Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: “Starting”

It is always “new beginnings”, “new births”, “turning over a new leaf” and so many other faddish starts, stops, putters and “reset buttons”.  The “New Year” brings about a calendric initiation based upon geometrical calculations as to what constitutes the inception of a repetition we fail to understand.

Does nature care whether or not we impose upon it the cycle of restarting from the first day of the year, or does the natural world simply move on, year after year, impervious to the artifice of counting by a calendar that says that it is now a “new” year?  What does it mean to start something, to initiate, to begin to formulate and to prepare?  What is it about human beings the world over that beginning something “new”, of initiating based upon a calendar that tells us that the cycle of days will now repeat itself from the first square of life – why do we find that attractive?  Why is it considered “noble” and befitting of good character?

Resolutions to improve; changes for the new year; modifications to things previously performed “just because” it has “always been done that way” – starting something new, initiating a different approach, etc. – are they not an indicator that we can recognize mistakes and shortcomings and to realize the need for change?

Starting a Federal Disability Retirement application is like formulating a New Year’s resolution: It is first and foremost a recognition that change is warranted, and second, that unless the change comes about, the future will only deteriorate based upon the medical condition that progressively worsens.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first step in a realization that there is an incommensurate anomaly between the ongoing medical condition experienced and the type of work required by one’s Federal or Postal position, and it is therefore time to start considering a change in one’s present circumstances so that the future will accommodate the deteriorating medical condition.

“Starting” – that is what is needed, and the prompt of a “new year” based upon the reset button of health concerns is certainly as good a reason as any other to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Season’s end

The cyclical nature of the seasons provides for comfort in its monotony of regularity; we are subject to nature more than we realize, and the onset of the next season means the end of one, the beginning of another and the endless cycle of repetitive regularity.

That concept, in and of itself, is a strange one, is it not?  Of “repetitive regularity”; for, can “regularity” encompass a series of elements without repetition?  And, is not repetition itself the foundation of regularity?  Is there a distinction with a difference to be made?

If a person goes to the same coffee shop every day, at the same hour, and orders the same cup of coffee each and every day of his life, we would describe that person as being a “regular”.  Further, we might describe what he does as “repetitive”, and thus would say of him: “He engages in an act of repetitive regularity”.

That perspective would be a fairly accurate one from an objective, outsider’s viewpoint.  But what about from the subjective perspective – from the person himself who goes to that same coffee shop each and every day?  He might say: “No, it is not repetitive, because each cup of coffee, to me, is a brand new one, just as each day I wake up is a new day; and, besides, I might wake up one day and go to a different coffee shop, and then you would not consider me to be a ‘regular’.”

Would such a statement be accurate?  Would it be truthful?  And what about the short time-frame within which we assign so quickly the label of “regular”?  From an omniscient viewpoint, would doing X for a month, a year – or even a decade – properly constitute “regularity”, when eternity is the standard by which it is being judged?

A season’s end and the next one’s beginning can certainly be considered as repetitive regularity; for, that is often what we rely upon as a security of comfort, in the very knowing of the next one coming. That is the insidious impact of a medical condition, is it not?  That it creates uncertainty, and suddenly repetitive regularity is no longer guaranteed, as if the season’s end may be its last.

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 duties, the medical condition itself may be likened to the season’s end.

Fortunately, there is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, however, and that may, as well, be likened to the repetitive regularity of a season’s end – only, it is the onset of the “next season”, and that is some comfort upon which to take refuge, like the flock of geese that fly south for the warmer climate of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Human Perfection

Human perfection, it would appear, can be achieved.  How?  Simply by altering the definition of terms and utilizing the malleability of language, the short attention-span of historical memory, and the capacity of people to fool themselves.  It is the methodology of “moving the goal posts” once the opposing team comes within striking vicinity of scoring in a game; instead of tinkering with the substance of the issue, we merely change the rules of application.

Such actions certainly reveal the disconnect between language and reality, where the former reflects the gymnastics of linguistic flexibility without direct connection to the latter, and where the latter can continue to remain unchanged despite the radicalization of the former.  It is the universe of Orwellian reality, where one may declaratively assert the truth despite empirical evidence to the contrary.  But there are limits to such an approach.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the progressively deteriorating nature of the diagnosed medical condition, in and of itself, is just such a limiting factor.  Try as one might, you cannot “fake it”, or even if you can (for a time or a season), the nagging reality of the chronic and pervasive immediacy of pain, debilitating symptoms, and overwhelming fatigue tends to make irrelevant such attempts of avoidance, neglect and attempted pigeonholing of the medical condition itself.

Language is ultimately meant to connect the objective world with the capacity to communicate through the insular subjectivity of thoughts, responses and feelings; instead, in modernity, it is too often used to validate the subjective universe of narcissistic egoism.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has come to a point where language can no longer redeem the reality of one’s medical condition, consideration needs to be given for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  The Federal or Postal employee can only use the malleability of language only for so long; and just as perfection is never truly achieved just because we say it has, so the mere fact that the Federal or Postal employee asserts that the reality of the medical condition will “just go away”, doesn’t make it so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees: Like the Wind-Up Toys of Childhood Yore

They were innovative creations, precursors of the digital age and battery-powered contraptions.  The disadvantage, of course, was in the limitations imposed by the length of the coils allowing for winding, releasing, then causing the movement; and so the appearance of independent animation lasted merely for the duration of the internal mechanisms and the capacity allowed by delimited space, time and mechanical release.  Like the belief in the invisible thread gently pulled by gods and angels designated to protect, the mechanism of innovation in propelling wind-up toys lasted in limited form.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel as if they are mere pawns and wind-up toys, the sense of limitation is self-imposed through continuing in an environment which fails to foster or  remain intrigued.  The child who spent hours winding up the fascination of one’s imagination, watched the toy engage in its repetitive movements, but never lost the focus and concentration and ongoing relishing of delight in a simple contraption, is like the agency who once catered with loyalty and encouragement to the needs of the Federal or Postal employee.  But the medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, or requires greater time and effort, is like the reaction of that same child who loses interest because of the broken toy which fails to provide the pleasurable interests engendered and fails to give thought of repair or redemption, but merely of replacement.

When the commonality of childhood dismay and adulthood crisis converge as parallel universes of clashing calamities, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and 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.

Filing for FERS or CSRS disability benefits, for the Federal or Postal employee, is a time of reckoning; of understanding what one’s medical condition has portended; how it has impacted one’s place in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and where events and circumstances have lead one to.  And the time to file for Federal and Postal Disability Retirement benefits is not when the coils of the wind-up toy gives out, but long before, when the fascination of childhood innocence still tickles the glory of inventive interest in the world around, lest the spark of humanity be stamped out forever like the brokenness experienced with the stoppage of inner workings of the wind-up toy of childhood yore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Predictable Pantomimes

Most of life is simply lived.  One engages, works, plans, deliberates, initiates, completes chores, gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, etc.  Little reflection or thought is required; much of it, like an automaton on a conveyor belt of cursory convenience, requires but mere human movement.

Perhaps in the mythological State of Nature, as described by Rousseau or Locke, the predatory environment creating a necessity of alertness just to survive, required greater cognitive involvement; or, as a corollary, an utopian condition of peace and tranquil coexistence with other forces of nature.  It is when one pauses for a brief moment, reflects, and has a sudden awareness of one’s self in the presence of others, that the very knowledge of acting within the confines and context of “doing”, becomes a consciousness of self-realization.

Self-awareness — that level of consciousness beyond mere recognition of one’s surroundings, but involving a direct acuteness of “being” but simultaneously “being in the world”, is what makes for human uniqueness.

Heidegger tried to describe it through linguistic mechanisms which turned out to be beyond the common realm of understanding or comprehension, and thus became relegated to the esoteric halls of academia.  Sartre and Camus attempted to capture it through fictional depictions, and indeed, it was more the texture of the novel, The Stranger, than the actual words, which came closest to successful conveyance of the experience of the absurd.

For the daily person, medical conditions tend to starkly bring out the reality of the experience.  Medical conditions suddenly reveal one’s vulnerability, and the fragile nature of one’s being.  Mortality becomes a reality beyond mere distance-reflection of some unknown future intent; it becomes the freshness of the now for a being within a body of decay.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suddenly realizes that life, career, future and the boredom of constancy can be but a moment in time because of an impending medical condition which threatens one’s security and livelihood, 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, becomes a reality of immediacy, precisely because of the urgency of the medical condition upon one’s life and livelihood.

Suddenly, the priority of “being” presents itself.  What one did before the crisis of vulnerability was merely a predictable pantomime; the reality of life and the significance of relationships becomes the true being of living.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like a mere act of administrative convenience, but for many, it becomes the avenue of necessity in order to deal with the reality of illness, disability, and medical urgency.  And, as with all aspects of life and being, other predictable pantomimes will become apparent:  the agency’s hostile reaction; the looks of suspicion from others; unfriendly attitudes displayed by coworkers and supervisors; they are all merely actors on a larger stage, but yet to realize that “being” and “being-in-the-world” are one and the same, when tragedies befall and humanity acknowledges the fragile nature of life, like the soft petal from a dying flower which drifts soundlessly upon the earthen dust from which we were born, and to which we return.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Causality

Worker’s Comp requires it; Social Security disregards it; and OPM Disability Retirement shifts the issue into a different arena.  “Causality” encapsulates the relationship between two or more events, where one is thought to result from another, or put a different way, where “responsibility” for a given effect is attributed to a prior conditional occurrence fulfilled as sufficient to warrant as being the “cause” of that event.

In a Federal OWCP case, administered through the Department of Labor, one must prove that the injury or medical condition was “caused” as a workplace incident or occurrence, such that the “event” occurred or was somehow connected to the employment itself.

For Social Security Disability cases, causation is normally not an issue, since the basis for eligibility is not concerned with any singular event, but rather, whether the person filing for Social Security Disability benefits meets a standard definition of being “totally disabled” from gainful employment.

For Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue is not one of causation, but rather, the relationship between one’s medical condition and the attributable impact upon one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Thus, there is, in a different sense, a case of causality to be made, but the relationship between A and B has shifted, where it matters not “how” it occurred, but rather, “whether” the medical condition prevents (causes) one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

In the end, causation in a Federal/Postal Disability Retirement application is irrelevant in the traditional sense that one normally accepts, but the shifting focus of causality is important to keep in mind in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire