Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Traps and landmines

They are not just set on the roadsides of war zones or in public squares where the greatest damage can be projected; for, by analogy, they are in existence as metaphors of human deviancy and evil intents. Traps are deliberately set with motives and intentions to capture; landmines and other devices are put in place to maim, injure or kill.

Then, of course, there are analogies used and metaphors employed — of legal traps and linguistic landmines; of contracts that “hide” language in miniature fonts that are designed by clever lawyers to mislead and draw into a cobweb of entanglements meant to enclose, corner and — like traps and landmines — either to capture or to destroy.  Linguistic landmines and traps are the ones we encounter more often than the ones in war zones.

In other countries, in far away places where we see reporters “embedded” and whispering in hushed tones of urgency to give us a sense of danger and exotic misadventures, we get a sense of what real traps and landmines are all about.  But in this country, within our universe of relative calm and peace but for the periodic tumults of tragedies in the next city, the farther town or that “big city” out there — in such relative calm, it is usually just a casual trap of language or a landmine of a metaphorical sort.

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, the applicant for Federal Disability Retirement must be cautious and wary of the legal and linguistic landmines and traps in the very preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.

Those innocent-looking forms, such as SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — while they do not pose the same danger as a mousetrap to a mouse or a landmine to a wandering child on foreign soil — nevertheless, they can become problematic unless you are aware of the dangers posed, much like those traps and landmines we hopefully will never encounter in war zones and conflicts afar, in a metaphorical sense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Unheralded individuals

Most of us fall into that category; rarely is there a person of “outstanding” qualities where a string of superlatives is deservedly ascribed.  This, despite a generation or so of children in schools being told that “every child is special” and that if you put your mind to it, you, too, can accomplish great things.

No, one may not be the star athlete, or even a starting one; or be talented in music such that one is accepted into some named consortium, or even be recognized for work in everyday, common settings. Yet, we all agree that it is “important” to give compliments, assign praise and shower accolades upon others, if only to ensure the healthy developmental aspects of the human ego.

Then, of course, there are those who “act up” for various reasons, and psychologists will speak about the yearning for an identification, the need for an outward showing of love, and how a person “acted out” of a need for expression, from frustration or sought-out recognition.  Is that what we all mean when that sudden terrorist act occurs and we hear the constancy of the next-door neighbor: “He (or she) was such a quiet, good neighbor.  Who would have thought?”

Is there really such a person?  What if an individual grows up and wanders throughout life never receiving any recognition of any sort – would that person end up being a healthy, well-adjusted, well-rounded and contributing individual?  Like unnamed tombs left for the weeds to overshadow in abandoned backyards of churches left to rot, can a person become a “person” and fulfill his or her “personhood” even if no one ever recognizes or otherwise points out such a person for some individualized, focus variant of an accomplishment seen?

Yet, such people are what are grouped into a faceless amalgamation as the “backbone” of a country, are we not?  Of those quiet, unassuming individuals who just work quietly, go about their business and work out the daily problems of the day, while those “heralded” individuals take the credit, appear on television and get their 15 seconds of fame in the world.

In this Kardashian-based universe where appearance trumps reality, the old philosophical arguments of Platonic Forms as opposed to the irrelevance of surface-realities, no longer applies.  The world has become a format (or, more appropriately, a floor-mat) of topsy-turvy indulgences.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, where 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 whole issue about being an “unheralded individual” is probably nothing new.  For, once the Federal agency or Postal facility sees an individual as “that one with a medical condition”, the entire outlook changes and the person with the medical condition suddenly becomes the proverbial persona non grata, the one relegated to the corner desk facing a wall, or otherwise shunned by the agency, the Postal facility and all coworkers besides.

Somehow, that is the “true” accommodation – to shun and ignore a “problem child”.  Well, you certainly are, at least, getting your fair share of recognition, now.  However, recognition of that sort can be dispensed with, and the best way to do that is 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. That way, you can fulfill your fullest potential by becoming one of millions of unheralded individuals.  Welcome to the club.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Complexity to Defeat

Simplicity of former times is what we all seek; in the end, it is never as “good” as we all like to make-believe it was, and never as “bad” as we may feel at the moment.  But within a world which sees technology advancing not in incremental, thoughtful stages of periodic progress, but in exponential warp-speed unseen in the epochal movements of past generations, it is difficult to keep pace with the dizzying speed of innovation.  And that’s just in trying to choose a lightbulb at the local grocery store.

For must of us, the complexity which confronts and challenges are those within.  The viewpoints we bring; the skewed thought-processes from the baggages of childhood; and the enmity we harbor in secret compartments of resentment and shame.  Further, what exacerbates and complicates, is a medical condition, whether physical or psychiatric, and too often an intersection of both feeding one upon another.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood, the ability to even go into work, and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the complexity to defeat is the very same one that haunts and hinders from the residues of self-doubt:  making wrong choices when the right ones will save.  Hesitation; fear; anxiety and angst from not seeing clearly an unknown future; these will all continue to magnify beyond the panic of sleepless nights.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an “easy” engagement; in fact, it is merely one more complexity of life.  But the bureaucracy will always be there; the procedures, methodologies and sheer volume of substantive and procedural hurdles will always remain like an obstacle unmovable likened to Aristotle’s proverbial Unmoved Mover.

In the end, taking that significant step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be determined not by fate or misfortune, but in recognizing that the complexity to defeat remains hidden within our very souls, to be identified, tackled and wrestled with, in order to move on with our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Coherent Life

Coherence fails to take into the account the unexpected; moreover, a linear, systematic unfolding of events is rarely the rule, but rather the exception.  Look at nature and the traumatic tumult which follows daily — of predators and pendulums swinging between life and death, and the instability of future courses yet to be determined.

What do we make of it all?  Kant would posit that we bring to the objective world structural viewpoints in order to bring order into a chaotic world; but is rationality seen from within of any greater coherence than a world unfettered by human perspective?  Life, and more importantly for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, medical conditions and the unfolding of how a medical condition is approached, treated, proven and described, often betrays a lack of coherence in the very attempt of proving its impact upon one’s life.

Lack of linear unfolding does not necessarily defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Sometimes, we have to provide an exposition and explain the circumstances which resulted in the mayhem of confusion and the scattering of rationality.  And if you think that doctors and treatment modalities follow a systematic approach to cure and rehabilitate, you might want to rethink that view that precision of medicine as a science, as opposed to being an admixture of art and wisdom gained from experience.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, it would be nice to have the sequential ordering of coherence, in a fashion of:  A medical condition; exhaustive treatment; a clean end-point where no further medical improvement can be attained; a doctor who will be supportive in the process; a “wowing” medical narrative written with little or no solicitation; finalizing, submission and approval by OPM.

Somehow, however, the sequencing of life never quite matches to such a paradigm, and we are left with coordinating that Kantian approach of imposing what we can, where we are able to, and when we have the capacity and ability.  The coherence of life reflects a parallel universe of the circumstances which we must embrace; and, in the end, we must just deal with that which we are given, and do the best in making coherent an incoherent universe of facts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire