OPM Disability Retirement: Light & Darkness

Darkness is the absence of light; and whether “black” is a color, or the complete expungement or its very opposite, the aggregation and mixture of all colors into a single cauldron of rainbows, is a concept often debated, based upon philosophical paradigms of objective criteria.  But darkness is not the same as color, or the lack thereof; rather, it points to the subjective capacity to perceive; and thus do we attribute the word, the concept, and the ideation not only to sight, but to moods and feelings.  And of its antithesis, do we embrace a similitude:  of lightness of being, having light-headedness, and of metaphors involving shining bright lights upon dark corners of moods and metabolic disturbances.

Medical conditions and situations which entrap moods and mental mindsets, are often enveloped in what can only be described as “darkness”.  One may discount and serve with ironic suspicion the use of anthropomorphic metaphors and analogies to describe circumstances and moods of pervasive negations, but the fact is that the mode of communication we primarily use — of linguistic tools through words and stringing together of words — can sometimes only inadequately express the profound and overwhelming sense of one’s being.  “Darkness” and escape from such a situation through the shining of light, is a concept which individuals understand when medical conditions, whether chronic pain and physical debilitation or psychiatric measures of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., impact one’s life in untold ways.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions, where the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, know well the mood of darkness — of the insecurity because of one’s employment, and sense of foreboding because the end of one’s career is within sight of a shortened plateau of accomplishments.  And what will the future hold?  What will my family, friends, and peers think of me?  I am not doing this to “game” the system, but because it is necessary to preserve what is left of me; but will others understand?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a traumatic event in and of itself; it is, as the proverbial concept implies, a darkness in a period of one’s life; and until an approval is received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management determining the validity and acceptance of a Federal Disability Retirement application, such darkness will only squeeze out any potentiality of a lightness of being.

For, “light” is not merely the opposite of “darkness”, nor darkness the pure expungement of light; rather, the one follows upon the other when a recognition of awareness is achieved, that the flowing stream from a hidden spring of hope can only be tasted when the trickling water finds its way down rocky paths to the tributary of life’s meaning which is unraveled for significance and unconcealed mysteries of human suffering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Cower v. Cowardice

To cower paints a word-picture of crouching or retreating in fear.  Cowardice, on the other hand, is the cumulative character of a man or woman, wrought upon through a lifetime of milestones and the reactions to each.  The latter can represent the aggregate of the former; the former may be, but is not necessarily, a singular action symbolizing the former.

Sometimes, there is a basis for being fearful.  Fear is quite obviously an evolutionary instinct which has a survival value attached; how one responds to the overwhelming stimulus of fear will often determine the value of such survivability instinct. But to cower in response to a given circumstance, a sudden crisis, or an unforeseen emergency is not to conclude cowardice; it is, as Aristotle would point out, merely one indication in a lifetime of red flags determining the linear value of one’s essence.

For the Federal or Postal employee who must face the crisis of a medical condition, such that important decisions must be faced, made and lived with, the step to Federal Disability Retirement is one fraught with the fear of the unknown: for one’s future, one’s vocation, and one’s financial security. To cower in confronting such a major decision is understandable; it does not indicate a character of cowardice. Facing a medical condition takes fortitude and clarity of mind, and in the midst of dealing with the crisis itself, it is often difficult to make cogent decisions ancillary to contending with one’s health issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a daunting task which requires mental acuity and intellectual stamina. In one’s weakened state, it is often advisable to have objectivity and good counsel. To cower in the face of a challenge is sometimes understandable; but to reveal cowardice is unnecessary, especially when the Federal or Postal employee who must decide upon the issue of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can turn to competent assistance to guide one through the complex process of the administrative morass.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Weeds in Our Lives

Weeds are irritants.  Ecologically, they contain erosion and the loss of soil; but in the suburban paradigm of our lives, they represent the unruliness in an otherwise pristine and antiseptic face-lift of our artificial lives.

Weeds also represent an unwanted intrusion into the image we create; further, they have deep roots, and even if torn out and discarded, have the ability to regenerate.  In that metaphorical vein, they stand for the very things which we desire to uproot, but continue to cling to, despite our best efforts.

In considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal worker will often cling to the weeds which have overwhelmed one’s life.  Once, perhaps, in years gone by, such weeds may have been the beautiful flowers one had planted and tended to with affection and care; but the weeds have now invaded and enveloped the areas which once were the showpiece of one’s life.

The acknowledgement itself may be the most difficult; to admit that one’s career, job, vocation, etc., with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service is now the weed which must be uprooted and discarded, is often the most trying and difficult of decisions to make.  But like the weed with the vast and endless root system beneath the terrain of appearance, merely breaking off the stem will not solve the problem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Related Conditions

The Weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal published an informative article entitled, “The Puzzle of Chronic Fatigue“.  For Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, who suffer from the condition identified generally as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the article provides an informative analysis of the medical condition, as well as a greater understanding of the underlying causes — and a possible link to a retrovirus identified as XMRV.  

It is an article worth reading, if only to have a better understanding.  Perhaps it can be pointed out to the treating doctor.  Perhaps some of the article’s substantive content can be used as persuasive argumentation against some of the common counter-arguments given by the Office of Personnel Management in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  

In any event, being informed about updates on medical issues is always an important step in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, if only for the purpose of expanding one’s ability to access greater understanding of a particular kind of medical condition.  For, ultimately, the attorney who represents an individual who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS must be able to accurately describe the impact of the medical condition upon one’s employment; and, to do so, one must always be up-to-date on the most recent medical discoveries.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: OWCP & OPM Disability Retirement

Many calls come in where individuals have been on OWCP benefits for some time; it is, as I often explain, a difficult road to take, let alone stay on.  The compensation is certainly better, and in comparison to what Federal Disability Retirement benefits pay under FERS or CSRS, it can mean the difference between relative financial comfort and hardships.  But the difficulties which people — almost without exception — encounter with OWCP — from the constant harassment, to the threat of cutting off benefits, to repetitive examinations before Second Opinion and referee doctors, etc., makes for intolerable conditions.  Further, OWCP is not a retirement system, as I incessantly and redundantly state; it is a mechanism in which to allow for temporary compensation to be received while a Federal or Postal worker is recuperating from an on-the-job injury.  And that is the key concept — the Federal or Postal worker is expected, in the end, to recuperate and go back to work.  OPM Disability Retirement, on the other hand, is just that — a retirement from the Federal Service, for a medical condition which is expected to last for a minimum of 12 months, but as in most cases, as a permanent condition of the Federal or Postal employee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire