Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Does reading alter?

Of course, we teach our kids to believe that it does, thinking that education is the all-important focus for future endeavors and successful careers.  And yet, the statistical studies show a consistency of denial – after schooling, whether of high school, college or beyond, the majority of individuals stop reading, unless you include road signs, directions on the back of packages (which most people disregard as well – come to think of it, of road signs, too), and the fine print on warranties (ibid).

So, is it just one of those pithy, inane phrases that fall under the general umbrella of, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Does reading alter?  Alter what?  And does it matter “what” we read, as opposed to the act involved, “that we read”?  Would it bother someone if you saw a grown-up reading those old “Spot” books, or a collection of nursery rhymes?

If you approached the individual, or engaged in common banter at the workplace and made fun of him or her, would it make a difference depending upon the responses given?  What if the old gentleman responded with, “Well, at least I’m reading something!”  Or, what if the person turns seriously, sheds a few tears and admitted, “I never had time to read as a child, and never really learned.  I’m trying to better myself and teaching myself to read, now.”

Would such a confession instead garner a new perspective and bring out an empathetic reaction?  Or, what if that same person was seen reading a 1st grade book one day, and then tackling a complex manual about advanced logic or neuroscience – would that make you pause?

Perhaps the question itself is considered by most as rather rhetorical and irrelevant; that, it is presumed that reading does alter, but many prefer not to change and instead to remain in the constancy of monotony and repetitive stillness.  Just as the flow of a river results in erosion and soil shifting, so reading does indeed alter, and out encountering with the mind-bending activity results in the internal modification and modulation of complex biochemical structures.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to read the questions posed in each of the Standard Forms in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet, precisely because it will alter not only the responses being prepared, but how those very responses will serve to result in a successful outcome.

Just as reading alters, so the responses to the questions read, to be read by an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also meant to alter.  For, change is the mainstay of a living entity, and reading is that tool which is meant to alter, even when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Reconsideration Stage

Much time is often wasted upon rebutting incoherent arguments.  Such a statement is true in a great many sectors of life, as well as with an initial denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The first reaction in response to an Initial Denial received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to panic and become disheartened:  The Federal Disability Retirement applicant has waited many, many months, just to get to this point of being denied an application which was thought to clearly meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, and perhaps the medical narratives and treatment records clearly and unequivocally established the nexus between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job.

What could have gone wrong?  What was deficient?  What unanticipated mistakes were made?

To top it all off, a quick perusal of the denial letter makes it appear as if the application never had a leg to stand on –  seemingly contradictory statements extrapolated; selective quotes from doctors, supervisors, etc., that tend to undermine the proof needed; deficient documentation and multiple garbled references to the “Disability Retirement Law” that has simply not been met.

How does one counter and rebut such an overwhelming denial of one’s carefully gathered and constructed information?

There is the “proper” and “effective” way, but one’s initial inclination in reactive form is normally not the way to go about it.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who finds himself/herself in such a situation – of facing an initial denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – will often want to just “give up” and try to endure the pain, anguish and cognitive deterioration by going back to work (if that is even possible and the Federal or Postal employee has not yet been separated from service), or just simply walk away from one’s well-deserved Federal Pension and early Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and forego the benefits earned and vested.

Of course, that is precisely the thought-process that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants you to embrace.

It is often stated (erroneously) that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not an “adversarial” process – and that OPM is not there to “fight you”, but rather, to ensure that all Federal Disability Retirement applications fulfill the requirements of the law.

If that were truly the case, then why does an OPM denial point out only the deficiencies, and never the positive aspects of a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Why do OPM denials always present themselves as overwhelmingly unqualified and argued as if there is absolutely no basis or chance of an approval?

Precisely – because, despite stating otherwise, the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is just that:  an adversarial process which requires an advocate to fight for your rights.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The collision of grammar and life

The cynic will scour each entry for just such an error of punctuation or misspelling, and declare that, indeed, the author’s own actions confirm such an event; the greater question, of course, is not that it occurred, but of what import or consequence.

There was a time, of just a few generations ago, where the number of noted authors, commentators and social giants measured by pen and ink, were counted by the hands of a single individual; now, with the diffuse pervasiveness which includes paper editions exponentially quantified by electronic media, as well as the vast array of blogs, comments and Internet “conversations” on Facebook, Twitter (who ever imaged that such a limited conceptual construct would be considered seriously in a political campaign; yet, on the other hand, the limitation of the numerical volume of words likely is proportional to the intellectual capacity of the user, as confirmed by current events), Instagram, etc.

From H.L. Mencken to Hemingway; of the age of Buckley and Vidal; the heyday of the wordsmith, replacing the blacksmith who had to work in the forge where life, the torturous heat of hell, and the reality of contending with trying to mold the harshness of nature’s metals, brought to the forefront the daunting task of trying to earn a day’s wages. But as the general rule is that quantity diminishes quality, and wider dissemination fails not to embody pervasive ignorance, so the collision of grammar and life occurs less with the advancement of technology and informational overload.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the primary focus in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is in that “write-up” of one’s Statement of Disability as required by SF 3112A.  That is, indeed, where grammar meets up with life, and the manner of prose, the punctuation advanced, and the words chosen, will all coagulate to present the force and ferocity of one’s evidentiary impact.  If represented, the lawyer will likely include a “legal memorandum” arguing your case, as well, through legal citations and references to the statutory and case-law basis upon which the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved.

In the end, life is rarely lived in a vacuum, and hermitages of yore when medieval fiefdoms were aplenty, no longer abound with plenitude of choices; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the preparation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is indeed a time when the collision of grammar and life may well occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmation, Affiliation and Affectation

But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.

The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.

As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.

It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts.  Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life.  Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.

Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.

If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.

If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.

But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of poets and prophets

The definitional distinction between the two is fairly self-evident; it is in the interplay of what they do, how they go about it, and the content of their substantive utterances which blur the lines of differences.  And we all have to play both roles in life; of the poet, to speak a reflective voice of a world which can never be captured in its true essence; and in prophetic manner, in maneuvering through a complex universe fraught with dangers of unknown origins, encounters with malicious foes and devious evildoers; and it is with the combination of consolidating the advantages derived from either arenas by which we are able to survive.

Plato’s view of the former, though somewhat inconsistent (he simultaneously criticizes them, but will quote extensively from them in the same paragraph), is devastating because of their concealment of the true forms of entities; the Good Book, of course, is replete with the latter, with conjugations of the major and minor ones in placements of prominence or insignificance depending upon their current relevance and attributable validation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, embracing the roles of both concurrently becomes a necessity of life’s many features of conundrums, castaways and coercive calamities of creative chaos.

The fact is, most Federal and Postal employees never see themselves as either; yet, throughout life, you have always been both. As a poet, you have had to comprehend and convey an understanding of the world around in terms which utilize analogy, metaphor and imitative language; and as a prophet, you have had to plan for an uncertain future based upon an uninviting present, with little or no basis from past experiences.

Now, with a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is incumbent upon the Federal and Postal employee to consolidate those very talents previously utilized, but within a spectrum of unknowing wariness, and to perfect the venue for the future.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is neither a science, nor a purely legal endeavor.  Many have tried to prepare an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, submitted it, and have had it denied, and perhaps even a second time with the same result; then, to turn to a craftsman for expert assistance.

There are both prophetic and poetic components which must be encompassed.  For example, creating the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties one must perform constitutes the use of descriptive analogies which must be given the living force of vibrancy, where pain and incapacity must jump from the stoic pages upon which they are written (the poetic); while legal criteria must be straightforwardly addressed, such as the need to prove that one’s medical condition will exist for a minimum of 12 months (the prophetic aspect).

All in all, the corollary and convex/concave aspect of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, must be carefully assembled.  It is, in the end, of poets and prophets for which we speak, and the innate need to bring out those characteristics from within; we all possess such inherent capabilities; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire