Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing 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, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Organizing the apocalypse

The apocalypse, by definition, has no future.  Whether by biblical reference, or in a generic sense where the foreseen event entails such proportions of catastrophic immensity, the concept itself is beyond the grasp of human comprehension.  It is where Being becomes non-existent, and the existential contrast of the conceptual puzzle encompassing Nothingness is somehow attempted to be understood, if only within the limited means of linguistic expression.

Poetry cannot abide the meaning; prose can barely describe its repose; and human thought is unable to grapple with the vicious circularity of its conundrum:  to comprehend it is to consider its very converse; to think upon the inversion is to extinguish all conceptual paradigms.  It is an act of self-immolation, where the devouring of one’s own flesh must by necessity occur in order to stave off the pangs of starvation, but where each bite merely ensures the death of the guarantor of life.

That is what Malraux touches upon when his characters discuss the self-contradiction of revolutionary movements; the very people who initiate such explosions can never be the ones who continue the implosions following; for, it is the breed itself which cannot remain in order to build.  By their very nature, the destructive forces must themselves disappear, lest the cannibalization of such extinguishment is the intended goal, which is never considered unless anarchy and dystopia are the ends sought.

We often think that those who are compelled by causes which history, in its visionary retrospective insights, can remain to maintain stability and administration of the revolutionary idea; but Mao proved otherwise, and the haunting bones of Cuba’s leaders where poverty, desecration of abandoned ideas and fading combat khakis declare to us that we wish Mick Jagger never came out of retirement.

There is, in every epic of historical proportions, a loss of meaning whenever the cause has been attained, and that is the natural course of life.  The question thus becomes:  Once the pinnacle is reached, what does one do?  In microcosms of life and smallness of living within the spectacle of the common man, the issue that remains and looms amidst is, How to organize the apocalypse.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from continuing in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career or vocation of financial stability, the fact that one must end one’s Federal or Postal career early is akin to an apocalypse, where hope is no longer a goal to endure.  That being a fact of irrefutable and irreversible content which arrives at a point of incontrovertible reality, the issue remaining which must be considered is, How do I rationally organize this apocalypse?

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first step in ensuring that the metaphorical “revolution” which brings about a change uncalled for, like the wave of a historical sweep in epic battles of mankind’s folly, comes about in a rational, organized and steadfast manner, such that we are not left behind like the haunting whispers of Mao’s Cultural Revolutions or the stale cigar smoke from Castro’s toothless grin, where history laughs in the dark corridors of forgotten tombstones overrun with the swallowing of earth’s grief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Trader

We all think we are the “best” at it; and, indeed, that is one of the espoused qualifications boasted by one of the major party’s candidates:  a greater deal-maker, the penultimate trader.  Such a person claims to be able to spot the jewel in the hidden crown; the uncut diamond in the quicksand of life; and the unrevealed luminosity in a universe covered in the abyss of vacuity.

We all like to think of ourselves as that great horse-trader – the one who can spot a good deal when we see it, and walk away from a sour one left unidentified for another sucker to be conned.  The problem is that our egos tend to be greater than the wisdom of our own estimation.  There is a reason why, in the United States, “self-esteem” hits records of affirmation and acknowledgement; we keep telling ourselves how great we are, and all the while others prove worth by accomplishment and sheer toil.  That used to be our lot – of toil, despair and exhaustion from hard work; now, we believe in ourselves, and so it must be so.

There was a time when trading well meant surviving for another season; fur traders, commodity exchanging and transference of goods and services – these were the substances by which lives were lived.  The introduction of money as the prevailing source of exchange placed an interrupting force within the evaluative process of trading.  For, no longer was one thing transferred by direct possessory exchange for another, but the purchasing means became dependent upon a common currency for that exchange.

We lost the “eye” for direct exchange, and instead relied upon outside sources to determine the value of goods and services; and if one acquired a greater amount of currency, then the value itself of exchanging with that currency became diminished; and thus was born the evil of inflation.  There is no inflation in a primitive economy of direct exchange; for, what is immediately needed, desired and traded for, constitutes the direct value of the currency involved.

Then, of course, there are less “material” issues for the good trader.  There are “trade-offs” which must also warrant a “good eye”, in that a person must be able to evaluate, assess and analyze current circumstances, future needs and predictability of contingencies unexpected.

That is where the good trader in a Federal Disability Retirement case comes into play.  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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, must be able to evaluate all of the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings, and make the “trade-off” between current work and career, future needs and potentialities, and engage the proper decision in moving forward (or not) in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, being the natural trader all of us are, and believing that our self-esteem depends upon the efficacy of our trading instincts, may not be enough to survive in this life; it often takes an evaluative methodology of acknowledging the “trade-offs” one must accept or reject, in order to survive, and the first order of a trade never to make is the one that concerns one’s own health and well-being.  For, that is an invaluable commodity which has no equivalence of worth possessed by anyone else in order to constitute a fair exchange under any circumstances, and that is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application reflects the greatest trade of all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire