OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The misplaced comma

It is such an inconsequential mark in the universe of imprints that pervade, and yet so significant, but in a cloak of anonymity, when misplaced.  It possesses the same features as other punctuations of grammar — identical to the apostrophe, the same in mimicking as the singular quotation mark that is so prevalent; and the same shape is used in multiple diacritic writing systems common within Ancient Greek writing systems, and still survives apparently in the written systems utilized in Latvian, Romanian and Livonian.

It allows for clauses to appear, to become dependent and separated, and to confine into a separate meaning where the conceptual clause, whether dependent and leaning for support upon the main thought expressed, can convey an independence of meaning that adds and modifies the original idea.

It is the misplaced comma that makes one pause and ponder — why must we hesitate here?  Why did they put a red-light in the middle of the sidewalk?  Why does the sign say, “No passage” in the center of a store, and yet we can step beyond the red line and still proceed?

Does the misplaced comma apply in spoken language?  Take the following example: You are standing and talking to a friend, and the friend says: “Now, I want you to — no comma, here — know that tomorrow it is going — no comma, here — to rain— here, there is a comma — and therefore we have to have — no comma here — our umbrellas with us.”  Aside from rendering an irritating manner of speaking, it was all so unnecessary, wasn’t it?  We don’t have to apprise others of a misplaced comma unless it is actually misplaced, and when speaking as opposed to writing, it is not needed because the hesitation in speech itself tells us of the comma, whether misplaced or not.

In written form, however, the misplaced comma — again, aside from being a mere irritant — compels us to pause, to hesitate, to take a reflective millisecond — like coming upon a crack in the sidewalk when we were kids and thinking, “Should I skip and jump over it or just be brave and step on the crack?”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 pervasive feeling of one’s tenuous position in the workforce is often likened to a misplaced comma.  You no longer “fit” into the mission of the agency.

Others begin to hesitate when approaching you; there is “talk about” you that you sense, and there appears to be commas all around, bifurcating, separating, creating dependencies that seem to segregate and confine, like invisible fences — nay, commas – that have been placed all around.

It is then time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Consult with an experienced attorney and replace the misplaced comma with an emphatic period that will end the misery that continues to deteriorate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The concise sentence

What is the difference between being concise and performing with precision?  The former is often applied in the universe of words and communication; the latter, in areas where quantitative measuring tools can be determined, such as in science or in mathematical sectors.

We say of a person who speaks voluminously but with little substance that he or she represents the antonym of conciseness; and so a comparison is often made between volume spoken or written and concepts or thoughts conveyed.  Of Literature, most would agree that Hemingway is the representative paradigm of conciseness, whereas Joyce and Faulkner reflect the very opposite, though all three are considered classic and great authors.

Do we excuse such authors as Joyce and Faulkner because, in literature, we tend to focus upon the stylistic brilliance of their writings as opposed to the “meaning” that captures the undercurrent of their works?  In other words, although they may give us “too many” words and thus are, by definition, lacking of conciseness, we nevertheless overlook such imprecision precisely because we do not attribute “amount” as the necessary and sufficient cause of determining the worth of good authorship.

Hemingway used to say that, in writing, he had already formulated each sentence before setting it upon paper, whether in handwriting (a lost art) or at the typewriter (a manual, when those contraptions existed and where the clack-clack of metal keys pounded deep into the twilight of a writer’s life).

Why do we applaud and celebrate the concise sentence?  Does it make a difference whether or not a sentence, say, with 7 words communicates a thought as opposed to a paragraph with a thousand words that conveys the identical conceptual construct?

Take the following 2 examples: 1. Lessening of debt equals wealth. Or, 2: If you have less to owe to others, then it is the same as savings; or, as Benjamin Franklin used to say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and the reality of it all is that we have more to spend and retain wealth, not so much because you have more money, but you have more because less is spent on paying other people your hard-earned dollars.

Now, both sentences convey essentially the same meaning.  The first one, however, is comprised of 5 words. The second one took…many words to communicate the same thought.  Does it matter whether a concise sentence is used, as opposed to one that is not, if the same two convey identically reflective thoughts?

It might make a difference, because of one factor that has not been discussed: Being concise often possesses the added feature of being precise, and precision is important in the accuracy of conveying thought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are thinking about 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, there is a dual-key component to preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability: Be concise, but do not forego length for completeness.

In other words, being concise in order to convey the proper information is important; but, at the same time, do not sacrifice wordiness just because of the limited “boxes” that are provided on SF 3112A.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Other worlds

We can imagine other worlds in which things are different; science fiction does it all the time, and even traditional literary fiction – though the differentiation between “science fiction” and “regular fiction” can often be lost in esoteric and academic ways – can depict other worlds not quite familiar, though recognizable enough to keep it apart from fantasy or that of the bizarre.

We can imagine, for instance, a world in which a pot of water sits upon a burning stove, but the pot never boils because the heat from the burner never transfers its element to the water; and so the isolation of each entity remains unmoved, as each fails to influence the other.  Or, that rain falls, but nothing gets wet.  What about people?  Of a persons who talks and talks and everyone hears, but no impact results.  You say to your friend, “A skunk has climbed up on top of your head,” and the friend responds, “Yes, thank you,” but does nothing and goes on with his or her life.

It would be a universe where we are consumed and subsumed within the universe of our own thoughts, and the world around us remains separate, isolated and without influence upon entities remaining placid, implacable, undisturbed and without any capacity to embrace the causality of an effect that remains otherwise unperturbed.

Come to think of it, that somewhat describes the world we actually live in, doesn’t it?  It started out as some science fiction genre – other worlds – and yet the universe that was described, of a world where people talk and no one listens, others hurt and no one helps, and the gravitational pull remains isolated to the planets within a galaxy, but never extending beyond to the human lives that populate this earth.  Isn’t that what occurs in this world, today?

People lie to themselves thinking that they have hundreds of “friends”, and yet sit alone in an apartment staring at a glowing piece of machine called a computer, and converse quietly on Facebook and through other social media outlets, yet never say a word; and the “conversations” on the medium are merely a series of rants and raves, and at the end of the late evening, everyone goes home.  People live with great wealth – of extravagance of living never seen heretofore in this or any other universe – while others barely make a living; and the impact felt moves not a teardrop or a sigh of resignation.

Federal and Postal employees live in such a universe, especially when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal position.  The agency doesn’t care; the postal facility is indifferent; no one says, “Ah, we need to do everything to help you out so that you can get better!”  Instead, we rely upon quiet laws to be enforced, so that our “rights” can be protected and compelled.

Other worlds are not mere fantasies that we dream up; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must take the next step in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, welcome to the bizarre universe of an administrative process that cares little about injured or hurting people, but one in which the cold bureaucracy of laws and rights must be enforced in order to assert that which remains unmovable in the face of a medical condition that won’t go away.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Closet of skeletons

It is a metaphor that is familiar; of secrets, or near-secrets; of those cluttered past incidents and events that need to be kept in the hallway closet, perhaps even locked for safety and security, whether of embarrassment, regret or shame.

Yet, modernity has less of them.  With the disappearance of shame, of openness of societal mores and normative values disappearing, almost vanishing, there is then no need for the closet to exist, and skeletons are fewer and far between because we have redefined what is shameful, what should be regretted, and that which is deemed unworthy of public display.

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”  That quip is attributed to Mark Twain, of course; the grand humorist of American society, and the author of books that have touched the conscience of an unsettled people.  How does a species stop blushing?  By rearranging that which triggers such a characteristic – the words that touch, the concept that shames, the sentence that embarrasses and the paragraph that pushes.

There are, of course, positive consequences, as well; for, the openness of society and the suppression and obliteration of normative standards have allowed for silent crimes that were once unspoken to be openly displayed and cauterized.  Perhaps, sometimes, “talking about it” opens things up, allows for the public airing of that which was hidden because polite society did not want to deal with it; but since it existed, anyway, we might as well open the closet of skeletons as a society and let everyone see whatever it is that we were ashamed of.

Sometimes, or more often than not, those monsters within are greater than the reality of the objective world.

Medical conditions often relate to such a concept.  We tend to hide them, be ashamed of them, and make of them larger than what necessity dictates – except for old men and women standing in the line at the post office who openly discuss the details of their last operation and procedures, of course.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, remember that 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 often like the closet of skeletons; once they are out in the open, the agency and the Postal Service will have to deal with it, just like the Federal or Postal worker who had to “deal with it” – the medical condition – for all of these many years, fearful of the shame of revelation and the reaction of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Retirement: The chronic life

The chronic life is the one that burdens; and, yet, does not all of life present a challenge of burdensome trials and persistent provocations?  Or, are there elements within one’s life that makes it feel as if we are merely the donkey for others to place their weight upon, like those pack animals of yesteryears that always looked forlorn and ready to collapse?

Why do some appear “as if” they have not a care in the world, and flit about like in some ballet skipping and hopping, twirling and dancing from one scene into the next, never allowing for the concerns weighing upon like the rest of us?  Is it merely born of attitude, or having a “positive” thought process; or, are some blocked by the concerns of life such that we are always infected with the chronicity of angst and worry?

The democratic manner of a medical condition seems always to be the one factor that is the exception. Medical conditions do not discriminate; they impact everyone in the same manner.  Whether one is a carefree person, a worrier, a person who is serious, or who flits about life without a thought for consequences, the impact of a medical condition cannot be avoided.

There are those who live the chronic life – always meeting one’s obligations; always fulfilling promises; forever planning for the future; and then there are those “others” who seem to care not a twit about such matters.  And yet, whether of the chronic life or of other-hood, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s health, the treatment and response is all the same: and, all the more so, when the medical condition becomes one that is termed “chronic”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has been deemed “chronic” in the sense that it will remain with the Federal or Postal worker for a minimum of 12 months, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset.

It may well be that you have lived the chronic life, and that it is “unfair” given the seriousness of how you have lived your life.  Nevertheless, it is the chronic nature of things in general, including the medical condition that now must be attended to, that will have to be dealt with.

But the advantage is this: those who have lived the chronic life often “deal” with the chronic matters of life with greater success, and perhaps that is the reason the Federal or Postal employee who has dedicated his or her service to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service has been well-prepared for this newest fight – against the medical condition – in this chronic of all matters: the medical condition itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing an effective 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, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The end of Act I, Scene I

Whether it is in some obscure off-Broadway play, or in a Shakespearean tragedy presented with lavish costumes and elaborate affectations, the end in Act I, Scene I sets the stage for the narrative following.  Yes, yes – one can argue that there are “other” scenes, acts, pivotal moments and significant slices which also formulate the argument for such commanding cohesion in a story; but that misses the point – for, if everything is relevant, then nothing is important; and if nothing is important, then it negates the pointing out of relevance itself.

The great Chekhov is the one who pointed out that, if you are going to introduce a shotgun in the first scene, then you must use it sometime, somewhere, later; otherwise, you have left the audience with a titillating artifice with no signification of purpose, thereby failing to be true and honest with your viewers and violating the sanctity of that most important of connections:  the collective belief of the audience of the constructed trust in you.

There are always pivotal moments in every life lived; of remorse and regret too burdensome to live out, or minor irritants of projects left undone and cast aside both in memory and in discourse of behavior.  We often treat the end of Act I, Scene I “as if” – and that is the mistake which the metaphor fails to embrace.  For, there are always many scenes to follow, and when we make too much of a slice of one’s life as that “pivotal” moment of despair and regret, it robs the rest of the narrative and creates a vacuum and extinguishment of life’s subsequent moments of linear significance, like the proverbial skeleton in the closet of one’s hidden past, echoing with haunting sobs of silent regrets, always pulling back into a time of past remorse, when a wider expanse of future hope still resides.

One should always keep a proper perspective, both in living a life as well as in learning of another’s; for, it cannot be that any single slice constitutes the entirety of the greater whole, and to make it so is to miss the opportunities of subsequent events by relying too heavily upon prior travesties.   To dwell on the past and to set a given moment as a sort of eureka event where an epiphany is attained is to remain forever stuck in a quick sand of self-delusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are intending upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, but who – for whatever reasons of regret, remorse of affectations of reaching a seeming epiphany, and thus hesitates for fear of living that regret or remorse – the important thing to consider is that, while the end of a career may well constitute a change of present circumstances, it should merely be likened to the end of Act I, Scene I, and not the end of the play itself.

There is much to do beyond receiving a Federal Disability Retirement – one can, for instance, find a different kind of job, vocation or work in the private sector, and make up to 80% of what one’s (now former) Federal position currently pays, and continue to receive such pay on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  As such, the Federal or Postal employee should never simply pack up and go home after Act I, Scene I – as there is much left to the narrative, especially when it comes to living the real life of one’s own play.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire