OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Lost Wallet

It is a sinking feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a sudden realization of the empty back pocket that then leads to a feeling of panic.  Or of reaching and finding that the purse that is so carelessly hanging from one’s shoulder, or looped over a forearm — is not there.  It is the nonexistence of something that suddenly brings to existence the sensation of fear, emptiness, loathing — and resultant panic. Whether of the variety where the pit of one’s stomach becomes queasy, or of a disorientation of being, matters very little.

We can try and describe it, but we all recognize it without ascribing and identifying the precise word that depicts the reality of such extinguishment of existential reality: The lost wallet, the stolen purse, the sudden void of that which we have taken for granted each day; and the subsequent sense of the consequences that ensue.

It is not just the trouble of future replacements; the calls to credit card companies, the trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the irreplaceable photograph tucked into the side pocket of the wallet (sorry for showing one’s age — of course, no one keeps such passport-sized photographs in a wallet, anymore, as the anachronism of such a deed has been replaced by the “saved” pictures in that ethereal “cloud” within each Smartphone so that, even if the phone itself is lost, it is never truly lost because it is forever kept in world of downloadable albums) — no, the loss is exponentially multiplied by a sense of having one’s identity violated, and of feeling that an event has occurred where something essential has been extracted from our very existence.

The lost wallet inevitably leads to a first impression of panic; but as panic is a natural reaction, it is what we do next that matters most.  And like the Federal employee or Postal worker who first realizes that he or she suffers from a medical condition, and over time, senses that the medical condition will not simply “go away”, it is the steps that follow upon the news first learned that will have the significant impact upon one’s future livelihood.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that “next step” after the foreboding sense of reality has first been experienced.  And like the lost wallet that will need to be replaced, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the needed replacement for one’s career; and while the replacing features may not be as good as the health one once enjoyed or as lucrative as the career one previously pursued, it is a new identity that will be needed until the lost wallet is recovered in some future image of a past relinquished.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Reversal of Fortune

Life itself rarely reflects a steady, linear progression on a graph; the zig-zagging representing times of economic turmoil more accurately profiles a person’s span of existence.  Moreover, one’s career is not necessarily the essence or paradigm of a given life’s experience; there are multiple factors, including emotional, births and deaths, marriages and medical conditions.  How does one quantify an experience?

The methodology we seek is often purely in monetary parallelism:  if one receives pay raises and cash rewards, then one’s career is considered to be on an upward trajectory; if one gets a reduction in salary (with or without a concomitant demotion in position), then the loss of linear progression is deemed a failure of sorts.  But like marriages, and life itself, careers never merely reveal a positive path of progressive purity; ask Elizabeth Taylor, who skews every statistical analysis of marriages and divorces.  And then, of course, there is the interruptive influence of a medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the daunting doldrums of a medical disability reveals many things not reflected on a graph of life:  the bother; the interruption of a career; the fear imposed; the dealings with coworkers; the reaction of the agency or Postal Service; the need for surgical and other procedures; a whole host of activities not previously contemplated.

For the Federal and Postal employee who finds that a medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration then needs to be given for filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, or CSRS Offset, of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Yes, unfairness is a characteristic of life not reflected in the graph of microeconomics; yes, sometimes experience teaches us that the proverbial cards are stacked against us; and yes, reversals of fortune constitute a reality rarely taught in classroom social studies.  But as life’s experience is never accurately or fully represented by mere lines and numerical paradigms, so a biography of a historical figure can never be captured, as fortunes and reversals thereof can never embrace the complexity of human folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: It’s a Dog’s Life

Animals are entities we encounter as subjects in a world of objects, but with whom we can have relationships and interactions beyond mere utility; the affection of a dog or similar pet, their importance in one’s life — these are beyond measurable quantification of significance.  But there is a difference in the “other” species; of the immediacy of need, the lack of concern for tomorrow, and happiness determined by thoughts of future occurrences or predicted circumstances.

Trouble makers

Looking for trouble (don’t try this at home … these puppies are trained professionals).

That difference is often what determines the linear intractability of human anxiety, as opposed to the fullness of joy seen in a dog or a cat.  Dogs are happy because they are; the present immediacy of their satisfied lives is contained within the existential presence of the here and now.  Worries about tomorrow, or next year; how will we get on with life? What is the meaning of…   These are not tangible concerns which dogs and cats, or other similar species, concern themselves with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, those anxiety-filled question impacting future security come to the fore, and begin to haunt.  But that life could be like that of a dog; yet, on the other hand, one need only visit the many animal rescue facilities to conclude that a dog’s life is not always a metaphor for endless joy.

For the Federal or Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should have some weight of relief as an option for the future.  It is, after all, a benefit which is part of one’s employment and compensation package, but one which is often not emphasized at the initial stages of one’s career.  It provides for an annuity while allowing for employment outside of the Federal Sector, within certain guidelines and limitations.

Sleeping puppy

After a long day terrifying JWs, girl scouts and mail carriers, this puppy needs to take a much needed nap. (This model is the nephew of a former client and Postal employee).

During a time of medical need, the priority of concerns should always be:  attend to one’s medical conditions; get through each day to the best extent possible; secure one’s future, including filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits if one is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, as soon as the need becomes known.

For the Federal and Postal worker, such priority of circumstances is what determines the present and future happiness of one’s existence; for the dog, it is the second of the three which matters, but then, as long as the meal is served, and the after-dinner treat is offered, the wagging tail tells the tale of contentment at the end of a long day’s journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Fear, Anxiety, Loathing and Acting

To “act” can have multiple meanings; one can be engaged in “make believe”, or merely doing something as opposed to talking about it. One can participate in a pretense (“he was putting on an act”); but perhaps engaging in pretense is not dissimilar (forgive the double negative; it sounds phonetically pleasing — but, then again, to say “sounds” and “phonetically” requires further forgiveness for unnecessary redundancy; and finally, is it not a double redundancy to speak of unnecessary redundancy?) to being on stage, or in a movie, and acting as actors do, except in an unpaid status.

In that sense of the word, we all engage in such semblance of who we are or what we want to appear to be.  Further, such pretense and concealment of one’s essence is often based upon the fear one imagines; the anxiety one experiences; and the loathing one encounters if such outward appearances are not performed.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must be hidden from public view because, to fail to conceal would mean that one would become subjected to an agency’s or Postal Service’s reactionary retaliation in dealing with such issues — the emotional turmoil of fear, anxiety, loathing and acting is a commonplace, daily experience.

Fear of what the agency will do; anxiety from the constant fight against the medical condition and the concealment in order to continue working; loathing of what may have to be faced today; acting in order to cover and hide to get through another day. But it is often in the secondary meaning of the verb, “to act”, which finds the penultimate resolution of such a quandary.

Acting — “doing something” — as opposed to engaging in pretense, is the solution.

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 or CSRS, is the concrete step from mind-to-matter. It is often the act itself which resolves the turbulence of a crisis.

For, it is the actor on the greater stage of life, in real time, in genuine situations, where pretense and make-believe are shoved aside for masks and make-up artists, and when the reality of the essence of what is important in life comes to the fore — that is where action intersects with the artificial world of acting, and where one must walk off the stage of make-believe and instead cook one’s own meal, as the reality of necessity overtakes us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Cognitive Dissonance

In psychology, it is the state of self-contradiction, of holding onto a belief while simultaneously acting in a manner contrary to that belief.  If such a contradiction between belief-and-action impacts upon a core, foundational essence, of one which constitutes a defining centrality of a person’s character and personality of that which makes a person who he or she identifies him/herself to be, then the greater proportionality of discomfort and stress, often resulting in an alteration of either the belief, or the action intended to be engaged.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who experiences a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, such cognitive dissonance is an everyday, common occurrence. You already know that continuation in the position as a Federal or Postal Worker cannot continue; you do not need a medical doctor to tell you that; your body, mind or soul has already screamed that dissonance out at you multiple times, at varying degrees of decibels countlessly and in monotonously repetitive occurrences throughout each day over many months, and sometimes enduring over several years.

But the belief-system of the Federal or Postal Worker is to silently “take it”, and to continue on, with a self-destructive sense of blind loyalty in an effort to “accomplish the mission”; but the question always is, At what price?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal Worker is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which must be seriously considered when the extent of cognitive dissonance comes to a crisis point. It is the point of reference where one finally comes to recognize that the problem requires a solution — of abandoning the senseless embracing of blind loyalty and seeking a period of reclamation of one’s physical and mental health; or of continuing on the path of self-immolation in the Federal or Postal position of one’s chosen career.

Federal Disability Retirement: it is the bridge which one must pass upon to close the chasm between what one’s health screams out for, and the daily toil of one’s occupational duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Stress, Anxiety, Depression…

Stress is often the noun which triggers.  As the originating causation, it is often considered the evil cousin who brings about other ailments. It is a state of mental or emotional strain which is encountered under extraordinary circumstances, often hostile in nature, and involving a lack of calm or quietude.

Workplace stress is a reality of the modern technological age; hostile work environments have been identified as causative agents of stress; and demands for overburdened, repetitive work habits contribute exponentially.

Attempts to reduce workplace stress are always welcomed but often ineffective

Attempts to reduce workplace stress are always welcomed but often ineffective

While the goal for a “stress-free environment” is generally unattainable and a mythological state existing only in one’s imagination, it is thought from a medical perspective that engaging in stress-reducing activities, whether incrementally throughout the day, or during one’s leisure time, remains an important facet of healthy living.

The noun which triggers — stress — is that which, if left unchecked, can result in the debilitating effects of an explosion of psychiatric (and physical) medical conditions, including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, homicidal thoughts, intrusive nightmares, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, gastric and abdominal dysfunctions, chronic and profound fatigue, general malaise, chronic pain, debilitating migraine headaches, and a host of other medical conditions.

At some point, when the seriousness of a medical condition brought about by stress cannot be relieved or reduced through pragmatic means of altering key components which cause the stress, then complete removal from the stressful environment must be considered.

Generalized anxiety disorders appear in physical and psychological ways. Headaches are a possible physical symptom. So are muscle aches, sweating, and hot flashes.

Federal Disability Retirement, available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum number of years of service, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must always be considered when one’s medical condition — whether triggered by stress or some other causative agent — begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

Sometimes, when the visiting cousin who carelessly and thoughtlessly spreads germs and destructive diseases comes for a short visit, subtle hints as to the unwelcome nature of the visit may simply fail to move.  In such cases, it is time to move out, leaving behind the unwanted cousin to drown in the misery of his own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire