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

 

OPM Disability Law: The Fatigue of Profundity & Requirement of Repetition

Profundity is overvalued.  With the advent of the internet and information technology, the widespread dissemination of seemingly esoteric array of knowledge and know-how (yes, there is a distinction with a difference between the two), everyone is vying for the heard voice, and the break-out from the herd.  One becomes easily fatigued by seemingly deep insights, or “new” data and facts upon otherwise mundane concerns.

Repetition is considered as a trait of boredom; but the longer one lives, the more one recognizes that there is truly little new under the sun, and the apparent newness of X is merely a regurgitation of the old Y of yore.   But repetition does have its own uniqueness of value, and inherent strength of significance.  For, often, a person who turns the same corner as thousands, and tens of thousands before, may be encountering the next block for the first time, and what those before him or her did has little to no significance to the epistemologically privileged experience for that singularity of uniqueness.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the knowledge that many, many Federal and Postal employees before were able to file for, and get approved, Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so long as one is under either FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the comfort of which one may partake rests in the fact that one is not alone; yet, it is not purely a “repetition” of sameness but a genus of similarity; for, as each medical condition and every circumstance reveals a uniqueness which must be dealt with individually, so each Federal Disability Retirement case must be handled with care.

At the same time, however, it is of value to recognize that repetition of relevant laws, statutes and regulations, cited in the ordinary course of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, is necessary for success in obtaining the benefit.

From the standpoint of OPM, the fatigue of profundity comes in failing to view a particular case with “new eyes”; from the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal worker who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the first time, it is the inability to recognize the requirement of repetition which often results in an ineffectual formulation of one’s case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Time In-Between, Afterwards

That time, as a historical event, is quite different from the retrospective vantage point of what we perceive today; and that is good to keep in mind.  After the event itself, the followers were not waiting around for the next event; rather, they were likely scrambling to determine what to do next, as they had no foresight of the coming circumstances, and thus did not consider themselves to be “in-between” two major historical pillars awaiting the next condition for completion.

In the aftermath, we can look upon it as a continuum, and view the time in between as one of anticipation and waiting; but from the real-time moment of the figures involved, the past trauma had already occurred; what was to come next could not have been known.  That is similar to how we live a life today.

For Federal and Postal employees who are anticipating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a good lesson to view things in the “now”, as in-between, or afterwards, and from a later perspective.

Waiting upon a behemoth of a bureaucracy as that of OPM is never a pleasant experience, and one often feels like being in a suspended mode of administrative purgatory; and yes, there can be contingencies which must be first established before the next “move” in life can occur; but in the end, one should not wait upon the approval of a Federal OPM Disability application, but rather continue to pursue and build upon one’s life as in the aftermath of the occurrence. That is sometimes difficult to do, but necessary.

Waiting is often the hardest part; once the “happening” occurs, the tumult is released, and the Federal or Postal employee often feels that he or she is “set free” from the bonds of suspended time. But then, think about those followers of the fisherman who waited from that Friday until the morning when a seeming disaster turned into a triumph of historical proportions untold and unknown, at the time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Living

The imperfect medical science and taking the option of Federal Disability Retirement

Art is the unleashing of a creative mind, unconcealed to flourish without constraints of physical laws; science, in contrast, must follow the dictates of an objective universe, attempting to understand that which is concealed, unrevealed, and within the mysterious imprint of hidden codes.

Whether medical science is that far removed from latter days of sorcerers and shamans, people can debate; it is, however, the success of modern science and medicine, which establishes credibility with the populace.  But while disciplines rise or fall based upon the pragmatic considerations of success of the last procedure performed, people must go on living — in the face of disciplines yet imperfect.

Bloodletting was believed for centuries to maintain the balance of a person: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile, constituted the necessary elements, and when any single element dominated the others, releasing the over-accumulation required bleeding of the body to regain that equity of humors.  If, in any singular instance of bloodletting, the patient became well thereafter and recovered from the malady, the “success” of the bloodletting would only have reinforced the underlying foundational principle behind the physical act and medical belief.

Living a life is often more akin to bloodletting than to the cold halls of science; for it is within the subjective confines of perspectives which predetermine the actions we often engage.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, the years and decades of attempting to “get better” by seeking medical treatment result in an inescapable reality:   If the science of medicine had reached a pinnacle of perfection, filing for Federal Disability Retirement would not be necessary; for, perfection in medicine would equal a cure. But as science is not a perfect principle, and neither is the art of living, so the practical truth is that one must resort to a metaphorical engagement of bloodletting: something in life has to give, and the imbalance of humors of yore is often the stresses of modernity.

Federal Disability Retirement, offered to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not the perfect option, but it is a recognition that the humors of life are out of balance, and need some bloodletting.

Work is the element which has become “over-accumulated”, and that is why Federal Disability Retirement is like the placing of leeches upon the sickened body:  it may not be the best option, but where art of living is concerned, the balancing of humors is often preferable to the crumbling halls of an ivory tower once thought to hold the key to the mysteries of life’s misgivings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Employees from the Postal Service and Other Federal Agencies: Things That Go Bump in the Night

The nightmare of filing for FERS Disability Retirement in times of financial, emotional, and medical needs

Whether or not childhood fear and traumas have a long-term impact in determinable ways upon reactive capacities later in life; to what extent regularity of behaviors, consistency of habitual living, and early imprinting mechanisms influence subconscious firings of synapses, remains within the mysterious realm of esoteric knowledge investigated and analyzed by the coalescence of science, philosophy and psychology; but it is the lay person who must, during the process of unfolding discovery and wisdom, live the consequences of actions impacted by others.

Sometimes, however, it is not what others do, but rather, circumstances which manifest of untold trauma and misery, for which no explanation but a shrug of one’s shoulders can presume.  Medical conditions fall into that category.  How one reacts to it; the extent of the impact upon one’s life, livelihood and future; and the preparations one must undertake in order to secure the betterment for one’s life when once you get beyond the condition itself, if ever; these are all concerns and pathways of responsibilities which fall upon a person who suddenly finds him or herself with a medical condition of significant magnitude.

Whether physical in nature — where orthopedic pain, limitation of flexion and movement; chronic pain, profound fatigue, or neurological issues resulting from disc desiccation, internal derangement of joints, etc.; or of psychiatric issues encompassing the many complex diagnoses, including Bipolar Disorder, pain and anxiety issues, Major Depression, depressive disorders; it matters not in the end, for either and both impact those decisions which one must make in determining the pathway of one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must always be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For Federal Disability Retirement, preconditions and pre-existing conditions matter not; it is not like an OWCP claim where the focus of query may attempt to undermine a claim based upon the origin of the condition; and so the “how” and the “why” are not relevant issues, as in “how did it happen” or “why did it occur”?  The relevant inquiry does not encompass the “time before”; it does not delve into the deep reaches of one’s damaged psyche, or of preexistent traumas in the far recesses of damaged lives.

Whether or not things go bump in the night when once we become adults matters less, than the experiential trauma of having to deal with present issues that impact one immediately.  Taking care of life’s interruptions is a necessary component of living, and for Federal and Postal workers whose future avenue of livelihood is impacted by a medical condition, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement is of paramount importance.

Bumps always tend to occur in the night; it is what the “thing” is that we must identify and resolve, and what bodes for the uncertain future into which we must venture.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire