Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Closet of skeletons

It is a metaphor that is familiar; of secrets, or near-secrets; of those cluttered past incidents and events that need to be kept in the hallway closet, perhaps even locked for safety and security, whether of embarrassment, regret or shame.

Yet, modernity has less of them.  With the disappearance of shame, of openness of societal mores and normative values disappearing, almost vanishing, there is then no need for the closet to exist, and skeletons are fewer and far between because we have redefined what is shameful, what should be regretted, and that which is deemed unworthy of public display.

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”  That quip is attributed to Mark Twain, of course; the grand humorist of American society, and the author of books that have touched the conscience of an unsettled people.  How does a species stop blushing?  By rearranging that which triggers such a characteristic – the words that touch, the concept that shames, the sentence that embarrasses and the paragraph that pushes.

There are, of course, positive consequences, as well; for, the openness of society and the suppression and obliteration of normative standards have allowed for silent crimes that were once unspoken to be openly displayed and cauterized.  Perhaps, sometimes, “talking about it” opens things up, allows for the public airing of that which was hidden because polite society did not want to deal with it; but since it existed, anyway, we might as well open the closet of skeletons as a society and let everyone see whatever it is that we were ashamed of.

Sometimes, or more often than not, those monsters within are greater than the reality of the objective world.

Medical conditions often relate to such a concept.  We tend to hide them, be ashamed of them, and make of them larger than what necessity dictates – except for old men and women standing in the line at the post office who openly discuss the details of their last operation and procedures, of course.

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 or Postal job, remember that 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 often like the closet of skeletons; once they are out in the open, the agency and the Postal Service will have to deal with it, just like the Federal or Postal worker who had to “deal with it” – the medical condition – for all of these many years, fearful of the shame of revelation and the reaction of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The changing straw

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” is a known idiom that essentially reveals to us the last in the series of incidents or actions that cumulatively result in the destruction of the whole.  What in the series preceding the last straw; of what weight and import; to what significance may be attributable, we rarely focus upon; it is the last one in the series that we focus our attention upon, precisely because we assume that it is the causal connection to the event that conclusively occurs with a finality of actions.

Yet, as Hume would point out, the fact that a “final straw” placed upon the camel’s back resulted in the next event following, does not establish a causation where that final straw was in fact the cause before the effect.  It merely shows us that X occurred prior to Y’s conclusion.  If a rooster awakens and makes his morning call and the sun rises upon the horizon, and thereafter an earthquake shakes the foundation of the planet, do we conclude that the rooster was the final straw, or that the rising of the sun “caused” the tectonic shifts beneath?

No – the idiom itself, of course, is not meant to be analyzed in that manner; rather, it is a “saying” that merely denotes that, upon a series of events, issues or actions, there comes a boiling point of finality where enough is enough.  But the evolution of societal norms does, indeed, allow for the straw to change over time.

Once upon a time, people “stuck it out” and remained married – if only to keep one’s vows, or for the “sake of the children”, or perhaps some other noble purpose.  Now, the “straw” that results in a divorce has changed – it can range from “failing to communicate” or even because one spouse has gotten bored of the other.  With that changing straw, people tend to tread lightly, given the low threshold of tolerance.  Law is somewhat like the changing straw – perhaps not the substance (although that can change through legislative action), but certainly the application.

For Federal or Postal employees who are considering 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, the issue to always be kept at the forefront is the changing straw throughout – what is the “straw” at work which will help make the decision?  What “last straw” is needed before the cumulative effects of the medical conditions persuade you to realize the need to file?  What “straw” of the law needs to be applied to persuade as to the viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application?

There are many “last straws” in life, and much of them change as time goes on; the law, however, remains fairly constant, except for the “last straw” of legal opinions that often alter the landscape of substance and applicability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Does reading alter?

Of course, we teach our kids to believe that it does, thinking that education is the all-important focus for future endeavors and successful careers.  And yet, the statistical studies show a consistency of denial – after schooling, whether of high school, college or beyond, the majority of individuals stop reading, unless you include road signs, directions on the back of packages (which most people disregard as well – come to think of it, of road signs, too), and the fine print on warranties (ibid).

So, is it just one of those pithy, inane phrases that fall under the general umbrella of, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Does reading alter?  Alter what?  And does it matter “what” we read, as opposed to the act involved, “that we read”?  Would it bother someone if you saw a grown-up reading those old “Spot” books, or a collection of nursery rhymes?

If you approached the individual, or engaged in common banter at the workplace and made fun of him or her, would it make a difference depending upon the responses given?  What if the old gentleman responded with, “Well, at least I’m reading something!”  Or, what if the person turns seriously, sheds a few tears and admitted, “I never had time to read as a child, and never really learned.  I’m trying to better myself and teaching myself to read, now.”

Would such a confession instead garner a new perspective and bring out an empathetic reaction?  Or, what if that same person was seen reading a 1st grade book one day, and then tackling a complex manual about advanced logic or neuroscience – would that make you pause?

Perhaps the question itself is considered by most as rather rhetorical and irrelevant; that, it is presumed that reading does alter, but many prefer not to change and instead to remain in the constancy of monotony and repetitive stillness.  Just as the flow of a river results in erosion and soil shifting, so reading does indeed alter, and out encountering with the mind-bending activity results in the internal modification and modulation of complex biochemical structures.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to read the questions posed in each of the Standard Forms in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet, precisely because it will alter not only the responses being prepared, but how those very responses will serve to result in a successful outcome.

Just as reading alters, so the responses to the questions read, to be read by an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also meant to alter.  For, change is the mainstay of a living entity, and reading is that tool which is meant to alter, even when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Not the storybook tale

It has been widely commented upon, by naysayers, essayists and various commentators upon life’s winding course of pessimism, cynicism and some rarefied sprinkling of optimism, wherever the “isms” will take us: we are crippled from an early stage of life by being fed Fairytales and Fanciful Fantasies, and then pushed out the door to deal with the reality of the real world, which are NOT like the storybook tale.

Why the disconnect?  Wherefore the disjunctive between what we grant to our children in contrast to the objective world?  Do we witness any of the other species in this Kingdom harm with such aplomb their youngsters – where birds “cruelly” push their young tots out of the nest to force flight even if not quite ready; where predators abandon their herds and hoards to survive on their own – by first saying: “Now, now, kids, I am going to tell you a lie, then have you live in the early phases of your life only to be disappointed by the reality of what you will be facing”?

No, the human species is one of a kind; but then, we have the capacity of linguistic elasticity – a tool that others are (fortunately) not weighted down by.   Isn’t that the story of politics – of saying things that will never come to fruition, promising acts that cannot be accomplished, and declaring facts that are merely alternatives to objective reality – just so that votes can be accumulated and enemies can be identified?

It is well that human beings can fantasize and live in an imaginary world, because otherwise we would all go insane if we had to encounter the reality of the objective universe around us.  What of Marx’s dictum that religion is the opiate for the masses – if true, where are we today, inasmuch as religion is no longer a cohesive foundation in most people’s lives; and, if false, what has replaced it as the dulling effect for survival’s continuation?  Is it the flag, the Constitution, the hope founded upon a Lottery Ticket, or perhaps the greater indication of that which is not an analogy or a metaphor, but the reality of heroin addiction that is a growing menace?

Perhaps, after having tried everything else, the opiate itself is not just some proverbial reality, but the real thing itself, and that is why the problem grows exponentially.  Perhaps, we have come to a point where we realize that the fairytales told and the reality faced cannot be reconciled.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have had a long and productive career, but where medical conditions have more recently impeded, debilitated, and ultimately prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, perhaps the realization has come to the fore that the storybook finish line doesn’t quite match up with the reality of one’s present situation.

That’s okay.  You’ve earned the right to view reality “as it is”, as opposed to the fond remembrances of fantasies and fairytales.  Yet, don’t become too entrenched in a negative perspective; for, the objective reality is more likely somewhat involving greater balance, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not the end of one’s professional career, but merely another beginning.

Many have gone on beyond a Federal Disability Retirement and started new careers, initiated fresh vocations and enjoyed a second or third phase of life. It is somewhat like a marriage, a divorce and then a remarriage. Perhaps it is not the storybook tale written by some, but it can be one that is written by you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Functional architecture

It refers to those unnecessary trappings; but of course, the immediate question which follows is:  who determines necessity as opposed to aesthetic addendums otherwise of utilitarian vacuity.

The traditional approach in functional architecture is determined by the general principle that a building should be designed by the paradigmatic governance of the underlying purpose for which the structure should be constructed.  That is likely why government buildings are essentially drab and colorless, reflecting the purposive nature of a bureaucracy and administrative conduits.  The grandeur of the wealthy in pouring money into aesthetically pleasing facades, otherwise without any meaningful utilitarian basis, is a consequence of wanting to impress, as opposed to a functional capacity to reside.

In modernity, functionalism is akin to pragmatism, which is often seen as the heart and soul of this country’s success – of advancing towards the next technological innovation, accomplishing beyond the project paid for, and getting things “done” in order to calculate the worth and value of a person’s being.  At the cost of family, neighborhood, culture and normative constructs, we go for that which works, what pays and what can be sold.

Thus does the American model function on the motto of pragmatism:  Of what does it benefit a man if he cannot make a living from it?  And so the narrative goes that waves of immigrants gave up their native country, whether because of famine, wars, poverty or persecution, and traveled to a far-off foreign soil in order to carve out a living without the trappings once enjoyed.

But the concept of functional architecture can reach into other disciplines, as well – as in the composition of words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages of stream of consciousness.  One can, for example, add all sorts of unnecessary verbiage in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in response to the questions posited in Standard Form 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This can get one into what is often proverbially termed as “hot water”.  For, just as the three classic goals of architecture still remain relevant today – of utility, beauty and firmness (reflecting the conceptual generalizations of use, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and structural integrity), so the same can be applied in preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application in the statements made:  Writing to the point of the Federal Disability Retirement application (utility); being comprehensible and coherent, with a purposive narrative (beauty); and, finally, firmness (maintaining the structural integrity of the narrative by building the proper linguistic foundation in formulating one’s answers on SF 3112A).

Thus, as with most things in life, functionalism does not merely apply to the discipline of architecture, but can easily be transmogrified into the complex administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement.  As the fullness of life is an admixture of interconnecting experiences, so the principles undergirding architectural integrity can teach us lessons in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Potentiality extinguished

Aristotle addresses the concept well; of the inherent nature of being not defined merely by the state of current existence, but encompassing the finite potentiality of what it is yet to be, as well as being based upon the historical lineage of origination.  Only within the context of that truism can children be treated as more than mere commodities of sweatshop workers, as in the days of Dickens and the Industrial Age empowered by the need for cheap labor; and on the other side of the spectrum, the old and infirm whose contribution to society has reached its apex of productivity, and is slowly receding into the sunset of former days filled with youth and vigor.

Without the argument of potentiality progressing linearly towards actualization, we are left with Camus’ world of the absurd, the loss of any sense that the Phoenix would rise from the ashes of forgotten civilizations, and the eternal loss of beauty reflected in a fluttering butterfly caught in the quietude of restless twilight, with wings shorn and shredded by timeless envy when humanity disappeared, love was forever forgotten, and the laughter of children playing in the sand no longer brought a smile upon the grandmother sitting in a rocking chair of timeless hope.

Organizations tend to do that; modernity almost guarantees it; and the unstoppable march of bureaucracies and administrative agencies possess a subtle manner of extinguishing that innate potentiality with which we once glowed like an insatiable torch bright upon a conquered hill.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once viewed his or her career in “that way” — of a limitless expanse for doing good, in accomplishing important and relevant missions, and abiding by the complexity of the system but always with a hope that one can impart significant change from within — often become disillusioned and disengaged, once the bump of reality impedes upon the dreams of yesteryear.

And for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the dent of stubbornness encountered begins to wear upon the soul of hope.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only route available when the incremental insidiousness of resistance to change, adaptation and responsive loyalty is spoken of with silence and increasingly hostile and punitive actions; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who is no longer wanted by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must recognize that the potential for the extinguishment of potentiality exists in reality, and it would be a real shame to allow for such potential extinguishment to become an actualization of fated potentiality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire