OPM Disability Retirement: When we were very young

It triggers an image, does it not?  Of teddy bears and honey buckets; of an innocent time before the concerns of adulthood?  It is not until the 38th poem in the original book that Pooh is introduced to us; and how pervasive he remains in the consciousness of childhood’s delights.  It evokes memories even where there are none, of a time awash in innocence, of happier days when the concerns of the world had yet to touch us, and when the biggest trouble to consider was to be stung by a bee for raiding their honey.

“When we were very young” — and what comes after?  Is the next line a description of brightness and joy, or of a history better left in closet where skeletons lay quietly in crumpled heaps of tinkering pasts?  When did youth end — at the encounter with the harshness of the adult’s life when worries about tomorrow began to invade the carefree innocence of yesterday’s moonlit caverns of laughter and delight?  Is the phrase, “When we were very young,” the beginning of a sentence that provokes such delight, or the end of a paragraph that is left as the last page to a tragic novel?  As in: This bad memory and that tragedy-better-left-forgotten, but of course that was all when we were very young.

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 bifurcation of life often begins and ends with the medical condition itself.  For, “before” the medical condition, there was productivity, a future ahead and the past to delight in; and “after” the medical condition, there appears only misery and problems.  It is like the division which is prompted by the clause, “When we were very young” — only, with a medical condition, nothing that follows can delight the senses.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the necessary next sentence that must follow, and while Christopher Robin may still remain in the joyful memories of our past, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is best left to an experienced attorney, lest the raided cupboard full of honey leads to legal problems down the road when dealing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Telling a Tale

We all have one to tell; it is the telling of it that becomes the question, and not the answer.  The tale itself is the unspoken journey of one’s life, until the telling of it leaves it spoken and revealed; but until the tale is told, the un-telling of it leaves a silence within a cavern of echoes where memories flourish but the story remains unfinished.

Why do famous people hire ghost writers to tell the tale of glamorous lives yet untold?  Is it because their own telling would fade the sheen of glory in the very telling of it — like a monotone in a soliloquy where heads begin to nod off into a slumber of boredom because the very telling of the tale failed to be the vehicle and vessel of excitement and adventure?

Why are some Olympians able to “cash in” on commercial endorsements, while others cannot seem to form or articulate a single sentence of coherent authenticity?

That is the real “rub”, isn’t it — of being “authentic” in the telling of a tale?

What if a former president (who will remain unnamed) whose sexual exploits in the various rooms of the White House (isn’t that giving too much of a hint?) were to tell a tale of moral uprightness and gave a lecture about the importance of fidelity to marriage, self-control of one’s desires, etc. — would it “sound” authentic, and does the person who tells the tale make a difference in determining the truth or validity of the tale?

Does it matter, in an audio-book (which is apparently becoming more and more popular these days, where reading is waning and people no longer have the time nor the interest to lug around great works of literature, leaving aside the actual reading of them) — say, an autobiography — whether the author him/herself reads it, or whether a “famous voice” does the reading?

Can an autobiography of a president be read by a comedian who is good at mimicking the actual voice, and does it add, detract or make no difference who tells the tale, even if the “telling” person is different from the actual person who told the tale?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the telling of one’s tale is necessarily prompted by SF 3112AApplicant’s Statement of Disability — and it is important that the “voice” which tells the tale is both authentic and persuasive.

It is perhaps the single most important component of the Federal Disability Retirement application, and you might want to consider getting the guidance, counsel and experience of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest the telling of your tale concerning the progressive deterioration of your health “sounds” less than persuasive.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Cherishing moments

In the end, isn’t that all that we have?  We like to speak in terms of vast, grandiose expanses of time, where we create plans that span a lifetime, or refer to wide swaths of historical periods as if we have any conception at all about time, segments of memories or even of the memories already forgotten.  Old men and women reflect back and regret the time lost; middle-aged people who are caught up in the race to make up for lost time, continue on the treadmill that never seems to lessen; and the young — they just race through it as if there is no tomorrow.

Cherishing moments — how does one do that in a fast-paced world of technological amplification where everything moves at a hare’s pace when the yearning is for the tortoise’s calm?  Life comes at us with a fury and an unrelenting torrent of rain and winds; and when we try and raise the umbrella or walk at an angle to counter the ferociousness, we merely get left behind.

How is it that “memories” become more significant and important in our lives than the actual “living” of an episodic slice of our daily existential encounters?  At what point does one take precedence over the other?  Is there an imbalance of disproportionality that occurs — as in, spending more time “remembering” as opposed to “living”?  Is a person who watches the same move over and over, day after day, any different from the one who constantly daydreams about a moment in his or her life, over and over again, repetitively in a lost morass of memories unrepentantly consumed? What is the proper balance and mixture — somewhat like a recipe for a homemade pie or a birthday cake — between the ingredient of cherishing moments and the reality of daily living?

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the problem with cherishing moments — any moments — is that the impediment of the medical condition itself will not allow for any enjoyment at all, whether of memories remembered or of life to be lived.  That is when you know that there is a disequilibrium that needs to be corrected.

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, may be the first, albeit tentative step, towards attaining a level of normalcy where cherishing moments is a choice to be taken, and not as a regretful nightmare uncontrollable in the restless dreams of a forsaken career.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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