FERS Disability Retirement: The Inevitability of Change

It is a tautology; for, “inevitable” encapsulated and embraces the term “change”, and one presumes that, in applying and comprehending the word “change”, there is a sense of inevitability contained within it.

Thus do we assume certain truths which naturally follow: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a moment (for, the natural course of the universe dictates that the weather will change over time); if you are dissatisfied with your life today, ride it out (for as circumstances appear static for the moment, time will resolve many of the uncertainties faced today); and similar dictums of sagely advice.

What we are not told, however, is that which we have already accepted by experience:  That “change” is too often a negative component, and that is why we believe that things almost always change for the worse.  That is the byline for the pessimist, of course: That good things never last; everything changes for the worse.  The optimist, on the other hand, always tries to squeeze the good out of anything that worsens, and tries to see the glass as half full, instead of half empty.  Whether you are an optimist or a cynic, both accept that change is inevitable; the difference is merely in how one perceives the change.

Then, of course, there is the human element — of affirmative actions taken by an individual or a multitude of individuals in performing acts that contain or otherwise alter the course of change.

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 job, change is inevitable.  Whether by being placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan”, or the increasing harassment perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — or in the inevitability of a termination — the medical condition itself will normally and often dictate the need for change.

The “human element” is the action taken by the Federal or Postal employee in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where the affirmative intervention of actions taken may change the ultimate outcome of life’s trials.  Yes, the inevitability of change is a given; but how that change will come about and what outcome is to be determined will depend upon the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes both the inevitability and the need for change, but moreover, of how to go about initiating the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Pretzels of Arguments

Anyone with a thought can argue; of a voice which is louder, more aggressive; of incoherence in an age where logic has been abandoned and rationality of methodological proof is unnecessary, but where one’s “feelings” or whether one belongs to this or that victimized class in and of itself validates the propriety of an argument’s perspective.

“Pretzels of arguments” is a concept which evokes an image — a metaphor of sorts — where one has had to engage in a series of linguistic contortions in order to get from Idea-A to Conclusion-Z.  In modernity, however, the metaphor fails to define the illogical structure of an argument, for methodological soundness is no longer applicable: That is, one need not worry about the missing “middle term” in a syllogism or a necessary nexus between sentences in propositional logic precisely because in today’s methodology (if one can identify it as such) of logical discourse, there are no rules which apply.

Yet, pretzels of arguments still confuse us.  There are those who intentionally aggregate the conflate multiple arguments in order to confound; or, others who simply cannot restrict one’s thoughts into a coherent conciseness and therefore must speak in paragraphs where a couple of sentences will do quite nicely.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, a necessary condition in preparing, formulating and filing a FERS Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is completion of SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Some applicants provide an abbreviated annotation to the questions on SF 3112A (which is probably not a great idea), while others provide a voluminous account in response to the questions, going on for pages upon pages in pretzels of arguments that can confuse and lead one into a morass, lost in a forest of language (also not a great idea). SF 3112A should be completed with thoughtful precision — of providing enough information for an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application, while leaving out unnecessary and confusing information.

Leave the pretzels of arguments for friends and family when holiday gatherings need some confusing diatribes in order to avoid the two rules of pleasantries: leaving politics and religion — those two subjects where pretzels of arguments are most needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Ordinary

The ordinary is in contrast to the extraordinary; the extraordinary, to the penultimate superlative; and perhaps one may go on to greater heights of adjectives, but the one which cannot be surpassed is that of “perfection”.

Various perspectives depend upon the manner of how we approach life; on the one hand, the “ordinary” can be viewed as comfortable anonymity — of a self-satisfied status of neither shining beyond nor underwhelming those around, but a quiet competence which betrays a quietude of monotony, of sorts.

By distinctive differentiation, the “extraordinary” is separated from the former by way of elevated characteristics that point out some level of accolades beyond — somewhat like those brighter stars within the vast universe of a sky filled with billions and billions of twinkling lights (can you hear in the background the voice of Carl Sagan?).

For some reason, we scoff at the ordinary and encourage a stature of the extraordinary.  Perfection is out of our reach; the extraordinary, however, is somehow seen as achievable, and so we become life coaches for our children within the microcosmic universe of our own lives: You can become X; You can do better; You can be the best; You are a special individual — etc.

When does the ordinary become a goal in life?  When everything and everyone is “extraordinary”, doesn’t the extraordinary become the ordinary?  When the elevation of the ordinary becomes a commonplace occurrence, then nothingness becomes something and everything becomes conflated and indistinguishable.  Until — that which was once ordinary is lessened.

When a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from doing the ordinary — of one’s job; of enjoying the weekends; of being able to just take out the garbage without pain, etc.; then the elevation of the ordinary becomes a focus of want.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the ordinary is elevated to a goal of satisfaction, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Focusing upon one’s health is an ordinary matter for most people — we take our health for granted.  When our health fails, however, then it is time to view the elevation of the ordinary as a means of reaching for a time that once was, where Federal Disability Retirement benefits will allow for the extraordinary circumstances to return the Federal or Postal employee to the desired goal of elevation back to the ordinary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Death of the metaphor

Metaphors and analogies are how we communicate; without them, it is the mere drone of sounds emitted, and even if without the directness of a simile where we place the comparison of two or more differing entities and connect with the word “like”, it is the only means of striving to reach a greater understanding of the world around.

The death of the metaphor is a certainty.  Modern technology has eviscerated the capacity of human beings to remain curious; and curiosity is not what killed the cat, but allowed it to remain a force in evolutionary stages of increasing survival instincts, as the trait of the inquisitive allows for greater mastery of the universe.  Smart phones allow for a person to defer memorization; computers deaden the natural instinct for query; and technology in general denies the relevance of a metaphor precisely because we need not struggle to explain – the machines do all of the explaining for us.

The death of the metaphor means the rise of the deadened soul, and suppression of everything that was uniquely human.  Would Shakespeare have survived in this day and age, or the complexity of language allowed for such subtleties of linguistic shades of meaning?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s job duties, the need to employ metaphors still exists, as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications – must still be persuaded by argumentation and logical sequencing of thought processes.

Yes, the death of the metaphor is imminent and inevitable, but in the greater corners of administrative law, the metaphor, the simile, the analogy that persuades must yet be utilized in order to make effective a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Terms

Language is a malleable vehicle.  There have been times in the history of language, when the staid and stodginess period of loss of vibrancy became the rule, followed by epochs of radical vicissitudes, upheavals and counter-conventional revolutions in the medium of language games.  Whether this encapsulated slice of linguistic alteration, upending traditional forms of communication because of electronic media and the hype of language abbreviated by Twitter, Texting and Tablet Titillations, will last the short life of technological innovation and obsolescence, is yet to be determined.

For example, the time of Shakespeare’s linguistic explosion of experimentation and expansive usage became in retrospect a richness of entering into connotative language meanings from which we benefit to this day.  But steadiness, continuity and conditions of stability are also important in order to take the proverbial breather to accept, embrace and assimilate (a term widely used for contextual purposes in modernity applied to immigration reform, as well) the linguistic revolutions that become incommensurate with meaning, communication and conveyance of terms.

Terms are important, both in common usage and in technical application.  In the arena of Federal Disability Retirement Law, different words are splayed about, sometimes without regard to proper application, especially when the “law” often requires a greater attention to precision of meaning.  Some simple and common crossovers of linguistic confusion involve:  “medical retirement” and “disability retirement” – do they mean the same thing?

If reference to either term involves the submission for an early retirement to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, then the answer is “yes”, they do mean the same thing.  Federal Disability  Retirement is identical to “Federal medical retirement” if by such words the query is referring to filing for an early retirement based upon the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, and therefore the intention is to access an early annuity because of one’s early retirement based upon the medical condition, and submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Some other terms often confused or conflated:  “On-the-job injury” or “pre-existing condition”; these terms are often used in the language-arena of Worker’s Compensation issues, and rarely have any import – or applicability, at all – in the context of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it matters not whether or not one has been disabled “on the job” or away at a skiing accident; instead, what is important is the impact of the injury or disease upon one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  As for a “pre-existing” condition – that, too, is more likely appropriately defined in an OWCP context, and rarely in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In any event, “terms” are meant to be used within a context-appropriate content of filings, and in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to clarify and conform to the applicable statutory mandates in defining and using the terms which are most appropriate and effective.

For, in the end, the explosion of language during the era of Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Age reverberates with critical linguistic richness to this day; yet, if we were to have a conversation with a bloke from that era, the terms employed would not only confuse us, but confound us with a profound sense of despairing lack of cogency despite our self-aggrandizing declarations of superiority and advancement in the modern parlance of greater self-esteem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire