Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Habit

No, this is not about that peculiar creature that Tolkien created who used to rule the earth but now hides in little dirt hutches in the deep recesses of forests (don’t all children and adults who have read his works believe in their heart of hearts that Hobbits still exist, and we just don’t see them?); rather, this, too, is a creature of sorts, just not the imaginary creation that gave joy to so many.

How is it that we come to learn it?  Is there a numerical value that must be first ascribed before the regularity of X becomes a Habit-Y?  What constitutes a definition of the repetition, and how is it learned, as opposed to unlearning certain types of constancies?  Is there a numerical value that further transforms a habit into an obsession, and where is the dividing line and what demarcates the distinction we thus impose?

If a dog, each morning upon the awakening by an alarm clock set by his master, rolls onto his back and waits until he gets a nice tummy-rub, and never deters or detours from such a habit, can he, too, unlearn it?  Is a habit, moreover, merely a settled tendency, such that the rest of those around may expect it to occur, but when it does not, is not necessarily a surprise or a disappointment, but a mere reliance that “normally” occurs but is not mandated by a turn to another direction?  When the expectation does not come to fruition, do we simply say, “Well, normally it is his habit, but perhaps he changed his mind”?

Kant, for instance, was known to take his walk at a specific time, and it was said of him that the townspeople set their watches against his daily routine and habit.  Does not that sound more like an obsession?  Is the difference one where there is greater ease to “break” the regularity, whereas an obsession is where such a tendency cannot, and is no longer a “voluntary” act?

Additionally, is there a difference with a distinction between a “habit”, a “ritual” and an “obsession”?  Or, is there no clear line of bifurcation (or is it “trifurcation”?), but the lines can cross over easily – as in, when we engage in a habit, sometimes there are rituals that are performed – washing one’s hands in the same way as always; combing one’s hair a set number of strokes; skipping over a particular crack in the sidewalk on the way home; and are rituals merely of greater intensity with obsession than with a habit?

And what of necessities that arise?  Such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for Federal and Postal employees – do people not file because their “habits” are entrenched in a belief-system that one must just “buck up” and ignore the warning signs of a medical condition that continues to deteriorate and progressively debilitate?  When do habits stand in the way of doing that which is “reasonable” under the circumstances?

Here is a thought: For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, let not habit become an obsession, and instead, allow for the rituals of life to free you from the habitual obsession of ritualistic redundancy, and instead, begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Plato and Play-Doh

If a person says to another, “Have you used Play-Doh” and he answers, “Well, yes, but only as it applies to certain situations in my life.  Otherwise, I tend to rely upon Aristotle in a more pragmatic, scientific approach.”

Somewhat taken aback, the inquiring mind restates his position, saying, “No, no, I meant, have you played with Play-Doh?” Still not distinguishing between the inserted alternative of a consonant (the “D” in Play-Doh as opposed to the “t” in Plato), the responding individual states again, “Well, conceptually Plato is difficult to ‘play with’, as you state it, in that you have to first understand the conceptual paradigms he posits, then…” and the same person goes on to provide a full-fledged, half hour dissertation on the esoteric aspects of a Dead White Irrelevant Philosopher (otherwise known by the acronym, a “DWIP”).

At this point, frustrated, the inquisitive interrogator walks away, throwing his hands up in complete confusion and befuddlement.  What does one do?  How is the incommensurate encounter resolved?  Question: Does the fact that we “hold” in the base of our minds a certain spelling of a word make a difference as to intent and deliberative motive, when what we “speak” out into the objective world makes the receptor of the word, phrase or sentence interpret it as something different from that image that we behold in our minds?

How does one close the chasm between subjective thoughts and objective reality?  Do we approach it in a different way – and does the problem really remain in the subjective domain of the questioning individual insofar as he or she is unable to, incapable of, or otherwise unwilling to alter the originating course of his posited query?

In other words, shouldn’t the person have restated his conceptual query in the following manner: “Oh, I see.  You must have misunderstood.  I am talking about ‘Play-Doh’ – the clay-like substance that we all used to play with as children, and I thought I saw some when I visited your house the other day.”  To which the responder should appropriately state, “Ah, I see now.  You must excuse me. I am concurrently reading Plato’s Dialogues and I mistook your question to be referring to that.”

It is, then, the capacity to listen carefully, to recognize the response given, then to respond back appropriately and relevantly that often dissipates any compelling reason to become frustrated.

Similarly, for Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to respond to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s subsequent queries, or even in response to the Statement of Disability’s questions (SF 3112A) that need to be answered, the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must take care in bridging that gap between subjective reality and objective communication.

There are many “tricks” to the “trade”, and OPM has probably dealt with them all; but the one trick that OPM cannot ultimately ignore, is the tricky web of legal precedents and prior MSPB and Federal Circuit Court decisions that compel them to act in ways that they cannot forego.  Legal argumentation is an art form that should not be ignored, and whether you are asking about Plato or Play-Doh, remember always to include in any Federal Disability Retirement application an effective legal argument that persuasively argues the legal precedents applicable in your case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Suffering

It is something that cannot be avoided; it is part of life, of living, of engaging.  The history of it existence is palpable; the tactile images throughout can be experienced in images painted and words described; and the various religions embrace it – some as a foundation that allows for forgiveness to alleviate that felt by others; many, as a foundation to explain it away; and still others, to train a disciplined life in order to avoid it, or at least to contain it.

Whether by meditation or medication; through enduring or embracing; or perhaps even by enjoying some form of it in a masochistic manner; it is there because the body, mind and soul are sensitized in the evolutionary process of advancement to remain heightened for survival’s sake.

Suffering is part of living; without it, we imagine that life would be a constant cauldron of endless merriment, when in fact its absence would spell the very definition of misery and decay.

Throughout history, sickness, death and suffering encapsulated an apt description of life, whether human or otherwise.  Thus did Thomas Hobbes admonish the world in his seminal work, Leviathan, where the famous passage describes the natural state all human beings find themselves in until the rescue by political community or social contract, that the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

But whether by social contract elevating the aggregation of humans into defensive communities envisioning civilization and cultivation beyond the penury of life’s misgivings, or some utopian belief that can result in avoidance of that which is inherent to us all, the fact is that suffering can at best be contained and limited, but never extinguished or eradicated.  Life famine, viruses, cats, weeds, moles, droughts and diseases – we can inoculate against and quarantine as best we can, but they keep coming back and rearing their heads up even after exhausting their nine lives and filling in the holes they have dug.

Suffering is, in the end, that which is there for a purpose – of allowing for feelings; of contrasting the opposite of ecstasy and joy, without which there would be no comprehension nor appreciation, as “being” cannot be understood without its flip-side, “nothingness”.  Thus, the question must always come down to:  Not “whether” it must be, but to what “extent” it needs be.

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 positional duties, it may well be that you have reached a pinnacle point of suffering such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Every Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must make the “right” decision for him or her self, as to the timing, the substantive event and the future securitization for livelihood’s sake.  It is, in the end, suffering itself and the medical condition that overwhelms, that often determines such a course of action, and that is a very personal decision that each individual must decide in the most appropriate of circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Tarnished lives

These days, are there any other kinds?  Do saints exist, or is it merely time which erases the stench attached, and as history is recorded and memorialized by sympathetic co-conspirators attempting to preserve the sanctity of reputations and disregarding the detritus of humanity, so once the sanctification by pontifical decree settles upon a figure previously considered human, and now an idealized version of an individual lost in the complex historicity of biographical omissions, the tarnished perspective of lives once lived has disappeared into the ethereal universe of a surreal reality.

All lives are tarnished; but the moment one makes such a statement, it becomes a meaningless declaration.  For, just as stating that X is “all-inclusive” necessarily negates its opposite, so to posit that Y is “pure nothingness” undermines the very essence of “something-ness”.  If everything is meaningless, then nothing can have less or more meaning than anything else, and thus do we end up with an anarchy of language.  So, to qualify: Yes, all lives are tarnished, but some lives more so than others, and others, less so than further others (somewhat like the declaration in Orwell’s Animal Farm, where “all animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others.”).

And thus do we live this way, where the cynic believes that there are no saints, and the naïve minority of individuals who believe in such blather repeatedly invest in purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge as a sound retirement strategy next to Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme.  But of what do we judge a “tarnished” life, as opposed to one that is not?  Does a minor blemish amount to the same thing as a total spoilage of the whole?

That is where people have often misinterpreted the religious teachings of entrance into heaven, where purity through the sacrificed Lamb allowed for gaining a foothold into heaven, but where – from that – people argue, therefore, God doesn’t make a distinction between a minor infraction of sin and the carnage of murder or some other equally greater offense.  But surely there is a difference with a real distinction between that which requires purity in order to enter into heaven, as opposed to judging the difference between types of moral turpitude?

Yes, we all live tarnished lives, but some lives tarnished are of greater consequence than others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who view the onset of a medical condition as a “tarnished” smear upon one’s career, and thus resist leaving until that smudge has been erased, good luck.  The reality is that a medical condition is not a reflection of any “fault” or “negative” judgment upon a person; instead, it is simply a reality of one’s mortality.  Some people never suffer from a serious medical condition; others, with more than a fair share; and most of us fall somewhere in between.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, always remember that the need to seek an alternative remedy through a Federal Disability Retirement is never a reflection that deems that one now falls amongst the tarnished lives of greater misdeeds, but merely a reality in this mortal world of fallen souls, no different for this generation than for the centuries of such tarnished lives in unmarked graves of yore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Childhood wishes

We had them; some of us still remember and harbor them like sacrosanct relics of priceless value; and still others know of them and recollect some general idea long forgotten, once delighted in, but now rotting in the vestiges of abandoned buildings hollow but for the frame that haunts in the midnight moon.

Wishes remain throughout one’s life, whether in the stage of adulthood or old age; but it is the childhood wishes one remembers that reveal the empty soul of what one has become, may still be, but struggles to abandon with a hope for tomorrow.  Some of them may be set aside as silly thoughts of an immature time; others, a revelatory insight into who we were, what made us become what we are today, and a telling hint of our present-day bitterness of embattled constitution.

Perhaps it was a love thwarted; a Dickensian tale of another Scrooge who foolishly wanted to pursue one pathway at the cost of another; or, maybe the childhood wishes were merely promises of correcting the sorrow of yesteryears, where neglectful parents and inattentive love left one yearning to promise corrective action when one became a parent yourself, but somehow such commitments were waylaid by daily life – of money troubles, relationship squabbles and expectation bubbles bursting by fits and starts.

It used to be that, before the age of Facebook and obsessive hounding for revelatory information about past friends and acquaintances, people would try to “better themselves” when they went away in order to come back and “show them” how successful one had become upon the glorious return and reentry at gatherings such as high school and college reunions – much like the Tom Sawyer effect of coming back from the dead – but not anymore, as everyone already knows everything to know about everyone else before such a re-gathering is effectuated.

At some point in one’s life, the comparison between childhood wishes and the reality of a daunting world magnifies the contrast that leads to an inevitable conclusion: the naïve innocence of those former times either worked as a detriment, in which case cynicism prevailed; or, those childhood dreams allowed for an expansive, healthy and positive outlook such that they provided a foundation for growth and potential for happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with 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 job, perhaps contemplating 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 next step beyond for one’s future and security, and thought to be the “end” of something.

The difference between the two approaches may be nominal, or momentous, depending upon how one looks at it.  Is it like the proverbial attitude of the “cup half full” or “half empty”?  Or, is it because childhood wishes were never resolved, and that lonely and unhappy child one remembers never quite grew up, and the debilitating medical conditions now recall the dreams never realized, the hopes barely reached, and the potentiality not quite cultivated to fruition?

Look at it this way: Medical conditions are a part of life and daily struggle; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should not be viewed as either the end-all or the be-all, but a necessary next step with a view towards advancing beyond the childhood wishes one still awaits to fulfill.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire