OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Appeal: Second Opportunities

In life, how often do we get a “second opportunity”?  To correct a past mistake; to avoid the consequences of an error committed; to rekindle a damaged relationship; and other acts of revitalized and redemptive scenarios rarely allowed.

Second opportunities, and the rare third ones, allow for erasures to be made, modifications to be incorporated and additional, corrective information to be inserted.  Of the following, what would one think? “Oh, a mistake was made in the contract which goes against you, but not to worry, go ahead and make the changes and we can sign everything again as if … “ Or: “Oh, your rich aunt disinherited you after you called her that horrible name and in a drunken rage knocked her over the head with vase, but not to worry, she forgives you and has placed you back in her will.”

Those are, to be sure, instances of second opportunities, but rarely to be had and more likely to occur in fictionalized accounts of redemptive fantasies otherwise unpublished because of their unlikely occurrences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the “Second Opportunity” (and the “Third”) comes in the form of the Reconsideration Stage, and then an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Don’t let such an opportunity for corrective action slip through the “proverbial fingers” by making the same mistake twice.  It is, at either the Reconsideration Stage or the appeal to the MSPB, an opportunity to fill in any gaps (whether merely perceived by OPM or substantively existing, it doesn’t really matter); and to reinforce any lack of medical evidence by having the opportunity to supplement, and even modify, statements made or omissions allowed.

Some OPM Disability Retirement cases may be weak in their very essence, whether because of lack of medical support or because of other reasons undefinable; other cases may simply need further development, explanation or supplemental evidence to “shore up” the unpersuasive peripheral issues that have appeared in the case.  Both the Reconsideration Stage, as well as the appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, open opportunities to resolve one’s case in one’s favor — by being granted the ultimate end and goal with an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

The road to attain that goal, however, must sometimes travel through multiple doors and second opportunities, and that is how one should see the Second (Reconsideration) and Third (an appeal to the MSPB) Stages of the process in trying to get one’s OPM Disability Retirement application approved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Today (pause), and Tomorrow

The parenthetical insertion creates a “real-time” interlude, and the addendum of the grammatical mandate, the unnecessary comma, extends the strained quietude of wanting to engage the sequential utterance.  There is the reality of “now”, which we occupy, fill and exist within, and the expectation of a tomorrow which never exists as a wholeness contained within a specified time period, but merely in anticipated form within the imagination of our cognitive universe.  To this, we can always add “yesterday”, as well, but that is merely of memories passed, reflected in the neurocognitive cellars of stored images.

It is of today and tomorrow which matters for the survival of a species, with yesterday reserved for learned experiences allowing for avoidance of mistakes in order to enhance one’s probability for remaining today and advancing into tomorrow.

Of yesterday, there is nothing that we can do, other than to learn from it and squeeze out the corners of lessons presented.

Of today, there are the problems known, the concerns we have to deal with and the stresses we are forced to tolerate.

And of tomorrow, we have to place into bifurcated boxes of manageable sizes, lest the overwhelming contents spill over to make us all go mad.

For, without the ability and capacity to filter, store and set aside, the extent of problems encountered, stresses envisioned or the troubles tormenting, would be of such quantitative overload as to leave us paralyzed daily.  Of chores left undone, relationships needing tethering, obligations still remaining and work much wanting; where will it all end except in the tombstones of unfinished business?

We are thus stuck in the rut of negation; some, in memories reflected over time enhancing in magnitude and perfection as duration allows for the fissures, wrinkles and ugliness of that once “today” to disappear, such that the retrospective life becomes the paradigm of lost souls.  Or, of those tomorrows yet to come, where we ruminate over troubles that have not yet occurred but we imagine them to become, and crisis that have yet to rear its horrific head, or so the expectations grounded in fear and loathing would have us believe.  Of the before and after, we spend so much time worrying about, and lose sight of the ambiance of today.

Today is what matters; today is the time to plan for tomorrow; today is the moment of applying principles failed by yesterday’s lack of discernment.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the focus upon “today” is the parachute that will catch the wind stream for tomorrow’s security. And of the past?  Let it remain with memories foretold of positive thoughts and lessons learned for tomorrow, and not of haunting nightmares forgotten but for awakenings in the middle of the night.

Prepare well a Federal Disability Retirement application, and formulate it effectively, and file it today – not tomorrow, and certainly do not ruminate upon yesterday’s failings, as that has already passed without fruition of a future left unseen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The dullness of creative lack

Have you ever observed the child who takes a stick and imagines himself/herself (we are trying to maintain the decorum of political correctness, here, by including all genders, because the implication otherwise in using a reflexive pronoun identifying a specific population apparently denotes that excluding the other half-or-so of the world’s inhabitants is discriminatory and an engagement of possible malfeasance, which we would not want to be charged with) emboldened by a weapon in hand and being the hero of an imaginary battle, invincible to a fault, brave without being arrogant, and making garbled sounds of whizzing bullets and fantastical feats of being wounded but with tenacity of self-will, capturing the enemy fort, being generous to those unfortunate prisoners of war and conquering singlehandedly a page in the history of unbounded heroism?

Contrast that depicted slice of imagination, to the child who is given every expensive toy and accouterments available on Amazon – the superhero wardrobe with cape; a replica of a life-like weapon; plastic hand grenades; and whatever other appendages that replace the creativity of one’s imagination – even of sound-effects emitted, downloaded on one’s cellphone placed in the utility belt worn by the kid; suddenly, it is mere motions that the child goes through, while all of the trappings have been satisfied even before the fun began.

That is what we do, isn’t it, as parents who believe that we were deprived in our own childhoods?  We gave everything, not knowing that by doing so, we took away the most important piece of the proverbial puzzle.  It is the puzzle of the dullness of creative lack; the less we had, the more we had to compensate and greater the reward in cognitive activity; and the more we gave, the less the child had to provide his or her creative input, thereby diminishing the soul’s inner force of imagination, resulting in the negative consequence in the dullness of creative lack.

That which we are given that undermines creative energy, we submit with the lazy side of human nature; and as inactivity and inertia results in atrophy, so gifts unsolicited in overabundance of generosity can actually harm in the ignorance of thoughtless plenitude.  And so we often find ourselves in the rut of daily monotony, on that treadmill of constancy even when we know we are destroying ourselves.  Children, in their innocence, don’t realize the harm; adults, too, but not in innocence but cynicism of life’s callouses, forge ahead even if they do recognize the harm.

Isn’t that what the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who persists in the self-immolation of continuing a Federal or Postal career, is actually doing?  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 the Federal or Postal position, it is often the reality of the harm perpetrated by continuing in the Federal or Postal position that prompts, compels, and finally necessitates the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Going down the road of Federal Disability Retirement is often considered a major decision and a giant leap in one’s life, but it certainly does not portend of a dullness of creative lack to consider its resulting benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Contented misery

Does the one who strives for happiness as a goal ever escape the bonds of contented misery?  It is the ecstasy of a moment’s glimpse, and then the feeling is gone; for, such is the fleeting nature of a sensation, and more of an encumbrance than a plateau of embraced attainment.  Can happiness be gauged, like a heart monitor, taking one’s blood pressure, or in that millisecond of pain in determining the glucose level through the pinprick of time?

Once, in generations past, when neighbors asked of one another the state of affairs, the politics of an era, and listened by that long-lost tradition of taking one’s hat off, lazily fanning one’s self in the sweaty afternoon of the blazing sun, people used to actually pause during the day without a watch or cellphone to check and recheck; and conversations took the meandering deliberation of voices undulating without the tense pressure of time, money and restrictive covenants imposed by society’s need to compel movement.

Happiness was not the goal, but the byproduct of social interaction.  Misery was reduced to the loss of purpose, violation of normative values and now, in modernity, replaced with contented misery.  No, it is not an oxymoron, for it is a state of Being accepted by most and recognized by few, and the duality of a seemingly conceptual friction is merely on its surface; for, such an accepted state of being exists precisely because we seek that which can never be attained but for a fleeting moment, like trying to grasp, catch and hang on to the flowing robe of an angel as that heavenly being floats by with a sprinkling of residues depicting the regrets of our lives.

We become contented with our own miseries, because we seek to attain a state of Being which can never be the essence of life, but merely the flux of sensations resulting from man’s worthy journey akin to a teleological embrace.  Worth is tied intricately and inextricably with projects; and though Heidegger’s quip that such human work and activity is merely to avoid the inevitable encounter with Nothingness, it is nevertheless driven by a need to advance, a value in accomplishment, and a sense of creativity in the process of what we do, how we achieve it, and where we are going in life.

Contented misery is to exchange all of that for a moment of sensation, extrapolated to an unattainable and unreachable state of Being, and that is why misery prevails within a plateau of accepted contentment.

Such is the state of Being for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, think for a moment – one’s career and mission in life is perhaps interrupted and impeded, and the Federal or Postal employee must consider alternatives, such as preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

But if a sensation is all that is sought, as opposed to considering the next steps into the future – such as an alternative vocation in the private sector after obtaining a successful approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – then contented misery will have won.  On the other hand, if a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is successfully obtained, there is a chance that the future may hold further opportunities, and the restrictions of a contented misery may be replaced with that which Man was compelled to engage:  a project or activity beyond the sphere of mere sensations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: The voice of constructive criticism

It is rare for the individual to accept constructive criticism; rarer still, to invite and welcome it in any form, whether destructive, constructive or otherwise characterized as “positive”, “negative” or “neutral”.  The fact is that few of us accept any form of it at all, and quickly respond with the rebuttal:  “It’s not constructive”.  But why does it need to be?

Such a reaction assumes an inherent distinction that merely and preemptively places an obstacle to further engagement.  It may well be that, in the end, one can conclude as to the resultant characterization initially presumed, and perhaps even to attribute bad faith, unhelpful motivations and intended cuts.  But all of that should come at the end of the deliberative process, and not as the beginning firewall to prevent further discussion and consideration.

For some reason, the evolution of man has embraced the societal need to spend an exorbitant amount of time defending justifying, counterpunching and placing linguistic walls of protective measures in order to preserve the superficial appearances that we all deny we revere.  The irony of Western Philosophy is that, despite questions repetitively and exhaustively presented – with never any conclusive and satisfactory answers ever provided (like children and their eyes bulging with curiosity in a toy store) – the query never ends and the answers are forever avoided.

This age of modernity, however, has a new wrinkle:  as traditional philosophy has been relegated to insignificance and irrelevance by reducing it as a matter of language games and confusion in our thought-processes, so now the “new” approach is to avoid any substantive questions (and therefore any curiosity to have the answers) and, instead, to preserve and protect our superficial lives and appearances.

The beginning of Western Philosophy warned of this – from Parmenides and Heraclitus, and with the entrance of that irritant vagabond Socrates as related to us through the Platonic Dialogues – “appearances” were to be queried and investigated in order to get to the foundation of Being.  Now, we avoid even the appearance of superficiality in order to protect how shallow we are, and we do this by preemptively and viciously attacking the mere question in order to avoid any criticism at all.  This can obviously have dangerous consequences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who want to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to submitting a “winning” Federal Disability Retirement application is in being open to self-criticism, whether constructive, destructive or otherwise neutral.

Vigilance in life is always the key, and refining, streamlining and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application should go through a rigorous “vetting” process, such that the questions of Socrates through his dialectical methodology of getting to the “truth” should never be subverted.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire