OPM Disability Retirement: Ascent and descent

It is the “high” of reaching it and the satisfaction of proceeding down and away.  The ascent is focused upon attaining a goal; the descent, a time of reflection in the satisfaction of knowing that the goal has been achieved.  What next?  That is what the challenge is, isn’t it?  Of knowing what to do next after something has been achieved and accomplished?

There are, of course, “voluntary” goals achieved, and those that are placed before us as obstacles through no choice of our own; of mountain climbers who search for the impossible — like the North Face of the Eiger where the tombs of countless attempts whisper in the arctic winds of time; or of Everest, where the icicles of history betray the foolishness of human attempts at immortality.  Then, there are obstacles that one must bear because of accidents or nature’s imperfection — of a condition one is born with, or one gets later in life.

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the ascent to achieve has already been surpassed — you need no longer “prove” yourself; it is the fear of the descent that makes you pause.

Perhaps you do not see the descent as a challenge, but more of an obstacle.  Yet, obstacles present a challenge, as well, and the medical condition itself is one such challenge.  What would you say about the mountain climber who was concurrently playing a video game on his or her Smart Phone?  Or reading a book on Kindle while trying to conquer Everest?  “Foolhardy” would come to mind; “Not focused” upon the task, would be another.

So it is with the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and struggle with the medical condition while concurrently trying to work; and that is what a FERS Disability Retirement allows for — an annuity which then gives the opportunity to focus upon one’s health instead of always being distracted by the demands of work.  The ascent has already been achieved; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the descent afterwards, in order to focus upon one’s health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Ledger of Life

The Ledger was once that oversized binder which recorded the economic transactions for various purposes — of maintaining income and outlays; of keeping an accounting of various details in one’s life, whether of activities in business or even of one’s habits and patterns of existence.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem the same as typing such information into a computer, or of buying a software that categorizes and makes everything neat and simple.

That old Ledger that had to be lugged from one place to another reflected the weight of seriousness just in the act of lifting it; and when you opened the front cover and turned the pages where the latest entry still emitted the scent of ink still drying, one sensed the permanency of recordation as a trait of relevance that could never be erased.

And what of the metaphor — of one’s “Ledger of Life” — a recordation of the transactions that one has engaged; of the weightiness of that placed on one side of the ledger as compared to the negative notations appearing on the opposite side; of the image of St. Peter as the gatekeeper reviewing the annotated columns to determine if you “made it” — all because “The Ledger” reflects the value of your actions during the course of a lifetime?

Do we even think in those terms, anymore?  Or, while the dusty old books that used to be kept beneath the wooden grains of counters in dark and dank workshops were left behind when first the technology of modernity made for obsolescence of such anachronistic record keeping, did we then just revert to making mental notes for the things we did or did not do?

Most of us, if asked if we are “eligible” to pass through St. Peter’s exclusive club, would respond thus: “Oh, all in all, I have been a pretty good person and so, Yes, I believe I would qualify.”  And so we approach most things in a similar vein: We give ourselves a “pass” and believe that the Ledger of Life would favor our eligibility status.

And so it is with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition and need to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Because you suffer from the medical condition and believe that the medical condition cannot but be proof of eligibility, so you believe OPM cannot but see what you see.  But filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is very rare that any Federal Disability Retirement application is a “slam-dunk” case, or even an “easy” one; and like the Ledger of Life that we have left behind in the dusty heaps of bookshelves long forgotten, preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application is not just a simple transaction to be annotated into columns of neat book keeping, but a bureaucratic process that must be proven and argued for — somewhat like the Ledger of Life that must be submitted to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: Different Standards

To overdress is almost always acceptable; to underdress — well, while it may be acceptable, you may have to endure being the subject of curiosity and quiet whispers of raised eyebrows.

There are different standards for every occasion, endeavor, event or engagement; some high, others low; a few enforced without exception while still maintaining a sense of decorum and the rest of them left to ignored apathy where anything goes.  Some private clubs seem to thrive upon the exclusivity of standards maintained so high that few can meet the exceptionalism applied, while those more accessible to the public allow for flagrant violations with nary a nod or a wink.

It is when the context becomes the content that eyebrows become raised, and the higher the brow the more exclusive the thinking.  For the rebel, it is always difficult to try and convey the notion that one must adapt and change with the circumstances — that standards are applied, and you must recognize those standards and act accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the standards set have now failed to be met — whether at the personal level or the professional — it might be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whether through a recognition of the standards set for yourself — which is often higher than what is acceptable by others — or because you are beginning to get the hints that your agency or the Postal Facility has become dissatisfied with your work performance, your attendance or excessive use of sick leave; whatever the reason, the plain fact is that the medical condition itself is always the basis for determining the need to alter and modify one’s personal and professional standard.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  The standard you used to apply before the onset of a medical condition should not be the same one that is applied to your present situation, and you should therefore consider that the standard of maintaining one’s health is the present priority exclusively, no matter what your Federal Agency or your Postal Facility tries to have you believe.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and determine whether you “meet the standards” to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  They may be different than what you think.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Fooling ourselves

It takes extraordinary intelligence to play the fool, and an even greater cleverness to fool oneself; just read a few lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the interaction between Lear and the Fool, and one realizes the extensive capacity of self-indulgence in the deception of man in his need to guard his own ego.

In fooling one’s self, does one fool others, as well?  If a person takes on a persona, lives in a fantasy world, creates an identity separate and apart, and yet becomes consumed by the double-life to the extent that he or she comes to believe one’s own creative imagination, does the fact that others who knew the person from childhood onward destroy the fool’s own universe of make-believe?

Of the old adage and Biblical admonition that prophets are never accepted in their own hometown — is this because those who know a person from early life, “know better”?

If we fool ourselves only within the contained universe of our own thoughts, and never let the fantasies “seep out” into the objective reality of other’s awareness, have we fooled ourselves?  Others?  Is living a “double-life” the same as fooling ourselves and others, or is it only when we fool those closest to us where the “double” makes a difference?

What about hiding a medical condition?  What if a person is on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medication regimens, and yet everyone else believes that person to be the envy of the world, of the very definition of “happiness” exponentially quantified, until one day that very person is committed to an intensive psychiatric hospital and it comes out that he or she is the most unhappiest of individuals — has that person fooled himself, others, or both?

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, a great deal of “fooling” must go on in the interim.  You may overcompensate; you may appear to others to be “just fine”; and the tailored seams of normalcy may continue on for some time, until the wear and tear of self-deception begins to take its toll.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, is often the first honest step towards being “true to one’s self”, and like the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is the capacity of the King fooling himself, and not the honesty of the fool, that makes for the tragedy that ensues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing 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, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Those rare, insightful moments

Must it always reach the level of an epiphany, or may it be as a passing point of fluctuating comprehension?

Every now and then, it is like the proverbial entrance into a clearing amidst the darkness of a looming forest; of a light that shines into a chasm heretofore undiscovered; and in that flash of understanding, it is important to grasp it, to tackle the concept, to concretize and declare, lest it slip silently away like the silken tail of a snake slithering into the tall grass.  Or of a dream in the midst of a fitful sleep that reveals what the subconscious desires to tell but just so in a gentle twist, lest the naked truth in the full light of day may be too blunt for the sensibilities of an unvarnished purity wanting but for the fiction of a nightmare too horrifying to encounter in real life.

Is the fool in Shakespeare any less witless than the King who divides his empire among vampires who drain the life of a vibrant ego?  Do the words of the court jester that cuts like a knife through the clouded judgment lost in the garments of wealth and power, transcend the loss of comprehension by those who would see the Emperor’s clothes despite the insight of a child who sees the nakedness of truth?  Do we attribute to animals the identical accolades despite their lack of coherent utterances, when they emit sounds of alarm, engage reflexes of caution and take flight ahead of perceivable approaches to dangers hidden beyond?

Most of life is repetitive boredom, sprinkled with the dust of angels golden and shining as they fly above us in the invisible universe of heavenly orbs, and we rarely notice them but for the slight touch of their comforting robes as the wings disturb the calm air or a mischievous poke on that parting of hairs or the baldness unseen but from a singular perspective from atop; and it is in those rare, insightful moments that life becomes worth living because we clearly, unequivocally and with unmitigated resolve understand, comprehend and care.

Then, the world and its artificial constructs rush right back in to fill the void of monotony, and we carry on with the projects of life that detract and distract, forgetting again the beauty of that which we saw for a brief slice of time.  Thus, the numerous stories of those who briefly crossed the demarcation into the netherworld of death and beyond, but were brought back to “life” by medical specialists who wanted to do “good”, when even that perspective is, at best, questionable.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, it is often the medical condition itself that compels one to have a moment of epiphany.  Perhaps that rare, insightful moment comes about when the pain becomes unbearable, or when the cognitive faculties become askew and mental clarity sees beyond into the netherworld of the future and its gloomy horizon.

Whatever the circumstances that monotony of chronic medical conditions forces, the realization that the Federal or Postal employee must by necessity prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is one which cannot be avoided, any more than the angel who playfully shaves one side of our face in the twilight of dawn and leaves us wondering about those rare, insightful moments of life’s mysteries.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Chekhov’s gun

It is the ultimate principle of substantive minimalism, where extraneous and peripheral elements should be eradicated unless used, essential, or otherwise central to the narrative.  Teasing merely for the sake of itself is denied; a serious venture if always pursued, and open honesty with the audience forever relied upon.  Chekhov disdained and avoided the superfluous; his short stories and other works were paradigms of linguistic economy, where words were valued and cherished, without room left for an unused element.

Compare that to modernity; of Franzen and works where volumes are spoken to merely illustrate a simple point contrary to Ockham’s razor.  The “gun”, as the metaphor of utility or otherwise, first introduced in the first chapter or Scene I of a play, must by a few chapters hence or a scene or two later, be fired, pointed or struggled over; otherwise, never introduce it in the first place.  And of the razor of rational argumentation, the lex parsimoniae of scientific observation, let not human complexity and self-delusions of grandeur in constructing untenable principles of convoluted thought-processes cloud the simplicity of nature’s design; for, in the end, it is in the simple that complexity finds its apex, and of the complex, where simpletons gather.

In the end, economy of words allows for room of thought and invitations of acceptance; it is only in the crowded gallows of condemned men where cries for space echo into the chambers of unheard cries.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in the process of 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, the principle of Chekhov’s gun, or its correlative paradigm of linguistic economy, Ockham’s razor, should always be applied:  Keep to the centrality of one’s narrative, and never allow the teasing of an unloaded gun direct the masthead of a sinking ship to tip too perilously towards the unforgiving winds of want and self-importance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire