Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The carousel of life

It is the easiest of analogies to ponder:  of a vision in the humdrum of circularity; different sizes, shapes, and images of artistry; of the choices we make and the alternatives offered; where we sit in life, of the approaches we take and the variable speed of the up and down motion; do we possess the fearless temerity to change midway from a lumbering, elephantine facade to the sleek and pathological ride of a cheetah?  Does the music have the concordant synchronicity such that it is neither an annoyance nor a distracting disturbance?  Or do we even take note of the loud cacophony of the blaring entourage, or merely as a backdrop to the excitement in the very ride we undertake?

Some recent intellectuals have argued that human beings comprehend their interaction, environment, place and significance in this world, only through the thought-process of analogical thinking; that the intersection of words, linguistic culpability and attachment of language games to encounters with the objective, impervious world of reality, becomes elevated to that Rorschach moment when the obfuscating inkblots of an objective universe otherwise indistinguishable from the insular parallelism of one’s own conceptual constructs suddenly explodes with insight and vigorous apprehension.

That was the problem with the nascent approach of existentialists; somehow, we all recognized that something was missing.  But instead of taking a right turn, that missing “something” took the wrong path down the corridors of Foucault and Derrida, and allowed for deconstruction to embrace the self-destructive charisma of nothingness.  How we understand the world; what we impart to it; the self-image of whence we came; and the walking pictures we carry about in the chasms of our psyche; they all matter, and the narrative of our lives become written the longer we survive in this anachronism called “life”.  We have become misfits in a virtual world of our own making.

The metaphors we establish within ourselves; the analogies we create to comprehend; the novel within each of us and the narrative of carefully chosen ideologies; all cumulatively define the essence of our being.  And thus as we ride the carousel of life, or watch ourselves ride from a distance, matters little to those who have decided to sit this round out; and yet, they, too — whether from afar or in a slumber of repose, must by necessity hear the music which plays regardless of whether one rides the circularity of the metaphor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such an analogy can be a poignant reminder of the current state of turmoil.  Perhaps the analogy takes on greater significance if we posit a mechanical failure — of stoppage of the rhythmic ride, and where the music also blares a discordant trumpet of shattered symphonies screeching with discomfort down the sensitive eardrums of the bystanders.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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 the Federal or Postal positional duties, have a clear choice to make:  Stay on the broken carousel; get off and walk away with nothing; or, of greater benefit and reward, to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and has the minimum years of service in order to become eligible, then it is time to consider that it is not the carousel of life that has broken, but merely failure of the operator to take into account the suitability of the particular vision with the individual embracing that concept.  It is not always the rider’s fault; sometimes, the faulty ride itself has miscalculated the algorithm of synchronizing the music to the roundabout.  Think of it in terms of the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz — but then, that is for another blog altogether.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Forms, Formats and Conformity

Forms rule; formats pervade; conformity to previously formatted forms are imposed both by the forms themselves, as well as through the delimiting presentation proposed by the formatted appearance.

Forms represent bureaucratization of an industry once known as a mere whippersnapper, but which now has grown into a behemoth and overpowers all with its industrial strength and dominance.  Formats demanded by such Leviathans of leveraged leaders in lapidary loquaciousness lead leftovers left scratching lonesome and lackluster lilliputians (leaving aside luckless left-handed leeches left to lollygagging lamentably).  Conformity by all others reflects the power of forms and formats, as everyone wants to be like everyone else, and rebels who defy the standards of sameness threaten the very essence and structure of a society comfortable with a herd-like mentality.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know this concept well; for, while youth may enter into the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service with grand ideas of “conquering the world” with “new and innovative” ideas never before thought of (why is it that the young believe that they alone came up with the idea of a wheel, or that defying one’s parents is something that cave-teenagers never engaged previously in epochs long forgotten?), it takes but a mere few years before the spirits are dampened and the fury of imaginative flames are extinguished.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, encounter with, and confrontation of, another set of “forms” with a specific “format” which must follow a baseline “conformity” must again be faced.

Most Federal and Postal workers are under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and must complete two series of forms for purposes of filing for Federal Disability Retirement:  SF 3107 series, including the Application for Immediate Retirement and Schedules A, B & C; as well as the SF 3112 series, along with the onerous “Statement of Disability” as formatted in SF 3112A. For those rare dinosaurs under the Civil Service Retirement System, the SF 3107 series is not for you, but rather, it is the SF 2801 (when are you all going to fade away so that the government can save some money by throwing aside those forms?).

Just remember this:  Forms are formatted for a specific purpose; and while conformity is necessary in order for streamlining in favor of an overworked bureaucracy, in the end, the purpose of all three — forms, formats and conformity to the first two — is to achieve an end-goal, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, that achievement is attained by getting the necessary proof and documentation over to OPM, in order to get an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Masking Imperfections

Have you ever noticed how British actors don’t have the same perfectly white teeth as their American counterparts?  Or, for that matter, any non-American, foreign television personality; unless, of course, they have lived here for a few years, in which case they have already undergone the cosmetic transformation of dental voila.  Beware of that which one preaches for others; for, someday, it may come back to embrace the hypocrisy of one’s being.  Yet, when something becomes the normative standard for everyone, then boredom and monotony of purpose begins to set in.

Thus do we require perfection of those television personalities which appear on various channels, and models and movie stars and even fill-ins and “extras”; and soon it appears as if everyone is born with a perfect set of teeth.  With perfection comes intransigence; and soon thereafter, intolerance for any miscreant of societal norms.  For all the talk about inclusion and acceptance, the one conflagration of discrimination always involves the ethereal universe of being “different” from others.

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 at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the fear of failing the standards of perfection predicated upon a public perception of tolerant intolerance, pervades us all.

Let me elaborate for a moment:  We require perfection of personalities which we never meet but view daily; such a requirement ultimately reverberates throughout society and the psyche of a country; we carry forth that aura of requisite perfection, and begin to believe in the very lies of our own making.  That is the subtle insidiousness of imposed standards which we never asked for, rarely noticed and fleetingly thought about.  So the question becomes, Why do we then take such efforts to mask our imperfections?

Medical conditions are a fact of life.  Being included in the greater realm of “beautiful people” is that harkening back to those pre-teen years of wanting to be part of the clique that was cool.  When hostility and exclusion at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service becomes unbearable, it becomes the exacerbating trigger of greater pain and anguish resulting through the medical condition one already suffers from.

It is time, then, to file 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.  Time for a change; time to unmask the masking of perfection; and time to move on beyond the cliquish immaturity of normative standards and relegate them to the vestiges of quiet failings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire