Federal Employee Disability Information: The unknown

What is it about “the unknown” that terrifies us?  Is it merely from the stories of childhood that kept us up late into the night with limbs and face under the heavy blankets, hoping that those goblins wouldn’t suddenly pounce upon the flesh that remained uncovered, with sweat and suffocation preferable to the gnawing of a hungry predator?

Or from insecurities that remained despite the best efforts from parents who were clueless but wanted a dissimilar approach from their own childhoods; yet, despite those efforts to “never be like my mom and dad”, such exertions were merely untested applications from tentative and unlearned methodologies, leaving the insecurities manifesting through thoughtless hesitations because no one knows what they are doing?

The unknown is always, by definition, an uncertainty, and thus a conundrum that instills fear, prefatory pause and trembling of confidence.

When a medical condition enters into the picture as a factor to contend with, the unknown becomes a depth of fear and loathing, precisely because there can never be concretized stability within a wrapping of the unknown.  Suddenly, with the medical condition present, the unknown becomes an uncertainty; the uncertainty compels anxiety and an angst that cannot be controlled.

People enjoy watching horror shows and movies depicting the supernatural; of monsters and goblins that suddenly pop up from nowhere and frighten; because, once removed as a spectator who can fear and yet know simultaneously that you are merely an observer of the horror and mayhem, the fear of the unknown is recognized in the third person, and therefore separable enough from the reality of the virtual.

When one suffers from a medical condition, however, the observer and the sufferer become one and the same, inseparable, unable to merely act as a dispassionate spectator.

For Federal and 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 unknown is the uncertainty of a future undetermined.

Thus, what needs to be focused upon is what is known, and let the unknown unravel — by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the Federal or Postal worker suffering from a medical condition can focus upon the known quantities of life: One’s health, one’s happiness, and the present circumstances that cannot continue perpetually into the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Human & humane activity

Does the dropping of the single vowel make a difference?  Should it?  Or, should the very status of being “human” encompass and naturally include being “humane”, as well?  Should they not be synonyms, or even indistinguishable as an amalgamation of vowels and consonants, as opposed to two distinct words, even if one is considered as a mere extension of the other?

For, it is precisely the unique characteristic and capacity of the former to exhibit the latter, and it is the latter which defines the essence of the former; and so, in many respects, they are identical terms, even if the latter contains a total of 6 letters, comprised of 3 consonants and 3 vowels, whereas the former has one less, with 1 more consonant than a vowel, making it into an uneven number of letters as opposed to a balanced equality of 3 to three, and making it into a ratio of 3:2.

Yet, doesn’t the essence of X require the need for an antonym to exist in order for a contrast to magnify the truth of it?  Thus do opposites enhance each other – does “Being” make any sense without “Nothingness?”  Would “happiness” have an existential sense without “sadness”?  In that logical entrapment, doesn’t the essence of being “human” require, by logical necessity and extension, the capacity to act its opposite – of cruelty, inhumanity, genocidal tendencies and masochistic egoism of the highest order?

That is the unfortunate reflection of reality from the refraction of a word; being “human” does not necessarily compute to being “humane”, although its opposite is apparently not true – if one is “humane”, one necessarily posits that the active agent of such empathy, caring and sensitive treatment is that of a “human”, and not some other species of animal that can exhibit such a trait.  But is this true in all cases?  Do we not witness “humane” treatment by others – by dogs, cats and pigs, perhaps?  Or do we attribute other characteristics to explain away such behavior – such as “loyalty”, “habit” or “trained behaviors”?

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, “humane” treatment by other “humans” is often sorely lacking.  What is it about having a medical condition that somehow brings out the worst in others?  Is it a fear that such a condition reflects a future reality that others see and want to avoid, and therefore begin to treat the person who possesses it like a plague of some short?

Agencies are supposed to treat workers with identified medical conditions in a “humane” way and, if they do not, there are laws concerning the requirement to “accommodate” in place; and, if there are no accommodations, then preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application is the next “humane” law that is there for the human being beset with a medical condition.

That is the peculiarity of laws, of course – they are passed by humans with the knowledge that they do not always engage in humane treatment, and that is why laws governing Federal Disability Retirement are there to be applied – for the human who requires being forced to engage in humane treatment of others, precisely because humans have shown a consistency tendency in history to act inhumanely.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Soul’s need for silence

If the world was merely one constant clatter, would we be able to stand the din of life?  Just as existence needs nothingness in order to have the separation of meaningful discourse, and as sentences need grammatical pauses (except in the cases of Faulkner and Joyce, perhaps), so the soul requires silence in the face of difficulties uninterrupted.

Medical conditions create havoc in lives; at first, perhaps just an annoyance or a nuisance, and the natural inclination is to rely upon the past that we know, and how – in remembrance of youthful vigor and quick rebounding and recuperation by mere strength and steely reserve – we were always able to ignore the pain, get past the turmoil and move beyond the anxious feelings of panic and depressive symptoms.  “It will pass,” we tell ourselves.  But then the long-view sets in; it is not merely a passing season, nor even a brief interlude of a cold north wind.

Instead, like the clinging vine that keeps coming back despite digging and chopping at the base of its roots, the chronic nature of the medical condition tells us that, as the unwelcomed uncle or aunt who has no other home and stays with you “just for a little while”, you cannot get beyond the season of pain and the intercession of turmoil.  It becomes a constancy, a persistence, a monotony of unsettled disquietude.  It is as if the soul’s search for silence finds only a din of unending noises as you search behind door after door for a room where relief and quietude may long for a bit of peace.

Souls need silence; silence allows for the interruption from din and darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from the dual attacks brought on by a medical condition – of increasing workplace harassment as well as the loss of the soul’s quietude and peace – there comes a time when preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes as necessary from a medical standpoint, as it is for the soul’s inner health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end – a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to produce at the level of acceptability, and a tolerance for allowing that same Federal or Postal employee to “move on” so that a basic retirement annuity can be obtained, and yet remain productive for the future in the private sector, where the (now former) Federal or Postal employee may make up to 80% of what one’s former job currently pays, on top of the amount of Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

It is also the allowance and recognition of another important factor – that the soul’s need for silence is a necessary component in the midst of din and darkness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Reconsideration Stage

Much time is often wasted upon rebutting incoherent arguments.  Such a statement is true in a great many sectors of life, as well as with an initial denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The first reaction in response to an Initial Denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to panic and become disheartened:  The Federal Disability Retirement applicant has waited many, many months, just to get to this point of being denied an application which was thought to clearly meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, and perhaps the medical narratives and treatment records clearly and unequivocally established the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

What could have gone wrong?  What was deficient?  What unanticipated mistakes were made?

To top it all off, a quick perusal of the denial letter makes it appear as if the application never had a leg to stand on –  seemingly contradictory statements extrapolated; selective quotes from doctors, supervisors, etc., that tend to undermine the proof needed; deficient documentation and multiple garbled references to the “Disability Retirement Law” that has simply not been met.

How does one counter and rebut such an overwhelming denial of one’s carefully gathered and constructed information?

There is the “proper” and “effective” way, but one’s initial inclination in reactive form is normally not the way to go about it.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds himself/herself in such a situation – of facing an initial denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will often want to just “give up” and try to endure the pain, anguish and cognitive deterioration by going back to work (if that is even possible and the Federal or Postal employee has not yet been separated from service), or just simply walk away from one’s well-deserved Federal Pension and early Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and forego the benefits earned and vested.

Of course, that is precisely the thought-process that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants you to embrace.

It is often stated (erroneously) that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an “adversarial” process – and that OPM is not there to “fight you”, but rather, to ensure that all Federal Disability Retirement applications fulfill the requirements of the law.

If that were truly the case, then why does an OPM denial point out only the deficiencies, and never the positive aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Why do OPM denials always present themselves as overwhelmingly unqualified and argued as if there is absolutely no basis or chance of an approval?

Precisely – because, despite stating otherwise, the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is just that:  an adversarial process which requires an advocate to fight for your rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Exchanging pleasantries

Some possess the greater patience for it, and enthusiastically embrace the inherent gamesmanship and accompanying pleasures derived therefrom; while others merely forego even the most basic of such prefatory considerations and condescending patronization that commonly attaches.  Still others mechanically, thoughtlessly and with automated responsiveness, emit the utterances with aplomb and a wave of hands, never pausing to even consider the discourteousness of violating that fragile sheen of neighborly discourse.

— “Hello, how are you.”
An introductory glance inviting suspicion and possible rebuttal

—  “Fine weather, isn’t it?”
Can a mere nod be sufficient?

—  “Hello!”

Can we get by this person with silence?

Have we become more cynical as a whole, and have the constant warnings by governmental agencies concerning scams, frauds and insincere malfeasance taken its toll?  Or, are there still visiting angels among us, whom we ignore at our own peril?

Are there exceptional salutations that demand a presence of mind, or do they all fit into a mold of complacent irrelevancy?  “Merry Christmas”, or its more neutral form of “Happy Holidays”, and even “Happy New Year” – is it the occasion itself which is evocative of a positive response, or does the Scrooge that lives within each of us allow for a grunt and a nod?  When exchanging pleasantries becomes reduced to a mere foresight of impending hostility, does it lose its efficacy, or is the “break-down” of superficial civility revealed in the acrid intonation of a voice which fails to match the salutation itself?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to expect the common resources of exchanging pleasantries, the line of demarcation where civility devolves into acrimony and harassment often boils to the surface when the Federal or Postal employee begins to become less productive as a result of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, it is often a good indicator of things to come, and thus it is important to gain a “step ahead” by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Time was that exchanging pleasantries was always taken for granted; but for the Federal or Postal employee who is witnessing the deterioration not just of one’s own health, but the superficial health of common decency and discourse with coworkers, managers and supervisors – it may be time to exchange those pleasantries with a reality check, and begin preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire