Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Expertise

What constitutes it, and who determines the status of when it is achieved?  We hear about people who are “experts” in this or that, referring to either experience, association or credentials, and based upon that, we accept their status of being an “expert” in the field.  Can that be undermined by personal experience?

Say a person has a Ph.D. in a given field, has worked in the capacity of that field for 30 years, and everyone in the field refers to him as the “resident expert” or “the best of the best” in the field; and yet, in a given situation calling for his or her expertise, he or she fails, is wrong, or otherwise falls short of having provided any competent input.  Does that undermine the expert’s status as an expert, or does one shrug one’s shoulders and say, “Well, you can’t be right all of the time”?  Say a “non-expert”, during the gathering of expertise and amassing of various opinions in making a critical decision, suddenly pipes up and says something contrary to what Dr. X – with-the-Ph.D-with-30-years-of-experience believes and has stated, but in the end he turns out to be right — does that make him or her the new resident expert?

There are, of course, the various logical fallacies — like the fallacy of “association by reputation” or of presumed certitude based upon past experiences (refer to David Hume, for example); but the ultimate question may come down to a simple grammatical one: is the concept used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb?  How does one “gain” expertise, or attain the status of an “expert”, and can it be by experience alone, a credential earned, or by reputation gained — or a combination of all three?

How did Bernie Madoff swindle so many people for so many years?  Was he considered an “expert” in financial matters, and what combination of the tripartite status-making byline (i.e., reputation, experience and credentialing) did he possess to persuade so many to be drawn to him?  Or, is it sometimes merely greed and a proclivity of vulnerability to a good storyteller enough to persuade one that a certain-X is an “expert”?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in their lives and careers where a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the critical or “essential” elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a certain level of expertise may be necessary before preparing 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.

Ultimately, it is not “expertise” or some prior reputation that is important, but the accuracy of information received and the truth of the knowledge relied upon — and for that, one should do due diligence in researching not merely the “credentials” of those who declare some “expertise” in the area of Federal Disability Retirement Law, and not even self-puffery of self-promoting success, but in addition, an instinct as to the truth of what is stated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Beyond the shutdown

What does it mean for the government to “shut down” because the Congress and the President were unable to come to a budgetary agreement?  It is often the question that is focused upon, but may be the wrong one.  The more relevant issue concerns the events that will occur after the cessation of the shut down.  What happens afterwards?  For, everyone assumes that the government will come to some sort of budgetary reconciliation, and that there will ultimately be an end to the deadlock.

The House and Senate will finally pass a spending bill, whether of a temporary, continuing resolution, or of a long-term bill that addresses the various issues each side is fighting for.  With that assumption in mind, the question becomes, What happens beyond the shutdown?

Essentially, nothing dramatic, other than that the bureaucracy of the Federal government will experience greater delays, and the shutdown merely becomes interpreted as a slowdown for goods and services, much like the picture painted of a local grocery store closing for a week, a month or many months, and where shoppers would have to find another venue to obtain their wares.  The difference between the private-sector shutdown and a Federal government shutdown, however, is that the former often allows for its competitors to take advantage of the situation, whereas the latter has no such “competitors”, as it is the only “game” in town.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a 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, the question of “what to do” with the shutdown should be approached with the following questions: Do we assume that the Federal Government will “reopen for business” at some point?  The general answer is: Yes.

With that assumption, should we just proceed with preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Again, the general answer is: Yes.

The “private” sector continues to operate, and so the doctors who need to submit medical reports and records can still be accessed; the standard forms still need to be prepared, and the faster one is placed into the “waiting line” for determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the quicker the “product” of an approved Federal Disability Retirement benefit will accrue, once the doors of the Federal Government and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are again opened for “business as usual”, beyond the shutdown that occurs from time to time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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 process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Life’s ruinations

The poetry of a fork in the road sings to us from those innocent days of childhood voices; of life’s beginnings, the promise of future longings, and those lazy summer mornings left far behind in dusty coves where love’s forlorn memories linger in misty waves of lapping thoughts.  Life has a way of beating us down.  A wise man once said:  If you don’t like the way the day is going, stick around, as everything changes over time.

We tend to focus upon the trials of the moment, as if there is no tomorrow, and perhaps that is a “good” thing, if we think that life is a linear progression (or regression, as it were) of experiences unfolding and eternally unending.  What does it mean to have a “proper perspective”, or a “balanced view” of life?  In the living moment of travesty and despair, can one reach beyond on either side in order to view the middle from afar?  Or are we so wrapped up in our own troubles that we can never quite see beyond the travails of our own creation?

We have lost the capacity to maintain vigilance as the gatekeeper of incoming information and data; instead, we are like rudderless vessels, being thrown to-and-fro by the waves of data-overloads, forever accosted by the connectivity for which we pay dearly in terms of money, loss of soul, and depleted creativity.  We cannot think for ourselves, anymore, because we have Google and viewfinders to guide our ways; and we no longer map out our road trips because we have electronic guiding devices to do that which we have lost our way in attaining.

For every second we have been promised that we would save with the advent of a new electronic device, Jim Croce’s time in a bottle would have been filled tenfold, if only we had stuck to the revolving voices emitted by the crank of an antique phonograph.

Life was once a promise of a future hope and unrealized cacophony of mirth to be reached; now, the darkness of life’s ruinations overshadow us all.  There are no promises or instructions of “how to” when we are born; only a meandering sense of anarchy by which we are shoved into and respond by the seat of our pants.  In the end, life’s ruinations are determined by the choices we make, and are well within the control of our willpower to map out fate, destiny and the avenues of alternatives offered.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who see the coming signs – of increasing harassment, administrative pressures and managerial sanctions – it is time to begin preparing.  Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if and when a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset becomes disabled as a result of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, is a necessary step in sidestepping and avoiding those pesky forks in the road which represent life’s ruinations.

In such instances, Google won’t help, and even an expensive GPS device won’t be of much use.  Instead, it is an individual choice to be made, and the time is ripe when you realize that life’s ruinations are often the result of procrastination and delay in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM forthwith.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Social Contract Theory

In modernity, what is the “Social Contract”, and does it still hold any meaning?  Or, is the bundle of bureaucracy, the conflict between the competitive predatoriness of capitalism left to its own devices resulting in a cronyism of wealthy interconnections, as opposed to the growing girth of Federalism with a pittance and breadcrumbs left to State governments to fill in some minor gaps — does the aggregate of such entities, comprised of regulations, statutes, laws and a compendium of languages isolated in fine print, all together reflect the vestiges of the Social Contract we once revered as the awe-inspiring product of the Age of Enlightenment?

Would Rousseau, and to a lesser extent Hobbes, and further explained in Locke’s Treatise, represent anything of value, anymore?  Or are we left to our own devices, as Darwin proposed those many decades ago on the lapping shores of the Galapagos, where survivability is determined by genetic origin, environmental refinement, and ultimately the devices used in subterfuge when societal niceties require at least a surface semblance of genteel behavior?  In the end, the concept of a “Social Contract” means little if the basic legal constructs are not adhered to.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, such legal constructs are represented by the cumulative promises made by the bureaucracy which employs them, comprised of statutes, regulations, executive orders and corollary mandates.  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 positional duties, the idea of honoring the Social Contract becomes important, because part of that agreement is to fairly treat the Federal or Postal employee when the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able, because of a medical condition, to continue working in the same job.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is each day a test as to the continuing resolution of the viability of the Social Contract.  While not every Federal or Postal employee may be automatically eligible for the benefits to be received through Federal Disability Retirement, it is the fairness of the process which is important, and whether a proper course of administrative protocols are followed and met throughout the entirety of the bureaucratic process.

In the end, those vestiges of that grand idea originating in the minds of philosophers — the highfalutin concept of a Social Contract — are only as good as the promises made and declarations kept in the things that impact the everyday lives of ordinary people, like those dedicated public servants who toil daily in the Federal Sector and the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Other Side of Work

The entanglement of work with value and worth is an inescapable aggregate of custom, upbringing, time spent, and the egoism of leaving some indelible mark upon an otherwise implacable universe.  Where work resulted in income, and income the cumulative wealth of a lifetime, the driving force behind it never mandated the fury of necessity.  Of course work has always been tied to livelihood; that is a given.  But when the doors for credit, mortgages exponentially exceeding an imbalance beyond capacity to repay, and the idea became accepted that luxury need not be left for tomorrow, the slavery of bonding work to worth became an unworthy concept.

Then, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the fear and trembling for future needs begins to encroach.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition is having an effect upon one’s performance of work, the reality of potential alternatives must be faced, and quite quickly, lest the other side of work, like this side of paradise, leaves one with neither work nor income, but a bleak future without either.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will take time to develop, submit, and wait upon in order to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is a complex bureaucratic process with multiple administrative facets.  The reality of needing to file, however, should never be confused with the bundled confusion one has concerning worth, work, and the value of one’s contribution to society.  It is the medical condition itself, and attending to the symptoms and effects of that which one never expected, asked for, nor desired, that must be focused upon .

Some things in life are, indeed, worth of greater value than work, and the value placed upon the other side of work will determine the course of one’s future, whether of joy and love, or of further puzzlement beyond the imprint of time spent without one’s family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire