garbage, watch a movie, see a documentary or engage in what Heidegger refers to as an activity which allows us to forget our mortality.

Will the question inevitably haunt us and force us into facing ourselves at some point in our lives?  Perhaps.  Can we avoid the question entirely?  Maybe.  It is the former, asked by others, which fails to have the force of the latter, and merely because of the placement and substitution of positions of the two words after the “Who” that makes all of the difference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who must face the prospect of facing the question, “Who I am” in reference to one’s position and role in the workplace, it is often the medical condition itself which prompts the second, more incisive query of “Who Am I?”

Does a medical condition define a person?  Certainly, the Agency or the Postal Service makes it the primary issue by questioning one’s competence or capabilities based upon your condition.  Both questions go to the heart of the issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application; for, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service treat both questions with a foregone conclusion of an answer: You are Nobody if you are no longer part of the “Mission”, and that is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law Blog: The Mannequin

The garment may alter, but the pose remains stilted; and no matter what angle the inertia of fashion may be looked at, the expression remains impassive and impenetrable.  Mannequins pose for the public, display the wears without complaint, and fill spaces without disturbances or complaints.  They simply “are”.  Such an existence — of an uncomplaining coexistence with eyes meant to attract upon the changing appearances intended to detract — is often the very definition of a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker.

Like mannequins stilted in front of a display window, the Federal and Postal worker is often “there” for years and decades, quietly performing the work that is assigned, accomplishing without accolades but for internal performance reviews and peer ratings, expected to remain silent but for the wears which are displayed.  But then an illness, a medical condition, a disability suddenly enlivens, and the once quietude of existence becomes a focal point of harassment, workplace hostility and trends of gossip.

That mannequin was a person, after all, and interest is remarkably shown when ignoring and repetitive superficiality of meaningless salutations once pervaded the office or work environment.

For Federal or Postal employees, 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 often the best option remaining.

The eyes which merely looked beyond the stilted figure but are now upon the live entity, need to again be diverted, such that life can go on again.  To get beyond an environment of poison is to sometimes exit quietly and without fanfare; filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a way for Federal and Postal employees to step outside of the self-destructive hostility, and to rebuild the life once dreamed of by attending to one’s medical condition, first, while securing a future or a second vocation.

Once attained, perhaps those who surround with love and concern will look upon the mannequin beyond the mere appearances, and instead to the substance of the person beneath.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement: The Cackle around Us

Often, the noise emanating and pervading is nothing more than the raucous shrieks and glass-shattering sounds like the cackle of birds; neither intelligible nor pleasant to the ear, it fails to inform, engender pleasure, nor spur substantive advancement for the intellect or one’s emotional well-being.

People talk; talk is limitless; and the louder one talks (or so the theory goes) and endures past all others, the last voice establishes the truth of the matter.  The problem in modernity is not so much the boisterousness and overpowering continuum of noise; rather, it is the inability to recognize the lesser argument, the weaker factual basis, and the mesmerizing conduit of enjoying the sound of one’s own voice.

There is, indeed, much information “out there”; the question is not one of volume, but rather of quality in the vast overload of content dissemination. When one seeks  information, how does veracity get established?  When one chooses representation, what criteria is applied?  And when one receives answers to queries put forth, where does the confirmation begin to concretize?  The world is replete with information; what parcel of it is useful; how much of it is relevant; and to what use or pragmatic application can it be devised?  In the practical world of living, the cackle of information must be sifted through in order to survive any given ordeal.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must by necessity encapsulate the issue of relevant, pertinent and substantive information.

Gathering the proper medical document; formulating an effective Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A; presenting updated and relevant legal argumentation in order to persuade OPM into approving one’s Federal Disability Retirement application; these are the criteria in the pragmatic application for sifting through the cacophony of information clutter, and it matters not whether the cackle avoided represents that originating from crows or vultures; the point is to keep from being the meal of prey, and instead to prepare one’s meal of information in the quietude of thoughtful reflection, away from the disturbances of those who seek merely to hear the sound of their own voice, as opposed to the satisfying sonata of substantive and helpful information that will actually help the Federal or Postal employee secure one’s future in the preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: Times of Reflection

There is never a time when reflection should not be part of one’s arsenal of daily living; but too much reflection, during “down” times where interludes of rumination can become a compound for exacerbated worrying, may result in unnecessary turmoil, and ultimately of impotent inaction.

Having a medical condition will often force an acceleration of tumultuous worrying, for it impacts one’s future, questions the stability of one’s present, and magnifies wrong turns and decisions made in the past.  But it is the combining of a tripartite approach which provides for effective leadership in any matter:  evaluation and analysis of the problem; initiation of affirmative steps to be taken; and follow-up to ensure application and conclusion to a process begun.

Being in a purgatory of sorts, or suspended through indecision, can often be a seemingly harmless state of being, precisely because nothing is happening; but in the void of nothingness, the fact of failure in progress may be the greatest harm of all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits when a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, is just such an affirmative step which has to be taken in order to secure one’s future.

Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative, bureaucratic process which can only be secured if the Federal or Postal employee initiates the process through one’s agency, en route to filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  It has many stages; multiple potential pitfalls; and a continuum of administrative difficulties.  At each stage of the process, there are bureaucratic requirements which must be timely met.

There is, in life, a time for reflection, and a time for action; the former can be accomplished at the leisure of civilized society where culture, creativity and a coalescence of classics can converge; but the latter must be through sheer will in the context of need, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a combined effort of both reflection and action, where the former spurs the latter into fruition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire