Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: An Inventory of One

Throughout life, whether by force of habit or necessity of accumulated overstock of items amassed, shelves forgotten and goods remaining unpopular despite an overzealous belief in them “at the time”, we need to take an inventory of our “store”, whether concerning possessions, beliefs, relationships or business endeavors.  Inventories are difficult tasks; they remind us of the lack we possess, and the oversupply of that which we do not need.

Shelves of emotional overloads mirror the abundance of false confidence we placed in something; and lack of characteristic comforts tell of a narrative of avoidance, where emptiness echoes in the hollow passageways of walls without pictures, rooms without people, and loneliness without the crying sounds of children once laughing and giggling, and antique glasses tottering on the edge of tables unsteady as the racing feet of the little ones run by.  We take stock of our homes; review the performance of employees; evaluate whether a major purchase is wise; and inventory the hell out of other people and their faults; but in the end, it is the Inventory of One that matters alone.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s career, hopes and dreams for the future, the problematic characteristic of failing to perform the one and only inventory — of one’s own self — is what often prompts the disastrous results in the continuing pursuance of excellence and dedication when such loyalty of endeavors needed to be paused.

It is is good thing to be loyal; better yet, to be dedicated; and commendable beyond reproach to show a constancy of fealty to the “mission of the agency”.  But at what cost?  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, is not an admission of defeat, but a recognition that tomorrow still has a future, the day after a sparkle of promise, and the day after that, a new road for further life.

In the end, we become the enemy of ourselves by refusing and failing to protect and preserve the very stockpile of amassed fortunes we have ignored.  For, dedication to others and fidelity to a cause greater than ourselves is a sure sign of good character, but of what worth is it if you fail to take an Inventory of One, and determine your place in the future plans of a universe impervious to the pleas of quiet desperation rising in the time of crisis?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intrusion upon the inviolable refuge

We all hold, savor and protect them; and whether they are physical escapes, relational interludes or mere cognitive distractions, they are the corners of secluded quietudes which serenely exist in the abandoned crossroads of time, like unbeaten dirt paths down lonely prairies of uncut grass wavering in the morning breeze of timeless passivity.

Perhaps it is watching a favorite television show; or of morning jogs leading to a little-used, covered bridge which tells of whispered pasts, history untold, and marvels unwitnessed but for the overhanging tress which record speechless events; or even the moments throwing a ball with one’s dog, where boundless energy is witnessed and with awe of language bonded by facial licks and warmth of hugs, that timeless memory is captured within the framework of human needs and wants.

The inviolable refuge is the shack we have built, and to which we escape and recede from the problems and complexities of civilization too weighty to bear without.  Those distracting hobbies, of collecting when amassing becomes a fetish, or when childhood dreams never amounted to much but where echoes of angry voices haunting us for innocence extinguished and promises unkept; those are the times when we close the door and lock it from inside, in order to regain the equilibrium lost in the maze of daily clatter.

Medical conditions have an invasive nature to them, where escape can never be completely pursued or accomplished.  Further, when medical conditions begin to invade the capacity of one to escape from the daily toils of the world, and where the universe of struggles becomes too much to bear and the crossing of lines held separate and apart by sheer force of willpower can no longer be rectified, then it is time to take steps to ameliorate the intrusive consequences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives become consumed by the tripartite evils of work, medical conditions and the inability to fine refuge away from the creeping tides of problematic struggles, consideration needs to be given to advancing towards another horizon.

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 is a “next-step” reflection for any Federal or Postal worker who has recognized that where a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and work therefore begins to intrude upon one’s personal concerns and struggles, then the demarcation between pleasure and pain becomes so confounded that all pathways for the requisite escape begin to close.

Each of us needs a refuge of quietude; and whether such haunts of escapism is satisfied by a quarter placed in a juke box, or travels to exotic destinations whether in physical flight or mental dreams, when life intrudes upon the inviolable refuge of our own creations, it is time to take affirmative steps to proceed and advance, in order to protect those hollow reeds of wavering wants waiting to whisper the sounds of silence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Indeterminate Deterioration

Some events come with it a specific date, and even a time; others, within a span of identified moments and blocks of weeks, sometimes months; the rest, undetermined, unspecified, like the lost soul who wanders the traversing echoes of eternal reverberations left to the sifting cleansing of a foaming ocean washing and lapping, ever repeating the comforting sounds of surf and salt strolling like the footprints gone in the sands of countless castles disappeared.  But that medical conditions would conform to the science which attempts to treat, and approach one with technical precision and certitude.

When did you first notice the symptoms, the kindly doctor asks, as you scratch your head and stutter forth an incomprehensible gibberish of a response.  A similar question is posed on SF 3112A, concerning the “date” (approximate) the Federal or Postal employee became disabled from one’s position.  How does one answer such a question?  Fortunately, it asks not for a day or time, but merely the month and year, and to that extent we can be thankful for its inherent foresight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who attempt to answer this question without much thought or reflection, be forewarned and with a hint of suspicion; trap doors abound everywhere, and while one may overstate issues like the paranoid cousin who points a telescope not at the moon and stars, but directly at the next-door neighbor’s bedroom window, it is well to consider carefully the answer to be given.

The context of intermingling meanings:  Was it during one’s tenure as a Federal or Postal employee (for those separated but contemplating filing within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service)?  Will it prompt the question, Does the medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months, including the time encapsulating the prognosis of the doctor?  Does it coincide with any event or issue arising at work?  Does the date identified precede any adverse action promulgated by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  Truth is always the guide for integrity in all cases, but the reality of a medical condition is that time is often discovered on a spectrum, where chronicity and deterioration spans over many months, and often years.

To pinpoint is to be precise; but where deterioration is progressive and indeterminate, the fading sounds of an unspecified echo which bounces from cave walls to the expansive skies beyond the realm of certainty, the date recognized may be one which floats and fades like the dust of angels left as a residue of virtue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Devising Escape Routes

What a person spends his or her time doing away from work, reveals much as to how one’s work will be accomplished.  If one attempts immediately to build protective walls around the core of a project in an effort to stave off potential marauders, as opposed to focusing upon the substantive essence of the idea itself, then perhaps the vulnerability of the project itself will begin to manifest.

Our own fears often overwhelm; but healthy fear can be a positive use of an evolutionary tool meant to apprise and alert.  It is only when it becomes an impediment and obstacle for progress and advancement that our own self-immolative actions begin to impact our capacity to grow.  There is a delicate balance between healthy fear and that which lends itself to self-destruction.  Proper evaluation and analysis of a circumstance or situation is required in order to establish the former; for the latter, a groundless allowance without facts or evaluative input.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the question often becomes, At what point do I begin to consider escape routes?  Do I need to devise them, or are the mechanisms already in place?

Escape routes are devised in response to dangers present; and often it will appear as if the manifestation of a medical condition will bring out the worst in others.  Isn’t that an anomaly in and of itself — that one’s own deterioration of health will impact the behavior of others, in a derogatory manner?  But that is precisely what a “stress test” is for, is it not?  It is never in the best of circumstances that reveals the true nature of a thing; rather, it is under adverse conditions which unravel the artificial appendages with which we camouflage.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat like an “escape route”, in that it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to exit from the adversity of circumstances, and plan for one’s future.  One need not “devise” it, to the extent that it is “already there” — a benefit for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum number of years of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).

For the Federal or Postal employee considering such a route, the priorities of life should always prevail:  Focus upon one’s health in an effort to remain (for those who are beset with a medical condition which is “work-related”, filing for Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits may be the first option to consider); then, if it becomes clear that one’s medical condition is impacting the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and that the medical condition will last a minimum of 1 year (and it should be emphasized that one does not need to wait for a year in order to determine this aspect; rather, it is merely a medical prognosis that the medical condition will likely last at least 12 months or more that is required), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

In the end, it is not a matter of devising escape routes, but rather of recognizing the limits of human endurance, evaluating one’s place within the context of growing adversity, then acting upon those exit points available and allowable — then to make a proper decision for one’s self, and for one’s family and future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Carousels of Summer

The mounts littered throughout the roundabout can be diverse and captivating; in the swirl of the rotating platform, the child in us wants to sit upon every creature, from unicorns to zebras, the traditional horse and the mythological creatures of one’s limitless imagination.

As we grow older, we come to realize that the spinning sensation itself remains static; the difference between climbing into the bosom of one creature as opposed to another, is indistinct and ultimately irrelevant; when one’s childlike imagination and excitement wrought in ignorance of the cruel world becomes extinguished, the fun of being naive and clueless is no longer an option.  Cynicism comes with maturity; the older we get, the less likely are we to allow ourselves to travel into the realm of the unreal.  Life tends to do that to us.

The road of hard knocks is littered with tales of turmoil and turbulence; storms come and go, and while the devastation left behind can be somewhat repaired, the psyche and soul of damaged people can rarely be glued back together, as fragile porcelain leaving behind fissures wide and gaping as the childlike wonderment we once knew.

Federal and Postal employees know the experiences of life:  the internal battles, the power struggles and the herd-like mentality of agencies and departments.  Then, when a medical condition hits, and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer the golden-boy of past cliques, one is cast aside like the child who is left outside of the teams picked in linear sequence, until the silence of being ignored becomes a reality as shame and embarrassment shouts in muted suffering.  Sometimes, the wisest move is to move on.

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, is the best and only option remaining.  To attempt to stay is like the biblical admonition of “kicking against the goads“; to walk away and do nothing is merely to spite one’s self; and so the Federal or Postal employee who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, should always opt for the best remaining alternative.

To prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is ultimately not an admission of defeat.  Rather, it is to enliven that imagination once grasped, but since forgotten; of the child who discovered that changing from the seat of a dragon on a carousel to the bosom of a resplendent unicorn makes all the difference not in the change itself, but within the comfort of the limitless imagination of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire