FERS Disability Retirement: Who I Am & Who Am I

One is a question; the other, a declarative statement.  The latter of a more subjective nature; the former, perhaps a composite of observations by third parties together with self analysis.  Both must begin with a query — of analyzing a statement “about” myself, through others who are well-known as well as of opinions rendered and judgments passed by acquaintances and passersby strangers barely acknowledged.

“Who I am” is often answered in response to a preceding query by a third party: “Who are you?”  It might be answered with fairly objective and short statements which are incontestable: I am X’s brother in-law; I am the husband of Y; “Oh, I am Sarah’s father” (in response to Sarah’s classmate who sees you standing outside of the classroom); or, “I am nobody”.  This last statement, of course, has implications well beyond being an unresponsive nullity; for, it goes to the heart of one’s own assessment of one’s self, one’s consequential impact upon the limited universe of one’s role, and the very essence of an ego left abandoned.

The other — Who Am I — is often followed by the grammatical punctuation of a question mark.  It is often a self-reflective query — one which causes a pause, a momentary furrowing of eyebrows raised, and then a regrouping of having just previously been taken aback by a question which stabs too closely to the essence of one’s being.  Perhaps a soliloquy follows.  One will normally cast the question off with a shrug and answer the self-query with, “I am X” and then move on to take out the garbage, watch a movie, see a documentary or engage in what Heidegger refers to as an activity which allows us to forget our mortality.

Will the question inevitably haunt us and force us into facing ourselves at some point in our lives?  Perhaps.  Can we avoid the question entirely?  Maybe.  It is the former, asked by others, which fails to have the force of the latter, and merely because of the placement and substitution of positions of the two words after the “Who” that makes all of the difference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who must face the prospect of facing the question, “Who I am” in reference to one’s position and role in the workplace, it is often the medical condition itself which prompts the second, more incisive query of “Who Am I?”

Does a medical condition define a person?  Certainly, the Agency or the Postal Service makes it the primary issue by questioning one’s competence or capabilities based upon your condition.  Both questions go to the heart of the issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application; for, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service treat both questions with a foregone conclusion of an answer: You are Nobody if you are no longer part of the “Mission”, and that is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Answering the question

What constitutes “answering the question”, and more importantly, how does one determine when its opposite occurs — NOT answering the question?  Does the former occur if the questioner fails to follow up, and does the latter become an issue if the person asking responds with, “That doesn’t answer my question,” or some such similar declarative assertion?

Take the following hypothetical:  Person A asks Person B, “So, where do you come from?”  Person B answers, “The skies of Normandy were grey on that June day in 1944.”  Now, Person A could have various responses to such a statement, as in:  1.  “No, no, I asked where you came from.” 2. “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”  3.  “That doesn’t answer my question.”  4. Or, silence, with no follow-up.

Person B, of course, could similarly respond in variegated ways, as in:  A.  “I just told you.”  B.  “Yes” or “No” (in response to the follow-up question, “Are you telling me that you come from Normandy, France?”).  C.  Silence, or “Yes it does.”  D.  Nothing further.

It may be that Person B simply has a poetic bent, and from his perspective, the mundane query was answered in a metaphorical, literary manner.  More to the point, however:  Who determines if a question has been answered (leaving aside the further query of whether the answer itself has “sufficiently” or “fully” been responsive to the question) — the one who asks, or the one who answers?

In a normal conversation, of course, the issue rarely comes about; in an argument where one or the other side, or both, are trying to get answers and defeat the other side, the heat of the moment may determine the answer to the question; and the penultimate paradigm of the question, “Who determines whether the question has been answered?” occurs in the highest form during a deposition or cross-examination in the legal arena.

Observing what occurs during a court proceeding is an interesting experience of human behavior; of the back-and-forth between counsels and the witnesses being deposed or examined, as in:  “You didn’t answer the question.”  “Yes, I did.”  “I asked you…”.  “Asked and answered.”  “Objection, the question has already been asked and answered.”  And on and on until a singular point is pursued to an exhaustive level ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Is the issue of what constitutes an answered question somewhat akin to the question or “original intent” — i.e., that just like an author’s original intent as to the meaning of a written document is what should rule, similarly, the person who asks the question has the sole power to determine whether or not the question asked has been answered, and moreover, adequately and sufficiently answered?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of 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, these questions concerning the “answering of questions” will and should come to the forefront when confronted with the questions asked on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

Inasmuch as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has promulgated the questions in a carefully-crafted manner, there are some inherent pitfalls and dangers in what constitutes an adequate response, a sufficient answer and the complete delineation that rises to the level of a satisfactory statement.

SF 3112A is replete with unanswered questions within the very substance of each question, and the answers you provide are best guided by an attorney who has had the experience of legal encounters previously, and who specializes in the Law of Federal Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Cat’s Cradle

It is the complex game of strings wrapped around the small fingers and thumbs of each hand (or a modification of that contorted vestibule of human appendages), and where each player turns the cradle of the strings into greater complexity with each move by the other.

When children play it, the ease with which each turn of transforming the cradle of strings is a fascinating experience to witness.  When grown-ups do it — or, more accurately described, mess it up royally and invert the design into a an ugly bundle of irreversible entanglements that can no longer be played — the “overthinking” begins, the hesitation blockades and the uncertainty overwhelms.

It is always the grownups who mess up the beauty of the world’s designs, while children play it effortlessly, without conscious thought and with an innocence of proceeding that reveals much about what happens to an individual when you “grow up”.

Of course, we all have to grow up.  It is a sad inevitability.  That is why when the stunted individual who never quite got over his or her high school years, and still to this day talks about that grand finale of his senior year where the glory days of football, parties and friendships that were promised to last forever — that these frozen images yet remain so many years later as the pinnacle of one’s life and achievements — we shake our heads sadly and wonder at the fragile nature of man’s folly.

Cat’s cradle is the metaphor for much of life itself — of how simple childhood is, and yet so complex like the strings that bind the hands that create.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal job, the time to “think” about the next move — like the overthinking grownup who is asked to take the next step in the game of Cat’s Cradle — may seem complex because of its very simplicity.

There is the future to think about, and all that comes with it.  One’s career, health and future security are all entangled within the strings that wrap around and throughout one’s life, but the question that remains is similar to the conundrum of a Cat’s Cradle — is it you who will make sure that the next design of strings will turn out “right”, or will you leave it up to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to determine your future course of actions?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a complex administrative process —much like the tangle of strings in a Cat’s Cradle —but it is the simplicity of deciding that will make all the difference as to whether the next move will be a successful one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: The running of days

How does it happen?  Where did it all go?

One day, you are a young man or woman, full of promises and hopes, dreams that defy any limitation or restriction of potentiality yet to be unleashed; and the next, an old man or woman, rocking back and forth, awaiting the grim reaper with its scythe and faceless chasm of darkness and despair.  In between, of course, there is a memory – of a blur, a constant rush from this activity to that, of emergencies, turmoil and tumults, of the proverbial peaks and valleys; in short, it is called “living life”.

It is the running of days, one upon the other, one mixed into the two, then weeks, months and years, and finally decades that turn into a half-century.  Was it all worth it?  Did we stop and perform that salient act that became so popular during the 60s – of stopping to “smell the roses”?  And if we did not, what wisdom was gleaned from the lack thereof, the absence of pause, the semicolon of interludes?

Or, did we follow upon the admonishment stated in that 1974 folk song by Harry Chapin, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, where all we did was to teach our kids to be “just like me” and roam the universe in search of meaningless trope and allowing for the running of days to overtake us?

Or is it simply that our memories fail to serve us, and there were many days and some months where enjoyment, relationships and meaningful engagements were in fact embraced, but that the living of life often erases, smears and obscures such that our recollection is so cluttered with valuable connections and so consumed with overflowing “moments” that we just cannot even contain them anymore?

The running of days is ultimately just a metaphor, like running water and leaks that just keep on; but it is one that sometimes needs fixing, and it is the repair work that often cannot be performed within a lifetime of such disrepair.  Regrets hit us all, but the greatest one that never seems to close the wounds of time is that one where time was wasted upon frivolous acts of unrepentant entanglements.

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 other proverbial saying is that one which refers to “spinning one’s wheels”, and yet knowing that no good will come out of staying put.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only solution left to a career that has come to a standstill.

Medical conditions tend to trigger a running of days – where the chronic pain or the illness extended seems to make no difference or distinction whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, and the only way out of such a mirage of misgivings is to “move on”; and as filing an OPM Disability Retirement is often the best and only option that can accomplish that, given the timeframe that it now takes to get an approval at any stage of the bureaucratic process, it is probably a good idea to file sooner than later in order to get ahead of the running of days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Under the clump of olive trees

There are certain phrases that turn one’s attention, and daydreams of exotic lands and foreign places become projected onto one’s imagination, like camels, Arabian nights and sand dunes in faraway corners.  But, then, reality imposes itself; such places probably exist a few miles hence; those distant lands are now war-torn and deemed by the State Department to be forbidden avenues for sightseers and tourists in cut-off shorts and Hawaiian Shirts (did you know that the latter are apparently “back in style” – as if they ever were?), with warnings and cautionary predictions where officialdom has already evacuated the premises.

The soft snore from a picturesque scene:  the shepherd with a crooked walking stick, the flock grazing in the near distance; a straw hat edged slightly over the forehead, an arm lazily twisted behind as a pillow against the rocky surface; under the cluster of the olive trees, where a partial shadow allows for the coolness in the heat of midday slumber.  Or, what of a child’s delight in fairytales and picture-books, of Arabian nights with camels chewing silently while tents alight with shadows from within reveal the soft mutterings of foreign tongues, yearning for the delectable offerings sizzling atop the burning fires glowing in the star-filled twilight of the vast ocean of sand dunes and shadows.

Of course, those days of yonder years are now gone forever.  There are no scenes of picturesque quietude; in modernity, every corner of the earth has already been visited; the Himalayan monk sits with earphones and scans the images of Facebook and the world he abandoned for prayer, meditation and enlightenment; and that herd of camels has now been replaced by hooded terrorists lurking to kidnap and maim.  Yet, we all retain and preserve those images of quietude and peaceful reserve; in an insane world, a virtual universe of sanity is necessary, even if non-existence must be acknowledged and admitted to.

For each of us, perhaps it constitutes a minor variation:  becoming lost in a sports league; watching movies in regularity of escaping; a hobby in the cavern of one’s garage; physical labor or forlorn love with strangers; this is a society which requires distraction.  Or, as Heidegger puts it, varying projects in order to avoid the ultimate encounter with Nothingness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition creates a working hell at work, what comprises the image of resting under a clump of olive trees?  Certainly, not the daily grind and antagonism experienced by supervisors, managers and coworkers who disallow any meaningful contribution because of the limitations imposed by the medical condition itself; and, certainly not the enduring of pain and anguish implemented by the constant fight against the illness.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pathway, for many Federal and Postal employees, to a state where one can attend to, and focus upon, caring for one’s self.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is part of the employment package for all Federal and Postal employees, and utilization of it requires a proper formulating, preparation and filing through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to prove one’s entitlement to it.  It is a “means” to an “end”; and the means provide for a pathway outside of the daily pain and suffering which defines one’s life; the “end” is that virtual image we all strive for – to lay one’s head upon a comforting pasture under the clump of olive trees.

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 Medical Retirement: Enthusiasm of Life

There are those we sometimes meet in life where the infectiousness of enthusiasm cannot be avoided.  Whether such active energy can be truly sustained, to what extent, and for how long; and, whether such enthusiasm is matched within the essence of the being behind the veil of smiles and outward appearances, only the heart and soul knows in the privacy of one’s chambers.  Whether an artifice for show and appearances, or a true bundle of vitality, the reality of such people and their existence is besides the point; rather, the real issue to consider is the contrasting starkness which is revealed when encountering such people.

Most of us walk through life with limited energy, complaining of life’s inequities, and performing tasks with minimal effort.  The automaton is merely a person once removed from the daily monotony of life.  Then, when a medical condition hits the person, all of the fears and predictions of gloom merely become reinforced and proven beyond a doubt.  Thereafter, the logical sequence of events often occurs, and the “piling on” follows, where family, acquaintances, supervisors and coworkers known or otherwise forgotten begin to avoid and shy away from further contact.  The “disease of failure”, or that which lacks the look or scent of success, begins to pervade.  People are funny beings; they treat the maladies of others as if it can be caught like a viral epidemic.

Medical conditions prevailing upon Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers can have a similar effect and impact:  suddenly, the pandemic of avoidance and negative perspectives pervades all sides:  the Federal or Postal employee is no longer treated with respect by Supervisors, co-workers and the agency (the cynic, of course, would question whether such respectful treatment ever occurred in the first place), and proposed administrative sanctions and actions follow not too far behind.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s agency if the Federal or Postal worker is still with the agency (or has been separated from Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days), and ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a step in the direction of regaining and reasserting one’s enthusiasm of, and for, that which life offers.  Staying in an environment where one is shunned and unwanted, will only exponentially magnify the stamping out and extinguishment of the afterglow of human endeavor.

Life is often short and stunningly cruel; and when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, consideration needs to be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, if only to escape the hostile work environment which further exacerbates the medical conditions from which one suffers.

The enthusiasm of life is not merely a viral cavity gnawing at the annoying person we encounter here and there; it is the essence of who we are in our natural state of being, but shaken and turned out of us by the incremental and subtle weight of burdens gained over time and troubled waters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire