Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Conversations

What is a conversation?  Or, is it an empirical phenomenon that — only when we are in the middle of it — we know as we experience it, but otherwise is undefinable?  If there are 5 people in a room but only 1 is doing the talking, is a conversation ongoing?  Must there be a “back and forth” give and take, or must something more be involved?  If the same 5 people are in the same room, and all of them are talking all at once, does that rise to the level of a conversation?  Does interruption and talking over one another undermine the definition?

What if there is extraordinary politeness — of each waiting his and her turn — and where no one interrupts, there is a pause between each discourse and a civility beyond mere lack of rudeness, but upon listening, one realizes that each one of the individuals is speaking about a completely different topic, and there is no interaction or even acknowledgment that anyone is listening to anyone else — does this all of a sudden undermine the concept of what is occurring?

This is an Age of Discord — of intractable positions taken, where the foundations that once formed the Age of Reason have been decimated and we are left with empty voices of loud vehemence, hollow in content but roaring in volume.  Truth, objectivity, logic and rational methodology — the very essence of discourse and conversation — have been hollowed out and cast aside.

It is now in camps of “us” against “them”, but the singular missing component that has devastated the capacity to have a conversation is the one that no one ever talks about: The ability to recognize and admit that someone else’s argument is superior to one’s own.

When was the last time you heard someone say: “Hey, that argument is quite good and persuasive.  I think you are right.”?  Instead, it is the familiar refrain: “That’s just your opinion.”  And as the volume of decibels increases, the content of substance proportionately and precipitously falls.

There are, of course, various levels of conversations, but one level is clear: Listen to the other side.  This also includes reading, recognizing and understanding the applicable statutes in an administrative process in order to meet all of the elements of the burden of proof.  Being intransigent and stubborn are qualities that makes one feel empowered, but concurrently, are often self-defeating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it all begins with knowledge — of the statutes, the case-law and the precedents that apply.

We may all have to concede that the Age of Conversations is over; what we may be left with is a process where, at the very least, one must listen and try to learn.

Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process which is never simple, and must be approached with knowledge, tenacity and an ear to listening to what is needed in order to meet the eligibility requirements.  Having a medical condition is a start, but it is not enough.  And like conversations that may have started but puttered out without fanfare, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will take more than talking about how we “feel”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The rate of return

At what point does the rate of return diminish to the extent that it is “no longer worth it.”?  And, what is the “it” referring to?  Is it the effort expended in contrast to the compensation received?  Is it the dividends paid upon an investment ignored?

Often, in all of the contexts just described, the focus is upon the wrong point; it is not the “end product” or the final sum that should determine the worthwhile aspect of the “rate of return”, but rather, the key term overlooked — not the “return”, but the “rate”.  One might argue that the two essentially are the same, inasmuch as the “return” (the sum received) is determined by the “rate” (the calculus that determines).  But are they?  Doesn’t it depend upon what context it is being applied to?

Certainly, when conceived of in a traditional investment category, the final sum received can be backtracked to the rate that has been applied; but what about other, more non-traditional contexts, such as friendships, work — even marriage?  Or does one never apply such cold-hearted calculations when discoursing upon the arena of human relationships?  Can we so easily drop friendships and end marriages based upon the same criteria applied in changing investment firms?

Come to think of it, our own lack of active interest is probably the single biggest reason that marriages and friendships last — because, like those investments that we allow to remain because we are too lazy to take an active interest in, many remain in marriages and friendships well beyond the love that has been lost long ago, or the affection that has waned all too subtly; for, in the end, it is our own laziness and lack of motivation that allows the fallowed pastures to let life slowly die in the uncaring tenements of thoughtless stupor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers that suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the full performance of one’s positional duties and the essential elements of the job, the conceptual paradigm of the “rate of return” should be applied in contemplating whether or not to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Surely, the Federal Agency or the Postmaster is thinking along the same lines — is he/she getting the job done?  Can I get more out of someone else?

That is the Agency’s perspective; but what about yours?  Such questions as: Is my health going to improve by remaining?  What will the future options be: remain, resign or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?

If the first and second choices are no longer real options, then the third one is a necessity, as it becomes clear that the rate of return is no longer a worthwhile investment to remain in a job that clearly is destroying any semblance of one’s quality of life — and that, in the end, is what the purpose of the investment was all about to begin with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Another Test

Peel an orange, and you have the fruit; skin a nut, and the unmasked food is revealed; but how does one get to the essence of a person?  Schools do it repetitively; job interviews count on it; security clearances rely upon it.  Life is one set of tests after another; and whether through formalized questions designed to reveal the extent of rote knowledge, or of more subtle encounters to discover one’s character, the attempt to unravel the essence of an individual comes in many forms, in multitudinous appearances, and in engagements which never fully define the person tested.

Some see it as merely a necessary irritant; others, as a challenge to be faced with relish; and still others, an angst to be avoided, like the proverbial plague which leaves scars of motley disfigurement to the heart of one’s soul.  Whether to avoid or to directly confront, life presents a series of challenges, and the test of relevance is not necessarily the score to achieve, but rather the responsiveness which engenders cause.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are daily “tested” because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the job requirements of the Federal or Postal employment, the issue becomes one of survival, or not.  At some point, the test itself becomes irrelevant, and must be replaced altogether.  Whether the agency views it as such — or, more appropriately, it has now turned into harassment and hostility — the basis of such testing becomes an absurdity.

That is when the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must consider filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits.  There again, it is likened to another “test” to be faced and undertaken.  For, the bureaucratic morass which must be tolerated is inextricable entangled with the preparation, formulation, proving and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement case, where the evidence must be gathered, the test of viability of the case itself becomes of concern, and the next steps in encountering and facing the “test of life” must be faced.  Oh, but that life would refrain from the constancy of death, taxes and tests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Linguistic Labyrinth

Language is a labyrinth of paths.  You approach from one side and know your way around; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about.”  #203, Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Life is never a static construct; those who consider it so, are sorely left behind when the winds of change suddenly fill the sails and the slumbering ship awakens with a groan to pull free of its moorings.

Left behind are the days when a person could count on the vocation of the parent, or of a career singular throughout.  Instead, the economy forces us to adapt and reconsider; new skills are needed, or old ones refined and readjusted.  And the feudal days when the kindness of the squire was tested where lameness or debilitating accidents incurred the wrath of life, are bygones of past initiatives thrown to the howling wolves of predatory eyes lurking behind to take advantage of every slight and weakness revealed.

Language is like that, too.  We think that schooling ends when the diploma is handed out, at whatever stage of advancement; but the reality is that the true test of self-initiative begins at that very moment, precisely because liberty allows the freedom to choose between vice or value, where the former is offered freely to the youth who has been released from the shackles of parental control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who find themselves in a position where a career move is necessitated by an unfortunate accident or onset of a medical condition, the truth of Wittgenstein, and of life lived in a world of complexities, comes to the fore.

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 a difficult approach when the mandates of life’s ferocity coalesce in a tripartite convergence:  a medical condition; impact upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and the need to secure one’s future in order to attain a level of financial stability.

The unknown labyrinth of language becomes a maze of confusion when the Federal or Postal employee encounters the legal eligibility requirements mandated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to overcome the obstacles and hurdles in an effort to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Throughout life, the Federal or Postal Worker has approached the path of language from one opening; now, he or she must enter the gates of a bureaucracy which requires expertise and knowledge of a completely different sort, and without the assistance of an attorney, you enter the labyrinth of the unknown at your own peril.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire