OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Expression

The title itself plays upon multiple meanings and combinations of words otherwise with connotations and implications intended within a panorama of conceptual constructs utilized in everyday discourse.

‘Art’ itself is an expression of sorts; “Expression’ is both a form of ‘Art’ and an actualization of it; and so to refer to the ‘Art of Expression’ is not merely somewhat of a redundancy, but further, a tricky combination of two entirely separable concepts, independent and yet expressing [sic] a specific duality of meanings.  Expression, whether of the verbal sort or, as in this instance, of the written variety, is indeed a form of art.  It is so by default.  Not being a discipline of precision; not anywhere near a science of any sort; not an academic major or even a subject that can ever be fully mastered; it is, nevertheless, an art form that thrives or places an indelible blemish upon the language of one’s upbringing.

Good writing, concise discourse, proper grammatical usage and persuasive argumentation in delineating a perspective and point of view continues and remains an art form that is lost in the daily plethora of linguistic garbage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition requires the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to ponder preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, consideration must ultimately be given to the art of expression when formulating the answers to SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing, formulating and putting the final edits and touches upon one’s Statement of Disability, the Art of Expression must be considered:  Does it adequately describe your medical conditions and the symptoms experienced?  Do the legal arguments persuade?  Does the medical documentation support the statements put forth?  Does the statement paint a picture of coherence within a universe of incoherence engendered by the medical condition itself?  Is the nexus sufficiently created between the medical condition and the positional duties?  Has one applied the principles of Henderson v. OPM, the Bruner Presumption, the Simpkins application, the Bracey Principles and multiple other legal underpinnings?

The Art of Expression is the capacity to pull together the vast compendium of expressive resources available, and the first step in reaching that goal is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement Benefits: Signs

It is the title of a song by a group called, “Five Man Electrical Band”, first released in 1970, then re-released in 1971, and the lyrics intelligently portray a world replete with warnings, admonitions, commands and curtailing threats, demanding of us a conduct of conformity otherwise ignored unless backed by such direct mandates.

Of course, there are the other, more subtle signs that we either ignore or otherwise dismiss because of the quiet manner of reproach initiated.  Those subtle signs as evidenced by facial expressions; of a look unexplainable but surely existent with consequential meaning; or premonitions of rougher surf and winds blowing, animals fleeing to the relative safe havens guided by instinctive alarm; and of the rush of adrenaline raising the tiny prickles upon out neck and backs, in dark corners of unlit areas when sounds so distant precede the visual image of oncoming danger.

Do we pick up on them, or go through life disregarding unless and until the reverberations of such deliberate ignorance shatters the calm and quietude of our joyful resolve to remain blind behind a security of negation?  Those trite statements of permeable permissibility:  “He was a nice, quiet man,” said the neighbor next door after the devastation left by the referent cause; “I never saw it coming,” hoarsely uttered by the hospitalized individual in the midst of destruction and debris-filled lands; “Who would have thought…”  And, indeed, in this universe where thinking is paramount, and observation of subtleties a requirement for survival, it is that which we ignore that can harm and injure.

There are those in life who float through and must be protected by means of oversight and constant care; some drivers on the road (or, perhaps, most of them) have no business carrying a license; it is only because others avoid and careen away that survival without a dent, a bruise or a catastrophic collision carries forth an undisturbed pathway from point A to the destination of choice.  And so we have new signs to consider:  It is now unlawful to text or otherwise use a Smartphone in hand, while others who drive with one hand stuffing a cheeseburger in one’s mouth while drinking a coke with the other, and with that invisible third hand pushing buttons on the panel to change satellite stations – somehow, that is safer because the signs tell us so, or at least implicitly inform as to the priority of current concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are surrounded by signs – both subtle and direct – that it is time to move on, ignoring them will not make the underlying, substantive problems dissipate.  Having a medical condition is the first sign, but one which may have no significant impact; but when that medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, then such an indicia of life’s intersecting whisper should, at a minimum, be elevated to a “warning”.

And when the signs flashing from the Agency’s perspective – of warnings, threats, harassing actions and administrative sanctions – begin to blare loudly as more than just a passing blur of the speed limit which we all tend to ignore, but instead becomes planted prominently for you and all to see, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that the signs indicated don’t result in those flashing lights in the review mirror forcing us to stop and be hauled before a magistrate to explain those actions of ignoring such signs which we knew, or should have known, needed to be followed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement Benefits: The Diary

Many begin the process at an early age, then abandon it with little remorse or afterthought, as a worthless project discarded for want of inherent value; and when, years and even decades later, it is discovered behind a bureau or a secret cubbyhole where trinkets and memorabilia retaining an eternal aura of privately precious remembrances are stored away, we shriek with joy as if the lottery had been won, a proposal has been declared, or a camouflaged vault containing the mysteries of gemstones and valuable cadavers had been pried open with but the wishes of gold pots at the end of a rainbow.

Then, as we turn the pages and delight in the innocence of bygone days, we regret that early abandonment turned away the gleeful idealism of a youth now a stranger, a mind intimately once known, but somehow forever a mirrored reflection of an identity of the same historicity in time and element, but yet in a parallel universe now non-existent but for memories kept securely in the destined vault of youthful summers.

Blank pages which abruptly reveal the terminal secrecy of thoughts and activities recorded once as sacred incantations of mysteries foreboding; whether of loves begotten or turmoils annotated in cloaked tears when others had retreated to the privacy of a house appearing in mirth, but ignoring the secret lives even in the midst of intimacy; now from the perspective of wisdom and maturity, do we laugh, or yearn for that innocence lost and the extinguished glow of naive eyes now dim with the experience of calloused beatings?

In more recent times, of course, we are told that one can actually lie to one’s self in a diary; but our own experiences tell us with greater certainty than the world can accord, that the tattered pages of bygone memories reveal truth as never before declared, and moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than the self-confessions of a heart once pure, only to be consecrated into the malignancy of a world which cares little.

It is, indeed, that transition from writing to the imaginary character of one’s own creation, to the intermediate level of testing the waters of reality, then to be pushed into the manifold chaos of the greater world, that constitutes the sin of destroying the human soul.  But that we could turn back the hands of time and reenter the hallways of innocence; but, no, that would mean that the womb of our essence would be revisited, and the soil of our own impurity would desecrate the purity of those precious memories we safely tucked away.  Then, one day, we open our eyes and we have “grown up”; and nowhere is there any room for such foolishness as hearts which once poured out for yearning of innocence betrayed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer the inequities of workplace hostility, harassment — no, let’s just use the singular word which is simple, outdated, but still relevant — “meanness“, as in the child who has just had enough, screws up his face and cries out, “You are just plain mean!” — know of the experiential desecration of humanity, when a medical condition becomes revealed, and others who were perhaps identified “friends” and coworkers suddenly turn the proverbial “cold shoulder” upon the vulnerability opened, as a wound wrapped but now exposed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not unlike the youthful abandonment of the innocent diarist from bygone days.  For, like that abandoned project scoffed at for want of perseverance or perhaps plain boredom, it is the treasure found at the end of the process which resuscitates the goals once considered and the future to be embraced; and, in the end, there is a difference between regret for a childhood forever gone, and a later stage now delivered, but where broken promises are ignored with a twinkle of a child’s forlorn gaze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: When we used to speak of meaningful things

Perhaps the negation of ideas trickles down, just as water from a crack in the roof tiles; of Derrida, Foucault and the deconstruction movement after the lengthy period of disillusionment represented by the French Existentialists headed by Camus and Sartre; for, if meaning constitutes parity and the loss of hierarchies and paradigms in crumbling corners of inconvenient truths, then Orwell’s prediction of how totalitarianism will infect society with the tools of our own making, will come about sooner than we thought possible.

Let us not speak of Logical Positivism and how the expungement of ethics and metaphysics from kitchen table discussions resulted in the loss of meaning, value and truth; for, if validity of a statement is determined from on high in the ivory towers of Russell, Wittgenstein and Ayers, et al., one has only to look at the state of British society today to realize that while the island continent allowed for profundity of thought in the isolation of its heyday, its impact and influence should have remained contained in order to spare the rest of mankind.

There was a time when we used to talk about meaningful days.  Oh, it doesn’t refer necessarily to what is said, but more as to the discretion of what is kept silent.  For, it is the pause between thought and spoken word which reflects the depth of thoughtfulness; and, in modernity, the comma of silence between the typed garble considered a sentence, and the push of that button which shoots it into the eternal space of the Internet.  Just take a cursory preview of random Facebook and Twitter pages; of the inane, the insane and the intemperate; there was once, long ago, a time when work and toil to put bread on the table prevented the leisure of thoughtlessness allowance for indiscretion of a spoken word.

To be wrong is one thing; most mistakes are correctible and even forgivable; it is the engagement of lack of thought, discretion and unadulterated vacuity of breathtaking stream of words spoken, shared and disseminated without care, which destroys the society of binding values and becomes replaced with angry shouts of rights and privileges, and more so by those who engage in the self-immolation of devaluating acts.

Greater quantification of information does not implicate knowledge, leaving aside the concept of wisdom; instead, as Orwell knew so well, words mean something.  We tend to think that the more said, the greater volume of voice, and the increased amassing of a library of information, somehow leads to a smarter society.  It is, instead, quite the opposite, and the negative effect of thrashing about to escape from quicksand; the more we say, the stupider we appear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to understand that obtaining a cogent and effective medical narrative, in conjunction with preparing a compelling Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, are the two mainstays of a high-octane Federal Disability Retirement packet which increases the chances of a successful outcome.

Federal and Postal employees who are seeking to file for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits need not worry about speaking or discussing meaningful things; the tragedy of a medical condition, by its very nature, is a significant event which impacts upon a life, a career and a future.  Yes, there was a time when we used to speak of meaningful things, but those days are over — but for the intersection of human lives when words really matter, and lives are actually lived.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire