OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Comparisons

We like making them; somehow, it allows for hope and, unfortunately, its opposite, despair, but they are engaged in nonetheless, regardless of the potentialities pointing in either direction.  Comparisons allow for a judgment of who we are, what we have accomplished and what we believe are the acceptable societal norms and standards, and whether we have succeeded or failed in meeting them.

People watch the pablum of television shows that display the ostentatious arrogance of some wealthy individuals who know not the concept of “discretion” or any sense of humility in having attained the higher luxuries of life; yet, many continue to be fascinated by such tasteless shows of comfort, and compare themselves, their accomplishments and the artificial standards of normative achievements that somehow have pervaded people’s psyche.

Of course, the corollary of such an approach to life is to redefine the definition of what it means to be “successful”, and thus to lower the standards in order to be all-inclusive, and do this each time as more and more people need to be accommodated.

Either extremes on the spectrum of man’s favorite sport – of watching, observing and comparing – constitutes the reality of that which is required to attain a level of satisfaction in life.  Of course comparisons are going to be made – for, we live in a world where everything is relative, and one can only recognize and realize the multitude of opportunities and potentialities by comparing one’s own station in life with that of what others have achieved.

Concurrently, sometimes the definition that defines who we are, what is important and where one wants to go, may need some adjustments.  Objectivity is achieved somewhere in the middle, between the comparative observance of “what is”, and the need to tinker with the language game that defines what “needs to be”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the favorite past-time of Americans – of observing, comparing and judging – meets a heightened sense of anxious awaiting because of what coworkers and supervisors begin to do.

They compare your level of productivity to what others are doing, and what you were doing before.  An “accommodation” is nothing more than the redefining of one’s essential elements of one’s job; but even with the linguistic rearrangement of those essential elements, the constant barrage of the other side of comparing continues – of supervisors, coworkers, etc., and the entire agency and postal facility judging whether or not you are doing as much as everyone else.

In the end, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be necessary, as the sharpened knives of those comparisons may be too much to bear, given the innate nature of man’s cruelty in a world where medical conditions and disabilities are deemed to be comparatively unacceptable.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Life’s Work

There is, then, the job or career we undertake (the distinction between the two is often lost, and depends in large part upon a multiplicity of factors, including length of commitment, opportunity within a given field for growth and advancement; whether any qualifications, certifications or professional degrees are required, etc.); and then, the conditions and context of participating in a greater culture of our choosing, including where we live, with whom we live, what social circles we expand into; as well as how we interact with the extended community surrounding us, and whether we even decide to abide by the rules, laws and limitations imposed by society.

The former constitutes the work we engage during our lifetimes; the latter, the macro-aspect of the work generally confronted during a lifetime.  We often confuse the two.  The conundrum and internal turmoil comes about because so much of the latter often depends upon the success of the former.  Without the wealth amassed through the work of labor, we become limited in the choices we have in the work of living; thus do some choose a life of crime or cheating, as a means of shortcutting and supplementing the former for the latter.  And when the work of labor is cut short, or somehow interrupted, one realizes the impact upon the greater work of life, and must adjust accordingly.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s work or career, the choice to leave the Federal sector is a difficult one, and not just because of the financial considerations which reverberate upon the greater work of living.  Often, the choice to file 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, is paused for reflection, procrastination and further delay, because the two concentric circles of life have overlapped to such an exponential degree that one cannot easily be bifurcated from the other.

One’s work of labor involved the social circle; it intersected with the greater percentage of daily living; the meaning and teleological motivation was commingled; even some of the neighbors work in the same neighborhood, just down the street, in our town (yes, it is an unabashed reference to Thornton Wilder’s famous play), or perhaps even next door; so, how can I face a change from the work of labor, without confronting the greater vicissitude in the work of life? But then, there is that medical condition, and it is always the interrupting reality of the medical condition which must, by necessity, be focused upon.

Better to make decisions now, when one has the option to do so concerning the work of labor, lest the limitations are imposed by others, which then can have irreparable consequential reverberations upon the greater work of living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Farmer’s Market

They have cropped up everywhere, and have become popular sites where suburbanites can sense a closer connection to the food they put on their tables.  But as with all seasonal exchanges, the level of interaction is based upon the changing environment, the availability of produce, and the trending nuances of health, life and manner of living.

In the wintertime, the abandoned stalls and the empty inventory tells of a change of seasons.  We walk, observe, pick and choose, and if the color of the tomato doesn’t quite seem right, we pass by with nary a nod, or word of silent question mark.  Which side of the Farmer’s market are we on, in any given day?  Are we the seller of produce, or the buyer of selective goods?  Do the seasons change, and the temperatures ebb and flow, and are we malleable like the sea breezes that touch upon a morning surf?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers often feel the interchangeable position, and the vulnerability on any given day, based upon the changing of seasons.  Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are likened to Farmer’s markets which come and go, and who set up stalls for selling of goods and produce, or were once like visitors looking for something different than the frozen foods at the chain supermarkets.

Once, the sense of being in control prevailed — whether in displaying one’s produce as the seller, or as the consumer choosing based upon the look of the fruit or vegetable.  Then, suddenly a medical condition comes into play, and options seem to diminish; whether from the perspective of the merchant, or of the buyer, you can’t seem to last the season in either role.

The option of 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, is something that becomes a necessity for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition which prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

Like the changing of seasons, it brings to the fore the availability of one’s “product”, and makes of one the onlooker who doesn’t purchase, as well as the weekend merchant who tenders at the local Farmer’s Market, only to get back to one’s “real job” of toil and turmoil, like the rest of society who must contend with the forces of nature’s changing seasons.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire