OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Silent Troll

OPM silently trolls the Internet.  You may not think that such activity poses a risk to you, but you should be fully aware of it.  By “troll” is not meant to include posting inflammatory remarks or initiating controversial discussions on the Web; rather, they silently and quietly view any postings and activities you may be involved in.  They will “spy” on your activities and use what is online as an argument to try and undermine and deny your Federal Disability Retirement application.

Thus, if you are a Postal worker, for example, and claim that you are unable to perform your physical duties as a Letter Carrier, Mail Handler, etc., but you have an Internet Web Page which claims that you are physically fit, a Facebook photo that shows you running a marathon, or a business that involves physical labor, etc., they will use your own postings against you.  Or, perhaps you are a Federal employee who can no longer perform a cognitive-intensive job, but have an Internet-based business as a consulting firm, or some similar work requiring cognitive-intensive work.  Guess what?  OPM may use that against you.

Of course, claims made on the Internet can be quite misleading.  For example, you may be a partner for an Internet-based business in “name only” — meaning that all of the work is done by a sibling or a close friend.  Or, it may be that the “self-pacing” element of running your own business is what allows you to have such an Internet-based business.  However, be that as it may, you should be aware that OPM is the Silent Troll who collects such information for a singular purpose: To deny your Federal Disability Retirement application.

Consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin to safeguard a benefit which is your right to assert.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

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 loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Holding a grudge

Doesn’t holding a grudge imply a certain level of intelligence?  Do other species have the capacity for holding a grudge?  Certainly, some breeds of dogs do — of getting into a growling match, or one of those “baring the teeth and gnarling sounds”, but with very little harm done; but if it is not “finished”, will come back and engage in some more noisy combat until one or the other is satisfied that neither a grudge nor a kiss will any longer be necessary.

“Having a grudge” can last a moment or a lifetime; “Holding a grudge” is comprised of the tenure of the grudge being held, and not as to its intensity of feeling.  Some grudges may be sweet and delicious; others, a gnawing sense that does greater harm to the holder than to the one for whom it is held.  There is, in the end, a difference between a grudge and a sense of resentment, although the former may include the latter, but the latter does not necessarily entail the former.  Siblings and best friends are famous for holding grudges; it reveals the level of hurt and care that becomes deep-seated when once betrayal cuts and bruises.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is often an easy path to find oneself on where one was once the Federal Agency’s “star employee”; then, a medical condition sets in, and suddenly the congratulatory accolades become silent, and unilateral actions are taken by the agency which begins to foment resentment…and a growing “grudge match” begins.

Administrative sanctions are imposed; a PIP is initiated; perhaps, even removal from Federal Service.  Yet, all along, you are thinking: “I have a medical condition; why are they treating me this way?”  Grudges, indeed, often are held because of mistreatment or maltreatment; and it is often worse when there is no face or name to be placed with the grudge, but merely a large Federal Agency or the Postal Service that cares not a twit about your medical condition.

The best thing to do in such circumstances is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and “move on” beyond the sense of resentment and grudge-holding that can destroy a life further than the medical condition itself.  Yes, holding a grudge does imply a certain level of intelligence, but to hold one for too long shows a significant level of stupidity, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The concise sentence

What is the difference between being concise and performing with precision?  The former is often applied in the universe of words and communication; the latter, in areas where quantitative measuring tools can be determined, such as in science or in mathematical sectors.

We say of a person who speaks voluminously but with little substance that he or she represents the antonym of conciseness; and so a comparison is often made between volume spoken or written and concepts or thoughts conveyed.  Of Literature, most would agree that Hemingway is the representative paradigm of conciseness, whereas Joyce and Faulkner reflect the very opposite, though all three are considered classic and great authors.

Do we excuse such authors as Joyce and Faulkner because, in literature, we tend to focus upon the stylistic brilliance of their writings as opposed to the “meaning” that captures the undercurrent of their works?  In other words, although they may give us “too many” words and thus are, by definition, lacking of conciseness, we nevertheless overlook such imprecision precisely because we do not attribute “amount” as the necessary and sufficient cause of determining the worth of good authorship.

Hemingway used to say that, in writing, he had already formulated each sentence before setting it upon paper, whether in handwriting (a lost art) or at the typewriter (a manual, when those contraptions existed and where the clack-clack of metal keys pounded deep into the twilight of a writer’s life).

Why do we applaud and celebrate the concise sentence?  Does it make a difference whether or not a sentence, say, with 7 words communicates a thought as opposed to a paragraph with a thousand words that conveys the identical conceptual construct?

Take the following 2 examples: 1. Lessening of debt equals wealth. Or, 2: If you have less to owe to others, then it is the same as savings; or, as Benjamin Franklin used to say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and the reality of it all is that we have more to spend and retain wealth, not so much because you have more money, but you have more because less is spent on paying other people your hard-earned dollars.

Now, both sentences convey essentially the same meaning.  The first one, however, is comprised of 5 words. The second one took…many words to communicate the same thought.  Does it matter whether a concise sentence is used, as opposed to one that is not, if the same two convey identically reflective thoughts?

It might make a difference, because of one factor that has not been discussed: Being concise often possesses the added feature of being precise, and precision is important in the accuracy of conveying thought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are thinking about preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there is a dual-key component to preparing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability: Be concise, but do not forego length for completeness.

In other words, being concise in order to convey the proper information is important; but, at the same time, do not sacrifice wordiness just because of the limited “boxes” that are provided on SF 3112A.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Reference points

They are the connections by which a society maintains a fabric of commonality, whether by myths, narrations of stories handed down, religious knowledge or books and movies.  It used to be that the “Good Book” was the mainstay of the reference points, so that when a person referred to having “eaten the apple”, for a simple example, one immediately knew that the reference points between a sin committed and the origin of that sin had a commonality within a woven fabric of a community’s awareness.

Similarly, people used to refer to books – of classics and works which were generally read and assumed, and when a person made a literary reference in the course of a conversation, it was not to be presumptuous of one’s education or knowledge, but as a “reaching out” in order to establish a membership in the fabric of the greater community.  The expansion of choices, the division of classes within a society, and the fraying of that greater fabric of a society’s common interests – they are all indications of a disintegrating civilization.

Reference points were once assumed; today, they have become rarer; and as the younger generation moves on in concentric circles of technological advancement that become lost in the self-absorption of self-promoting images on Internet-based social forums, so reference points become less common except within the self-contained genres of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Of course, there have always been problems with various reference points – one being the reference point of a medical condition.  For, a person with a medical condition has the private reference point of pain and suffering, and the long stays at a hospital, or the constant visits to the doctor’s office – reference points that few at the office ask about, let alone know about in any detail that would bring about any sense of empathy.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are often the greater culprits of maintaining private reference points, because they continue to push themselves through the pain and agony of a medical condition without complaining, and so there is very little reference point by which coworkers can offer sympathy, empathy or any help at all.

Fortunately, 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, does not need any reference points, other than the legal criteria by which one must meet the eligibility reference point.  For, ultimately, the final reference point that the Federal or Postal worker needs, in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the one that establishes that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and that is the only reference point that matters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The perfect person

By all accounts, he or she doesn’t exist, except perhaps in theoretical constructs of theological paradigms; and of academia, where one may argue some alternate version of Anselm’s argument by positing that, because the concept of perfection could not be thought of without the reality of a Being constituting perfection, ergo a perfect Being – God – must by necessity exist.

Yet, we live “as if” the perfect person exists – either imposing such a standard unknowingly, unwittingly and unwillingly upon our own selves, or by thinking that movie characters actually exist somewhere in the ephemeral world of Hollywood, Instagram and Facebook concoctions that only put forward to the public’s eye the image of perfection.

We overlook the distorted concept of perfection when we say of a movie character, “Oh, he’s not perfect; he drinks too much, cheats on his spouse and is violent.”  Yet, the make-believe character still solves the mystery, is philosophically coherent when drunk, and somehow remains an attractive character despite all such character flaws.  In other words, despite the appearance of flaws, we make gods of characters we create.

It is the same on the Internet – despite the knowledge by all that there does not exist the perfect person, nevertheless, we allow for Facebook postings and Instagram photographs of meals, dogs, kids, families, selves and neighborhoods as the perfect depiction of unblemished lives.  And of ourselves, perhaps the greatest of culprits alive – for perpetuating the mythological depiction by engaging in the flim-flam of projecting the existence of the perfect person.

Yet, what is the alternative?  No one wants to hear the perpetual whining of the constant apologist – that person who points out his own failures and shortcomings at the drop of the proverbial hat; of he who apologizes for the slightest of errors, the scent of a mistake and a hint of failure to reach perfection.  Name a movie character or a movie, excepting a comedy, where the character is merely a bundle of imperfections and unattractive to boot.  Even Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series, played long ago by Peter Sellers and by others more recently, captured the culprit in the end, despite all of the blunders and pitfalls.

In the end, we all participate in the grand larceny of perpetuating the existence of the perfect person – until we are hit with a medical condition, and the façade then suddenly falls apart.  Yet, everyone else continues in the charade.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer keep up with the make-believe world of the perfect person because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the appearance of the perfect person to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to admit imperfection by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the imperfect Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, it is the perfect person who embraces the imperfection of this world, and that is at least a beginning for the Federal or Postal employee who must continue to face the Federal Agency or the Postal Service in facing the reality of living imperfectly in this all too perfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing 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, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Stamina

The Latin origin refers to “threads” and the foundation of a fabric; of endurance, strength and the power to resist.  It is the energy that is sustained, propelling the essence of a person’s illuminated core that lasts despite the destructive tears and moth-eaten wear that may slowly deteriorate the woven fabric that slowly untangles the aggregate of the cloth.  Fabrics are peculiar entities; there are enough analogies made of them, of the correlative concept that the singular threads poses the threat of weakness and inability to survive, but the collective aggregation with each additional reinforcement provides an almost invincible compendium of strengthened stalwart.

How does one cut through such a wall or obstacle?  By going back to the origins and roots – by cutting one thread at a time where the fray is shown or the weakness manifested; and thus do illnesses, viruses and medical conditions begin to deplete the human stamina that once possessed the power of endurance and energy to resist.  It may begin with a short period of illness, where the system’s immunity is attacked.

At first, the body still has the collective energy of reserve to easily fight off the infection.  Then, however, work, life and responsibilities compel one to do the very opposite of that which the body requires in order to recover – instead of resting and allowing the reconstruction of one’s immunity, the body is forced to undergo the stresses of modernity by going back to work, being compelled to endure despite the weakened state, and by sheer power of will, to ignore fatigue, sleep and the call for peaceful rest.

Then, by the body’s internal mechanism of using stored spurts of petrol, with the internal coursing of adrenalin to become the lifeblood of fueled turbo-infusions, a functional state of recovery is felt; except that, by chance, fate or bad luck, a regressive second stage is brought on by a subsequent attack, a recurrence of the illness or some other foreign invasion, and further debilitation occurs.  It is at such a critical juncture that we often make the mistake of trying to get a “quick fix” to the problem, and either ignore it, push through or fail to recognize the danger-symptoms.

Stamina requires rest and restoration in order to maintain the warehouse of vitality; it is meant for the long haul and the constancy of endurance for the period of human life.  By abusing the privilege of the woven fabric gifted, we allow for the edges to fray and the vulnerability to become exposed.  The natural need for rest is a luxury we can no longer afford in modernity, and so we push onward despite the warning signs imminently cautioning such paths of self-destruction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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 dual challenge must be faced:  First, the acceptance of one’s medical condition and disability, and the use of one’s stamina to endure that new state of acceptability; and, second, to push through the lengthy process of preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon the administrative morass of a Federal Disability Retirement procedure.

In the end, the Federal and Postal employee who by necessity of a medical condition must undergo the complex bureaucratic process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, will have to utilize the stored stamina that is the fabric of life, and continue to maintain the frayed threads of that vital energy which is the essence of beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Usurping dreams

What happened to them?  Where did those once youthful and exuberant conduits taking us beyond the monotony of the present disappear to?  When did we allow for “practicality” and “being real”, of “growing up” and “becoming responsible” to usurp the dreams of our youth?  Did we misjudge, misunderstand and misapply the principles first taught, and confuse the two concepts – of having a “realistic viewpoint” and abandoning all dreams and hopeful fantasies?

The two are not mutually exclusive; one can still work upon one’s dreams, yet go about the work-a-day world to make a living and pursue a career.  Ah, but then, life intervenes and interrupts, doesn’t it?  Is that why children are delayed, trips are cancelled and i-phones are kept in sacrosanct altars beneath the altered photographs of our imagined pasts?  Is the procrastination invited, the delayed life intruded upon and the project-time of 5-year plans extended, precisely because if we keep pushing beyond and giving ourselves excuses for inaction, there will one day come a time when we will admit that it is too late?

Usurping dreams is the insidious encroachment of cynicism shadowing our once promising beginnings, and the pendulum that allows for the heavy turn when clocks no longer run, thoughts become stale and creativity is suddenly disposed of, then the stench of human decay begins to set in, and we slowly die a death we once mourned in the youthful hope of our former times.

Usurping dreams is like the virus that gnaws away at the flesh of joy; usurping dreams is like the broken cane that once held the weight of an old man’s hand and allowed for ambulation, and no matter how many time you tape it together or glue the fissure, the weakest point of the break never quite heals; and usurping dreams is like the Book of Plans once gathered, then put aside into the cellar of one’s forgotten memories, only to remain in haunting whispers, always calling, never being heard but in the darkness where fears are touched and enlivened by the sunlight never quite seen for want of bringing back those youthful memories of exuberant smiles and unselfish shouts of pure happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the question is:  Did the career do it; did the medical condition do it; or is there still hope beyond the medical condition and the career?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, has now become a necessity.  The only real question remaining is whether the same pause which allowed for usurping of dreams those many years ago is the identical weakness of groundless fears that prevents you from taking that next step into a still-hopeful future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The tentative step

This is a tough and dangerous world.  No longer a Hobbesian State of Nature nor of War, the Social Contract as envisioned by Locke or Rousseau provides some nominal protection, and thus do we identify ourselves as “civilized” entities in yet a dystopian universe where a greater majority of the rest of the world acts with unconcerned insanity by engaging in senseless wars of mass killings and genocidal encounters.  In such a world, we thoughtlessly bring newborns who must contend with an uncertain future, fraught with challenges unasked for and conflicts yet to be encountered.

Those tentative first steps of a toddler – how we watch with awe and observe with wonderment.  Why is that?  Why is the transition from ambulating as most other mammals do on four legs, to engaging an awkwardly wobble as a bipedal hominid, of such significance?  Is it because it marks the steps of initiation into the club of “civilized” society – that to stand upright and walk with our two feet, as opposed to the addition of the other two appendages, signifies the next stage of growth and maturity?  Yet, that tentative step reveals all, doesn’t it?

It marks the magnification of uncertainty for the future; it reveals the imperfection of the human animal; and it manifests the symbol of insecurity by deliverance of a vulnerable entity thrown into a pit of vipers and hyenas.  We do this to ourselves, and to the ones we say we love.  And as the toddler grows up, through further steps of initiations into a cruel world, how that tentative step cements and molds itself into a characterization of so much of life’s violent encounters.  Whether remembered or not, those nascent steps of uncertainty carry along with us like Pilgrim’s burdensome backpack, weighing upon us at different and varying stages of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition reenacts those tentative steps taken as a toddler, one becomes reminded that we came into this world uninvited, presented without a guide as to how to go about living life, and suddenly find yourself with a challenge:  No longer able to perform all of the essential elements of your job, your choices are to stay and endure the pain; leave, resign and walk away without anything you worked so hard to attain; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, like the toddler taking those first tentative steps, this is a new endeavor, a next phase, but probably without those doting parents cheering you on.  As a result, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, if only to steady those two feet as you jump forward into an uncertain future by submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire