Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Threads

They are fragile and subject to being snapped; yet, we rely upon them to hold together the fabric of so many things, both in practical terms and in more nuanced settings of conceptual constructs cloaked in figurative speech.

As in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, that invisible thread that gently tugs despite isolation, renunciation and attribution of apostasy in the chaos of cultural confusion; or of the woven cloth where thousands in aggregate intersecting patterns creates the strength of multitudes where the single entity would snap upon the breath of a dragon’s snore.  Or, in a conceptual, literary sense, of thoughts and ideas weaving throughout, intersecting and inextricably interconnected with other major themes, of supportive quality and subchapters in reinforcing the main paradigm of a narrative in work.

Threads combine to strengthen; in their singularity, they are the arteries that course through one’s body and give life to an otherwise inert functionality of inoperable means, and allows for its almost invisible presence to dominate beyond its capacity to remain quantitatively anonymous despite its qualitative force of influence.  On a spool, amassed in its collective consolidation, its unique distinctiveness can be identified by color and hue; yet, pull a line of it, perhaps in inches, feet or even a yard, and only by squinting in the full refracted light of day can you discern the difference between that and another.

Thus as we enter into the millennium of future woes do we rely more and more upon the threads that hold up the fragile and ever tenuous spirits of malevolence, like the mistaken times in our own closet when Pandora’s box was unceremoniously allowed to release those skeletons we so deftly hid in the cellars of our private lives.

The threads we have woven, that are the inseparable fabric of our inner lives and outer layers of concealing veils; and yet we take them for granted, no matter the consequences of wrapping dreams and hopes within the fragile confines of the softness wrapped in the baby carriage left teetering on the cliff’s edge.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the applicability and relevance of threads is twofold:  First, remember to always weave in a reinforcing manner, the repetitive value of the themes documented involving one’s medical conditions throughout the applicant’s Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A, to reiterate those specific elements of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional duties; and second, recognize that the figurative threads of life are those that need listening to, as symptoms of health conditions once ignored, now weaving through the very fabric of one’s daily life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues

Does anyone read such an author, anymore?  At least, once one is beyond the assigned reading list and mandatory college compulsions that allegedly define those who are “educated” as opposed to not, does anyone perform the act out of pleasure?  Or, perhaps we would consider it more like self-torture.

Once the diploma is rolled, handed and received upon the platform of recognized accolades for accomplished feats now disseminated throughout all levels of society, where “blue collar” or physical labor is no longer perceived as acceptable and everyone must be subjected to the torture of reading Dostoevsky and his impassioned monologues that seem to meander forever upon a single scene, does anyone pick up a copy of such titles as, The Idiot, or The Brothers Karamazov, or of that “classic”, Crime and Punishment, and take valuable leisure time to plod and plug through such lengthy paragraphs upon puzzling paragraphs of reflective self-aggrandizing streams of consciousness?

Did a former generation or beyond really think like such characters, or is there something uniquely troubling about the “Russian” culture such that the depths of such rich history encompassing misery, war, poverty, the tension between power and the powerless, the tradition of the Czar and the more authoritarian lineage of Stalin, the current power structure, etc.?

Perhaps the Russian people can relate more readily with such authors and comprehend the scenes of reflective streams of long-winded monologues that can only be characterized as “impassioned” and tumultuous by any standard of emotional fervor.

There are, however, such similar examples in narratives prepared for a Federal Disability Retirement application, written by Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers in response to the questions and queries posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  Such impassioned monologues tend to include a lengthy history of past wrongs committed (i.e., Crime and Punishment); a journey describing tremendous upheavals and pain (i.e., The Brothers Karamazov); and of character caricatures that depicts a lack of focus and streamlined narrative (e.g., The Idiot).

Most of us claim to have read Dostoevsky; some of us make the further and surprising admission that we have “enjoyed” him; and some few of us actually continue to pick up his translated works and persist in reading him.  However, such pleasure-reading should be uniquely sequestered for the late-night fireside restorations, with a glass of wine or other inebriant to counter such impassioned monologues, and certainly only within a proper context of applicable content, and formulating such meanderings in a Federal Disability Retirement application by the literary device of stream of consciousness is not the “winning” mechanism to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Keep the focus and maintain a streamlined narrative in creating the nexus between the medical condition, the positional duties of the Federal or Postal job, and the impact between the two, and leave Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues to yesteryear’s literary classics rarely read, uncommonly desired, and never quite understood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire