Federal Disability Retirement: The Growth Stopper

In life, inertness is considered “bad”; it is progress, the ascent of man and the constant striving towards attaining and achieving which are considered “good”.  “Growth” and the incessant need to extend, expand and extoll the virtues of acquisition and accomplishment remain the medals of success; and whether we agree with such values, it is as if we never had a choice.  Isn’t how we define the parameters of what is important to us the basis of happiness?

For Aristotle, the world was seen in terms of constant potentiality striving to reach the actualization of an entity’s intended fruition.  Thus, a stone does what it is meant to do when it constantly falls to the lowest point in the chaos of the world; a lion achieves its value of Being by being what it does best — of being the aggressor and catching its prey; in other words, by being a lion qua lion-being.

And what of man?  To reach his or her potentiality by achieving the essence of what each individual human being was meant to strive for and accomplish, but in a moderated way without the excesses of either extremes upon the spectrum of choices (read his Nicomachean Ethics).

Growth, for every organic being, is crucial to the very essence of its reason and value for existence.  It is thus its opposite — the “growth stopper” — that is considered as “bad”, “evil”, and contrary to human nature.  But sometimes, in life, we have no choice in the matter, and having a medical condition is that “growth stopper” that must make one pause and redirect one’s focus and value.  Ultimately, 2 things have to always be done: Define what values constitute “growth”; then, determine the best course of action to progress in that endeavor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 Federal job, “growth” will need to be redefined.  Is “growth” worth it at the expense of one’s health?

FERS Disability Retirement is not a “growth stopper”, but a growth enhancer — for, it is a retirement and a basic annuity to allow the Federal or Postal worker to pause, refocus one’s priorities upon one’s health and well-being, and then take the steps to progress toward other endeavors and vocations in life.  In other words, to re-prioritize.  Yes, the medical condition can be seen as a “growth-stopper”, but it is how we define our values which makes all of the difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Night wanderings

Ever open your eyes in the middle of the night and, instead of falling quickly back to sleep, allow for the eyes to wander across the silent room where others are still and asleep — the dog on the floor (or perhaps curled at the foot of the bed where human warmth has gathered for the pure comfort serving the creature) and the partner beside; the quiet glow of the digital numbers in bold red reflection; the pictures on the walls — though you “know” what they depict, the shadows hide them, and yet you believe you “see” them because familiarity arouses the imagination even in darkness; and the squeezing sense of silence so overpowering that you wonder about the universe at large and who, like yourself, is awakened by silence itself?

It is in those moments that, just before the panic of realization sets in that tomorrow is just a few hours away, we realize that mortality is a condition we must face; that the child’s imagination cannot revisit yesterday’s remorse; and the saddest of all truisms: For the most part, this is a cruel and uncaring universe.  Where do such thoughts originate?  Is it just the dream-world when sleep battles with sanity and one’s night wanderings will not suppress the bustle of the day’s meanderings?

Perhaps clarity comes in the wake of slumber’s twilight; whatever the phenomenon, night wanderings bring one into the netherworld of the “in-between”, where reality is not quite recognized and a dream is not ever fulfilled.  That is the type of experience that the Federal and Postal worker experiences when confronted with a medical condition that impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position: not quite in the reality of the world’s harshness, not yet tested by the Agency’s or Postal Service’s full force of cruelty and uncaring.

Will they put me on a PIP?  Will they require a “Fitness for Duty” evaluation?  What happens when my FMLA is exhausted?  Will the agency just cut me off?

It becomes clear at some point that the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not there as a friend or colleague looking out for your bests interests, and that you must initiate the process of looking out for yourself by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Those night wanderings often have the advantage of giving clarity to a reality beset with the quietude of pure silence, but then morning arrives and the clash of the day’s reality awakens within us the cruelty of the world around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Pleasure & the ascetic

The two concepts are often thought to be antithetical, from opposing philosophical frameworks and inconsistent in their expending of energies to achieve.  Of the latter, it connotes self-discipline and an aversion, if not outright refusal and avoidance, of any indulgences that are implied by the former.  The former, of course, is what most of us strive for — if not openly, then surreptitiously while denying that it is one’s singular goal.

Pleasure in its excesses can be harmful, of course, just as too much of anything can lead to self-immolation through abundance and gluttony.  Both, however, have something in common: they are like two sides of the same coin, where life doesn’t allow for the existence of one without the recognition of the other.

Thus: Being cannot be distinguished without Nothingness (e.g., it is because there is the “nothingness” of space between the bookshelf and the wall that you can differentiate between the two entities); life cannot be identified without its opposite —death, or inertness; wealth is created in contradistinction to poverty, or lack thereof; a smile can be recognized, but so can a frown; and so forth and so on.

What the ascetic fails to realize is that the extreme of self-indulgence in striving for pleasurable activities need not be the only methodology of interacting with this world; there are more moderate ways of living than the pure rejection of all pleasure.  Conversely, the one who strives only for pleasure — i.e., pleasure as the sole motivator in one’s life and goal-seeking — fails to realize that its corollary — pain — is a necessary posit, and if not rearing its ugly head presently, will do so sometime in the near future.

Pain is an existential reality of life, just as pleasure is the rare interlude that we all seek, and it is the ascetic who has realized that life’s pleasurable moments will often follow with a period of pain, as the reason why some seek to limit the pain by denying all pleasure.  That is why monastic orders come into being, and why Zen Buddhism founds its roots in the denial of reality in order to deal with pain — all because pleasure could not be ultimately achieved without the pain that accompanies.

That is the reality that Federal and Postal employees come to realize when a medical condition begins to prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, those “pleasures” that were once taken for granted — of a health body; of a mind that has focus, concentration, and mental acuity to multi-task on a daily, sustained basis — begin to wither and wane.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity, and when one is forced to take that necessary step, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

For, in the end, neither pleasure nor the ascetic have grasped the true point of living a worthwhile life; as worth is determined by the priorities ones sets in the course of existing, one’s health should thus be a major element to achieve within every web of goals set, whether in striving for pleasure or regarding the ascetic who renounced it for the sake of a mistaken belief.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Frustrated Purposes

The linear attempt is the methodology of direct purpose; it is the measurement of length — of a straight line from point A to point B, of a one-dimensional character.  Any obstacle placed in its path represents a frustration of that purpose, and merely delays and obfuscates the attempt to accomplish a stated goal.

How to ad lib in circumstances where obstacles appear; the consideration of options and alternatives in the face of detours and unexpected deterrences; what malleability of core values must be shown when necessity arises; these are all challenges within a universe of expectations otherwise untested.

The hardest of these, of course, relates to deliberate attempts by outside forces to frustrate one’s purposes — whether by other people, coworkers, Supervisors, Managers, or perhaps even the microcosmic body politic of an organization or entity as a whole; or by circumstances otherwise unexpected, like a medical condition.  It is bad enough for one or the other to be the sole cause of turmoil; when both conspire jointly, they become a source of angst and agony.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal job or Postal position, it is that fight against both fronts simultaneously which becomes unbearable.

Not only must the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker contend against the challenges of the deteriorating medical condition, but concurrently, at every turn, the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service works day and night to seemingly frustrate the sincere attempts of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to return to a level of functionality such that the positional duties may be fulfilled and satisfactorily completed.

Thus does preparing, formulating and filing 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, become an important consideration in the delayed destination of frustrated purposes.

That linear sight of myopic perspective — of a career of accomplishments set over a lifetime, with retirement as a byproduct in a future destination and contribution to society as the groundwork of contentment — must be allowed to swerve, overcome and become a series of schizophrenic lines of zig-zagging spectrums, lest the frustration of purposes defeat the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Misfit

The herd mentality must of necessity have a survivability factor; otherwise, there is little to explain the illogical repetition of the historical recurrence of human folly for behavioral anthropology.  In the modern era, being “different” is a sign of rebellion, and the cultural tidal wave of the Sixties in altering the normative landscape of music, art, religion and social customs, revealed the pinnacle of self-destructive behavior — until it became clear that being a misfit itself was merely the convention.

Behaving “normally” means that one does not make “waves”; in a highly bureaucratized society, the importance of non-innovation and complete compliance is regarded as sacrosanct.  Loud, boisterous behavior; conduct outside of the normative inflexibility of societal perspectives; that which is acceptable as quirkiness or eccentricities, as opposed to destructive explosions of tendencies bordering upon insanity; the invisible line between the misfit and clinical commitment to a psychiatric facility is a thin reed, indeed.

Often, however, it is uncontrollable circumstances which impose upon an individual the unwanted label of being an “outsider”.  Medical conditions often have a tendency to promote such a state.  It is like being labeled a plague-carrying contagion by the CDC; once whispered, the rumors begin to spread.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, being labeled a misfit becomes a “given”. Others begin to shy away from an association; some are told bluntly not to have contact with “that one”.

Loss of normative acceptance within any community or society is an important factor for success; somehow, despite all of the legal safeguards, EEO regulations and protective statutes applying to disabled individuals, the herd mentality of yore nevertheless prevails.  For Federal and Postal workers, the only pragmatic exit is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Is it a retreat or an escape?  Not really; rather, just a means of looking out for one’s own best interests.  The medical condition itself should always be paramount in considering one’s life; attending to it properly means that one must have the time and energy to treat the underlying malady; and continuing in an employment atmosphere where acceptance is avoided, and empathy is rare, is also an unstated definition of engaging in self-flagellation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire