OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The dead, the dying and youth

Have you ever seen a flower arrangement that weaves together deadwood with bright and colorful summer explosions?  They tell us of that which reflects modernity:  The dead are forgotten in the background; the sick and dying are mere echoes fading quickly into a distant past; and it is only the vigorous who dominate and forcefully remain in the forefront.

How a society coordinates the interaction between the triad of life’s complex ingredients reveals the extent of its inner soul and character.  For, how many of us truly want to live in a pure State of Nature, where only the brute strength of predatory behavior would rule?  How many of us would survive in such a dystopian world, and for how long?

How we treat the remains, vestiges and memories of those gone; what we do with the ones still alive but deteriorating, suffering and lonely in their abandoned abodes; and whatever is left for the youth, what value of transference is imparted from the traditions longstanding, the obligations imparted, and the core values embraced – these determine the viability of a society in turmoil.

For, the dead reveal in constancy as to who we are by giving us a past; the dying, what we are made of by the example of how we treat the least of our community; and the value of youth is inherent in the lineage existent for the future continuation of a viable and vibrant tradition; and it is always the interrelationships between the tripartite worlds that determine whether and how.

We tend to want to compartmentalize, then to isolate each into their individual components such that one never interrelates with another.  But reality often will force a society to reflect upon such an artificial manner of conceptual isolationism, and sometimes it is by mere change of perspective that can lead to a paradigm shift of sorts.

Thus does this happen when we see a flower arrangement that artfully weaves the deadwood of winter with the vibrant colors of spring, and allow for even the panorama of fall leaves to still reveal beauty and breathtaking insights, and allow for the youth of summer blossoms to radiate, while at the same time giving deference to the others in the haiku of life.  It is often through a metaphor like this on a macro-scale that we can then glean a reflective outlook upon the microcosm of our own lives.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees him or herself as “less than worthy” – somewhat like the dying twigs in a flower arrangement otherwise filled with vibrancy and youth – all because a medical condition is becoming chronic and debilitating, one needs only look upon a flower arrangement that encompasses the triad of life’s natural flow.

Perhaps the agency is like those exploding blossoms of summer; and, more likely, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service will relegate the deadwood into the trash heap of corner offices and ignore those who are less productive.  But that is not a reflection upon the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; rather, that is an indictment upon the Federal Agency and the Postal Service itself.

Filing a 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 merely another way to maintain the constancy of society’s unstated promise – much like the flower arrangement that intersperses the dead, the dying and youth – by asserting that legal rights still matter, and a medical condition does not necessarily mean that one’s career is just more deadwood at the back of the arrangement, but can still reveal a promising future for greater productivity in the private sector of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Poetry’s death

By the title is not meant the terminus of the literary genre; that would be too great a claim to consider.  No; instead, it is the more subtle manner of thought, the perspective of viewing, and the approach to living.  We live by metaphors and analogies; that is what the rise of language has accomplished, where the raw violence of predatory insights in nature’s setting of surviving could no longer tolerate, but where some amount of leisure, such little calculation of foresight, and a crumb of thoughtful reserve allowed for a world of mythological beauty.

Materialism killed the purring cat.  For a time, Charles L. Dodgson – whom we all know by the pen name, “Lewis Carroll” – attempted to stem the tide of decay, and succeeded for a generation or so.

Once upon a time, parables could be understood; elven creatures and angels with wings releasing residues of golden dust, tinged with faith and tinctures of mysterious delights would pass by windows left ajar for welcoming strangers; and sleeping beauties, knights in shining armor riding upon white horses to rescue were but assumed and accepted, and not the rattling ugliness of windmills mistaken for dragons no longer existing.  We believed.

But then came science, logic and the Darwinian distance of antiseptic explanations, and we all embraced it because of its allure of pragmatic promises.  But has it brought us any greater joy or insight into life’s misgivings?

Shakespeare referred always to the alignment of the stars, and of gargoyles behind the fool’s mask; and while the inquisition of religion’s past haunts still in the corridors of forgotten subterranean memories, it is the loss of inquisitiveness which makes for greater sorrow.

Words and explanatory concepts must abide by the correspondence they convey to the greater world about; and whether the world is deemed flat, or the earth is no longer a geocentric universe but a reversal to an upside-down world constituting a heliocentric perspective, unless the believer is a seafarer or an astrophysicist attempting to calculate the incalculable in geometric complexities beyond our present concerns, what difference does it make – except that we no longer embrace the wonderland lost to the science of inchoate values.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the present pain and anguish suffered is something experienced in “real time” and impacted in actual terms, it is often poetry’s death which compels one to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Think about it:  it is work in order to play; play is the time of leisure in order to engage in the poetry of life.  But when a medical condition forces one into a life of drudgery, where the “play” part of life is merely more work in order to get enough rest or sleep to continue in the “work” portion of living, then life as a whole becomes unbearable, and no amount of poetry can soothe the pains of this life.

That is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application – in order to circumvent the agony of one’s medical condition – becomes important in order to reach that plateau where one can attend to the medical conditions themselves, and further, to forestall the inevitability of poetry’s death.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life Lessons

Most of us stumble through it, and somehow end up down unexpected corridors of unplanned venues; and then we have the nerve to think that we can have kids and impart wisdom we never learned, refused to lived by, and rarely listened to.  It is said that hypocrisy is the characteristic of the common farce; it just happens to infect everyone else, and never ourselves.  But there is an evolutionary determinant even in the comedy of life; it used to be that Western Philosophy would teach us to always seek out the substance of a thing, and to recognize mere attributes and appearances for what they are — recognizing that superficiality conceals the essence of Being.

Now, there are popular books which tell us that “faking it” is okay, so long as everyone else is too stupid to know it.  Then, there is our job, our careers and that vocation at which we spend the majority of our lives pursuing.  One day, we wake up, and find that the manifestation  of a medical condition makes it impossible for us to continue.

What do we do about it?  Procrastinate.  Deny.  Avoid the issue.  But reality has a way of ignoring our pleas of ignorance and avoidance.  Harassment at work; Letters Warnings; imposition of a PIP; Proposed Removal; Removal.  It is not that we did not see it coming; we just hoped that life’s lessons would make a detour around our individual circumstances.

Fortunately, however, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, there is a consolation benefit in the event that a life lesson involving a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits allows for the Federal or Postal employee to have “another chance” at life’s misgivings, by providing a base annuity, allowing for work in the private sector on top of the OPM Disability Retirement annuity, and to garner a time for restorative living in order to attend to the medical conditions by retaining and maintaining one’s FEHB.

In the end, there is a conceptual distinction to be made between “Life Lessons” and “Life’s Lessons”; the former is what our parents and the juggernaut of historical inevitability tried to teach, and which we deliberately ignored; the latter is that which impacts us daily and personally, and to which we must by necessity respond.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee must file 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 lesson of life — whether as Life Lessons or as Life’s Lessons, is to take that stumbling former self who ended up in the corridors of the Federal Sector, and to straighten out the future course of events by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire