Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

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 necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around us.

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 issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Other Side of Work

The entanglement of work with value and worth is an inescapable aggregate of custom, upbringing, time spent, and the egoism of leaving some indelible mark upon an otherwise implacable universe.  Where work resulted in income, and income the cumulative wealth of a lifetime, the driving force behind it never mandated the fury of necessity.  Of course work has always been tied to livelihood; that is a given.  But when the doors for credit, mortgages exponentially exceeding an imbalance beyond capacity to repay, and the idea became accepted that luxury need not be left for tomorrow, the slavery of bonding work to worth became an unworthy concept.

Then, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the fear and trembling for future needs begins to encroach.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition is having an effect upon one’s performance of work, the reality of potential alternatives must be faced, and quite quickly, lest the other side of work, like this side of paradise, leaves one with neither work nor income, but a bleak future without either.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will take time to develop, submit, and wait upon in order to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is a complex bureaucratic process with multiple administrative facets.  The reality of needing to file, however, should never be confused with the bundled confusion one has concerning worth, work, and the value of one’s contribution to society.  It is the medical condition itself, and attending to the symptoms and effects of that which one never expected, asked for, nor desired, that must be focused upon .

Some things in life are, indeed, worth of greater value than work, and the value placed upon the other side of work will determine the course of one’s future, whether of joy and love, or of further puzzlement beyond the imprint of time spent without one’s family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Life’s Dispensation

It is often a word which is accompanied with the adjective, “special“, as in “special dispensation”; but a close review of such a phrase would reveal the redundancy of placing the two words together.  For, to have a dispensation is to be offered a unique situation where one is already exempted from the usual and customary rules applicable; and to insert the adjective, “special’, adds little to the exclusionary nature of the occasion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition is beginning to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties occupied in the Federal sector and U.S. Postal Service, it is the disability and medical condition itself which gives rise to the dispensation requested, demanded or otherwise warranted.

That is precisely why resentment, hostility and exclusion occurs as a reactionary response by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service: because special treatment outside of the normal rules of employment tend to engender such negative responses.

Filing for FMLA; requesting an accommodation in order to continue working; becoming entangled in EEO Complaints, grievances and the like — they all set you apart, and require actions outside of the normative parameters of daily relationships within the employment sector.  And that ultimate reaction by the agency, of “sticking it to the guy” even when it involves a medical condition impacting one’s employment and livelihood — one wonders, how can others be so cruel?  It is justified precisely through the psychology of the “herd mentality“, reduced to its most natural form in a single question:  “Who does that guy think he is?”

For Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often becomes necessary to follow up with the ultimate dispensation of that which one’s employment offers — that of filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is not always the case that an employment package offers an annuity which (A) provides for continuation of insurance benefits and (B) allows one to work in a different vocation while receiving the annuity; but Federal Disability Retirement allows for both, so when the situation arises and there is a dispensation which reveals a solution to a problem, it is indeed a special circumstance which should be recognized as such, while ignoring the redundancy of life’s tautology.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire