Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: That uncluttered mind

How do we remain so in this world of cacophonous and discordant barrage of sounds, images and the overload of information?  Is it even possible to remain as the quietude of mind within the meditative spirit of a Zen monk reflecting upon the pool of uncertainty yet contemplating the serenity of a mind’s eye?

The cluttering is deafening; and, with it, the anxiety, stresses and paralyzing fears that accompany the world writ so large and looming so fearsome.  The uncluttered mind is the one that, with singular focus, yet accomplishes goals in life, reaches destinations otherwise fraught with obstacles, and continues to grow and progress despite all challenges that impede its way.  Is it still possible to retain an uncluttered mind?  Can there be such a state despite the overburdening of a world obsessed with “connectivity” to one’s technological devices, where the staring into the void of one’s Smartphone, laptop or other such distractions can rarely be avoided?

We tend to think that we are the “exception”, and despite our slavery and slovenly attachment to the technological innovations of modernity, we make excuses and allowances for our own weaknesses – oh, I’m not really into that sort of thing; it’s just a tool that is necessary for a time; Facebook?  Twitter?  Nah, it’s just a hobby.  Yes, before long, we get sucked into the very crevices we once laughed at and scorned.  The uncluttered mind is indeed a rarity, these days.

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 ‘clutter’ becomes exponentially quantified because, not only must one contend with the world of clutter, but the medical condition itself is an additional stress that must be faced.

This is a complex and complicated world, full of challenges and untold stresses.  To be able to maneuver through the bureaucratic maze of a Federal Disability Retirement process is itself a cluttered road of administrative complexities, and when one must contend with the medical condition itself – which is the primary purpose for preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – the clutter of the medical condition itself becomes an obstacle, leaving aside the obfuscation and obstacles that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management puts up in the pathway towards success or failure.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is a step towards reaching the goal of the uncluttered mind – of simplifying priorities so that the primary priority is that which is most important: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Magnum Opus

It is applied as the masterpiece and pinnacle of achievement, but is more generally referred to as the identifying crown for an individual of some notable accomplishment in the various fields and disciplines.  There are looser forms of using the term, of course, in common parlance, in a half-joking, half-serious manner; as in referring to one’s spouse with greater humility, or events that occurred with greater consequences than expected or foreseen.  Like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the Magnum Opus represents the pinnacle of one’s achievement in the career of a chosen field, or within a discipline one was merely destined for.

Most of us, of course, never reach that height of human achievement recognized and lauded by a standard of excellence the world around; mediocrity is the lot of most, and that is okay, so long as the achievements made within the confines of private lives are accorded a similar standard striving to reflect the apex of human worth.  For, the Magnum Opus can be in the simple act of kindness in daily living – of bringing in the garbage can of an elderly neighbor too frail to wander out on a snow-fallen morning, or giving a shelter animal a chance at some semblance of happiness and contentment, and diminishing the violent memories of prior mistreatment and maltreatment.

In the end, it is not the marking of graves with epitaphs of grandeur that matter – though we may fantasize of jealousy and envy overwhelming relatives we disliked, visiting the tombstone of our own creation and smirking at the largesse accorded by a public never quite knowing but the public figure of accomplishments we deign to applaud – but of unmarked ones that are visited by a family left behind, empty with an aching heart for the laughter that we brought, the joy we helped enliven, and the fleeting moment of happiness that encompassed the otherwise dreary lot of a population confused between sex and love.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has believed that the Magnum Opus of one’s fortunes were somehow tied up inextricably in the career path of a Federal agency or Postal facility, rethinking the paradigm is tantamount to a heretical utterance of unfathomable delay.  There is life beyond a Federal agency’s mission (though you may not discern it well from the attitudes of coworkers and Supervisors), and there is importance and relevance beyond the Postal facility one has worked for.

When a medical condition comes to a point where one cannot meet the expectations of that grand “mission” that has been a constant drone of contention, it might be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Don’t let the Magnum Opus of one’s career be on the downturn of one’s accomplishments because blind fealty to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service has stopped any forward progress; instead, it may be for the next phase of one’s life that the unmarked grave is visited upon with an epitaph still to be written.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: The effective legal argument

What makes for an effective legal argument?  It is a question often asked, and pondered by many.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is often preceded by another question:  What makes for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Must legal arguments be made at the outset, or will the mere gathering of relevant medical documentation itself suffice, without the burdensome addition of legal argumentation?

Is the introduction of law and reference to legal citation necessary, and does such necessity enhance efficacy and chances of success at every stage, or just in the later stages – i.e., before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, or before a panel of Judges in a Petition for Full Review (often referred to as a “PFR”), as well as before a panel of 3 Judges at the highest level of the process, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit?

Certainly, the process itself does not “mandate” a legal requirement for argumentation of law; yet, inherent in the system itself – or, because there are multiple legal opinions, precedents and statutory foundations which form the core of every Federal Disability Retirement application – it is a “good thing” to include legal precedents and foundational arguments in preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Is it necessary?  Is it “absolutely” necessary?  Just as the insertion of more adjectives and adverbs do not enhance clarity of answers, so the question itself must be judged by the relative importance of omitting that which may not be required, but which may be helpful in increasing the statistical correlation to a successful outcome.

Law cannot ultimately be avoided, either in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application or other venues of justice and conflicts, anymore than one can drive down to the corner mart without having some nascent knowledge of the legal workings intermingled and intersecting with modern society.  For, in this complex society of compounding difficulties and systems of comingled conundrums, that which is not known or otherwise ignored, can indeed harm us.  Not being aware of the speed limit in traversing the short distance to the store can result in being stopped.  Not being aware of laws governing carrying or transporting of weapons can have even greater and dire consequences.

And, as all forms required to be filed in every Federal Disability Retirement application was and remains based upon statutes, regulations and precedent-setting opinions rendered by the Federal Courts or the Merit Systems Protection Board, so it is important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to have some elementary awareness of the relevant laws impacting upon the criteria governing Federal Disability Retirements.

Few things in life exist in a vacuum, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is no different.  In any arena of law, laws matter.  That may sound somewhat like a trite opinion, and an irrelevant repetition of a self-evident truth, but it is meant to merely be a reminder, that as in all other areas of life and living, in the venue of legal matters, providing an effective legal argument is an essential factor in winning a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Paradigms abandoned

Of course, the most significant discussion concerning the shifting of major paradigms in the intellectual sphere of human advancement, occurs in Thomas Kuhn’s work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The concept of a “paradigm” shift, of adhering to a hypothetical model despite evidentiary incommensurability with the reality of an impervious and objective world; of a theocratic insistence upon a geocentric explanation despite factual calculations pertaining to a heliocentric reality; of bloodletting in medicine based upon the foundational paradigm of the bodily balance of humors; and, in personal lives, of how things “ought to be” as opposed to what actually are.

The farther an issue is removed from a direct impact upon one’s life, the easier it is to discuss it and arrive at conclusions based upon a rational discourse of commensurability.  Life lived as art is far more convenient than when the dreariness of engaging in the proverbial “reality check” must be faced in the mirror of one’s life.  Rarely does one apply a “scientific” approach when evaluating and assessing the reflection in a mirror; that is always left to the laboratory phase of one’s bifurcated life of compartmentalized delusions.  Yet, paradigms are precisely how we live; we just may not call it that, nor the foundation of our own actions in that manner.

Do we proceed based upon the expectations of others?  That, then, is a paradigm of objectified influences upon our motivational structure.  Are decisions primarily based upon an instinctive reservoir of emotional turmoil?  Consider, then, the paradigm of that lesser construct of our soul as identified by Plato in delineating the greater whole by comparative analysis between the state of one’s inner workings and that of the state itself.  In the end, the most telling factor in determining the essence of any human being, is not necessarily by the paradigms by which one adheres, but in the very ones which have been abandoned.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition will likely cut short a promising and lengthy career, the abandonment of a paradigm must by necessity become an integral part of the process.  For, the attachment to the conventional perspective cannot be underestimated; the belief that career should override all other concerns, including one’s own health; that future retirement is to be dictated by an imagined age of demarcation where competence and inertia rules by physical necessity; or, that the “mission of the agency” is the priority at all costs, including one’s own health and well-being.

Whatever the paradigm upon which the basis of motivational irrationality subsists, the facing of reality will clash when the progressive deterioration resulting from an unexpected and chronic medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing any longer.

Filing 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, becomes an inevitability when the proportionality between reality and the conceptual construct of a paradigm insisted upon becomes incommensurate; but, then, Kuhn had already warned us of that eventuality, as well as the fact that a paradigm abandoned is tantamount to a revolution conceived; we just kept believing that the tectonic shift was meant for the “other guy“, and never for ourselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Government Employee Medical Retirement: The missing comma

To what extent does language influence life?  As a mode of communication, sounds and utterances can certainly be restricted to a minimum, without threatening survivability; and in the history of our vast universe of words, thoughts and conceptual constructs embedded in dusty warehouses of discarded books, manuscripts and love letters tucked away in drawers once meant to safely keep where memorabilia of treasures remain unrevealed, does the competence of applying grammatical rules matter, anymore?

Do the dominos of historical reverberation fall in fated inevitability — like the missing comma which resulted in a lesser grade for the boy who would be king, but because of the diminished mark, failed to meet the expectations of a royal family who favored the second child, anyway, and beheaded the law of primogeniture; and thus did inevitability fade, history alter, and the child-king who would not be turned to savagery and the took revenge upon the world by becoming a little-known mass-murderer but to those whom he slaughtered.

Can the course of history be altered by the lack of placement of such a curved indentation of fate?  Where, just a fraction of a distance above, it is but an apostrophe which betrays the possessive embrace of a noun standing beside, but for the careless droppings which turn it into a comma?  Sometimes, of course, the misplaced comma can change the entire context and meaning of a sentence, and then the question becomes, do such misinterpretations have any force of impact, anymore, to the extent of interceding in the life of an individual?

Language is a peculiar invention; among other species, we recognize sounds, murmurings and signals to communicate; but to constitute the higher level of combining thought with words spoken and concepts written, requires an advancement of evolutionary uniqueness not discovered by fellow beings of other natures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must communicate and convince because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, trying to maneuver through the administrative chaos of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — as ensconced in SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — is the highest of tests in the usage of language as a tool of persuasive activity.

It may not seem so, as any encounter with a bureaucratic maze will often appear to be merely an arduous chore of necessity; but, in fact, engaging a behemoth and arguing it from its slumber of overwhelmed caseload is a reflection of man’s penultimate destiny of a chance meeting between grammar and life undeservedly faced:  Of whether the missing comma is of relevance, anymore, in this age where the possessive pronoun no longer matters when a computer can delete the words left unsent.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire