FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: That bright star

We remember learning about the various constellations; and, these days, we are merely one “Google-away” from identifying that morning point of light that seems to shine so bright just over the horizon, and has moved since you first noticed it the evening before. Google ruins everything.  There was a time when discussions would last long into the night because memories failed us — who was that actor in Movie-such-and-such; what was the last line in so-and-so play; and what was the name of the character in that blah-blah television series?

We no longer need to remember; poems no longer require reciting from memory; facts and dates are accessible with the click of a button; arguments and discussions no longer are required because they can all be looked up at Wikipedia.

Yet, in the objective world, or in that universe where Kant bifurcated the subjective from the inaccessible objective universe, that bright star continues to shine, and no matter what Google says or Wikipedia posits, the mystery of time, the external universe and the fact that the bright star shining may already have disappeared eons ago and the idea that what we see is merely the residual aftereffects just reaching one’s pupils within an universe that fails to betray such mysteries of eternity, we can still enjoy the quietude of a pinhole of light within the darkness that surrounds.

And then there is the singular existence of a human being staring at that bright star in the morning silence even before the first bark of the neighborhood stirring.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability or capacity to perform one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often that “feeling” one has in staring at the bright star — alone, isolated and apart from the rest of the universe — that makes one fearful of the world beyond.

Federal Agencies and the Postal Service tend to make the Federal or Postal employee feel isolated and alone when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS can seem like a lonely prospect — somewhat akin to the feeling one gets when standing outside looking at that bright star.  That is why consulting with an Attorney who Specializes in Federal OPM Disability Retirement Law is an important step in pursing the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement: To know that the bright star is there, and that we are not alone to counter the troubles of this world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Coincidences & wrong attributions

Two events occur within a fairly close span of time; we relate them; we attribute one to have caused the other.  Was it mere coincidence, and was the causal attribution wrongly implied?

We learn from a friend that a certain person X visited the house of person Y.  Y was a good friend.  X never liked you.  A week or so later, you bump into Y and you say, “Hi. Haven’t seen you in a while.  How has the family been?”  Y looks at you, turns the other way without responding, and coldly walks away.

You attribute the behavior of Y as being related to the fact that X, who doesn’t like you, had visited Y the week before.  You connect the coincidence of Y’s behavior and the visitation of Y by X, and create a narrative around the encounter: “X must have bad-mouthed me when he went over to Y’s house.  Y must have believed him, and that is why Y is behaving so coldly to me.”  In other words, you attribute Y’s behavior as the effect caused by X’s coincidental meeting with Y the week before.  Are you right in doing so?

Say, sometime later, you learn that it wasn’t X, after all, that had visited Y the week before, but it was T — another good friend of yours.  Further, you learn that Y’s sister had recently passed away, and Y calls you up and apologizes for the past behavior, explaining that Y simply “didn’t want to talk to anyone that day, and had been walking around in a daze of sorrow.”

Coincidences and wrong attributions; we all make them.  We go back and retrace our steps of logical reasoning to try and discover the flaw of our thought-processes.  It happens often.  What is the rule to follow to try and minimize such flawed approaches to logical reasoning?  First, to get the facts.  Next, to wait before coming to conclusions.  Finally, to try and limit one’s creative imagination from bleeding beyond the borders of known facts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and 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, it is important to first “get the facts” concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and not get mired in the fears of coincidences and make wrong attributions.

It may well be that certain actions initiated by the Agency are not mere coincidences; and it may be true that your “feelings” about the future can be directly attributable to what you have “heard” from others.  But before coming to any conclusions or making any decisions, it is well-advised to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest those coincidences lead to wrong attributions, resulting in making the wrong moves based upon baseless causal connections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Priority of Me

The “Me Generation” has now passed, and it is no longer in vogue to focus upon the “Me, Me, Me” refrain that once permeated societal acceptance of the selfishness allowed.  There followed, in some quarters of social consciousness, a turning away from the “self” and instead focused upon empathy for others, service towards a selfless society, and a cohesion that was glued by a conscientious attitude of selfish disregard.

Except, of course, in the quiet workings of those more devious than the rest of us, it merely became a marketing tool in order to create greater wealth while declaring that it was for the greater good of society.

Thus did it become advertised that drinking a certain brand of coffee was “good for the world”, that buying certain products “helped the environment”, and driving certain vehicles cut down the pollutants and emissions in order to “save” the planet — all the while, those very same companies reaped profits and the people flew around spewing vast amounts of exhaust plumes into the blue skies above.

The fact is, the Priority of Me has never changed in this universe, ever since the first man or woman looked into the reflection posed from a placid lake or pond and saw that there was a “Me” distinct from a “You” or some other.  From that moment onwards, the Law of Self-Regard would take hold.  The “priority of me” has not changed; it is reflective of a society that constantly advertises cosmetic artifice and promotes youth, beauty and first impressions as the mainstay of relevant values.

Ultimately, one may ask, is there anything wrong with such an ordering of priorities?  If not me, then who?  If not you, then why not me?

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, it is important to recognize that the priority of me extends to the Federal agency and the Postal facility throughout — for, once you divulge the fact that you intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, they begin to treat you as an “outsider” who can no longer benefit the “priority of me”.

Medical conditions necessitate a reordering of priorities, and it is important to make that “me” as a greater priority by focusing upon one’s health; but always remember that the “Me Generation” that purportedly had passed has, in fact, never disappeared, and the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will begin to systematically exclude you in favor of themselves — or, from their perspective, making themselves as the “Me Priority”.

No, the “Me Generation” never disappeared; instead, like a chameleon, they simply changed their appearances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: Predictions

How did the first person accurately predict the oncoming change of weather?  Of course, some would contend that no one has accurately predicted such a thing, and would scoff at the thought.  Was it merely by observation?

Why did logic not overtake the attempt at prediction — of Hume’s contention that there is no such thing as a “necessary connection” between cause and effect, but merely a repetition of events that can be defied when, in the next instance, what one expected may turn out to be wrongly presumed?  Or of other events — of the outcome of a contest between two teams; of great horse races, the Triple Crown, or even of Olympic events: Can accuracy of predictions be statistically enhanced by observation, analysis, careful scrutiny and always with a bit of luck included?

And in the field of medicine — is a “prognosis” the same, or similar to, a “prediction” of sorts?  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 requirements necessary in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset includes a “prediction” of sorts — a prognosis that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months from the date of the application.

This does not mean that a Federal or Postal worker must wait for 12 months to establish that the medical condition itself will last that long, but merely that the medical condition itself will last a minimum of 12 months from the time one applies for Federal Disability Retirement — which, as a practical matter, makes sense because it takes about the same amount of time, on average, to get an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and there would essentially be no point in filing if, upon an approval, you no longer suffer from the medical condition itself.

A “prognosis” is, indeed, a type of prediction, and most doctors will be able to provide “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” as to the lasting effects and enduring nature of a medical condition, based upon experience, analysis and clinical encounters.

Now, as for the weather…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Landmines undetected

Landmines, or other similar devices left undetected, whether improvised to explode and damage, harm or otherwise maim and kill, are constructed and implanted precisely for the purpose of being hidden until it is too late — until, unaware and unconcerned, the unwary enters into the foray of the device and suffers from the resulting potency of mayhem.

Landmines undetected do exactly what they were intended for: to catch the target unaware, and to perpetrate the greatest extent of harm and destruction possible.  Undetected, they lay in wait in camouflaged veils of surreptitious decoys meant to project an aura of innocence and harmlessness, until it is too late.

Then, of course, there are those landmines which could have been detected, or should have been; where the unwary should have been easily apprised of the potential harm, but for whatever reason — apathy, ignorance, lessening of one’s resolve or suspicion, or whatever the excuse or reflective rationale — failed in the process and suffered the consequences.

The term itself — “a landmine” — is often used allegorically and metaphorically, to emphasize a point of danger, potential hazard or other undetected potentiality, whether concealed, veiled or ignored as irrelevant and insignificant.  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 landmines undetected in Federal Disability Retirement Law may become the very ones which lessen and diminish the chances for a First Stage success.

While most mistakes are correctible, the single greatest landmine that is left undetected, and which often results with the most dire of consequences, is the one that should have been known or otherwise thought of, but was left as a mere inkling ignored and unresolved.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is a good way to avoid those metaphorical landmines left undetected, and while the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may falsely believe that he or she is unable to afford an attorney to guide the Federal or Postal employee through the process, it is the very opposite thought that should be entertained — of failing to afford the prevention of a potential harm upon stepping on a landmine undetected — which should make one pause and reconsider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The stain of knowledge

Both remain with us; and like innocence which, once tarnished, refuses to be whitewashed, they cast a looming shadow of irreversibility upon the fragile tissue of one’s psyche.  Stains endure; knowledge persists; and once the two combine, the stain of knowledge never relinquishes its hold, whether ugly, radiant, gnawing or insidious; neutrality is rarely a chosen point upon the spectrum of unraveled ignorance.

You can ignore knowledge, and yet it surfaces from deep within one’s consciousness and reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, moments of openness and times of clarity.  You can also ignore a stain, but others take furtive glances, smile to themselves and shake their heads behind your back.  And that stain — like the indelible inkblot which smears and spreads — continues to haunt and follow no matter the number of attempts to outrun it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the stain of knowledge is that realization that one cannot continue in the career of one’s choice, and it is the realization itself that then prompts one to consider the alternatives faced: To stay, which is becoming increasingly impossible; to resign and simply walk away, which is never an intelligent option; or, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sometimes, knowledge comes in bits and pieces; at others, in a rush of overwhelming force; but when the stain of knowledge remains like the gnawing feeling that forebodes of anxious anticipation, it is time to consider options that previously may have seemed like an inkblot upon an otherwise stellar career, and consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire