FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mindful debate

The concept itself can take on various meanings: of a “thoughtful” discourse or disagreement between two or more individuals; of a debate that takes into account factors leading to a courteous and conversational engagement; or of even a third meaning — that of an insular soliloquy, where the only voices participating in the debate are those of one’s own: voices that are never heard by the public ear, nor recognized by anyone else but the lonely voice within.

That is often the most dangerous of debates; for, in the end, who is the judge of such a debate, as to who wins or loses the argument?  Was there ever a chance for a third voice — an “objective” party outside of the confines of one’s own mind — to bring in another perspective, a different thought or a distinct voice of reason?

No — the mindful debate that includes only the purveyor of a one-sided perspective is predestined to conclude with a narrow viewpoint, and moreover, one that cannot be properly judged as right or wrong precisely because it was predetermined at the outset to a perspective unwilling to listen to differences. How often and how many walk about silently while never engaging others, forever having the mindful debate within?

It is too often the voices that consider the validity of such a debate to be singular, lonely and irrational, if only because rationality needs the input of voices other than one’s own.  Such mindful debates can turn to the solitary agony of troubled waters resulting from a myopic and wrongheaded view that things are worse than they seem, and it is the “seeming” that leads one astray.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the singular voice that occurs in the loneliness of one’s mind is too often a one-sided debate until and unless you seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Don’t let misinformation misguide you; do not allow for wrong paths to take you down error’s lane just because you have engaged in the solitary conclusions of a mindful debate.  Instead, before preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and start including others in the mindful debate such that the mindfulness of the debate becomes also a thoughtful one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Battle of Spring

There are various “battles” of historical import, including “The Battle of Britain”, “The Battle of the Bulge”, and many others besides, whether popularly so named or forgotten within the annals of history’s short memory.  Then, every year, around this time where April and May meld into a battle of morning frosts and potentially damaging tug-and-pull between winter’s discontent and spring’s yearning for the robin’s call, we wake up one morning and realize that the desolation of winter has finally passed.

Isn’t that how life is, often enough?  There is that in-between period, where tension remains and uncertainty abounds, until the final resolution appears unnoticed, like the unwanted friend who stays beyond the welcoming time of twilight conversations only to finally depart, and the unpleasantries exchanged during conversations left imagined fade into the inglorious memory of yesterday’s sorrows.

Medical conditions, too, are a “battle” of sorts, and create a tension that will not let go, will not release, and will not give up despite every attempt to ignore, placate and shun.  The stubbornness of a medical condition cannot be ignored; its impact, unwilling to be forgotten; and its tension, unable to be released.

That is why, 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 job, the tension and anxiety formed by the very existence of the medical condition is likened to the many “battles” that we face in life.

Perhaps it is a metaphorical observation; and like the allegories that give life-lessons, maybe there is an underlying meaning that can be extracted from the trials endured.

In the meantime, what the Federal or Postal employee needs to do, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to release the tension that exists between work and life, work and medical condition, work and ….

The Battle of Spring will come and go, just like all of the other “battles” that have been fought throughout history; and this private battle against the medical condition itself is merely a private friction that also needs to be fought, on terms that create a more level playing field by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The shelf

The various components of our lives reveal the type of species we are, and the reflected anthropomorphism that parallels cannot be avoided.  Is the clutter in our life an expression of functionality or of an ostentatious display to stand out and apart?

The car we choose to drive; the clothes we wear; the expressions we adopt, undertake and use with aplomb like so many water balloons thrown from around the corner in anonymous chuckles once the projected implements explode upon the shameless lives of unexpected strangers.

What do we place upon the shelves that line the walls of our own personalities?  The shelf is a strange contraption of human invention; what other animal or species of alien origins has invented such a thing?

It serves a purpose both of functionality, practicality in storing effects, and at the same time, satisfying a human need to display and present to any who visit and succumb to the curiosity of watchful eyes. Or, is it to store and forget?  Where the shelf is placed is telling; is it in the basement where relics are stored, or out in the living room against the wall, or the foyer, the recreational room?

What do we place on the shelf — photographs, and if the photograph lies face down, does it mean that those who posed for it are now in disfavor and no longer merit the studious appreciation of all who visit?

Is the shelf lined with books, and are they in alphabetical order, or in some semblance of genre-driven or other means of clean and logical categorization?  Are they first editions, signed, hardback or paperback, or just a bunch of books bought at a used book store to impress any who might peruse the shelves of you?

And what of our “mental shelves” — what do we line upon them, what storehouses and warehouse are collected in dusty bins and small knickknacks that clutter the inner thoughts of our lives?  Have we placed certain memories upon “the shelf” and forgotten about them?  Or do we reach for them when we are lonely, abandoned and left to our own devices?  Have we come to a point where we consider our own lives to be “shelved”?  Or, do we submit quietly as others have determined to “shelve” our own careers as we sit quietly upon the shelf of living and wait for the dust to collect?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where one’s career has been placed on a metaphorical shelf — one where you are now relegated as a nonentity and barely recognized, much less acknowledged to even exist — it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective 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.

Agencies and the Postal Service tend to do that to their fellow human beings — of treating them as mere displays upon the shelf otherwise placed in a corner or down within the basement, and often, it is the medical condition and the loss of productivity or efficiency that determines the order of where you are placed on the shelf.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can take your off of that shelved status, and return you back to the world of the living, where dust and detritus may not be the order for the day; at least, not yet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Sad stories

Is sadness relative?  Are there sad stories that are so sad that even the ones that were considered sad prior to the sadder story being told, somehow nullify the lesser sad stories and make them into not sad stories?  Do we, after hearing the sadder tale, turn to the first story teller and say, “Yours was not so sad, after all, and in fact you have it pretty good”?

If a person tells of having just buried his mother, and you ask, “How old was she?”  He responds, “She was 95”.  Then, someone else says, “I just had to bury my 5 year old daughter.”  There would be a dead silence, would there not?  Surely, we say to ourselves, the death of a person who had a long life is not nearly as sad as the ending of one so tender in years, and as death is merely a part of life, there is something inherently sadder about the child’s life ending than that of a person who had a long life?

Both represent a life ended, but it is the knowledge that the former had fulfilled the natural course of a life while the latter was the victim of an early tragedy, unnaturally ended and interrupted for all of its promise, hope and anticipation for the future – surely, there is a qualitative difference between the two sad tales?

Or of someone who was recently fired from a job and is desperately trying to seek new employment; say that person is looking through the want-ads in the employment section (yes, yes, that is entirely outdated nowadays with special apps for resume-sharing and online submissions, etc.), and in the course of searching, reads a story about a far-off country where war, famine and general devastation are ongoing, and discovers with interest a sub-story about a family that is homeless and is being hunted down by enemies, etc.  Does one at that point straighten one’s posture and declare, “Wow, even though I am jobless, I have it pretty good in comparison to that family in country X”?

Yet, if sadness is relative, does that necessarily negate the sad tale completely, or does it merely reduce its impact and value until another comparative judgment is made?  Do we go and search out a less sad tale after debunking the sadness of one’s own with a sadder tale, in order to “restore” the sadness of our own?  Or, does each sadness remain a sadness in isolation regardless of the comparative sadness to another’s?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the sadness of that medical condition becomes such and to an extent where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sadness aside, every tale of ending a career is a sadness in and of itself, but the key to getting beyond any such sadness rests in the next steps, not in the footsteps of one’s past or those of others, but in getting good legal advice and moving on into the next phase of one’s future.  Anything else would, whether in comparison to another’s sadness or not, be the truly sad tale of sadness defined.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around us.

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 job, the issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Cosmic Intransigence

The complaint is most often heard in a converse manner — that because of the minutiae and daily details required of one’s energy, focus and concentration, the “larger picture” fails to be seen.  But the reverse is just as true:  we often overlook the significance of the mundane, justifying such neglect by arguing that it is the cosmic and universal principles which are of greater relevance; mere human beings within the aegis of humanity, are but flies in a smattering of a decaying universe.

And while grand principles are indeed noble, and provide for paradigms upon which notable historical movements have been based, it is ultimately the monotony of hopes and dreams, as held and projected by youth in turmoil and wanting, which create the sprinkling of golden dust blowing by to sparkle the dreariness of daily toil.  The cosmic will always be intransigent; there is nothing to be done with it, as natural laws, the fate of karmic forces, and the ethereal foundations of the universe will continue to move history, economies and world events forward, with or without the input of ordinary people.

The world is a mere playground for the wealthy and powerful, and the gods which play with the cosmos are already intransigent in their own brutal way.  But that is precisely why the personal problems of individuals amount to so much more than the aggregate of a single life; the “greater picture” will always be there; it is the seemingly insignificant life which makes for beauty and worth.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who become disheartened because of the cosmic intransigence of the “greater picture”, it is precisely the focus upon one’s own life, family, future and time yet left for greater endeavors, which should be the focus of today, the dream of tomorrow and the concentrated efforts of past remembrances.  When a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal or Postal employee needs to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, precisely because the “larger picture” will always be there, but the smaller details of necessity call for one’s effort in securing one’s place in that greater context.

When one’s health is threatened, the fragile nature of one’s being, the sense of insignificance and loss of place and relevance in society, becomes overwhelming.  But it is precisely within that context that the importance of carrying the burden forth becomes all the more relevant; if not for grander principles, then at least for one’s own self, family, and friends who care.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may seem like another mundane detail of bureaucratic life which one must pursue, but it is what one can do in the next phase of one’s life that will matter, while all the while the cosmic intransigence of an impervious universe coldly stares back with the laughter of fate and determination to destroy.  It is up to each of us to defy such willfulness of intransigence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire