OPM Disability Retirement: Directing the Cinematic Chaos of Life

We tend to believe that life must travel along a linear path of consistent activity.  Perhaps such a belief system is derived from the Western philosophical tradition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, which first proposed the conceptual universe of things moving from states of potentiality to actuality, and where the unmoved mover attracted all physical substances to its presence.

But life rarely unfolds as planned; and instead, a retrospective view of most lives reveals one of missteps, pauses, turns of trepidation and wrong and directionless travels to dead ends and strange neighborhoods.

We like sitting and watching movies and shows which are well-directed, with a thematic coherence and a nicely packaged beginning, middle and end. But what of our own lives? Who directs it, and what thematic presence dominates the cogency of one’s own existence? The difference between such fictional production and “real life”, of course, is that the former is created through artificial control of what happens and who enters each scene; in the latter, there can never be total control, as interaction with a chaotic and vibrant world cannot ultimately be refuted.

We try, of course, by remaining within the cocoons of our own making; by following a well-established daily routine, and never diverging from the treadmill of daily living. But then, those unexpected and unwanted anomalies of life intrude, such as a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who find that a medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s livelihood, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will often be the only alternative left in order to remain on some semblance of a coherent, linear path of life.  It is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and must ultimately be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

To be a movie director is one thing; the more important role is to have some authority in directing one’s own life, and that is by far the more difficult job in maintaining a thematic cogency in this universal chasm of chaos.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Unfolding versus Unraveling

Does one’s life unfold, as expectations become satisfied and met; as plans come to fruition; and as the future one prepared for remains on a steady course of purposeful direction?

Or is it merely an unraveling, where an artificial semblance of having it “all together” was merely a brave front; where behind closed doors the chaos of one’s life was veiled in hidden secrecy; and of the chasm between the public persona presented and the private life grew ever increasingly disconnected and wider with each growing month, year, and decade, such that the mirror reflected one day resembled nothing like the person you once knew?

Rarely does life unfold like a gift neatly packaged for presentation at a special ceremony; but, similarly, neither should it unravel in an instant merely because of an unexpected twist of fate.

Medical conditions, unfortunately, often test the integrity of one’s life.  Because medical conditions pervade all aspects of one’s life — from testing personal loyalties, family and friends, to seeing how far sympathies will extend; to how one’s work, supervisors and coworkers react; whether the future unfolds well or unravels suddenly, is often revealed during such times of crisis management.

For Federal and Postal employees who are under FERS or CSRS, preparing one’s course and direction for the future when confronting a medical condition should involve consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

While the administrative process can be a long and arduous one, securing one’s future will help in the process of unfolding one’s life, and preventing it from unraveling.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Pre-planned Life

Planning is part of our culture; from birth, to plan for old age; from the first entrance into a career, to consider the options for retirement funding; from the days of schooling, to determine the course of one’s career; and multiple intermediate pre-planning considerations, often mundane in nature, such as what to eat for dinner, how many children to have, where to live, etc.  Whether animals plan for the day, and to what extent, may be debated; what cannot be disputed is the extent and complexity in comparison to the pre-planning engaged in by Man.

But life rarely follows along the neat and uninterrupted course of a plan determined days, months or years prior; instead, the hiccups of life are what make for interesting interludes of unexpected turns and twists.  The proverbial nest egg may not have developed as quickly; one’s expectations of career goals may not have blossomed; a child may have come unplanned; or a lost puppy may have appeared at one’s doorstep.

Medical conditions are somewhat like those interruptions of interludes; they may not be as pleasant as some other hiccups, but they are realities which people have to deal with.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where medical conditions prevent them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to undertake two preliminary steps:  An assessment of the medical condition and whether it is likely to resolve within a year or less; if not, to investigate and become informed about Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

One of the elements which must be shown is that one’s medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  This can normally be easily accomplished by a doctor who can provide a prognosis fairly early on in the process.

And perhaps a third step:  A recognition that lives rarely travel along a pre-planned route, no matter what you were taught to believe, and more than that, that the value of one’s life should not be reflected by veering into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Balance Tipper

Life requires a series of fine tuning and adjustments; of the balance between work and leisure; when children arrive, of determining priorities, of managing time and recognizing that the things which seemed important to us previously, need to take on a lesser role; of allowing for enough flexibility in order to maintain an equilibrium within a fast-paced world.  But the substantive content which requires controlling the balance of one’s life is not always that which is asked for; it is only the choosing in order to maintain the balance, which is within one’s control.

Sometimes, such choices involve an admixture of good and bad; other times, the options may be severely limited to only negative ones.  For Federal and Postal employees who are beset with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, there comes a critical point of making hard choices.

The balance has already been influenced negatively; the greater amount of one’s time is already being spent on managing the imposition of one’s medical condition; whether in avoiding pain, in going to doctor’s visits, in sleeping excessively, etc.  The proper balance between X and Y has already been “tipped” because of one’s medical condition.

Some other avenue of choice must be gotten, in order to re-balance the content of one’s life.

For Federal and Postal Workers, there is always the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  It is the ultimate balance tipper — in order to allow for the Federal or Postal Worker to have the restorative quietude to attend to one’s medical condition, and yet have a semblance of economic security in order to survive.

Federal Disability Retirement — a balance tipper in a world which often imposes upon our lives, where choices are limited and options narrow the substantive content of what can be done in order to maintain the proper balance in our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Indicators

The technology of automobiles has changed radically in the past 2 decades.  No longer do we rely upon intuition, the automotive “ear” for that strange sound which, when talking to the service department, we attempt with futility to reenact with absurd pitches and tones in an attempt to accurately depict that which fails to occur when brought to the attention of the mechanic.  Instead, there are electronic warning lights and the computer sensors which specifically and with great detail indicate a past occurrence, a present problem, or a needed future course of action.

If the human body is the ultimate composite of neuro-sensors and complexities of the physical, the psychological, and the coalescence of mind, body and soul (including the philosophical “ghost in the machine“), then pain must be the warning indicator for past transgressions, current anomalies, and future need for servicing.  Those who ignore automotive warning signs do so at their peril; similarly, to ignore such signs emitted by the human body and transcribed in no uncertain terms via the daily chronicity of pain, do so with a singular certainty of progressive deterioration and decline.

Ultimately, the decision for the Federal or Postal Worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be accomplished once warning signs are heeded, and a blunt discussion with doctors, family and friends are engaged; but it is the pure and unadulterated ignoring of all signs which results in crisis and disaster.

The warning signs are there to heed; the future course of action is still left up to the recipient of such indicators.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Choices Left

Options presented imply the availability of alternative picks; but such choices are real ones only if they don’t magically disappear when asserting one over another.

By analogy, Agencies in a Federal Disability Retirement case may claim that all sorts of accommodations have been attempted and provided; but if an ergonomic chair has been given to an administrative worker who suffers from psychiatric conditions which impact one’s focus, concentration, and cognitive capacities, the irreconcilable lack of correspondence between the attempted aid and the medical condition suffered, amounts to an ineffective attempt at accommodations at best, and at worst, a cruel joke.

But as Agencies enjoy patting themselves on the proverbial back, so statistically they can claim that 99.9% of their employees have been accommodated; it just so happens that either the Federal or Postal employees failed to take advantage of such empathetic attempts by the agency, or were not able to appreciate the full extent of such angelic endeavors.

Many medical conditions, of course, are unresponsive to any such attempts of accommodations, precisely because of the very nature, extent and severity of the conditions themselves.  This leaves one with the only choice left:  to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

That is why the benefit was enacted; as such, there should be no reason why agencies should attempt to subvert or otherwise place obstacles in the quest for a goal which was intended to accommodate such non-accommodatable circumstances.  But then, the test of sincerity is not mere words, which can come cheaply, but through actions, which can result in a stark reality-check.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Kierkegaard’s Either/Or

Life is often a series of disjunctions and bifurcation of choices; in mathematics and logic, such series of “either/or” options or “if and only if” algorithms provide a neat analytical explication of a problem.  But in daily living, numerical precision is replaced by a complex series of pragmatic decision-making options which rarely fit into a predetermined set of constants.

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher of some note, whose work entitled, “Either/Or”, presented the stark choice of following a normative life governed by principles and ethics, or one of hedonism and self-interest. One might argue that there are always “middle grounds” where such choices overlap; but the clarified standards as presented allow for foundational paradigms to be followed; let life itself impart the complexities we create of our own making.

For Federal and Postal employees considering the important step of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is unfortunately a bifurcation of stark options.  For, as there are no short-term disability benefits available (unless it is a work-related injury, in which case one may file for FERS Disability Retirement Compared To OWCP; or some private disability policies), the choice is to either remain with the agency and the Federal system, and continue to deteriorate with the progressive decline of one’s health, or to file for a benefit (Federal Disability Retirement), where the medical condition must last for a minimum of 12 months and where one is separated from Federal Service upon an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

The paradigms presented are clear.  The difficult part is in taking the necessary steps to choose between the disjunction of that which life presents, without getting caught up in the logical inconsistency of a world which believes itself to be rational, but acts in ways which are clearly contrary to its own normative constructs.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Shrines of Our Own Making

For some inexplicable reason, we construct shrines which are deemed sacred, without ever evaluating whether or not the sanctity of the structure deserves our unwavering devotion and commitment.  Shame, embarrassment and the cognitive infrastructure of self-worth often remain the singular obstacles in preventing the Federal or Postal employee from filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

It is the mental constructs of our own making — the shrines of sacred sanctimony — which obstruct the linear progression from a life of constant turmoil to one of relative peace.  And so we are admonished that having a medical condition is somehow shameful; that taking off too much time from work to attend to one’s health somehow devalues the inherent worth of a person.  And we come to believe such folly despite the source of such value-driven thoughts, and make shrines and sacred temples of societal determinations despite the harm to one’s existence.

Life without health is less than a full existence; the self-harm and self-immolation one engages in by continuing on a course of destructive behavior, in ignoring the deterioration of one’s health, is in itself a form of sacrilege; the deconstruction of those very temples we find ourselves trapped within, is often the first step towards recovering one’s health.

Federal Disability Retirement is an option which all Federal and Postal employees who are suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — should be looked into.  But the first step in the entire process is to revisit the shrines of our own making, and to determine which sacred cow is blocking the entranceway to a life of fulfillment, as opposed to mere existence of being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

USPS and Federal Civil Service Disability Retirement: Human Beings and Railroad Tracks

The metaphor of trains and railroad tracks are numerous and infinite in their applicability and relevance:  train wrecks; inability to stop; actions which proceed with a directional course towards a cliff; predetermined path of existence; and many others, some which invite ontological and teleological issues concerning free will and the ability to have an omniscient vantage point.

For Federal and Postal employees who are suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition(s) impacts one’s ability/inability to perform all of the essential functions of one’s job, the analogy to a train ride is quite accurate.  For, the course of one’s career is often one which is set at the very beginning — an upward trajectory with expected grade-promotions and regular step increases; a sense of working for an agency with a mission, a purpose, and (perhaps most importantly) a steady paycheck.  But a pre-set course has a disadvantage:  a track from which one cannot stray; yet, if continuing onward, a certainty for a collision, headlong into subpar performance evaluations, a PIP, disciplinary actions, and potential terminations.

A train wreck waiting to happen.

About the go over that proverbial cliff.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available for all Federal and Postal workers, whether under FERS or CSRS, if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements.  Fortunately, humans are not trains; free will and the ability to change course in life is an innate potentiality of the human soul.  But free will, in order to have any effect, must be acted upon.  Mere thought is not the same as action; it is, ultimately, human action which leads to change.  Just some thoughts to ponder.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Clarion Call that Never Comes

Medical conditions are often subtle in their subversive impact — a slow, progressively deteriorating manifestation, characterized by pain, depletion of energy and stamina, and with manifestations of symptoms which may not be immediately noticeable with a passing glance.

Most of us meet and greet each other with hardly a glance; of “hello-how-are-yous” as polite niceties which are never meant to be seriously responded to; and in the course of such brief human contact, would not know — nor care to be informed of the details — of how a person truly “is” in the context of his or her life, medical condition, or well-being.

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, being ignored at work by one’s peers, coworkers and supervisors may have become a daily and expected occurrence.

In Medieval times, a clarion call represented a clear and loud trumpeting announcing an event, a call to action, or perhaps the arrival of someone of significance, relevance and importance.  For the Federal or Postal employee who may have to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, an expectation of an analogous call may never come, should not be waited upon, and likely will not occur.

Quietude is the pervasive norm in a society which is impersonal and unable to address each other with compassion or empathy.  Don’t expect a clarion call to be the focal point in deciding to act upon one’s medical condition; it is a call which will likely never be trumpeted, nor heard even if made.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire