OPM Disability Retirement: Knowing where your dog poops

It may seem like a minor thing, but such seemingly insignificant knowledge often represents a metaphor for greater and more relevant factors.  What happened the previous day can set the tone of how the next, succeeding day will turn out.  There is, in life, a repetition and rhythm that is fairly predictable; and when that monotony of comforting recurrence is suddenly gone, one’s world and the universe of dependability can suddenly appear shattered and unreliable.

Dogs tend to poop in the same area, and their “habit” is fairly predictable — much like human beings. Knowing where your dog poops in the back yard is important if you accompany them in the early morning hours of the following day.  As the old adage goes, you don’t want to “step in it” — whether in your back yard, in someone else’ yard, or in a public park where some inconsiderate individual didn’t “curb’ their pet.

Life itself is a metaphor for things common, and knowing where your dog poops — or where all of the dogs of the universe have relieved themselves — is a lesson about trying to keep yourself out of trouble, embarrassment, discomfort, or a combination of all three.  For the most part, we learn in life to do just that — to avoid certain areas; to keep away from certain trouble spots; to remain reserved and cautious.  But then, there are other issues that crop up that we have no control over — such as a medical condition or an injury that occurs over which we have had no say-so, no control over, and certain ones which we could not avoid.

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 constant striving to know where your dog poops — of trying to hide from the wrath of a supervisor, or of hoping that your agency will not notice how much SL or LWOP you have taken; of the work that hasn’t been done because of your medical condition; of trying to avoid being noticed too much for fear of retribution — in other words, of trying not to “step in it” — can become exhausting and daunting.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the “perfect” solution, but it is a step towards regaining some semblance of balance in one’s life so that, when you are approved for Federal Disability Retirement, you will once again know where your dog poops, even if it is dark, in the middle of the night, and the dog itself is unsure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Constellation of our lives

Of what do we owe to the constellation above; and of their placement, do we wonder whether our lives are impacted therefrom?  The order of the universe — of the date and time when we were born; of a day’s happenstance, of luck or coincidence; do we wonder, or is Darwin the god to whom we bow out conscious lives, forever pursued by the genetic code within but never by the stars beyond?

Shakespeare, of course, made multiple references to the constellation of our lives, as in Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2:

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

There are surer things in life; and yet, under which stars we were born, the order of the universe, the rhythm of a cold and impervious reality “out there” — is there a purpose, and does the question ever get answered, or only remain as a query without a response from one generation to the next?

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 may well be that the constellation of our lives have been re-ordered or misplaced, and that the gods have made sport of the misery that overwhelms.

When such occurrences beset, the trick is to intervene and re-order the re-ordering of the stars, and one way to do that is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to take control of the constellation of our lives, and to not let some fiction of a predetermined “fate” rule over us merely for the amusement of the gods of the underworld.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The person who wasn’t

It sounds somewhat like a Hitchcock film — or, is that too archaic a reference these days?  Is Hitchcock a film director whom nobody knows, anymore — another person who wasn’t?  Or, more precisely, “Isn’t” but was?  Is that the greatest fear of most people — the negation that erases, and why immortality and the existence of an afterlife is so important?

It is like Berkeley’s problem of the disappearing room — it is easy enough to imagine that when we exit one room and enter another, the first or previous one still exists in quite the same manner as when we last observed it (with the exception, perhaps, of a mouse scurrying along the baseboards or someone else entering the room while we are gone, changing the placement of the furniture, sitting down and smoking a cigar and changing the atmosphere in the room, etc.) — and the definition of “existence” as tied to our capacity to observe or perceive an object.

It is the thought of our erasure from existence that is the fodder for fear; yet, the self-contradiction of such a fear is so obvious as to logically obviate such a fear, but it doesn’t.  For the contradiction goes as follows: Our fear is based upon our thought of an event that cannot be, precisely because our erasure from the image formed by the thought cannot remain since we no longer exist; yet, it is the prevailing image of non-existence that haunts even though the image would not exist except during the pendency of our existence in formulating that image.  Existence reminds us of immortality; non-existence, of our vulnerability.

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, remember that the mere telling of one’s intention to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may trigger a host of reactionary retributions by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, and so one should be carefully cautioned, guided and counseled by a lawyer when considering entering the administrative arena of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is as if the information about filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is a reminder of one’s mortality — that a medical condition that impacts you reminds those at the Federal Agency or the Postal Service that it could also happen to them — and thus the Federal Agency or the Postal Service moves quickly to erase such reminders by initiating adverse actions, harassing you, intimidating you, etc. — so that such reminders can quickly be erased in order to make you into the person who wasn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Goals of abstract purity

Idealism allows for the plethora of such concepts; cynicism born of age and experience quells the exuberance of such vaunted beginnings.

When we were young — no, not the opening lines of a Christopher Robin poem where the hunt for a clove of honey is the day’s goal, but an observation about life’s folly — we harbored principles and moral codes that required strict purity: Success without compromise; life that is perfectly lived; avoidance of mistakes that our parents made; beautiful kids who will exhibit their inherent creativity at every turn, without a wail or disobedient scream of tantrum; and even if such goals of abstract purity never come to fruition, at least there is Instagram in the modern era where we can pretend to have achieved such paradise of ends considered.

Youth pretends to such abstractions; reality tends to soil such purity; and goals formulated at the beginning of life require constant moderation and adaptation to the experience of reality that is encountered throughout.  Such goals of abstract purity are best left in the Ivory Towers of Academia, or in the forgotten memories of childhood dreams.  For, it is reality and the objective world which must be contended with, and not the conceptual paradigms that make up the dreams and fantasies of our former selves.  In the end, grownups don’t have time to waste upon the goals of abstract purity because life is too challenging and reality too stark.

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 position, the Goals of Abstract Purity should be replaced with the Ends of Realistic Objectivity: Of continuing with the Postal Service or Federal Agency only to the extent that one’s health will allow, and to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS.

And what of those former Goals of Abstract Purity?  You should place them upon the heap of memories that allowed for youthful folly, and realize that one’s health is the ultimate goal of purity — and it is no longer a mere abstraction, but a reality that must be faced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

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 “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire