OPM Disability Retirement Retirement: 2019, The New Year

It has a familiar ring to it; of a harkening to a recent past that has a melodic cadence reminding one of a famous book by George Orwell.  It is because of the “19” that we are reminded of it.  Can it have already been 35 years in passing?  “But it’s not quite as bad as all of that,” we say, and perhaps such a sentiment is right: Pox on the negativism of predictions of doom!

No, we do not have flat screens forced upon us which spy into our lives; instead, we went out and purchased them ourselves — voluntarily — and realized only later that the camera embedded can, indeed, record our every movements.  And we learned that all of that personal information shared with friends and family have been stored and disseminated to forums and facades not otherwise intended; and so everything private has become public, and there is nothing left but the shell of who we are.

But enough of that; we celebrate the coming of a new year not for the unwanted fears of the past, but because the future can always bring about change, greater prosperity and a glimmer of hope for things yet to come.  It may well be that 2019 is that very year we have been waiting for — a dawn of new beginnings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition no longer allows for you to continue in your present job, the incoming New Year may be an opportunity for change, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application.  Consult with a knowledgable attorney and begin the process early, as OPM is way behind and it is important to get in line.  2019 — Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The timeworn tale

Are there such things, or just the boorish attitudes of impatient whims?  Are adages, quips and kernels of wisdom never perceived by eyes afresh, or do tales told ever-incessantly by husbands through the course of lasting marriages, or by grandpa at each visit to the chloroform-smelling nursing homes where coughs and sputtering are interrupted by stories regurgitated between gasps filled with oxygenated rasping, merely bore us all?  Of timeworn tales – where do they come from?  When do they end?

Is there a garbage heap of stories no longer told that old men and silent women visit, and leave behind the narratives no one wants to listen to, anymore?  Is it that we no longer have the time, nor the patience, to act “as if” for the benefit of old geezers and pitiable wheezers and instead, rudely interrupt when the tale begins, by saying, “Now, now, you’ve already told that one – many times”?

Yet, a perkiness of interest, a raised eyebrow, and a playful wink to the relative across the table; and the kindness shown to the children at the table, despite the 50th or 100th time told, that we could spend the time together, take the same monotony of predictability, but turn it into an occasion of joy “just because” – just because the person telling it is worthy, and we show how much we value life’s dignity above time “wasted” by the effort we invest upon the individuals we claim to care for.

We have no time for pity; no energy left for patience; and certainly, no stamina remaining for moments beyond our pleasurable self-fulfilling wants and desires.  That is why, when a Federal or Postal employee prepares one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, with the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, along with the evidence of supportive records and medical narratives, there is no hush of anticipation by Agency supervisors, managers or coworkers.  Yours is merely another timeworn tale that they want to quickly bypass.

But the point, of course, is to get the “Administrative Specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the agency that makes all decisions on a Federal Disability Retirement application – to see beyond that timeworn tale of one’s medical condition, disability, and inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For, that Administrative Specialist is the “hard one” to persuade – having read thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of such timeworn tales.  It is thus the job of an attorney who has done this many times, who possesses the power of words in the narration of a compelling tale, that often makes the subtle but necessary difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Understanding

The Master asks one of his two dogs, “Where is ___?”  If the second pet wags her tail, looks quizzically at the owner, then proceeds to go to the far end of the next room and locates the wandering misfit and barks to you that she has found him – do we disbelieve?  If the same question were to be asked of one’s child in reference to a sibling, and the identical result occurs where the first child goes into another room or runs up into the attic and locates the lost soul, would there be any doubt?

Same circumstances, identical behaviors, concurrent results; merely different mammals within the genus of species, and yet we disbelieve because of arrogance and pride of self-worth.  Why is it that we refuse to attribute understanding to non-human entities despite clear evidence to the contrary?  Is language defined by grammatical rules of construction retrospectively applied, and does that constitute a basis for refusing to allow admittance into the colony of intelligence “clubs” of exclusivity we have created based upon rules of comprehension we have paradoxically constructed?

The rules constituting grammatical comprehension and technical application came subsequent to language itself; for, no one believes that Man sat down eons ago and decided to set down rules of linguistic conveyance, upon which the growing population then began to follow.  No, conformity to such constricting paradigms were initiated, instituted and concretized when society recognized that there were differences in parochial intonations, and those who had nothing better to do decided with arrogance and ivory-tower nose-lifting that correct idioms of speech needed to be recognized, applied and adhered to.

And what of animals?  So long as the working paradigm consisted of our self-image as just below the angels and above the burdens of beasts, we refused their eligibility to the elite of elasticity in language and comprehension.  Yet, despite all of the convoluted attempts at avoiding acknowledgment and recognition that “to understand” is nothing more than the behavior following an utterance of speech, the pragmatism of daily life refutes our own methodology of exclusionary conduct.  For, in the end, it is merely the impact of speech upon behavior in a given society, whether that indicates a “human” world or a “dog” universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing 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, the question of “understanding” before “acting” often becomes a vicious circularity resulting in non-action:  The complexity of the legal tangles in Federal Disability Retirement law tends to make the Federal or Postal employee pause; failure to act in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application serves to exacerbate one’s condition, which leads to greater stress and turmoil; non-action results.

The key is to recognize that “understanding” – not even “complete understanding” – is necessary.  Rather, it is often the subsequent initiation of acting following a verbal commitment that is the only real test of understanding.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire