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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The compelling reason

What makes a “reason” to do something “compelling”, as opposed to voluntary or optional?  Is it when the choices given are no longer existent and one must by necessity or default act — not out of choice but by being forced to?  Is it the unwillingness of the individual that defines the act, or the lack of alternatives remaining that determines the defined moment?

Or, perhaps it is a “feeling” of involuntariness that justifies the declaration that there was a “compelling reason” to do X or Y, which would create an oxymoron of sorts, to breathe the utterance of “feeling” alongside “reason” in the same sentence.  Is there ever a compelling reason to do or to say something, or is it all voluntarily undertaken, just some acts or declaratives taken with better reasons than others?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of oner’s Federal or Postal job, is there ever a compelling reason to inform the agency prior to a submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application that one has an “intention” to do so?

If the Federal or Postal employee is under pressure because he or she has already exhausted all SL and AL, and has used up the weeks of FMLA that have garnered some semblance of protection, is it a good idea to inform one’s Federal Agency or the Postmaster of one’s facility that you are gathering the necessary information to prepare a Federal Disability Retirement application?

The general rule in such matters is: Unless there is a compelling reason, Don’t.  However, each individual case is different, and unique and particularized circumstances may well define what the “compelling reason” is — as to whether it is indeed “compelling”, or even a good enough “reason”, as opposed to a “feeling” that one possesses.

In the end, the compelling reason is the one that is made without alternatives to consider; but alternatives are the reason why you should consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, precisely in order to consider those options which you may not even be aware of.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step in preparing, formulating and 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, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement: The X Factor

In algebraic equations, it is that unknown variable which remains elusive and concealed, and which must be figured out in order to arrive at the conclusion.  We love those teachers who inform us that “credit” will be “given” for work shown, and that it is not so important to come up with the answer as opposed to the methodology manifested in reaching it.

And so we devised a complex network of signs and symbols, hoping that they concealed the ignorance of our unlearned lack of wisdom.  But the fact remains that leaving the factor unexplained and unfulfilled is like turning one’s back upon a helpless puppy abandoned in the middle of a busy freeway; somehow, the hollowness of leaving behind haunts one with a sense of incompleteness, like the puzzle with a missing piece.

These vestiges of psychological appendages, like damaging mollusks on the underbelly of a drifting boat, remain long after the effort to solve the equation is abandoned; for, in life, we think that all variables have an answer, if only we had listened carefully in the classes we skipped or during which we daydreamed and slept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to seriously impact one’s ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements (or “essential elements”) described, the thought of abandonment through resignation or termination leaves that same taste of dismay and fear, like the residue of pine-goo on the palm of one’s hand.

The “other” option — which constitutes the solution of the X-factor — is 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.   While not widely advertised, OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is offered when a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to, because of a medical condition, perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, instead of remaining static in a state of utter frustration, attempting like those childhood years of yore when scratching one’s head, peeking over surreptitiously at the blank paper on the next desk, or looking with wonderment at the ceiling above as if the gods of information will reveal the answer through the illuminating fluorescence of those linear tubes, the Federal or Postal employee has the ultimate solution for the X-factor within grasp:  preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: From Whence We Came

It is often quipped that the advantage of human psychology is in our short memories; otherwise, we would walk around with greater angst than we deserve.  The accomplishments achieved; the accolades left unstated; perhaps in menial tasks or ones of recognized significance; but in any event, a career, all told, which spans a decade or more, will always have a sense of achievement, if only for the steadfastness of commitment itself.

In this day and age, where millennials change jobs as often as infants of diapers, the career of a Federal or Postal worker which spans multiple decades is an anomaly itself.  Whether the goal was to make that 30 years, or simply because the Federal or Postal employee liked what he or she was doing, matters not.  Commitment in and of itself is an achievement.  Thus, when a Federal employee’s or a U.S. Postal worker’s career is cut short because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates the 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, the regrets foretold or the dismay of a career cut short, should always be replaced with memories from whence we came.

Staying with a Federal or Postal job for so many years reveals a steadfastness of purpose; but where priorities intersect and interrupt, especially when it comes to one’s health and future security, filing for OPM Medical Retirement benefits is meant to salvage such a Federal career by allowing for an annuity to stabilize one’s future, and to consider taking that experience one has amassed into the private sector for a possible second vocation.

Memories; they are funny animals; and for humans, allows for visualization and imagination from whence we came.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Trinkets We Hold Dear

If value of item determines retention of possession, then few trinkets would survive the test of economic viability; but a quick perusal of one’s home will often discover large caches of sentimental liabilities strewn throughout.  What determines value, then?  Is it the monetization of an item?  Or perhaps the psychological attachment, combined with the economic forces in capitalism of supply and demand?

Real estate values soar and plummet daily, and when one considers the “high end” fluctuations where market reductions may comprise differences in the millions, one wonders about “true value” and “false valuations” of goods and services whether small or large.  If you go through your house and begin to account for the trinkets we have amassed, is it because of the monetary value attached that we continue to retain it, or the memories and golden threads of psychological ties which bind?  Is it not often the same with other issues in one’s life — of even friendships, pets and jobs?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the question one needs to ask at the outset is:  Why are we holding onto this trinket for dear life?  Is it really worth it?  At what cost?  What are the ties that bind?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is always a traumatic event; for, it is a dramatic change, often within a context of caustic and hostile circumstances.  But to remain is rarely an option; to walk away with nothing is not a wise one; so, one is often left with the best alternative possible:  to prepare, formulate and 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.

And like the trinket which holds one bound to memories of yore unblemished in their reflective delights of past warmth, they remain so, like the pitter-patter of a soft summer day’s cloudburst, stopping only to reveal the misty haze of a childhood dream.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire