Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Content

What do we mean when we distinguish between “content” as opposed to “context”?  Are the two always distinguishable, and if so, are there any features or characteristics that make inseparability a potential difficulty?

We have all heard the famous phrase from King’s speech about being judged by the “content” of one’s character, as opposed to the “color” of one’s skin – a deviation of sorts from the more customary reference to the distinction made between appearance and reality, form versus substance, or even of spiritual versus material (although, as to the latter, one will often hear the metaphysical argument that it is the spiritual which is the “real” reality, and that the material is merely that fleeting, temporal existence that lasts for only a limited time).

Can the two truly be separated so cleanly as to allow for harmless independence – or, like the Siamese twins that share a vital organ, would any attempt necessarily devastate both?  For, isn’t it the very appearance of a thing that attracts and allows for an investigation further into the inner depths of the thing attracted towards?  Doesn’t context always matter when looking into the content of a thing, whether it is an incident, a conversation or a person of whom one is interested in committing to for a lifetime of relational considerations?

We often like to make such grandiose claims of bifurcating distinctions, when in fact the reality of the matter is that both are needed in order to complete the picture of the whole.

One may argue, of course, that content nevertheless is “more important” than context, or that substance by definition is of greater consequence than appearance, and by fiat of ascribed significance, one often argues that the former is necessary but perhaps not sufficient without the latter, whereas the latter is not unnecessary, but nevertheless cannot be made without unless one wants to walk about through life with a missing leg or a part of one’s soul left behind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, always remember that – in preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is looking for both content and context, and thus must one always be wary and cautious about the implementation of both.

SF 3112A is a trick form.  The questions seem simple enough, but what is put in there; the legal consequences of what medical conditions are included; the result of failing to include certain other conditions that may later be of greater consequence; these, and many more pitfalls, obstacles and unknown legal impact that may or may not be made aware of – well, OPM is not going to tell you beforehand, or help you out, and will indeed judge the Federal Disability Retirement application based upon the content of what is included, and not by the “color” of contextually missing information.

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 Federal Employment: The elixir of life

Is the substance we expunge necessarily the opposite of the positive?  Does the mere fact of expiation denote that which is unwanted, or merely no longer of utility?

In ancient times, an elixir was considered to be a substance of great desirability; it possessed multiple meanings, including a reference to that substance which was used in alchemy to alter base-metals into the gleaming riches of the natural order found deep beneath the chasms of the earth – gold.  Or, alternatively, it meant the potion or mysterious concoction that prolonged and extended life into an eternity of ecstasy; and in other definitions, a curative medicine that attended to all diseases, corrected every malady felt and balanced the unbalanced humors within the human body.

A further meaning has encompassed the concept of an essential principle – that core of something that provides an Aristotelian connection of all first causes such that when one discovers and comprehends the elixir of life, one has attained a pinnacle of wisdom next to the gods who otherwise mock the foolishness of human suffering and striving.  But back to the original query: What about the waste that is squeezed from the substance we desire – of human detritus, urine, scatological excretions and the leftovers of those thought to be unproductive; are they not necessary in that, without the capacity to expiate, it would rot within the cavities of the human tissue and destroy the very fabric that retains them?

We often fail, at the expense and detriment of our own thoughtlessness, to consider an inversion category of the original posit; we accept, at face value, that human functions of expiation and riddance constitutes just that – of throwing away, expunging, extricating and discarding – as a categorization we simplify into elementary concepts: what we consume and embrace is “good”, and that which we expiate is “bad”.

Thus do we build toilets in unassuming locations within a residence; outhouses are just that – some dilapidated structure constructed away from the home, and somewhat upwind from the wind currents that carry the daily odors of life’s contrariness.  But is that the proper way to view things?  Should we not, instead, liken our activities to that which a messianic proverb once elicited: How we treat the least among us reflects the true character of our inner nature?

Inversion thinking is a process that is too often overlooked, and because of this, we often walk through life passing by opportunities and gifts otherwise there to be accepted.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for one to continue with the present course of a Federal or Postal career, it was once believed that the elixir of life was intricately wrapped up in continuing the Federal or Postal job because it allowed for a certain career, standard of living and measure of self-worth.

This is where inversion thinking needs to be considered.  For, at what cost, and what price to be paid?

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a necessary step in order to attain a level of continence such that the proper balance and focus can be reached – of one’s health, as opposed to continuing in a job that has become harmful; of separating from Federal Service or the Postal facility in order to escape from the daily harassment of somehow being “lesser” because of one’s medical condition; and all of the other garbage that is thrown at the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition.

For, the elixir of life is not always that substance we thought was the pathway to a mythological fountain of youth, but an inversion of that thought – of removing, as opposed to taking more on; of separating, in contradistinction to enduring the pain; and of expiating, in contrast to accepting.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal Employees: The bugle

Unlike its cousins, it has no valves or pitch-altering devices, but must be modified through the movement of the lips, the extent of breath exhaled and the undulating modifications of combined muscles in the lips, tongue and throat.  Perhaps from the days of riding a horse in the cavalry, where playing an instrument while charging full force ahead on a horse stumbling across rough terrain forced the instrument’s player to modulate through strain of keeping one’s self from falling; in any event, its very lack of complexity belies the simplicity of the bugle, as appearances are indeed deceiving.

Whether playing Taps in that mournful tone, or reveille in that jarring sound as the signal to awaken for morning roll call, or the charge to execute a cavalry or infantry advancement — that frightening sound to Indian tribes signifying the destruction of a culture long awaiting death – its class of variety extends well beyond most choices provided.

Trumpets of all sorts may be included in the family – from Piccolo trumpets, slide trumpets and multiple others from A to G and beyond; but the bugle stands alone in its structural simplicity and reliance upon the creativity of the holder who dares to attempt to master its range of pitches by the vocal creativity and lips pursed in controlled spurts of exhaling the intricacies of man’s attachment to inert objects to fill the air with sounds unnatural but for the beauty of music.

That range of pitches – from the morning call to awaken with energy reverberating from a cadence of jolting magnitude; to the charging rampage of a galloping horse; to the sorrowful tears of life’s end represented by the draping of a flag upon the coffin; these, in their collective entirety, depict the spectrum of life:  Of youthful exuberance; to middle-aged hope and faith; to the black veil of a life well lived; the sound of the bugle encompasses all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves in that twilight of life’s stages – somewhere beyond the youthful enthusiasm, but well before the illumination reflected by the funeral pyre – perhaps it is the sound of the bugle in the last stages of reveille, before the first note of Taps is emitted; and the medical condition has blanketed the tone, quality and loudness of the music of life, and a further stanza of a narrative interrupted must be composed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is like the bugler’s call to order, and sometimes the sound of music must be heard at the end of a piece, and a pause must be endured, before the beginning of the next.  That is the challenge and the beauty of the bugle – an instrument for all stages in the pendulum of life’s musical quality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The dullness of creative lack

Have you ever observed the child who takes a stick and imagines himself/herself (we are trying to maintain the decorum of political correctness, here, by including all genders, because the implication otherwise in using a reflexive pronoun identifying a specific population apparently denotes that excluding the other half-or-so of the world’s inhabitants is discriminatory and an engagement of possible malfeasance, which we would not want to be charged with) emboldened by a weapon in hand and being the hero of an imaginary battle, invincible to a fault, brave without being arrogant, and making garbled sounds of whizzing bullets and fantastical feats of being wounded but with tenacity of self-will, capturing the enemy fort, being generous to those unfortunate prisoners of war and conquering singlehandedly a page in the history of unbounded heroism?

Contrast that depicted slice of imagination, to the child who is given every expensive toy and accouterments available on Amazon – the superhero wardrobe with cape; a replica of a life-like weapon; plastic hand grenades; and whatever other appendages that replace the creativity of one’s imagination – even of sound-effects emitted, downloaded on one’s cellphone placed in the utility belt worn by the kid; suddenly, it is mere motions that the child goes through, while all of the trappings have been satisfied even before the fun began.

That is what we do, isn’t it, as parents who believe that we were deprived in our own childhoods?  We gave everything, not knowing that by doing so, we took away the most important piece of the proverbial puzzle.  It is the puzzle of the dullness of creative lack; the less we had, the more we had to compensate and greater the reward in cognitive activity; and the more we gave, the less the child had to provide his or her creative input, thereby diminishing the soul’s inner force of imagination, resulting in the negative consequence in the dullness of creative lack.

That which we are given that undermines creative energy, we submit with the lazy side of human nature; and as inactivity and inertia results in atrophy, so gifts unsolicited in overabundance of generosity can actually harm in the ignorance of thoughtless plenitude.  And so we often find ourselves in the rut of daily monotony, on that treadmill of constancy even when we know we are destroying ourselves.  Children, in their innocence, don’t realize the harm; adults, too, but not in innocence but cynicism of life’s callouses, forge ahead even if they do recognize the harm.

Isn’t that what the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who persists in the self-immolation of continuing a Federal or Postal career, is actually doing?  For the 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 the Federal or Postal position, it is often the reality of the harm perpetrated by continuing in the Federal or Postal position that prompts, compels, and finally necessitates the preparation, formulation and filing of 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.

Going down the road of Federal Disability Retirement is often considered a major decision and a giant leap in one’s life, but it certainly does not portend of a dullness of creative lack to consider its resulting benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s enjoyment

Are we ever taught that?  If the answer is in the negative, then from whence did we learn, attain or otherwise receive the tools to engage in the purity of sensation such that we could embrace it?  Did we become such through osmosis; from imprints; from learned behavior encompassing a lifetime of observations reinforced by wisdom’s refrain upon the blank chalkboard of our consciousness?  How does one “enjoy” life, anymore than learning to ride a bicycle, drive a car or care for a cute puppy (the last in the list, of course, need not be learned, but only be taken in by the natural affinity one has upon seeing the eyes of warmth, intelligence and fierce loyalty displayed, and is an exception and one of life’s conundrums to be accepted without questioning)?

There are many who walk about, who have absolutely no clue as to how one can, should or would have any enjoyment at all; and thus the total immersion in one’s work, or projects begun and always left unfinished – for, to complete them would mean that something ended, and that would force one into a reflection about the meaning, value and relevance of one’s activities, would it not?

One often hears the familiar refrain:  “I don’t know how to enjoy life; to me, unless I am busy with work, chores, updating my Facebook page, texting friends or jogging, I can’t be happy.”  Productivity is the measure of success; time set aside for vacations – despite still doing email, texting, messaging or other forms of “connectivity” as advertised to be the horror of all horrors if loss of it were to ever occur – is a concept that questions the very meaning of life’s enjoyment.  For, if one pauses for a moment to reflect:  Is the treadmill one is on merely for purposes of getting off for a moment, then to get right back on in order to find, again, a time to get off for another period of repose?

If so, how is that any different from Camus’ essay on the absurdity of life’s perspective as seen through the eyes of a French Existentialist, and specifically, of the Myth of Sisyphus and the condemnation by the gods to roll the boulder up the hill, only to watch it tumble down, then to engage in the eternal monotony of pushing it back up, only to observe its descent?

Life’s enjoyment, and the promise for tomorrow, was always meant to be more than that – of a daily sense of joy, a widespread sensation of contentment, and an ease of burden when once we were innocent children playing with but a ready laughter to give.  It is the truth that haunts, and especially the proverbial quip about the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.  With the persistent onslaught of stimuli unable to be resisted, we allow for the daily bombardment to deplete the little energy we have in reserve.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition not only intervenes in the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, but further, depletes, diminishes and – ultimately — destroys even the potentiality to enjoy life and all of its complex presentations, the option to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must be considered.

Yes, it is a long and arduous bureaucratic process.  No, going through the process will not enhance, for the short term, life’s enjoyment.  But in the end, necessary changes are called for – nay, compelled by – medical conditions that interrupt life’s enjoyment, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to enhance that potential for the future enjoyment of life’s joys, while perhaps foregoing the short-term stubble of inconvenient interludes of angst-driven necessities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Living versus being alive

There is a difference, is there not?  Of hummingbirds and cardinals bright against the backdrop of an evergreen; of a child running across the grassy knoll; then of aged men in nursing homes, shuttered away in corners where the drool of saliva unwiped reveals the tarnish of human unkindness; and of prisons rotting away with crowded cells for addicts whose sickness is considered a crime where, in ages past, opium dens and other vices merely preached in empty churches of the difference between mortal and venial sins unrehearsed.  Yet, we have somehow been duped into believing that “movement” is the basis of “living”, and its antonym, the lack thereof, constitutes something less than.

It is often when a medical condition overwhelms one with a debilitating illness, or a chronic state of pain; or, even of inconvenience in not being able to function as other “normal” people do, that it begins to “hit home”:  living is good; being alive, also, is worth it.  Perhaps the distinction is scoffed at by the healthy; as youth believes in the immortality and invincibility of foolhardiness, and often tests it to the detriment of failure and embarrassment, so wisdom may accompany an insight of some rather insignificant profundity – that we can boast well when everything is merely a hypothetical, as in ivory towers of university concepts, but we are all willing to compromise when the stark choices of life present themselves within limited contexts of concealed alternatives.

Being alive isn’t all that bad; living is preferable, but sometimes we have to accept the choices as presented by the reality of our unique and individualized circumstances.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates ending one’s career and shortening one’s desire for continuation in a chosen field, the recognition and admission as to the limitations imposed by one’s mortality, health and physical boundaries, as well as the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s ability to have the cognitive focus, concentration and attention to detail, will oftentimes require compromises that come close to the distinction noted – of living, versus being alive.

Perhaps the contrast has not swung in the pendulum of such extremes of options, but the feeling is certainly something that hits close to home.  For, continuation in the job will only further and progressively debilitate, such that you will come to a point of no return and end up simply being alive.  Living, as the preferable choice, is to take the steps in 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 or CSRS Offset, precisely in order to prevent that state of last option prior to the ultimate test of mortality’s humor – of merely being alive, as opposed to living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire