Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Smelling the roses

It is a simplistic attitude, but one whose truism dominates and attracts: to enjoy life and have the capacity to relish in it.

“Stopping to smell the roses” is all well and good to declare when you don’t have much to do, or when you are in a position to reverse life’s onward march; however, for most of us, the stresses of daily living, of trying to make a living, and of the uncontrollable demands that beset us every day, undermines the advice of the sage: yes, tranquility can reflect a healthy mind and slowing of pace can lead to longevity and stave off mortality’s inevitable decline; but how does one contend with and control modernity’s screaming frenzy?

The appendage to the image of “smelling the roses,” of course, is the admonition to “pause” or “stop and” take the time; but is our loss of olfactory sensitivity a result of our lack of use?  How many of us even notice the scent of a flower, whether when we walk into a room or meander along a country path? Instead, most of us sneeze with irritation, beset with asthmatic symptoms of allergic disdain, and view such niceties as merely one of life’s obstacles to overcome and ignore.

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 job, the concept of pausing and “smelling the roses” is the last thing to consider, and life’s travails will only continue to shout and scream to prevent such a prosaic declaration.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily allow for greater time to smell those roses, but it will allow for more time to attend to one’s own health — and isn’t that the point?

We take for granted our health, but when our health begins to deteriorate, the stresses begin to compound and exponentially aggregate.

Smelling the roses comes only after the priorities of our life have been placed into proper order, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits when it becomes necessary is the first step towards reaching for the ultimate paradigm of life’s resistance to the stresses inherent and overwhelming: Health; life; relationships — then, to pause in order to smell the roses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: That uncluttered mind

How do we remain so in this world of cacophonous and discordant barrage of sounds, images and the overload of information?  Is it even possible to remain as the quietude of mind within the meditative spirit of a Zen monk reflecting upon the pool of uncertainty yet contemplating the serenity of a mind’s eye?

The cluttering is deafening; and, with it, the anxiety, stresses and paralyzing fears that accompany the world writ so large and looming so fearsome.  The uncluttered mind is the one that, with singular focus, yet accomplishes goals in life, reaches destinations otherwise fraught with obstacles, and continues to grow and progress despite all challenges that impede its way.  Is it still possible to retain an uncluttered mind?  Can there be such a state despite the overburdening of a world obsessed with “connectivity” to one’s technological devices, where the staring into the void of one’s Smartphone, laptop or other such distractions can rarely be avoided?

We tend to think that we are the “exception”, and despite our slavery and slovenly attachment to the technological innovations of modernity, we make excuses and allowances for our own weaknesses – oh, I’m not really into that sort of thing; it’s just a tool that is necessary for a time; Facebook?  Twitter?  Nah, it’s just a hobby.  Yes, before long, we get sucked into the very crevices we once laughed at and scorned.  The uncluttered mind is indeed a rarity, these days.

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, the ‘clutter’ becomes exponentially quantified because, not only must one contend with the world of clutter, but the medical condition itself is an additional stress that must be faced.

This is a complex and complicated world, full of challenges and untold stresses.  To be able to maneuver through the bureaucratic maze of a Federal Disability Retirement process is itself a cluttered road of administrative complexities, and when one must contend with the medical condition itself – which is the primary purpose for preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – the clutter of the medical condition itself becomes an obstacle, leaving aside the obfuscation and obstacles that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management puts up in the pathway towards success or failure.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is a step towards reaching the goal of the uncluttered mind – of simplifying priorities so that the primary priority is that which is most important: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Magnum Opus

It is applied as the masterpiece and pinnacle of achievement, but is more generally referred to as the identifying crown for an individual of some notable accomplishment in the various fields and disciplines.  There are looser forms of using the term, of course, in common parlance, in a half-joking, half-serious manner; as in referring to one’s spouse with greater humility, or events that occurred with greater consequences than expected or foreseen.  Like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the Magnum Opus represents the pinnacle of one’s achievement in the career of a chosen field, or within a discipline one was merely destined for.

Most of us, of course, never reach that height of human achievement recognized and lauded by a standard of excellence the world around; mediocrity is the lot of most, and that is okay, so long as the achievements made within the confines of private lives are accorded a similar standard striving to reflect the apex of human worth.  For, the Magnum Opus can be in the simple act of kindness in daily living – of bringing in the garbage can of an elderly neighbor too frail to wander out on a snow-fallen morning, or giving a shelter animal a chance at some semblance of happiness and contentment, and diminishing the violent memories of prior mistreatment and maltreatment.

In the end, it is not the marking of graves with epitaphs of grandeur that matter – though we may fantasize of jealousy and envy overwhelming relatives we disliked, visiting the tombstone of our own creation and smirking at the largesse accorded by a public never quite knowing but the public figure of accomplishments we deign to applaud – but of unmarked ones that are visited by a family left behind, empty with an aching heart for the laughter that we brought, the joy we helped enliven, and the fleeting moment of happiness that encompassed the otherwise dreary lot of a population confused between sex and love.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has believed that the Magnum Opus of one’s fortunes were somehow tied up inextricably in the career path of a Federal agency or Postal facility, rethinking the paradigm is tantamount to a heretical utterance of unfathomable delay.  There is life beyond a Federal agency’s mission (though you may not discern it well from the attitudes of coworkers and Supervisors), and there is importance and relevance beyond the Postal facility one has worked for.

When a medical condition comes to a point where one cannot meet the expectations of that grand “mission” that has been a constant drone of contention, it might be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Don’t let the Magnum Opus of one’s career be on the downturn of one’s accomplishments because blind fealty to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service has stopped any forward progress; instead, it may be for the next phase of one’s life that the unmarked grave is visited upon with an epitaph still to be written.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Masking of Fate

It is still perhaps appropriate at the time of this writing, to consider masks and costumes, as Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve lingers is just over.  It is a celebratory time; and whether of religious significance or origins discovered in the medieval Gaelic folklore long lost but in remaining songs and ballads sung sweetly without instrumentality or electronic mixing, the tradition of putting on a disguise, concealing one’s face with a mask of another’s soul continues.

It is doubtful that the meaning behind such traditions are ever discussed or believed in; we live in a time when the pinnacle of belief is comprised of nihilism and disbelief; and so the request for alms or a few pieces of candy “on behalf of” a soul departed, is not the foundation as to why a disguise is embraced.  It is, instead, to “have fun” – which is a valid enough reason and rationale in and of itself, though such a goal is not exclusive to also engaging in the activity with a knowledge of why, where we came from, or what we are living for.

The medieval practice of mumming or souling have clearly lost their roots of meaningful efficacy; and with virtual reality overtaking the imagination of modern childhood, there is little room left for the spirit-world of other dimensions, even if we could bring ourselves to believe in them.  Materialism has deadened the parallel universes of fantasy and imagination; the moon smiling can be explained by craters and ridgelines of impervious rocks.  Costumes and masks merely reflect a world already dead; they are not put on for disguise on behalf of souls departed, but merely a put-on to justify laughter, lost innocence and untoward sadness.

Perhaps, by keeping a tradition alive, there will be the possibility of hope, that the meaningfulness of that which is preserved will have a flickering light of potentiality.  But, then, that would mean that elves, gnomes and goblins may still lurk behind hidden corridors of timeless imaginations.

Fate masked is to conceal nothing; it is only when there is a face behind the mask that the mask has any real value; but if the face concealed no longer possesses value, what is the worth of the mask itself?  It merely echoes the truth of Lear’s admonition to Cordelia that, “Nothing will come of nothing.”  There have always been masks to conceal, but worn on occasions recognized for specified events, where all can engage in the fun of hidden meanings; it is the mask of daily veil, however, that should instill terror in the hearts and souls of the living.  For, it is that smile dispossessed; the disarming wink; the open expression of camaraderie; yet, once the back is turned, the sharpened knives are unsheathed for selective display of unstated purposes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often posed is:  When should I?  The missing addendum to such a general question is multiple:  When should I file (as soon as possible, as the process to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is long and arduous); When should I inform my agency or the U.S. Postal Service (not until the time of filing, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise); When should I take off this masking of fate?

As to this last question – well, perhaps when the Federal Disability Retirement application is finally prepared and ready for filing; for, that is the time when the point of pain, anguish and the hollow eyes impounded by a medical condition may begin to repair themselves for the trading dawn away from the daily drudgery of the mask that conceals.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: The effective legal argument

What makes for an effective legal argument?  It is a question often asked, and pondered by many.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is often preceded by another question:  What makes for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Must legal arguments be made at the outset, or will the mere gathering of relevant medical documentation itself suffice, without the burdensome addition of legal argumentation?

Is the introduction of law and reference to legal citation necessary, and does such necessity enhance efficacy and chances of success at every stage, or just in the later stages – i.e., before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, or before a panel of Judges in a Petition for Full Review (often referred to as a “PFR”), as well as before a panel of 3 Judges at the highest level of the process, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit?

Certainly, the process itself does not “mandate” a legal requirement for argumentation of law; yet, inherent in the system itself – or, because there are multiple legal opinions, precedents and statutory foundations which form the core of every Federal Disability Retirement application – it is a “good thing” to include legal precedents and foundational arguments in preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Is it necessary?  Is it “absolutely” necessary?  Just as the insertion of more adjectives and adverbs do not enhance clarity of answers, so the question itself must be judged by the relative importance of omitting that which may not be required, but which may be helpful in increasing the statistical correlation to a successful outcome.

Law cannot ultimately be avoided, either in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application or other venues of justice and conflicts, anymore than one can drive down to the corner mart without having some nascent knowledge of the legal workings intermingled and intersecting with modern society.  For, in this complex society of compounding difficulties and systems of comingled conundrums, that which is not known or otherwise ignored, can indeed harm us.  Not being aware of the speed limit in traversing the short distance to the store can result in being stopped.  Not being aware of laws governing carrying or transporting of weapons can have even greater and dire consequences.

And, as all forms required to be filed in every Federal Disability Retirement application was and remains based upon statutes, regulations and precedent-setting opinions rendered by the Federal Courts or the Merit Systems Protection Board, so it is important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to have some elementary awareness of the relevant laws impacting upon the criteria governing Federal Disability Retirements.

Few things in life exist in a vacuum, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is no different.  In any arena of law, laws matter.  That may sound somewhat like a trite opinion, and an irrelevant repetition of a self-evident truth, but it is meant to merely be a reminder, that as in all other areas of life and living, in the venue of legal matters, providing an effective legal argument is an essential factor in winning a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire