Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Envy without hope

Can a footman in former times, or a scullery maid while scrubbing the floors, experience envy when class structures forbade any hope of advancing beyond?  In days before of rigid demarcations of social and class differentiations, where terms in modernity like “upward mobility” or “moving up the ladder” (have you ever wondered at the condescending connotation of such terms, where “up” is the direction of the movement, as if one were ascending to the heavens, even when such barometric activity often corresponded to moral degradation and sacrifice of one’s character?) were unheard of, was there an inner intimation of envy between watchful eyes by servants who observed the plenitude of decadence and obscene abundance of wasteful riches?

We can, of course, comprehend such sensations of jealousy and comparative desires in our times, for there is no inherent cultural device firmly implanted within the normative constraints, anymore.  As stories abound of the proverbial “rags-to-riches” narratives; and whether by intensive efforts of self-will and do-good stories, or of Wall Street wolves clawing and cheating, or even of the occasional lottery winner who accidentally wandered into a corner mart and took a chance with a last dollar, the conceptual animation within the realm of possibilities exists as to changing one’s circumstances, and with that comes the concomitant feeling or awareness of comparative lack.

But can such a sensation exist in a universe, both in the material realm as well as in the cognitive recesses of one’s imagination and creative thought processes, if one has not a concurrent concept of the possibility, or even the minimal probability, of hoping for an expectation of change?  If there is such hope, how then can there be envy, unless nature allows for an emotion of pure futility where hopelessness can incentivize a pathway towards an unfulfilled nothingness?

Nature is purposive; the teleological sense within us requires that instinctive sensations inherently existent follow the rule of Ockham’s razor, and refuse to allow for futility’s baseless conduct of entrance to nothingness.  Now, one might argue, as Rousseau did, that evils created by society’s influence beyond man’s natural innocence while in the state of nature, engendered by malevolent devices surfacing as appendages upon convoluted addendums not otherwise found except in complex civilized settings, go counter to such arguments; and, certainly, just as H.G. Wells and all dystopian writers since, and others such as Jules Verne possessed imaginations beyond the societal constraints imposed upon the creative mind, and so one might still be able to project such negative feelings without hope or expectations.

Again, however, it would be one based upon a deep chasm of futile exchanges.  That is the question and concern that the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker must contend with, when a 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 position.  Can the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker project into the future, a life without the chosen career to keep one occupied, and still remain happy?

Envy is the killjoy of distracted minds, and hope is the antecedent nectar that allows for poverty and discontent to continue.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, however, it may not be a question of envy without hope; rather, it is often just a pragmatic choice compelled by circumstances of chronic and debilitating medical conditions, and the hope resides in the promise that a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will be approved and allow for the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon the priority of a future not without hope – that of regaining one’s health, stamina and capacity to regain one’s equilibrium.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Myth of Upward Progression

We like to think that life is represented by a linear curve of upward progression; in reality, most of us reach an apex, then remain static and content in the late summer years of our lives.  There is nothing wrong with such a state of affairs; as contentment and comfort embrace a spectrum of stability, so the refusal of change and resistance to vicissitude are not indicators of laziness, as once thought in former days of youth where transition, sacrifice and relinquishment of stability were necessary for purposes of future advancement.

Most of us, within a defined minefield of progress and regress, remain within an invisible glass casing of immobility.  Perhaps there is a major financial setback in a given year; or, a promotion or cash incentive award had not been achieved; but in the year following, or the next beyond, it is attained; or an unexpected windfall allows for greater stability least anticipated and most gratifying.

In a sense, we delude ourselves.  But so long as we remain within a constancy of comfort, where an appearance of major retrogression cannot be palpably discerned, contentment prevails, and the bother of breaking new grounds, moving to a larger house, taking on greater responsibilities, adding to headaches and stresses, can be quietly forsaken, left with the self-satisfaction that quietude is a byproduct of a goal once sought for, and achieved without fanfare or celebration.  It is when the bounds of contentment are scattered, the barriers of satisfaction crumbling, when the call to action is suddenly a turmoil of exoneration, and peace as shattered glass stepped upon in bare feet of bleeding souls, that affirmative movement must then be spurred, leaving behind those spurned opportunities once thought cumbersome.

Medical conditions have a tendency to create such circumstances of unrest.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that the chaos of inchoate situations developing because of a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition impacts upon the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the possibility and need for 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, becomes a reality which disturbs and perturbs the quietude of living contentedly.

When a medical condition disrupts that glass bowl of satisfaction, the myth of upward progression becomes shattered, because suddenly all that one has worked to achieve may be in doubt.

Most of us are happy to just find that small oasis within the turbulent oceans of insanity we designate as “civilized society”; but for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with a medical condition such that the medical condition threatens the very foundation of one’s hard-fought dreams and desultory circumstances, consideration needs to be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, if only to resist the temptation that static circumstances are a foregone conclusion, or that the myth of upward progression cannot be defeated by planning for the next great adventure in this, a universe of turbulence of unexpected turmoil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Game of Calumny

If not one’s reputation, what is the remaining value?  If truth is not a goal, then what fills the void?  Yes, from ashes to ashes, and back to dust, and the elements which make up man are constituted by nothing unique beyond the environment from which he originates, and to which he returns; but the linguistic act of reductionism fails to achieve a full embrace, and just like the defensive football player who hesitates for a moment and sees the blur of the ball carrier speed past, so the aftertaste of materialistic reductionism is somehow unsatisfying.

For, to say that X is “nothing more” than an aggregate of atoms is to characterize a masterpiece as a mere collection of colors, and that is precisely Roger Scruton’s point, isn’t it?  Then, there is the game of calumny, of the capacity to try and strip another through slander and innuendo.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, that game by other Federal and Postal employees becomes a daily onslaught.

Somehow, it is not enough that one must suffer from the gods of fate and contend with deteriorating health.  Instead, one must further deal with the sudden isolation into disfavor, like lepers of yore shipped to colonies in deserted islands beyond the reach of virulent populations scared of their own shadows.  Slavery was outlawed decades ago, but the treatment of workers barely has changed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file 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, the game of calumny by one’s “fellow” workers is merely another indicator that we are not merely a collected mass of elements to be spat upon, and that is a positive side to man’s inhumanity; but, then, finding out the truth about one’s fellow man is always better than to live in ignorance thinking that one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service was going to be supportive through thick and thin.

The time of “thin” has arrived, and it is in the thick of things that one must now fight for one’s rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Explicit versus Implicit

The former leaves no room for confusion or doubt; the latter, a bit of “wiggle room” where insinuations, hints and suggestive openings are characteristic invitations of open regards.  They are not mutually exclusive within a paragraph or even a sentence; they are, however, antonyms, and should be used with context-defined relevance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the choice of either can determine the future viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Certainly, there are times in life when one chooses the latter methodology, for various reasons — perhaps being forthright and blunt is not the “right” approach; perhaps there is fear of offending, or mere laziness and sludge of confrontation prevents one from being straightforward.  In the legal arena, the former approach is preferable, if only to squeeze out the light of linguistic malleability and flexibility in supercilious argumentation.  But in the context of an OPM Disability Retirement packet, there will often contain multiple usages.

One’s Supervisor, in completing SF 3112B (Supervisor’s Statement), may present contradictory information by checking a box which is relatively unequivocal (is that an oxymoron — to use the terms “relatively” and “unequivocal” in the same breadth of a sentence?) but placing remarks implying the exact opposite in response to “explanatory” and more expansive questions.  Or, for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, in completing SF 3112A, the “Applicant’s Statement of Disability”, there may be a strategy in mixing both explicit statements and providing for implicit openings for meanings and connections.

Certainly, the “law” of Federal Disability Retirement allows for it; but one must always take care in addressing the nature, extent and susceptibility of statutory interpretation in formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Ultimately, as in most things in life, the former is preferable to the latter; though, wiggle room and the dictates social conventions may sometimes require one to be explicitly implicit in order to be inefficiently efficacious.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire