Disability Retirement from Working with the Federal Government: Originality

It is a frightening word; for, it is what we all strive for, yet almost always fall short, fail or attempt to justify and obfuscate for not quite reaching that goal.

Fortunately, there are at least two, but likely an infinite number of, avenues of avoidance in being charged with its lack:  First, and fortunately, plagiarism is not a criminal offense and, moreover, no one really seems to care except in the most egregious of instances, and furthermore, for those professing to be constrained by Catholic orthodoxy, it isn’t even a venial sin, let alone a mortal one.

Second (and ad infinitum as to the corollaries, so that we do not have to go beyond the phrase, “And secondly” or engage in the Internet’s most popular search engine contrivances that always includes, “Five ways to..” or the “Ten most important…”), there is always an excuse for its lack, beginning with:  “Well, I did the best I could”; “It’s not so important to be unique as to feel good about yourself”, and the dead ringer:  “There is no originality left; everything has already been spoken for.”

Is that why the period between “the original” and “the remake” keeps becoming shorter and shorter?  Is it an unavoidable truism that – from themes and plots for stories, novels and other similar genres, to television shows and movies, as well as songs and artworks – there is a limit of finite constraints that even human creativity cannot avoid?

History reveals that originality of profound dimensions will arise in spurts and burps; from Continental Europe’s juggernaut of painters and writers, to America’s continuum of astounding literary greats including Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Updike to Vonnegut; and, in the great tradition and power of the Russian novelists and playwrights, from Dostoevsky to Chekhov and multiple others, without even reaching back to centuries preceding, the originality of works steeped in profound insights cannot be denied.

Has modernity followed a similar course, or has the bludgeoning of unceasing informational overload tempered the capacity of human creativity?

There is a known, coy quip about the formulaic recipe for great literary or visual works:  “Have a terrible childhood, and write about it.”  Thus, such a perspective is reinforced by Dickens and other coconspirators.  A cousin to that rule is to live through political turmoil under repressive circumstances, and the validation for that is revealed by Eastern European and South American writers of current vintage, especially now that translations have been improved and perfected.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concern about originality should enter but only in a cursory manner.

Facts must guide; the evidence will prevail.

In preparing answers to the connivances of questions required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), do not try to be “original” in writing the narrative of one’s life, medical conditions and the impact upon one’s positional duties.

Remember always the other quip that must be recognized:  That each individual is already a paradigm of the original, and while the narrative engaged may not always be unique, and the reviewer at OPM may have “seen one and seen them all”, it is nevertheless one of a kind whether recognized and acknowledged by others, precisely because the life-experiences the Federal Disability Retirement applicant has endured has been nothing but original in the first instance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: The effective legal argument

What makes for an effective legal argument?  It is a question often asked, and pondered by many.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is often preceded by another question:  What makes for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Must legal arguments be made at the outset, or will the mere gathering of relevant medical documentation itself suffice, without the burdensome addition of legal argumentation?

Is the introduction of law and reference to legal citation necessary, and does such necessity enhance efficacy and chances of success at every stage, or just in the later stages – i.e., before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, or before a panel of Judges in a Petition for Full Review (often referred to as a “PFR”), as well as before a panel of 3 Judges at the highest level of the process, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit?

Certainly, the process itself does not “mandate” a legal requirement for argumentation of law; yet, inherent in the system itself – or, because there are multiple legal opinions, precedents and statutory foundations which form the core of every Federal Disability Retirement application – it is a “good thing” to include legal precedents and foundational arguments in preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.  Is it necessary?  Is it “absolutely” necessary?  Just as the insertion of more adjectives and adverbs do not enhance clarity of answers, so the question itself must be judged by the relative importance of omitting that which may not be required, but which may be helpful in increasing the statistical correlation to a successful outcome.

Law cannot ultimately be avoided, either in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application or other venues of justice and conflicts, anymore than one can drive down to the corner mart without having some nascent knowledge of the legal workings intermingled and intersecting with modern society.  For, in this complex society of compounding difficulties and systems of comingled conundrums, that which is not known or otherwise ignored, can indeed harm us.  Not being aware of the speed limit in traversing the short distance to the store can result in being stopped.  Not being aware of laws governing carrying or transporting of weapons can have even greater and dire consequences.

And, as all forms required to be filed in every Federal Disability Retirement application was and remains based upon statutes, regulations and precedent-setting opinions rendered by the Federal Courts or the Merit Systems Protection Board, so it is important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to have some elementary awareness of the relevant laws impacting upon the criteria governing Federal Disability Retirements.

Few things in life exist in a vacuum, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is no different.  In any arena of law, laws matter.  That may sound somewhat like a trite opinion, and an irrelevant repetition of a self-evident truth, but it is meant to merely be a reminder, that as in all other areas of life and living, in the venue of legal matters, providing an effective legal argument is an essential factor in winning a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Benefits: Reality T.V.

That we would have the imaginative capacity to invent such a medium and attract countless millions to sit and passively view the saga on a picture screen tells much about our species.  To be persuaded to suspend disbelief and discuss it as if it reflects a reality and can be designated as such, unmasks the myth of representing the pinnacle of the highest order.

Perhaps it is pure escapism which propagates the widespread popularity of such shows; or our desire to believe, which is that essence of being that caricature encapsulated by the quote often misattributed to P.T. Barnum, the greatest “showman” that ever was, who allegedly said that there is “a sucker born every minute.”  That the quote itself is associated to a fellow showman — a precursor to the television shows of modernity purportedly engaging in the make-up world of a reality no one has ever witnessed nor seen but through the dumbing influence of the idiot box, is appropriate and predictable.

What countless hours of wasteful time spent voluntarily barraged by datum destructive of digitally devoid dalliances; and yet we continue to add to their popularity.  No other species has the time, inclination or patience to sit for hours each day, tens of hours each week, in engaging an activity where the prerequisite is to suspend disbelief and become inert objects in a universe alive with activity.

Environmentalists often argue that the food we consume no longer provides the nutritional value once inherent, precisely because the biological dynamism once part of the soil of the earth no longer contains the living contingencies now depleted.

Inertness is everywhere around, and like the dystopian stories which have more recently become popular, the deadening of souls has been but a reflection of our own actions.  We invite most harmful things voluntarily — even reality which is unreal.  The one element we never “invite” into our lives, of course, is a medical condition; yet, when it appears and attacks, it often leaves us unable to face the very real reality of its debilitating and progressively deteriorating effects.

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 positional duties, the need 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, requires a suspension of disbelief, as well.  For, there is often that period of not quite believing that “you” will not be able to return to work, continue on in the career, or overcome this “temporary” setback.

Real reality is often rather uninteresting, especially in a world which provides entertainment that excites a deadened soul; but when that real reality becomes a reality such that the inertness of life’s reality must contend against the entertainment of Reality T.V., then it is time to push the “off” button of that technology which invades the hurting soul, and begin the hard road of real reality by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, in order to save some semblance of a future reality hopefully not dystopian in its surreal reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medically Retiring from Federal Government: Environmental Toxicity

We read about it in the print and other media; the global nature of the problem, the haunting images of rusting barrels and canisters with leaking liquids of foreign and unidentifiable hues of chemical mixtures; of stories involving deformed babies and cognitive delay, with early onset of dementia causally related to the drinking water, air pollution and osmosis of agents otherwise harmful.  Science Fiction writers employ the genre of antiseptic cities of artificial constructs, with men and women who venture out into the tainted world in white suits of sealed purity, breathing through tubes and oxygenated rasps barely audible through the thick materials of protective immunity.

China, we are told, basks in the careless disregard of deliberate destruction, with India lagging not too far behind, and then the “developing” countries; that the airstream, jet stream and water streams are all connected, like tentacles which relate back to the organic essence of human existence, and unless little old “me” and “I” and the pointed finger of accusatory mumblings does “his part” or “your part” in reducing all that mess that the proverbial “we” have created, that doom is just around the corner accompanied by “gloom” preceding its cousin; and so we laboriously cart our plastic bottles and milk cartons into larger and larger bins that have logos we proudly think represents the advancement and modernity of our thoughtfulness, and watch as the powerful jet set in private planes and get transported in SUVs that spew out untold tons of unseen pollutants in order to congregate and discuss the fate of the universe, the represented country, the state, the community and lil ol’ me.

Environmental toxicity, of course, is a real problem; it is the lip service paid by those who preach without actionable lives of verified sincerity which presents a problem for most.  And for the rest of us, the “little people” who matter not and impact insignificantly upon the global scale of policy interventions, there are multiple dimensions of the term itself — as in the quality of the workplace, the manner in which the employer treats employees, and in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, the application of relevance for the conceptual compound of the two words often implies more than the physical universe of occupied space; it involves the harassment, emotional abuse and hostility of purpose.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition compels the Federal or Postal employee 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, the question of environmental toxicity is just that — not the wasteful plastics otherwise disregarded and discarded into the trash bin, but the real impact of a caustic atmosphere empowering little minds within fiefdoms of medieval power centers.

How the Federal agency treats “lil ol’ me”, and what the U.S. Postal Service does to its employees by requiring and forcing abusive repetition of physical labor, goes well beyond what the ordinary person cares about in China, India, et al.; instead, they want you to look beyond the window of your own house, even as the smoke fills and the fires blaze in the very neighborhood you live in.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire