OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Confused confusion

Why confuse the confused?  Why confuse further the confusion that already confused even the least of the confused?  Why add to the confusion when the confused are confused enough as it is, and when confusion should be relieved by less confusion instead of confusing everyone further by adding to the confusion?

Life is confusing enough, and it is amidst the confusion of life’s state of perennial confusion that we seek relief from the confusing state of affairs, but which often leads to further confusion because we ourselves are confused.

It all began in childhood when first we entered the ice cream shop and had to choose between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors — and we turned to our parents wanting all three, or one of them, or perhaps two out of three, and we admitted mournfully, “Mom, I’m confused.”  Then, the next summer, we stepped in line and looked up at the offerings, and there were 3 more flavors added — of caramel-something-or-another, chocolate mint and peach; and from thence forward, choices for unlimited quantities of alternatives offered bombarded our sensibilities and overloaded the limited circuitry of life’s options.

Then, of course, there was the “fax machine” that began it all — not having to have to wait for the snail mail to carry back and forth the correspondence that was being typed first on a manual typewriter, then an electric one, then a “word processor”, then a tabletop computer, then a laptop, and then the smartphone and beyond — where every written piece of memorialization could be instantly received, to be further replaced by emails, attachments to emails, shared documents and instantaneous transmissions through the netherworld of constant connectivity; and we wonder, are we any clearer within our lives than before the confused confusion we experience today?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that the Federal Disability Retirement process is a rather confusing administrative morass, such a belief would not be unfounded.

The complexity of the process — of what meets and constitutes the “preponderance of the evidence” test; of the multiple and various case-law precedents that determine and define the eligibility criteria for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application; to the confusing language contained in SF 3112C that will supposedly “guide” the treating doctors into providing the necessary medical information in order to successfully meet the eligibility criteria — all of it is inherently and purposefully complex and confusing.  How does one cut through the thickets of confusion?

To begin with, confusion is sometimes confused with complexity; and though they share some characteristics, the difference between the two is that while one possesses inherent elements which may lead to confusion, the other (confusion) is not necessarily defined by them.

Federal Disability Retirement is a complex administrative process, and the confusing elements within the process can lead to later complications unless clarified at the early stages.  To do so — i.e., to clarify the confusions and simplify the complexities — the Federal or Postal employee may want to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in that complex and confusing area of law identified as “Federal Disability Retirement Law”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement from OPM: The warmth of a thought

Does it even make sense to cross over between tactile-based sensations and conceptual transmissions?  We’ve heard variations of that muddle — of how a thought brings warmth to one’s body; meaning, thereby, that there is a causal connection between a thought and a subsequent sensation, as in, “I was sitting there one evening thinking about my childhood, sitting on my grandfather’s lap when a secure feeling of warmth overcame me”.

In such an instance, we realize the cause-and-effect consequences at play — of a thought that leads to a sensation, where mind-to-body interaction is “proven” by the symbiotic relationships and coherence of and between the two.

David Hume, ever the doubter and cynic, would likely have argued (beyond a mere declaration of dismissiveness in saying, “Bosh!” with a distinctive Scottish accent) that no necessary connection between the thought and the sensation has occurred, any more than the sequence of one following upon another.  Yet, we all believe that there is some sort of a connection, whether directly causal or otherwise.

Thus do we accept the descriptive custom when a mystery write speaks about the “cold chill” that ran up the victim’s spine just before the killer put his hands around the woman’s throat — a clear indication that observation following upon a thought resulted in a tactile sensation.  But the subtle distinction made here — not of a thought that brings about a sensation, but the “warmth of a thought”, is a somewhat slight variation of the causal connection.  Not that the thought itself links to a consequential sensation, or that there is a causal linkage between thought and tactile phenomena, but that the two are one and the same — of the very sensation within, of and encasing and encapsulating the thought itself.

In other words, the thought itself is the warmth, and the warmth is the thought, such that the “of” is not a causal consequence brought about by a sequence of X-following-upon-Y, but the space between concept and sensation doesn’t even exist.  It is somewhat like the difference between the following 2 sentences: “The discontent in winter” and “The winter of discontent”.  Is there a distinction with a difference?

Linguistic subtleties abound only within the ivory towers of academicians; for the rest of us, such separateness of meanings rarely impact with significance or relevance (ah, now that is the rub, isn’t it — to argue over the difference between “significance” and “relevance”?).  The warmth of a thought — can the tactile sensation be separated from the conceptual construct?

It is like the medical condition that a Federal or Postal employee suffers from — the one (or many such ones) that begin to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Can the medical condition itself ever be separated from the life that one lives?

Others talk about “it” as if the “it” (the medical condition) is some other entity or stranger, but for the suffering Federal or Postal employee, the “it” is part and parcel of the life itself.  That is why, for a Federal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to be clear, elucidating and coherent in writing up one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A when making one’s “case” for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to approve a Federal Disability Retirement Application — for, when the Federal or Postal employee is suffering from a medical condition and is in need of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the warmth of a thought is the same as the suffering felt and the anxiety one is left with for a future yet uncertain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The traveling troubadour and trobairitz

There are vocations and careers which once were, and now forgotten.  Life cycles in endless streams of dying embers and regeneration of growth; and like the mythical Phoenix which arises from the ashes of destruction, so we tend to romanticize that which once was, is now forever lost in the forgotten residues of concealed fingerprints in timeless memories once secluded but dissipated as storytellers no longer found an audience for tales left untold, and children turned to self-amusement with videos, technological blank stares, and smartphones which glow well into the night.

Troubadours of the middle ages (and for those wondering, since this is now a gender-neutral universe and we dare not fail to include the binary aspect of such identification, the female counterpart known as the “trobairitz”), traveling under the patronage of princes in fiefdoms who showed the first signs of supporting “the arts”, and thus would allow for actors, performers and lyric poets to entertain and provide a respite of asides from a world which knew poverty beyond modernity’s capacity to comprehend, plagues which spread quickly and with devastating tenacity, and amongst rogues who cared not for the intellectual conscience recorded by scribes and religious orthodoxy of the Aquinas tradition.

They came onto the scene of history, and disappeared by the end of the High Middle Ages.  Do we even think about them, today — their careers, their imprint upon a fellow human being’s life, and even of the shadow which appeared but for a whispering moment, and with the light of day left not even a hint of prior existence?  Is that what Heidegger meant, when he described human existence as an avoidance out of fear of the ultimate fate of each man?  And so we look upon our own careers, and the choices we have made in life, and that to which we look into the crystal ball for the future.

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, must by necessity feel trepidation for the unknown.  That is natural.  But as necessity is the mother of invention, so the end of a Federal or Postal career should never bring pause to a hopeful perspective for a future yet undetermined, whether unknown or barely discernible.  And like the traveling troubadour and trobairitz of a past age, the career itself is but a whisper in time, and it is the substance of the life lived, and not the sacraments of a vocation we had chosen, which make for value in a life of plenty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The transgression of indifference

The combination creates an oxymoron of sorts; as the former implies aggressive behavior of a violative act, while the latter is a response of apathy and neglect, so the two in their cumulative aggregate creates an inherent conflict of conceptual countenance.  It is, however, how most of us act, behave, and arrive at the essence of one’s being, at more points in our lives than we would like to admit.

Life has a way of defeating us.  Whether by tumults of crisis untold; loss of family or loved ones; medical conditions that debilitate and gnaw at the humanity and dignity of simple living; or perhaps because of the tiredness which we feel just from the sheer weight of responsibilities and cares which eat away, slowly and progressively, at the youthful energy from whence we began.

As a child, the hopes and dreams imparted from stories of granddad’s escapades during the war; or of the warmth of love felt in a furtive look stolen when whispers barely discernible but for the quite giggles which unveiled a love forlorn in the midst of midnight clairvoyance; but as we grew older, we shed the dust of an angel’s residue, left as sparkles of gold which brightened our future with plans and purposes, like the teleology of gods unrevealed in their codes of Thor’s thunderous commands.

Somehow, somewhere, along the road of life, we began to be indifferent.  Transgressions from others — from Postal Supervisors or of Agencies that constantly harass and attempt to intimidate — began eating away at the hopes of a career once bright, but now suddenly threatened by a medical condition.  Of all of the sins in the world, the worst is the transgression of indifference; for, what such a state of existence reveals, is that the person afflicted with it no longer cares, and has come to a point of being where such indifference becomes the defining solace of inactivity in a world which requires acting.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to such a point in life — where the medical condition is just about to defeat, but not as of today; where the harassment and intimidation of the agency is just about to destroy, but there remains a glint of spark in the belly of one’s soul; and when the energy to respond still remains, but like a dying ember falling down an endless chamber of eternal abyss; for such a Federal or Postal worker, it is time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and wait for an approval in order to step out of the transgression of indifference, and begin to live life again in a way that matters.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: When the superior argument no longer prevails

The potentiality of applying “jury nullification” opened the door to defiance, in a society constructed upon recognition, application and enforcement of “the law”; but of course, one may argue that such wholesale rejection of a conceptual construct deemed immoral or otherwise unfairly prejudicial, is itself a moral judgment which is allowable.

Would anyone argue that a jury which refused to convict during a trial in a repressive and totalitarian regime — say, in North Korea today, or during the Stalinist era — constituted “jury nullification”?  Or, would one simply declare that “the people” rightly and collectively decided to “stand up” against injustice, and applied a higher standard of the law — one which transcends the state’s attempt to impose an otherwise self-declared code of injustice by means of fiat and force?  It all depends upon the perspective; for, when the state empowers a group of individuals to possess, grant and apply the power of judgment rendered in the form of a verdict, then that collectivism of declared consensus constitutes the rightness or folly of a moral code itself.

In the end, the term itself is likely inappropriate; for the concept of “jury nullification” necessarily implies something underhanded or nefarious, as if the “jury” acting to “nullify” the law is somehow suspect, when in fact it is a declaration of rights asserted by means of granted power to do so.  The jury, by definition, is a law unto itself, as recognized by the state, and is therefore wholly independent and cannot be castigated for undertaking the very duty for which it was appointed to perform.

Now, as to whether or not it was receptive to, and embraced a lesser argument, as opposed to a superior one, is a fundamentally different question.  Were emotions swayed?  Did the eloquence of the opposing side overwhelm?  Did rationality and force of evidence persuade, or did the defendant’s mother back in the corner where spectators sat, weep silently and blow her nose into a soiled kerchief just enough to draw the attention of wandering eyes left pondering the fate of a devastated family? And does rationality always have to rule?  By what criteria do we demand that rationality always rule the emotive and appetitive?  Is it based upon the ancient code derived from Plato and Aristotle, of the various parts of the soul where the mind should govern the cosmos of the barbaric nature of our base selves?

But if circumstances and situations rule the day — such that in a “State of Nature” it is more advantageous for an individual to survive by pursuing instinct and animalistic aggressiveness, but in the more refined “Social Contract” basis the forms of civility and restrained interaction becomes the normative and accepted foundation, is not judgment of a fellow man a netherworld of intersecting universes, where the contradictory combining of war (a form thereof, as in a trial) and civility (of a jury deliberating in the quietude of a sequestered room) clash in culminating in a momentous fate of judgment?

The conclusion from modernity has already been rendered, of course; for, in the end, young people today care not for the force of rational argumentation, but rather, whether it “feels good”.  What reverberating consequences does such a force of change have upon society as a whole, and more specifically, for the Federal or Postal worker of today who must consider arguing to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved?

Superior arguments, of course, should always be employed; and the Federal or Postal worker should never underestimate the power of legal persuasion, or the citing of relevant laws, statutes and applicable regulations.  But there is a distinction to be made, between demanding and dereliction of decision-making.  The former is to use a hammer; the latter is to posit a systematic methodology of courteously opening the door for recognizing the sunlight of “being right”.

For the Federal or Postal worker who wants to submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, remember that the concept of “jury nullification” applies only when the right to decide is somehow deemed improper or unsanctioned; but when it comes to a bureaucracy which possesses the sole power to decide, it is an inapplicable construct, and must be approached in a manner more akin to the grieving mother whose murderous son suddenly appears with a suit and tie for the first time in his hideous life, and speaks eloquently of his undying love for family and the victim upon whom he perpetrated his crime, and when the wink-and-nod between son and weeping mother remains unnoticed but for the love forged in treachery, justice yet smiles even in verdicts which betray the greater society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire