Medical Retirement for FERS Federal Employees: To Feign Normalcy

What a strange concept; and stranger still, that so many people must actually engage in it.  It can occur and be implemented in variegated circumstances: Of having done something which impels a guilty conscience, but being forced to act “as if” everything is fine; of being with someone you would rather not be with, but pretending that all is well; or even of having a tragedy occur but, because public conventions require an unemotional facade, to paint that “brave face” and enter the public arena.

Do other species engage in it?  Does a lion who prowls about nonchalantly (but whose inner motivation is to find its prey and chase it for its dinner meal) “feign normalcy”?  Does a dog who desires a treat but knows that begging too vociferously will receive an admonition as opposed to the intended outcome, “feign normalcy”? (Yes, because I know that my own dog does that).

And what about the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and must come in to work because the Agency or Postal Service will not extend his or her LWOP beyond what the FMLA allows for — does he or she “feign normalcy” despite the pain or anxiety experienced?

For Federal employees or 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 one’s job, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, to “feign normalcy” is simply another way of realizing that things are not normal, and the “feigning” engaged in is another layer of trying to fool one’s self, one’s body and/or one’s mind into “thinking” that everything is alright, when in fact it is the underlying condition which must be attended to — and that, in fact, is the really normal thing to do, instead of pretending that the abnormal is the normal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: The option of nothing

Inertness for a human being is always an option; although normally a default choice, it is nevertheless an alternative one chooses, rather than what we state to ourselves in justifying the negation of doing something: Just disregard it, and it will go away.  The default is embraced once the choice is made to do nothing further.  Governments are great at that, and ours in particular — of kicking the proverbial can “down the road” and letting the next generation of voters decide upon the non-decision of critical goods and services, all the while talking a good game about what “needs to be done” and “should be done.”

The question that remains unanswered throughout is always: Is the option of nothing the best option? And further: Do we always have to take the best option, or is “letting it go” and disregarding the option to affirmatively make a decision on an important matter sometimes “good enough”?

One can always avoid these latter questions by positing the conditional of: “It all depends” upon the particular circumstances, and that may be true to the extent that, in certain situations, the option for nothing is the better option given the other options available.  In general, however, inertness is merely the lazy man’s out, or an avoidance that is emphasized by a desire of negation — of not wanting to make a decision at all.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, the option of nothing will normally exacerbate matters.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a long and arduous path through multiple administrative facets which requires expertise and thoughtful planning in maneuvering beyond the bureaucratic morass.  Because of this, the option of nothing is really not an option at all; it is, instead, a self-harming decision that can have dire legal consequences resulting from the inaction.  As such, consulting with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits becomes a critical step in a Federal or Postal worker’s “next step” in deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the option of nothing is no option at all; it is merely the non-option of inertness, which ignores the greater option of doing something about that which needs to be done.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Outward appearance, inward thoughts

It is, of course, the core of Western thought, originating from Socratic arguments against placing one’s faith in the “appearance” of things as opposed to the Platonic Forms that represent true Being; and through Aristotelian arguments of a “substratum” that underlies the outward appearance, to the certitude of Cogito, ergo sum; then, the inner reliance where subjectivity and objectivity coalesce and the distinctions became undoable by Wittgenstein’s standards of banishing all Philosophical problems to mere linguistic confusion, and the belittling scoffs of Russell’s mischievous analysis; these, and many more in the history of contemplative reflection that has haunted the aggregate of outward appearance versus inward thoughts.

All of which brings us to the core of so many medical conditions – where so much cannot be seen and we often have to “exaggerate” just to get people to believe us.  Take “pain”, as an example – one can be in excruciating pain, and yet remain unemotional about it.  Even if an MRI result shows that there is a physical basis for which the pain is experienced, nevertheless, pain by definition is a subjective component, and cannot publicly be quantified.

That is why conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain syndrome, Failed Back Syndrome, not to even mention Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. – how does one persuade others of the “real-ness” of the condition?  Broken bones, malignant tumors, catastrophic injuries; these, inward thoughts (believability) are consistent with outward appearance.

There is, in the end, a distinction with a difference that must be acknowledged, between “having a medical condition” and “proving a medical condition” – especially when it comes to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  There are, moreover, certain factors that “favor” the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – such as the standard of proof (Preponderance of the Evidence, as opposed to higher legal standards out there); the weight and validity of a treating doctor’s opinion; and certain clinical evidence that moves the chess pieces beyond mere subjective opinion, thereby bridging the gap between outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application requires more than just gathering a pile of medical documents and submitting it. In the end, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must PROVE one’s case, in order to get beyond mere outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The locked certainty

It must be nice to walk around this world of insecurity with an intractable sense of locked certainty.  There are those some few who possess such a perspective:  everything is without any shades of grey; “rightness” is defined by one’s power, position and capacity to impose, and those who stand in the way are mere leftovers in the residue of history’s garbage heap; and, whether in the privacy of one’s thoughts (if there remain any) or in that moment of vulnerability when the alcohol allows for an openness not previously manifested, there is revealed a glint or twinkle of a doubt, one normally never finds out, as the opportunity for such fissures upon a locked certainty rarely unravel.

How does one go about “unlocking” such a fortress of beliefs, ideas and faith in self?  Perhaps, never.  How did one arrive at such a point of foundational, unmovable certitude?  Darned, if this writer knows.

Authoritarians; totalitarians; cult figures and other assorted and assertive leaders; is it mere brashness and bravado, or is there some “secret knowledge” they possess where the “rest of us” merely squander?  Is it merely a restatement of that ancient division between Parmenides and Heraclitus?  Where, seeing the world as a singular whole and unchanging, in contrast to a perspective where everything is in a constant state of perpetual flux?  Is the psychological emanation that distinguishes and differentiates the two derive from that foundational belief-system that is proposed, or is the duality of such teleological posits merely offering a false choice of two extremes?

There are people like that – both in fiefdoms of past ages where the Medieval colonies restricted and constricted both in thought and in cultural diversity; and, today, in Federal agencies and U.S. Postal facilities, where all Federal and Postal workers who have a medical condition are viewed as “suspect” and unproductive workers who are merely shirking their duties out of sheer laziness.

Can you change their minds?  Probably not.  Is there a key to unlocking that locked certainty of belief?  Unlikely.  So, what is the “solution” to such a problem?  Fortunately, for Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is “out there” to be accessed.

In order to successfully maneuver through the bureaucratic maze and administrative obstacles, however, one must shatter one’s own “locked certainty”, and try to view the process as a means to an end, and realize that a successful endeavor such as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, begins with the realization that there never was a guarantee of security from life’s lottery of hope, but that the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity allows for a second chance at an apple already ravaged by those who surround you with that locked certainty of suspicion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Employee Medical Disability Program: Potluck

It is where everyone –  family, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and even those who don’t want to, but feel the pull of obligation by the sheer weight of embarrassment or shame – brings a dish of something to the occasion, gathering or congregation of confluence.  That is both the rub and the drub, isn’t it?  We never know what is brought to the event; and for some, slinking in unnoticed with empty hands, and once there, who asks what the contents of the contribution consisted of – which can easily be dismissed, in any event, with an inane response of, “Oh, this and that, you know,” and walk away knowing that good manners will prevent any further query of suspicion.

There are always three elements (just three?) to the concept of a “potluck” meal:  (1) If sufficient numbers are invited, the likelihood of a grand and satisfying feast will aggregate (of course, the better preparedness would assign various categories to each invitation – i.e., invitees “a” through “d” brings entrees; “e” through “k” desserts; “l” through “r” side servings, etc.), (2) While some overlap and duplication might occur, the statistical chances are that a wide variety of random amalgamation will be the result, and (3) the greater the participation, the higher statistical chance of success.

It is of this last element that applies to Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, regardless of whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, it is the “other side” of the shotgun approach – of allowing for multiple input, various hands and uncoordinated resources, that implodes with an inconsistency of strategic focus.

Medical conditions are interruptive enough; the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, often results in a parallel inability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

That being said, “help” and “assistance” of the non-legal type may come from spouses, family and friends –  voices which neither know the pain of the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, nor are familiar with the legal pitfalls and consequences attending to each procedural and substantive step of the process.  “Help” is always a “good” thing; but in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “potluck approach” may be the least desirable of methodologies to engage – unless you simply want a good and hearty meal in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Understanding

The Master asks one of his two dogs, “Where is ___?”  If the second pet wags her tail, looks quizzically at the owner, then proceeds to go to the far end of the next room and locates the wandering misfit and barks to you that she has found him – do we disbelieve?  If the same question were to be asked of one’s child in reference to a sibling, and the identical result occurs where the first child goes into another room or runs up into the attic and locates the lost soul, would there be any doubt?

Same circumstances, identical behaviors, concurrent results; merely different mammals within the genus of species, and yet we disbelieve because of arrogance and pride of self-worth.  Why is it that we refuse to attribute understanding to non-human entities despite clear evidence to the contrary?  Is language defined by grammatical rules of construction retrospectively applied, and does that constitute a basis for refusing to allow admittance into the colony of intelligence “clubs” of exclusivity we have created based upon rules of comprehension we have paradoxically constructed?

The rules constituting grammatical comprehension and technical application came subsequent to language itself; for, no one believes that Man sat down eons ago and decided to set down rules of linguistic conveyance, upon which the growing population then began to follow.  No, conformity to such constricting paradigms were initiated, instituted and concretized when society recognized that there were differences in parochial intonations, and those who had nothing better to do decided with arrogance and ivory-tower nose-lifting that correct idioms of speech needed to be recognized, applied and adhered to.

And what of animals?  So long as the working paradigm consisted of our self-image as just below the angels and above the burdens of beasts, we refused their eligibility to the elite of elasticity in language and comprehension.  Yet, despite all of the convoluted attempts at avoiding acknowledgment and recognition that “to understand” is nothing more than the behavior following an utterance of speech, the pragmatism of daily life refutes our own methodology of exclusionary conduct.  For, in the end, it is merely the impact of speech upon behavior in a given society, whether that indicates a “human” world or a “dog” universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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, the question of “understanding” before “acting” often becomes a vicious circularity resulting in non-action:  The complexity of the legal tangles in Federal Disability Retirement law tends to make the Federal or Postal employee pause; failure to act in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application serves to exacerbate one’s condition, which leads to greater stress and turmoil; non-action results.

The key is to recognize that “understanding” – not even “complete understanding” – is necessary.  Rather, it is often the subsequent initiation of acting following a verbal commitment that is the only real test of understanding.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire