Federal Employee Disability Information: Truth and Falsity

There is much discussion about the nature of truth and falsity in our world — if, indeed, shouting and counter-shouting constitutes discourse rising to the level of a “discussion”.  Whether there is Truth with a capital “T”; or are there various versions of multiple “truths”, where my truth is just as valid as your truth, and falsity as merely the negation of yours at the sacrificial behest of mine?

There are apparently “truths”, “alternative truths” and “parallel truths”, and perhaps all of them can “get along” and vie for the vaunted position of the lofty “Truth” with the capital “T”, so long as we all don’t roll upon the carpet with laughter within our bellies demeaning the statements made by various politicians claiming a corner of their truth as opposed to the truths that we all know to be true.

The truth is, Truth can take various forms, and it is the subtle distinctions that are lost in the inane discourse of modernity where relativism, lies, inaccuracies and the capacity to conflate and confuse have made it all “bosh”.

To begin with, there is a presumption of a truthful statement — otherwise, the entire concept of a “lie” would become meaningless.  Then, of course, there are statements of truth that are contextually relevant, as in the statement, “I am staying home today with my sick child.”  If such a statement were to be declared on another day, it may be an untruthful statement.  Furthermore, personal experiences attached to statements undermine the objectivity and universality of the utterance, as in the simple declarative, “I feel good today”.

The very concept of truth and falsity is much more complex than the simple and inane discussion that has developed from the recent discourse of truths, alternative truths and what constitutes factual statements, inaccurate ones or outright lies; but suffice it to say that most people can recognize the difference between truth and falsity, just as people know the difference between day and night even if there are shades of twilight and dawn.

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 his or her Federal or Postal job, the distinction between truth and falsity is represented by the stark reality of the medical condition itself, and may often determine the course of future actions yet to be contemplated.

The truth:  The medical condition is beginning to impact my ability to perform my job duties at work.  The falsity:  If I just ignore everything, it will all just go away and I will wake up from a bad dream.  And the subtle distinctions like the dawn of light or the quietude of twilight: Federal Disability Retirement is not something that I want to choose, but it is the best option available for my situation.

Sometimes, it is not the stark choice between Truth and Falsity that matters, but the option taken must take into account the contextual reality of what is —that is, if you can even know these days what the definition of “is” is.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Favoritism

There was an interesting article the other day, where certain public schools were attempting to banish the use of the term “best friend” from the ordinary and daily usage by students.  Now, the immediate reaction by some would be:  Uh-oh, here comes another “politically correct” movement that is based upon the foolish idea that social engineering can be attained merely by manipulating language’s daily discourse by simply expunging the vocabulary we engage.

That is what Orwell’s point was, isn’t it — in that part in his novel, 1984, when there is the discussion of the New-speak dictionary that would be coming out in the fictionalized society of Oceania — of a dystopian world that determines thought by controlling the available words we use?  By expunging and extracting, diminishing and destroying certain words, phrases, concepts, etc., we then limit the ability of an individual to engage in certain thoughts — thereby restricting and ultimately erasing any capacity to discuss and communicate such conceptual constructs.

Some positive idealists would believe that human creativity would somehow remain victorious over such totalitarian methods, and find ways to communicate, then create “new” ideas — newer than the anomaly and counter-insurgency of New-speak — and still come up with alternative words and phrases to replace any such attempt at erasure and extinguishment.  But even Orwell doubted the success of such an endeavor, no matter how hard we try; and thus the dark ending to the novel, 1984.

But back to “outlawing” the references made on the playgrounds all across the country or, likely, across the spectrum of the world — would two or more children still engage in the behavior of “best friends” regardless of the expungement of the language identifying it as such; and if so, what would be the purpose of extinguishing the language if the underlying act itself continues to remain?  Won’t children on playgrounds the world over engage in favoritism and concomitant exclusion because unexplainable attraction is the natural order of the universe?

Of course, social engineering initiated at an early age has a purposive direction which can be seen in later life — as in the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker, where favoritism prevails no matter how many laws, statutes, regulations etc. are imposed and upheld.  Fiefdoms of every kind will always exist, and totalitarianism will often prevail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of “favoritism” — growing out of the tender years of “best friends” but taking on another name and form — begins to take on greater meaning.  For, its opposite — disfavor — begins to be applied for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is no longer “as productive”, not fully a “member of the team”, and shows signs of slowing down; and then the harassment begins, just like when we were children and the pecking order always favored the bully and disfavored the weakling runts of the world.

At that point, it may be time to consult with an experienced attorney and begin the process of initiating a 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 or CSRS Offset — sort of like going and “telling” on that bully.  Maybe so — but it is a necessary next step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

PM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Those goals

What constitutes a worthwhile goal?  Is it determined by the outcome – i.e., a retrospective, outcome-based proposal, as opposed to the gambling one where one must enter into the dangerous waters not knowing what the future provides?  Are we so safely ensconced in life’s predictability such that we will not longer accept as a goal that which cannot be ascertained unless and until there is some guarantee?

Do people immediately criticize and diminish the stated goal by categorizing it as either “realistic” or “unrealistic”?  Is there a distinction with a difference between “dreams” and “goals”, where the former is unbounded and unfettered by the reality of expectations, whereas the latter must be confined to that which can be reasonably ascertained as achievable?

What of the child who “dreams” of becoming a major league baseball player – do we cite the statistical odds against it, even at the tender age of 5?  What if the child works diligently and shows some promise – daily exercises, practices at every aspect of the game, and joins this league or that and shows “promise” and “potential” – at what point do we advise him (or her) to give up and “become realistic”?

Are some dreams okay to retain and have despite any semblance of “reality” intervening to make them come true – like secretly wanting to be a novelist (even though not a single page, let alone one sentence, has been put on paper) or a pro basketball player (even if you are 5’ 3”, and certainly no Muggsy Bogues), just because it makes one “feel good” or allow for self-confidence by carrying a secretive self-image that one is not what one truly appears to be?

At what point do dreams become goals, and goals merely dreams?  Is it when you actually take a “concrete” step towards making a dream become a reality, that then you have a goal, because the latter is “achievable” while the former is not?  Or is it like that old Chinese proverb that Kennedy liked to recite (or was becoming a writer for John F. Kennedy merely a “dream” and that is why Ted Sorensen, his ghost writer, is the one who did all the writing that the former President merely dreamed about?), that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

Or, perhaps like the Federal or 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 one’s position with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the goal is to become healthy again – or is it merely a dream?

Dream or goal, for the Federal or Postal worker trying to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be reviewed and determined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, like the potential baseball star or the best power forward in the business of pro basketball, the first step is the most important – of realizing dreams into goals, and goals into realistic dreams, whichever may be the case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The broken record

Does the metaphor have any meaning for modernity, anymore?  Those discs made of shellac resin or vinyl, pressed into magical ridges where the needle would remain stable but for the warbling of the maze; but somehow that circular maze of ridges would have a scratch, directing the point of the needle to continue back into the previous ridge just traveled, like the lost child who cannot see beyond the walled ivy and keeps running frantically in circles, exhausted by the endless infinity of a pathway unable to be traversed beyond the limitless circularity of a philosopher’s argumentum ad nauseum, where tautology of teleology is likened to the boulder being pushed by Sisyphus.

But what of the individual who has never experienced the encounter with a broken record – neither in real life, nor in watching a movie or other inane television show where the manual labor of carefully lifting the needle by the undercarriage of a forefinger, then placing it gently onto the groove closest to the condemned one, possesses no contextual significance because of a lack of knowledge?

Those who have been dated by “aha” responses to such metaphors, take for granted such commonplace declarations; and when we meet with blank stares and confused eyelids, it dawns on us that there is no replacement for an actual experience of descriptive content.  For, the efficacy of the idiom itself is immediately lost upon an attempt to explain:  “You know, when a record starts to…”

And what of times previous to the introduction of the gramophone (boy, now we really are reaching back into time) – did the men and women from an era now past have such peculiar dialects that described repetitive droning of whining and complaining?  Was it something akin to, “Stop acting like a baying hyena,” where pioneers settled lands still dominating with lurking cries of wildlife and unsettled voices?

And what of foreign lands – countries afar and across the great oceans – did they recognize and identify the relevance of the repetition emitted by the spherical looping back upon a scratched surface, or was it ignored in other dialects as a ho-hum matter not worthy of creating a modern-day idiom to be added to the dictionary of everyday expressions?

The metaphor of the broken record is one whose utility has long passed; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has become a chronic state of inability in performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the underlying and substantive content of the intersection with one’s career and life, remains relevant.  For, to the Agency, the U.S. Postal Service and the Supervisors, Managers and coworkers with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal worker – they view such chronic medical conditions like a “broken record” – of a fellow Federal or Postal worker who cannot “carry his or her” weight, anymore, and begins to treat the “situation” accordingly.

Human empathy lasts barely for a day; pernicious antagonism continues well beyond.  When it becomes clear that the Federal or Postal employee will no longer be able to abide by the conventions of the Federal or Postal rules, and others begin to view the use of Sick Leave, assertion of FMLA and constant need to shift workloads to others as acts to be punitively responded, it is time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to have that undercarriage lifted and placed gently onto the next ridge of one’s life, in an effort to avoid the metaphor of being a broken record.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Goldilocks Principle

Most of us are familiar with the fairytale; but in modernity, the principle extrapolated has been extended thus: the natural pendulum of occurrences must fall within a certain set of margins, as opposed to reaching the outer limits of extremes.  And, indeed, most things settle into a comfortable compromise of corollary constancy; it is precisely because of the anomaly of extremes that we take special note of the exceptions which develop and manifest.  And that is always the continuing hope of most individuals — for a reaching of compromise, and static settling into a middle ground, etc.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the Goldilocks Principle will often fail to apply.  Increasing pressure is brought to bear (no pun intended) upon the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who shows signs of vulnerability; perhaps an initial verbal warning, then a written admonishment; then, the placement of a PIP within the constant environment of hostility; restrictions upon leave usage, and finally, a proposal to remove.

Medical conditions require priority of purpose and attending to the medical condition itself.  Actions by agencies and the U.S. Postal Service often serve to exacerbate the medical condition.  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 an option which should be considered earlier, than later.

In the end, of course, the Goldilocks Principle is somewhat relatively determined by where those margins or goalposts are placed; for, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the realization that the middle ground of comfort is far from the fences of the extreme, depends upon where the Federal or Postal employee is standing, in relation to the medical condition, the harassment received, and the empathy shown (or more precisely stated, the lack thereof) by the agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: The Cauldron of One’s Past

The oversized iron pot hangs over the open fire, and the gurgling of ingredients steams and burps the lid in predictable sequences of rhythmic timing; the aroma is an admixture of sweet and mysterious combinations of one knows-not-what; perhaps of bones, marrow and herbs, here a whiff of something which touches upon the dark recesses of one’s memory, and there a hint of harboring horrors, reminding us of past deeds and loathsome reminiscences.

The figure who stands hunched over the source of pervading uprisings, is covered in a dark shawl; a bony hand gripping the large wooden ladle, mixing, turning, crouching over to sniff and taste; and from the chasm of the figure’s hollow mouth, toothless and echoing a chamber of snorting chafes, the sigh of satisfaction emits, as the cauldron of one’s past is ready to be served.  And so the story goes.

Who among us would want the fullness of one’s past and history of deeds to be revealed?  What pot would hold the full taste of one’s misdeeds, private concerns and actions engaged?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the process itself sometimes feels like one is forced to partake of a witch’s brew — who will be in the mix?  What private information will have to be revealed?  When will the pot of information be ready?  Who will mix the ingredients?  The mysteries contained within the mixture of the witch’s brew is indeed terrifying.  Every process which is unknown and, moreover, unknowable, is one fraught with concerns and trepidation of purpose.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is like the witch’s cauldron — it must bring to the fore one’s current circumstances (the medical condition), the impact upon the future (finances, future job prospects, etc.), and potentially the confrontation with one’s past (agencies love to do that).

The key is to understand the complexities of the administrative process, and to maneuver through the bureaucracy of the witch’s brew.  In doing that, one must always be cognizant of the cauldron of one’s past, and keep out of the reach and grasp of those bony fingers which reach out to encircle one’s throat, lest you become an ingredient in the admixture of the skeletons found at the bottom of the pot.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire