OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The unknown world

It is that part of the universe that is often seen as the “far side of the moon”, where shadows befall and eyes never perceive, witnesses never survive and documents don’t exist.  Mount Everest was once that world; galaxies outside of our own, despite our best efforts to invent and create greater and stronger telescopes, or ones that float in the nothingness of outer space and send back digital images that are obscure and indistinguishable from inkblots accidently spilled upon a sheet of white paper, but somehow scientists can discern great discoveries by pointing to colors, hue, magnified analogs and complex algorithms that leave the rest of us scratching our heads and declaring, “You got all of that from this picture?”

There was life once on Mars and Jupiter since contained icicles that entrapped microbes billions of years ago, and just through a photograph of a fuzzy specter that the rest of us would have interpreted as Bugs Bunny leaning against a fencepost eating a carrot stick.  But of unknown worlds and the far side of the moon where shadows rest upon and hide the human toil of secrets and conspiracies, the truly mysterious one is the subjective mind of the person sitting next to you.  Yes, yes, it may not appear that way – perhaps each time you ask a question of that individual, he or she merely grunts and states in the same monotone of boredom and unexcitable drone, “Yep. What of it?”

And so when PBS or the National Geographic Society has some show about the complexity of the human brain, the neurons and the micro-conceptual foundations that make up the universe of human circuitry, dreams, images, thought-processes, Freudian and other “-ians” that delve into the human mind of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious and all spectrums in between, you turn, look at that same person and say, “Not.”  Or, that person one day does something completely out of the ordinary and during his lunch break takes out a book – say, Kant’s classic on the foundations of metaphysics, or some such esoteric material, and proceeds to mumble to himself, and you say, “Gee, didn’t know he was into that.”  But then you again try and engage him with, “So, what are you reading?”  And the familiar refrain comes back: “Yep. What of it?”  Beyond disappointments and non-engagements with universes parallel, mysterious and already predicted, there is still that “subjective” universe where pain remains, medical conditions are hidden and plans for the future are yet to be expressed.

That is the netherworld of the Federal or Postal employee who must contemplate preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  It is also the world of “cat-and-mouse” – of when to tell the Federal agency or Postal service of your intentions; how much to tell; when to submit the Disability Retirement packet so that it obtains the greatest advantage against the Federal agency or Postal Service; and all of the complexities in between.

Yes, there are still “unknown worlds” and universes; you just became too much a part of it to recognize the wonder of it all, because the guy next to you keeps burping and saying, “Yep. What of it?”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Not the storybook tale

It has been widely commented upon, by naysayers, essayists and various commentators upon life’s winding course of pessimism, cynicism and some rarefied sprinkling of optimism, wherever the “isms” will take us: we are crippled from an early stage of life by being fed Fairytales and Fanciful Fantasies, and then pushed out the door to deal with the reality of the real world, which are NOT like the storybook tale.

Why the disconnect?  Wherefore the disjunctive between what we grant to our children in contrast to the objective world?  Do we witness any of the other species in this Kingdom harm with such aplomb their youngsters – where birds “cruelly” push their young tots out of the nest to force flight even if not quite ready; where predators abandon their herds and hoards to survive on their own – by first saying: “Now, now, kids, I am going to tell you a lie, then have you live in the early phases of your life only to be disappointed by the reality of what you will be facing”?

No, the human species is one of a kind; but then, we have the capacity of linguistic elasticity – a tool that others are (fortunately) not weighted down by.   Isn’t that the story of politics – of saying things that will never come to fruition, promising acts that cannot be accomplished, and declaring facts that are merely alternatives to objective reality – just so that votes can be accumulated and enemies can be identified?

It is well that human beings can fantasize and live in an imaginary world, because otherwise we would all go insane if we had to encounter the reality of the objective universe around us.  What of Marx’s dictum that religion is the opiate for the masses – if true, where are we today, inasmuch as religion is no longer a cohesive foundation in most people’s lives; and, if false, what has replaced it as the dulling effect for survival’s continuation?  Is it the flag, the Constitution, the hope founded upon a Lottery Ticket, or perhaps the greater indication of that which is not an analogy or a metaphor, but the reality of heroin addiction that is a growing menace?

Perhaps, after having tried everything else, the opiate itself is not just some proverbial reality, but the real thing itself, and that is why the problem grows exponentially.  Perhaps, we have come to a point where we realize that the fairytales told and the reality faced cannot be reconciled.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have had a long and productive career, but where medical conditions have more recently impeded, debilitated, and ultimately prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, perhaps the realization has come to the fore that the storybook finish line doesn’t quite match up with the reality of one’s present situation.

That’s okay.  You’ve earned the right to view reality “as it is”, as opposed to the fond remembrances of fantasies and fairytales.  Yet, don’t become too entrenched in a negative perspective; for, the objective reality is more likely somewhat involving greater balance, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not the end of one’s professional career, but merely another beginning.

Many have gone on beyond a Federal Disability Retirement and started new careers, initiated fresh vocations and enjoyed a second or third phase of life. It is somewhat like a marriage, a divorce and then a remarriage. Perhaps it is not the storybook tale written by some, but it can be one that is written by you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: The Methodological Approach

Many call in a frenzy of confusion, admitting openly of being lost and not knowing where to begin.  That is always the starting point, as even Socrates conceded — of the hope of knowledge beginning upon a recognition of not knowing (though, if one looked carefully and scrutinized the face and eyes of the old sage, one probably gleaned a twinkle of sly naughtiness).

Philosophy began in ignorance, and from there, attempted to ascertain a methodology of approaching problems in a systematic way, in order to overcome the shortcomings of man’s frenetic inclinations.  Identifying and ascertaining a knowledge of a criteria, a system of approaching problems, and an applied methodology of solving, is the preferable way than that of plugging holes where leaks appear.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who 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, it is often necessary to formulate a sequential strategy at the outset, before embarking upon the dark abyss of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Should certain information be gathered prior to completing the standard forms?  Yes.  What forms are “central” to a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Certainly, all of them, but if timeliness is an issue and the 1-year Statute of Limitations is suddenly upon the Federal or Postal employee attempting to file, then the SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, including Schedules A, B & C, as well as SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, must all concurrently be prepared for immediate submission.

Identification of the essential as opposed to the bifurcated peripheral must be realized; compilation of the proper information, and the laws governing supplementing a Federal Disability Retirement application is essential for a successful outcome.

In the end, as it turns out, Socrates knew much more than he revealed; but the sly sage was wise enough not to engage in the solipsism of later years, like Descartes and the French Existentialists, and by recognizing that lack of knowledge and the admission of such vacuity is the first step towards wisdom, he was able to initiate the prefatory questions in the quest for knowledge in a world devoid of both.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Ballerina’s Pirouette

It is an awkward word to pronounce, and even more difficult to perform; but a full turn of the body on one’s toe or the ball of one’s foot, multiplied at dizzying speed while the world remains still or aghast with onlookers of disbelief, is but a day’s work for the stage performer.

Practice makes perfect, and the time, energy, pain and history of falls and mistakes preceding a single performance before an audience anticipating unsteady bouts of dizzying falls, where simple tasks of walking or standing are the only points of contextual reference and understanding, it is indeed an amazing feat of grace, balance, determination and pinnacle of human perfection.  It is a showcase of physical coordination:  the capacity to find the center of gravity upon a singular digit of extremity, and to twirl without falling from grace.

Human tragedies are like metaphors of such acts; for, as the world remains still, one’s own universe spins in a twist of timeless moment ensconced without empathy or consideration by 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, the circumstance itself is likened to the act of a ballerina’s pirouette:  one’s own world is a twirl in time, while the greater objective universe remains impassive, dispassionate, unconcerned and mere observers of an inner sanctuary gone mad but from all appearances remaining the same.

It is difficult to convey in a persuasive or convincing manner such conceptual anomalies as “pain”, “depression”, “cognitive dysfunction”, “radiating pain“, “despondency”; words are not experiences, but they are the vehicle of transference for comprehension, understanding and relational convergence.  Watching the act of a pirouette is not the same as experiencing it; but finding the right words to describe it can come as close as possible for the necessary intersection of understanding.

For the Federal or Postal worker who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the ability to perform a pirouette is not a requirement, and it is not even mandatory that one can properly pronounce the word without a twisted tongue.

What is required, however, is to be able to convey effectively the spinning universe as experienced by one’s medical condition, such that the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can come as close to the experiential context of one’s deteriorating human condition as possible by a formulated convergence of concepts communicated via the greatest singular tool of Mankind:  the written word.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Law: Avoidance

It begins with a subtle turning away, perhaps; reduction of contact, lessening of coincidental interactions, etc.  The fact is, in an office environment, or out in the proverbial “field” of employment, if a coworker or supervisor wants to get a hold of you, they normally can, and with aggressive intent, quite quickly.  But suddenly and in a spiral trajectory of avoidance, people begin to shun and shove aside.

It’s not like the medical condition is contagious, or will by some mysterious process of osmosis spread like a viral wildfire merely by standing next to you; but that is how it is perceived and attributed.  When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, whether the person is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the palpable sense of ostracizing begins immediately.

Loss of productivity; being placed on a PIP; developing a reputation for being on the wrong side of an agency’s favor; these are all of the ills which portend; and the greater the degree of avoidance by fellow workers, the increasing pressure of evidence to begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement.  Federal Disability Retirement is a process which can take many months, and is ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The inevitable is written in the rosters of future events; avoidance merely delays that which will come about, anyway; and procrastination exponentially compounds the cumulative problems aggregated by neglect.  Thus does avoidance work to wound, and rarely to enhance, the fragile future of the Federal or Postal employee in securing one’s financial stability, by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire