FERS Disability Retirement: The Garden of One’s Mind

The metaphor has been used often enough; whether it enhances or enlightens one’s knowledge of one’s self is of dubious prospects.  The physical, objective entity identified as a “garden” is simple enough in being defined: it must include some plants and soil; perhaps a few rocks or boulders to enhance the natural contours of the landscape; and a person who “tends” to the garden — i.e., a “gardener”.

Can there be wild gardens without a gardener?  In other words, can you walk through a forest and come upon a clearing where there are flowers and various plant lives, and declare, “Oh, what a beautiful garden!”?  Similarly, can a person who lives in an apartment who has a collection of potted plants have the “right” to say to someone, “You should come and admire my garden sometime.”?

Purists may object to the application of the term “garden” to either of those described scenes, but a looser definition is still widely accepted in this modern age where malleability of language is a given.  Then, of course, there is the “stretching” of language’s boundaries by applying the metaphor of a “Garden of one’s Mind”.

What can it mean?  It often refers to the state of one’s mind: Of whether one has allowed for too much neglect and has failed to “prune” the overgrowth or let the weeds overtake; of failing to replenish the soil or allowed by disease and decay to overshadow.

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, the concept encapsulated in the metaphor of the garden is appropriate.

For, like the untended garden, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must apply the same principles as the gardener who must begin to prune and replenish: decisions about the next steps, of what to cut out or whether one can leave things as they are; these are all contained in the metaphor within the Garden of One’s Mind, and it may be a first step to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before making important decisions like career changes and leaving the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: Know Thyself

As to the familiar saying — of “knowing one’s self” — what can it possibly mean?  The saying, “Know thyself”, was inscribed on various temples in Ancient Egypt and was known to be one of the Delphic maxims.

Socrates, of course, taught a variation of the statement, contending that the “unexamined life is not worth living” — but the question which immediately comes to the fore is: At what point do we examine ourselves?  Is it a daily, continuous engagement?  Do we wait until we reach various stages of our lives before proposing such an examination?

For most of us, we don’t have the time or energy that Socrates had — of constantly stirring up trouble and pestering and peppering this person or that with questions that are meant to confound, confuse, irritate and provoke; and to examine one’s life is to constantly ask questions which we may know not the answers to.

Is it the questioning itself which is so important (one might posit that such an approach to life is precisely what Socrates himself believed)?  Were the questions posed by Socrates actually answerable, or were they just rhetorical flourishes meant to undermine the accepted, normative conclusions of the day?

To that extent — of questions without necessarily expecting any definitive answers — perhaps if Socrates were to appear in this age, he would be overjoyed with the way in which we live today: of therapy accepted as the modality of self-examination; of the explosion of “self-help” books and the payment-for-services of “life coaches” and “experts” on “living”.

Ultimately, “knowing thyself” is an endeavor that has no boundaries and cannot expect definitive answers, precisely because the “self” is an ever-expanding phenomena and “knowing” is never a static activity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the maxim of “Know Thyself” is an important element in making a decision concerning Federal Disability Retirement.

You must know what your job is; what your physical or mental capabilities are; and whether you can continue on in the job that you hold.  Further, it is the maxim itself which should lead you to consult with a Federal Disability Retirement Attorney, that is, a lawyer who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; for, in the end, to know thyself is to gather knowledge from all sources in an effort to “know” and to clarify the boundaries of “thyself”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Carpet Bombing

It is an approach meant to saturate an identified area of enemy territory especially recognized as any and all potentialities related to the central target.  The antonym of such an approach is one of targeted precision, such as drone strikes represented by guided missiles upon a specific individual or area of identified combatants.

In either case, collateral damage can be expected; the difference is that in the former methodology, the invading forces remain unconcerned and unperturbed, as it is fully expected; in the latter, the term “precision” has its narrow focus, but with the real-world recognition that general public consumption likes to think that when a targeted focus is declared dead, the rubble of destruction didn’t extend to the entire block surrounding the individual’s living area, when in fact it did and almost always does.  The concepts thus have differing distinctions; in linguistic and semantical disputes, the issue often has to do with the methodological approach of effectiveness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing 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 former approach of “carpet bombing” is often the preferred choice, as opposed to the latter perspective of “precision bombing”.  That is exactly why Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who prepare an OPM Disability Retirement application often attach a massive volume and compendium of medical reports and records, hoping to “hit the target” just by sheer coverage of length and width of evidence.

But the old proverb referring to the depth of a body of water, as opposed to the appearance of naked body surface, remains applicable and instructive.  And while the skin may be the largest organ of the human body, covering some 22 square feet in space, the loss of a great portion of it still allows for survival, whereas the heart of a man must remain generally intact, lest the flow of the essence of life becomes restricted or cease altogether.

Precision in every approach and methodological conveyance is almost always the preferred mode; and while systematic formulations in an OPM Disability Retirement case may involve greater input, expansive time and attention in properly preparing the effective Federal Disability Retirement case, the preparation spent in fine-tuning every Federal Disability Retirement application and its compendium of attachments will result in limited collateral damage, with the consequence of allowing others to survive another day despite living within the vicinity of the targeted point of attack.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Subtle Warnings

Subtlety is not an inherent trait of the American psyche.  As pragmatism and materialism dominates the prevailing thought-process, the capacity and ability to recognize and act upon indirect signs and hints is underdeveloped and considered a disadvantage.   From recognizing the early warning signs of a medical condition, to responding to an agency’s initiation of adverse administrative proceedings, the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker is marked for his or her naive forthrightness.  Thus the recurring quip:  “Why can’t they just come right out and say it?”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to recognized and act upon subtle warnings becomes a necessity crucial for survival.  Timeliness matters; planning for the future requires a thoughtful recognition of harbingers of hazards.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like the childhood game of  “cat and mouse”.  As a game involving constant pursuit, avoidance of capture, near-misses and resumption of pursuit, staving off administrative sanctions, actions and similar initiations of contrivances by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service while the Federal or Postal employee is awaiting a decision by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is simply part and parcel of this complex process involving a burdensome bureaucracy.

Filing early for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is often the key; ignoring those subtle warning signs, both about one’s own medical condition as well as the underlying substratum of intentions as indicated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, is to disregard the inevitability of life and its complexity of meanings.  For, in the end, that which is subtle must unravel and manifest, but it is the one who first senses the forewarning of fate who ultimately can control one’s destiny and divert from the determinism of fatalism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Causality

Worker’s Comp requires it; Social Security disregards it; and OPM Disability Retirement shifts the issue into a different arena.  “Causality” encapsulates the relationship between two or more events, where one is thought to result from another, or put a different way, where “responsibility” for a given effect is attributed to a prior conditional occurrence fulfilled as sufficient to warrant as being the “cause” of that event.

In a Federal OWCP case, administered through the Department of Labor, one must prove that the injury or medical condition was “caused” as a workplace incident or occurrence, such that the “event” occurred or was somehow connected to the employment itself.

For Social Security Disability cases, causation is normally not an issue, since the basis for eligibility is not concerned with any singular event, but rather, whether the person filing for Social Security Disability benefits meets a standard definition of being “totally disabled” from gainful employment.

For Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is not one of causation, but rather, the relationship between one’s medical condition and the attributable impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Thus, there is, in a different sense, a case of causality to be made, but the relationship between A and B has shifted, where it matters not “how” it occurred, but rather, “whether” the medical condition prevents (causes) one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

In the end, causation in a Federal/Postal Disability Retirement application is irrelevant in the traditional sense that one normally accepts, but the shifting focus of causality is important to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire