Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Traps and landmines

They are not just set on the roadsides of war zones or in public squares where the greatest damage can be projected; for, by analogy, they are in existence as metaphors of human deviancy and evil intents. Traps are deliberately set with motives and intentions to capture; landmines and other devices are put in place to maim, injure or kill.

Then, of course, there are analogies used and metaphors employed — of legal traps and linguistic landmines; of contracts that “hide” language in miniature fonts that are designed by clever lawyers to mislead and draw into a cobweb of entanglements meant to enclose, corner and — like traps and landmines — either to capture or to destroy.  Linguistic landmines and traps are the ones we encounter more often than the ones in war zones.

In other countries, in far away places where we see reporters “embedded” and whispering in hushed tones of urgency to give us a sense of danger and exotic misadventures, we get a sense of what real traps and landmines are all about.  But in this country, within our universe of relative calm and peace but for the periodic tumults of tragedies in the next city, the farther town or that “big city” out there — in such relative calm, it is usually just a casual trap of language or a landmine of a metaphorical sort.

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 applicant for Federal Disability Retirement must be cautious and wary of the legal and linguistic landmines and traps in the very preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement Application.

Those innocent-looking forms, such as SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — while they do not pose the same danger as a mousetrap to a mouse or a landmine to a wandering child on foreign soil — nevertheless, they can become problematic unless you are aware of the dangers posed, much like those traps and landmines we hopefully will never encounter in war zones and conflicts afar, in a metaphorical sense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Psychiatric or Physical Incapacity: One among many

Does it tell us anything that we recognize that we are merely one among many?  Does such an awareness actually add anything to one’s conscious life, or is it just another one of those pithy egotistical “self-realization” statements that purports to sound profound but adds little, if anything, to any existential intuition beyond the words themselves?

Does a lone dog pampered by its owner have a similar awareness when it is taken for a walk, encounters other dogs or sees rabbits scurrying across the suburban landscape?  Does it pause and reflect: I am merely one among many?  Is language a prerequisite to conscious awareness of one’s place in the universe, or is the mere fact of existence enough to bring about an instinctive realization of the same relevance?

To be “one among many” certainly brings about a certain perspective, does it not — perhaps of one’s significance or irrelevance; that each has a burden or part to play, but is not necessarily responsible for the entirety of the problems encountered; and perhaps even of a sense of community or sharing-ness, that one is merely one cog in a complex multitude of wheels spinning about in a universe that is often impervious and uncaring?

Medical conditions, however, have a way of destroying even that perspective, in that it makes loners of us all.  When a medical condition hits, it leaves one with a profound sense of isolation, where one begins to think and believe that no one else in the universe experiences the pain, tumult, angst and loss of joy, and that the one suffering from the medical condition is all alone in the universe.  To that extent, the statement that one is “one among many” helps to remind one that, No, others too have gone through similar trials and circumstances, and such suffering is not unique in this 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 employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to recognize that while each person’s condition is unique, it is also shared by many others.

Federal Disability Retirement itself is a recognition that the frailty of the human condition must sometimes allow for an end to a career, but that further, productivity in some other career or vocation is still possible.

Federal employees and Postal workers are one among many, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to share the burden of self-realization that while your medical condition may indeed be unique to you, you are not alone in the need to change direction and move on into another and more promising future where the one among many may be many more than you first thought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: That voice within

Whose voice is debating within the insular corridors of the otherwise silent individual?  Which one is the dominant voice, and how does one determine if that particular voice should be the one which attains such a prominent status and stature within the cauldron of one’s own thoughts?

We assume, of course, that when we are pondering within the insularity of our own thoughts, that the voice which speaks within is our own voice; but is it necessarily so?  Yes, yes — the traditional concept of “madness” will begin to encroach, of strange voices which begin to invade and intrude, and where schizophrenia is considered the likely explanation whenever “other” voices are considered.

But that is not what is necessarily the case.  It may be that the voice within is simply a regurgitation from a memory stored long ago — perhaps of one’s parents; a friend; an old school chum; a brother, sister or a cousin; and it is retrieved as an amalgamation of many others, besides.  More importantly, who determines the validity of what is being said, the subject of debate and the substance of the winning argument?

The danger of a soliloquy is that the lone figure who tries to figure things out on his or her own may not have all of the facts or information at hand which can lead to the right decision being made.  An unheard conversation undertaken and engaged by a singular voice may be no discussion at all; it may merely be a wrong-headed delineation based upon errors in fact and missteps in logical analysis.  That is why it is important to consult a person who specializes in a field and is knowledgeable at the outset, so that the facts gathered and the analysis conducted are sound methodologies based upon superior analytical insights and resulting in expert advice.

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, it is important to gather the necessary and pertinent facts about the entire process, the known administrative facets and pitfalls, etc., so that a superior decision can be reached in 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, so that the voice within will avoid the mistake of listening to too many voices without which may lead him or her down the false paths of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Coherent Life

Coherence fails to take into the account the unexpected; moreover, a linear, systematic unfolding of events is rarely the rule, but rather the exception.  Look at nature and the traumatic tumult which follows daily — of predators and pendulums swinging between life and death, and the instability of future courses yet to be determined.

What do we make of it all?  Kant would posit that we bring to the objective world structural viewpoints in order to bring order into a chaotic world; but is rationality seen from within of any greater coherence than a world unfettered by human perspective?  Life, and more importantly for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, medical conditions and the unfolding of how a medical condition is approached, treated, proven and described, often betrays a lack of coherence in the very attempt of proving its impact upon one’s life.

Lack of linear unfolding does not necessarily defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Sometimes, we have to provide an exposition and explain the circumstances which resulted in the mayhem of confusion and the scattering of rationality.  And if you think that doctors and treatment modalities follow a systematic approach to cure and rehabilitate, you might want to rethink that view that precision of medicine as a science, as opposed to being an admixture of art and wisdom gained from experience.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, it would be nice to have the sequential ordering of coherence, in a fashion of:  A medical condition; exhaustive treatment; a clean end-point where no further medical improvement can be attained; a doctor who will be supportive in the process; a “wowing” medical narrative written with little or no solicitation; finalizing, submission and approval by OPM.

Somehow, however, the sequencing of life never quite matches to such a paradigm, and we are left with coordinating that Kantian approach of imposing what we can, where we are able to, and when we have the capacity and ability.  The coherence of life reflects a parallel universe of the circumstances which we must embrace; and, in the end, we must just deal with that which we are given, and do the best in making coherent an incoherent universe of facts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire