OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Virtual Reality

Say a person says to you, “I was in Japan last night.”  You had just seen him the day before, and so you might quickly calculate how many hours it would take for a flight to Japan, how long he could have stayed there and then flown back; and, perhaps you would unduly confuse yourself by thinking, “Perhaps the time-zone shift is such that yesterday is today and today is actually tomorrow’s today because of the international time-zone shift”, or some similar nonsense as that which often confuses and confounds us all (in fact, isn’t that how we always feel when we must change the clocks for that “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” period?).

You study the person’s features and determine that he looks refreshed, without a hint of sleeplessness.  Upon coming to the conclusion that, No, it is not possible that your friend had actually gone to Japan and back, you say to him or her: “What do you mean by that?”  The person says, “Just what I said.  I visited Japan last night.  I went on a tour of Kyoto, a couple of shrines, saw the cherry blossoms and had a couple of meals and drank some sake and then went to bed.”  And you take that sliver of an opportunity — that phrase, “I visited” combined with, “then went to bed”, and with suspicious deliciousness as of a genius private detective who has singularly uncovered a mystery, declare: “Aha! You mean you were on your computer and took a virtual tour of the country!”  To which your friend says: “You can put it that way.  I say that I was in Japan last night.”

In this world where virtual reality and reality itself has been conflated, the words we use have similarly broken out of their previous state of rigidity.  Whether of “alternative truths” or misstatement of facts, the malleability of language has had to adapt and conform to the changes of reality.  Is there a distinction with a difference between a person who takes a “virtual tour” of a country, as opposed to actually, physically flying there and walking about the lost ruins of Peru?  To the question, “So, did you visit the Sistine Chapel while there?” — both and either may provide a detailed description of their independent and individual experiences, and do so convincingly; and even to the question, “Were you really there?” — the answer can be identical and yet truthful.

Yet, there are some things in life that still defy conflating virtual reality with the “real” reality — such as medical conditions.  For, “virtual” pain and “virtual” medical conditions do not impact the identical experiential phenomena of the “real deal”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a real medical condition such that the reality of that condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you may want to consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS .

Before you do that, however, consult with a “real” Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer, lest a “virtual” one provides you only with virtual advice, in which case it won’t be worth any more than a virtual dollar used to pay for a virtual meal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Interests

There is self-interest; then, the interest of the third party; or perhaps on behalf of the interests of you, the second person.  Whatever the interests involved, for some odd reason, it is the “self-interested party” that raises an ire of suspicion, a pause devolving with a wrinkled eyebrow, a frown or a furtive look of concern.

Thus, of the old adage that a person who represents his or her own interests may be deemed a fool —but not because of any fervency of advocacy, or even a question of competence, necessarily; rather, it is because of the loss of objectivity that is perpetrated by failing to be able to step back and review one’s circumstances with disinterested dispassion.

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 basic elements of one’s Federal job, the concern about whose interests are being looked after, and whether or not what you are doing is in the “best interests” of the client involved — you — should always be one of concern.

You may well be the best person who looks after your own interests — for, surely the one who has the most to gain or lose is the one who will look after those interests.  However, the reason why representing one’s self in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often an unwise move, is because the loss of objectivity cannot always be overcome by the medical evidence presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It may well be appropriate to write an impassioned letter in declaring one’s love for someone; or even a heartfelt declaration using many adjectives and adverbs in conveying condolences or an apology; but when one is beset with a medical condition and is trying simultaneously to manage one’s medical conditions while describing it for purposes of trying to obtain OPM Disability Retirement benefits — it may be too difficult to unravel the double helix of self-interested entanglement in order to attain a needed level of objectivity in the matter.

That is why interests self-directed, especially when pursuing a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, would best be left in the capable hands of an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Of frauds and believers

Who is the greatest fraud of all time?  Of whom do we consider a “fraud”, and what is the criteria upon which we compare and determine the final judgment?

Certainly, many would include Bernie Madoff in that category; but what of tricksters and hoaxes that will have you believe in magical powers of levitation, bending spoons and non-invasive surgeries?  Is the greater hoax based upon the sheer number of believers, or upon the amount gained and the fervency of trust betrayed?  Do the number of believers following a cult leader count, based upon the quantifiable nature of the fraud itself, or is it the level of unquestioning belief that makes up for the lesser crowds garnered?

And what about the common fraudster — of the smiling face during times of need, but the quick stab once your worth is no longer apparent?  And of the workplace where the smiling backstabber whispers in conspiratorial glee, when once the boss listens and smirks at your every deed, replacing the accolades once passing for sincerity when all that was truly there was a Noh mask that concealed the sneer of disdain?  And what of that believer who persuades all of the others who were doubtful, but because you respected him or her, the fact that the believer lead others into the flock of deception — is that first believer also a fraudster?

And in the lonely quietude of one’s own thoughts and reflections, studies have shown that a great many people believe they themselves are fraudsters — perhaps not on the grand scale of having bilked millions, but merely that you are not whom you appear to be, and thus the empty shell within haunts in the conscience of a sleepless night.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a sense that a “fraud” is being committed — that having to be forced to “hide” the seriousness of the medical condition at the expense of one’s health; of striving to extend one’s Federal or Postal career beyond that which is medically advisable has been a necessity; and of having that conscience in disrepair because you cannot do everything that you once were able to — these are the characteristics of the Federal employee and Postal worker who possess a high degree of conscience and work ethic.

But do not mistake and confuse the difference between “fraud” and “conscience”; for, the former has no inkling of the latter, and it is because of the latter that the Federal workforce is so effective in administering goods and services in such a wide range of ways, with so little to work with.  But when it comes time to take care of one’s health, the Federal or Postal employee who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must take into account the cost of fraud — of being untrue to one’s self by continuing in a job which is no longer consistent with one’s health.

Now, that is the greatest fraud of all — of lying to yourself and allowing your health to deteriorate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Bureaucracies

It is an amalgamation of penultimate collectivism; based primarily upon the concept that centralization constitutes efficiency, bureaucracies exist for the sake of a mission long forgotten and forever compelling the existence of its own justified creation.  They have histories, and often historians to record and annotate the accomplishments of their own beings; and the people who work for them speak about them in objective tones of third persons.

Every now and again, a newly-hired employee will bring about a fresh sense of enthusiasm, of new ideas and different ways of doing things; but after a time, each such newbie of fresh growth begins to wilt, like flowers that bloom for a season and then die an expected and predictable death, only to wait for another to take its place.

Bureaucracies tend to do that to their own population – wilt them, kill them, stamp out any newness that might sprout for a brief moment.  And to those outsiders who require the services of a bureaucracy – well, always remember that the bureaucracy will always last longer than even the great period of the dinosaurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the exposure to a bureaucracy may be the first time; or, perhaps the Federal employee (and certainly the Postal employee) works within a bureaucracy him/herself.  In either event, suddenly being an “outsider” looking in, as opposed to an “insider” looking out, will be a new experience.

It is good to remind one’s self during this process of preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon the “bureaucracy of bureaucracies” –- the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – that long after the Age of Dinosaurs passed and became extinct, and long, long after global warming or other such identifiable calamitous event will have altered the face of the universe, OPM and other bureaucracies will still be here.  What a thought to ponder.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Those rare, insightful moments

Must it always reach the level of an epiphany, or may it be as a passing point of fluctuating comprehension?

Every now and then, it is like the proverbial entrance into a clearing amidst the darkness of a looming forest; of a light that shines into a chasm heretofore undiscovered; and in that flash of understanding, it is important to grasp it, to tackle the concept, to concretize and declare, lest it slip silently away like the silken tail of a snake slithering into the tall grass.  Or of a dream in the midst of a fitful sleep that reveals what the subconscious desires to tell but just so in a gentle twist, lest the naked truth in the full light of day may be too blunt for the sensibilities of an unvarnished purity wanting but for the fiction of a nightmare too horrifying to encounter in real life.

Is the fool in Shakespeare any less witless than the King who divides his empire among vampires who drain the life of a vibrant ego?  Do the words of the court jester that cuts like a knife through the clouded judgment lost in the garments of wealth and power, transcend the loss of comprehension by those who would see the Emperor’s clothes despite the insight of a child who sees the nakedness of truth?  Do we attribute to animals the identical accolades despite their lack of coherent utterances, when they emit sounds of alarm, engage reflexes of caution and take flight ahead of perceivable approaches to dangers hidden beyond?

Most of life is repetitive boredom, sprinkled with the dust of angels golden and shining as they fly above us in the invisible universe of heavenly orbs, and we rarely notice them but for the slight touch of their comforting robes as the wings disturb the calm air or a mischievous poke on that parting of hairs or the baldness unseen but from a singular perspective from atop; and it is in those rare, insightful moments that life becomes worth living because we clearly, unequivocally and with unmitigated resolve understand, comprehend and care.

Then, the world and its artificial constructs rush right back in to fill the void of monotony, and we carry on with the projects of life that detract and distract, forgetting again the beauty of that which we saw for a brief slice of time.  Thus, the numerous stories of those who briefly crossed the demarcation into the netherworld of death and beyond, but were brought back to “life” by medical specialists who wanted to do “good”, when even that perspective is, at best, questionable.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, it is often the medical condition itself that compels one to have a moment of epiphany.  Perhaps that rare, insightful moment comes about when the pain becomes unbearable, or when the cognitive faculties become askew and mental clarity sees beyond into the netherworld of the future and its gloomy horizon.

Whatever the circumstances that monotony of chronic medical conditions forces, the realization that the Federal or Postal employee must by necessity prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is one which cannot be avoided, any more than the angel who playfully shaves one side of our face in the twilight of dawn and leaves us wondering about those rare, insightful moments of life’s mysteries.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The uncommon denominator

Why is it that the common denominator is always represented by the basest of related factors?  The answer is simple, of course, and a tautology of sorts; for, that which is uncommon, by definition, constitutes a rare and prized feature, and through sheer economic application of supply and demand, the latter is heightened when the former is scarce.

Thus, in issues of character and human essences, the core of an individual is represented by the base elements of evolutionary Darwinism, and would therefore constitute the most simplistic of instinctive drives; whereas culture, refinement and societal structures are developed beyond the commonality of base factors.

Rousseau could be said to disagree with such a perspective, as his romanticized postulate of man’s vaunted “state of nature” reflected a penultimate, idealized condition of peaceful coexistence; but as no one has yet discovered an actual sociological enclave where such existence of sympathetic amplitude resides, it is doubtful that such defiance of the general view of man’s iniquitous soul provides the greater factor for an uncommon denominator.

For most, then, it is that which we share with all others; and, indeed, the element which interrelates everyone, is that which we publicly declare to abhor, but summarily engage in within the confines of law, societal mores, and acceptable norms of behavior. Except, of course, when the weakest of victims display the wounds of life, and the predators circle and abound like vultures encircling high above in the wind streams of timeless watchfulness, waiting upon a crumbling civilization as the decay of flesh and dying carcasses fume in the heat of the midday sun.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the feeling of the common denominator; it is often that factor which brings everyone together in a semblance of denoted behaviors.  And it is precisely the uncommon factor which brings about the circling birds of prey; for, the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition is “different”, and therefore steps outside of the perimeter of commonality; and that which is separated and isolated becomes the focus of the threatening predator.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, makes the Federal or Postal employee an uncommon denominator, and thus the target of baseness precisely because such a person has become the anomaly.

Evolutionary Darwinism requires the killing off of DNA structures which threaten the whole; and for the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM constitutes the uncommon denominator for a future set for tomorrow, beyond the pale of those predators of antiquity whose self-extinguishment is bound by the fate of a shrinking pool of genetic predisposition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire