OPM Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Chess

Two quick observations about the game of Chess and those who play it:  Few are actually very good at it; and, like self-image and a false sense of confidence for many in the United States, too many who play it believe themselves to be very good at it.  Stefan Zweig wrote about the game brilliantly in his novella, the “Chess Story” (or otherwise translated or sometimes referred to as “The Royal Game”), and debunked the notion that the greatest of players are by implication, necessity and prerequisite of an intellectual character, either as brilliant mathematicians, logicians, musicians, philosophers, etc.

The “brilliant” chess player, Czentovic, is a moron at best, and a blithering idiot at worst — but boy, can he play chess and beat everyone and anyone.  To some extent, the reality of Bobby Fischer confirms the skepticism of Zweig as told in the Chess Story — of the idiot savant whose distorted singularity of brilliance being limited to the ability for adeptly maneuvering within 64 squares of white and black spaces and utilizing 16 pieces each in a game that requires foresight and some amount of insight.

That is not to say that one should minimize or diminish the attributes of a Grand Master and, indeed, many such people were “brilliant” in other ways, as well.  One cannot make generalizations and say that every good chess player is a blithering idiot; but nor can one assume that, because one is good or great at the game, ergo he or she must be an intellectual, philosopher, physicist, etc.  The downfall of most is in the notion that you are good because you think you are good; for everyone else, the tempering of reality normally comes about when one’s own notions come into contact with the reality of the world.

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, initiation and submission of 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, may become a necessity.

Filing an OPM Disability Retirement application is somewhat akin to playing chess — from the crucial initial “move” of the pawn, to maneuvering your way through the landmines of a complex administrative and bureaucratic process, until the final stage of a “checkmate” that results in an approval from OPM.  But the game of chess is not merely the physical aspect of it, and encompasses a wide range of psychological characteristics — of fooling one’s self into greatness; of becoming overconfident; of underestimating one’s opponent.

Similarly, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is not just the “physical aspects” of filing — it must encapsulate proper legal citations; persuasive argumentation; careful gathering of information, evidence and documents, etc.  And like the fool who believes himself to be a great chess champion, one should always remember that being the “best” at something doesn’t just involve thinking that it is so, but should include consultation with an expert to objectively determine it to be so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance and Delay

Human beings have an uncanny capacity for avoidance.  In the greater genus of the universe we identify as the “Animal Kingdom”, where survival of the fittest determines the genetic viability of the evolutionary scales of neutral justice, avoidance means potential death, and delay constitutes a certainty for an untimely demise.  For, as thought and reflection is the pause between an event and a necessary response, so avoidance and delay is that interlude between necessity and regret.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal Employee or a U.S. Postal Worker, the avoidance of the inevitable, and the delay for the obvious, often becomes an intransigent approach to life’s misgivings.

The act of 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, is thought of as a step of finality — an admission to one’s self that the battle has been lost, the war’s outcome has been determined, and the cards dealt must now be played, with nothing left to trade in or replace.  That is the “short view”, as colored by the perspective of avoidance and delay.  The “long view” is that there is actually life after Federal Service, and potentiality for growth beyond the U.S. Postal Service.

We become entrenched in the habits of our own making, and while filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may seem like a step of finality, it is actually just a step in a different direction, where one can open up new avenues for a second vocation, while at the same time securing a financial future for stability and further growth.

Avoidance and delay — they are the price one may pay for the limitations imposed by our own lack of imagination, but the greater canvas of life opens up the power and creativity hidden within the deep recesses of a childhood potentiality we once held on to, but somehow let go in this journey we call “life”, which often puts us down and tramples upon the flights of a child’s wide-eyed vision of the greater universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance

There are always activities and interests to pursue; that is the “stuff” of which life is comprised.  Heidegger referred to the multiple and endless projects as a means of distracting ourselves from the ultimate fate of our existence; but in truth, it is far less complex than that.  Keeping busy is a means of filling in the void of daily toil, and where activity tires the soul, thoughtfulness is replaced with silence.

Have you ever met a person who talks a mile-a-minute, and is seemingly always on the way out, never to have time to pause for breath?  It is as if the grim reaper of time and eternity is just behind, on his tail, about to determine the inestimable worth of a life pursuing the unfulfilled dreams of gnomes, children and elves who jump into hobbit-holes like the white rabbit which Alice followed into the hole of Wonderland.  It is, in the end, an avoidance of sorts, where one knows in the subconscious of harbored secrets that a time in the near future will come, and fall upon the waiting soul like a weight of gold.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer in pain, or in psychiatric modes of inconceivable anguish, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often delayed by deliberate avoidance.  And that is certainly understandable.

The direct confrontation with the problems of life and daily living is less preferable than the enduring activities which keep one’s soul busy with the flurry of thoughtless projects.  But as time tolls regardless of one’s efforts to procrastinate, so the politician who kicks the proverbial can down the chute of endless and moronic drones of discussion, focus-groups and formed committees for further study, is merely avoiding the inevitable.

It is first and foremost the entrance of the medical condition.  Then, slowly, the realization that it simply won’t go away, no matter how busy one is, and how unfair life has become.  Then, the progressive impact upon one’s physical and cognitive capacities ensues.  When the two roads converge, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Avoidance of necessity may work for a fortnight, but the projects which make up life’s “stuff” can only fill the void for a season, if that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: That Song That Won’t Go Away

There is that song, tune, jingle, etc., that sticks to the mind and refuses to go away; and the circularity of the anomaly is that, the more one tries to expunge the melody from one’s mind, the greater the force of staying power; it is only when we “give in” to the persistence, and “give up” trying so hard in suppressing beyond the subconscious, that there comes a time when we can give a sigh of relief and acknowledge, “Ah, it’s gone” — and upon that very instance, it comes right back!

Such persistence of pernicious placements in the universe of cognitive capillaries are not the only conundrums in life; the general rule to be extrapolated is that, the greater the resistance, an equal and exponential quantification of insistence will reverberate.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who try to avoid, suppress or otherwise ignore a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s positional capacity to maintain productivity and a semblance of denial, the greater force by the agency to increase the pressure, and the further exacerbation of the medical condition itself because of the added stresses of the agency, the Postal Service, etc.

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, is always an option and alternative that needs to be considered, if only to prepare for an exit and avenue out of the constant morass which fails to let up.  Prioritizing of life’s challenges involves taking affirmative steps towards a resolution.  If you don’t do it, other forces outside of your control will.  When it comes to your own health and well-being, it is the Federal or Postal employee who knows well when the time is ripe to begin the long process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

In the end, the song that just won’t go away is merely a melody of irritation; when it comes to the nagging deterioration of a medical condition, however, the stakes are much higher, and comparing the two is fine for metaphorical purposes, but not for the challenges which must be faced before the universe of reality and pragmatism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire