Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Plato and Play-Doh

If a person says to another, “Have you used Play-Doh” and he answers, “Well, yes, but only as it applies to certain situations in my life.  Otherwise, I tend to rely upon Aristotle in a more pragmatic, scientific approach.”

Somewhat taken aback, the inquiring mind restates his position, saying, “No, no, I meant, have you played with Play-Doh?” Still not distinguishing between the inserted alternative of a consonant (the “D” in Play-Doh as opposed to the “t” in Plato), the responding individual states again, “Well, conceptually Plato is difficult to ‘play with’, as you state it, in that you have to first understand the conceptual paradigms he posits, then…” and the same person goes on to provide a full-fledged, half hour dissertation on the esoteric aspects of a Dead White Irrelevant Philosopher (otherwise known by the acronym, a “DWIP”).

At this point, frustrated, the inquisitive interrogator walks away, throwing his hands up in complete confusion and befuddlement.  What does one do?  How is the incommensurate encounter resolved?  Question: Does the fact that we “hold” in the base of our minds a certain spelling of a word make a difference as to intent and deliberative motive, when what we “speak” out into the objective world makes the receptor of the word, phrase or sentence interpret it as something different from that image that we behold in our minds?

How does one close the chasm between subjective thoughts and objective reality?  Do we approach it in a different way – and does the problem really remain in the subjective domain of the questioning individual insofar as he or she is unable to, incapable of, or otherwise unwilling to alter the originating course of his posited query?

In other words, shouldn’t the person have restated his conceptual query in the following manner: “Oh, I see.  You must have misunderstood.  I am talking about ‘Play-Doh’ – the clay-like substance that we all used to play with as children, and I thought I saw some when I visited your house the other day.”  To which the responder should appropriately state, “Ah, I see now.  You must excuse me. I am concurrently reading Plato’s Dialogues and I mistook your question to be referring to that.”

It is, then, the capacity to listen carefully, to recognize the response given, then to respond back appropriately and relevantly that often dissipates any compelling reason to become frustrated.

Similarly, for Federal and Postal employees who are attempting to respond to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s subsequent queries, or even in response to the Statement of Disability’s questions (SF 3112A) that need to be answered, the Federal or Postal employee who is attempting to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must take care in bridging that gap between subjective reality and objective communication.

There are many “tricks” to the “trade”, and OPM has probably dealt with them all; but the one trick that OPM cannot ultimately ignore, is the tricky web of legal precedents and prior MSPB and Federal Circuit Court decisions that compel them to act in ways that they cannot forego.  Legal argumentation is an art form that should not be ignored, and whether you are asking about Plato or Play-Doh, remember always to include in any Federal Disability Retirement application an effective legal argument that persuasively argues the legal precedents applicable in your case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Trail of Tears

History is replete with the metaphor of maltreatment; it is the silent graves that cannot speak, anymore, which haunts a nation’s soul.  It is a reminder, of sorts; a way of understanding and revisiting the history and essence of a nation – of the westward expansion and the decimation and systematic thievery against a civilization that was doomed from the start.  But trails soon get overrun by either settlements or city construction; and tears quickly dry up so that the agony of a peoples once felt become a mere memory told in narratives and tales by old men and forgotten women who no longer matter.

Reservations were demarcated and a defeated populace was shuttled into forgotten corners of the world, left to sputter amongst themselves in wallowing memories of defeated battles and violated treaties; and, as modernity replaced the fading residue of an inglorious past, only the diaries and annotations of eyewitnesses maintained a memory of coherent violations otherwise set aside to make room for future time.  Does each one of us, in addition, have a trail of tears?  Do we shed them in the privacy of our scorned thoughts, left to the isolation of our own destroyed lives?

The Medicine Man of yore could not stop the onslaught of that which we deem “progress” and “modernity”; and in the end, it was modern warfare that doomed any resistance to change.  The medical doctor of today, like the appeals of yesteryear to the Great Spirit, can only stem the tide of a progressive and chronic disease; the methodology may have changed, from fasting and foreboding fortunetelling to pharmacological modalities and surgical intervention, but when a diseased body or mind continues to deteriorate despite such intercession, the personal trail of tears follows a parallel course of those we once trampled upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There are always historical travesties, as well as personal ones.  In this world where history barely catches the fancy of those who must contend with the tides of an uncaring world, it is the personal trail of tears which is most important to each individual, and not the “grand scheme” of events which we can neither control nor foresee.

History is what it is – acts committed by ancestors, certainly, but ones which most of us could neither control nor protest against.  But that which we can determine – like the destiny of a future for a Federal or Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition that continues to debilitate and constrain – should be accomplished within the confines of the laws which predominate, lest one’s personal trail of tears begins to parallel that of a past now long forgotten.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The reef beneath the lagoon’s surface

In every worthwhile venture, there is the inherent danger of failure, and more often, of encounters with obstacles while enduring the process.  Some are apparent; others, hidden like the reef beneath the lagoon’s surface, of the jagged formations from sediments deposited and coagulated through time and shifting tectonics of unseen tidal forces.  That is the greatest of dangers – of a peaceful hue by a lagoon in its invitation on the surface of beauty; yet, beneath, lurking unknown and unrevealed, ready to tear the undersides of an unsuspecting boat as it enters into waters mysterious in its captivating picturesqueness.

If only life were always defined by mere appearances; we would never have to stop and reflect, pause and contemplate, or resist the urge to jump head first into shallow waters that seemingly reflected a pool of depth beyond mere sparkling mirrors of a sunlit afternoon.  But that is not how real life, in real time, amidst real people in a real world, works.

And we all know it; except, perhaps, for those shielded children who can actually have a childhood of carefree days and cool breezes in an afternoon where fields of rye still allow for the catcher to stand just at the edge of the cliff, and safely deposit any wayward souls who may wander to the danger’s end.  And like the unseen reef beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil waters of the lapping waves softly upon the lagoon’s invitation, life embraces, often maims, and forever destroys if unaware and stepping without trepidation of purpose.

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 or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is that unseen and unsuspected reef beneath the lagoon’s surface which must be considered before stepping into the still waters of the bureaucratic process.  For, while the waters may be quiet today, who knows what obstacles, dangers and dalliances of pitfalls will lurk about tomorrow?

The legal and administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is replete with multiple unknown and unseen dangers; from legal issues arising in areas of accommodations, reassignment, varying manners of termination; to compiling the medical evidence such that it meets with the criteria for eligibility as set by statutes, case-law and OPM regulations; the compendium of the entire venture may appear simple.  It is anything but.

And like the reef beneath the tranquil surface of the sparkling lagoon, being invited to enter into those unknown waters may be tempting for the Federal or Postal worker who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; but resist the initial temptation and consider being guided through those treacherous waters, lest the cautionary preface to dire consequences may fall upon the jagged reefs of life’s uncharted vicissitudes of disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The effect of nature’s muse

The connotation is often in the quiet reflection of silence; but other references can embrace any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, and as each presided over various arts or sciences, so the inspiration or guidance we receive is spiritual or otherwise from an unknown source of creativity.  Have you ever walked through a forest and come upon a clearing where the light suddenly opens upon a spot of heaven?  That is the effect of nature’s muse.  Or of a sudden realization that the darkness overwhelming as a burden upon a donkey’s back, is lifted without explanation and released with but an unspoken pardon?

Much of life and living involves sadness, decay, dominance of fear and trepidation of anxiety; and so when deliverance from devastation comes in slices and paper cups of limited portions, we drink thirstily as if the starvation of life’s travails imprisoned our very existence for an eternity of hell.

We often suspect that gods and goddesses laugh at us from on high, behind corridors shuttered and tree limbs cascading; and in the hint of nature’s muse, we wonder whether it is all “worth it”, as if value is embedded in the secrets of Tibetan mountains.  But as the guru who drives a Rolls Royce but speaks the language of a spiritual monk winks at the followers who would grant comfort and bespeak of secret incantations reserved for the spirit of folly, so the rest of us suspect that there is something inherently wrong with the world at large.

There are always “dark forces” gathering, conspiracies mounting, and greater inequities planned for the lives of the “common folk” – who almost always includes you and I, but never the guy on television.  Does nature indeed have a sense of humor, a glint of glee or a mirth of pardonable satire?  Or is it as cold and impervious as Darwinians would have us believe?  Better were those days when hobbits, goblins and elves could be believed; where the moon was more than just mere lifeless rocks and dirt; and unnamed spirits roamed the earth.  But of nature’s muse, we can still attach our own joy, the inner warmth we still possess and the jewel of a private soul we still retain.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who yet seek to become released from a private hell involving a medical condition and the persistent deterioration wrought from an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the preparation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like a realization that the effect of nature’s muse is like that sudden clearing one accidentally wanders upon in a forest full of darkness; it is only when there is a spot of light which provides for hope, that value is rediscovered, and that search and discovery may be attained in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire