Federal Employee Disability Information: Options

The telephone-recorded options are the most irritating of all, of course — for, if you hit the wrong one, or fail to remember the correct numeral identified after being offered an endless litany of alternatives, none of which quite fit what you are looking for, then you have to wait until a further option is offered to go back to the general directory in order to once again choose the option offered.

Have such recordings become more irritating as time has passed, or is it that we have become so numb to so many such encounters that we have lost patience with that metallic voice that has replaced the human one?  What is it about a recording that gets us so incensed?

Objectively, isn’t it all the same — we never “meet” the “person” anyway, whether it is a recording or a “real person” on the other end of the line: both are mere voices, but why is the automated recording so much more irritating than a live person?  Is it because we know the futility of landing a sarcastic response to the recording, as opposed to slamming our frustrations upon an individual who possesses feelings, and whose day we can potentially ruin by shouting, yelling, demeaning and spewing forth destructive epithets to and against?

In life generally, we all have them — options.  Sometimes, we are confronted with too many, and thus are left with a confounding sense of confusion.  At other times, the options are “there” somewhere, but we just don’t know them because we are too blind to the ones hidden or too stubborn to concede our ignorance.  In those instances, it is best to consult with someone who can present the options hidden, those unstated, or otherwise unknown.

In some circumstances, of course, the options available may be severely limited — as in a Federal or Postal employee suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s essential job functions.  In such situations, the limited options must be considered in light of the priorities one assigns to the values one accords: How important is one’s health?  Is the deterioration of one’s health as exacerbated by the job one is remaining in important enough to continue with?  If so, perhaps disability retirement is not the “right” option.

Stay and remain; resign, walk away or get terminated and do nothing; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The three options presented must be considered in light of one’s health, the effects upon it if one remains, and whether the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will continue to tolerate one’s excessive absences, inability to perform many of the essential functions of one’s job, etc.

When, after the options are considered, the Federal or Postal employee decides to move forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, then it is time to consider further options as well, such as whether one wants to represent one’s self in the process, like the old adage of that person who has a fool for a client — of representing one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Sad stories

Is sadness relative?  Are there sad stories that are so sad that even the ones that were considered sad prior to the sadder story being told, somehow nullify the lesser sad stories and make them into not sad stories?  Do we, after hearing the sadder tale, turn to the first story teller and say, “Yours was not so sad, after all, and in fact you have it pretty good”?

If a person tells of having just buried his mother, and you ask, “How old was she?”  He responds, “She was 95”.  Then, someone else says, “I just had to bury my 5 year old daughter.”  There would be a dead silence, would there not?  Surely, we say to ourselves, the death of a person who had a long life is not nearly as sad as the ending of one so tender in years, and as death is merely a part of life, there is something inherently sadder about the child’s life ending than that of a person who had a long life?

Both represent a life ended, but it is the knowledge that the former had fulfilled the natural course of a life while the latter was the victim of an early tragedy, unnaturally ended and interrupted for all of its promise, hope and anticipation for the future – surely, there is a qualitative difference between the two sad tales?

Or of someone who was recently fired from a job and is desperately trying to seek new employment; say that person is looking through the want-ads in the employment section (yes, yes, that is entirely outdated nowadays with special apps for resume-sharing and online submissions, etc.), and in the course of searching, reads a story about a far-off country where war, famine and general devastation are ongoing, and discovers with interest a sub-story about a family that is homeless and is being hunted down by enemies, etc.  Does one at that point straighten one’s posture and declare, “Wow, even though I am jobless, I have it pretty good in comparison to that family in country X”?

Yet, if sadness is relative, does that necessarily negate the sad tale completely, or does it merely reduce its impact and value until another comparative judgment is made?  Do we go and search out a less sad tale after debunking the sadness of one’s own with a sadder tale, in order to “restore” the sadness of our own?  Or, does each sadness remain a sadness in isolation regardless of the comparative sadness to another’s?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the sadness of that medical condition becomes such and to an extent where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sadness aside, every tale of ending a career is a sadness in and of itself, but the key to getting beyond any such sadness rests in the next steps, not in the footsteps of one’s past or those of others, but in getting good legal advice and moving on into the next phase of one’s future.  Anything else would, whether in comparison to another’s sadness or not, be the truly sad tale of sadness defined.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Inversion thinking

The dictionary definition often refers to a “reversal” of an opinion, position, order of sequence or relationships between entities, but may also connote the grammatical alteration of the normal sequence in a sentence, such as placement of a verb before its subject.

In modernity, we often hear about the admonishment to “think outside of the box” – and advertisements often try to play upon this concept by declaring some grand secret that is only available to a limited number of people who are smart enough to call in to the station within the next 5 seconds, lest the opportunity of a lifetime be lost (ignoring the fact, of course, as you are sitting singularly in the confined space of your car listening to the radio, that there are tens of thousands of other listeners who similarly have the mistaken belief that being alone in a vehicle listening does not mean the same thing as being the only person hearing the announcement).

The fact of the matter is, that once a person begins to be told to “think outside of the box”, it is already too late; for, inversion thinking must occur prior to everyone else engaging in the herd-mentality of being different.  Being different means doing so before everyone else has similarly become different, which is to say that everyone becomes the same.  At that point, one must try and become different from the collective differences already alluded to, and in so doing, it is already likely that many other people have already considered the next course of mutation and followed a similar suit; and so it goes.

Inversion thinking is just a different way of thinking outside the box; or, one might say, it is the same as thinking outside of the box, only stated in a different way.  We all like to think of ourselves as unique and singular, when in fact most of us are mere figments of an aggregated collectivism.

We all go to the same type of schools; we listen to the radio programs within the restricted airwaves of our communities or at least until the satellite programs expire and the constant flood of offers to extend become so annoying that we go ahead and give that credit card number to pay for programs we never listen to; and the spectrum of information we are bombarded with – from television to movies, internet and Facebook, et al – makes herds of us rather than mavericks upon the great plains of the creative mind.

We are told as we are growing up, how unique and “special” we are, but in the end, inversion thinking is a phenomena that rarely occurs.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is often the thought of being “different” that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from taking that “next step”.  Be not fooled, however; for, from the perspective of the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service, you have already been targeted as “different” because of your medical condition.

Inversion thinking requires taking that next step, and to think “outside of the box”, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is that distinguishing feature of human activity that will require a different kind of approach in order to step into the uncertainty of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: “Can” and “have to”

Does freedom allow and liberty mandate, or have the two concepts been conflated such that we envision a proverbial “free-for-all” in either and both instances?

Much of human history has been comprised of the latter – of Kantian obligatory categories imposed upon human behavior.  It is only of recent vintage that modernity has spurned the traditional categorical imperatives that wills the ought which spurs one to have to initiate, engage and complete activities despite a want of denial.  Today, the thought of “have to” is but a mere passing and flittering touch upon a calloused conscience no longer enlivened enough to compel movement, and “can” is the lie like the Marxist concept of the opiate that makes thoughtlessness the fog that is never lifted, and remains with the common man and the populous at large as the force of subservience throughout.

We are inculcated with the banal repetition of inane nonsense that we “can” do, be, reach anything and everything, and we don’t “have to” do anything that we do not want to.  Yet, concurrently, the implicit science of genetic predisposition dooms the concept of free will, and where once freedom meant something to slaves and their evil traders, and liberty required responsible sensitivity to the greater societal constraints that provide the foundation of a cohesive community, the current level of the combined, unfettered amalgamation – of freedom without restraint and liberty without responsibility – has brought us to the brink of a parallel universe with the history of Rome and its disintegrated empire.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition compels the Federal or Postal employee to “have to” file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the clash of cultural historicity that we witness all around – of the simplistic tension between freedom and liberty, responsibility and obligation, and “may” and “ought”, comes to the fore because the Federal and Postal worker with a medical condition used to be in a state of “can” when it came to career, leisure, activities and unrestrained potentiality, but now replaced with “have to” because of the intervening forces of an unwelcomed medical condition.

Don’t fret about it; we are all part of a larger force of history; we just never realize it until the coalescence of fate, history, destiny and personal behavior come together, where “can” was never anything but a fiction, anyway, and “have to” was always part of the human dilemma cajoling the rebellious spirit to subvert that which we can never fully avoid – the touch of the gods upon our inner conscience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The Life of Clichés

Use of cliches allows for minimal effort of expression; the very loss of originality, of benefit derived from utterances overused but generally understood, and the utter dependence upon past acceptance of declarative thoughts without needing to consider the applicability of the conceptual connotation — these allow for laziness to wander throughout a thoughtless platitude.

The aggregate of a linguistic universe, however, is one thing; to live a life of cliches beyond merely stating the obvious, is to embrace, engage and ultimate believe in them.  “Life’s lottery has left me bankrupt”; “This is merely the quiet before the storm“; “All is fair in love and war”; “The writing is on the wall”; and as the heuristic methodology is forever forsaken, the thoughts one expresses become molded into the very character of one’s life and manner of living, with the consequential quietude of a static and emotionless construct, leading ultimately to a negation of that which defines what it means to be human.

The automaton of life’s requirements tend to beat down the creativity we are born with; as we were once “diamonds in the rough”, so the long journey of difficulties faced throughout the trials of daily toil, incrementally and insidiously wear upon us, until one day we look in the mirror and the reflection reveals eyes which stare back in a vacuum of human suffering not known in those days of former innocence.

Once, we laughed in the company of our siblings as the ocean waves rolled over the fragile sand castles we built without fear of impending doom, and not knowing was a vanguard of happiness, where delight in one another was yet unconsumed by the worries of economic turmoil and complexity of adulthood; until we somehow “grew up”, lost our sense of direction and compass of fortitude, and slowly allowed the heavy atmosphere of fear, trepidation and anxieties of living overwhelm us.  We became a walking cliche.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must face the reality of such a situation, especially when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes more and more of an urgent requirement.  Working for a Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is in and of itself a challenge; what with the pressures of budgetary cutbacks and insistence upon squeezing blood out of a stone (there we go again), it becomes all the more unbearable when a medical condition is introduced into the equation.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may sometimes seem like waving the proverbial white flag of surrender; but, often, that is the only alternative left, unless the Federal or Postal employee wants to become the modern-day version of a walking zombie, devoid of any real life left to live.

Ultimately, all Federal Disability Retirement applications must be decided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether submitted first through one’s Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for those Federal or Postal employees not yet separated from service, or not for more than 31 days), and it is often a daunting administrative process full of bureaucratic pitfalls.  But the alternative is to merely live a life of cliches, where you must never lose track of time, and filing in the nick of time is important, lest you fail to be as clever as a fox, but hopefully, where all is well that ends well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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 never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire