OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

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, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: The warmth of a thought

Does it even make sense to cross over between tactile-based sensations and conceptual transmissions?  We’ve heard variations of that muddle — of how a thought brings warmth to one’s body; meaning, thereby, that there is a causal connection between a thought and a subsequent sensation, as in, “I was sitting there one evening thinking about my childhood, sitting on my grandfather’s lap when a secure feeling of warmth overcame me”.

In such an instance, we realize the cause-and-effect consequences at play — of a thought that leads to a sensation, where mind-to-body interaction is “proven” by the symbiotic relationships and coherence of and between the two.

David Hume, ever the doubter and cynic, would likely have argued (beyond a mere declaration of dismissiveness in saying, “Bosh!” with a distinctive Scottish accent) that no necessary connection between the thought and the sensation has occurred, any more than the sequence of one following upon another.  Yet, we all believe that there is some sort of a connection, whether directly causal or otherwise.

Thus do we accept the descriptive custom when a mystery write speaks about the “cold chill” that ran up the victim’s spine just before the killer put his hands around the woman’s throat — a clear indication that observation following upon a thought resulted in a tactile sensation.  But the subtle distinction made here — not of a thought that brings about a sensation, but the “warmth of a thought”, is a somewhat slight variation of the causal connection.  Not that the thought itself links to a consequential sensation, or that there is a causal linkage between thought and tactile phenomena, but that the two are one and the same — of the very sensation within, of and encasing and encapsulating the thought itself.

In other words, the thought itself is the warmth, and the warmth is the thought, such that the “of” is not a causal consequence brought about by a sequence of X-following-upon-Y, but the space between concept and sensation doesn’t even exist.  It is somewhat like the difference between the following 2 sentences: “The discontent in winter” and “The winter of discontent”.  Is there a distinction with a difference?

Linguistic subtleties abound only within the ivory towers of academicians; for the rest of us, such separateness of meanings rarely impact with significance or relevance (ah, now that is the rub, isn’t it — to argue over the difference between “significance” and “relevance”?).  The warmth of a thought — can the tactile sensation be separated from the conceptual construct?

It is like the medical condition that a Federal or Postal employee suffers from — the one (or many such ones) that begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Can the medical condition itself ever be separated from the life that one lives?

Others talk about “it” as if the “it” (the medical condition) is some other entity or stranger, but for the suffering Federal or Postal employee, the “it” is part and parcel of the life itself.  That is why, for a Federal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to be clear, elucidating and coherent in writing up one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A when making one’s “case” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to approve a Federal Disability Retirement Application — for, when the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from a medical condition and is in need of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the warmth of a thought is the same as the suffering felt and the anxiety one is left with for a future yet uncertain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The script of life

Seeking out the pathways of precognition by consulting with the ancient oracles, was merely that same attempt.  Prediction and foreknowledge were the precursors of script writing; as the former failed to provide an advantageous statistical weighting, so the shift to a more pragmatic approach reflects the recognition that the gods provided no greater insight than mere chance, and so we’d better get on with life and attempt to control fate, destiny and the travesties of life’s lottery by writing the narrative ourselves.

Thus do economic systems of varying control mechanisms arise, where socialism and fascism, state-run artifices constructed to ensure prevention of extremes, thereby comforting us from the worst nightmares and fears born of childhood insecurities.

Virtual reality is safer than real reality; staring into a smartphone and chasing figments of imaginative characters and ghosts that exude cuteness in violent but funny ways, are all preferable to facing the harshness of daily living.  We may not know when we will capture the prize, but the script has been written so that it becomes settled law as to whether.  Reality shows may sometimes surprise, but the unexpected itself is easily anticipated; that is part of the deal, and there is not much art in it after all.

Shakespeare’s quote comes from his play, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII:  “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

Such was the surrender to fate, now replaced by inane self-help books which purportedly boosts one’s self-confidence, makes one look like a Reality T.V. personality, and allegedly creates wealthy patrons of us all.  All throughout, we seek merely to obtain a copy of the script of life so that we can practice our parts, and not have to think about what must be done.  We seek predictability when the world offers chance; beg for mercy, when all there appears is savagery; and fall prey to the oracles of modernity, when even the ancients failed to deliver.

In the sphere of Federal and Postal employees, of course, it is the medical condition itself which was never asked to be included in that script of life.  It is one of those “curve-balls” which happens to the other guy, and never to us; or so we always played our part to live by.  But when it occurs, and life presents the unpredictable in a chaotic universe of harsh reality, we are asked to simply “deal with it”, and so we must.

For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal positional duties, the script which must be ad-libbed is the part where decisions concerning the future must be engaged.  Should I file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  When should the process be started?  Is it ever too late?  Is the Federal Disability Retirement application filed with my agency, or with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  Should I consult with an attorney?

These questions, and many more, even the ancient oracles would not have been able to answer.  The undeniable fact is, that the script of life rarely is written to reflect the reality of life’s harshness; it simply “is”, and must be acted upon according to what is given, even when consulting with the high priest or priestess of the ancient oracles provides only silence and an impervious unresponsiveness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The lethargic state of tacit acceptance

Life has a way of beating down.  Whether it is from the constant drudgery of daily responsibilities, or perhaps the overwhelming bombardment of the harsh technological stimuli foreign yet to the still evolutionary sensibilities of nature’s slow progression for adaptability; the human body, mind and soul, while possessing a capacity for resistance greater than many other species, nevertheless is contained by limits of restrictive mechanisms tested daily beyond the tolerance of allowable endurance.

It is often said that time and age will take care of any youthful idealism; for, as cynicism is the property of the older generation, folly is the playground of the younger.  Falls resulting in laughter, as opposed to empathy; tears paused by applause, as want of sympathy; but as we grow up on morsels of victorious tales from mythology and storytellings from the warmth of loved ones, that security which we were once wrapped in quickly becomes a tattered shawl unable to conceal the victimhood which haunts our inner soul.

Acceptance of one’s plight has been, throughout man’s history, the basis for longevity and survival; and the quietude of a tortured soul, nowadays, may result in a bloodletting untold in former times for their atrocity and ferocity for purposeless mayhem.

It is that lethargic state of tacit acceptance which we always have to battle against; for, we know not when that moment of quantified bevy reaches the point of no return and the boiling level of overflow; and, for each of us, the threshold of that which constitutes “enough is enough” is variable, as the genetic predisposition for an explosive overflow depends upon birth, character, and the historicity of experiential phenomena which all of us carry within as the baggage which is unseen but which exudes like gangrene and spoiled milk wreaks of a rotting soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have reached that point of despondency, where a medical condition has prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the time may have come, already passed, or may be nearing, when the liveliness of the inner psyche once running barefoot through the pasture of timeless childhood memories has transformed into the mummy-like vestige of what once was, and now in danger of a metamorphosis into the lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not always seem like a “positive step”, and may have the appearance of stoppage, cessation or even a terminal conclusion pausing forward progress; but in the end, it is the health of the body, mind and soul which should dictate the priority of one’s actions, and not a career which will go on in the bureaucracy of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, whether that rotting essence lives on for a more hopeful tomorrow, or remains quietly rotting in a lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Our civilization of the spectacle

The concept is borrowed from the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa (there are two additional names he formally possesses, “Pedro” and “Jorge”, as in, “Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa”, which likely encompasses family traditions of heritage and linear identification of relations, but it is sufficient to identify this momentary act of plagiarism negated by referring to the common and known reference), and refers to the widespread acceleration across all societies in the public display of what we once considered tasteless and base.

The concept itself, of course, is further “borrowed” or likely evolved from a work entitled, “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord, which posited a critical Marxist theory about the evolution of Society where the greed in Capitalist societies in the hunt for accumulation of possessions naturally leads to the degradation of human dignity.  One gives away one’s age and antiquarian predilections in relating memories of childhood, when parents used to say to their children, “Johnny, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”

Nowadays, such admonitions would fail to be understood; for, it is the wish and dream of every parent to see that the very apex and aperture of opportunity remain opened to one’s offspring — to become the next spectacular spectacle in this universe of appearance, show and public display.  Have we come to a point where all conventions have been nullified?  Where discretion is no longer the mark of good taste, and humility is equated with failure and false pride?

It was once thought that when history evolved such that the Kardashians rule the levers of the universe, we would know then that human degradation had reached its lowest common denominator.  But, somehow, the shovel seems to be able to dig a little deeper, and find a lower space in which to crawl into.  For the common man (and woman, as one can no longer presume equality unless it is explicitly stated), revelations of human maltreatment are nothing new.

Look at Federal workers and U.S. Postal employees across the board, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates an “accommodation” in the workplace.  It is rare, indeed, for the Federal or Postal worker who requests an accommodation, that consequences are not imposed, results are not negated, and reputations are not soiled.  Medical conditions should, by definition, be a basis for empathy and special accommodations; but in this society and civilization of the spectacle, it merely represents another venue where the weak are taken advantage of, and the sickly are relegated to the corner stall, away from the window of display, and hidden in the crevices of windowless corners.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the treatment by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, of what it means to no longer be able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The choice is clear, and the alternatives defined:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, is the best and brightest hope for the future of an injured or debilitated Federal or Postal worker.

For, in the end, both the Society of the Spectacle and the Civilization of the Spectacle are one and the same; whether by evolutionary inevitability or description of the state of modernity, those who make a spectacle of one’s self, must pay the price of being a target for another who desires that high point of calamity, where only the strongest survive.  Darwin was right, after all; we just didn’t realize that he was describing both the human being as well as the lowest form of our animalistic essence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire