Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Ends and beginnings

It is the linear manner in which we perceive the world; of straight lines as opposed to circular figures; of two points or perhaps three, then again lines of intersection and connecting the dots, instead of arcs that waver and detour beyond the directional certainty of point A to Point B and beyond.  “Ends” we recognize by the symphony that crescendos and the credits that scroll down and display the accomplishments unto the “Assistant to the Assistant director of Operational Assistants”; or, at least when the black screen declares, “The End”.

And of beginnings?  Other than the first breath taken, the consummation of love’s forlorn initial encounters and the memories of childhoods harkening back to hazy summer evenings that may be real or mixed with what was told about you when you were young; perhaps beginnings can never be ascertained with as much certainty as the endings that suddenly come upon us.

We tend to bifurcate our lives with straight and intersecting lines; “Here is when X happened”; “Over there, that is when Y began.”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who began their careers with the hopes and dreams of all who enter the workforce, full of vigor and enthusiasm, coopted by the “mission of the agency” or the team spirit reinforced by the accolades given in performance reviews, bonuses granted and promotions within sight of tomorrow – the slow deterioration of a medical condition can come to one’s realization as a devastating recognition that an “end” is coming, without the concomitant accompaniment of the clear “beginning” to follow.

Where does something “end”, and something else “begin”?

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management because the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position is indeed an “end” of sorts, but it must also be viewed as an important “beginning”.

It is the beginning of attending to the priorities of life; of starting to focus upon one’s health and well-being; of recognizing that others at the Federal agency or the Postal service have seen the “end” of your career.

Yet, perspectives matter, and how we view things do make a difference, and it is the “beginnings” that come after the “end” that matters.  For, the “Assistant to the Assistant director of Operational Assistants” hopefully did not end his or her career with that final credit noted at the end of that B-rated movie; hopefully, he became the director of Operational Assistants, or perhaps the director himself or herself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Expunging the negative

If all negative words were expunged from the universe, would we hold only positive thoughts?  Or, is there an inherent, innate need to recognize and state the negative, regardless?

If you are sitting in your office and a lion walks in, pounces upon your least-favorite supervisor and devours him whole, do you turn to your colleague and calmly say, “He lived a very good life.”  For, in such a universe, expunging the negative has been already accomplished, and such statements as, “Oh, what a horrible thing to have happened!” is no longer allowable, and the law has forbidden such discourse of linguistic negativity.  Is it possible?

Does conceptual thought depend upon individual language, vocabulary and grammar?  Are there tribes and communities where there exists no language that elicits anything but the positive?  What if there was no word for describing an idiot, or a mean, unpleasant person; would we break the new law and immediately recreate such words and refill our empty prescription such that expunging the negative, or any attempt thereof, becomes an activity of futility and exercise of frustration?  Do conceptual constructs exist without words to describe them, or do words and language games impose upon us a reality that would not otherwise exist?

Thus, if a person does something “mean”, and is caught doing it, but we have no vocabulary to describe, confront, or otherwise accuse the person of the wrongdoing, would a shrill scream or a primordial groan be sufficient, or would we have to “invent” a word for the indescribable event?  Or, would the counterintuitive alternative be the case: The event, not having a word to describe it, and thus there would exist no such conceptual construct, therefore means that it does not exist, and thus is not “wrong” because there is no vocabulary or language game to identify it.

Whatever one’s belief on the matter, expunging the negative requires, at a minimum, a deliberative intent to “remain positive”.  That is often easier said than done, especially if you are a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 your Federal or Postal job.  You can certainly attempt to expunge the negative, but the reality is that the underlying medical condition, the harassment at work and the adversarial, hostile atmosphere will continue to exist.

Taking a “real” step – like filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – is likely a more “realistic” approach, as opposed to relying upon expunging the negative and failing to see the emperor without his clothes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Chaotic interludes

The root word itself stands for the state of being prior to the ordering of the universe – either by the hand of God or through natural evolution; or, if you are a Get Smart fan, it is spelled somewhat differently – KAOS – and is actually not an acronym that stands for anything, but is an international organization set to do evil that only Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 and his partner Agent 99 can prevent from accomplishing their terrible deeds; or, if you are an engineer, you may know the acronym as standing for “Knowledge Acquisition in Automated Specification”.

In any of the events, the state of Being otherwise recognized as “Chaos” (or its alternative spelling, KAOS) is identified as something unwelcoming, insidious and to be forever avoided.  Yet, life brings about such states from time to time, as if to remind us that order, sequence, linear models of livelihoods and pristine beauties of uninterrupted serenity are rare in the discourse of nature’s continuum.

Chaotic interludes tend to rear its ugly head just when things seem to be going smoother; when we least expect it; when the quietude of our lives seem in perfect balance; then the disaster, the disordering impact, the jumbling-up and shaking it all about comes crashing like thunder in the night to awaken us with a start.  A start?  To do what?

Perhaps as a test; as a challenge; to rethink the priorities of our lives; and to remind us that life is not a matter of slumber and remaining in a constant state of stupor and repetitive thoughtlessness, but a chasm of necessity mandating daily focus, concentration and attention to the important things around us.  Maybe we were becoming too complacent; perhaps the monotony of habit was making of us all bores to be avoided; or, more likely, we were just getting steeped into the ego of our own self-centeredness.

Whatever the reason, chaotic interludes tend to hit us in bumps and pushes, sort of like standing in a line to get into a movie theater or on the waiting list for a restaurant, and suddenly an earthquake hits the area, or a robber comes running out of the establishment and pushing you onto the street where oncoming traffic busily spins its wheels, or more commonly, you are diagnosed with an unexpected medical condition, and that medical condition becomes a slowly deteriorating, progressively debilitating state of Being.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Government or Postal Facility in ways that clearly show that you cannot do the job anymore, the concept of chaotic interludes is nothing new.  The real question is:  What to do about it?

One option is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  That’s the thing about chaotic interludes; the options available are often limited; but out of the chaos that ensues, what is often important is to recognize the problem and tackle the issue in the best possible manner.

Otherwise, call Maxwell Smart and hope that his shoe-phone is in good working order.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Contented misery

Does the one who strives for happiness as a goal ever escape the bonds of contented misery?  It is the ecstasy of a moment’s glimpse, and then the feeling is gone; for, such is the fleeting nature of a sensation, and more of an encumbrance than a plateau of embraced attainment.  Can happiness be gauged, like a heart monitor, taking one’s blood pressure, or in that millisecond of pain in determining the glucose level through the pinprick of time?

Once, in generations past, when neighbors asked of one another the state of affairs, the politics of an era, and listened by that long-lost tradition of taking one’s hat off, lazily fanning one’s self in the sweaty afternoon of the blazing sun, people used to actually pause during the day without a watch or cellphone to check and recheck; and conversations took the meandering deliberation of voices undulating without the tense pressure of time, money and restrictive covenants imposed by society’s need to compel movement.

Happiness was not the goal, but the byproduct of social interaction.  Misery was reduced to the loss of purpose, violation of normative values and now, in modernity, replaced with contented misery.  No, it is not an oxymoron, for it is a state of Being accepted by most and recognized by few, and the duality of a seemingly conceptual friction is merely on its surface; for, such an accepted state of being exists precisely because we seek that which can never be attained but for a fleeting moment, like trying to grasp, catch and hang on to the flowing robe of an angel as that heavenly being floats by with a sprinkling of residues depicting the regrets of our lives.

We become contented with our own miseries, because we seek to attain a state of Being which can never be the essence of life, but merely the flux of sensations resulting from man’s worthy journey akin to a teleological embrace.  Worth is tied intricately and inextricably with projects; and though Heidegger’s quip that such human work and activity is merely to avoid the inevitable encounter with Nothingness, it is nevertheless driven by a need to advance, a value in accomplishment, and a sense of creativity in the process of what we do, how we achieve it, and where we are going in life.

Contented misery is to exchange all of that for a moment of sensation, extrapolated to an unattainable and unreachable state of Being, and that is why misery prevails within a plateau of accepted contentment.

Such is the state of Being for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, think for a moment – one’s career and mission in life is perhaps interrupted and impeded, and the Federal or Postal employee must consider alternatives, such as preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

But if a sensation is all that is sought, as opposed to considering the next steps into the future – such as an alternative vocation in the private sector after obtaining a successful approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – then contented misery will have won.  On the other hand, if a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is successfully obtained, there is a chance that the future may hold further opportunities, and the restrictions of a contented misery may be replaced with that which Man was compelled to engage:  a project or activity beyond the sphere of mere sensations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Civil Service Disability Retirement Benefits: Human activity

The dizzying pace of it all defies comprehension.  We are, indeed, busy-bees, always engaged in this project, that protest, intervening in the affairs of others when our own are in such a state of disarray; up at it early in the morning and continuing until exhaustion sets in or wayward dementia in old age where even nursing homes impose human activity every night – bingo, dance, meditation, Tai Chi, family visitation day; not even a break for the aged.

Then, when we see those documentary films in foreign lands, of men taking hours to untangle the fishing net in preparation for the next day’s work; of sitting with family members in gathering for a meal; and of mountainous monasteries where gardening for supplemental food sources is an act of reflective repose, we wonder if the lives we live – so full of human activity supposedly for a purposeful end – is the only, the best, or the pinnacle of options left for us?

Did we ever choose the quantification of human activity we engage in?  Did we, at some point in our lives, sit down and say, Yes, I will accept to do that, agree to embrace this, and refuse all others?  Or, did the incremental, subtle and always insidious wave of requests, obligations and pressure to perform just overtake us, until one day we wake up in the middle of the night and recognize that our time is not our own, the human activity is without purpose or conscious constructiveness, and the projects we think are so dear to us, merely destroy and debilitate the human spirit?  That is the alienation talked about by Camus and the French Existentialists, is it not?

Human activity cannot be so senseless or purposeless; it must be to build, to advance, to secure for the future; and yet, as we lay in the quietude of nightly sweats, it becomes evident that we perform it for means otherwise intended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to alienate one’s sense of mission and purpose from that of the priority that should be recognized – one’s health and the ability to have joy in life – the contradiction and conundrum is in “letting go” of that which has been a part of our lives for so long:  The job, the career path, the sense of “belonging” to a community of people who believe in the mission of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Like barnacles clinging to the underside of a ship’s belly, we grapple and travel through life without quite knowing why, where we are going, or for what purpose we originally attached ourselves.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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 of CSRS Offset, is a way of:  A.  Recognizing the priority of health, B. Beginning the process of detaching ourselves as mere barnacles upon a ship’s underbelly, and C. Reflecting upon the course of one’s future.  Human activity is great and all – but it is the things we choose not to do that often define who we are in the hubbub of this mindless frenzy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Care to Perfection

At what point does one ascend from mere care, to perfection of accomplishment?  Is it when we determine that which matters to us most – i.e., where self-interest intersects with talent otherwise left unfulfilled?  Or, through maturity of purpose and a self-realization that perfection is preferable to a lesser kindling of care, does one simply “buck up” and seek to embrace a higher order of accomplishments?

Perfection is an impossible standard to attain; care, a reasonably easy one, because time, effort and struggled attempts compensate for any lack of natural talent.  Words themselves tend to camouflage the lack of perfection by care, for a lengthy dissertation of seeming interest and a cauldron mixed by questions of curiosity comprise evidence of “caring”.  But while perfection should always be reserved for the Pope, heavenly orbs and Platonic Forms otherwise unreachable by mortal hands and untalented mediocrity – which incudes the vast multitude of the ordinary folk that populate this earth – it is a goal worth trying to achieve.

This presents a particularly unique problem for Federal and Postal employees 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 – for, when a medical condition dominates, the natural inclination is to quickly put together an assembled Federal Disability Retirement packet based upon mere care, but nowhere near perfection, when the very viewing bureaucratic body (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) is often applying a higher standard than even what the law requires.

We are not saying, here, that any Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed should attain any level of perfection; rather, that when the applicant who prepares his or her own Federal Disability Retirement application is the identical person who suffers from the medical condition itself, then it is always very difficult to get beyond the standard of mere care, and will never be able to objectively strive towards a semblance of perfection.  Perfection as a standard is never meant to be attained, but merely to be striven for; and as a corollary, care is not to be acquiesced to without a pathway towards perfection.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management applies the standard of law that it is mandated to enforce, but in its zealous defense of the entire Disability Retirement system, it often goes beyond mere care, and applies the shadow of perfection upon unwary applicants.  What can be done about it?  Nothing, except to make sure that in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it to OPM, be aware that care may not be enough; rather, striving for the higher order of care – that of perfection – may be the requirement for the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire