OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Ballast for the soul

It is a plagiarized phrase, from a short story written by Brazil’s (often-considered) greatest writer, Machado de Assis.  It is that heavy material, where a large quantity of gravel, iron, metals, etc., placed low in a vessel in order to provide stability; the weight itself is what “grounds” the vessel so that the torrents of waves and storms of fury will not topple it.  Or, it can refer to the coarse gravel used in order to set railroad tracks, again allowing for stability of a foundation to prevent shifting, sinking or damaging movement.

When combined with the term, “the soul”, the concept created is one of conjoining the dual ideas of (a) providing a foundation with (b) an ungraspable concept of an entity that many believe does not even exist.  The “soul”, of course, is a controversial subject; for, it still remains from the vestiges of religious and philosophical discourses, and refers to an abiding entity that defies mortality, retains an identity beyond one’s physical appearance, and contains the essence of who a person is, whether in physical form or not.

Does the soul “need” a ballast?  Without it, does it merely flit about without duration or direction?

As a literary concept, it refers to the stability that individuals need in order to become more serious, more focused, and perhaps even more “mature”.  As a general idea, it comes to convey the concept of pragmatism and the need to be “grounded” in a universe where there exists so many beliefs, so many paths to get off course; and the dangers inherent in pulling people aside from living an authentic and fulfilling life are many, as evidenced by the number of wandering souls left to rot on the roadside of discarded souls.

What is the ballast for the soul?  Is it to be married and have a family?  Is it the immediate family one already has — or the extended one?  Or can a cadre of friends and one’s immediate neighbors provide the ballast for the soul?

For each individual, the answer to that question may differ and remain a mystery; but what is clear, mystery or not, is that the vicissitudes of life’s choices, without a ballast for the soul, are so numerous and of such great variety, that liberty of endless choices endangers the essence of every person. Health itself can be an unknown ballast; for, with it, we take for granted our ability to accomplish so many things in life; without it — when it is “lost” — we suddenly realize that the ballast of health can upend that which we took for granted — career; stability; sense of worth; sense of self.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose ballast has been lost because of a medical condition, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Medical conditions are often the storms of life which topple the vessel once the foundation of stability has been robbed, and Federal Disability Retirement benefits can restore one’s sense of security such that a re-focusing upon the priority of health and well-being can be attained, so that the ballast for the soul can be reestablished in a world full of turmoil and tumult.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Private Hells

Wouldn’t a “hell” by definition encompass privacy and insularity?  For, isn’t one of the benefits of commiserating and “sharing” (in the modern parlance) that one expiates the pains and troubles one experiences?  Thus, if a hell is to be a hell, wouldn’t it be in seclusion and in solitary confinement for all eternity; otherwise, the hell described would be less than hell because it would be a lessened state of agony and torture and thus would not be the intended deterrent that such descriptive conclusions would be?

Private hells are the worse kinds of hells, if one were to place them on a spectrum of graduated scales.  It is the hell that cannot be shared with others; cannot be complained about; cannot be dissipated by describing, telling, delineating or implicitly requesting comforting words about; such constitute the worst of torture chambers left in the chaos of one’s mind.  The social animal — the “human being” — is one who derives strength, courage, determination and the will to live by engaging in the very thing that social animals do: talk; tell stories; share troubles; commiserate.

That is often the exponentially exacerbating effect of a medical condition being suffered by a Federal employee — of having to keep it a secret; not being able to be open about it; not sharing because he or she is unable to talk about it for fear of retaliation and the evils of bad intentions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from such a state of private hell, it is time to begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted and ultimately decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The private hell of one’s fears and anxieties concerning the entire administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement is often partly due to the strangeness of it all, and consulting with a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is often the first best step in extinguishing those flames of agony that are described in ancient scrolls, lest the private hells become public dungeons that flog the soul beyond what the law allows, which can clearly be explained and contained with a private consultation with legal counsel who can guide you out of that private hell by explaining the process of OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The perfect person

By all accounts, he or she doesn’t exist, except perhaps in theoretical constructs of theological paradigms; and of academia, where one may argue some alternate version of Anselm’s argument by positing that, because the concept of perfection could not be thought of without the reality of a Being constituting perfection, ergo a perfect Being – God – must by necessity exist.

Yet, we live “as if” the perfect person exists – either imposing such a standard unknowingly, unwittingly and unwillingly upon our own selves, or by thinking that movie characters actually exist somewhere in the ephemeral world of Hollywood, Instagram and Facebook concoctions that only put forward to the public’s eye the image of perfection.

We overlook the distorted concept of perfection when we say of a movie character, “Oh, he’s not perfect; he drinks too much, cheats on his spouse and is violent.”  Yet, the make-believe character still solves the mystery, is philosophically coherent when drunk, and somehow remains an attractive character despite all such character flaws.  In other words, despite the appearance of flaws, we make gods of characters we create.

It is the same on the Internet – despite the knowledge by all that there does not exist the perfect person, nevertheless, we allow for Facebook postings and Instagram photographs of meals, dogs, kids, families, selves and neighborhoods as the perfect depiction of unblemished lives.  And of ourselves, perhaps the greatest of culprits alive – for perpetuating the mythological depiction by engaging in the flim-flam of projecting the existence of the perfect person.

Yet, what is the alternative?  No one wants to hear the perpetual whining of the constant apologist – that person who points out his own failures and shortcomings at the drop of the proverbial hat; of he who apologizes for the slightest of errors, the scent of a mistake and a hint of failure to reach perfection.  Name a movie character or a movie, excepting a comedy, where the character is merely a bundle of imperfections and unattractive to boot.  Even Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series, played long ago by Peter Sellers and by others more recently, captured the culprit in the end, despite all of the blunders and pitfalls.

In the end, we all participate in the grand larceny of perpetuating the existence of the perfect person – until we are hit with a medical condition, and the façade then suddenly falls apart.  Yet, everyone else continues in the charade.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer keep up with the make-believe world of the perfect person because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the appearance of the perfect person to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to admit imperfection by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the imperfect Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, it is the perfect person who embraces the imperfection of this world, and that is at least a beginning for the Federal or Postal employee who must continue to face the Federal Agency or the Postal Service in facing the reality of living imperfectly in this all too perfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The changing straw

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” is a known idiom that essentially reveals to us the last in the series of incidents or actions that cumulatively result in the destruction of the whole.  What in the series preceding the last straw; of what weight and import; to what significance may be attributable, we rarely focus upon; it is the last one in the series that we focus our attention upon, precisely because we assume that it is the causal connection to the event that conclusively occurs with a finality of actions.

Yet, as Hume would point out, the fact that a “final straw” placed upon the camel’s back resulted in the next event following, does not establish a causation where that final straw was in fact the cause before the effect.  It merely shows us that X occurred prior to Y’s conclusion.  If a rooster awakens and makes his morning call and the sun rises upon the horizon, and thereafter an earthquake shakes the foundation of the planet, do we conclude that the rooster was the final straw, or that the rising of the sun “caused” the tectonic shifts beneath?

No – the idiom itself, of course, is not meant to be analyzed in that manner; rather, it is a “saying” that merely denotes that, upon a series of events, issues or actions, there comes a boiling point of finality where enough is enough.  But the evolution of societal norms does, indeed, allow for the straw to change over time.

Once upon a time, people “stuck it out” and remained married – if only to keep one’s vows, or for the “sake of the children”, or perhaps some other noble purpose.  Now, the “straw” that results in a divorce has changed – it can range from “failing to communicate” or even because one spouse has gotten bored of the other.  With that changing straw, people tend to tread lightly, given the low threshold of tolerance.  Law is somewhat like the changing straw – perhaps not the substance (although that can change through legislative action), but certainly the application.

For Federal or Postal employees who are considering 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, the issue to always be kept at the forefront is the changing straw throughout – what is the “straw” at work which will help make the decision?  What “last straw” is needed before the cumulative effects of the medical conditions persuade you to realize the need to file?  What “straw” of the law needs to be applied to persuade as to the viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application?

There are many “last straws” in life, and much of them change as time goes on; the law, however, remains fairly constant, except for the “last straw” of legal opinions that often alter the landscape of substance and applicability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The limited reservoir

What if the reserve is limited, but we are never informed of it?  Perhaps the gods, fate or however the source of creation is defined, has placed a quota upon the extent of that which is expended, but we are never included in the corporate decision-making process – then, what?  Death, insanity or just plain debilitation and stoppage of activity; is that what we call “an unfortunate end”?

By “reservoir”, we normally mean that natural or artificial accumulation that is used for a specified purpose – the town’s water supply; a special cache of good wines; or perhaps, even that sixth player who is left sitting (a temporary “bench warmer” – though, perhaps in this climate of everyone being nice to each other, such terms are no longer considered appropriate) aside until a burst of fresh input is needed.

Concurrently, we expect that any depletion from the cistern is consistently replenished, except during periods of extreme droughts when we are forced to systematically make use of it with the justification that it is that for which we reserved it in the first place, and when times are better, we will take care in replacing that which seemed limitless just an eon ago.  And, why is it that when the main tank has been completely re-filled, we have a tendency towards excess and lavish spending, but when we hit the “reserve” indicator, suddenly we act with frugal caution and become responsible conservationist?

Is it because of our hereditary backgrounds as hunters and gatherers during a time of unknown and tenuous circumstances, when bodies hungrily stored fat in order to survive during those times of want and scarcity?

What if we are left with a limited number of words in life, and once expended, we become transformed into unnoticed mutes wandering across time, traversing the silence amidst others who have saved their reserve for future accessibility?

Life often “feels” like that – of having reached a point of depletion where the quota has been reached, the reservoir has been emptied, and the excess energy expired.

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 position, it often seems as if the reservoir needed in order to reach that golden mark when retirement age and cumulative years of Federal Service coalesce to allow for passing across the proverbial “finish line”, has been too early depleted.

Unfortunately, medical conditions hasten the reservoir of time, energy, patience and capacity to withstand the daily toil of workplace stresses and employment concerns, and there is often a need to access an alternate source of supply.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for that; it is a means to recognizing that the reservoir is limited, and that the medical condition has reached a critical point where replenishment is no longer an option.  Yet, even after a Federal Disability Retirement is achieved, the Federal and Postal worker can go out into the private sector and remain productive, and under the law, is allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays, and still maintain employment and receive the annuity.

For, while the reservoir of one’s life and talents may indeed be limited, it is the limitation of self-imposed stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge that the medical condition has reached a critical point, that often defeats and depletes long before the fuel gauge indicates a warning light of that ever-blinking “danger” point.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The advantageous disadvantage

In life, we often fight over things even when the goal has already lost its meaning, or the resources expended far outweigh the benefit to be gained.  We take advantage of things, people, and other concerns, despite knowing the consequences of harm to the very essence of our being.  It is as if the evolutionary core of our DNA determines our actions, like addiction upon the dawn of broken promises and childhood wisps of tearful mournings left behind.

Determination of actions despite knowing, and despite the constant drum of billboards, radio advertisements declaratively preaching against, and the distant voice of one’s nagging mother — ineffective reminders like shadow boxing before the perfect storm.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who struggle daily with 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 positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the daily fights and taking advantage of the slow process of justice in remaining in the Federal job or the Postal position, is a toil of principle; but of what gain is there if one’s soul is being destroyed?

The Leviathan of Legendary Lore bespoke of creatures who destroyed without care or compassion; and today’s metaphor of such monsters are represented by gargantuan bureaucracies which crush without blinking an eye, unaware of just another number in a long line of conquests like unnamed tombstones in an abandoned graveyard.

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 a step towards taking advantageous advantage over a situation which has become untenable; the procrastination and delay in order to fight the Goliath of modernity, is to remain in a rut where one may continue to take advantage of a disadvantageous situation, and remain in the clutches of a slow torture, like the frog who sits comfortably in a pot of warm water, unaware that it sits on a stove set for boil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Life’s Repertoire

It is one thing to have a stock of memorized pieces or performances from which one can reach back and employ, like an inventory of dusty artifacts which can be brought out for display upon request; quite another, however, to reveal it, dust off the residue, begin to showcase it, then be interrupted and, without missing a beat, to ad lib above and beyond the prepared piece.  The tape recorder (does anyone even remember what that contraption is or was, in this digital age?), the CD, the digital device; once set, it can only be altered by enforced remixing.

The human being, however, can adapt and respond according to the vicissitudes of changing and demanding circumstances.  The best jazz musicians are the ones who can go with the flow, and change from the vast spectrum of rising keys and notes in the flash of a feeling; as the blare of the trumpet, the sax or the flugelhorn rhythmically calls upon the beat of the drummer.  It is, in the end, the repertoire which we carry, from which we can wander; without the inventory left in reserve, we would have nothing to start with.  In life, we rely upon that repertoire to carry us forward each day.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who becomes beset with a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to interrupt one’s stock of daily routines, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes an important part of that inventory.  Yes, it is an inventory of change, a repertoire of alterations; and some ad libbing must be engaged; but much of life’s repertoire has been unusable, anyway, and the forced alterations may stretch one’s limitations, but rarely break.  Procrastination, avoidance, neglect and suppression of the inevitable — they are never the stock and trade of the best of jazz musicians.

Rare is the Federal or Postal employee who is also an accomplished jazz musician; but in the privacy of one’s home, the Federal or Postal employee who is forced to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM because of an interruption from a medical condition, is one who must ultimately toot his own horn, in his own time, and in his own unique way, whether forced or not, and to reach back from the vast repertoire of life in facing the challenges in confronting a medical condition both unexpected and unwanted, but there anyway, as another obstacle to overcome in this thing we call a journey of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire