Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Writing a life

It is lived; or so we attempt to do so.  This thing called “life”; neither an art form, and forever unaccompanied by instructions or even a cheap compass; most are abandoned at the junkyards of forgotten corners, where the trifecta of raw sewage, mistreatment of body and spirit, and the crass exposure to the detritus of human discontent coalesce to present the irony of birth preceding an inevitable death.

Heidegger taught that we engage in projects in order to avoid the ultimate outcome; for Nietsche, nihilism opened doors for optimism contrary to the preceding generations of convoluted castaways; and while Zen and Hindu mysticism explained away the agony of the body, the remaining torture of living the reality of the now somehow wasn’t enough to extinguish the suffering groans of an impervious universe devoid of feeling, empathy, regard or constancy.

If the implements to create are not provided, and cannot be afforded no matter the toil from birth to death, of what use is the life given if living it cannot be achieved?  Moreoever, how can one engage in the writing of a life, let alone the living of it?

Autobiographies are mostly forgotten narratives undertaken merely to dispose of haunting ghosts of passing groans; and biographies, only for those who become a footnote in the dustbin of society.  And thus are we forsaken, like the cross abandoned on the hilltop where agony was first embraced in an effort to expiate the sufferings of our forefathers.  And then we are asked to write a life — no, not merely to live it, but to engage in art as reflective of ugliness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to prepare an SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the arduous expenditure of describing even a slice of it can mean the difference between securing one’s future or losing a lifetime’s career of investing in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.

Whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the labor of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity describe the impact of the medical condition, its nexus to the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, and to “prove” it by a preponderance of the evidence.

Such a daunting task is tantamount to writing a life — perhaps, one could appease, merely a slice of one, a portion of a greater whole, and an abbreviated compendium in an abridged form.  Nevertheless, the task involves the aggregation of descriptive narrative, a coherent structure of prose encapsulating facts, evidence and a legal argumentation with a focus towards meeting a statutory criteria for eligibility; indeed, some could argue that the entire project is one demanding something well beyond the mere writing of a life; it is, moreover, to convey and communicate the most private of concerns before a public forum in a maze of bureaucratic complexities amidst an administrative nightmare in a sequence of conundrums.

Yes, living a life is hellish and unaccompanied by direction or explicit purpose; writing a life is even worse — for it entails the remembrance of things past, the present undone, and a future filled with uncertainties but for the successful execution of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The carefully crafted life

But that we could just write the narrative of our life, reflecting briefly upon our past, describing the present condition of being, but most importantly, to carefully craft the anticipated future of our lives in process.  What is revealed from one’s past is telling of a person’s character; of the present, a manifestation of the compass of one’s heart; and to the narrative of one’s future?  If the cultivation of one’s soul is the essence of the teleological process of life, the content of what we insert into the delineated poetry of future actions will uncover the truth in being of our damaged and tortured souls.

Would the script include fame and fortune?  Encounters with the common and ordinary, or of the arrogant dismissal of all but the beautiful and fortunate?  Would money always be written into the narrative of a future life, or ignored and instead replaced by peculiarities of fantasies, such as time travel, the ability to fly, or defiance of mortality and vanquishing of fear?

What one wishes for, like the genie who grants the dreams of youth, casts aside the veil we walk about with, and reveals all.  But the operative concept often overlooked is not about a crafted life; rather, that “extra” descriptive adverb which denotes painstaking caution and conscientious execution:  How does one “carefully” craft a life?  For, when wishes are offered and granted without constraint, the crafting itself becomes cast away as a mere byproduct and of irrelevant concern, like the human detritus flung out from a window of a speeding car down the highway of reckless disregard.

The care that one takes in crafting a life — now, that is an undertaking few of us attend to, despite every opportunity at every turn in the linear sequence of even the ordinary life of an individual.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, that opportunity is offered in a limited and defined manner — in the form of 2 pathways.

First, by being required to write one’s narrative on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability (where the Federal or Postal employee must describe, delineate and prove a sliced portion of one’s life concerning the medical condition and its impact upon one’s capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job); and Second, by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — thereby formulating the narrative which will determine the future course of one’s life and livelihood.

No, in either case, the Federal or Postal employee will not be able to receive a genie’s grant of unfettered wishes and requests; but that was always the thoughtless residue of a childhood fantasy, anyway.

For, in the end, the carefully crafted life is not one which has any room for the misspent daydreams of a forlorn childhood; rather, the truly substantive content of a carefully crafted life necessarily involves the Triumvirate of the T:  Trials, Triumphs, and some sprinkling of Tragedies; just refer back to Shakespeare, or of Milton and Melville; anything else was merely the storybook fairytales of a bygone memory left behind in the dustbin of a forgotten era.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Caution

It is the characteristic which precludes and prevents unnecessary harm, and allows for the survival instinct to flourish; yet, as with most traits, there are both positive and negative aspects to it.  Yes, the telltale signs of hesitation, trepidation in approach, care in proceeding, and sometimes outright flight, allows for the evolutionary dominance of survival of the fittest and the genetic propagation of a species on the rise.  In modernity, however, when the dangers once diverse in the State of Nature are no longer applicable, that same innate fingerprint can be the preventative modality of stunted growth.  What was once the thrust for endurance of longevity may now be the invisible thread which holds back.

Caution, as a philosophy of living, can indeed limit the potential for greater good.

Perhaps in finance, the conservative approach with steadiness of investment is the preferred methodology; in politics, the inane and incomprehensible mumblings which meander with linguistic elasticity and meaningless tropes, the pathway to elected office; and in the Federal Sector and the U.S. Postal Service, to “not make waves” may well be the quiet road to disregarded competence and allowable step-increases at expected intervals.  But sometimes life brings about change without the seeking our of disruptive interludes, and that is precisely what a medical condition does to a life of serenity and quietude.  They are life’s misgivings not asked for, and interruptions unearned.

There again, caution and hesitation go hand in hand, and making a decision about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is but a manifestation of a character trait which may have served you well up to this point, but which may exacerbate the collaboration of an unwanted triumvirate:  work, health, and one’s future security.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM often has a daunting sense of the unknown, and that is never a positive sign for the cautious by nature.  But nature’s course may not be the best, or even the wisest, avenue in this era of modernity; for, as the trait which allowed for narrow escapes in eons past, it is also the identical essence which may have delayed the promotion, interrupted the dream, restrained the hope, and dashed the fantasy which remained as an unscented residue quashed by a desire suppressed in the first chapter of that cautionary tale called “you”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire