Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The light in someone else’s home

Walking the dog out past dusk, or perhaps standing in the backyard after the sun sets; or, in an apartment complex looking out beyond; a light turns on in someone else’s home; we wonder, who is it, what are they like, and how different are they?  Do others, upon seeing the light switched on in your home, wonder at the owner — the possessor of the finger that flicked the contraption that illuminated the room and altered it from darkness into a visually acute arena of human activity?

Why do we spend so much time pondering about alien lives in other worlds, in faraway universes beyond our very own, when scant little attention is paid to knowing about our next door neighbor?

Some would give a quick scoff at such a thought and quip, “If only you knew my next door neighbor — you wouldn’t want to know!”  And yet, it is always the one that is “just beyond” that attracts our attention — not the person sitting next to you on a train, or the woman with three screaming children on public transportation; rather, it is the unseen stranger who flicked on the light switch afar, whom we cannot see but by shadows that pass behind the blinds that veil; that is the person who sparks an imagination that there are other lives, other ways to live, and who remind us that the light in someone else’s home means that there are other ways of seeing things, living life and having different opinions, goals, dreams and conversations.

The objectivization of other human beings is the basis by which murders are committed, wars are justified and slogans are written; it is only when the warmth of a light that suddenly illuminates the darkness that prevailed begins to permeate one’s consciousness of what it all means, is when human empathy and compassion begins to form.

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, the light in someone else’s home is the one left unlit, and that is often why the harassment begins, the coworkers remain uncaring and the agency seems oblivious to your deteriorating health.

It often seems as if the world cares not; that, despite your years of loyalty shown, late-nights expended to complete an important agency project, or staying beyond the hours to finish the sorting, distribution and delivery — now it is supposed to be someone else’s turn to switch on the light and carry forth the mission.

Preparing 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 be the only option left.  Whatever the conditions, it is no longer the light in someone else’s home that should be of concern, but the darkness left in your own that needs to change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Medical Incapacity: Tranquility times turmoil equals?

Alliterations often require deliberate disentanglement; for, the focus is often upon the consonant being repeated, as opposed to the coherence of the alliterated sequence of words.  Both can be attained, however – of coherence and of repetition without incomprehensible aggregation, and in this instance, the multiplying effect of the calm of one’s life by events beyond one’s control can easily result in turmoil that was never requested, never desired and remained always unasked and unrequested.

Tranquility x turmoil is the idea that we fail to enjoy the relative calm in our lives because of the anxiousness of knowing that all good things cannot last for long, and must come to an inevitable end, no matter how hard we try to remain the solitary stoic in life, regardless of the hermitage we seek and irrespective of the complications we shed in order to attain a Zen-monk-like livelihood.

That is when, for instance, a medical condition hits us and the complexities of the life we attempted to avoid come to the fore and become all the more magnified, times 10 in an exponential ferocity that we simply cannot ignore.  True tranquility, however, requires the ability and capacity to keep all things in perspective, and to resist the temptation to allow for the turmoil to overwhelm us.  Keeping in mind that the concept itself can never be reduced to a mere mathematical equation, the question then becomes: What is the multiplicand, the multiplier, and finally, the product?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s job, it is when the monotony of daily living (tranquility) becomes interrupted by the medical condition itself (turmoil), that the product of decision-making is forced upon one’s life.

There are multiple options, and none of them are very satisfying: The Federal or Postal employee may just endure and continue on “as if”; the Federal or Postal employee may get terminated or sanctioned because of excessive usage of leave, whether of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP, or a combination of all three; the Federal or Postal employee may ultimately believe that resignation from Federal employment is the only option left; or, the Federal or Postal employee may recognize that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the most viable conclusion to a mathematical equation that one never expected to have to calculate.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last stands

Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians.  Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.

It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public.  We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee.  Or, is it the “last straw”?  Is there a difference between the two?  The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice.  But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.

Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents.  It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived.  Yet, Federal and Postal employees 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 job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.

But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Bugs

Some are systematically exterminated; others, kept by organic farmers for their predatory advantages, including killing others; and still others are quickly brushed off as pesky little creatures not necessarily bothersome in numbers or even in appearance, but because “bugs” are simply not tolerated in an antiseptic universe where good order and neatness cannot include the appearance of a creature that may do nothing but crawl, creep and fly about in the open space of a garden, within a house or along the fence posts.

They have become a generic “catch-all” phrase that includes anything that moves about that is smaller than a rodent and larger than a speck of dust.  We have, additionally, transferred the sense of anathema in a more metaphorical manner, as in “bugs” in computers or in other appliances that fail to work properly, as if the living bugs in the universe are equated with those imaginary deficiencies of human technological innovation.  Then, there is the phrase, of course, of being worried about something, or having something bother one’s thoughts and invading the peace of one’s mind, as in the question, “What’s bugging you?”

We attribute and project from experiences we have had, and by analogy and metaphor transmit reputations that may never be deservedly ascribed.  Bugs are, in the end, creatures that are avoided, entities that have a reputation encompassing something less than desirable, and for the most part, have become a focus for instincts to exterminate, no matter that they are environmentally positive and have contributed to the balance of nature for endless ages.  And yet, we squash them without a second thought, brush them aside and swat at them to rid them from this universe.

They are, in many respects, tantamount to a microcosmic manner in which some people treat other and fellow human beings.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very concept of the “bug” applies in so many small and almost insignificant ways, but we just don’t realize it.  Has it “bugged” you that the Federal Agency or Postal facility mistreats you because of your medical condition?  Are you considered now as nothing more than a pesky “bug” that irritates, and does the Agency wish to treat you as nothing more than a “bug” to be squashed if given half the opportunity?

Yet, despite having contributed to the mission of the Agency or the work of the Postal Service for all of these many years, just like the bugs that have made the environment better throughout, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition is considered expendable.  It may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Preponderance of the Evidence

It is the legal standard by which civil (non-criminal) adjudications are based upon, and whether or not it can be rationally demarcated as against other standards – i.e., “Clear and convincing evidence” or “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” is a question for legal theorists and the schools rendered under the general aegis of, “The Philosophy of Law” – is a valid question in and of itself.

For, we can dress prettily and puff up the definition of what it all means, and bifurcate and explain how the three standards are distinct and differentiated by the increasing severity of the criteria to be applied, but in the end, the juror who goes back into the room to consider the guilt or innocence, the fault or apportioned negligence, is entirely subjective.

For, is there a clear demarcation as to what “reasonable” is?  Can one delineate what is “clear” to one and “convincing” to another?  If a witness has perfect recall and a persuasive manner of telling a “story”, if one juror blurts out, “Oh, but his eye twitched and he was clearly lying through his teeth!” – what then?  And the concept that one side has a “preponderance of the evidence”, or to put it in different but equally confusing terms like “more likely than not” or “the greater weight of truth” – what do all of these analogies and metaphors mean, in the end?

Surely, there are the “easy” cases – an entire football stadium who saw a man shoot another, and the assailant who confesses to the murder; these, we can say are “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but even then, a single juror who has a beef against societal constrains can “nullify” a verdict by holding out.  So, what is the answer (or, for some who are still confused, “what is the question”)?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are entering the legal arena of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the expectation, of course, is that the OPM Medical Retirement application will be approved at the first or second stages of the process – i.e., at the Initial Stage of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, or at the “Reconsideration Stage” of the process after an initial denial.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee must – and should – consider the Third Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, which involves an Administrative Judge before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  That is when the legal standard of “Preponderance of the Evidence” will ultimately become relevant and operative, and where the evidence gathered and the amalgamation of arguments proffered becomes a basis for testing the validity of legal standards and the meaningful application of the law, evidence, and statutory interpretations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire