OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The last Edwardian

What does it mean to be an “Edwardian”?  The reign of Edward VII was brief, but its influence is often extended to periods both before and long after in an aggregation of understanding “trends” that were noted, and often idealized.

It is a period of little interest to most Americans, except perhaps when there is some vague reference during a period of a royal scandal or a royal wedding that somehow touches the fancy across the great ocean that divides.  And despite our English “roots”, scant attention is paid to the history of England in either schoolbooks or offered curricula, except in referring to those dastardly “redcoats” who quartered themselves uninvited and had the audacity to tax its colonies without proper representation in Parliament.  Or so the memory of one’s childhood history lessons are recalled.

That period — whether one extends it some decades before, or well into the “Roaring Twenties” — actually lasted only from 1901 – 1910, but left a romanticized memory of lazy summer days, prosperity, greater involvement of women and the “common man” into the political arena, and came to symbolize the dawn of the “modern era”.  Whether such an idealized recollection actually reflected any reality of the era is open to debate.  But, then, that is what we cling to when situations worsen, isn’t it — of an idealized “before” in contrast to the stark gloom of “after”?

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, that desperate “clinging on” to one’s job may in part be attributable to the need to be that last Edwardian — of a “before” (before the onset of the medical condition) when life seemed more rewarding, when pain, discomfort or overwhelming anxiety was not only unthought of, but never occurred as an issue of consideration — who “after” the onset of the medical condition can now only recall the romantic period that once was.

Filing a 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, may not solve every problem that besets the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer consistently get to work and accomplish all that is required by the position; but it does allow the Federal or Postal employee to prioritize and focus more upon the reality of one’s current situation — one’s health — and not become entrapped in trying to be that last Edwardian.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Living beyond chance

Perhaps we engaged in it as children: making sure to skip over the jagged cracks in the sidewalk; turning suddenly in the opposite direction, believing that fate and determinism would be defied if an unexpected act were to be embraced; and later, the purchase of a lottery ticket, or to become more seriously addicted to gambling.

Chance provides the thrill of the unknown; but it need not rise to the level of daily obsessions in order to be caught in the delicate web of its enchantments; indeed, in fantasizing daily for circumstances to alter, becoming lost in daydreams of living a different life, or imagining subconsciously of occupying another, we surrender ourselves to the nirvana of chance and the enticement of make-believe, leaving us forever in the neutral rut of illicit anticipations never to be realized.

But problems rarely just go away on their own; and no matter what the chances are that fate and karma coincide to provide alternate universes of better circumstances, it is ultimately the affirmative will of the individual which makes the difference before the now and the moment thereafter.

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 Federal or Postal job, the intransigent situation of waiting for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “act” in either accommodating the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition, or to otherwise do something positive to resolve a hostile work environment ongoing because of the medical condition and the deterioration of one’s health, is to leave one’s circumstances to the winds of chance.

It must be by the affirmative steps taken by the Federal or Postal employee, to force the issue, and begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that “things” actually happen.

The fickleness of chance should be left behind, like childhood notions of gnomes hiding behind green hamlets of dream-filled universes; for the ugliness of the adult’s world requires us to live beyond chance, and the future depends upon awakening from that warm and cozy slumber of fate determined by avoidance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Limbo Eruptions

Of certain politicians, it has become commonplace to expect such occurrences, but with a slight change in consonants in the first word.  As it stands, however, the word as left alone is a state of another kind; not of relational states of erotic ecstasy, but rather a border on the region of heaven or hell, where an intermediate state of oblivion exists in a transitional state of suspension.  To that extent, perhaps the two concepts are similar.

Such eruptions of inactivity and suspension are intangible and untenable; human beings, by nature, are vibrant beings constantly “on the move“, and wanting always to advance, progress and contribute to the aggregation of societal cauldron of accomplishments.  That is why, when a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker finds him or herself in a state of rancid and stale waters, where a medical condition paralyzes any progress and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing the requisite and essential elements of one’s Federal position, it is tantamount to experiencing a limbo eruption.

How long it lasts; to what extent it freezes; and when it will end; these are questions which only the paramour of time would know; and the bed which is being made is the price of warmth or cold one must endure if the Federal or Postal employee insists upon staying in that relationship.  For, like the “other” such similar-sounding concept, the limbo eruption can become a permanent feature of one’s transitional state, unless one files for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Federal Disability Retirement is not only an option, but a benefit one can fight for, if one meets all of the eligibility criteria as revealed in the Federal Disability Retirement laws governing the state of affairs.

Filing it may seem easy; obtaining it is not so easily accomplished; securing it for one’s future can sometimes be daunting.  But like the illicit eruptions which are sure to come for unnamed but otherwise well-known individuals, the limbo eruption of the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal positional duties, must surely be overcome, lest the bed made is suddenly discovered by the jealous spouse who suspects more than a mere hug in the middle of the night.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Deeper Recesses of Unwanted Caricatures

Caricatures often depict an exaggerated degree of undesirable characteristics, whether for comic effect or sleaze of meanness.  The totality of the person or entity described is rarely the reality of the grotesque aggregate of the negative characteristics, but one can still see the relative truth of validation in the aspects shown.

Such caricatures, too, can be either internal or external; the latter being the depiction from the perspective of someone “other”; the former comprised of the totality of one’s self-image, how one projects from the perspective of the other, and the reflective thoughts of one’s self.  When others describe one in caricature form, you may laugh, but inwardly shy with horror and fright; and in the deeper recesses of one’s privacy, the truth and impact of such unwanted caricatures may pull one into a psychological chasm of despair.

Medical conditions, especially, can exacerbate an already-existent fear and loathing, precisely because they attack and undermine those areas of the physical, emotional and psychological vulnerabilities most open and revealing.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who becomes impacted by 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 unwanted caricatures which frighten and demean are often twofold:  Loss of productivity (resulting in reduction of income), and devaluing of self-worth, both in the eyes of coworkers as well as from the deeper recesses of one’s own perspective.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement may not seem like the perfect solution in dealing with a medical condition, but as this is not an infallible universe, so we must accept the imperfections offered.

The generous parameters promulgated within the legal regulations of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement, allows for the Federal and Postal worker to entertain a second vocation or career beyond the Federal Disability Retirement annuity (one may earn income in the private sector, up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal salary was, in addition to the Federal Disability Retirement annuity).  More importantly, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to first and foremost focus upon attending to the medical condition itself, while receiving a base annuity during the crisis point in determining the course of future actions.

Unfortunately, what often holds us back in securing one’s future is not the actual realities of an imperfect universe, but rather, the deeper recesses of one’s perfect world, as depicted in an unrealistic caricature within one’s own imagination, precluding progress where pantomimes may perform.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire