Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Authentication

There is a process and means by which it is accomplished — as in authenticating a painting or an antique piece of furniture, jewelry, etc.; of an autograph or handwritten letter (although, many will say that in the field of forensic sciences, handwritten analysis is far from reaching a vaunted level of precision or reliability); of a pet’s pedigree or even of a person’s right to have access to sensitive information, etc.

Authentication is thus a process of verification, of identifying X as being Not-Y in many instances, where exclusion by elimination of other possibilities results in the declaration of the genuineness of the person or thing declared to be so.

When applied to an object, it inspects and compares against other objects within a historical context, style, peculiar features of an artisan’s eccentricities, period-characteristics and signature features, etc.  When applied to an individual, it may take into account physical features as well (appearance; finger prints; voice matching; DNA sample, etc.), but could also encompass questions posed and answers given, and depending upon the comparison to known archives of historical background checks made against statements previously provided, deem that an “authentication” has been reached concerning the “true” identity of an individual, akin to declaring that a painting previously unverified is in fact a product of this or that “Master”, or that an antique furniture piece was the craftsmanship of some famous cabinetmaker during the Jeffersonian Renaissance period or from some pop-culture minimalist timeframe during the early Sixties, etc.

The process of “authentication”, of course, can be distinguished from whether or not an individual is living an “authentic life”, as well, and here, the meanings become somewhat muddled and divided.  One can be “authenticated” and be allowed access to sensitive banking information, be allowed to use a credit card, write a check, etc., and still live an inauthentic life (e.g., act like someone you are not, present yourself as a “family man” despite all the while committing multiple affairs; live a double or triple or even a quadruple life and deceive everyone around, etc.).

The process in reaching a conclusion as to whether a person is living an authentic or inauthentic life is somewhat different from “authenticating” a person.  For, to engage in the former analysis, it is normally done for the most part as a self-analysis (i.e., only the person who is living an inauthentic life can know for certain whether it is so or not), whereas the methodology imposed of “authenticating” a period-piece or an individual (the latter) is by applying a more objective standard of comparative review.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the dual issues of “authentication” and “authentic living” come to the fore, precisely because the Federal or Postal employee becomes forced into behaving in rather inauthentic ways.

Hiding the medical condition; trying desperately to work through the debilitating symptoms and maintaining an appearance of normalcy; and all the while trying to force a consistency between one’s capacity and the watchful eyes of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these are the elements that challenge the authenticity of one’s life.

Living an authentic life under normal circumstances is difficult enough; trying to authenticate one’s capacity to continue “as is” in the face of a progressively deteriorating medical condition makes it all the more challenging.  It may be that 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, is the only way forward in forging an authentic pathway away from an inauthentic morass that the medical condition has forced upon you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Initial Stage

There are multiple stages in a Federal Disability Retirement process.  The term “process” is used here, because it is too often the case that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage this administrative procedure, fail to realize that there are multiple potential stages to the entire endeavor.  That is a mistake that can come back to haunt.  One should prepare the initial stage “as if” – as if the Second, Reconsideration Stage of the process may need to be anticipated, and further, invoking the rights accorded through an appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Why?

Because that is how the Administrative Specialists at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management review each stage – and especially the initial stage of the process – by reviewing the weight of the evidence, conformity to the existing laws concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and considering whether or not an initial denial will involve much resistance at the Reconsideration and subsequent stages of the Administrative Process.

Every Federal Disability Retirement application put together by the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker  and submitted through one’s own Human Resource Department of one’s Federal Agency or the H.R. Shared Services facility in Greensboro, North Carolina (where all Postal Federal Disability Retirement applications are submitted and processed), whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is considered “valid” and a “slam dunk” – precisely because the person preparing the Federal Disability Retirement application is the same person who daily experiences the medical condition itself.

How can OPM deny my claim?  I cannot do essential elements X, Y and Z, and the doctors who treat me clearly see that I am in constant pain, or that I am unable to do certain things, etc.

But the Federal or Postal employee preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must understand that there is a difference between “having a medical condition” and proving to a separate agency – the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (an entity who will never know you, meet with you or otherwise recognize your existence except in relation to a case number assigned to every Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania) – that such a medical condition no longer allows you to perform all of the essential elements of your official position.

Preparing one’s case for the Initial Stage of the process is important in establishing the foundation for the entire process itself.  It is not merely a matter of “filling out forms”; it is a matter of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one’s medical condition has a clear and unequivocal nexus to the capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Well-Digger’s Daughter

It is a French film directed by Daniel Auteuil, and depicts an age just before, during, and after the First World War, when rural life still embraced a contempt for modern values, and the pastoral context defined the the quietude of family life yet unblemished but for private shame of family secrets.  It is in the title itself which reveals much; for, there is no independence of a person’s name, and the underlying theme throughout encapsulates the right to a surname, the identity of an individual, and how the interconnectedness of one’s essence, being and substantive community is itself defined by the proper ascription of who we are related to, how, and by what legitimacy.

It is, in that sense, outdated and “old fashioned”; for, in modernity, we cast no aspersions when it comes to heredity, lineage and source of being, anymore.  But the historical context reflects the time of its relevancy; here, names matter; formal acknowledgement of marital unions within a community of acceptance and celebration are expected; and the child who comes into this world must be identified by the proper surname through label of sacrament.  At the outset, the title itself reveals much; for, we immediately note that it is not the name of a person, but an identity within the context of a family lineage.

In this day and age, names are no more important than the identification of inanimate objects; relational identities have been cast aside; we are known, each of us, by the names we have been given, have shed and taken on in rebellious denial of former connections, or so easily abandon and recreate, like so many pseudonyms used on the technology of our former selves.  But try as we might, somehow the haunting connections seem to matter; otherwise, how else to explain the persistent cries of orphans and abandoned children to search and discover who their parents are, and to open up sealed court documents to embrace identities formerly unknown?

Is it a mere mirage and vestige of an antiquated mutation, where the genetic lineage served to fulfill Darwin’s fantasy of survival of the fittest, somehow misinterpreted by one’s cellular make-up to include direct inheritance of a particular DNA?  And why is the language so precise and important?  Would the story have been any different if it had been titled, say, “The Girl who wore a pink bonnet”?  The narrative could still have remained; but, somehow, by merely identifying the character by what she wore, is not the same as to whom she is related to, of how she is named, and by what relationship her being is connected.

Words — and names — matter.   Identifying the proper relationships, and the context of connectedness, all together form the “wholeness” of a coherent narrative.

That is why, in preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to coordinate the medical documentation with the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the Applicant’s Statement of Disability with any legal arguments to be made and cited; and any legal arguments with both the medical documentation and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  For, each are not mere separate codifications of independent entities unrelated to the other; together, they form a compendium of a cogent narrative, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; and when such force of coherence is submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it heightens the statistical favoritism for an initial approval.

And, like the Well-Digger’s Daughter, we must always remember that the interconnectedness of life, living, and the essence of everything around, is defined not merely in our individual capacities, but by the sacredness of who we present ourselves to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Sacrifice

Does modernity reflect progress?  And, more to the point, by whose definition do we apply the standard of “progress”?  Does mere movement or change constitute advancement, or do we fool ourselves by the proverbial content of shuffling the chairs on the deck of a sinking ship?  Each generation believes fervently that the previous one represents an archaic mode of static thought and stale fashions, and that youth itself somehow supersedes the necessity for any generational transfer of wisdom or insight.

In former times, certain societies would offer the best and the beautiful as human sacrifice to the gods of fate, in order to please, appease and gain favor.  In current times, we do the same, but cheat the gods by offering less than the healthy ones, and instead give to the winds of fate the decrepit, deteriorating and destroyed individuals who no longer contribute fully to society, thinking that by shedding ourselves of the rabble and remains of shorn vestiture, the favor of formidable fate will be attained for future payment in place of delayed gratification.  Why is it that health and human sacrifice have become terms of mutual exclusivity?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the Department of Health and Human Sacrifice has become the largest entity of bureaucratic morass, employing more people than all other agencies combined.  It is the place where “health” is disregarded, and while lip service is paid to “accommodations” and those with disabilities, the reality of it is that such Federal and Postal workers are thrown down over the cliff as fodder for human sacrifice.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for fully embracing all of the essential elements of the positional duties required by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, know well that the Department of Health and Human Sacrifice exists for them.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the relegation to this last bastion for infidels is the secret of modernity, kept in whispers where corridors of power and privacy prevail before being pushed down the chute of despair.

The only escape from such fated sacrifice is neither a replacement lamb nor a plan of refuge, but to prepare, formulate and file for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, the Department of Health & Human Sacrifice was created under the guise of protecting the general public, when in fact its very existence is to advance the horrors as told by a generation of Orwellian drones; but, then, that is from a previous generation no longer relevant to current residents of modernity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire