The Ritualistic Void Found in Postal and Federal Employees Who Continue Working in Jobs That Further Deteriorate Their Health

It is precisely the repetitive identity which provides for comfort.  Thinking is an endeavor which requires effort; ritualistic actions require merely attendance and presence, and the mechanical motions of responding.  When the mind becomes bifurcated from the task at hand, whether from being “lost in thought”, ruminating upon problems afar, or disengaged because one is contending with physical pain or psychiatric anxieties and lethargy, ritualism becomes a zone of comfort because the physical body can engage while the mental processes can embrace a parallel universe.

This ritualistic void is often what becomes of work when a Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition, such that this health condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  How long one can continue in such dualism of actions is often dependent upon the type of Federal or Postal job which one holds.  Being a Letter Carrier or a Mail Processing Clerk while in progressively agonizing pain will often compel a stoppage of work, precisely because the pain directly and intractably interferes both in the physical actions of ritualistic behavior, as well as in the dissociative mind to deal with the pain.  Office and computer work can sometimes delay the inevitable.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the Federal or Postal employee, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is a decision to be made resulting from the cessation of the ritualistic void which occurs.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal Employees, and is filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. When the tripartite coalescence of work, health and capacity begins to crumble and disintegrate, it may be time to reassess the ritualistic void presented by a job which no longer offers significance and meaning, but further contributes to the daily deterioration of one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Attorney

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Preparation

Observing competence in action often results in the disarming effect that all endeavors are easy and effortless, and that the price to be paid, the admission fee for fame, is merely based upon luck, whom you are associated with, or what school you attended.  And while it may be true that meritocracies are fading into the oblivion and sunset of historical anachronisms, and the new and acceptable approach to societal fairness is to implement the distribution of wealth via Piketty’s proposed paradigm in his compendium work, Capital in the Twenty First-Century; nevertheless, there are some things which one must still prepare for, and formulate a road-map for a successful outcome.

GPS devices tell us what to do, where to turn, how many miles the journey will take; administrative and bureaucratic facets of life still lack any such electronic directional voices.  For Federal and Postal employees who must consider the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the reality of preparation must be faced and confronted.  Preparation must involve: obtaining effective medical reports (how does one go about doing that?); what are the legal parameters which increase the chances of a First-Stage successful filing (is this based upon the law or some other factors?); what are the procedural steps which must be adhered to (is there a sequence to be followed, or can one approach the process through multiple avenues and tentacles simultaneously?).

The fact that one pays a single admission fee to watch a symphony or ballet does not mean that players perform based upon the singularity of the fee; that would be an absurdity. Preparation constitutes multiple actions behind the curtains, far in advance of the final performance displayed for the seated audience. It is up to the Federal and Postal employee to go backstage before the performance begins, and to unravel the hidden devices, the invisible threads, and the wizard behind the proverbial curtain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Complexity in the Hidden Background

To prove one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is seemingly an uncomplicated matter.

As one’s medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential element of one’s job, it is up to the treating doctor to establish the nexus and provide an opinion as to the connecting bridge between the medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

How does one do that? Must it be comprised of a 1-to-1 ratio between job elements and medical conditions? How important and prominent are “symptoms” considered, as opposed to the mere clinical declaration of the diagnosis, in persuading the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that a particular medical condition should qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits? To what extent is one’s own statement of disability, as described on Standard Form 3112A, important in establishing the foothold towards gaining an approval from OPM?

Also, what algorithm or comparative analysis does OPM use in evaluating a case, and how does one enhance the chances of success at the First Stage of the process? If denied at the First Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, does the basis of the denial (often characterized by a plethora of multiple reasons given) require a point-by-point refutation, and is the Reconsideration Division at OPM using the same standard of review, or a different application of laws in evaluating the additional evidence submitted at the next stage?

If one watches a gymnast, a ballerina, or even a mathematician at work in solving or unraveling a complex problem or exercise, one is immediately struck by the ease with which the feat is performed. But it is almost always the unseen preparation which has preceded the actual performance that sets the stage of an uncomplicated presentation.

It is that mystery of the uncomplicated, which tends to trip us all, and that is no different in the preparation, formulation and submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, applied through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Pruning Mechanism

It is one of life’s anomalies that plants flourish and thrive with targeted pruning; too much dismembering, and the sap of life can wither; too little, and the nutrients required for new growth will be diverted to wasted areas of decay, thereby allowing for greater susceptibility to disease. As animals cannot regenerate new appendages (with some variable exceptions), so pruning of limbs is not recommended. But the term itself can imply metaphorical contents — of leaving behind and cutting off ties which harm; of terminating associations which contribute to the decline of one’s health.

The complexity of medical conditions will often bring to the fore questions of causation and exacerbations; and while stress is an inherent factor in almost every employment arena, and further, is not normally recommended in a Federal Disability Retirement application to be focused upon (see previous articles on work-place stress resulting in “situational disabilities“, which can defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application), nevertheless, it is an issue which any Federal or Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, should consider carefully, seriously, and with deliberate intent.

It is ultimately the U.S. Office of Personnel Management which reviews, approves or denies all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS; thus, unless one works for OPM, it is an agency separate from one’s own employing agency.

It is that agency — one’s own — which always must be considered for “pruning”. For, while the central issue in all Federal Disability Retirement applications is the nexus, or “bridge”, between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; still, it is often a prudent thought to consider that “burning” one’s bridge is the penultimate act leading to a fruitful “pruning” — a mechanism sought in a metaphorical manner, to redirect life’s nutrients into more productive tissues for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Loss & Grief

Loss results in an absence; what was once there, we mourn for, and it is the memories which we embrace which correspondingly magnify and quantify the profound sense of such negation of what once was.  Entering and exiting that insular world within ourselves too often, and the objective world of the physical universe takes note of our lack of productivity in the arena of employment, family, or social interactions. Sometimes it provides a greater sense of security to remain lost in the world of memories; but in the harsh reality of an unforgiving society, spending too much time in a virtual reality leaves little patience from bureaucracies, organizations, agencies and the like.

Medical conditions and debilitating diseases are likened to a loss; it takes time away, and for the suffering soul, it is a negation and an absence of that which once was a vibrant and fully functional mind or body.  The difference, however, is that loss which results in grief embraces memories of that which never again will be, whereas loss from a medical condition is often of a temporary nature, where regaining that which once was possible and attainable.

In order to reach a plateau where rehabilitation is possible, however, one must have time.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is a route to a destination. Obtaining the benefit successfully can result in the attainment of an intermediate goal: to reach that plateau of stability, such that one can focus upon one’s health, as opposed to being constantly lost in the anxiety of one’s fearful imaginations.

As grief is the accompanying chorus to loss, so stability is the background orchestra to the negation of health. For the Federal and Postal employee who needs to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, time is the crucial factor which is needed; not for the sake of procrastination, but to reach that plateau of reclamation of what once was.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Those Moments of Enlightened Clarity

It occurs in momentary lapses of time, as if fate, the spirits and the ephemeral heavenly bodies are mocking us silently in childish teases of playful provocations.  They are brief segments of clarity, when all of the cylinders of life appear well-oiled, when the metaphorical pistons are firing simultaneously, and the fuel pump is injecting a sufficient amount of energy, and we feel on top of the world.

This is perhaps how man is supposed to live, is meant to exist, and is thought to represent the essence of his being.  But as Rousseau would quip, the ravages of society and civilization tends to weigh upon the natural state of man, and separate him from his true essence.

And so it often is with the daily fight with an agency.

It is interesting to study the entire history of the concept of “accommodations” in the field of disability law; for, what one finds is that entities, including Federal agencies, rarely attempt more than a show of appearance to accommodate an individual’s medical condition.  The unstoppable grind of a bureaucracy’s march forward will wear down the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition.  Fighting through standard means of EEO actions, discrimination lawsuits, formal grievances and complaints may stay the progress for a time; but time itself is always on the side of the Leviathan known as the Federal agency.

Ultimately, the disadvantage is two-fold for the Federal and Postal employee suffering from a medical condition: the process itself, and the medical condition which continues to debilitate.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option which need not be considered the “nuclear” option, but rather an acknowledgment that agencies can rarely change itself to suit the individual, and instead, it is always the individual which must change to fit into the vast sea of an organizational morass.

As for those moments of clarity? They often come when an affirmative step forward is taken, as when the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that there is more to life than fighting against an entity which cares little for the human frailty of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Rubik’s Cube

Why we spend so much time of our lives attempting to return and reattach ourselves to that which once was, is a puzzle of human nature.  Comfort zones and childhood safety sensations of warmth and security; and yet, often the reality is that, to cling to something gone is best left behind, and the romanticization of past events is the undoing of present paths of success.

The frustration of fiddling with Rubik’s Cube is an anomaly; once the cube has been rearranged out of the original order of colors, we spend countless hours attempting to return it back to its state of inception.  In life, as in virtual reality, as in the games we invent to whittle away time, we perpetually attempt to return to the origin.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, that same characteristic of “holding on” to the security of that which we are fondly familiar with, is often the making of our own downfall.  While we try and return to the place of bygone days, the agency moves steadily forward, but without the baggage of romantic notions of loyalty and keeping to the past.

If you are not fully productive, they will find someone else who is or will be.

Like the repetitive attempts to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube, the frustration of trying to change the lumbering course of an agency’s methodology of interaction with its employees will leave one to merely run on a treadmill which goes nowhere.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum years of service (18 months of Federal Service for FERS employees; 5 years of Federal Service for CSRS employees).

If attempting to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube is performed merely as a leisurely exercise, that is a productive distraction.  If, on the other hand, it is a metaphor for engaging in the substantive labors of life, then it becomes an exercise of frustration leading to dire consequences of epic proportions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Real Things, Once Upon a Time

One wonders the precise point in historical time when Man decided to consciously escape the harshness of the objective world.  It is perhaps when Kant identified the bifurcated world into the phenomenal world which we experience through sense perception, as opposed to the “noumenal” universe beyond our ability to perceive or even experience.  By creating such a distinction, he at once solved the problem of metaphysics by banishing that which we cannot experience, into a segmented concept of irrelevance.

But within the perceptual world of our daily experiences, we then went on to create other worlds — ones which included virtual realities.  At first, one had to travel elsewhere, to video arcades and malls, in order to escape for a brief moment into the world of other galaxies and wars fought within the constraints of 2 x 3 screens. Then, such parallel universes were allowed into our homes through video monitors hooked up to television sets and the like; then to desktop computers, and the rest is now ancient history.

Our escapism into the virtual reality within the perceptual reality of our categorical constructs, continues with each breathtaking “new” and “better” invention, allowing us to lose ourselves into the fantasies of our own making.  But the harsh reality of the world around us does not diminish. When, for example, we are hit with a medical condition such that no amount of escapism works to make the impact disappear, then we have no choice but to directly confront and engage the reality of life.

For Federal and Postal employees faced with the reality of the medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, it becomes important to confront such a reality by gathering all of the useful, pragmatic, and helpful information in making the proper decisions for one’s future.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; how that impacts with one’s age, number of years of Federal Service, etc., must all be taken into account in making a proper decision.  Such a time as now, when one is surrounded by parallel universes of playful electronic media, must be set aside in order to “deal” with the reality of one’s situation.

Virtual Reality is just that — not quite real.

The reality of the real is what must come first, and for the Federal and Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the historical context of the Kantian separation of our two worlds merely voices an interesting moment in history, but one which has little to no impact upon one’s everyday world of realities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Paradoxical Soiling of Sacrament

Can a person enter a religious institution (i.e., a church, a mosque, a synagogue, etc.) without an intent to worship, but merely as an onlooker, and yet assume the role of a congregant without soiling the sacrament of its grounds? Tourists do that all the time, and perhaps mere “visitors” who desire to “try out” a church or other institution.

Is there a paradox in taking pictures of old Roman grounds of sacred pasts? Do we somehow justify actions by assuming one role (e.g., as a tourist and not a member) without the intent of what is originally meant of the place we visit? Can a person lie to one’s self, or unintentionally deceive others merely be entering a place of worship, or does one declare the status properly by having a digital camera in tow?

Similarly, if a Federal or Postal Worker goes to work without declaring one’s medical condition, and is able to for many years mask and conceal the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is there anything wrong with such deception — except perhaps that one is doing grave harm by progressively and purposefully deteriorating one’s own body?

Federal and Postal Worker have a tendency to do that, and in today’s harsh and competitive work environment, holding onto one’s job at all costs appears to be the rule of thumb, until it becomes apparent to everyone around, and lastly to one’s self, that one cannot continue in the same vein, any longer.

In that event, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, becomes the only viable option left; assuming, of course, that one has a body, mind or soul left to enjoy in retirement. But that is always the paradox of soiling any sacrament — especially the sacrament of one’s own body.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Price of Good Intentions to Deceive

Can one possess good intentions to deceive?  Such a paradoxical claim would normally constitute what is commonly referred to as an oxymoron, as the concept of “good” would countermand the opposing construct of deception.  Thus, it is not the intention itself which makes for the conundrum, but rather the originating focus of the will to act.

For the Federal and Postal employee who masks one’s medical conditions, whether of a physical nature, a psychiatric condition, or concerning the medications which are prescribed and taken at the direction of one’s medical provider in order to alleviate the symptoms of the condition and perhaps as a palliative measure, the price which one pays for not immediately informing one’s agency may range from nothing, to unforeseen consequences far into the future.

Is it technically “deception” to engage in a negative — i.e., to not immediately inform?  Is there an affirmative duty to convey or otherwise divulge such private information, if the medical condition has not yet become so apparent as to openly manifest an impact upon one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job?

Conversely, does the supervisor and the agency perform a service of “good” if performance ratings continue to reflect superior or outstanding, when more recent work has clearly diminished in volume and/or quality, but because of past performance and an ongoing sense of loyalty, the supervisor wants to just “sign off” by regurgitating past evaluations and assigning a current date?

Ultimately, in a Federal Disability Retirement case, one must at some point divulge the medical condition, if not merely at the time of filing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application through the agency’s Human Resources Department.  The timing of such divulgence, however, can sometimes impact the reactionary impulses of an agency.  In the end, the Agency must complete SF 3112D in response to the applicant’s filing; and whether the agency was previously informed or not, an effort to see whether an appropriate accommodation can be made will become an integral part of the process.

From the perspective of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the issue of timing — of the good or neutral intentions of the applicant — rarely comes into play.

As for any “deception” involved, the only one who would be harmed by any such intention would be the one who bravely attempts to continue working through the pain of the condition itself, and the harm which continues to progressively deteriorate the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to perform all of the essential elements of one’s position.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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