Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process 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, the similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for the Federal or Postal Employee: Character Questions

Questioning one’s character occurs in multiple guises, by subtle and overt means, through self-reflection and conspiracies of consorts; one can question through self-reflection, when an intended result falls short of expectations; one can do it to others, when that which was promised was unfulfilled; or, we can do it out of sheer meanness, when rumors and unverifiable gossip can eat away at the fabric of one’s unprotected persona and self-image.

The offense of questioning one’s character is grave, indeed, and the responsiveness of reactionary rectitude is often tied to the sensitivity of one’s self-image, the reputation one holds within a given community, and the sense that one must maintain and control the opinions of others.  Indeed, in this world of Facebook and rampant, unconstrained and un-restrainable opinions thrown about throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet, the questioning of one’s character is something which must be responded to with a callous disregard.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a hostile work environment when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the issue of character questioning falls to the forefront without notice, without warning, and without a capacity to quickly respond.  Suddenly,  those years and decades of dedicated service are open to questioning; what one did in the past counts for naught; what one is currently doing is discounted because it falls short of coworkers’ expectations because of the enormous contributions of the past, which now account for little; and what is anticipated for the future is set aside, as one becomes a nobody in a universe which only takes into account the present actions and current accolades.

The fact that a medical condition is the culprit of one’s diminished professional capacity means little; and as the agency rarely reveals any underlying capability for empathy, the choices become limited: filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and most viable option. Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end:  the means requires that the Federal or Postal employee attains a level of security such that the medical condition itself can be the primary focus; the end is for the Federal or Postal employee to remain productive for the future, and to utilize the talents and as-yet-unrealized contributions to society for the many years to come.

Character questioning is a game of sorts, and one which empty souls and superficial artifices of valueless individuals engage in; the question itself should never involve a self-reflection of doubt based upon the invalid criticism of others, but the forthright confidence of the Federal or Postal employee who still has many years of valuable contributions left, in a society which screams for character.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire