Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Artemis for Our Age

Perhaps the most venerated of the Greek deities; but why?  As protector of young girls, the Greek mythological figure is always associated with the hunt, carrying with her a bow and arrow, accompanied by a loyal deer; is it chastity and fidelity that make her so attractive?  Do we have an Artemis for our Age — someone whom we can look up to, to feel the warmth of love and pure presence, if only to provide comfort in times of turmoil?

We give lip-service to terms like “community” and how it “takes a village” to bring up a child; of the importance of “family” and “family-values”; and yet….  When words are merely utterances without an action to follow, do they ring as hollow as the sound of an echo in a dark cave where no one can hear?  Is it because we have become so cynical in modernity that we cannot fathom an Artemis for our Age?  Does believability depend upon ignorance, and does ignorance result in the greater bliss where faith and happiness can coexists despite the dreary conditions of daily existence?  Did Greek Mythology develop because of a need for human beings to explain the anomalies of the universe, and was it science that destroyed the structure of such paradigms?

Without an Artemis for our Age, the promise of creativity in the innocence of childhoods yearning for something more than the reality of daily existence becomes a mere hope without even the scent of faith.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are seeking to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, the ugliness which develops in the very process of such seeking is often what destroys any faith in an institution.  Medical conditions, once revealed, tend to bring out the worst in agencies: Suddenly, “loyalty” is no longer a concept discoverable; “empathy” is a far cry from reality; and “accommodation” becomes a foreign concept even when there are laws to try and protect it.

The Artemis for our Age has simply become the use of laws as the weapon to wield; and when a Federal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, legal representation is what forces the Agency and OPM to comply with the law, and that is about as close as we can get to in finding an Artemis for our Age.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The Statement

We often hear of various events or transactions in the public arena where a “statement” will be issued, and such a conveyance of information is often prepared, pre-written, read from a piece of paper or plastered upon a teleprompter where the delivering individual merely reads from a text that has been previously written and composed.

It is like a musician who varies not from the score before him, or the player who follows the conductor’s baton with precision of a mime; to vary is to veer, where error becomes the hazard to avoid.  That initial “statement” to the listeners, the recipients, the audience, or however and whomever you want to characterize it as — why is it so important that it is conveyed, portrayed, delineated and communicated in just a “right” manner?

Is it not similar to the importance of preparing an SF 3112A — the Applicant’s Statement of Disability?  Isn’t the SF 3112A a foundational, “first impression” statement that needs to be prepared carefully, with meticulous formulation, like a novel’s opening sentence that must captivate and draw in the reader’s attention?

Granted, the SF 3112A is answered in response to questions required to be formulated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee to provide, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; but the limitations imposed by space and the relevance of the answers given to questions queried should not detract from the importance and significance of preparing the “Statement” well, in a preconceived and well-prepared manner.

What is the sequence?  When should it be prepared?  What content must it possess?  Should direct quotes from the medical records and narrative reports be included?  How carefully should it be annotated?  Must the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A be confined to the spaces provided?

These, and many other questions besides, should be carefully considered, and to do so, the best way to be well-prepared is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement Application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Pension: In between preparations for vanishing

The Biblical reference is where John the Baptist declared that his role in the historical narrative would naturally diminish by relevance in order for the primary character to loom large upon a world in need of a coming Savior.  Each of us strive daily to accomplish, achieve and advance (ah, the 3 “A’s” might be the title of the next New York Times Bestseller on the mass marketing list of self-help books); that is the natural inclination from birth to death – or, at the very least, until one has expended and exhausted the reservoir of stamina each retains for the daily battle of life itself.

What we fail to recognize is that, as another book of wisdom in an age prior to the declaration of a coming earthquake that would split the earth and crack the old barrels of fermenting wine (figuratively stated) pointed out, there is a time, a season and the proper context when certain acts should be considered (paraphrasing here), and prominent among them the capacity to recognize the appropriate time to begin paring back, preparing to recede and allow for the next generation to take its successive position of assertive presence.

Do we embrace the in between preparations for vanishing, or do we fight against it because that is what we have done all throughout our lives?

It is important, for instance, to apply the principle of eventual vanishing when one becomes a parent, in order to foster the self-confidence of a son or daughter; to slowly, incrementally and seemingly naturally allow for the opinions and views of the younger ones to grow in stature, relevance and significance, such that when adulthood is reached, the lowering of the parent’s perspective becomes equal to the rising of the child’s self-image.

At that point, when the balance between childhood and esteem for one’s parents meets in the middle upon a spectrum of wide variance, parent and child can become co-equals of a sort, and “friends” as much as a parent and child can be.  In order to achieve that goal, however, it is necessary to engage in “in between” preparations for vanishing – not to totally obliterate the relevance of one’s historical accomplishments, but to incrementally diminish in magnification and presence.

Fighting against the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often based upon the lack of recognition that in between preparations for vanishing is a natural and necessary part, at a certain stage in life, during a particular season of one’s career, and when the time necessitates.  Yes, the Federal career and the Postal work provided a sense of identity and granted a purpose, focus and compelling force during the productive career – but now, the season has changed, the context has altered and the time has ripened in another direction.

It is time to engage the in between preparations for vanishing – not to totally disappear, but to diminish, such that when a Federal Disability Retirement is attained, the next stage of one’s life can be opened for that which we term the greater adventure of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The traveling troubadour and trobairitz

There are vocations and careers which once were, and now forgotten.  Life cycles in endless streams of dying embers and regeneration of growth; and like the mythical Phoenix which arises from the ashes of destruction, so we tend to romanticize that which once was, is now forever lost in the forgotten residues of concealed fingerprints in timeless memories once secluded but dissipated as storytellers no longer found an audience for tales left untold, and children turned to self-amusement with videos, technological blank stares, and smartphones which glow well into the night.

Troubadours of the middle ages (and for those wondering, since this is now a gender-neutral universe and we dare not fail to include the binary aspect of such identification, the female counterpart known as the “trobairitz”), traveling under the patronage of princes in fiefdoms who showed the first signs of supporting “the arts”, and thus would allow for actors, performers and lyric poets to entertain and provide a respite of asides from a world which knew poverty beyond modernity’s capacity to comprehend, plagues which spread quickly and with devastating tenacity, and amongst rogues who cared not for the intellectual conscience recorded by scribes and religious orthodoxy of the Aquinas tradition.

They came onto the scene of history, and disappeared by the end of the High Middle Ages.  Do we even think about them, today — their careers, their imprint upon a fellow human being’s life, and even of the shadow which appeared but for a whispering moment, and with the light of day left not even a hint of prior existence?  Is that what Heidegger meant, when he described human existence as an avoidance out of fear of the ultimate fate of each man?  And so we look upon our own careers, and the choices we have made in life, and that to which we look into the crystal ball for the future.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, must by necessity feel trepidation for the unknown.  That is natural.  But as necessity is the mother of invention, so the end of a Federal or Postal career should never bring pause to a hopeful perspective for a future yet undetermined, whether unknown or barely discernible.  And like the traveling troubadour and trobairitz of a past age, the career itself is but a whisper in time, and it is the substance of the life lived, and not the sacraments of a vocation we had chosen, which make for value in a life of plenty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life’s Alterations

Spring comes and we clean out old hoardings, discard past articles once thought to be valuable and inseparable from our identity; or perhaps what pop culture has deemed a justifying course of decision-making because there is an inevitable “mid-life crisis“, or some other equally biologically-driven, primordial determinism which compels one to act in one way, as opposed to another.

Life’s alterations are often considered with no greater thought than having the local tailor shorten the seams, or tuck in the waist, like face-lifts and other procedures which attempt to beautify an otherwise insufferable soul.  But in the end, it is always the innocent ones who suffer; it is well that children possesses greater than indexes of fragile psyches; otherwise, the emergency rooms of hospitals across the country would be attending to them around the clock.  But with euphemisms and a can of fresh paint, we may still remain viable cores as stellar pillars in the community; it was a “friendly divorce”; the kids are “better off”; and other such platitudes to justify the devastation wrought.  But some alterations in the cycle of life cannot be attributed to fault; they are, indeed, brought about by fate, nature, will and the indifference of a mechanical universe.

Medical conditions tend to be in that category; they force alterations in life’s choices, without a deliberative involvement on the part of the participant.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who recognize that he or she suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the U.S. Postal Service or a Federal agency, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, while the medical condition itself may indeed be a life-altering circumstance, it is what you do, how you react, and what affirmative steps you take, which will determine in the end whether you allow for the tumult of fate to rock and roll you without oars up the proverbial creek of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a way to steady the unsteadiness, to steer where once you traveled directionless, and to secure a future where once uncertainty prevailed.  While the process itself is a long and arduous bureaucratic morass, the direction once taken allows for a compass to prevail, and a path to be taken.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded and offered to all Federal and Postal employees with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service, and should be considered if and when life’s alterations have determined that a change is necessary; and like the tailor who skillfully makes the suit or dress fit more eloquently upon a body forced into disquietude through years of untended gardening, so applying for a benefit to secure one’s future is merely to respond wisely to the unexpected vicissitudes of life’s offering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Word Additions

When viewing a landscape, does the utterance of words add anything to the beauty or desolation?  When rage wells up within a tormented soul, do words which convey a rational thought process ameliorate the temperament in any way?  Whether, in the evolutionary progression of one’s biological apparatus, the appearance of language beyond fundamental communication (e.g., for advanced warning of dangers, conveying of location, and similarly basic devices of informational immediacy) enhances the meaningfulness of the thing itself, is a question beyond mere pedantic interest.

Does a person add anything to the beauty of a red dawn, by describing it with words and conceptual constructs?  Or, better yet, do we glean any greater understanding by descriptive means, or does it merely camouflage the exquisiteness of the thing itself?  There are exceptions.

Medical conditions, and the need to understand their origin, impact, treatment modalities and prognosis allow for individuals to makes decisions based upon information gathered.  The pain itself, or the destructive and progressively debilitating nature of a medical condition, may not require descriptive devices of deciphering linguistic dalliances; but for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must map out one’s future course of actions, the words which one chooses to employ can make all the difference in the conceptual world we live in.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available to all Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS (which most Federal and Postal employees are under, inasmuch as CSRS and CSRS Offset employees are becoming rarer by the year), a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service must be accumulated; but once that threshold is met, it is the evidentiary sufficiency based upon the legal criteria as mandated by statute, the courts, and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which must be complied with through the use of words.

In viewing beauty, words rarely add; in experiencing feelings, language often merely complicates; but in engaging a complex bureaucratic process, words and conceptual constructs add to the future viability of one’s capacity to meet the complex challenges of an ever-changing world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire