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 Employee Disability Retirement: Explosions of Reality, Containers of Fantasy

Disability benefits for employees in the Federal Government

It is often the converse; as reality is that which constitutes the universe of the knowable, it is that which is contained and determinably set within the parameters of perception; likewise, we normally consider fantasy as that which cannot be contained, and therefore is unstable and likened to a detonated delinquency of diverted desires.

But in limited situations, of lost hope, where youth and the vigor of expectations yet unfulfilled, and anticipated future strivings are cut short by the tragedy of circumstances unexpected and of sudden termination unrealized, it is the very disintegration and deterioration of reality which constitutes the tragedy, and its mirror image of dreams unfulfilled.

Medical conditions tend to do that; at whatever age, whether in youth or near retirement, when expectations are bluntly severed and dreams are cancelled like plane reservations where the empty seat of an awaiting corridor on a tarmac in the stillness of a foggy night merely reveals a void and vacuity of that which might have been; it is the aggregate of life, its dreams and hopes, which reveal the true nature of value and worth.

For Federal and Postal employees 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 one’s positional duties of the Federal or Postal position occupied, the need to cut short a promising career in the Federal sector constitutes an explosion of reality and a containment of dreams.

Suddenly, that project must be delayed; the expected promotion must be forgotten; that planned vacation must be canceled; the 3-day weekend with family and friends must be shelved.  Reality need not be the grandeur of paradigms, just as one’s fantasy of the utopia of one’s dreams need not include gnomes and pots of gold.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits may not seem like the granting of the singular wish one may hope for, but it is a benefit offered to all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and must be proven at either the administrative level at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or at the quasi-judicial forum of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  It is a benefit which allows for the important recuperative period of gaining back control of one’s life, by pushing a “reset” button and re-ordering one’s priorities in life.

It may well be that having a debilitating medical condition constitutes a metaphorical explosion of one’s reality, resulting in the containment of one’s fantasy; but the greater tragedy would be if the circumstances of one’s life explodes one’s fantasy and dreams for the future, with the consequence of containing forever the reality of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire