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

Paradigm Shifts and the Federal Employee Disability Retirement System, an Option That Was Always There

Paradigms are meant to shift.  A non-shifting paradigm means that there is an inherent and entrenched belief system which refuses to accommodate changes.  Certain principles can retain such intractable resistance; deeply-held systems based upon historical convention, customs and cultural foundations should never be discarded without a rational basis; but to hold on to a set of beliefs without a foundational methodology of defending the very core of a system, is to merely do something out of habit.  And that is the point, isn’t it?  Actions based upon habit for habit’s sake, are mere thoughtless and unjustified movements.

Work often becomes such an unprovoked endeavor; for, to engage in mindless, repetitive modalities, provides a semblance of security and safeguards.  Then, when a medical condition interrupts one’s life, you begin to miss the mundane.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the yearning for that time before when the monotony of repetitive work provided the assurance of routine and repose, begins to magnify with exponential significance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, should always be an option.  If one pauses because the paradigm which one operates under has become intractable and entrenched, it is time to consider a paradigm shift.  It is not only in science that paradigm shifts are necessary; and, indeed, Thomas Kuhn’s contribution to the historical perspective of scientific progression has taught us much, both as to disciplines, as well as for individuals.

The shifting of one’s own paradigm may be the first important shift in making a proper decision concerning the preparatory steps in filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement; and that is the key, both in science, and in one’s own personal life and endeavors.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: GPS or Map Reading

Unforeseen consequences have become the expected norm; for, as technology progressively innovates, the quickened pace of advancement defies any allowance for thoughtful retrospection, leaving aside the need for anticipatory planning, as to the future impact of present actions.  Creating an antiseptic society which declares that simplicity of thoughtless actions is the goal to achieve, should anticipate a tremendous stunting of evolutionary progress.

For, if the theory of evolution is based upon environmental stresses which force microcosmic mutations, then what would be the reverse impact — when technology unburdens such stresses?  We no longer read maps; the GPS tells us where to go, when to turn, what street we are on, and when we have arrived.  We are daily told what to do; we need not figure out anything, anymore.  When we encounter a life-situation where our involvement and active participation is crucial to the success of an endeavor or process, the training which we have previously been given will reveal itself.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, must by necessity be an active one, and not passive.  Decisions must be made; steps must be initiated; statutory and regulatory processes must be followed.

Life does not run the course of an electronic voice emitted by one’s Smart phone; some functions must engage the mind of the participant; map reading is still a skill which may be required, when the technology we relied upon fails to deliver.  Medical conditions have a tendency to stifle, and that is entirely understandable.  But the rest of the world continues to forge forward, and so do administrative processes, whether we like them or not.

In the end, the minor evolutionary mutations are never dependent upon any singular act of inaction; but the cumulative impact of a population waiting for direction can be altered by a single Federal or Postal employee who takes the affirmative step in preparing for his or her future by deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits — if not for the greater populace, then at least for his or her personal life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Suspect

Newspaper stories are replete with articles involving scams, dishonesty and crimes of financial improprieties; that is not surprising, given the nature of what constitutes “newsworthiness”.  Fraudulent claims involving disability applications are trumpeted loudly to reveal the disintegration of a system requiring structural integrity.  Of course, no one makes the distinction that such claims of fraud almost always involves the “other” disability system, and not the option available to Federal and Postal employees through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Just as all politicians are lumped together, so the aggregation and broad-painted brushing of anyone receiving a “disability” annuity is to be expected.  But Federal Disability Retirement is a different animal from the “other” disability system, and with good cause:

First, Federal and Postal employees do not file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits until and unless it becomes a necessary option to take.  The general public cannot have it both ways: on the one hand, they complain that Federal and Postal employees have it “easy” with their Federal or Postal jobs; on the other hand, they grumble that receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits is taken advantage of by unscrupulous Federal and Postal employees. But if the employment itself is so easy, why would the Federal or Postal Worker take a lesser income by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  The fact is that most Federal and Postal employees work hard, and well beyond their rate of compensation, in furthering the mission of their agency or department; and filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the furthest thing from the mindset of a Federal or Postal employee.

Second, because of the reduction of income accorded by an approved Federal Disability Retirement, many Federal and Postal employees must go out and seek employment in the private sector.  Yes, they can continue to receive the disability annuity so long as they remain under 80% of what the former Federal or Postal position currently pays; and yes, the combination of both the annuity and the employment income can aggregately comprise more than what the former Federal or Postal position was paying; but that is the very attractiveness and intelligence of the incentivized system. It encourages the Federal and Postal Worker to remain productive, and to “pay back” into the system. In essence, it is a self-paying enterprise.

And, Third, because Federal Disability Retirement recognizes that the disability is tied to a particular kind of job, there is very little room for abuse within the system.  One is encouraged to remain productive, and such an incentive allows for the system to remain economically viable.

In these difficult economic times, people are often afraid of considering filing for “disability” benefits; but for Federal and Postal employees who have given their time, life and (often) health in the pursuance of an agency’s mission, being treated like a “suspect” in a broadly-painted indictment is not only unfair, but reprehensible.  The Federal and Postal Worker has nothing to be ashamed about, and the fact that the general public may harbor some hidden resentments during these trying economic times, is merely a reflection upon the often petty nature of humanity, and not a true gauge of the work ethic of Federal and Postal employees throughout the country.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: What Was It All For?

In the midst of a crisis, when the security of the mundane is replaced by the turmoil of fears, “what ifs”, pain, intrusive nightmares, suicidal ideations, profound fatigue, and the uncertainty of one’s future, questions begin to haunt and abound, enveloping decisions of past moments, reevaluation of present concerns, and furrowing eyebrows for an anxious anticipation of possible events to come.

Medical conditions have a tendency to interrupt present plans, and to degrade the list of priorities once thought to be of significance, or even of any relevance.  But all things must be kept in their proper perspective.  Balance of thought, and prudence of action, should always be paramount.

For Federal and Postal employees who are confronted with a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, and therefore one’s livelihood and capacity to survive in this increasingly difficult economic climate, the prospect of being unable to perform one’s Federal or Postal job is a daunting challenge which must be faced.

One’s agency can rarely be relied upon to exhibit any lengthy period of empathy; jobs and tasks left undone constitute a basis for termination.  As such, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a consideration the Federal or Postal employee must evaluate early on.  It is the one who begins to take those initial, prudent steps, who may later be able to answer those universal questions emanating from fear of the future, such as: What was it all for?  It is for securing one’s future, and to be able to retain one’s place in this often disjointed universe of bureaucratic morass.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum eligibility requirements met (for FERS, 18 months of Federal Service; for CSRS, 5 years — normally a “given”); and it is precisely that which is offered, which should be accessed when the need arises; and when applied for, perhaps to answer those questions engendered by the trauma of the moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Once upon a Time

Once upon a time, there were great “causes” for which people fought to live for; evil empires which desired domination and for which the world went to war; liberties denied and suppressed, resulting in meaningful mass protests; and in the microcosm of individual lives, hope for a future and a better tomorrow, for which people married, had families, and strove for stability.

In today’s world, the opposite seems to prevail; the news is replete with trivial reasons to exit life; if one is turned down when a prom invitation is issued, it is a basis for an outrageous reaction; assertions of hurt feelings can be the foundation for court filings declaring a violation of rights; and when a society mandates the importance of rights over courteous behavior, the crumbling of foundational structures is not too far from a once-distant and dark future.

The famous and classic book by Harper Lee encapsulates the contrast of great and small troubles; of a microcosm reflecting larger issues worthy of consideration; but always, there was a sense that tomorrow would bring about a brighter future.  In it, Atticus speaks of the idea that one can never quite understand another unless one walks in his shoes, and looks at things from the other’s perspective.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, such a sense of the world is a well-known commodity.  All of a sudden, one becomes a pariah, when one may have been that shining star just a month before.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are available for Federal and Postal Workers who seek a brighter tomorrow, and for whom greater causes still exist. That is why the benefit allows for the potential and possibility of the Federal Worker to seek other employment and a second vocation; for, Federal Disability Retirement benefits recognize the worth of the individual, and the fact that there is life after the devastating effects of a medical condition which may end one’s Federal or Postal career.

One may laugh at such notions, or have the cynical view that Federal Disability Retirement is merely one of those benefits for which the Federal government is giving another proverbial “handout”; but the fact is, like Atticus Finch in the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, there is always a brighter future for every generation, no matter the despair one may feel at any given moment in history.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Trifecta

It is a type of betting where the order is important, and where all three must finish as declared, and if any one of the sequence is different, it matters not whether the one correctly deemed to be first, in fact places first.  We often view our lives as if we are engaged in the trifecta; as if the order and sequence makes all the difference, and where misplacement of our artificially prepackaged lives constitutes a complete and utter failure unless such declared sequence of a lifetime of effort comes to fruition.

That is the problem with Federal and Postal employees who hesitate in making an affirmative decision concerning the most serious of issues confronting them. For, as “work” has somehow been ingrained in our very psyche to be first and foremost in commitment, importance, significance and value, as well as that which identifies us and is in many respects the “essence” of who we are (Aristotle would, of course, be flabbergasted by such a statement as a self-contradiction and perhaps an oxymoron because of the irrationality of such a perspective), we thus sacrifice that which should precede (one’s health) over that which must accede (one’s work).

Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option for Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, which must always be considered when first the Federal or Postal employee encounters a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job. We give lip service to how important family, health, faith and X are, but our actions belie the true loyalty of our souls.

In a trifecta, one receives the cash rewards of a correctly-declared sequence of contestants; in life, sticking to a self-destructive and irrational sense of loyalty to a vocation, at the expense of one’s health, is to earn a reward of which one may never collect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire