Medical Retirement under FERS: Revisiting Updike

He wrote about mundane things; of middle class neighborhoods, Pennsylvania towns in which he grew up; farmlands before strip malls replaced them against the skyline of cornfield rows; and of affairs that grew naturally out of a revolution emancipated from the Sixties; of quiet sufferings and the rhythmic monotony of ordinary lives.

John Updike was an “in-betweener” — too young to fight in WWII, too old to have been drafter for the Vietnam debacle; and so he experienced the quietude and normalcy in between the two bookends of this country’s tumult and trials.

Updike was a voice for generations who saw the post-war era, of baby-boomers and American prosperity at its zenith; of the loss of any normative confluence of moral dictum and the abandonment of constraints once imposed by Protestantism.  All, of course, with a twinkle in his eye and a ready smile.  The Internet abounds with photographs of this uniquely American author — almost all with that thin smile as if he was about to share a private joke.

The Tetralogy of the Rabbit novels (actually a quintet if you include the last of the series, a novella entitled “Rabbit Remembered”) evinces a country gone soft after the harsh period of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam era that undermined the ethical mandates known for generations before, unleashing a liberty of hidden sins like a bubbling cauldron of untamed desires.  But in the end, he is best known for the mundane, the ordinary, and how life in the suburbs of a prosperous nation left an emptiness unspeakable except by a voice given in narrative brilliance, from an author who was a regular contributor to The New Yorker.

Somehow, he made the ordinary seem exciting, even relevant.  By contrast, modernity has focused upon the rich and famous, and of greater unreachable glamour where perfection surpasses pragmatism.  Updike was able to make the commonplace seem important, the ordinary appear significant and the monotony of the mundane as not merely prosaic.  And isn’t that all that we seek, in the end?

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, the loss of relevance, the ordinary and the commonplace is what often scares the Federal or Postal employee.

The job itself; the career; the monotonous routine of going to work, yet finding relevance in the act of “making a living” — these were all taken for granted in Updike’s short stories.  That other stuff — of infidelities and dalliances — were a deviation that Updike tried to point out as mere fluff in otherwise ordinary lives; and of medical conditions, they upend and disrupt the normalcy we all crave.

Federal Disability Retirement is a means to an end — of bringing back balance within a life that has become disrupted, but it is a way to bring back order where disruption to the mundane has left behind a trail of chaos.  And to that, the twinkle in Updike’s eyes and the thin smile would tell us that he would approve of such a move which will return you back to a life of mundane normalcy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tempering euphoria

Life presents a wide spectrum; it is the limitation of one’s mind that restricts the expanse of that endless stream flowing on either side.  Euphoria rises to the pinnacle of that swinging pendulum; the high that reaches, follows upon a subsequence reversal of the tidal wave, and comes crashing down in fits and tumults of dismaying turbulence.  Does it necessarily need to be contained?

In modernity, and in society generally, there is a level and pitch of discomfort when intense feelings and exuberant outbursts of excitement surpass a certain arc of acceptability; there is no rule or law governing the demarcation where acceptance, discomfort and outright rejection are dissected, but it is there nonetheless.  It is like the line between light and darkness created by a campfire in the twilight on a beach that reaches forever beyond the darkness of the sea; yes, somewhere the glow of the fire ends and complete darkness begins, but we can never perceive with clarity where that boundary lies.

Some neuroscientists ascribe to the view that the extreme of euphoria occurs when there is a simultaneous, concurrent activation of all hedonic trigger-points with the brain’s rewarding system of stimulus-responses, but surely many have experienced such a state without the coalescence of such a perfect storm?  As the antonym of dysphoria, it is perhaps another hidden vestige of our evolutionary past, where intensity of emotional response was necessary for survival in a state of nature.

In civilized society, however, tempering euphoria – except in limited circumstances of heightened stimulation within the privacy of one’s home and restricted to context-appropriate circumstances – is what is expected, presumed and demanded.  There is always somewhat of an experiential oxymoron when a person manifests an unfettered state of euphoria; somehow, we all suspect that behind the uncontrolled exuberance will follow a “down” state which closely aligns itself with depression and despondency.

Is there really anything wrong with unrestrained expressions of pleasure and happiness?  Or, are we just being old fogeys and fuddy-duddies when we raise an eyebrow to such unsolicited declarations?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have filed a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of tempering euphoria is applicable within the context of having contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Waiting for months upon tiring months for OPM to respond can be exhausting.  Then, when a decision is made, one can become overwhelmed by the sheer revelation of information, whether euphoric or dysphoric.

Why tempering euphoria is important, is because filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is a process, and must be seen as such.  There are many potential “stages” to the administrative process, and the bureaucracy as a whole does not lend itself well to emotional states of responsive exuberance.

In the end, it is not only civilized society that sees the benefit in tempering euphoria through normative means of behavioral reactions, but for the very sake of keeping expectations and emotions in check, tempering euphoria is a necessary mandate when dealing with the juggernaut of OPM’s indifference in the multiple stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Redshirt

In athletic parlance, it refers to an individual and a status, allowing for a fifth year of eligibility when the rules mandate a restriction to a four-year period.  The word itself is quite malleable, and reflects well the technicality involved in avoiding the direct letter of the language.  Being a redshirt (noun), a redshirt freshman (adjective) or redshirted in his first year (verb) reveals to us the capacity of language to jump like grammatical forms of hopscotching that amazes and intrigues; and the cautionary prelude to a wink-and-a-nod is prefaced with, “You are being too literal”.

It only proves the point, doesn’t it — of the age-old adage that rules are created with the intent of being broken; or, at least bent in order to fit?  For, once such rules were imposed in order to allow for “fairness” in collegiate sports, the “legal technicians” (i.e., lawyers) went immediately to work upon coming up with novel interpretations, strategies for avoidance, and advice to extend beyond what the limitations allowed.

“Redshirting” was one of the devised methodologies – of allowing for everything up to the critical line of demarcation:  that of playing in a game itself.  Thus, the redshirt can practice with the team throughout that entire year of eligibility, but such actions do not count; the redshirted freshman can attend classes, be a full-fledged partner in the “college life”, and yet his participation is not marked against him or her; and to be redshirted in that year of eligibility allows for growth, maturity, advancement in development – all without “using up” a year of eligibility by being sacked a hundred times during the season and becoming a shattered soul devoid of self-confidence and losing assurance of one’s talents and skills.

It is, within the athletic community of college consortiums, a brilliant strategy to deftly avoid the burden of rules; for the greater society, it reflects the essence of what is wrong, precisely because it is a deliberate attempt to avoid the literal language of the rules.  Yet, that is true of almost everything in life, is it not?

Careful study; identifying the loopholes; then initiating the strategy to maneuver around landmines and obstacles.  Is it any different than a hunting party tracking a prey, sniffing out the signs of predatory confirmation and taking in information and adapting accordingly?  Rules, regulations and laws may well be designed, initially, at least, to address a specific problem; and, out of the cauldron of an enacted statutes, comes multiple other problems and issues because of the malleability of words and imprecise linguistic pauses.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is no different.  It is a necessary prerequisite to identify the legal language of eligibility; define the issues; identify whether or not the Federal or Postal employee considering such an option “fits into” the legal criteria circumscribed; then to proceed to “redshirt” one’s own situation and devise a methodology for eligibility.

Compiling the evidence, formulating the proper narrative, and presenting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can thus be likened to the redshirting of a freshman – in order to extend one’s life beyond the debilitating medical conditions otherwise shortening the career of a promising Federal or Postal employee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Bastion and Refuge

The former is a fortress of protective repose; the latter, a shelter from pursuit or danger; in either case, both provide for an escape from harm.  And there are harms beyond physical danger, which count as “real” threats.  One need not be a refugee standing in line at the borders of Hungary or Croatia, hoping to be given asylum enroute to Germany, France or the U.K. in order to be considered a person of persecutory targeting.

Whether physical harm or by psychological demeaning, the need for safe harbor should never be determined by comparative analogies of differing circumstances, but via the perception of our needs and levels of tolerance.

In logic, there is the fallacy of mereology, where the relationship of part-to-whole can lead to conclusions wrong in substantive form, and dangerous in terms of truth and validity.  One’s own circumstances may be “merely X” in comparison to the greater encompassment of tragedies taken as a whole; but that does not necessarily invalidate the reality of the desultory situation one must face, and the loss of compass, meaning and circumference of relational considerations in determining the future course of one’s life.

Medical conditions have a tendency to skew one’s perspective.  To continue on without change or repose, because the rest of the world in comparison to one’s own microcosmic universe is merely that much worse off, is to deny the reality of one’s own hurt.  For Federal employees and Post Office workers who feel that giving up one’s career and applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step towards escaping to a bastion and refuge but one which fails to adequately compare to others in more dire circumstances, the need for a “reality check” is often required.

One needs to always start from the vantage point of the present.  What others do, where others are, and how comparatively one’s own situation is “merely X” in contrast to stranger-Y, are irrelevancies perpetrated upon one’s imagination through an overabundance of informational overload.  Once, there was a time when a local newspaper was the only contact with the greater world.  Now, with Smartphones and constant Internet access, we tap into the greater bastions and refuges of those in far-off lands.

But for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must confront the reality of the situation of contending with 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 positional duties, the “here and now” is what must be faced, and whether one’s medical condition and the situation facing the Federal or Postal worker of today “merely” pales in comparison to others in unknown wastelands, is to concern one beyond the focus and centrality of concerns and problems encountered now, in real time, in the reality of one’s universe, today and this minute.

Other parallel universes will have to deal with their own internal problems; it is the bastion sought and the refuge take by the Federal or Postal employee of today, which matters in the most personal of manners, and what should concern the hurting Federal and Postal employee in the here and now.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Figures Larger than Life

Once, mythological figures and characters looming larger than life itself wandered amidst the common populace of everyday working folks; their very presence bestowed a greater sense of purpose, of a pride in knowing that better days lay ahead, and that even in the upheavals of tempestuous travails and turmoils which interrupted every economy and fiefdom because of the inevitable vicissitudes of economic activity, that somehow we would all survive through the common efforts of community.  But the pureness of the mountain stream became poisoned, diluted and polluted by egomaniacal intrusions of selfish constructs; “we” did not matter much, if at all, and the accolades of accretion demanded greater self-congratulatory spotlights of self-centered egoism.

Thus was the “selfie” born.  In the midst of such a society, empathy for the disabled will be wanting and rare; the saying that he would shove his own grandmother under a moving bus is not merely a warning, but a confirmation of normative character.  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, it is well to know who, and what, one is dealing with.

Agencies and Post Offices which may have shown care and comaraderie during better times, may not continue the surface-appearance of comity and cooperation when it becomes clear that the Federal or Postal employee can no longer remain as fully productive as in years past.  Human nature being what it is, the self-contradiction of man’s thought processes can always amaze and delude:  One believes that one is neither naive nor ignorant; concomitantly, that the world is generally an evil arena of life; but, somehow, one’s own friends, family, and agency are the exception, when the callous experiences of life have shown us otherwise.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a clear indication to one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service that you are no longer “one of us”, and more to the point, can no longer contribute to the betterment of the agency, the Postal Service, or to the advancement of management’s careers and objectives.

You become considered as mere dead weight and fodder for the wasteland of problems and pecuniary penchants of piracy and pernicious paupers.  You become erased and digitally deleted from those seemingly happy images of office parties and ceremonial accolades where words of praise once were dispensed with generous helpings and heaps of adjectives and adverbs not often heard.  You become the nobody that you always were perceived to be behind those lying eyes, had always been, and forever considered; you just didn’t know it before the occurrence of confirmed establishment.

Perhaps we know too much today, because information is cheap and available; and perhaps giants never roamed the earth in epochs extinguished by time and modernity; for the figures larger than life are nowhere to be found, but in what we make of our lives through sheer effort, planning, and genuine concern for the man sitting right next to us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Unrehearsed Spontaneity

In the absence of a coherent plan, one is left with the ad hoc approach of a sometimes delicious unfolding of unrehearsed spontaneity.  Dinner conversations; an unplanned visit; a sudden windfall; an inheritance from a long-lost relative; these are all desirable circumstances to suddenly befall; but most things in life require some extent of planning, and to expect positive results in the same manner as a string of lucky draws, is to ask for failure in the face of unrealistic anticipatory happenstance.

Medical conditions fall into the category of unexpected events; how one responds to it, what steps are taken, and where one goes from the discovery of the information — these are determinable follow-ups.  We often confuse and bundle together causation with effects.

Hume’s bifurcation via use of billiard balls as an example, illustrates the point of recognizing the importance of identifying that “necessary connection” which is lacking when discussing the universe of inception and result.  Some things happen without rational basis or knowable justification; but where we have the capacity to engage an active hand in a matter, the consequences we perceive from our affirmative participation can be defined and comprehensive.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition has impacted his or her ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal job, it is important to recognize that unrehearsed spontaneity is fine for a time, but not for planning the course of one’s future.

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, requires the cogent and deliberative gathering of relevant medical documentation; the capacity to compile the compendium of proof in order to qualify; and the application of legal argumentation in combining medical information with legal significance, in order to persuasively submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement packet.

Approvals are not won by mere happenstance; luck in a Federal Disability Retirement application is not based upon a lottery ticket purchased, forgotten, and suddenly viewed for statistical improbabilities; rather, it is a focused approach upon a bureaucratic process where the coalescence of facts, law, and preponderance of the evidence are compiled with a deliberative approach.

Leave the delicious moment of unrehearsed spontaneity to a dance under a sudden cloudburst; to prepare an OPM Disability Retirement application of efficacy and success, a wider approach of planning is necessary.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Federal Disability Retirement from the Office of Personnel Management: The Insular Universe

The self-containment of society has reached a point of no return; when the universe of virtual reality becomes the focus of dominant conversation, where movies depicting historical events replace the factual narrative of serious discourse; of twitter terminals constituting serious haikus of accepted profundities; the age of human innovation and creative destiny has indeed come to an end.

So where does empathy fit into the maze of humanity?  For a bureaucracy, processing paperwork and finishing tasks satisfies the requirement of emotional output designated for responsiveness.

For the individual awaiting a decision on one’s application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the dealings with “life issues” are comprised of:  first and foremost, attending to the medical condition; second or third, the increasing vitriol of the Federal agency, its agents and assigns, or the U.S. Postal Service through its supervisors, managers and other thoughtless coworkers who engage in various forms of harassment and pushing of pressure points; and further down the sequential order of priorities, waiting upon the administrative process of filing for, and anticipating, a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In a universe where reality and virtual reality no longer have a distinctive bifurcation of differentiating margins, the qualitative conditioning of terminating that video drone is of no greater consequence than denying an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The key, then, is how best to awaken the sleepy eyes of the Administrative Specialist at OPM?  In real life, medical conditions have a traumatic impact upon life’s otherwise uneventful discourses.

How to convey that narrative to a bureaucracy and administrative process is the question of paramount importance.  How to shake up the slumbering mind overtaken with years of callous disregard, and pull from the insular universe of self-containment the reality of one’s condition, depends upon the medical documentation, the statement of disability, and the legal argumentation propounded in a compendium of discourse which will touch the soul.  That is the ultimate art of legal training.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire