Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Higher and lesser standards

Does anyone ever go into something, engage an activity, begin a project or initiate a hobby thinking that a “lesser standard” would be acceptable?  Or, is the “higher standard” always the option preferred? — and if we fall somewhat short of the goal intended, isn’t it better to strive towards that height of vaunted “unreachable-ness” like the lesser angels who try and climb up the ladder to heaven but fall short because of the misgivings of sins committed or blemishes of imperfections left unchanged?

One can always argue, of course, that all standards are somewhat “arbitrary”, and perhaps they are to the extent that we can always “do better”, and the self-satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of any standard set is merely to realize that there can always be another step to take, a further goalpost to conquer, and a next and higher challenge to face.  To begin with a lesser standard is to foretell defeat before a journey is begun; whereas, to demand an unreachable standard is to despair of an idealism that cannot be fathomed.  What, then, is the “proper” standard to set?

To set it too low is to achieve mere mediocrity; to preface a too-high-a-standard is to defeat one’s advocacy before efficacy can be tested.

We, none of us, want to begin a journey with a defeatist mentality, and it is the setting of a standard — however low or high — that often determines the success or failure of any endeavor.  It is only when we “know” that a self-set standard will never be reached, cannot be attained and will never be near to the heart of our wishes and desires, that then we realize the utter futility of our own efforts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have set a high standard in their careers and employment goals, it is a difficult road to take, both mentally and/or physically, to realize and come to the conclusion that one’s professional standards can no longer be met because of a medical condition that impedes, precludes and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

No one ever sets out to reduce the standards of a life’s goal, but when outside forces such as a medical condition impact upon the standards set, the choice is to prepare, formulate and file 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.

Federal and Postal employees have always set high standards for their work ethic. Sometimes, however, it is not the higher standard that defeats, but the lesser standards of reality — such as a medical condition that comes about unexpectedly in life — that forces the necessary adjustments that remind us of our own mortality, imperfections and the gap between the higher standards we set and the truth of our own misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The inner voice

It is always the private conversation that is the most dangerous and unpredictable; for, the voices within are unknown to the surrounding conversations without amidst the public domain, and are most persuasive precisely because the multiple participants come down to a single voice: The “I” or “me” of the inner ego.

The soliloquy is a theatrical device which allows for the audience in a play to hear the “inner” thoughts of a character on stage; sometimes, the actor will stand aside while other characters on stage act “as if” they do not notice the separate thoughts being conveyed to the audience, and both the audience and the stage players engage in a suspension of disbelief while the soliloquy is deliberated; and at other times, the private thoughts are given over to the audience in a lengthy speech — a monologue of sorts, revealing the inner turmoil of a given character.

In real life, such oratory mechanisms are unnecessary, precisely because the voices within remain in a constant monologue of insularity, unimpeded by overzealous listeners who may hear the gossips within.  What voices are spoken within the mind of the wandering individual?  In a crowd, where the cacophony of multiple voices dominate and criss-cross, how many other voices are loudly vying for position within each of the minds that remain silent to one another?

Often, it is the very voices within which are the most dangerous, if only because there are no others countering the logic — or illogic — of the arguments made, and it is precisely because of the singular voice without a countering perspective that makes for greater danger of persuasiveness.

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 position within the Federal government, the voices within must often remain private and hidden precisely because the voices without lurk about as potential hazards to be avoided and carefully sequestered.

The mere “asking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement may trigger reactions that are unwanted from the Agency; the questions that begin to be asked, the administrative actions that could be imposed, and the harassment that often follows — these will often force the voices within to remain within.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the first and most important step that a Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can take; for, the voices within more often than not needs a counter-perspective and guidance beyond the singularly lonely voice of a soliloquy that has no audience but one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking

What constitutes it?  What is the evidence that it was engaged in?  When a person is charged with “premeditation” in the perpetration of a crime, and therefore ascription of full responsibility is used to convict and assign a greater length of incarceration, what methodological intricacies are involved?

Take the following hypothetical:  A man walks into a candy store and grabs a Snicker’s Bar, and runs out of the store without paying for it.  He is nabbed.  At the trial of the matter, the prosecutor gives the following summation to the judge:  “Your honor, this man clearly thought about it.  He entered the store, looked about, and deliberately took the Snicker’s Bar and ran out without paying, knowing that he did not pay it — otherwise, why would be have run?  Indeed, when the police caught him, he yelled, “I was hungry!”  That statement alone shows that the man knew he had not paid for it, for it was an admission of a motive, and thus, it is a clear indication that he thought about stealing it, walked into the store and with criminal intent stole the candy bar.  Only the death penalty would be appropriate for one with such premeditative intent, as he is a danger to society!”

Now, contrast this with the following:  The Candy Store’s automatic door opens, and an animal — a neighborhood dog — saunters in, sniffs about, and no one really notices.  The dog grabs a Snicker’s Bar, gobbles it.  Passersby watch.  The store’s owner notices, laughs, shoos the dog out the door.  Why do we not think that the dog “thought” about it?  Why is “thinking” ascribed to the human being, but not to the animal?  What is it about the actions of the two species that differentiates them?  Does the mere fact that we able able to speak, formulate words and convey thoughts, whether pre-or-post action confirm that any extent of reflective processes occurred?  Is the process of “thinking” always productive — i.e., leads to actions that are fruitful, or is much of it simply an insular activity that results in no great consequence?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are “thinking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “thinking” about it is to take the next step and act upon the thought.  People often think that thinking is a productive activity, so long as it remains active and continuous.  But thought can also negate and prevent, and too much thinking, or not enough, can often become an obstacle to the necessary next step.

In order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the key to productive thinking is not merely to engage in it as an insular, solitary activity, but to have the consultation and advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, lest merely thinking about it leads to an unthoughtful act that leads one to believe that the very thinking itself was thoughtless.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: DDD

It is what Moynihan said so many years ago, of constantly reinterpreting normative constructs such that the subtle, insidious reduction of acceptance allows for normalization of that which was rejected and repugnant just a few years before, a generation ago, or never at all.  Or, it may refer to a medical condition of the spine – of the condition identified as “degenerative disc disease”; but in either case, the acronym used as a convenient route for linguistic economy has some similarities involved.

For, in both cases, DDD allows for the slow and steady deterioration of a process – the former, of a cultural rot and standards once ensconced firmly in the very fabric of society; the latter, of a slow process of debilitating “eating away” that reveals a condition progressive over time, decaying by crumbling of bone, cartilage and repetitive overuse traversing time’s despondency due to labor’s unnatural pose.  Or, one can just make it up and ascribe it to a tripartite conceptual compound; for instance, “dual deficit denominations” or “dark, dim and dumb”, or other such consternations of linguistic accolades.

In any event, it is the original of the two that seems to share a common ground of meaning; for, in both, it is the essence of a slow process of change; one, cultural in nature, of an acceptance of lesser standards whether by willful determination or accidental submission; the other, the debilitating disease that – over time and resulting from old age – progressively worsens.  One could simplify the concepts by dismissing the first as “cognitive” and the other as “physical”.

In either case, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to continue in the same position and compels one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement, both concepts can apply.

For, an expansive and liberal interpretation of Moynihan’s argument is similar to the Federal or Postal employee’s acceptance of the lower standard both in terms of his or her quality of life, as well as in seeing the adversarial nature of the Federal agency or the Postal facility as “normal” in the treatment of its employees.  And, as to the “other” definition of DDD – of the chronic neck or back pain – whether in a sedentary job or a very physical one, the high distractibility of pain that impacts upon one’s capacity and ability to safely focus, concentrate and attend to the job itself is often a qualification for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Thus, the acronym itself – whether for “defining deviancy down” or as “degenerative disc disease” – can fit the proverbial bill in considering the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted through another acronym of sorts – OPM – otherwise known as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire