OPM Medical Retirement: Between balance and perspective

Between the two is a chasm often unnoticed, where the preface to either and both may be a skewed outlook or a myopic view of an issue, a trope of a trolley of hardships gone uncontrollably berserk; and once a person “gets over” the emotional turmoil of a reaction steeped in feelings, sensibilities and angst, then a certain condemnation of “balance” may arise, which then allows for a different “perspective” to develop.

Balance is often thought to come after perspective, as if the former is the more important conclusion to arrive at, whereas the latter is merely likened to the prefatory problems encountered to begin with.  But balance merely provides the spectrum; the weights at each end may now allow for a proper judgment and determination, but only as to the quantitative bunching of problems to be faced.

Perspective, on the other hand, allows one to take a step back and review the qualitative potentialities of a consortium of issues otherwise unavailable without the weighing of all issues simultaneously, to be evaluated, analyzed and judged upon.

It is that pause and moment between the two, however, that allows for the former to result in the productivity of the latter, and without that split, abbreviation and semicolon of reality, we may jump from the proverbial frying pain into the fires of our own making.  For, we like to think of ourselves as “rational” (whatever that means) and imbued with a capacity to view things in a “balanced” way, thus allowing a reasoned “perspective” upon all matters of importance.

In the end, however, do we ever follow the advice of sages long past, dead anyway, and suspected of gross negligence by the incomprehensible garnishment of society’s lack of empathy and understanding?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suddenly, or over a period of time, suffers 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, the issue is often one of balance and perspective – how do I make a “right” decision that balances all of the issues involved?  And what is the “proper” perspective to arrive at, given all of the jumble of issues – whether legal, real, imagined or feared?

Filing a 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 an important decision to make from any perspective, and in order to arrive at a “balanced” judgment on the matter, the Federal or Postal employee needs to allow for that pause between balance and perspective to include a third-party voice to intervene and provide some advice; the only question is, will that comma or semicolon that allows for soundness of judgment be from a friend or cousin who may not have a clue, or from an experienced attorney who may be able to fill in the gap between the balanced perspective in making a proper decision?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of the Charmed, Charted or Chartered Life

Of the troika of possibilities presented, the first is rarely available or even an option, if by a “charmed life” is defined as one where wealth is never a restrictive element, potentiality is ever compensated by unlimited resource, and freedom to choose — whether an unproductive, leisurely lifestyle or one which mixes pleasure with some semblance of “doing something” — is but a whim of desire and utterance of a command.  Few of us have this option.

As for the second — of a charted life, where cultural conventions, societal norms and limited possibilities structurally imposed by birth, circumstance and family lineage — this characterization is fast receding into the dustbins of antiquity.  For, we no longer believe that one should be constrained by outside forces — whether of teleological originations or based upon genetic dispositions.  The “charted” life — where an omnipotent external derivation or an internal, evolutionary mandate, matters not; it is, instead, the belief that the stars guide our destiny, and the hubris of Shakespeare’s characters cannot be altered by the sheer willpower of an internal desire.

Then, of the triumvirate, we are left with the third and last — of the “chartered” life, where we recognize the finite character of our existence, borrowed from a slice of timeless history, having to live the consequences of actions preceding our use of the vehicle, and appropriately adjusting the capacity to move forward based upon the present condition of our circumstances.

Do we drive the conveyor ourself, or allow for the owner to send a captain of a ship for which we have paid?  That often depends upon whether we can be trusted with the talents we are born with, the resources we inherit, and the burdens of responsibilities which we voluntarily embrace.

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 positional duties, the question is often likened to the options presented before the last of the triplicate:  At what point do we take charge of the chartered life, and begin to steer and maneuver beyond the pitfalls of life’s misgivings which have been presented?

Filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is part of the responsibility of the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is up to the chartered life to have charted the course of destiny towards a life more charmed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Medical Separation: The abstract concept of “the other”

Existentialism could only have arisen from the ashes of nihilism; Western Philosophy, spanning the spectrum of metaphysics, epistemology, Rationalism, Empiricism and the tradition of questioning origins, essences and the compendium of who we are and what it all means, does not lead to the natural annihilation of intellectual curiosity.  But Existentialism, does.  Why?  Because Existentialism is an emotional reaction, rather than a rational rebuttal.

From the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the denigration of human dignity reduced to mere abstractions, the philosophy of negation of which it is characterized, is more of a “sense” approach than a logical methodology of comprehension and understanding.  Thus, while traditional philosophy was always denoted by a curiosity towards abstraction, Existentialism was pulled back by a retractive revulsion because of the alienating impact of conceptualization.

That is why the most powerful explication of the philosophy of Existentialism is found in a novel by Camus (reference, The Stranger or The Plague), and not in reading Sartre’s meandering explanation (Being and Nothingness) of a confused attempt to systematize the emotive side of man.  Thus, in reading Camus, one gets the “sense” of abandonment, separation, distance and alienation of man from the community of others; whereas, in reading the traditional philosophical works — take any page from Plato, Aristotle or the Medievals — one enters an universe of order, systematized approach, and methodological rationalization emanating from curiosity and questioning.

The two approaches, however, are not unrelated; for, it is precisely because of the traditional training of discussing concepts in abstract form (and thereby separating the thought-process from human touch and interaction) that disregarding the humanity of a living being could be achieved.  In more provincial terms, it is easier to be cruel to a concept, than to one’s own child or spouse.  And, indeed, that is how we survive in advancing our purposive actions of harassment and sheer meanness; by objectifying “the other”, we can bifurcate our minds and categorize the subject into something less.

Supervisors do it to workers and underlings; no longer is the worker a fellow human being, but “that ## % !!”.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the lessons learned and gleaned from the reactive lens of Existentialism may be twofold:  First, don’t expect sympathy from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service because you have a medical condition (that, unfortunately, is probably self-evident and a “given” already), and Second, do not expect cooperation or efficiency to suddenly prevail when engaging the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, merely because the need to obtain Federal OPM Disability Retirement should in and of itself touch a sense of empathy.

In neither case will a positive response be evoked.

Ultimately, the bureaucratic process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a surreal experience, and one in which the sense of alienation felt by Existentialism is encountered throughout.  That is because, in the end, the Federal or Postal applicant in a Federal Disability Retirement case is none other than a mere “other”, and no more than an abstraction to be gotten rid of, like the distraction you became when once you were no longer fully productive on the assembly line of life’s refuse of illegitimacy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability for Federal Employees: Waiting upon life

Being “pro-active” is a feature of modernity born of necessity when survival and the basic needs for human existence are essentially met; in days of evolutionary antiquity, when Darwinism ruled the moment and the growling pangs of hunger rumbled through the darkened streets of industrial ghettos and slimy slums of toxic waste dumps where hutches made of cardboard and corrugated tin put together effortlessly in a collage of unregulated stream of consciousness as a counterrevolutionary statement of defiance against pristine lawns and ordered houses designed by the evil eye of a home owner’s association — in those days of yore, being anything “less than” meant that you perished.

You see it in the eyes — Plato’s window to the soul — of shell-shocked dullness in a watchful glare of passivity, wide and seemingly alert, but failing to see beyond the fears and thoughts of angst like a permanent screen door shut and forever blocking.

If we bifurcate the world into doers and thinkers, it is the former who scoff and shrug their shoulders at the contributions of the latter, when it is thought which must precede action, where action performing too presumptively may leave a residue of meaningless accomplishments.  There is a middle ground, of course, where thinkers and doers coordinate and cooperate, in conjoined effort to plan, coalesce and complete a mapped task of purposive teleology; but that is a rare effort, indeed.  Most people wait upon life; it is not a criticism, but a reality which is reflective of a truism undaunted in this age of virtual reality.

The powerless grumble that there is a conspiracy of malevolent forces which hold the ordinary man down; the powerful, on the other hand, sip their wine and look condescendingly down upon the common populous, noting how they smell, think not, and must be watched lest the last true societal upheaval — not the American Revolution, but the French one where beheadings were rampant and horror became a mainstay for the ruling class — revisit the echoes of modernity.

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 positional duties, the cost of waiting upon life can be costlier than the cost of doing; for, to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “do the right thing” by you, is to wait upon the moon to drop from the sky in order to feed us cheese; bureaucracies, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities of empathetic concerns; they are what they are, and must be dealt with in the manner purposive to their existence.

Thus, if a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positioned duties, then the next logical step would be to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

To merely wait upon life is to petition for starvation, deprivation and declination of a rightful existence; to await a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to accommodate a Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition is to hope that democratic elections will be held by North Korea’s vaunted leader — but then, there may still be some hope, if you are either an accomplished barber or Dennis Rodman (if you are unsure of the references made as to either, look up (A) Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle, and (B) the strange travels of that former basketball star).

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Procedural Hurdles

Bureaucratic complexities have become a part of everyday life.  When societies become entrenched in administrative procedures, where the process itself is paramount over the substantive goals intended to achieve, and the proper filing of standard forms cannot be ignored lest the conformity of all is undermined by the exception of the singular; then, it is declared that progress has been made, the height of civilization has been achieved, and the pinnacle of human inventiveness has been reached.

Whether one agrees with the satire of bureaucratic conundrums or not, the reality is that the inherent complexities of government must be contended with, and attempting to subvert or otherwise evade the necessity of completing standardized procedural methodologies is an act of futility bordering on rebellion.

For injured/ill Federal employees and Postal Workers who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, the importance of overcoming procedural hurdles cannot be overstated.  SF 3112A, SF 3112B, SF 3112C & SF 3112D must be completed for all Federal and Postal employees filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; and for FERS Federal and Postal Workers, one must also complete SF 3107 (as opposed to SF 2801 for CSRS & CSRS Offset Federal and Postal employees).

And, while there are ways to provide additional addendum information beyond that which can fit within the neat spaces provided on the standard forms themselves, nevertheless, it is necessary to follow the rules and abide by the bureaucracy of conformity.  Yes, administrative hurdles are a headache and a difficulty to overcome; but, no, you cannot ignore them, as the reality of administrative and bureaucratic headaches is a constancy we must live with in a society deemed to be the pinnacle of human achievement and progress.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Attorney

 

Federal & Postal Service Disability Retirement: Agency Support

Sometimes, the question comes up as to whether or not it is important to have the blessing or support of the Agency or the USPS, when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. My answer to such a question is fairly uniform and redundant:  this is a medical disability retirement; it is unwise to proceed to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits on the assumption that your Supervisor or Agency will be supportive, for there is no guarantee as to what “supportive” means (they may have a completely different understanding or definition of the concept than you do — something which you probably learned over many years of working in the Federal Sector), and further, the primary focus from the perspective of the Office of Personnel Management, is upon the medical evidence presented and how the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of your job.  The Supervisor’s Statement should be minimized in importance and relevance, as much as possible, by ensuring that the rest of the disability retirement application is “excellent”.  By doing this, you neutralize any undue dependence upon an Agency’s alleged “support” of your application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire