Disability Retirement under FERS: Adopting an Adaptive Plan

Most of us barely have one; and when we do, we quickly forget about it and move on, satisfied that —by the mere declaration of having one — we need not implement it or follow it rigorously beyond the mere possession of it.

The old Soviet Union (do we remember what the abbreviation, “U.S.S.R.” stood for?) had 5 and 10 year plans, and when the stated goals were not met, they simply cooked the books and declared that they were well ahead of the declared plans, and so the satellite nations under the rubric of the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” nodded its approval and genuflected to the Soviet Central Planning Committee (for, you couldn’t have a plan unless there were multiple committees to make those plans) and were grateful for the plans even though their populace were starving, despite the declared success of all of that planning.

Battlefield officers rely upon them; although, in recent years, because war is no longer fought by armies planning an attack upon other armies, the need for adopting an adaptive plan has become a survival necessity.  Life itself rarely follows a plan; most of the time, one’s day is consumed by just trying to survive.

When a medical condition hits us, of course, then all of the planning in the world — from a retrospective and myopic viewpoint — didn’t amount to much.  What is the plan, then, for a Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform his or her job because of the medical conditions that prevent one from doing so?

The Federal Disability Retirement “plan” is to allow for a Federal or Postal employee to file for OPM Medical Retirement benefits under FERS, so that the Federal employee can medically retire, focus upon one’s health and still, hopefully, enter the workforce in the near or mid-future and continue to contribute, all the while receiving a disability retirement annuity.  Now, that sounds like adopting an adaptive plan where interruption of a life plan allows for some grace beyond lack of planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Medical Retirement Benefits: Forever and a Day

The concept itself is a conundrum; it is to emphasize the extension beyond eternity when eternity itself cannot be extended by self-definition.  The “add-on” of the extra day provokes the idea that it goes just a little further than that which we can comprehend; and yet, we can barely, if at all, comprehend the concept of “forever” itself.

For certain ideas, can we “feel” concepts better than we can “understand” them?  That, in and of itself, of course, is a puzzling concept; for, words, ideas and concepts are posited to intellectually comprehend as opposed to applying an emotive conceptualization of it.  To “feel” that you understand a word or a concept is quite different from comprehending it intellectually.  Yet, doesn’t the idea of “pain” fit into that category?

A person who experiences a great deal of pain may not be able to understand it, and yet he or she “feels” it, and in the very existential experiencing of the phenomena, comprehends it better than the person who merely reads about it but never experiences it.  Furthermore, the person who “understands” pain has a greater comprehension of the phrase, “forever and a day” — for the two are similar in experiences; the one is a medical condition that can barely be described; the other, a concept of existence that is similar to unendurable pain.

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 feeling that life has become “forever and a day” is a familiar one, precisely because of the unendurable stresses inherent in trying to balance work, home, the medical condition and the growing stresses of it all.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is a step towards realizing that days do not need to become lost in weeks, weeks into months and months into years, where the pain or other medical condition, physical or psychiatric, must by necessity be an unendurable conflagration of existence.

FERS Disability Retirement is a means to an end — the end being, having the time and energy to focus upon one’s health; the means, to retire medically from a situation that has become untenable; all, in order to recognize that “forever and a day” begins with a day that can be differentiated from the “forever” that never seems to end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Ordinary

The ordinary is in contrast to the extraordinary; the extraordinary, to the penultimate superlative; and perhaps one may go on to greater heights of adjectives, but the one which cannot be surpassed is that of “perfection”.

Various perspectives depend upon the manner of how we approach life; on the one hand, the “ordinary” can be viewed as comfortable anonymity — of a self-satisfied status of neither shining beyond nor underwhelming those around, but a quiet competence which betrays a quietude of monotony, of sorts.

By distinctive differentiation, the “extraordinary” is separated from the former by way of elevated characteristics that point out some level of accolades beyond — somewhat like those brighter stars within the vast universe of a sky filled with billions and billions of twinkling lights (can you hear in the background the voice of Carl Sagan?).

For some reason, we scoff at the ordinary and encourage a stature of the extraordinary.  Perfection is out of our reach; the extraordinary, however, is somehow seen as achievable, and so we become life coaches for our children within the microcosmic universe of our own lives: You can become X; You can do better; You can be the best; You are a special individual — etc.

When does the ordinary become a goal in life?  When everything and everyone is “extraordinary”, doesn’t the extraordinary become the ordinary?  When the elevation of the ordinary becomes a commonplace occurrence, then nothingness becomes something and everything becomes conflated and indistinguishable.  Until — that which was once ordinary is lessened.

When a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from doing the ordinary — of one’s job; of enjoying the weekends; of being able to just take out the garbage without pain, etc.; then the elevation of the ordinary becomes a focus of want.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the ordinary is elevated to a goal of satisfaction, then it is time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Focusing upon one’s health is an ordinary matter for most people — we take our health for granted.  When our health fails, however, then it is time to view the elevation of the ordinary as a means of reaching for a time that once was, where Federal Disability Retirement benefits will allow for the extraordinary circumstances to return the Federal or Postal employee to the desired goal of elevation back to the ordinary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Employee Disability Retirement: The Legacy of Achievement

We all dream of having contributed to society in greater or lesser ways.  Whether individual achievements are enough, where private satisfaction is gained through a restricted circle of those “in the know”, is doubtful; and even of leaving a name behind on a building, a statue or a commemorative stamp — what difference does it ultimately make, the cynic would wonder aloud?

When we pass by a building with a nameplate in one of the bricks or chiseled into the mortar, do we even acknowledge it, let alone recognize who that person was or what contribution he or she had made to the world?  Do we stand and Google the name and ooh-and-ah at the achievements bestowed?  Or of a statute with the proverbial fountain spewing daily freshness of recycled water, of perhaps a general who had once-upon-a-time led a charge and captured or killed a great opposing force — is that what we consider an achievement worthy of a bronze emblem?

And how about the more subtle legacy, of leaving imprints and personality traits, whether positive or negative, in one’s children or grandchildren?  “Oh, he is just like his father!”  “She reminds me of her mother.”  Or of those quiet achievements by challenged individuals daily around the world; we know not what effort it took, but for the person making the effort in the silence of his or her private suffering.

Achievement is a funny animal; it is ultimately a feeling; otherwise, why would we build statues to declare it to the world if we truly believed in the legacy entombed?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, perhaps the achievements one had hoped for in one’s career are no longer achievable, and thus the “legacy” of achievement is no longer possible.

In that event, the Federal or Postal worker needs to reconsider the values once sought, and to re-prioritize the goals pursued.  Perhaps “health” was not part of the original list, but should be; and that is where an effective preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application comes into play: One’s career was never the legacy to achieve; it was merely down on the list of priorities to be sought, where one’s health and well-being should have been higher on the list to begin with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The Pace of Life

Although we try and control it, it defies such control; and the best that can be accomplished is a paltry attempt at managing it.

Whether with the five minutes to feel the warmth of a steaming cup of coffee, a fifteen minute meditative stance of inner quietude, or a 2 mile run with earphones on to become lost in the rhythmic monotony of jogging within the insular world of a musical beat; despite it all, the pace of life quickens, and we feel that there is nothing that can be done about it.

Life is stressful.  Giving lip-service to the fact of its pace somehow seems to help in overcoming it; or, at the very least, in disarming the ravages of their impact.  What little things we do; from taking a deep breath to isolating ourselves into depressurized tanks of meditative quietude — is palliative at best and self-delusional at worst.

Then, when a medical condition or other interruptive nuisance of life further adds to the already over-burdened pace of life, we often wonder whether we can even “handle it all”.  But what choices are we left with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to split the seams of sanity, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, is often the answer to the unanswerable question: What will lessen this unbearable pace of life?

To dissect the various elements and tentacles that wrap themselves around and strangle, then to bit by bit dislodge and separate, then get rid of — like the process of cleaning out a basement or an attic that has accumulated the junk of unnecessary hoarding.

The pace of life will always be a burden; filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is a step towards lessening the burden for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, such that when the peripheral and surrounding stresses are unpacked, the central focus of attending to your medical conditions becomes the singular pace of life’s embrace.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

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 loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Near Side of the Root

Have you ever noticed that the green moss grows abundantly on the near side of the root?  When the trees that gnarl their root system above the ground and down into the soil of rich ferment below, the crevices form a fertile landscape where the moss shines green in brilliance upon the morning sun.

Living entities tend to find spots, wherever and however, in the places where the sun will enliven.  Thus do we watch with wonderment at the near side of the moon and lament the cold indifference at the far side; and in a metaphorical way, we seek the positive and avoid the negative, reach out to sunlight and return to the slumber of our thoughts when nightfall blankets.

Our attitudes, as well, can change and alter depending upon the environment around us.  When we remain in a caustic environment, we ourselves begin to exhibit the poisonous side of our nature.  And so it is with the green moss that grows on the near side of the root; the far side has no life and withers under the darkness of deprivation.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and have tried to remain with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service despite realizing one’s inability to perform all of the essential elements of his or her job, the poisonous atmosphere of the workplace begins to exacerbate the medical condition itself.  Often, negativity feeds upon negativity; medical conditions themselves have no chance of improving because of the caustic environment itself and the greater stress it places upon one’s health.

When the vicious cycle of self-destruction continues to ensue, it is time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to begin the process of recovery, where the near side of the root becomes the metaphor for one’s future beyond the medical conditions that debilitate and decay.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire