Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Linguistic Machismo

The term is derived from Spanish origins, and it is that characteristic which contributed most to the rise of Hemingway’s fame, and his ultimate act of self-destruction.  Of bullfights, big-game hunting, reporting amidst the Spanish Civil War, leaving unmentioned his encounter with death and devastation from his experiences in World War I, resulting in the Phoenix rising through his unforgettable fictional characters, Howard Krebs and Nick Adams, whose souls have been damaged beneath the surface of any physical manifestation of wounds or injuries, where reconnection with society, its rhythms of daily living and silliness of interests, can no longer be possible — these comprise the defining events of the meaning of the word itself.

Combined with the compounding prefix, it delineates the approach of modernity in engaging in communitarian communications.  You know — of bombast and lambaste; where subtlety of meaning is left without room for doubt, connotation, denotation or a question mark, but merely a hyphenated sense of an unstated thud followed by an exclamation point.

The famous debaters have now faded into the antiquity of forgotten dustbins; Lincoln-Douglas; Buckley-Vidal; the courteous but inquisitive Dick Cavett show; and the late-night show of Johnny Carson, whom many consider to encompass both intelligence and complexity of thought, especially when compared to parallelisms truncated by modernity.  Civility is gone; subtlety as an art form is all but lost; the only teleology of choice these days focuses upon the viral nature of a YouTube video, and only if it trumpets the extreme with the blare of sensationalism.

This approach — of linguistic machismo — has crept into the narrative of today.  Leaving aside the repugnance of the term for feminist causes, the substance of the concept implies an aggressive tone in setting forth a narrative.  The problem with engaging in such a consistency of intolerance in conveying as a vehicle of communication the toughness of a “no-holds barred” language game, however, is that it soon and quickly loses its efficacy.

Even an elephant struck repetitively to move the lumbering animal will develop callouses which defy the oncoming blows of future pain; encouragement by blunt force trauma is a discouraging device over time, if used without discretion.  Incessant screams become deafening to ears sensitized; physical pain becomes numb to repetition; repetition itself creates a havoc of unnoticed constructs; and so it goes.

This can be a lesson to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to construct an effective narrative in preparing one’s Statement of Disability for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When the Federal or Postal applicant for Disability Retirement purposes envisions who will be reading, reviewing and analyzing one’s Statement of Disability (as posited on SF 3112A), it is well noting that the Administrative Specialist who will be making a decision at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will have hundreds of cases to get to; and from that caricature of a singular soul peeking out from a mountain of files, the subtlety of a whispering voice immersed in truth, objectivity, and persuasive force of argumentation quietly encapsulated by law and proper documentation, will be the light which shines from the darkness of ineptitude, where even the emotionally-damaged, fictional heroes of Hemingway’s short stories may shed a tear now and again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Pension Annuity: Today, life is good…

It is the set of 3 periods at the end of the sentence, identified in grammatical terms as an ellipses, allowing for a trailing thought or a hesitation of motive, and here which differentiates from a singular finality of a period postulated to prevent a purposive punctuality of partition from a postscript.  If the last two periods were extracted and deleted, the delineation would connote a declarative assertion, unhesitant in conclusion, and confident in execution.  With those two additions, it implies and denotes hesitancy, a pause leaving the impression of loss or lack of confidence, and unable to determine the cogency of opinion formulated but for the ellipses.

In the end, however, how is grammar tied to life itself?  Do mere additions of two dots in a sentence reflect the reality of that which we live?  Do the bundles of human complexities, emotional upheaval and physical pain, cognitive dissonance cut us off from nature’s impenetrable divide?

How often do we walk around, and stop and realize that we remember nothing about our surroundings, who we passed, what buildings we strode by, because the inner thoughts we became a hostage to allowed only for sight by the eye of our own minds, and not for the purposes attributable to all other species on the planet — for observation and judgment to determine the course of future destiny, in surviving a predatory world.

What makes us unique, but the linguistic divide that confronts us daily; and thus is it that the 3 harmless dots dangling at the terminal confinement at the end of a sentence is more than a mirage of grammatical repose; no, it defines who we are.  For, the reality of the ellipses is contained in the reflection of the truth manifested; insert an emotive adjective, and the dots disappear; yet, the changes wrought will remain beyond the grammatical addendum, the deletion of the dots, or the conversion from hesitancy to declarative assertion of utmost confidence.

It is, in the end, the “today” which is the operative word, and not the trepidation engendered by the ellipses; and it is the unstated “tomorrow” which can bring about changes to the substantive undercurrent of life beyond linguistic elasticity.  It is real life, and not grammar, which must ultimately determine destiny, fate and the whims of gods playing with human caricatures with arbitrary thunderbolts and childhood cruelty with breaths of unexpected pillars placed as obstacles within our paths.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that the gods of fate have placed the burden of a medical condition upon life’s lottery of challenges, the need to prepare, formulate and apply 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, becomes an encounter where the linguistic divide between life and living, on the one hand, and language and grammar, on the other, coalesce and the the chasm must by necessity be bridged.  For, it is precisely the medical condition itself (life and living) which must then be formulated into a declarative state of disability and linguistic evidentiary postulate (language and grammar), in the form of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, that makes for the differentiation between failure or success.

Beware of the pitfalls of grammar, and note the ellipses, as well as the dangling participle, lest either unveil a true hesitancy in living, as opposed to a mere red mark from a teacher in a fictional classroom, either in one’s mind or in the eye of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The last hurrah

We dream of those moments; the final word in a debate which devastates the opponent; the retort which wows the audience; the closing statement that persuades beyond a reasonable doubt; the performance of a lifetime which defines the value of life itself.  The final breath taken, the last hurrah heard, and the concluding catapult left not as a dangling participle, but as a substantive grammatical perfection, leaves the participants and viewers in silent awe in the wake of the closing curtains descending as the roar of the crowd becomes muffled because of the thunderstruck performance left with little doubt or residue for an encore.

Sometimes, however, it is better to let the silence interrupt, the pause intersect, and the non-retort prevail.

Discretion is a characteristic personality trait which rarely prevails, and less so in moments of reactive anger and tumultuous needs of flaring emotions.  For, the time elapsing between a declaration made and the thoughtless contortions of an emotional response, will often be of a split millisecond, and certainly not enough consideration for the synapses to fire within the fermented (or is it demented?) mind of the turmoil encased within.

The samurai who touches the hilt of his sword must consider the consequences; for, once unsheathed, the metal blade previously encased within the master artisan’s work must be used, lest cowardice be charged and reputation be tarnished.  In life, work, and daily living, we have multiple instances and encounters where the opportunity to speak, or not, are confronted and engaged; rarely do we reflect upon the least-favored alternative: silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the repetitive refrain is often to let everyone know, and to express one’s opinion loudly and without thoughtful editing, like the book publisher who self-publishes because no one else has seen the value of the Greatest American Novel left as an unknown and unsought manuscript, hidden in the dusty caverns of a mind secluded but for diatribes on the Internet.

The sagely advice of this lawyer: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell — don’t.  For, in the end, declared asides of fictional characters and the hubris of a Shakespearean soliloquy often result in death, destruction and dementia (and not necessarily in that order), and the last hurrah is often like the drowning sailor whose final surviving words echo soundlessly in the lapping waves of a vast ocean of Nature’s impervious imperialism, lost forever in the terminal breath of a gasping desperation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire