FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The title itself

Sometimes, it is good to go “back to the basics”.  Throughout these blogs for these past and many years, the attempt has been to relate common everyday experiences and life’s challenges to the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker struggling daily to maintain one’s career and to extend a career in the face of a medical condition.  Yet, the primary focus has always been to try and remain informative; to give some sense of the process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, however, the title itself is sufficient, and one does not need the additional analogy, metaphor or “connectedness” to try and understand the process, and instead, all that is required is the title itself.

OPM Disability Retirement is a “medical” retirement.  It is based upon a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Yes, it can be a very, very complicating process, especially because there are potential pitfalls throughout the multiple administrative steps.  At each step of the procedural paths, there may be legal consequences that may not be correctible once the Federal Disability Retirement application has been submitted and a case number has been assigned at Boyers, Pennsylvania – i.e., a “CSA number” that begins with the number “8” and ends with a seemingly irrelevant “0” appended as the last of series of numbers.

Aside from the inherently complex questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the initial question that one must face and answer is (A) Whether, as a practical matter, Federal Disability Retirement is worth it, and (B) Whether there is a good chance to become eligible for it.

As to the first question, the factors that must be considered are: One’s age (for, at age 62, all disability annuities are recalculated based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement, and as it now takes at least a year to get approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question needs to be asked as to how old one is, how close one is to reaching regular retirement, and whether one can last until such age of retirement and the accrual of enough service computation years of Federal employment, etc.), how many years of Federal Service, and whether the Federal agency or the Postal Service is threatening to proceed with termination or separation.  And as to the second question, issues concerning the type of medical condition, the severity, the impact upon the Federal or Postal positional duties, the extent of support, how much reliance of such support is based upon a VA disability rating, and multiple other factors.

The “title itself” is often quite simple; it is the subtexts, the parenthetical unknowns and the hidden potholes along the road to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application (here we go again with the analogies and the metaphors) that makes for a complex and complicated journey.  But, then again, hasn’t that always been the case throughout life – facing the title itself that seems simple enough, but finding out that it is a bit more difficult than first thought?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Different gradations of form and tint

The former often refers to architectural structures; the latter, to the exterior or interior paint, color and hue; and, together, they present to the observing eye the sensible objects that we experience through sight, smell and at least as to the former, tactile encounters.

Words are funny things; we not only create and apply them, but concurrently establish rules for utility and usage such that restrictions apply, expansiveness beyond certain boundaries become prohibited, and modifications for allowances in the placement of a particular sentence are constrained.  Can concepts concerning different gradations of form and tint be applied to human lives?  Yes, but we allow for such deviancy by imputing analogy, metaphor or simile, and the distinction is created through the parallel thought processes which are invoked by such literary devices.

Narratives have that sense of gradations, both of form and of tint, but in somewhat of a different sense.  “Form” in that context goes to the structure of sentences and how the story is molded for presentation to the listener, while the “tint” is more likened to the “feel” and aura manifested by the speaker, whether first person, third person; is the narrator omniscient or limited in knowledge and scope?

Structures are inanimate obstructions presented by three dimensional appearances manifesting color and hue; human beings, by contrast, are complex structures who present more than mere unmoving or unmovable obstructions, but instead embody form otherwise characterized as essence, tint often revealed as complicated personalities, and a psyche shrouded in mystery.

Thus, for Federal and Postal employees considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, that narrative written in response to the questions on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, should always consider what gradations of form and tint should be presented.

How much of the complexity of a human being should be infused, beyond the “inanimate” manifestation of cold medical facts and circumstances likened to the different gradations of form and tint?  Or, should there be a flood of emotionalism that reveals the “feel” and impact of a medical condition?

Human narratives are indeed complex, and can never be pigeonholed into predetermined categorizations without some aspect of a person’s subjective experience.  Ultimately, however, no narrative can be completely “cold”, like the inanimate structure based purely upon architectural integrity of form and tint, but must by necessity encompass the complexity of the human psyche.

Take care, however, that the narrative presentation does not border upon the maudlin, but instead presents a balanced admixture of facts, circumstances, legal precedents, symptoms of medical pain or psychiatric deterioration, with a clear pathway on a bridge to the positional elements of a Federal or Postal position.  For, in the end, it is an “effective” Federal Disability Retirement application that should be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and one which reflects well the different gradations of form and tint.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Silent lives defying interpretation

Life is a mystery, and individual lives a puzzle untold.  It is the calluses that we develop throughout our lives that diminish our individual and collective curiosity to get to know the “other”.

We are born with a teleological intellect striving to unravel and unmask the depths of human essence; but modernity, technology and the singular focus of tangents often involving prurient asides distract and envelop with unwavering obsessions, but it has gotten worse:  no, not in any violent manner or upheaval of historical significance; rather, the electronic means of texting, emailing, Facebook-ing and other such means – which, if one pauses for just a moment to reflect, is merely a white page on a screen of illuminating blindness where symbols representing communicative ignorance are exchanged through the ethereal conduit of airwaves – give an artificial semblance of comfort that we are still engaging in the essential project of destined human activity:  getting to know one another.

When, in fact, the distance between words and the human touch; the distinction between the beep apprising one of receiving a message and the subtleties of an eyebrow raised, a grimace faintly made or a sparkle from eyes admiring; or the differentiation between black lettering upon a lighted page as opposed to the intonation and undulating mellifluousness of the softly spoken word – these, we are losing as each day passes, unnoticed, unconcernedly, and without any real hope of recovery.

It is, in the end, those silent lives defying interpretation which are lost forever on the doorsteps of unwritten historical accounts, despite the stories never told, the narratives forever undeclared and the characters uncharted because of the mystery of life and the conundrum of human lives.

History, it has been said, is written by “winners”; and if there is indeed truth in such a statement, then its corollary opposite must be similarly true:  unwritten and unknown accounts are forgotten or never written of those “losers”.  But that is only half of the truth; for, there are those countless bystanders who are never acknowledge, but fail to be inserted and included in the narrative of unmarked graves unacknowledged through the accounts of history untold.

We all want to be “significant”; we all want to “make a difference”; and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short a promising career, a relevant contribution to the “mission” of the Federal Agency, or make a difference to an old woman living alone who waves hello to the Letter Carrier as the high-point of her day – filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may seem like the end of that teleological journey that we are all engaged in.

But always remember that there is life after the Federal workplace, and whether you are an active Federal or Postal employee, or getting ready to take that step to initiate a Federal Disability Retirement application, there are still silent lives defying interpretation, and yours is one of them.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Designing a different biography

Each of us has one, but we know not what it states; for, it is what is written and carried by someone else, and not from ourselves.  Yes, yes, we also have an “autobiography”, as well – a narrative of how we see ourselves, in what manner, of what form, in what scintillating and scandalous light.  But it is the collective viewpoints of all whom we have encountered that comprise, constitute and in the compendium of the aggregate, tell the story of “that person” – you.

What would you gather if you went about to all family members, friends, relations and relatives, and to a lesser extent neighbors and acquaintances, whether close or distant, and interviewed each as to the narrative they have about you; collect them into a coherent whole and arrange them into a comprehensible amalgamation for self-reflective, unpublished anonymity?

It would likely be surprising, with tidbits of disconcerting salaciousness – not necessarily involving any vice, but if honesty were to be an unequivocal mandate in the responses to each query, it is likely that one would be taken aback by the responses received, not only in content and substance of answers, but from whence the source of information came.

Would we, if given the opportunity, begin to design a different biography in response to the amassing of such a narrative?  Or, like most people, would we merely engage in defensive self-justification, cutting off relations, reacting with anger and disappointment, and like a child without remorse, regret from wisdom or any greater understanding than the idiot savant who can mimic brilliance from learned behaviors, sit glumly with self-pity and blame those who provided their honest opinion and perspective, and continue on in the same mold as before?

Designing a different biography requires, at a minimum, a capacity to still process information for the intended purpose of alteration of behavior; and like the metamorphosis depicted by Kafka, there are few who have the self-reflective capacity in order to initiate that which cannot be comprehended by an ego which refuses to change.  What chance, then, do we have for redemption?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires designing a different biography for a future event (becoming a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant) because of a present circumstance of altering issues (a medical condition that has arisen, worsened or become exacerbated over time, such that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity), the concept of designing a different biography may require an honest assessment and evaluation of one’s physical and mental capacity, what the requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job entails, and when the time is ripe to consider initiating the long, arduous and complex process of considering the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, designing a different biography always requires a moment of self-reflection – something more complicated than editing our own unsolicited autobiography.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Common Ground

What could it possibly mean, and how did that concept ever develop?  It implicates, of course, by logical extension its very inverted context in an insidiously opposing perspective; for, in the very admission that the rarity of the shared values that have to be “sought for” and “discovered” merely reflects the wide chasm of that which does not exist.

Once upon a time, a “community” never talked about “finding” common ground, for the very shared commonality expressed the very essence of the social contract itself, such that people assumed and presumed a set of normative values that characterize the intimate nature of the collective whole.  Thus, disputes which created fissures within a tribe, a neighborhood, a town or a nation merely revealed the inconsequential rarity of such factional events; it is only when the wideness of the chasm requires expressions like, “We need to find some common ground” or the need to reach some “foundational commonality” – that is when we know that the cavern is deep, the friction tantamount to an incommensurate duality of paradigms, and the torrent of vitriol an unbridgeable gap reflecting inconsistent values.

Modernity has manifested such a state of affairs; and, perhaps it is merely an inevitable process of a developing nation, like a Hegelian dialectical fate resulting from a history of wrongs committed and evils perpetuated – from the systematic genocide of the indigenous population to the history of slavery, suspension of Habeas Corpus, a divided nation ripped by Civil War, to the internment of citizens based upon race and ethnicity; it is, indeed, division in recent times which appears to dominate, with the constant drumbeat of voices calling for the identification, recognition and discovery of “common ground”.

Laws, of course, try and protect and preserve the ground lost to lack of commonality; and such forced and compelled imposition of laws, regulations and statutory enforcement can, for a time, keep the fissures covered and the leaking faucets somewhat dry.  But always understand that the enactment of laws becomes a societal necessity only when shared normative values can no longer restrain; it is, in some respects, an admission of failure for each law that is passed to protect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the chasm between reality and theoretical construct must be faced the moment the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is informed of the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the laws concerning administrative rights of filing, the requirement for the Agency or U.S. Postal Service to attempt to provide accommodations, and the absolute right to seek Federal Disability Retirement benefits are all there; the reality is that such laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits were fought for and maintained precisely because necessity compelled the recognition that that was a fissure widening into a deep chasm concerning the common ground of common decency in how Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service would, should and must treat Federal and Postal employees with an identifiable medical condition and disability, and it was precisely because of the loss of common ground that the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits came into being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Arrive with bluff, depart with bluster

That has become the motto of universal exceptionalism; it is the bravado of the incompetent, the arrogance of the ignorant and the methodology of the unwary:  besides, it is a funny line plagiarized from a work by Evelyn Waugh (no, that is a male writer, not a female).

It is to come into a circumstance, a job, an assignment or a social conduit acting like one knows what one is doing, messing everything up, then leaving the desecration of incompetence and a heap of human detritus for others to deal with, while all the while turning up one’s nose, shaking the proverbial head in disgust, and departing with an unjustified defense of one’s own incompetence with:  “You guys are hopeless.”

That is the guiding declarative foundation of all self-help books, advice columns and Oprah-wanna-bees in columns of suspicious pearls of so-called wisdom:  “The key is to act like you know what you are doing, with confidence and assertiveness; the rest will follow and everyone will believe in you.”  Or, in other words, believe in yourself despite not knowing anything; act with declarative arrogance; be self-confident (of what, we are never told) and take charge of your life.  Then, if things don’t work out, don’t be too hard on yourself (or, better yet, not at all) and don’t ever allow others to get you down.

Such a foundational folly of methodological madness fits in very well, and is completely commensurate with the cult of youth; for, even if we all know that the younger generation knows not anything but having been coddled throughout their educational years (hint:  a euphemism for indoctrination for heightening self-esteem), the world generally operates on its own in spite of massive and daily incompetence, but that is precisely why there is a need to hire a dozen people for every job:  quantified incompetence somehow makes up for qualitative lack.

Once upon a time, bluster was known, recognized and dispensed with; and bluster was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.  Now, it is an everyday and common occurrence, because the substantive basis has been ripped out and the soul is now an empty cavern of echoing banter steeped in words of meaninglessness topped by nonsensical linguistic cacophonies of boundless chatter.

Yet, there are times when substance matters, as when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker experiences a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s ability and capacity to continue in the position one is designated in.  That is the time when neither bluff nor bluster is desired, needed nor welcome.

Honest answers and forthright advice is what needs to be obtained, both from Supervisors, coworkers and Human Resource personnel; in the legal advice rendered and received from one’s Federal Disability Retirement lawyer; and from friends, family and loved ones in pursuing this very difficult bureaucratic process couched within a cauldron of administrative nightmares.

We arrive into this world without a clue; we learn to bluff, even when we don’t want to; and when we depart, it is up to us as to whether there needs be an imprint of bluster, or whether the honesty that still resides in the essence of our soul may still reveal a vestige of the true character we maintained, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: When the superior argument no longer prevails

The potentiality of applying “jury nullification” opened the door to defiance, in a society constructed upon recognition, application and enforcement of “the law”; but of course, one may argue that such wholesale rejection of a conceptual construct deemed immoral or otherwise unfairly prejudicial, is itself a moral judgment which is allowable.

Would anyone argue that a jury which refused to convict during a trial in a repressive and totalitarian regime — say, in North Korea today, or during the Stalinist era — constituted “jury nullification”?  Or, would one simply declare that “the people” rightly and collectively decided to “stand up” against injustice, and applied a higher standard of the law — one which transcends the state’s attempt to impose an otherwise self-declared code of injustice by means of fiat and force?  It all depends upon the perspective; for, when the state empowers a group of individuals to possess, grant and apply the power of judgment rendered in the form of a verdict, then that collectivism of declared consensus constitutes the rightness or folly of a moral code itself.

In the end, the term itself is likely inappropriate; for the concept of “jury nullification” necessarily implies something underhanded or nefarious, as if the “jury” acting to “nullify” the law is somehow suspect, when in fact it is a declaration of rights asserted by means of granted power to do so.  The jury, by definition, is a law unto itself, as recognized by the state, and is therefore wholly independent and cannot be castigated for undertaking the very duty for which it was appointed to perform.

Now, as to whether or not it was receptive to, and embraced a lesser argument, as opposed to a superior one, is a fundamentally different question.  Were emotions swayed?  Did the eloquence of the opposing side overwhelm?  Did rationality and force of evidence persuade, or did the defendant’s mother back in the corner where spectators sat, weep silently and blow her nose into a soiled kerchief just enough to draw the attention of wandering eyes left pondering the fate of a devastated family? And does rationality always have to rule?  By what criteria do we demand that rationality always rule the emotive and appetitive?  Is it based upon the ancient code derived from Plato and Aristotle, of the various parts of the soul where the mind should govern the cosmos of the barbaric nature of our base selves?

But if circumstances and situations rule the day — such that in a “State of Nature” it is more advantageous for an individual to survive by pursuing instinct and animalistic aggressiveness, but in the more refined “Social Contract” basis the forms of civility and restrained interaction becomes the normative and accepted foundation, is not judgment of a fellow man a netherworld of intersecting universes, where the contradictory combining of war (a form thereof, as in a trial) and civility (of a jury deliberating in the quietude of a sequestered room) clash in culminating in a momentous fate of judgment?

The conclusion from modernity has already been rendered, of course; for, in the end, young people today care not for the force of rational argumentation, but rather, whether it “feels good”.  What reverberating consequences does such a force of change have upon society as a whole, and more specifically, for the Federal or Postal worker of today who must consider arguing to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved?

Superior arguments, of course, should always be employed; and the Federal or Postal worker should never underestimate the power of legal persuasion, or the citing of relevant laws, statutes and applicable regulations.  But there is a distinction to be made, between demanding and dereliction of decision-making.  The former is to use a hammer; the latter is to posit a systematic methodology of courteously opening the door for recognizing the sunlight of “being right”.

For the Federal or Postal worker who wants to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under CSRS, CSRS Offset or the FERS retirement system, remember that the concept of “jury nullification” applies only when the right to decide is somehow deemed improper or unsanctioned; but when it comes to a bureaucracy which possesses the sole power to decide, it is an inapplicable construct, and must be approached in a manner more akin to the grieving mother whose murderous son suddenly appears with a suit and tie for the first time in his hideous life, and speaks eloquently of his undying love for family and the victim upon whom he perpetrated his crime, and when the wink-and-nod between son and weeping mother remains unnoticed but for the love forged in treachery, justice yet smiles even in verdicts which betray the greater society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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OPM Medical Separation & Retirement: Of self-expression in society

There exists a proportionate correlation if charted on a graph, between the rise of a need for greater self-expression and the alienation from the individual from a sense of belonging and community.  The human animal has an inner need for acceptance and comity within the context of societal cohesion, and this is no different from other species and their behavioral patterns, excepting the “lone wolf” characteristics where mating or predatory consummation represents the only points of contact.

The lines of the hypothetical graph would intersect somewhere at the level where the individual believes that personal identity has been lost and subsumed from a community detached and uncaring; notice, identity and self-worth are bundled together in an almost inextricable complexity within the human psyche, and that proverbial and pervasive “inner cry for help” becomes exponentially magnified when that alienation intensifies.

Focus upon a collective “self” by a society encumbered with economic woes, infringement upon base survival instincts, and a growing sense that reliance upon one another is no longer believable, leads to the downward spiral of the line which represents societal comity, where the trajectory suddenly drops precipitously in a straight, vertical manner.

Yet, the other line — the one which represents self-expression and a silenced cry for urgency of warmth and responsiveness, continues upward in a more gradual trend, with short and sudden spikes here and there, but still reflective of a desire to pull back, to harken with a perspective of the rear-view mirror, wanting and willing always to open one’s arms and embrace the roots of that tribal nature from whence we all originated.

But we are becoming more and more calloused; the time wasted, the ascending alienation as first reported by Camus and the French existentialists after the ashes of the Phoenix failed to rise from the funeral pyre of the war-torn devastation of Europe and the consequential bifurcation of nations within the greater context of a potential addendum holocaust involving nuclear weapons, and the subsequent inertia developed through wealth and artificial products which were marketed by means of media and mass distribution — from it all, discontent arose, the notion of life’s absurdity followed, and the greater need for self-expression formed.

Look at Facebook and the explosion of psychosis.  Look at the obsession with smart phones and the need to “update” one’s “profile”.  But always remember that self-expression must be contained, and appropriately conveyed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must, by necessity, 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, the vehicle of formulation in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, must have a certain restraint and self-limitation imposed.

Not every fact and fancy of opinion should be included in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

And, one must ask, how much of that self-expression exudes bravado and exaggeration?  And even after one has won one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, there may be a Medical Questionnaire which is issued by OPM, and if in the course of investigating further, there surfaces an indicia of some extreme form of activity such as bungee-jumping or similarly strenuous engagements which are “posted” for all viewers because of the need for “self-expression” — such a wanton cry for help may indeed come back to haunt.

Self-expression in a society replete with alienation and abandonment may, in the end, be all that we are left with; but for the Federal or Postal employee who wants to preserve and protect one’s Federal Disability Retirement annuity, it may be best to exert some semblance of self-control that is quickly diminishing and disappearing on the graph of the proverbial downward spiral.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire