FERS Disability Retirement: Recognition

At some point in one’s life, there is a recognition that a “gap” has been established between the dreams of one’s youth, the expectations of reality embraced in adulthood, and the lack of achievement one has attained in the final stages of one’s life.  It need not be a final moment of a gestalt-like profundity, where we suddenly realize with a declarative “Aha!” at some critical juncture in our life; rather, it can be a subtle realization over time, concluding with an expectation of acceptance, or of bitterness towards life’s unfairness.

Life is, indeed, unfair.  Two people can toil and sweat at one’s work and have starkly differing results.  One may become very wealthy; the other, constantly struggling just to live from paycheck to paycheck; and yet, the extent of cognitive or physical effort expended by each may be of little difference.  One may counter: It is not the effort expended, but rather, the value of the product or service offered.  But even that is not quite true, is it?

The classic example is the pay scale of a teacher — irrefutably of greater value than the sale of vehicles or mink coats, yet of relatively paltry return.  One never hears of a wealthy teacher; one hears of wealth attained through frivolous services based upon an idea engineered in the basement or garage of a computer whiz-kid.

Recognition is an important crossroads; of the disparity between what one expected and what one has achieved; of determining early on what is of value, of how one defines “success” as opposed to “failure”; and of resisting the idea that all of youth’s folly must be realized in order to be deemed a success, leaving aside whether success itself must be narrowly defined by a person’s pocketbook contents.

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, there is often a necessary prerequisite of a recognition that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is not, however, a recognition that one will never achieve or attain what one originally set out to do; rather, it is a recognition that there is life after a Federal or Postal career, and that the medical condition has merely revealed an incompatibility between one’s Federal or Postal position and the medical condition that one never asked for, but a reality with which one must deal with — a recognition itself that is an important first step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Ascent and descent

It is the “high” of reaching it and the satisfaction of proceeding down and away.  The ascent is focused upon attaining a goal; the descent, a time of reflection in the satisfaction of knowing that the goal has been achieved.  What next?  That is what the challenge is, isn’t it?  Of knowing what to do next after something has been achieved and accomplished?

There are, of course, “voluntary” goals achieved, and those that are placed before us as obstacles through no choice of our own; of mountain climbers who search for the impossible — like the North Face of the Eiger where the tombs of countless attempts whisper in the arctic winds of time; or of Everest, where the icicles of history betray the foolishness of human attempts at immortality.  Then, there are obstacles that one must bear because of accidents or nature’s imperfection — of a condition one is born with, or one gets later in life.

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, the ascent to achieve has already been surpassed — you need no longer “prove” yourself; it is the fear of the descent that makes you pause.

Perhaps you do not see the descent as a challenge, but more of an obstacle.  Yet, obstacles present a challenge, as well, and the medical condition itself is one such challenge.  What would you say about the mountain climber who was concurrently playing a video game on his or her Smart Phone?  Or reading a book on Kindle while trying to conquer Everest?  “Foolhardy” would come to mind; “Not focused” upon the task, would be another.

So it is with the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and struggle with the medical condition while concurrently trying to work; and that is what a FERS Disability Retirement allows for — an annuity which then gives the opportunity to focus upon one’s health instead of always being distracted by the demands of work.  The ascent has already been achieved; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the descent afterwards, in order to focus upon one’s health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Ledger of Life

The Ledger was once that oversized binder which recorded the economic transactions for various purposes — of maintaining income and outlays; of keeping an accounting of various details in one’s life, whether of activities in business or even of one’s habits and patterns of existence.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem the same as typing such information into a computer, or of buying a software that categorizes and makes everything neat and simple.

That old Ledger that had to be lugged from one place to another reflected the weight of seriousness just in the act of lifting it; and when you opened the front cover and turned the pages where the latest entry still emitted the scent of ink still drying, one sensed the permanency of recordation as a trait of relevance that could never be erased.

And what of the metaphor — of one’s “Ledger of Life” — a recordation of the transactions that one has engaged; of the weightiness of that placed on one side of the ledger as compared to the negative notations appearing on the opposite side; of the image of St. Peter as the gatekeeper reviewing the annotated columns to determine if you “made it” — all because “The Ledger” reflects the value of your actions during the course of a lifetime?

Do we even think in those terms, anymore?  Or, while the dusty old books that used to be kept beneath the wooden grains of counters in dark and dank workshops were left behind when first the technology of modernity made for obsolescence of such anachronistic record keeping, did we then just revert to making mental notes for the things we did or did not do?

Most of us, if asked if we are “eligible” to pass through St. Peter’s exclusive club, would respond thus: “Oh, all in all, I have been a pretty good person and so, Yes, I believe I would qualify.”  And so we approach most things in a similar vein: We give ourselves a “pass” and believe that the Ledger of Life would favor our eligibility status.

And so it is with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer form a medical condition and need to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Because you suffer from the medical condition and believe that the medical condition cannot but be proof of eligibility, so you believe OPM cannot but see what you see.  But filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a paper-presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

It is very rare that any Federal Disability Retirement application is a “slam-dunk” case, or even an “easy” one; and like the Ledger of Life that we have left behind in the dusty heaps of bookshelves long forgotten, preparing an effective FERS Disability Retirement application is not just a simple transaction to be annotated into columns of neat book keeping, but a bureaucratic process that must be proven and argued for — somewhat like the Ledger of Life that must be submitted to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Help: Different Standards

To overdress is almost always acceptable; to underdress — well, while it may be acceptable, you may have to endure being the subject of curiosity and quiet whispers of raised eyebrows.

There are different standards for every occasion, endeavor, event or engagement; some high, others low; a few enforced without exception while still maintaining a sense of decorum and the rest of them left to ignored apathy where anything goes.  Some private clubs seem to thrive upon the exclusivity of standards maintained so high that few can meet the exceptionalism applied, while those more accessible to the public allow for flagrant violations with nary a nod or a wink.

It is when the context becomes the content that eyebrows become raised, and the higher the brow the more exclusive the thinking.  For the rebel, it is always difficult to try and convey the notion that one must adapt and change with the circumstances — that standards are applied, and you must recognize those standards and act accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the standards set have now failed to be met — whether at the personal level or the professional — it might be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Whether through a recognition of the standards set for yourself — which is often higher than what is acceptable by others — or because you are beginning to get the hints that your agency or the Postal Facility has become dissatisfied with your work performance, your attendance or excessive use of sick leave; whatever the reason, the plain fact is that the medical condition itself is always the basis for determining the need to alter and modify one’s personal and professional standard.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.  The standard you used to apply before the onset of a medical condition should not be the same one that is applied to your present situation, and you should therefore consider that the standard of maintaining one’s health is the present priority exclusively, no matter what your Federal Agency or your Postal Facility tries to have you believe.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and determine whether you “meet the standards” to apply for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  They may be different than what you think.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Fooling ourselves

It takes extraordinary intelligence to play the fool, and an even greater cleverness to fool oneself; just read a few lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear, and the interaction between Lear and the Fool, and one realizes the extensive capacity of self-indulgence in the deception of man in his need to guard his own ego.

In fooling one’s self, does one fool others, as well?  If a person takes on a persona, lives in a fantasy world, creates an identity separate and apart, and yet becomes consumed by the double-life to the extent that he or she comes to believe one’s own creative imagination, does the fact that others who knew the person from childhood onward destroy the fool’s own universe of make-believe?

Of the old adage and Biblical admonition that prophets are never accepted in their own hometown — is this because those who know a person from early life, “know better”?

If we fool ourselves only within the contained universe of our own thoughts, and never let the fantasies “seep out” into the objective reality of other’s awareness, have we fooled ourselves?  Others?  Is living a “double-life” the same as fooling ourselves and others, or is it only when we fool those closest to us where the “double” makes a difference?

What about hiding a medical condition?  What if a person is on anti-depressants or other psychotropic medication regimens, and yet everyone else believes that person to be the envy of the world, of the very definition of “happiness” exponentially quantified, until one day that very person is committed to an intensive psychiatric hospital and it comes out that he or she is the most unhappiest of individuals — has that person fooled himself, others, or both?

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, a great deal of “fooling” must go on in the interim.  You may overcompensate; you may appear to others to be “just fine”; and the tailored seams of normalcy may continue on for some time, until the wear and tear of self-deception begins to take its toll.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first honest step towards being “true to one’s self”, and like the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is the capacity of the King fooling himself, and not the honesty of the fool, that makes for the tragedy that ensues.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: That child we remember

It is as if we hold, within the inner eye of one’s consciousness, a fading photograph of an innocent, pure child – that child we remember before…

Before what?

Perhaps, the breaking up of a romanticized recollection of an intact home; or a period of natural rebelliousness marking a distancing from the carefree hugs, kisses and unselfconscious holding of hands, when puberty becomes the demarcation point of silly alienation; or maybe just before simply entering into the world of cynicism and loss of innocence.

Afterwards, does it continue to provide a positive impact to carry about the mind’s eye a picture of that child we remember?

After what?

After a lifetime of human encounters reflecting the soil of evil, meanness, indelicate indifference and manipulative motives suspicious of unclean thoughts and insensitive undercurrent of capricious targeting.  In those instances, how does one remain pure and reflect the innocence of that child we remember, without becoming destroyed in the process and becoming a mirror image of that which we attempted to resist throughout our lives?  For, isn’t that the fight we strive throughout – of trying not to be like the uncaring parents who neglected, the failed relationships we tried and the backstabbing friendships that we discovered too late?

We try and harken back to that child we remember, knowing always that we will never quite ever recapture that moment forever lost, and simultaneously recognizing that it is not an achievable goal, and even something not necessarily desirable to attain.  Yet, in the subconscious of our private and compartmentalized souls, we always hold an image of that child we remember, and believe that somewhere in the essence of our very souls, there is that remnant of a spark that has survived the evil detritus of the world around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the realization that the end of a promising career may soon come to fruition will often recall that child we remember, if only because the uncertain future which looms ahead parallels the innocent fear that the child of yesteryear felt with trembling insecurity just before…

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the next step to protect one’s future before proceeding to the next stage of one’s life, and the process of enhancing one’s chances for a successful maneuver through the complex bureaucratic maze at OPM is best accomplished by consulting an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and to help keep the flame alive of promises kept for that child we remember.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire