FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Use of Language

Some are better at it than others; others, still, can state in a single sentence what most will try in a paragraph or a novel.  Poets are linguistic craftsmen who utilize an economy of words but convey the greater qualitative vehicle of descriptions and word-pictures; and essayists, confined often by space limited by editors and restricted by practical concerns, not the least of which may involve the potential boredom or attention-span of readers, must by necessity struggle with clarity of content.

The use of language is a funny thought; for the best of those who engage in it effortlessly, the ideas, concepts and descriptive pictures conveyed is accomplished without concern of the process, but merely by “doing it”.  Language is something we use daily; yet, few of us pause to consider it as a tool or implement of our daily lives.  A gardener who has mislaid his or her spade will look for it and, if it turns out that it is lost, will declare, “I cannot go out into the garden to work, today.”

Do we do that with language?  Do we wake up and say, “Well, today, I mislaid my X, and therefore I cannot engage in the language game.”  Of course, we refer to language as a “tool” in a metaphorical sense, and so we recognize that there are practical distinctions to be made between a spade and language, but nevertheless, they are both “tools” which are used — or misused — in our everyday lives.

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 his or her Federal or Postal job, the time to consider the use of language becomes an important and relevant issue precisely because persuasion, description and argumentation are what must be engaged in presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an attorney in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; for, in the end, the use of language will be necessary in maneuvering through a complex bureaucratic process that also uses language to deny one’s right to a benefit which must be fought for, and language is just as much a tool of use as it is a weapon of abuse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employees Disability Retirement: The Obituaries

Why are they published, and who reads them?  Is it when a person reaches a certain age and wants a sense of security that death and age are relative issues — that there is not a necessary connection between the two?  Was mortality ever questioned?

When we come across an octogenarian’s obituary, we may merely marvel at such longevity and perhaps with some admiration declare, “At least he lived a long life”; but when we view a young person’s description on the next page, we wonder with sadness at the suddenness of it all.  Was it necessary or inevitable?  How must the parents feel —for that is the horror of every parent, is it not, to bury one’s child before one’s self?

Obituaries provide some level of comfort — of a final testament and declaration to the world that seemingly never cared; on a practical level, to provide whatever social or legal notice to surviving beneficiaries; and as a reminder to us all that life should be celebrated and not mourned — at least for those still living.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from ill health and where health becomes a daily reminder that there are some things in life which are not worth sacrificing, reading the obituaries should jar one into realizing that being a sacrificial lamb at the altar of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service is never a worthwhile goal.  If your health is deteriorating and you have a medical condition which prevents you from performing all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, you do not want to read your own obituary and shake your head saying, “Too young, too foolish, too late.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability for Federal and Postal Employees: Comparisons

Does it help to make them?  Do we take comfort in judging the relative plusses and minuses in making comparisons — as in, X has A, B and C, but I have, in addition, D and E, and therefore I am more fortunate that X is.  Or, is it a comparison of one’s conditions, as in: “Boy, at least I don’t have X like Lisa does”, or “At least I am not in Y’s situation”?

To the extent that comparisons remind us of that which we are blessed with, they allow for a certain level of utilitarian value.  But there is a negative side to it: Of jealousy engendered by comparison, or of discontent resulting from making one.  Rousseau, of course, makes that point throughout his “Social Contract” analysis, of the purity of man’s intentions in that fictional state of “nature” that we were once in, but where society’s accretions of materialism created the artificial emotional response of discontent and jealousy.  But compared to what?

It is important to make the fair and correlative comparisons which are relevant — as in “apples to apples” and not “apples to oranges”.  For, it is the uniqueness of each entity, object or situation to be compared with the singularity of another that makes for a proper comparison.

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 inadvisable to compare one’s case to somebody else’s.  For, the proper comparison is not to evaluate one’s medical condition and the severity of one’s medical condition to that of another person’s medical condition; rather, the proper comparison in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to compare one’s medical condition to the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, comparisons made must always take into account the relevant connections which relate not just in terms of similarities, but as is the case in Federal Disability Retirement Law — in what the law allows for and considers significant.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire