FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mindful debate

The concept itself can take on various meanings: of a “thoughtful” discourse or disagreement between two or more individuals; of a debate that takes into account factors leading to a courteous and conversational engagement; or of even a third meaning — that of an insular soliloquy, where the only voices participating in the debate are those of one’s own: voices that are never heard by the public ear, nor recognized by anyone else but the lonely voice within.

That is often the most dangerous of debates; for, in the end, who is the judge of such a debate, as to who wins or loses the argument?  Was there ever a chance for a third voice — an “objective” party outside of the confines of one’s own mind — to bring in another perspective, a different thought or a distinct voice of reason?

No — the mindful debate that includes only the purveyor of a one-sided perspective is predestined to conclude with a narrow viewpoint, and moreover, one that cannot be properly judged as right or wrong precisely because it was predetermined at the outset to a perspective unwilling to listen to differences. How often and how many walk about silently while never engaging others, forever having the mindful debate within?

It is too often the voices that consider the validity of such a debate to be singular, lonely and irrational, if only because rationality needs the input of voices other than one’s own.  Such mindful debates can turn to the solitary agony of troubled waters resulting from a myopic and wrongheaded view that things are worse than they seem, and it is the “seeming” that leads one astray.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the singular voice that occurs in the loneliness of one’s mind is too often a one-sided debate until and unless you seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Don’t let misinformation misguide you; do not allow for wrong paths to take you down error’s lane just because you have engaged in the solitary conclusions of a mindful debate.  Instead, before preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and start including others in the mindful debate such that the mindfulness of the debate becomes also a thoughtful one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Separation a nd Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The nose beyond which

The human animal has reached a point of evolutionary pedigree where constant vigilance with the outside world is generally thought to be unnecessary; although, still when an individual walks through an unlit parking lot in the dead of night, the hairs which straighten and stand at attention on the nape of one’s neck would belie such an expression of civility amongst the savagery of newsworthy crimes printed daily.

Most of us live and walk about completely immersed within our own thoughts and reflections; and when encounters with the “outside” world suddenly jolt into an awareness just beyond, to focus upon the individual, event or incident which indicated a need for such engagement, the capacity to readjust and comprehend the alien nature imposed by a cacophony of sight, sound and a compound admixture of both, often confuses and torments.

Kant and Wittgenstein were correct in questioning the conventional views of a philosophical approach which wedded language to reality (to even combine both names into a single sentence is blasphemy, and an oxymoron of conceptual contradiction); the former, by proposing that there were human dimensions and constructs imposed upon an impervious universe of objectivity where the “thing-in-itself” bore little relation to how we perceive them; and the latter, by deconstructing the link between language and reality.

How we engage the world; what level of comprehension and understanding we bring to the fore; whether and what “success” we achieve in tackling the problems we face in a society that neither cares nor thinks about empathy and comity of human endeavor and suffering; the volume of questions posed and queried always surpasses the answers derived.  The nose beyond which we recognize is rarely embraced.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such a statement of truism is rarely denied.  Others fail to notice; the chasm between knowing that a medical condition is impacting a fellow worker, leaving aside the greater and universal perspective of a “fellow human being”, expands exponentially in a proportional widening defined by the intersection between title and pay grade, and the level of empathy lacking and sympathy non-existent.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who think that having a medical condition, after years and decades of loyal and dedicated service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, will automatically inspire a return of such vaunted conduct of responsive grace, become quickly and sorely disappointed and disillusioned.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option to take, if only for the sake of preserving one’s health, whether psychological, emotional or physical.

For, in the end, the nose beyond which a person may suddenly see, is that neighbor waving across the street, the lost child crying on the corner of the next block, the homeless person wandering the inner city desolation past the invisible lines of suburban sterility, and the infirm dilapidation of rotting humanity abandoned in old people’s homes which we euphemistically deem as “retirement communities“; and that which circles back to the Federal or Postal employee who remains unaccommodated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, who must prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because the shame of humanity has dissipated into an uncaring universe of ethereal space defined by an unperturbed imaginary deity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Happiness Goal

Whether human happiness is the goal to strive for, or as a byproduct to savor in those moments of sudden revelation, is for each individual to ascertain and abide by.  One can study the sages and philosophers and realize that there is a distinction to be made between joy and happiness, of contentment and satisfaction, and from a sense of peace as opposed to the turmoil of anxious foreboding.

Life is full of moments; but is it for those moments we live, or do such ethereal segments compel us to greater achievements?  From Aristotle’s Eudaemonism to Confucius’ focus upon maintaining the balance between family and normative behavior, or the extreme nihilism of Nietzsche and the existentialist’s embrace of the absurd, the modern approach has been to ensconce happiness as the principle of highest regard.  But life has a way of interrupting every neat packaging of human endeavor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether of physical pain, the chronicity of progressive deterioration, or the overwhelming psychiatric conditions which impact mental acuity, cognition, with symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., the desire for the “happiness principle” is sometimes merely to have a day without the symptoms of one’s medical condition.

Filing for Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal workers is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can be an intermediate goal, and not an “ultimate” one.  For, in the end, if the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the loss of job satisfaction will be exponentially heightened either by the agency (through disciplinary procedures or termination of employment) or by one’s self (through frustration of purpose, increasing recognition and acknowledgment of one’s inability and incapacity, etc.).

In the end, the “happiness goal” is often defined by who controls what; and in taking the first steps toward preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, one asserts control over one’s present and future endeavors, and fights against the winds of time and mortality by controlling the undetermined destiny of a period of life yet to be deciphered in this complex world of mysteries wrapped in a chasm of conundrums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: Agency Adverse Actions

Calamities coalesce in concurrent coordinated couplings; often enough in life, when one action is engaged, another follows in reactive reflection.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the necessity to, or mere hint of the need 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, often invokes a concurrent action on the part of the agency.

Whether such actions are mere coincidences (unlikely); retaliatory (a good chance); or deliberatively intentional (often enough) is anyone’s guess.  Trying to figure out the underlying motivation of agencies is merely a waste of one’s valuable time; what to do with the agency’s adverse actions, is the more productive approach to embrace.

The argument that finds some precedence for OPM in arguing against a Federal Disability Retirement case, is that somehow the Federal Disability Retirement application was merely a pretense to avoid termination, and thus is somehow invalidated.  But, in fact, the reverse can be argued as well:  Because of the medical condition, the agency’s adverse actions reflect the poor performance, the excessive taking of SL, LWOP, etc., and irrefutably confirms the validity of the Federal Disability Retirement filing.

What the agency’s adverse action states; how it is characterized; what surrounding correspondence exists; and the extent of one’s medical documentation around the time of the agency’s actions, and prior to, are all important components in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire