Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Tough World in Which We Live

We have little patience for puppies who are slow to learn; less time for platitudes of “How are you?” or to fully enjoy a chance meeting of someone whom we haven’t seen for a while; and none for the troubles of those we are not acquainted with.

It is a tough world in which we live.

Yes, the history of this society has been one in which tradition is naught and courteousness is merely a bypassing thought, dominated by the continual need to succeed and acquire the material comforts of life.  Immigrants came here, abandoning the history and traditions of the “old country”, knowing that the new beginning would be a void without depth, but one which accorded an ability to make a living.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who quietly suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the magnification of the harsh world becomes apparent through the reactionary indifference of fellow coworkers.

No, it is not a mere coincidence or oversight that the bond of camaraderie has been severed; no, it is not an accident that even platitudinous greetings are ignored; yes, it is the reality of the harsh world in which we live.

It is thus time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, and to seek a new beginning, a new vocation, and a life thereafter, by proving one’s case before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sort of like being an immigrant.  Or a puppy who needs a patient master.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Tenuous Thread of Life

In this, our desensitized, sanitized life; in a world of virtual reality and technological complexity, the modern man has little empathy for the tenuous thread of life.

We are conditioned and trained more to cry over a movie scene than the tragedy which befalls a real entity. A well-rehearsed scene which evokes a glandular response, perfected at the 50th take with artificial lighting and poll-tested under the directorship of professionals, will tug the sympathies of our fellow man, than the unseen damage done to the psyche of a puppy lost in a world of daily productivity.

That is the stark reality which the Federal and Postal Worker must face in seeking Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; of avoiding the land mines of adverse actions by one’s agency; of trying to contain the disdain of fellow Federal or Postal Employees who suddenly begin to shun those who are not part of “the team” and who cannot justify their existence because of lack of productivity.

It is the tenuous thread of life which becomes all the more real and revealing; for, it is ultimately not what we produce or how much; what we consume or which brand; rather, it is how we tend to the weakest and the flimsy which represents the soul of a person, a neighborhood, a community.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which preserves the dignity of the Federal and Postal Worker by providing for a base annuity, and then to allow that person to go out and try a new vocation and career without penalizing that person for again becoming a productive member of society.

That tenuous thread of life; it is well worth fighting for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Survival and the Flexibility Factor

Materialism and the Darwinian view of human history are predicated upon the idea that successful genetic propagation of a species is dependent upon the ability to adequately adapt and mutate in response to changing circumstances and environmental upheavals.

Human beings are subject to such objective laws of nature, and presumably, continue to remain so despite the artificiality of one’s present surroundings.  Given that, the idea of survival of the fittest being predetermined by the laws of adaptability, it is those who are unable or unwilling to change the course of one’s path, who potentially suffer from the highest rates of loss.

For Federal and Postal employees who have set themselves upon a career path, and who have come upon a stage of life where medical conditions impact the health and well-being of the individual, such a Darwinian view of life should be seriously taken into consideration.  Those who stubbornly defy such innate laws of nature do so at a considerable price:  the growing stress upon one’s being; the deterioration of health; the greater impact of hostility from coworkers and supervisors; an attempt to continue on a course which was previously working, but is now destroying.

Adaptability and flexibility both in thought and action are essential to survival, and not just in the prehistoric days of cave-dwelling where the elements of nature were the primary obstacles, but in present-day circumstances where the factors of artificial and created stresses upon one’s health and well-being are tested just as strenuously.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a way of getting off of the “set” track; it may well be that such a change of course will allow for survival — to come back another day to fight the passages of tested time in order to affirm or refute the Darwinian perspective of the universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Incrementalism

Gradual decline or ascendancy is a concept which is difficult to grasp, precisely because one’s training to render judgements is based upon viewing an object or issue in its entirety.  Darwinian evolution is a paradigm based upon minute, incrementally selective alterations, imperceptible in any slice of time, but which slowly and progressively alters the genetic make-up of a species.  The question of consciousness and the Cartesian mind-body problem also involves the idea that, beyond the compilation of complexities inherent in the human brain, there is something more in existence than merely the physical in the wholeness of man.

Such concepts are also applicable in the administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement claim submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  For, on the one hand, the very reason why many Federal or Postal workers remain in the position at their agency is precisely because of incrementalism — in progressive decline, or in hopes of ascendancy.

Often, medical conditions are characterized by a gradual decline, increasingly debilitating, and imperceptibly deteriorating over time.  If one views one’s medical condition at the beginning of the year, then again at the end of the same year, the progression may well be noticeable; but on any given day, because of the incremental nature of the disease, one may perceive the condition as merely static.

Conversely, the hope of ascendancy — that “tomorrow brings a new day” — is likely an evolutionary paradigm built into human nature for survival benefits.  But the reality is that most people who suffer from chronic and progressively deteriorating medical conditions need to reach a period of rehabilitative rest in order to get better.

Recognition of the subtle but insidious nature of incrementalism is vital to survival.  It may be time to consider thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS before it is “too late”; for, while time passes in gradual ascendancy, the deterioration and decline of the human body and mind waits not for a better tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

In a Small Town, Part IV: Questions (You may want to read Parts I, II & III before you read this)

What is a life worth living? What life is worthwhile? What life is one which is well-lived? What is a well-lived life? What is a life of value? A cursory inquiry into such questions may result in an immediate dismissal of such questions as being redundant; insufficiently dissimilar to provoke claims of conceptual differentiation between each; or merely useless philosophical exercises with pretensions of profundities. How do we make such judgments and value-laden conclusions, without a defined criteria by which to apply? Can one make a preliminary determination, or can the question only be answered in the twilight of one’s life?

So, one must consider the Judys of this world; are there saints; is she a saint; is the concept of ‘goodness’ at all meaningful within a world where God no longer maintains a relevant presence? What does it mean to be “good” anymore? And, even if there is a consensus that a person is “good”, is such a characterization meaningful? Without a Platonic Form, or a transcendent conceptualization of the “Good”, it becomes mere trite; to be “good” is a relative term of meaninglessness without a contextual absolute to render it some meaning. Is Judy a faithful servant, such that at the end of her life, one would say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” or is she a failure by society’s standards?

Colleen loved her sister. It was an uncomplicated love; there are human beings placed into the world for specific reasons; or, perhaps one may generalize and say that all human beings are placed into the world for a reason; but the problem with this latter statement is that it trivializes the teleological uniqueness of the specificity of reasons, by applying to all, thereby diminishing the special sense of the individual.

From a very early age, Colleen was subjected to a battery of psychological tests. Her worth and humanity were questioned, evaluated, interpreted, and ultimately condemned by esoteric assignations of medical terms which pigeonholed her for life. She would never reach a level of intellectual functionality greater than the first grade – 2nd grade, at best. Her worth in society thereby determined, she nonetheless remained happy, oblivious to the professional condemnation which she had received; sentenced to a label which minimized her humanity; she was forever “less than”, “she won’t be able to”, “she is capable of only that which…”, rather than the natural focus which should have been upon her limitless potentiality; for that is what we do: God forms man with inherent talents which make up the essence of man; man in the modern age designates labels; and so Colleen’s mother and father, who brought her into this world with dreams and hopes and projections of limitless potentiality, were resigned to accept the dehumanization of their first-born; to give up their greatest joy: of dreaming. For who were they but simple people in the face of such credentialed and learned labels? How could they not accept the condemnatory sentences by such eminent scholars of this school called ‘psychology’?

Joy is a peculiar human emotion. One would think that there would be a proportional correlation between quantitative accumulation of wealth – of knowledge, of money, of fame, of __ (the Reader may fill in the blank with multiple and divergent nouns), and qualitative state of joy. But of course the human experience we encounter daily defies such a correlation; but Colleen was truly a person of joy. Now, let us not be condescending about Colleen by trying to argue and state that she, being intellectually disabled, was “pure joy to be around”. No – she could be difficult, and to try and attempt to paint a picture that Colleen was an angel would be a disservice.

Colleen, frozen at an intellectual level of a 6 year old, could also act as a 6 year old; throwing tantrums; crying with great emotional instability; stubbornly refusing to listen by placing her hands over her ears and shaking her head, screaming, “No! No! No!” Nevertheless, joy was the defining qualitative essence of her character. She smiled more often than not (how many people does the Reader know, who we can describe in that manner?) And, perhaps because she was looked upon as the big sister to Judy, and Judy had a memory of a kind, loving, and protective big sister prior to being labeled as somehow deficient, that for Judy, Colleen was the sister who, on summer nights when the crickets played their violins in concert with the brief relief of the morning dew, a giggle would suddenly befall the quiet dark, and would gain momentum, and infect the room with such overwhelming joy that the first gurgles of involuntary giggles would scratch the back of Judy’s throat, until within minutes, the room would explode with a string of giggles; and suddenly the violin of crickets would stop; for they knew that they could not compete with the bonded sisters in this time of love. Yes, Judy and Colleen were sisters who cared for each other; they were brought into the world as sisters; they were brought into the world in succession, the older in years followed by the younger; then the older to become younger than the little sister, as the latter quickly surpassed her in intellect, but never in progression of their linear historicity.

Judy was to Colleen the world of consistency, security, and familiarity – all qualities of boundaries and constraint which provided for her joy of life. It was not that Judy was never mean or short with Colleen, for of course she could be; but Colleen never remembered anything about her sister, but that she was always there; always there to take care of her; to provide for her; to tell her that she loved her. The younger sister, who became the older sister, who lived – according to the labeled assignation of professionals who are supposed to know such things – with limited and restrictive human apparatus to survive in this Darwinian world; would remember only that her sister Judy was there, in her presence, in her memory, in her limited intellect; Judy would always be there for Colleen. For to Colleen, in the universe of her humanity, the very essence and structure of her world were constituted by the presence of her sister Judy. Her joy and happiness; her very self-identity, was created and maintained by being with Judy. When Judy was gone to work at the ‘pancake place’, Colleen waited patiently, following the strict routine and rules set down by her sister. If Colleen wandered from that routine – and Judy always seemed to find out and admonish her with an alarm in her voice – an alarm which said to Colleen, My sister is unhappy with me; but always with love, with that human emotion of love; no, it is not merely human; it is of God. And when Judy returned, Oh,
but with what bubbling joy would overwhelm Colleen; for it meant that her universe had the consistency of the one presence which provided the structure of her limited universe. And that structure was her sister Judy. For Judy was her world; she was her universe; she was her joy.

Judy would give up all of her dreams. Early on, her teachers described her as “exceptionally talented”; she would go far; she possessed “vast, limitless potential”; and then the assignation of labels was performed; now, to be fair, mother and father never expected Judy to give up her dreams. For, would that not be a crime? The humanity of one sister was minimized; would the humanity of the other also be diminished by the burden of one sister upon another? Would that not be unfair? Better to allow for that vast, limitless potential to succeed, to have the opportunities to have actualized, than to burden it with the care of one who would never reach the heights of worth which society determined. Yet, it was Judy who determined to take care of Colleen; to embrace the unspoken “family obligation”; to take the “burden of her sister”; to “bear the cross” that life had given to her. And when mom and dad suddenly died, it was not as if the burden became heavier; as contrary to what one might think, it was as if the burden became lighter; but of course Judy was greatly saddened by their deaths; she was crushed beyond understanding. For Colleen, there was sadness, too; but that sadness was interdependent with and upon Judy’s sadness; for as the Reader has already seen, the universe of Colleen was intimately connected with the humanity of Judy; and if Judy was sad, then Colleen was sad. But sadness, though it may consume some, must be set aside in deliberative fashion when necessity dictates such will to survive; and for Judy, the threat upon Colleen’s universe required that she dismantle the structure of her present sadness, and focus upon re-structuring and securing the joy of her sister’s life: Colleen was not a burden; Colleen was the purpose for which to sacrifice one’s life, in order to gain another. Her life was not in any way diminished. Yes, others would shake their heads and say, “Isn’t it sad that…” or “The two of ’em wouldn’t have amounted to much, nohow.”

So Judy gave up her dreams; she gave up her potential careers; she gave up the quantitative worth of her humanity.

But what of the qualitative worth?

And so we shall endeavor to answer each of the questions posed at the beginning of this story:

What is a life worth living? It is a life measured by the vastness of a sacrifice.

What life is worthwhile? It is a life defined by the essence of love.

What life is one which is well-lived? It is a life which is lived without fame, but which impacts the world, whether the concept of ‘world’ be limited by the cognitive world of a single individual, or of the greater world of vast populations.

What is a well-lived life? It is a life which brings joy to another.

What is a life of value? A life of value is a life of sacrifice.

For, is that not the life as lived by Jesus Christ?