FERS Disability Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay

FERS OPM Medical Retirement: Refutation of Stefan Zweig’s Essay, “Books are the Gateway to the World”.

Not quite a refutation, but merely a protest — and perhaps a defense of illiteracy.  Zweig writes beautifully; persuasively; in colorful prose that captivates; in convincing form — if not in logical argumentation, but more as a poet who is convinced that words, books, literacy and the spread of the written word is indispensable to life itself.

He ends with this poetic flourish: “The more intimately the man associates with books the more profoundly he experiences the unity of life, for his personality is multiplied; he sees not only with his own eyes but with the countless eyes of the soul, and by their sublime help he travels with loving sympathy through the whole world.”

Who can argue with that?  Who can so poetically refute and rebut a sentence of such insightful beauty?  Yet, it is not with the argument for books and literacy that is objectionable, but rather, the notion that the man with whom he met and befriended but who is later found to be illiterate — that this rampage of sorrow and defense of literacy is at the expense of this unfortunate man.

Consider how he describes such a person: “He is walled in by himself, because he knows nothing of books; his life is dull, troglodytic (Definition: a “member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves” — i.e., “cavemen” or “cavewomen”).  And: “I was shocked to think how narrow the world must seem to the man who has no books.”

True, Zweig may have felt pity for his new-found friend, whom he previously described as a person who possessed a “genius for mimicry and caricatured everybody”, and whom he found fascinating and of enjoyable company — until, it turns out, that he discovered his illiteracy.

The essay ends without a conclusion; perhaps he took the time (without writing about it) with the friend and taught him how to read.  More likely, they went their separate ways — the other fellow pitied for the remainder of Zweig’s days, the author convinced that he was an individual to be pitied.  But that is the criticism to be posited, isn’t it?  That we make judgments without judging ourselves, and unjustifiably when we have the power to do something about the ills we encounter.

For Federal and Postal employees who have encountered that very circumstance — of facing judgments by others while nothing is being done — of a Federal Agency or the Postal Service that has determined that you are not worth “saving” because of a medical condition that now prevents you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job; it is then time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

Don’t wait around for help from your Agency or the Postal Service; it is likely that you will not receive it.  Instead, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, the decision to take the next step to “help yourself” will be up to you, and you should not consider the Federal Agency or the Postal Service to help you as your “friend” — leaving aside whether they will even feel a scintilla of pity for you; they won’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: What not to say

Of course what not to say is as important as the things one says.  Such a warning is true in most contexts — social; professional; personal; familial; in either private or public settings.  We are taught that at an early age, and continue to feel its social and cultural “bite” throughout adulthood, until one has (hopefully) gained some wisdom throughout the years.

Some never learn it — perhaps because they never had to endure the consequences that naturally come about, or simply don’t care or, in the very rare instance of uniqueness, do not need to care either because of wealth, power or prestige that, like the teflon individual, no amount of social crudeness will wipe the sheen away.

“Don’t stare” is an admonition that parents make early on — another form of “what not to say”, except this one in correcting a non-verbal action.  “Don’t say things that are hurtful”, or “Don’t divulge private information to people you don’t know”, as well as the one that has to be balanced with concerns about putting too much fear into a child: “Don’t talk to strangers”.

It is, indeed, the “don’ts” in life that define the social graces within acceptable normative behaviors, and as the spoken work (or the written, as the case may be) takes up so much of human interaction, what we learn not to say, how we act and are restrained from acting, often defines the extent of a person’s maturity and learning.

It is often the negative which defines the positive — i.e., what we do not see is rarely noticed, but constrains that which is revealed (the positive) so that the unseemly and rough edges have been worn away, manifesting a smoothness that borders upon beauty.  But never underestimate the destructive force of that which is negated; for, if forgotten, it will resurface and damage.

Thus, for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, always remember that — in preparing, formulating and getting ready to file a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application — it is important to keep in mind those things NOT to say or reveal; for, once you admit freely a legal basis upon which a denial becomes a certainty, it is difficult to retract that which is revealed.

So, in the end, your parents are proven right: What they told you NOT to say is precisely the rule to follow.  The problem, however, is that when it comes to dealing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, you will need to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to comprehend the full import of what not to say.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Living Anguish

Two or more meanings can be gleaned, often depending upon the emphasis one places upon the sequence of words uttered.  One is the experience of the state itself; the other, the active phenomena in the presence of now.  In either form, the clear implication embraces the state of anguish, whether in a living state, or by living it.

Is the state of existence in modernity itself a constant and unavoidable situation involving anguish?  Is the craziness of the lives we live — of the inevitable rush of each day; the interference of work into personal lives, and the incessant drum of technology without a moment’s pause of temporary cessation — the cause of such anguish, or is the anguish felt merely a reflection of who we are?  Is it any different from the days just following the Last Great War when men and women bemoaned the state of absurdity while drinking coffee at sidewalk cafes in Paris?

Living anguish — again, whether in the form of “aliveness” or meaning merely that it is a state of being we find ourselves in — is a simple fact of modernity’s choice of existence.  For, except for those who can afford to live a life of luxury attended to by servants, cooks, butlers and chauffeurs, do the rest of us choose the living anguish, or do circumstances impose the state of being without any say-so in the life chosen?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 — of course the living anguish is exponentially quantified, and often the only remaining alternative is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Part of the living anguish of life itself is in the very limitations of our choices presented, and when a medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood and the capacity to continue with one’s career, the fact that there is a choice — of filling for Federal Disability Retirement — somewhat alleviates the “livingness” of the anguish we experience, and allows for an alternative to the anguish felt in living with an increasingly debilitating medical condition.

But that choice of getting beyond living anguish must begin with the first steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and that starts with a consultation with an attorney who can begin to guide the Federal or Postal employee away from the living anguish by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM: Major Depressive Disorder

The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”.  One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.

The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned.  Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition.  If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.

We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact.  Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases:  most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise.  But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).

It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual.  But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law Blog: The Mannequin

The garment may alter, but the pose remains stilted; and no matter what angle the inertia of fashion may be looked at, the expression remains impassive and impenetrable.  Mannequins pose for the public, display the wears without complaint, and fill spaces without disturbances or complaints.  They simply “are”.  Such an existence — of an uncomplaining coexistence with eyes meant to attract upon the changing appearances intended to detract — is often the very definition of a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker.

Like mannequins stilted in front of a display window, the Federal and Postal worker is often “there” for years and decades, quietly performing the work that is assigned, accomplishing without accolades but for internal performance reviews and peer ratings, expected to remain silent but for the wears which are displayed.  But then an illness, a medical condition, a disability suddenly enlivens, and the once quietude of existence becomes a focal point of harassment, workplace hostility and trends of gossip.

That mannequin was a person, after all, and interest is remarkably shown when ignoring and repetitive superficiality of meaningless salutations once pervaded the office or work environment.

For Federal or Postal employees, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option remaining.

The eyes which merely looked beyond the stilted figure but are now upon the live entity, need to again be diverted, such that life can go on again.  To get beyond an environment of poison is to sometimes exit quietly and without fanfare; filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a way for Federal and Postal employees to step outside of the self-destructive hostility, and to rebuild the life once dreamed of by attending to one’s medical condition, first, while securing a future or a second vocation.

Once attained, perhaps those who surround with love and concern will look upon the mannequin beyond the mere appearances, and instead to the substance of the person beneath.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire