Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Authentication

There is a process and means by which it is accomplished — as in authenticating a painting or an antique piece of furniture, jewelry, etc.; of an autograph or handwritten letter (although, many will say that in the field of forensic sciences, handwritten analysis is far from reaching a vaunted level of precision or reliability); of a pet’s pedigree or even of a person’s right to have access to sensitive information, etc.

Authentication is thus a process of verification, of identifying X as being Not-Y in many instances, where exclusion by elimination of other possibilities results in the declaration of the genuineness of the person or thing declared to be so.

When applied to an object, it inspects and compares against other objects within a historical context, style, peculiar features of an artisan’s eccentricities, period-characteristics and signature features, etc.  When applied to an individual, it may take into account physical features as well (appearance; finger prints; voice matching; DNA sample, etc.), but could also encompass questions posed and answers given, and depending upon the comparison to known archives of historical background checks made against statements previously provided, deem that an “authentication” has been reached concerning the “true” identity of an individual, akin to declaring that a painting previously unverified is in fact a product of this or that “Master”, or that an antique furniture piece was the craftsmanship of some famous cabinetmaker during the Jeffersonian Renaissance period or from some pop-culture minimalist timeframe during the early Sixties, etc.

The process of “authentication”, of course, can be distinguished from whether or not an individual is living an “authentic life”, as well, and here, the meanings become somewhat muddled and divided.  One can be “authenticated” and be allowed access to sensitive banking information, be allowed to use a credit card, write a check, etc., and still live an inauthentic life (e.g., act like someone you are not, present yourself as a “family man” despite all the while committing multiple affairs; live a double or triple or even a quadruple life and deceive everyone around, etc.).

The process in reaching a conclusion as to whether a person is living an authentic or inauthentic life is somewhat different from “authenticating” a person.  For, to engage in the former analysis, it is normally done for the most part as a self-analysis (i.e., only the person who is living an inauthentic life can know for certain whether it is so or not), whereas the methodology imposed of “authenticating” a period-piece or an individual (the latter) is by applying a more objective standard of comparative review.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the dual issues of “authentication” and “authentic living” come to the fore, precisely because the Federal or Postal employee becomes forced into behaving in rather inauthentic ways.

Hiding the medical condition; trying desperately to work through the debilitating symptoms and maintaining an appearance of normalcy; and all the while trying to force a consistency between one’s capacity and the watchful eyes of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these are the elements that challenge the authenticity of one’s life.

Living an authentic life under normal circumstances is difficult enough; trying to authenticate one’s capacity to continue “as is” in the face of a progressively deteriorating medical condition makes it all the more challenging.  It may be that 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, is the only way forward in forging an authentic pathway away from an inauthentic morass that the medical condition has forced upon you.

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

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Conversation of one

Are we the only species which engages in it?  Do we ever see a dog standing aside and participating in such a phenomena?  Or a cardinal pausing in its morning melody of exuberant sing-song in order to address a non-existent other?  And, it isn’t even an artifice or convention for which the actor is being paid, as in an “aside” or a “soliloquy” where private thoughts are spoken aloud for the benefit of the audience, but where others in the drama act “as if” such thoughts are unspoken and shared not.

But we engage in such dialogues of diatribes:  with friends whom we practice in order to share; of spouses concerning the most intimate of matters; of bosses and coworkers to whom we failed to respond at the crucial moment, but now vent by a conversation of one of that which we wished we had said, desired to rebut, and cared to ponder.

The proverbial quip, of course, is that we are “okay” so long as we have such unilateral dialogues; it is only if the imaginary “other” begins to respond, that we then must consider the state of our own sanity.  But such colloquies occur daily, and throughout life; in quiet moments of reflective self-searching; of what we “would” have said, could have uttered, and in retrospective fashion, desired to have conveyed.

The conversation of one is often never shared; once exhaustively vented, it withers away like the ashes from a once-roaring bonfire, consuming all of the human detritus piled in anger, disgust and resentful remorse, then with watchful eyes applauded as the engulfing flames consume the aggregation of the collective angers, hurts and inflicted bruises of a shattered inner self.  It is sometimes the tool in preparation for a necessary confab; or an exchange with a worthy opponent; and where ad libbing without proper preparation is acknowledged to result in likely disaster.

The conversation of one — we have all had them; with parents and siblings; of sons and fathers; and for cardinals who chirp in the morning glory of a dew-filled mist in the obscured world of linguistic artifices constructed upon vacuity of purpose, it is the beauty of a filled universe without the complexities of human drama unfolding, that makes for worth and value.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, however, the need to have that conversation of one is often a prerequisite precisely because medical conditions comprise the most private of concerns, and absolute confidentiality must be adhered to and the strictest of trust kept.

Attorneys have an inviolable rule for trust, confidence and confidentiality, and privacy concerns should never be a question.  At some point, that conversation of one needs to be expanded to include an exchange involving proper medical documentation, the statutory criteria, the legal strategy to pursue, and the content and context of what must be included in order to prepare, formulate and file for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will often begin with a conversation of one, and that is understandable; but if it remains a mere soliloquy, as in a Shakespearean play where each in an audience believes that he or she is the sole soul who heard it, then it will remain merely as the unconquered thoughts of countless past warriors who gave up lives for a cause left in futility, and where the present is never confronted, and the future left unsecured.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Book Review

Generally, this blog does not review books; however, exceptional works may prompt exceptions to the general order of things, where relevance of subject and beauty of personality may coalesce to consider a slight change of venue.  The work itself will neither become a masterpiece nor a conversation focus beyond a generation or two, as the world it describes is quickly fading into the sunset of eccentricity and scarcity of understanding.

Tim Sultan’s book (and from the jacket cover, it appears to be his first one at that), Sunny’s Nights, is a mixture of reportage, love of character and annotation of provincial myth.  It somewhat follows a format of modern trends in such novels: alternating upon a spectrum of the microcosm of life (Sunny’s, the extended family, and the author’s own) to wider philosophical insights (history of the neighborhood, cultural changes from the turn of the last century into the 20th and to modernity) portending of the macro-impact of a lost and fading relevance; but it is the author’s love of the main character (Sunny), the loss of humanity (through shared anonymity of a genuine speakeasy) and the wit, humor and sharing of stories, which makes for a work beyond an ordinary read.

The author is quite obviously a good listener (to the multiple tales of life and love as told by Sunny); his love of words reflects the warmth of camaraderie he feels for his characters; and his own insertion as a participating protagonist never detracts from the trilogy of subjects:  the place (the bar which is discovered in the outer periphery of societal acceptance, where the characters meet and enjoy the company of each other); the people (Sunny, his heritage, and the people who gather at the bar); and the growing loss of community with the encroachment of technology and cultural upheaval.

It has all of the ingredients for the making of a quiet work of art, as it reveals the best of any great story — a main character of complex fortitude.  For, in the end, every book worth reading should provide for an understanding of complexity, human failure and microcosm of achievement, and not necessarily in that order.

Tim Sultan’s work, Sunny’s Nights, is an enjoyable read at worst, and at best, a recognition that in the end, life fails to mean much unless one listens carefully and plods along searching for the company of community.  And, in the end, isn’t that the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek an alternate venue when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee 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?

When the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the loss of a similar trilogy occurs:  the place (one’s position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service); the people (coworkers and friends developed over the many years through work and community of contact); and the upheaval from the changes prompted from one’s medical condition and the inability to continue in the career of choice.

Not everything in life is limited in relevance or meaning by the circumstances of one’s present condition, and for the Federal or Postal worker who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, taking a moment to read Tim Sultan’s book, Sunny’s Nights, may allow for a momentary time of distraction from the daily agony of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, and to help focus in the preparation of an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application and the challenges the Federal or Postal worker must face in the days ahead.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Disability Retirement: Vultures the world ’round

Despite what they do, some find them to be elegance in flight; and whether the encounter is in the New World or Old, their bald heads mark them out to be the focus of fascination, repulsion and avoidance of shuddering whispers.  Scavengers upon carrion of dead carcasses, the full display of their baldness and redness marks them for a discriminated species.

Evolutionary scientists note the advantage of the featherless appearance — of cleanliness in the act of wading deep into the putrid caverns of hollowed bodies and able to shake off the decaying infestation of harmful bacteria; while some in the minority have posited the age-old explanation of colorful display for attraction to the opposite sex and promotion of the genetic dominance of the handsomest.  We humans may find them repulsive; within the species, perhaps there is an attraction unknown and undiscoverable, unable to be understood from the perspective of a different viewpoint.

Yet, we humans can understand the plight of the vulture; for we see them all over the place, as existentially pervasive as the world ’round.  Like the soaring wingspan in the animal kingdom, vultures watch and wait in the world of men and women.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, their presence is everywhere, and frighteningly lacking in discreet patience.  As empathy is not a character trait of the vulture in the animal kingdom, so it is lacking in the world of men and women.  Thus, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, the circling shadows of the ever-present scavengers from high above begin to circle the decaying carcass of the Federal or Postal employee whose progressive medical condition signals the decline and inevitable debilitation leading to absence and exit.

While the final chapter of each story may be different, the intent of the vulture of either species always remains constant — of circling, waiting, and watching with anticipation to swoop down upon the weakened and disadvantaged figure, when such bold presence would never have been displayed at the pinnacle of one’s power.

For the Federal and Postal employee weakened by a medical condition, 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, is the road away from the inevitable circling of the awaiting scavengers.  In the end, breeds of a pair tend to stick together, and vultures the world ’round — whether of the bird type or the animal kind — wait for the pickings to ripen in their state of decay.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire