FERS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: How is it?

How is it that the world became the way it is without our knowing it?  How is it that the rules were already in place, the lands already divided, the waters already polluted, the debt already ballooning, the inventions already made — how did that come about, and who told us the history of the “what”, “when” and “where” of the past?  Can a society long endure while ignoring the past of how it developed and came into being?  And who gets to tell the tale of who we are, how we came to be, and why we are the way we are?

Berkeley’s epistemological approach was to confine knowledge to that which we can perceive, thereby attempting to limit the problems inherent in Being, Truth and Reality.  Like so many of the British Empiricists, philosophy was being reduced to mere “language” difficulties and, indeed, history itself may bear out their “rightness” in this question and problematic approach.  There is, of course, a quiet revolution going on about our past, our history, and the telling of who we are.  That is always a good thing, so long as “Truth” is the end-goal of such an endeavor.

But when Truth itself has become relativized as mere language games malleable in the hands for greater artificial intelligence, and where algorithms rule instead of human input which confines it within stated ethical boundaries (and even that is questionable, given the underlying motives and intent of human beings generally), then perhaps Wittgenstein was right after all; it is all a matter of who sees the “truth”, who gets to “tell” it, and who maintains the Tower of Babel in this universe of increasingly unfettered liberty.

In the end, the “how” of the world will forever be revised as perspectives, opinions and viewpoints change; but it is the “who” that controls the lifestream of information and historical data as to what is important; and in this Orwellian world where the glut of information has relativized all truths, we care less about the “how” than the “who”, anymore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition now impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position, the history — or the “how — is important in preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability as posited on SF 3112A.  However, remember that all historical contexts must be provided in streamlined form; for, causality is not an issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application (whereas, in OWCP cases, it almost always is), and thus undue focus upon the “how” can detract from an effective Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A.

The world around us may be concerned with the “How” of a question; for an OPM Disability Retirement case, it is the more current “what” that is the necessary focus of articulation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Cherishing moments

In the end, isn’t that all that we have?  We like to speak in terms of vast, grandiose expanses of time, where we create plans that span a lifetime, or refer to wide swaths of historical periods as if we have any conception at all about time, segments of memories or even of the memories already forgotten.  Old men and women reflect back and regret the time lost; middle-aged people who are caught up in the race to make up for lost time, continue on the treadmill that never seems to lessen; and the young — they just race through it as if there is no tomorrow.

Cherishing moments — how does one do that in a fast-paced world of technological amplification where everything moves at a hare’s pace when the yearning is for the tortoise’s calm?  Life comes at us with a fury and an unrelenting torrent of rain and winds; and when we try and raise the umbrella or walk at an angle to counter the ferociousness, we merely get left behind.

How is it that “memories” become more significant and important in our lives than the actual “living” of an episodic slice of our daily existential encounters?  At what point does one take precedence over the other?  Is there an imbalance of disproportionality that occurs — as in, spending more time “remembering” as opposed to “living”?  Is a person who watches the same move over and over, day after day, any different from the one who constantly daydreams about a moment in his or her life, over and over again, repetitively in a lost morass of memories unrepentantly consumed? What is the proper balance and mixture — somewhat like a recipe for a homemade pie or a birthday cake — between the ingredient of cherishing moments and the reality of daily living?

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, the problem with cherishing moments — any moments — is that the impediment of the medical condition itself will not allow for any enjoyment at all, whether of memories remembered or of life to be lived.  That is when you know that there is a disequilibrium that needs to be corrected.

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, may be the first, albeit tentative step, towards attaining a level of normalcy where cherishing moments is a choice to be taken, and not as a regretful nightmare uncontrollable in the restless dreams of a forsaken career.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: A breach of instinct

What if? that fragile balance that exists in nature, seen when squirrels scrounge about in search of roots and nuts, moving within the tranquil space besides cardinals, woodpeckers, rabbits and robins abounding when, suddenly, birds attack the rabbits and squirrels, and in turn, the rabbits and squirrels chase one another and attempt to catch and devour the birds, and the mayhem that follows goes on for an unceasing eternity.

Of course, such a scene is not “nature” in its nakedness, but a scene from a suburban backyard, whereas in the true “state of nature”, in the distant woodlands not easily traversed by the human eye (are there such places, anymore?), such scenes of predatory confrontation held by a tentative and tacit agreement of abeyance may occur daily. Or, in those National Geographic scenes, where there is a quietude of implied ceasefire in birds standing atop the backs of hippos and rhinos pecking away calmly at whatever delectable insects abound, and their sturdy underlings happily go about their business – what if, suddenly, the hippo or rhino turns around and with a swift lunge of its massive neck, grabs that bird and devours it whole?

Was there a breach of an implied or tacit agreement, a breach of instinct, or both? When such “agreements” develop within a slow, steady and evolutionary process, over a period of time imperceptible but for the peace and tranquility it creates, and everyone is perfectly content with the circumstances ensconced by tradition and the state of current affairs, what leads to the breach, what are the consequences and is there blame to be spread about?

What if a rogue animal one day just declares to itself, “The hell with this; I was never a party to this agreement, and so I shall do as I please” – what then? Is it not true that no true “breach” has been committed, as the parties were never official signatories to the agreement, explicit, implicit, tacit or otherwise? Who determines that there ever existed such an agreement, anyway, and where is it written in the “rules of order” that certain sequence of decorum must be followed?

That is, of course, the crux of the matter; for, what is the retort of those who have no ethical or moral compass, but to sneer with the declarative, “Show me where it is written!”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file 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 the Federal or Postal job, the presumption is that tacit or implied standards of conduct is often tested at the outset, both by the Federal agency or Postal Service, and even by OPM.

You rely upon the rules, but the Agency may completely ignore them. If you are a Postal employee, this is to be expected.

Yes, there are laws, but so long as silence governs the assertion of rights denied, a breach of instinct becomes the rule of law and the depiction by Locke and Rousseau of that “State of Nature” devolving into a “State of War” can become a contentious state of affairs unless, in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant asserts the legal precedents controlling and constraining the fragile balance that restrains a breach of instinct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Minding the ‘happiness principle’

Is there such a thing?  Certainly, enough authors, gurus and faith-healers have claimed it, packaged it and sold it as a commodity to be prepared, marketed and purchased.  Somehow, we are all gullible enough to believe in it:  Just as sorcerers of old possessed powers beyond human comprehension, so we hold on to the hope that such secrets of soothsayers mixing the concoction in a cauldron of expectations may boil over with fumes and aromas we can smell into oblivion.

That secret incantation; those mysterious sequence of codes (yes, which is why the Da Vinci Code was so popular – until it was made into a movie and the audience realized the farcical nature when bad literature is transformed into an ever worse media script); or perhaps it is a deal of Faustian proportions – of one’s soul for the hidden principle, the fountain of youth, the corridor down timeless ecstasy; instead, of course, in this mass-marketing world of consumer gullibility, we cling to the anticipation – despite all historical evidence to the contrary – that there exists a fortune-teller’s abracadabra comprising a happiness principle.

Principles are the foundational guidance for understanding the causal connections of events that occur in the objective world; first principles, as Aristotle liked to point out, are important in their revelatory powers to comprehend the operational mechanisms of this world of Being.  If you don’t know first principles, or the paradigmatic principles that operate behind the scenes – much like the Wizard behind the curtain —  then you will always only know that it happens, not why it does so.

And so we go through life, walking and wandering the streets, seeing others smiling, laughing and seeming to enjoy life, while we stew in the solitude of our private misery, perhaps outwardly attempting to feign such emotional brightness while inwardly decaying with each day’s tumult of angst and anxiety.

In minding the existence of the ‘happiness principle’, we are everyday falling into the statistical trap of that famous quip attributed to the 19th century Showman, P.T. Barnum, that there’s “a sucker born every minute.”  Even if everyday empirical evidence refutes the existential reality of such a principle, we nevertheless hope against fading hope for such a white knight in shining armor – that armor of protective fallacies based upon a nonexistent principle wrapped in the cloaking of hopes unearned and never to be attained.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are down in the dumps because of a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reality that one’s career may be cut short and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may be a necessity, must fight against the false hope that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the “be-all” and “end-all” of life’s miseries.

Medical conditions may continue to remain chronic; there will likely remain many challenges in the future; but the point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to allow for one to attain a plateau of hopefulness where one can make one’s health and well-being a priority, without necessarily minding the ‘happiness principle’ or believing in P.T. Barnum’s secret to success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire