OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The mind’s bookshelf

Entertainment is a peculiar thing in human psychology: happiness accompanies its anticipation, but during the process of “being entertained”, do we recognize our own joy, or are we lost in the suspension of our own inner world while being completely oblivious to the suffering around us?

We toil day in and day out with a singular goal, held by many, to enjoy a period of respite and entertainment — of becoming lost in a movie; of going to a play; of putting headphones on and listening to a favorite song, piece or series of favorites; of pulling from the mind’s bookshelf an episode of imaginative adventures or a wonderland of a dream’s figment.

Entertainment, joy, happiness and contentment are the ingredients of life’s admixture of troubles, trials and turpentine creations in a universe of chocolate-ice-cream-not-quite-right, ups and downs and joining and break-ups; it is a mixed up world where everyone is trying to extract an ounce of pleasure when the last cupful has already been taken.  Then, there is the capacity of the human mind that has just had enough — where too much bombardment of stimuli leads one to withdraw, become reclusive, and seek the solitude of one’s own soliloquy of minds.  It is a rather peculiar concept, is it not?

To withdraw within the mind’s bookshelf — that corner of studied solitude where others cannot share, and only the loneliness of one’s self-induced privacy allows for an entrance and exit to the backrooms of an unlit alcove that is marked “private”, and where no admittance is allowed except by exclusive invitation only.  It is when even the mind’s bookshelf is toppled by the troubled waters of the world that too much stress, too much stimuli and way, way too much intrusiveness begins to overflow.

That is what a medical condition tends to do — for, when it becomes chronic and begins to gnaw at even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, then the unbearable nature of one’s condition requires a change.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to invade even the privacy of the mind’s bookshelf, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and 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.

When even the last refuge from life’s turmoil has been invaded and violated — of an inability to attain any restorative sleep; when profound fatigue overwhelms; when chronic pain becomes unrelenting; when one’s focus, concentration and ability to retain even a semblance of cognitive acuity is progressively being lost; then, the inconsistency between one’s essential elements of a position and the medical condition becomes quite clear, and it becomes necessary to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Joy of life comes from having the key to the mind’s bookshelf, and when that is no longer possible, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file 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.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Accuracy

How important is accuracy?  The converse of such a query, of course, is:  Is inaccuracy significant?  One would immediately posit:  It all depends.

Take the following 2 hypotheticals:  An archeological dig is conducted, and it is believed that the site of the ruins is of relevant importance concerning a time-period of “recent” history — say, during the American Revolution.  Given that scenario, the “dating” of the site should be ascertainable within a year succeeding or preceding, such that if the Lead Archaeologist declares that the event in question occurred in 1778, “or possibly in 1779, maybe as early as 1777”, we know that — given the time period in question (1775 – 1783) — such a statement conveys a fairly accurate historical context.

Now, take the same hypothetical, but this time [sic] concerning some form [again, sic] of a fossil that is deemed at least 500 million years old.  If the Lead Archaeologist declares with some hint of irony, “Give or take a few million years more or less” — what would our reaction be?  Is such a “find” just as accurate as in the first hypothetical?  Can a declaration that is numerically off by a few million years (i.e., looking at it in quantifiable terms of 24 hours in a day times 365 days in a year times 2 – 5 million years equals how many hours for those who want a graspable perspective) be called a “science” in any meaningful usage of the term?

Of course, one could argue that even within the first hypothetical, given the limited range of years that comprises the American Revolution (1775 – 1783, or a mere 8 years), to be off by a year or so is also quite an astoundingly inaccurate assessment.  But which is “more accurate” — the one that is estimated within a year, or the one that quantifies it in terms of “millions” of years?  Can one even ask the question of “more or less” accurate, when the very concept of accuracy itself denotes precision and pinpointed, undeviated marksmanship?

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, the question of “accuracy” can be a crucial one.  How “accurate” does one’s Statement of Disability need to be on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  What “precisely” does the treating doctor have to include in the medical report?  How detailed (and therefore, accurately) does the nexus between the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability does it have to reflect?

In all such questions, “accuracy” is a goal to attain in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, while the Archaeologist may be “off” by a quantifiable sum of years in a site-dig and suffer little to no consequences, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must depend upon the accuracy of the law in determining benefits to secure a future yet uncertain, and such an administrative endeavor is likened more to the accuracy of the arrow that is shot towards an apple resting upon the head of a young boy, than of a declaration made that is off by a few million years, give or take, more or less.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: The mysterious spark

One may never be able to pinpoint the precise time of day, the hour or minute that it occurred; but at some point, it developed, matured and became a certainty.  It is that mysterious spark or connection that occurs in every relationship, whether between members of the same species, or even of other ones; of that mysterious spark that elevates a relational connection to one not merely encompassing casual friendship, but of a special, unique and singular symbiosis that becomes identified as mysterious and unexplainable.

It is characterized by a “look” between the two, shared by no one else, allowed entry by exclusive invitation only and zealously guarded by the two who share it.  It is that special spark, the glint in the eye, the knowing stare and the longing look; and it can be shared by two young lovers, a couple of old codgers or with a cat or a dog, and maybe some other species besides.  It is by the shared joke, the exclusive laugh, the hinted metaphor and the crazed reaction; but of whatever the elements that make it up, the two who share it know when it happens, that it exists and that the mysterious spark remains unless violated by one or the other by committing some act of treachery or deceit that breaks the silent code of friendship and fidelity.

Can such a mysterious spark exist between a person and an inanimate object — or an event, a career or even a place?  Perhaps.  Think about the career one has embraced — where, once you awoke with a spring in your step, an anticipation of joy and even of rushing to get there just to immerse yourself in the day’s project, the afternoon’s conference, and even looked forward to the often-wasteful time spent in “coordinating” with coworkers and others.  And then — something happened.  The energy is drained; the joy is depleted; the profound fatigue sets in.  A medical condition can certainly do that to a person.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have lost that mysterious spark that once pervaded each morning as one prepared to go to work, it may be time to consider 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.  If the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, you likely meet the legal criteria for becoming eligible to receive a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

For, in the end, the mysterious spark that formed the relationship of special significance between any two entities — including the one between a Federal or Postal employee and his or her job and career — was always based upon a presupposition that necessitated a contingent agreement involving a silent understanding: the continuation of one’s health.  And, when once that becomes damaged or destroyed, the mysterious spark is replaced with the ugly reality that the quality of life depends upon the health of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Sacrifice

What does it mean to sacrifice?  Is it a concept learned, or an act embraced during a moment of trial?  If not learned, can it occur when two strangers meet, or do the circumstances, upbringing, genetic material inherited, etc., all make the difference?  And of “learning” — can it be by osmosis, classroom lectures, or purely by observing and watching others engage in the act of sacrifice?  What compels a person to sacrifice one’s own life, well-being, wealth, the shirt on one’s back, or the last dollar in one’s pocket, and does it count at all if it is done for one’s own self-aggrandizement?

Say a person sacrificed a limb in order to save another’s life, but remained anonymous except for the inquiring reporter who wrote a piece delineating the admirable qualities of that person, etc.  We would all likely read such a story with interest and read it and share it with out children, friends, family, etc., and talk about good character displayed and the fine example shown.

What if that same sacrificing person was overheard to have said, “If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have done it.”  Would that change the calculus of our thoughts?  Would we think less of the person for having second thoughts?  Or, would we suspend our disbelief and say, “Oh, he’s just saying that because living without a limb must be traumatic, but he doesn’t really mean that.”?

What if, in addition to the sacrificing individual making such a statement, it turns out that the sacrificial act was just an accident and was not deliberately intended — would that further downgrade our admiration for the person?  What are the qualities that must all come together in order for an act of sacrifice to be admired and shown as a paradigm of exemplary behavior?

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 the Federal or Postal job, the intersecting issues between enduring the pain and difficulties of a medical condition, with the requirements of performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, come to the fore when reflecting upon the conceptual paradigm of “sacrifice”.

At what point does sacrifice turn into foolhardiness?  Is it when the pain and suffering can no longer be endured and others, including the Agency or the Postal Service itself, begins initiating the process of removal or placing you on a Performance Improvement Plan?

While we may never know precisely the distinction and difference between sacrifice and self-destructive behavior — what people mistakenly obscure between “bravery” and “bravado” — what should always be kept in mind is the unmistakable fact that one’s health should be a primary concern, and that “sacrifice” should be reserved for a worthy cause.

Thus, when the intersecting ideas of “sacrifice”, “work” and “health” clash as irreconcilable differences, a divorce must occur between the three at some point, and 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 may be the best option left before throwing away the chance of an admirable act of sacrifice is lost to an unworthy cause at the price of one’s own health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The winter doldrums

Whether everyone without exception experiences it, one can never tell.  For some, it comes in a subtle, slow manner, approaching at the beginning of, somewhere in the middle, or near the end when the long days of cold and darkness seem to have pervaded for too long that it has extinguished any memories of summer days and the sound of lapping waves in the heat of August.

For others, it comes like the roaring rush of the Siberian winds, paralyzing one as the shivers and overwhelming sense of doom and gloom – those twin cousins of an anticipated darkness and a subjective response to such environmental causation – becomes unavoidable in their power and sensation.  Of course, those who live in Florida never experience it, or rarely so.

The winter doldrums come upon most, in varying states of power, with impact in spectrums that only the affected individual can concede to.  It is, of course, too early to complain about so nascent in the season.  Instead, we are to be “joyful”, as the holiday season is upon us; and yet…

The analogy and metaphor have been applied in literature great and mediocre; of seasons likened to life’s cycles, and of their parallels to the experiences engaged.  From the “winter of discontent” to the “summer of childhood memories”, the cycle of seasons play upon the imagination, as spring represents the innocent beginnings of youthful dreams and fall betrays the end of childhood.

But of winter?  Where does the metaphor begin, and more importantly, what is anticipated beyond the frozen pillars of shivering nights?  And of winter doldrums – do we all experience them, and to what metaphor will we attribute the sensation of blanketed despondency, never to be shed except in the light of hope for a future yet to be anticipated?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has brought about the winter doldrums too early in one’s career, preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may well be the only way to shed the blanket of winter doldrums.  For, if spring is the season of hope and summer the embracing of tomorrow, then fall must by necessity be the phase of the downtrodden, and the winter doldrums the time to begin preparing.

Such analogies, of course, are meant to be just that – images by which to begin a process that remains a stark reality – for, the bureaucracy of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is likened to a dark dungeon that must be faced, and the perilous journey of filing a Federal Disability Retirement is sometimes the only way out of the despair of the Winter doldrums, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire