FERS Disability Retirement: Square peg in a round hole

You know the old adage; it is when a person is trying to do something that is frustratingly obvious that it cannot be done, yet persists in it despite the reality of resistance.  The truism itself by necessity requires one of three courses of action: You either cut off the edges of the square peg in order to shape it into a form where it can fit into the hole, or you smooth the edges of the circular hole and widen it such that the square peg can fit into it.  The third option is: You continue to try and force the issue.  And the fourth way is: You give up and walk away with obvious discontentment and frustration.

You want to remain friends with X, but X is a cad and no matter how much you try to change X, X will not change; and so you try and ignore X’s idiosyncrasies in an effort to extend the friendship, and remain frustrated at your attempts to change reality.  Or, you try and please everyone but end up angering all — you cannot shape the square peg or widen the hole, because there is simply too much resistance from both to alter its shape, size or essence of being.

Reality has its limits; that’s the beauty of the life we lead: virtual reality can be altered with a click of the button, but the reality of the real is that the quirkiness of life defies fullness of understanding, and the mystery of each individual denies total control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to struggle with a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job, the choices are clear: Stay and suffer; walk away and lose everything; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In such a case, this third option is tantamount to shaving the edges of the square peg in order to fit into the hole, as opposed to trying to stay when it is no longer medically advisable, or to walk away and abandon everything in frustration.

Old adages remain relevant for a reason; the truth behind the words is retained and, indeed, there is still a recognition that truth prevails.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

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, the distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Lost…

One’s age can be revealed as to whether, in the privacy of one’s thoughts, the ellipses is replaced with — “Lost in Space”, or even The Swiss Family Robinson.  The former is a television series that ran between 1965 and 1968; the latter, a novel by Johann David Wyss published in 1812 that few of us read anymore.  Another television series recalled from the dustbin of history’s classics; another novel and writer no longer read, remembered or studied.

They are stories about lost colonies, lost people, lost souls — lost individuals.  The fact that they are “lost” is a phenomena that society finds interesting enough to retell the story about which we would never know, except that they were somehow “found” and were able to convey their experiences.

As a child, one remembers the self-contradiction of that very issue: the young, fertile mind queried (and never could get a satisfactory answer from anyone ):  How come, if they are really lost, we’re able to watch them on television, or read about them?  If they were found, then they aren’t lost, anymore, are they, and if so, why is it interesting or even relevant?  Or, is it just of historical interest that we enjoy hearing about the experiences during the time of “being lost”?

The world today, of course, is different from the yesteryears of a bygone era; the world is all “connected”, such that there are no places in the world where we haven’t seen National Geographic photographs depicting of untraveled areas where the “lost peoples” of the universe reside and continue to survive.  The Amazonian forests are being depleted through mindless mining and destruction; the Himalayan monks who once medicated in silence wear jeans and sandals while selling trinkets to wandering tourists; and the polar bears that once roamed the northern glaciers wander beneath the pipelines that stretch amidst the wilds once dominated by the wolves that sniffed with suspicion.

Today, we live amidst civilization’s constant drum of progress and technological connectivity; instead of being lost in the wilds of a universe still undiscovered, we remain lost amidst the communities in which we live.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition must by necessity lead one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, there is a sense of “loss” and “being lost” in at least 2 ways: The “loss” of a career once held promising; and of being “lost” in the complex, administrative process in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  In either sense of being lost, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law — if only to get a roadmap to help one find one’s bearings.

Being “lost” does not mean simply that one does not know where one is geographically; in fact, most people are lost even in the midst of being surrounded by the daily din of civilization; and that is why consulting with an attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is an important aspect in finding one’s way out of the morass of being lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The world of faded photos

There is an anomaly contained in the attempt to “save” faded photos; it is an oxymoron of sorts, where modernity erases the backwardness of yesterday, and yet, at the same time, wants to preserve it.

We have all heard about companies that exist which “preserve” outdated family movies, photographs and taped recordings of distant times; it is all placed, preserved, edited and presented in a convenient “thumb drive” or in some “cloud” in the ethereal universe of a web-based phenomena.  That faded photograph, beautiful in its brown crispiness of an elderly man or woman who looks serious, because in those days having one’s image preserved for posterity was a serious undertaking — in contrast to today’s selfies immediately downloaded and uploaded into a social medium that is quickly disseminated to countries worldwide in an instant, displaying a foolishness that would shock a generation or two of those removed from such technological “advancements”.

The world of faded photos is an universe of past histories now forgotten, frozen in time by a captured expression depicting a time before, now replaced by a time after, and forever remaining in the memories of those who have survived but now sit quietly in nursing homes of corners relegated to mere existence in darkening folds of dementia and antiseptic coils of plastic tubing extending lives beyond what the photographs themselves intended to display.

The world of faded photos defy the modern attempt to preserve that which was meant to last for a generation only, just as men and women try in futility to ignore mortality by cosmetic corrections that makes for appearances which procrastinate the inevitability of time’s ravages.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the world of faded photos is the one that you remember “before” the onset of the medical condition, and instead of attempting to “preserve” the photograph, it is best to recognize that the image you see in the mirror today is the one worth protecting, and not the faded daguerreotype of yesterday, and the best way to do that is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement so that you can secure some semblance of your future, and not be frozen in the timelessness of the world of faded photos.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The Bully and the Beast

Yes, yes, the title is all wrong; but that “other one” is for fairytales and childhood memories, and not for the ugly reality that is faced by grownups with the cynical perspective that, by age 30, has come to overwhelm and dominate.

“C’mon”, the refrain comes back, “let’s at least enjoy the childhood fantasies that still delight and enrapture the imagination, and quit being a spoil-sport!”  Yet, just as the idealistic twenty-something becomes a crotchety-old fifty-something, so the reality of the Beauty and the Beast — of the traditional story told in so many variations involving the beast that is of beauty beneath; of the nature of appearances as opposed to the substantive reality; of pithy sayings by parents who want to spare the feelings of their unattractive children that beauty is “only skin deep”; of higher academia where such childish notions then get transformed into “Platonic Forms” or the Aristotelian “substratum” — is the cold world that we all come to know.

Somewhere in one’s mid-thirties, the conclusion is reached that, No, the world is not reflected in the fairytale as recalled, but rather, the universe is occupied by the Bully and the Beast, and we are too often caught and trapped in the middle between the two.

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 — the “Bully” is too often represented by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and its manner of treating a sick employee; and the “Beast” is the alternative — of the constant harassment; the reprimands; the adverse actions threatened or proposed; and perhaps even represented as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the entire administrative nightmare known as “Federal Disability Retirement”.

For, once upon a time we were all children and dreamed about fairytales and fantasies; but somewhere along the way as we “grew up”, we came to realize that the world was not occupied by gnomes, goblins and cute hobbits scurrying about in the wild forests of our own imaginations, but by the ugly reality that the world is populated by people who are not very nice, and that sickness does sometimes hit the nicest of us, and oftentimes filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the best choice to make between the Bully and the Beast because the Beauty and the Beast had faded long ago into the warmth of childhood memories forever faded.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file 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, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire