Lawyer for OPM Disability Claims: The interrupted signature

The signature is the great identifier of a person.  It is, in some countries and cultures more than others, and even here in the United States, a feature that distinguishes, a type of rite of passage into adulthood, and in many ways a revealing characteristic.

It allows for the voluntary identification of a feature emanating from one’s own free will; an act which seals a compact; a stamp that distinguishes the person who completes the signature, from that of another; and declares to the world that this act, the signature stamp, with all of its unique swirls, crosses, dots and turnabouts, like some spinning basketball move that tells everyone else that you have arrived, is different, distinctive and peculiar to only the very individual who has picked up the pen at that moment in time and inked the singular characteristic upon a piece of paper.

Consistency in the written signature is important in establishing the uniqueness and distinctive feature; that, in and of itself, is a kind of oxymoron, is it not, when one pauses to reflect upon it?  For, to be “unique” and “singular” is to be a “one-time” event and a distinguishing peculiarity that cannot be reenacted or copied beyond the soliloquy of the act itself; and yet, for a signature to be effective, one must be able to repeat the same curves, the mimic again and again of the lines, crosses, dots, etc. of the signature hundreds of times over and thousands over a lifetime of signing one’s signature.

And then, once one has mastered the ability to sign one’s name in a unique, singular form, and be able to repeat it over and over again – have you ever notice how difficult it is to complete the interrupted signature?  It is as if the body itself is separated from the mind, and it is the hand and fingers that hold the pen that “remembers”, and not the eyes that guide or the brain that follows.  When once the flow of the signature has been interrupted, the uniqueness remember is suddenly forgotten.

It is likened to a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 medical condition intervenes and begins to interrupt, “preventing” one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position that the person has been so uniquely qualified to do for so many years.

That is the insidiousness of a medical condition.  Such an interruption, however, is much more serious – for it doesn’t merely interrupt or impede the completion of a signature, but of a career, of goals, of family financial support, and every other aspect of a person’s life.

Preparing, formulating and filing a 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 an important next step in taking up the proverbial pen and completing one’s signature.  And like the signature itself, the Federal or Postal employee need not fret about the uniqueness lost; you are still the same person, singular in every respect, whether your health has forced you to move on in life, no less than the signature that distinguishes you from all others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing 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, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Morning quietude

It is that early morning time when dogs remain still, mice scurry about and the soft snore of distant somber drifts down hallways without traffic of daily discourse.  Morning quietude is a slice of a coming day before the tumult of life begins.

Modernity possesses a level of activity heretofore untried and unimaginable; the constant barrage of emails, the connectedness that everyone feels pressured to comply with; the fact that we are glued to technology, dependent upon it, anticipating it for satisfying our every needs; and beyond the storms of everyday living, there is still a need for that brief period of morning quietude.  It is, in many ways, an extrapolated slice of a metaphorical interlude; for, like the stages of a linear life itself, there are periods of extremes that can be charted on any graph that reflects the daily heights and depths of human activity.

The other side of the spectrum, of course, is the nighttime rest – whether of the need for a period of “down-time” before turning in for the night; or even of sleep itself: how difficult, whether immediate or preceded by a period of insomnia; or even of tossing and turning throughout each night, every night.  Then, morning quietude dawns.  Does it last for very long, or will the rush of the day’s noisiness shatter any semblance of peaceful calm?

Medical conditions are likened to those mornings shaken and interrupted.  For, with unexpected rudeness, they awaken us from that slumber we feel where we were once immortal, invincible and unchallenged.  Then, one day we wake up and realize that we are all too human, and our bodies deteriorate, our minds begin to slip.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates one to begin considering 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, it is like that interruption of morning quietude that finally makes us realize that one has no choice in the matter.

Just as the peace and calm of early morning cannot last forever, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job cannot sit idly by and watch as events continue to deteriorate at one’s job, in one’s personal life, and the clash between health and work.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the next logical step after the morning quietude is broken – when the mice no longer make noises and the dogs begin to bark.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Little battles fought

It is the minor skirmishes of life that maintain the vitality of everyday existence; they are fought in preparation for the greater battles and campaigns.  That is why a ‘strategy’ is important; otherwise, taking the same hill countless times in a day leads one to wonder what the greater plan is.  For, futility and the sense of meaninglessness are what defeat any motivation to continue.  Incentives for advancement; a sense of growth and an optimism for the future; these and other values are what one fights for, engages in skirmishes, and those little battles that are fought with a worthwhile sense of gaining something.

Medical conditions, especially of a chronic kind, tend to diminish the will to fight.  They not only weaken and debilitate; they begin to eat away at any sense of accomplishment and striving for those valued goals.  It is, in the end, a sense of hope for which we all fight the little battles fought; otherwise, the major wars would fail to be worthwhile.

Medical conditions are the “unfair” factor in any war, sort of like roadside bombs planted in this new war of hit-and-run attacks.  They often come upon one slowly; and whether in a sudden, traumatic event or evidencing a slow progression of debilitation and subtle changes over a period of days and months, the insidiousness of not knowing how to battle it, of doctors telling of being patient, of medications themselves sometimes having worsening side effects that complicate, exacerbate and exponentially magnify in frequency, severity and other realms of wounds endured – these all cumulatively combine to create a sense of frustration like fighting an enemy you cannot see and will never be able to actually “fight” in the traditional sense.

That is why 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 an important step in those “little battles fought” – for, unless the little ones are taken care of, the large ones that loom ahead may not be properly engaged in.

Reorganizing priorities; focusing upon one’s health; determining the future course of relevancy; these are all part of the metaphorical battles to be fought, but for the individual who experiences the medical condition and specifically for the Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, they are no less real than the sudden devastation of a roadside bomb exploding beneath one’s Humvee.

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

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Quiet

Is “quiet” the same as silence?  Or, of lack of noise?  Is it a state of mind-body consonance, where the body can remain calm and unmoving, yet the mind remains racing with thoughts, and in that state of being, do we fool ourselves to think that the outer world will not impact the inner mind?  Or, in reverse order?

Quiet is that which we strive for, in a world where din is the normalcy of life.  Can medical conditions that betray that which we strive for be understood by those who do not experience it?

Consider Tinnitus – that condition where there is a constant “sound”, whether of ringing, hissing or clanging that disrupts any consistency of a person’s striving for quiet, and this, despite everyone else in the “objective” world being quite oblivious to the “hearing” of such sounds.  Or, of the person who is deaf or progressively losing one’s acoustic acuity – can the rest of the world understand such a state of reality?

We assume, as we operate throughout the world on a daily basis, that because others appear to act in similar ways, that their inner beings and states of minds are similarly situated.  To “think alike” is to remain comfortable; and to attain “quiet” is not just to avoid the constant rush of living, but to reach a plateau where life is consistent, predictable and somewhat boring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience the disquietude of a medical condition, where a combination of multiple factors come to the fore: Of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties; of “noises” from one’s agency, supervisors and managers of deficiencies in performance, attendance or quota goals; of being placed upon a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP); of receiving a “warning” memorandum concerning one’s use of leave, whether Sick, Annual or LWOP; of harassment even when one has invoked FMLA rights; or of the step just prior to the last one – a proposed termination, then a termination; it may be time to prepare, formulate and file 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.

“Quiet” is not just a state of how things are in one’s home; one can lose that goal of quiet by bringing home the stresses of work’s harassment and adversarial environment, and it doesn’t have to be an actual medical condition such as Tinnitus or progressive deafness – although those may also be a qualifying basis upon which to file a Federal Disability Retirement application – but multiple other medical conditions, as well, that result in the disquiet of robbing one’s quiet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: A remnant of bygone memories

Memories are funny animals; they travel and traverse endless miles of countless eternities, over fences artificially constructed and through tunnels built within the deep caverns of one’s mind; and in the end, they represent only a slice of accuracy in the whole of what really happened.

Sometimes, even after decades of being together with a “significant other”, a remnant of bygone memories erupts.  Perhaps some scent, or something someone said, or a picture that jarred and shook one’s cobwebs from the recesses of the brain occurred without a deliberative consciousness to do so; and we say, “Oh, yes, when I was six years old, I remember…”  And a remnant of bygone memories surfaces, like a corpse buried with a tombstone long forgotten behind the churchyard overgrown with weeds, and a flood rushes in and ravages the soil by erosion of natural forces and digs up the caskets rotted by time, whispers and hidden secrets.

Were they ever forgotten, and did we simply allow them to remain in a corner of closeted images? Does a truly forgotten memory ever resurface by accident, or is it by fate, destiny, karma and coincidence that at a given place in time, we are suddenly forced to relive a time period buried deep within the unconscious triggers of a soul haunted?  Do we bury memories like we do to the dead, because to not do it would mean to allow the stench of decay to fester within the sensitivities of our inner health?

Encounters with reality and the problems of the day often provoke a remnant of bygone memories; it is, in the end, the present that we must face, within a context of past wrongs committed and previous difficulties perhaps too easily avoided, that come back to haunt us.

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 duties, a remnant of bygone memories can include serious medical conditions that trigger PTSD, depressive symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks.

Are they a valid basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Yes.

Do they need validation from a medical doctor to affirm the foundation of a valid case?  Yes.

For, a remnant of bygone memories can impede and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and it is that medical nexus between human memory, job elements and psychiatric capacity that in the end creates the foundational paradigm of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, based upon a remnant of bygone memories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire