Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: The empty plaque

Somehow, they only retain their meaning and significance if there is an ongoing recognition of current accomplishment and recent reinforcements.  Commemorative plaques may provide a historical context of one’s abilities and talents, and even reveal a shadow of a person’s former self; yet, they also magnify the contrast between what once was and the current state of difficulties one faces.

The “plaque” that is placed prominently on a wall, or occupies a conspicuous space on one’s desk, should never be a “dead” object.  For, once the plaque becomes a forgotten piece of history, as opposed to a mere intermediate interlude on the way to greater heights of accomplishments, it becomes a reminder of a past now irrelevant and unimportant.

Plaques should be the middle portion of a life still to be lived and not the final, indelible stamp of cessation.  Moreover, in modernity, the realization that accolades, fame and yesterday’s recognition mean little-to-nothing in this fast-paced universe where thanks are for a moment ago and resting upon one’s laurels will leave you behind quicker than quick, leaves one with a hollow feeling of trembling insecurities.

The empty plaque is the one you hope will carry you through when nothing much happens, even when you know it will not.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 significance of the plaque becoming empty is quickly realized: Whatever accomplishments that were achieved yesterday is unimpressive to the Federal agency or the Postal Service; whatever loyalty you believed was forthcoming because of your loyalty given over so many years…well, don’t hold your breath.

In this world where commitment, loyalty and reliance upon plaques and other objects of recognition hold sway for barely a nod or a wink of time, it is best to begin thinking about yourself, and 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, is the first step in recognizing that the empty plaque sitting on one’s desk or hanging upon the wall became empty once your usefulness to the agency or the Postal Service became compromised by the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Lawyer for OPM Disability Claims: The interrupted signature

The signature is the great identifier of a person.  It is, in some countries and cultures more than others, and even here in the United States, a feature that distinguishes, a type of rite of passage into adulthood, and in many ways a revealing characteristic.

It allows for the voluntary identification of a feature emanating from one’s own free will; an act which seals a compact; a stamp that distinguishes the person who completes the signature, from that of another; and declares to the world that this act, the signature stamp, with all of its unique swirls, crosses, dots and turnabouts, like some spinning basketball move that tells everyone else that you have arrived, is different, distinctive and peculiar to only the very individual who has picked up the pen at that moment in time and inked the singular characteristic upon a piece of paper.

Consistency in the written signature is important in establishing the uniqueness and distinctive feature; that, in and of itself, is a kind of oxymoron, is it not, when one pauses to reflect upon it?  For, to be “unique” and “singular” is to be a “one-time” event and a distinguishing peculiarity that cannot be reenacted or copied beyond the soliloquy of the act itself; and yet, for a signature to be effective, one must be able to repeat the same curves, the mimic again and again of the lines, crosses, dots, etc. of the signature hundreds of times over and thousands over a lifetime of signing one’s signature.

And then, once one has mastered the ability to sign one’s name in a unique, singular form, and be able to repeat it over and over again – have you ever notice how difficult it is to complete the interrupted signature?  It is as if the body itself is separated from the mind, and it is the hand and fingers that hold the pen that “remembers”, and not the eyes that guide or the brain that follows.  When once the flow of the signature has been interrupted, the uniqueness remember is suddenly forgotten.

It is likened to a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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.  The medical condition intervenes and begins to interrupt, “preventing” one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position that the person has been so uniquely qualified to do for so many years.

That is the insidiousness of a medical condition.  Such an interruption, however, is much more serious – for it doesn’t merely interrupt or impede the completion of a signature, but of a career, of goals, of family financial support, and every other aspect of a person’s life.

Preparing, formulating and filing a 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 an important next step in taking up the proverbial pen and completing one’s signature.  And like the signature itself, the Federal or Postal employee need not fret about the uniqueness lost; you are still the same person, singular in every respect, whether your health has forced you to move on in life, no less than the signature that distinguishes you from all others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Biding time

Inmates in correctional facilities do it; criminals in wait; patients in doctor’s offices who have been informed that there will be a short delay because of an emergency procedure that the physician had to attend to; and most of us in general who live life anticipating disasters, tomorrow’s unfortunate events or the next day’s calamity to come.

We all bide our time in living our lives, and it is the time of biding that is wasted away until, near our deathbed, the expected outcome of disaster never came, the calamity never developed and the corrosion of life never materialized.  It is one thing to wait on another person; another altogether to engage in the patient virtue of sitting motionless or passing the time away in anticipation of something beyond; it is quite another, and perhaps unique, that human beings actually actively engage in the activity of “biding time” in order to start a process.

Vengeance often takes biding of time; planning for a future definitely requires biding time; and old men and women in nursing homes have nothing better to do than to bide one’s time.  To live life biding time, even at the horizon of one’s twilight in elder states of despair, is no way to exist.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of, have already begun the procedural steps to, or otherwise are in the middle of the administrative process of preparing, formulating or filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “biding time” during this complex administrative process is to have “a plan”.

It is a long, arduous, difficult and time-consuming process.  Even after it is successfully filed, the time waiting upon a decision just at the First Stage of the administrative process can now take a very, very long time, and how one plans to bide one’s time during this long process is something one needs to consider.

Will you remain on LWOP during this time?  Will you resign, get terminated, and will you work at a private-sector job while waiting for OPM’s decision?  Will temporary loss of health insurance be a consideration?  If it is denied at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, will that mean that you can endure the lengthy second Stage, the Reconsideration Stage?  And if you have to go and have a Telephonic Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which will take a minimum of 120 days beyond, will that still be within the plan of attack in biding time?

Hopefully, one’s Federal Disability Retirement filing with OPM will go smoothly; but in the event that all of the proverbial bumps on the road are encountered in your particular journey, it is important to consider the extent of biding time during the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Unheralded individuals

Most of us fall into that category; rarely is there a person of “outstanding” qualities where a string of superlatives is deservedly ascribed.  This, despite a generation or so of children in schools being told that “every child is special” and that if you put your mind to it, you, too, can accomplish great things.

No, one may not be the star athlete, or even a starting one; or be talented in music such that one is accepted into some named consortium, or even be recognized for work in everyday, common settings. Yet, we all agree that it is “important” to give compliments, assign praise and shower accolades upon others, if only to ensure the healthy developmental aspects of the human ego.

Then, of course, there are those who “act up” for various reasons, and psychologists will speak about the yearning for an identification, the need for an outward showing of love, and how a person “acted out” of a need for expression, from frustration or sought-out recognition.  Is that what we all mean when that sudden terrorist act occurs and we hear the constancy of the next-door neighbor: “He (or she) was such a quiet, good neighbor.  Who would have thought?”

Is there really such a person?  What if an individual grows up and wanders throughout life never receiving any recognition of any sort – would that person end up being a healthy, well-adjusted, well-rounded and contributing individual?  Like unnamed tombs left for the weeds to overshadow in abandoned backyards of churches left to rot, can a person become a “person” and fulfill his or her “personhood” even if no one ever recognizes or otherwise points out such a person for some individualized, focus variant of an accomplishment seen?

Yet, such people are what are grouped into a faceless amalgamation as the “backbone” of a country, are we not?  Of those quiet, unassuming individuals who just work quietly, go about their business and work out the daily problems of the day, while those “heralded” individuals take the credit, appear on television and get their 15 seconds of fame in the world.

In this Kardashian-based universe where appearance trumps reality, the old philosophical arguments of Platonic Forms as opposed to the irrelevance of surface-realities, no longer applies.  The world has become a format (or, more appropriately, a floor-mat) of topsy-turvy indulgences.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, where 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, the whole issue about being an “unheralded individual” is probably nothing new.  For, once the Federal agency or Postal facility sees an individual as “that one with a medical condition”, the entire outlook changes and the person with the medical condition suddenly becomes the proverbial persona non grata, the one relegated to the corner desk facing a wall, or otherwise shunned by the agency, the Postal facility and all coworkers besides.

Somehow, that is the “true” accommodation – to shun and ignore a “problem child”.  Well, you certainly are, at least, getting your fair share of recognition, now.  However, recognition of that sort can be dispensed with, and the best way to do that 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. That way, you can fulfill your fullest potential by becoming one of millions of unheralded individuals.  Welcome to the club.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Superiority in light of misfortune

Why is it that we delight in the misfortune of others?  Is it a perversity of defective character, like a genetic malformation of deviancy magnified by exponential proportions within the essence of man?  Or, is it that, by comparative analysis and contrasting the parallel states of being, we can elevate our own estimation of worth by pointing to the relative denigration of our neighbor?

Certainly, we proffer the words of appropriate opprobrium; “I feel badly for X”; “I get no joy out of hearing that,” and similarly innocuous statements of hypocritical emptiness.  But we liken the principle of action/reaction, downward trend/upward spectrum, and similar opposites to reflect the superiority of our own circumstances.  “Here by the grace of…”  Is that why the “herd mentality” and the predatory instinct of running with a pack of wild dogs from whence it arises?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer the indignation and daily harassment at the hands of agency coworkers, Managers, Supervisors, and those who were once considered “workplace associates”, and further fine-tuned and magnified in the hostile milieu of the Postal Service, the daily encounter with pure meanness and focused unpleasantries is experienced pervasively by the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal and Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Why, when the medical condition itself should empower one with greater empathy, a higher reception of closeness and affinity, does the very opposite phenomena take place?  The superiority of others in light of one’s misfortune speaks ill of the human essence.

That is why, in the end, 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 an important step to take for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely because it allows for a “new beginning“, a “step forward”, and all of the cliched foundations in order to escape the greatest delusional cliche of all:  Superiority in light of another’s misfortune, when in fact nothing has changed, either for the one who feels better, nor for the other who suffers, except that the perversity of man is merely reinforced with a deserved reputation for cruelty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Gov. Disability Retirement: Of dreamers and doers

There is a time for dreaming; of mental wanderings into wafting willows of soft surfs, where the ebb and flow of moonlit sparkles in the quietude of motionless tranquility pervades like the morning mist in weightless calm.  But in a world where action, doing, accomplishment and “getting ahead” constitutes the springboard of recognition and rewards, the temperament of timeless thinking rarely is allowed, and with grim furrows of brows judging with severe penetration of unforgiving eyes, the dreamers of the world survive at the behest of small windows of tolerance.

Of dreamers and doers, they span the spectrum between creativity and accomplishment, betwixt imagination and construction, and within fiction and fact.

There is a time for everything, and King Solomon knew well the appropriateness of matching the circumstances of the world to the plans of a future king.  For most of us, the time is now.  Dreamers who dream beyond the pinnacle of sleepless nights fare only at the behest of those who race ahead.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, the need to act, to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes more and more of an urgent need, concurrently with the time when the injured or medically incapacitated Federal employee wants to curl up and hide in the womb of dreams.

Life is hard; and while the state of dreaming allows us to momentarily escape the harshness of the world, we awaken with a sudden start, and realize that the dream shattered was merely a land of imaginary hope; doing is what accomplishes, and for the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the concrete steps taken which will allow one to attain that conclusion of restorative prairies, where one can attend to the medical conditions and be free to dream for tomorrow.  Of dreamers and doers; it is to engage the latter, in order to have the time for the former.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire