Federal Disability Retirement: The Stolen Soul

Superstitions often have a grain of truth in them; otherwise, they would not have endured the test of culture, time and governance of actions in ensuring their longevity and pervasive countenance.

Aboriginal tribes and remote communities far removed from the technological modernity of this growing world; pockets of secluded peoples and those who simply shy away from the spotlight of drones like druids of yore; once, there was a belief that having a photograph taken or an image drawn constituted the stealing of a soul.  We don’t believe that.  We no longer believe such nonsense.

Such belief systems constitute an anomaly tantamount to insanity, or at the very least a level of eccentricity bordering upon an unacceptable level of non-conformity.  Indeed, instead, we have gone in the opposite direction of the extreme: many no longer visit ancient and sacred sights with a view by the naked eye, but through the lens of a video camera never to be detached from the “on” button; and we deplete and exhaust the personal “I” within the sanctity of our selves by posting the most personal of information on Facebook and other public forums for full view and entertainment, reserving nothing of a private nature.

For, in the end, the technology of the internet is merely an advanced form of the singular photograph of yore; and as the daguerreotype of yesteryear represented the technological advancement of securing frozen images in a given time, of a place cemented within the historicity of events and contexts of human occurrences, so the voluntary dissemination of information about ourselves is merely a logical extension of that loss of privacy and depletion of the soul.

The soul is not inexhaustible; and is that not why there is so much emptiness and loss of value in the world?  Of the content of information which we consider “personal” and “private”, that which concerns our medical condition tops the list.  Yet, in the context of Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will inquire, demand of, and insist upon, release of medical information beyond that which constitutes allowable breach of confidentiality, leaving aside the issue of good taste.

Of course, when the Federal or Postal employee decides to file 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, then the onus of proof (by the legal standard of “preponderance of the evidence”) is entirely upon the Federal or Postal employee, and in that event, such submission of medical information is voluntary and must be done in order to secure the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  But before that, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will often demand medical information without limits or respecting of privacy.

A response by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker should be carefully considered, lest there be a later conflict when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  For, often, during a time and circumstance prior to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the issue is one of wanting to continue to work; and, in any event, unconstrained dissemination of information of the most private nature — that of medical information — should always be carefully guarded.

In the end, releasing of medical information is like that superstitious sense held sacredly by those aboriginal tribes now lost in the deep forests of forgotten time; once, we believed that a single photograph would steal our soul, to be forever tortured in the chasms of an enemy’s grip; today, such a suspicion has been replaced with the foolhardy belief that we can give of ourselves indiscriminately, without the stolen soul suffering the agony of public scorn.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Noise of our Lives

Is noisiness determined solely by the physical vibrations and reverberations impacting upon the mechanism of our ears? Can one be overwhelmed by internal noises, shouting and clamor despite sitting in the quietude of a noiseless room? Is it noisier when there are visual activities which seemingly occur simultaneously, such that the combined stimuli of the visual coinciding with the clatter of the surrounding world sprays us with such sensation-overload, like a meteor shower upon a lifeless planet? And do the things we engage in life seem like a hollow shout for help in the middle of the night, when in the still of twilight we fear awakening our loved ones but at the same time provoking the imaginary intruder hiding in wait in the dark recesses of our fearful imaginations?

Often, it is calamities and intercepting issues in life which jolt our consciousness into realizing that much of life is mere clamor, and the majority of movement is meaningless activity upon a treadmill to nowhere. When chronic pain, psychiatric conditions, and medical conditions which impact one’s mind, body and soul, interrupt the flow of mindless activity like a cauldron of shattered pieces from one’s life, there comes a realization that work at the expense of health is simply not worth it.

When that moment of realization arrives, consideration by the Federal and Postal Worker needs to be made, to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal Worker is under FERS or CSRS. It is an employment benefit existing to address those very issues of the impact of a medical condition upon one’s capacity and ability to continue to perform the essential elements of one’s job or profession.

It allows for a respite from the cauldron-filled clamor which is stirred and brewed by the witch’s hand of knowledge; and upon a successful attainment of Federal Disability Retirement, it is one’s hope that the Federal or Postal employee hears merely the click of heels, and not the harsh, echoing laughter of an agency which once stood over the stirring pot of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire