FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Fooling ourselves

It takes extraordinary intelligence to play the fool, and an even greater cleverness to fool oneself; just read a few lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the interaction between Lear and the Fool, and one realizes the extensive capacity of self-indulgence in the deception of man in his need to guard his own ego.

In fooling one’s self, does one fool others, as well?  If a person takes on a persona, lives in a fantasy world, creates an identity separate and apart, and yet becomes consumed by the double-life to the extent that he or she comes to believe one’s own creative imagination, does the fact that others who knew the person from childhood onward destroy the fool’s own universe of make-believe?

Of the old adage and Biblical admonition that prophets are never accepted in their own hometown — is this because those who know a person from early life, “know better”?

If we fool ourselves only within the contained universe of our own thoughts, and never let the fantasies “seep out” into the objective reality of other’s awareness, have we fooled ourselves?  Others?  Is living a “double-life” the same as fooling ourselves and others, or is it only when we fool those closest to us where the “double” makes a difference?

What about hiding a medical condition?  What if a person is on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medication regimens, and yet everyone else believes that person to be the envy of the world, of the very definition of “happiness” exponentially quantified, until one day that very person is committed to an intensive psychiatric hospital and it comes out that he or she is the most unhappiest of individuals — has that person fooled himself, others, or both?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, a great deal of “fooling” must go on in the interim.  You may overcompensate; you may appear to others to be “just fine”; and the tailored seams of normalcy may continue on for some time, until the wear and tear of self-deception begins to take its toll.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first honest step towards being “true to one’s self”, and like the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is the capacity of the King fooling himself, and not the honesty of the fool, that makes for the tragedy that ensues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Sound legal arguments

Arguments in general share a characteristic within the more limited field of those involving legal issues: soundness is based upon factors involving coherence, cogency, consistency and the application of the rules of propositional logic.  The latter — of propositional logic — can get lost in general arguments when they become wrapped in multiple compound statements, shouted with ardor and passion, and conveyed with a sense of unequivocal belief as to one’s “rightness” and doubtless self-righteousness.

Propositional logic within the field of legal argumentation, however, takes on a more limited and restrictive nature, for it normally is contained by the text of legal opinions and cases that have a value of precedence.  The “soundness” or its antonym — of an “unsound legal argument” — largely depends upon how much the legal practitioner will “stretch” the foundational apparatus involved: the analogical arguments used in citing legal precedents.

Future legal opinions — those evolving from the very attempts by lawyers to stretch those precedents into areas heretofore disallowed — are based upon the persuasive propositional logic argued at the appellate level, and even in the various stages of an OPM Disability Retirement case.  On an informal level, of course, one will want to cite legal precedents to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at the first two stages of the process — at the Initial Stage of the OPM Disability Retirement process, as well as the Second, “Reconsideration” Stage.

At both levels, sound legal argumentation should be employed — by “sound”, meaning that the basic and well-known legal precedents should be cited involving what constitutes meeting the burden of proof in a Federal Disability Retirement application; what meets the legal requirements of an “accommodation”; the importance of medical evidence and the criteria that must be applied in assessing and evaluating the content and substance of the medical evidence presented; as well as the foundational basis of “sound” legal cases which delineate, in a persuasive manner, the compendium of evidentiary documentation which comprises one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

At the “Third Level” of the process, of course — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (or more familiarly known as the “MSPB”) — one must take extra care in presenting sound legal arguments, because there, an Administrative Law Judge will be attuned to the “stretching” and “extension-attempting” arguments that citation of legal precedents may pose, and the “soundness” of one’s knowledge of “the law” is often a prerequisite in even trying to make one’s case before such an Administrative Law Judge.

For, in the end, sound legal arguments are not too dissimilar from arguments sound or unsound in general; they just require an extra component of legal training allowed that involves the proper and effective use and application of arguments by analogy based upon case-law precedents.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Verbosity

The word itself has an effective resonance — similar in tone and texture to “grandiloquence”, which implies a flourish of rhetorical verbosity; and if one were to combine the two, as in the sentence, “He spoke with verbose grandiloquence,” one need not say anything more about the subject, but the statement says it all.

Verbosity does not necessarily carry a negative connotation, for excessive use of words does not logically entail ineffectiveness.  For instance, if one is attempting to kill time for a greater purpose (e.g., a lecture to the entire police department personnel while one’s co-conspirators are robbing a bank), being verbose (and while at the same time, being grandiloquent) may have a positive benefit.

On the other hand, being either verbose or grandiloquent which results in providing too much peripheral information, or information which may ultimate harm the essence of one’s foundational purpose, may in fact lead to unintended negative consequences.

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must of course engage in the narrative prose — through medical reports and records; through crafting and submitting one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  In the course of the narrative statement of one’s disability, it is often the case that Federal and Postal Workers will tend to be “verbose”. But purposeful verbosity is the key.

Choose the words carefully.  And make sure that, if along the way, you are also being grandiloquent, try not to be bombastic at the same time.  Imagine that sentence:  “He spoke with a bombastic, verbose grandiloquence.” That says everything.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGil, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement: Obligation through Declaration

It is through the vehicle of the declarative statement that obligations are created.  Thus, when one states:  “I promise…”; “I will…”; “You can count on me…”; and other similar declarations of intent, then the connection between the speaker and the one to whom it is stated, is immediately created, such that a binding sense of mandatory indebtedness is established.

In many ways, then, it is through the spoken word, arranged in a pre-established sequence of grammatical form, which constitutes something beyond a mere folly of ideas, but binds an obligation of intentionality.

That is why talking “about” something is often the first step towards doing it.  Of course, words alone can result in a continuum of inaction, and the more words which are spoken by an individual, without any follow-up as a consequence, can undermine the very force of those initial linguistic hints, until the day comes when those around simply mutter, “He’s been saying that for years…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties of the Federal or Postal job, the consideration for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will normally take those initial, communicative steps of inquiry:  first, with one’s family; next, with some research and thought; and further, some outreach to someone who has knowledge about the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Mere talking and gathering of information does not create an obligation of an irreversible nature; but when one moves from declarative statements devoid of future contingency (“I plan on filing…”) to one of present involvement of intent (“I am in the process of…”), then the step from mere words to activity of production has been established, and the Federal or Postal worker is then well on his/her way towards securing one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmative Steps

Procrastination is the bane of progress; by delaying and kicking the proverbial can down the road, the chances of decreasing one’s odds of accomplishment become magnified exponentially.  What is the reasoning behind inaction and inertia?

Human life must by necessity involve movement and progress; for, unlike other species who find the immediacy of satisfaction and gratification to be the basis of existential justification, we bring to the fore the coalescence of one’s memory of where we came from; a future hope of where we want to go; and in combing the two, a greater purpose of teleological rationality within the context of the here and now.  But that which provides the foundation of uniqueness, can conversely be the lynchpin of destruction.

Self-justifying language games of self-immolation; we can construct strings of logically valid reasonings based upon convoluted cacophonies of orchestrated mutterings.  But that which appears reasonable is not always valid; and as validity constitutes the systemic structure of logic, so that which may reveal itself as sound uttering may merely be a whining whisper of a mad man’s meanderings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, the reasons for not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits are wide, varied, and often complex.  “This job has been my life for so long” (understandable, but change is often an inevitable feature of life); “Maybe my agency can accommodate me” (unlikely); “I am hoping to get better” (yes, but in the meantime, what is your agency planning to do?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a big and dramatic step.  But for the Federal and Postal worker who cannot perform at least one, if not more than one, of the essential elements of one’s positionally-determined duties, it is time to consider taking some affirmative steps in a direction which one often knows to be true, but where procrastination is the path of least resistance.

And, yes, to err is human, but at what cost, and where does human history reveal that delay results in a successful outcome?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire