Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Smelling the roses

It is a simplistic attitude, but one whose truism dominates and attracts: to enjoy life and have the capacity to relish in it.

“Stopping to smell the roses” is all well and good to declare when you don’t have much to do, or when you are in a position to reverse life’s onward march; however, for most of us, the stresses of daily living, of trying to make a living, and of the uncontrollable demands that beset us every day, undermines the advice of the sage: yes, tranquility can reflect a healthy mind and slowing of pace can lead to longevity and stave off mortality’s inevitable decline; but how does one contend with and control modernity’s screaming frenzy?

The appendage to the image of “smelling the roses,” of course, is the admonition to “pause” or “stop and” take the time; but is our loss of olfactory sensitivity a result of our lack of use?  How many of us even notice the scent of a flower, whether when we walk into a room or meander along a country path? Instead, most of us sneeze with irritation, beset with asthmatic symptoms of allergic disdain, and view such niceties as merely one of life’s obstacles to overcome and ignore.

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 job, the concept of pausing and “smelling the roses” is the last thing to consider, and life’s travails will only continue to shout and scream to prevent such a prosaic declaration.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily allow for greater time to smell those roses, but it will allow for more time to attend to one’s own health — and isn’t that the point?

We take for granted our health, but when our health begins to deteriorate, the stresses begin to compound and exponentially aggregate.

Smelling the roses comes only after the priorities of our life have been placed into proper order, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits when it becomes necessary is the first step towards reaching for the ultimate paradigm of life’s resistance to the stresses inherent and overwhelming: Health; life; relationships — then, to pause in order to smell the roses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Coincidences & wrong attributions

Two events occur within a fairly close span of time; we relate them; we attribute one to have caused the other.  Was it mere coincidence, and was the causal attribution wrongly implied?

We learn from a friend that a certain person X visited the house of person Y.  Y was a good friend.  X never liked you.  A week or so later, you bump into Y and you say, “Hi. Haven’t seen you in a while.  How has the family been?”  Y looks at you, turns the other way without responding, and coldly walks away.

You attribute the behavior of Y as being related to the fact that X, who doesn’t like you, had visited Y the week before.  You connect the coincidence of Y’s behavior and the visitation of Y by X, and create a narrative around the encounter: “X must have bad-mouthed me when he went over to Y’s house.  Y must have believed him, and that is why Y is behaving so coldly to me.”  In other words, you attribute Y’s behavior as the effect caused by X’s coincidental meeting with Y the week before.  Are you right in doing so?

Say, sometime later, you learn that it wasn’t X, after all, that had visited Y the week before, but it was T — another good friend of yours.  Further, you learn that Y’s sister had recently passed away, and Y calls you up and apologizes for the past behavior, explaining that Y simply “didn’t want to talk to anyone that day, and had been walking around in a daze of sorrow.”

Coincidences and wrong attributions; we all make them.  We go back and retrace our steps of logical reasoning to try and discover the flaw of our thought-processes.  It happens often.  What is the rule to follow to try and minimize such flawed approaches to logical reasoning?  First, to get the facts.  Next, to wait before coming to conclusions.  Finally, to try and limit one’s creative imagination from bleeding beyond the borders of known facts.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where 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, it is important to first “get the facts” concerning Federal Disability Retirement, and not get mired in the fears of coincidences and make wrong attributions.

It may well be that certain actions initiated by the Agency are not mere coincidences; and it may be true that your “feelings” about the future can be directly attributable to what you have “heard” from others.  But before coming to any conclusions or making any decisions, it is well-advised to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest those coincidences lead to wrong attributions, resulting in making the wrong moves based upon baseless causal connections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The old man

There is a recognition — born of the enlightenment period in American History referred to merely as “The Sixties” — when a cultural adage was created, which went something like: “Age is not the sequence of years, but of a state of mind”.  Yes, those “Sixties” will one day be looked upon by historians and cultural commentators as that likened to “The Renaissance”, or “The Dark Ages”, or perhaps some other hiccup of historical divisions that bifurcates the “before” and “after” of enlightenment, tumultuous alterations and societal-tectonic shifts of some significance.

The Old Man (without the appendage of “and the Sea”, a reference obviously to the classic novel by Hemingway, who somewhat embodied the end of a Pre-Sixties era where machismo, big-game hunting and the “strong, silent type” was replaced with “sensitivity”, environmental protection and therapeutic sharing) is still regarded by an archetype of sticking to old ways, becoming intractable and clinging to conservatism in thought and actions.

Perhaps that is natural — as one degenerates upon a progressive scale of a downward turn, as on a scale of molecular deterioration leading to eventual decay and death — in that vicissitudes of major proportions can only be tolerated well by the young.  Yet, there is a truth to that old “Sixties adage”, that one’s attitude towards life in general, responsiveness to stimuli and new experiences, is always important in countering the staid phenomena of old age and becoming old.

Medical conditions, of course, can change everything — all at once.  If of physical ailments, one can feel like a young person in a cocoon of ancient origins or, if beset with psychiatric conditions, the disorienting phenomena of psychological trauma can leave one aged while locked into a young body.

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, it often feels like “the old man (or woman)” has arrived before his or her time.  We tend to focus too much upon historical shifts of tectonic proportions, when what really matters is the individual and the compelling narrative of singular lives.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not have any great cultural impact upon history’s retrospective purview, but for the individual Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is as important to prepare and formulate an effective OPM Disability Retirement packet as if one is entering a great tectonic shift.

A Federal Disability Retirement application is a significant event in the life of every Federal and Postal employee, and consultation with an attorney is a near “must” in order to get it prepared properly and efficiently.  As for “The Old Man (or Woman)” that one is afraid of being tagged as because it is time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM — leave that up to the cultural and historical commentators; it is individual lives that matter, and not the footnotes which are forgotten within the morass of vague historical references.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Circumstances and choices

When is it too late to begin reflecting upon one’s circumstances and choices?  Do we already do that daily, and does the length of rumination engaged depend upon where one’s station in life has reached? Do old men and squeaky rocking chairs justify such reflective modes of behavior, or do the young as well take the time to ponder upon choices made, circumstances encountered, and the spectrum of clashes in between?

Do we formulate a fauna of false representations of ourselves, and depict upon the screen of a mind’s inner movie of the “self” with edited versions so that, when queried, we can make those “bad mistakes” of past choices appear to fit into circumstances where we can innocently declare, “I had no other choice!”?  We “make the bed we lie in”; suffer from the “messes we make of our lives”; or of what other adage or declarative falsehoods may we come up with to excuse our own choices in life’s travail of valleys full of mournful echoes?

Circumstances often dictate the choices we make; or, at least the metaphor of “dictation” leads us to believe.  For, the very idea of “X dictates Y” as in the previous statement, “Circumstances dictate the choices we make”, removes us of the responsibility in making the choice, by making it appear as if the choice made is not really a choice at all, but merely an action that is necessitated and you are therefore merely an unwilling agent.

What is lost in such discourse, of course, is the lengthy history of sub-choices previously presented and ignored, where choices that could have been made before circumstances became so dire that the narrowing of alternatives dissipated until a crisis point came to the fore — that is where circumstances and choices require careful analysis before the alternative juncture of varying pathways disappear.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to early on recognize the circumstances unfolding and the choices presented, before the multitude of “forks in the road” begin to disappear, and life’s circumstances begin to impose — not binary choices — but choices that begin to dictate.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like a choice that one wants to undertake, but it is often the circumstances that one has no control over that dictates the future course of choices, and not the choices themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The tangible

What are the criteria by which one lives?  Is there a singular, dominant principle, as in “A Criterion” or “The Criterion”, or multiple ones; or perhaps an overarching archetype with subsets of mini-components that are all in their aggregate subsumed by a greater Platonic Form, somewhat like “Goodness” that predominates, with subtexts of lesser categories?  Or, do we just blunder through life without them and arbitrarily bump into decisions, pathways that take us hither and yonder, and never quite escape the confusions of our own making?

Some people consider themselves to be “idealistic”, and look always for the good in others; still some, pure cynics such that they suspect the worst in everyone; and most, an admixture of the two extremes in a spectrum of choices.  There are, in philosophy, the “logical positivists” who declare that nothing makes sense unless validity of a statement can be established, and such a criterion normally involves the tangible.  That which we can see, feel, hear or establish by logical methodology comprises the entirety of one’s existential reality, and there is some truth to such an approach.

It is said that in youth, much idealism begins; in middle age, some waning of hope must by necessity be accepted; and by old age, a seeping cynicism inevitably prevails.  The tangible is that which we can embrace, feel, rest our hopes upon; otherwise, the cold icicles of other people’s indifference will ultimately become the obsession of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has begun to result in tangible manifestations — i.e., use of LWOP has become noticeably frequent; performance ratings are anticipated to be questionable; supervisors and coworkers have begun asking questions; but most importantly, you yourself have begun to notice a deterioration in your ability and capacity to maintain the level and pace of working at the Agency or Postal facility — the “criterion” to be applied is quite straightforward: Are you still able to perform all of the essential elements of your positional requirements?

If not, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  The criteria by which we live are often complicated; it is the tangible which brings everything back down to earth from the lofty heights of idealism, youth and folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Unwillingness

What is it about a personality that is unwilling?  Is it pure obstinacy?  Or, perhaps a personality trait of stubbornness that goes against the very nature of a person’s essence?  Such traits or quirks of personalities are interesting, precisely because they can fluctuate depending upon the particular context encountered.

Take, for example, an important conference where negotiations are occurring — say, in the settlement of a lawsuit or the consequential merger of two giant companies, etc.  If one of the principals in the negotiations has a reputation of “unwillingness” to compromise, or during the course of back-and-forth give and takes, it becomes apparent that the chief negotiator is unwilling to move an inch, we say of the person that either his (or her) unwillingness to reach a common accord is X or Y — i.e., tenacious to certain unmovable principles; stubborn; intractable; a “brilliant” tactical negotiator, etc.

Now, take the same example but with an individual who is willing to bend and allow for concessions — we might say of that person that he or she is “reasonable”, or that he is a wimp or she is without integrity.

But “unwillingness” has a special characteristic and connotation, does it not, from the rest of the personality traits described?  Especially if it is a permanent feature of a person’s makeup, and not merely a temporary, stubborn streak that may change and alter later on, or in a week, or in an hour’s time.

There is both something admirable as well as exasperating when referring to a person who has a personality characteristic of “unwillingness” — whether based upon an inner principle that drives the intractable nature, or perhaps a quirkiness of nature that refuses change.  The test of that unwillingness, and whether it is apparent only in certain particular and unique circumstances, or whether that is a permanent feature of a person’s internal mechanism, can only be tested through the spectrum of one’s life.  Such a personality trait can be admirable and reflect an evolutionary advantage in surviving the encounters with the world at large, or they can be a self-inflicting wound that can destroy and defeat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have an unwillingness to throw in the proverbial white towel despite all evidence that shows 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, the alternative one must face can be daunting: continuing to endure the medical condition despite the debilitating nature of the trauma; the increasing harassment that must be faced because of excessive taking of Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP; the the questioning looks from Supervisors, managers and coworkers, etc.

Federal Disability Retirement, of course, is an alternative course of action — of recognizing the need for change, the requirement of pliability, and the necessity for modification in one’s life.

Yes, “unwillingness” is often an admirable trait to cling to, but for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it can be an obstacle to a necessary next step in 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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The tumultuous years

The tumultuous years are often remembered with a sense of awe, if not with some fondness.  The suffering endured; the turmoil experienced; even the pain sustained and seared into the consciousness of nightmares and scarred memories.  But one often looks back upon those years and reflects: I survived, and though the remembrances are a blur of activities that generously skips over the details of the suffering experienced, it was a time of enormous productivity where things were accomplished in spite of trauma of obstacles placed.

Yet, when the tumultuous years are in the “here and now”, that is not how one describes it.  It is only when it is in the distant past, when it has already been overcome, and when that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” has already been reached. When you are still in the thick of it, fondness of memories does not prevail, and the old adage that time heals all pain is yet tested.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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, it may be a necessary next step to prepare, formulate and file 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.

For such a Federal or Postal employee, those “tumultuous years” are still in the here and now, and have not been overcome; and so it is understandable that you cannot yet reflect back with any sense of perspective, awe, or of fondness for those days of turmoil.  Instead, as you are still in the thick of things, the goal is to reach that end of the tunnel where the sunshine still is bright with hope for the future, and then, years later, to look back and remember, and hopefully those memories will be one with an exclamation point of having successfully met the challenge, survived it, and have put it behind you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire