FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

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, the distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Later editions

Later editions are never as valuable as the First Edition, unless of course something additional has occurred, like the author’s inscription and signature, or a typeset error which is limited in number, or perhaps a reissuance but for a “limited number”, and sometimes as an “anniversary” reprinting, especially and again, if the author or progenitor has signed such a copy.

People follow upon such objects of value; for, as such artifices are mere human conventions, the behavior towards such creations reflect the conduct of man towards his fellow man.  Thus do we treat “later editions” with reduced fanfare; the old are replaced by the new every day, and “first editions” — of a new employee, a rising star and other more recent arrivals — are accorded greater degrees of “oohs” and “ahhhs”.

One might counter that “First Editions” should instead be identified, as a metaphor for human beings, as those who have remained for the longer period of time, and not accorded such status to newcomers; it is those who “come after” who are the second or third impressions, and should be acknowledged as “less valuable”, and not more.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often the case that your “value” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility seems to have diminished as Second editions and Third impressions come upon the scene.

Look at the beauty of First Edition books, for example — often with some wear, and maybe even a tear, but it is the worn state of condition that is often compensated for by the years of experience for which the deteriorated condition can be valued, yet does the “bookseller” treats the later editions as more “valuable” than the stated First Edition?

Medical conditions are likened to the worn look of a First Edition book, whether signed or not, in this society where it is the Second or Third Editions that are too often treated with greater respect.  If that is the case, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Perhaps that dusty old First Edition will be better appreciated elsewhere, all the while receiving a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and growing in value.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Expression

The title itself plays upon multiple meanings and combinations of words otherwise with connotations and implications intended within a panorama of conceptual constructs utilized in everyday discourse.

‘Art’ itself is an expression of sorts; “Expression’ is both a form of ‘Art’ and an actualization of it; and so to refer to the ‘Art of Expression’ is not merely somewhat of a redundancy, but further, a tricky combination of two entirely separable concepts, independent and yet expressing [sic] a specific duality of meanings.  Expression, whether of the verbal sort or, as in this instance, of the written variety, is indeed a form of art.  It is so by default.  Not being a discipline of precision; not anywhere near a science of any sort; not an academic major or even a subject that can ever be fully mastered; it is, nevertheless, an art form that thrives or places an indelible blemish upon the language of one’s upbringing.

Good writing, concise discourse, proper grammatical usage and persuasive argumentation in delineating a perspective and point of view continues and remains an art form that is lost in the daily plethora of linguistic garbage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition requires the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to ponder preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, consideration must ultimately be given to the art of expression when formulating the answers to SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing, formulating and putting the final edits and touches upon one’s Statement of Disability, the Art of Expression must be considered:  Does it adequately describe your medical conditions and the symptoms experienced?  Do the legal arguments persuade?  Does the medical documentation support the statements put forth?  Does the statement paint a picture of coherence within a universe of incoherence engendered by the medical condition itself?  Is the nexus sufficiently created between the medical condition and the positional duties?  Has one applied the principles of Henderson v. OPM, the Bruner Presumption, the Simpkins application, the Bracey Principles and multiple other legal underpinnings?

The Art of Expression is the capacity to pull together the vast compendium of expressive resources available, and the first step in reaching that goal is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The constant pruner

Without the constancy of the activity, the growth itself saps the life within and extends to expend energy that ultimately reacts with a self-immolation that harms itself.  Pruning is a necessary activity to lop off the unnecessary; otherwise, the diseased branches and the weakened limbs rob from the underlying life that needs less in order to live more.

Limbs that have weakened and are dying; the weak extensions that are yet strong enough to cling on as useless appendages that refuse to break and crack despite the winds of storms that test and weed out; and in clinging, deplete the sap of life that must still run its course through to the end of each.  The constant pruner knows that less is more; that by lopping off and ending the dependencies, the life that remains will be extended all the more.

So much of the world reflects the same approach; history is a constant pruner, of importance, significance, relevance and of what remains within the consciousness of a living society.  Bodies need pruning; or, at least, a refinement and readjustment, just in order to survive.

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, there is a reflective duality in the act of pruning: for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, they may look upon you as that useless appendage that must be pruned, leading to a systematic campaign of pressuring you to either resign (self-prune) or terminate (a third party act).

For the Federal or Postal employee, the steps necessary for “pruning” can involve:  Resignation; Filing a Federal disability retirement application; or just “staying put” — which, in the end, is an inactive, passive way of self-pruning, anyway, because it will ultimately lead to one of the first two, in the end.  The question is: Do you want the agency or the Postal Service to do the pruning, or do it yourself?

In order 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 is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is necessary to first take out the metaphorical “shears” by consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in the law of Federal Disability Retirement.

That is the beginning of becoming the constant pruner — to first learn, then to proceed, lest you lop something off that should not have been.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The tenuous seat

It may be that where you are sitting, you have that constant sense of insecurity and angst; that the legs that are currently holding you upon the wooden seat are unstable, questionable, perhaps even possessing a history of prior breakage and collapse.  Is the position you hold flimsy, weak, subject to the winds of change and the moods that prevail?

Life isn’t supposed to be that way; or so we are taught from a young age.  There are “rules of the game”; people “have to” abide by certain unspoken (or openly declared) constrictors of behavioral acceptability; and yet, the rule-breakers seem always to be able to flaunt the exceptions and sidestep, overstep and trample upon the boundaries that everyone else must abide by.

The tenuous seat is the one that the person sensitive of and susceptible to the whims of societal constructs so diligently struggles to abide by; it is the vulnerable who always pays the price, while the brash and uncaring go on and pass by everyone else.  The tenuous seat is the one that the ordinary person sits upon; then, when a medical condition comes along and weakens the structural foundations even further, the very wobbling legs that barely withstood the vicissitudes of time begin to fracture and reveal their internal fissures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of sitting in the tenuous seat because the impact of the medical condition is beginning to take its toll, it is time to make plans to secure a more stable future — or, metaphorically, to consider sitting in another chair.

The tenuous seat is the one you have been sitting in for these past several years, and it is time to play the rules of the game of musical chairs, and to find the one that will “fit” the seat of your pants, by 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.

The tenuous seat is the one that needs repair, and the one that needs repair is also the one that needs replacement.  When life’s chair that once provided a sense of stability and rest begins to wobble with the changes of time, it is an indication that the next step in the musical chairs of life’s stormy periods calls upon the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the steps to embrace the change; it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes exclusively in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Conversations

What is a conversation?  Or, is it an empirical phenomenon that — only when we are in the middle of it — we know as we experience it, but otherwise is undefinable?  If there are 5 people in a room but only 1 is doing the talking, is a conversation ongoing?  Must there be a “back and forth” give and take, or must something more be involved?  If the same 5 people are in the same room, and all of them are talking all at once, does that rise to the level of a conversation?  Does interruption and talking over one another undermine the definition?

What if there is extraordinary politeness — of each waiting his and her turn — and where no one interrupts, there is a pause between each discourse and a civility beyond mere lack of rudeness, but upon listening, one realizes that each one of the individuals is speaking about a completely different topic, and there is no interaction or even acknowledgment that anyone is listening to anyone else — does this all of a sudden undermine the concept of what is occurring?

This is an Age of Discord — of intractable positions taken, where the foundations that once formed the Age of Reason have been decimated and we are left with empty voices of loud vehemence, hollow in content but roaring in volume.  Truth, objectivity, logic and rational methodology — the very essence of discourse and conversation — have been hollowed out and cast aside.

It is now in camps of “us” against “them”, but the singular missing component that has devastated the capacity to have a conversation is the one that no one ever talks about: The ability to recognize and admit that someone else’s argument is superior to one’s own.

When was the last time you heard someone say: “Hey, that argument is quite good and persuasive.  I think you are right.”?  Instead, it is the familiar refrain: “That’s just your opinion.”  And as the volume of decibels increases, the content of substance proportionately and precipitously falls.

There are, of course, various levels of conversations, but one level is clear: Listen to the other side.  This also includes reading, recognizing and understanding the applicable statutes in an administrative process in order to meet all of the elements of the burden of proof.  Being intransigent and stubborn are qualities that makes one feel empowered, but concurrently, are often self-defeating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it all begins with knowledge — of the statutes, the case-law and the precedents that apply.

We may all have to concede that the Age of Conversations is over; what we may be left with is a process where, at the very least, one must listen and try to learn.

Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process which is never simple, and must be approached with knowledge, tenacity and an ear to listening to what is needed in order to meet the eligibility requirements.  Having a medical condition is a start, but it is not enough.  And like conversations that may have started but puttered out without fanfare, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will take more than talking about how we “feel”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire