FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The power of words

The extraordinary nature of such conceptual constructs cannot be long or seriously refuted.  Whatever the anthropological origins of them; of the efficacy based upon quantity as opposed to quality; of whether some societies that lack the nuance of inflection, meaning or inherent force; and however they developed over time, incrementally building into greater heights of tenor, tone or tempestuous triggers of emotional upheavals —one cannot deny the power of words.

Words convey meaning, direction, instruction; touch emotions when utilized with sensitivity and care; and trigger images so powerful that they can break down the most stoic among us, and convey persuasion such that minds can be changed, actions can be reversed and lives can be altered.

One cannot say of them, “Oh, they’re just a bunch of words” and believe them without recognizing the times when a 911 call helped to save a life because of the calm “words” of the dispatcher, or of the marriage vow that cemented and elevated the mere utterances into a lifetime of fidelity; or of the baby’s first formations beyond the gurgling sounds emitted that identifies comprehension beyond an appetitive nature.

The power of words can uplift, denounce, alter the course of history and damage a young psyche beyond repair.  The power of words can persuade, explain, instruct and describe, of the beauty of a sunrise beyond the meadows where butterflies float and flowers begin to disclose the radiance of the morning dew-droplets in the chasm of a waking mind, or of the sunset where sunlight is replaced by shadows within the hearts of young lovers projecting what the future might yet bring, yet contented in the embrace of warmth and merriment.

It is by words that civilizations rise and fall, and by which man is elevated above the apes, but yet remain just below the angels; and it is the power of words that brought us Shakespeare, Milton, Faulkner and Hemingway, and the quiet subtlety of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s politeness of society.  Then, by contrast, there is life itself.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this contrast is known and appreciated.  Medical conditions betray the limitations of words; for, how can “pain” be adequately described?  What good is a “diagnosis” beyond that which cannot be cured?  How can one utilize the “power of words” to describe the despondency of Major Depression?  And more to the point: How can one adequately convey by the power of words, the impact perpetrated by the medical condition upon the essential elements of one’s job?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, remember always that there is a wide chasm between “having a medical condition” and being able to persuade OPM that the medical condition prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your job.

And such persuasion, ultimately, is accomplished through the power of words.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Simplifying the Complexity of a Case

Have you ever had a technical person explain things in the mysterious jargon of his or her specialized field?  Or, the one who breaks it down into coherent components and translates it into a language game which is comprehensible?

Those in the former category are usually quite impressed with themselves, and are happy to hear the sound of their own voices as the supposed explanatory interlude maintains a semblance of technical competence superior to the audience of targeted turmoil.

The latter populace does what few have come to recognize:  competence is not determined by mere superiority of technical knowledge, but the ability and capacity to apply the knowledge, reduce it to its simplified contents, then provide an explanatory foundation through reduction of complexities into manageable form.  Otherwise, the esoteric nature of any discipline will be governed by every schmoe who can master the language game, without actually acquiring the technical expertise in the application of select knowledge.  For, in the end, the test of sincerity of words is not a compounding of further words, but of actions following up with a revealed understanding of both what was said, as well as done, in any given context.

Similarly, the fact that the salesman can talk the lingo of technology does not mean that he or she can fix a broken computer; it just means that the salesmanship is a learned volume of nice-sounding paragraphs.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the entrance into the universe of Federal Disability Retirement may be an option which must be entertained.  It is a surreal world of new terms, technical contents and definitional strangeness which constitutes a complexity beyond mere words, simply because the consequence of decisions made today will impact choices governed by tomorrow.

Can the complexity of the Federal Disability Retirement process be simplified such that comprehension of the bureaucratic procedures can be understood for its administrative context in the importance of both process and substance of content?  Because Federal Disability Retirement involves statutes, regulations and court case-laws of precedence from previous cases challenging various aspects of the process and substantive issues, the complexity of the entire venue is based upon the cumulative aggregate of decades in the making.  But of that larger universe of process and procedures, what splinter and slice is actually relevant to one’s particular case?  Probably a very small portion.  That is the focus which should be taken.

When one enters an arena of mystery, it is difficult to determine the relevance within the context; and relevance requires selective content and re-creating of one’s own context.  For Federal and Postal employees who need to file 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, the importance of simplifying the complexity of one’s own case should be governed by information, knowledge, and selective application of relevance and required completion of necessary content.

Try this for a change, as a test of the principle of knowledge and application:  enter one of those chain-gadget stores and hand the know-it-all salesman a gadget needing repair, and see the language game of competence turn to a stuttering paragraph of excuses and explanations about how the complexity of the component is simplified by the simple justification:  Not my Department.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Life We Perceive

The state of having an epistemological privilege in the first-person singular, means that we occupy a unique position of knowledge, cognition, perception and viewpoint.  Concurrently, however, we must recognize and acknowledge that others have a similarly extraordinary vantage point, and that no matter how hard we may try, we will never truly understand the depth and complexity of the “others” who surround us, whom we encounter, and who pass by our field of vision in the greater context of life’s coincidences and happenstance meetings.

That we may never be able to fully understand another human being is not a sin; that we fail to care to at any given moment, is merely a fault; but that we callously disregard despite indicators of greater suffering and turmoil so evident that the trembling whispers of human frailty touch upon tears of sorrow, shows a misuse of that unique position of epistemological privilege.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal job, the impact is such that one must often consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus to end early one’s chosen career in the Federal sector.

One would expect, despite the unique position of epistemological privilege which everyone occupies, that some semblance of empathy or caring could, or should, be expected.  Instead, the Federal or Postal employee in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits often encounters greater resistance and bureaucratic turmoil than statistically experienced in other similar administrative endeavors; and can this be attributed to mere mathematical calculus of acceptable differentials?

It is doubtful, because it is precisely in the recognition that perversity of intent is also found uniquely in the human animal, and even in cases of suffering and trauma, when medical conditions clearly present to the life we perceive a state of grief greater than simple sympathy, but beyond pain, suffering and turmoil of body and mind; even then, the complexities of jealousy, envy, spite and cruelty, overwhelms the soul who knows not the inner depths of depravity within the human makeup.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire