Federal Employee Disability Information: Options

The telephone-recorded options are the most irritating of all, of course — for, if you hit the wrong one, or fail to remember the correct numeral identified after being offered an endless litany of alternatives, none of which quite fit what you are looking for, then you have to wait until a further option is offered to go back to the general directory in order to once again choose the option offered.

Have such recordings become more irritating as time has passed, or is it that we have become so numb to so many such encounters that we have lost patience with that metallic voice that has replaced the human one?  What is it about a recording that gets us so incensed?

Objectively, isn’t it all the same — we never “meet” the “person” anyway, whether it is a recording or a “real person” on the other end of the line: both are mere voices, but why is the automated recording so much more irritating than a live person?  Is it because we know the futility of landing a sarcastic response to the recording, as opposed to slamming our frustrations upon an individual who possesses feelings, and whose day we can potentially ruin by shouting, yelling, demeaning and spewing forth destructive epithets to and against?

In life generally, we all have them — options.  Sometimes, we are confronted with too many, and thus are left with a confounding sense of confusion.  At other times, the options are “there” somewhere, but we just don’t know them because we are too blind to the ones hidden or too stubborn to concede our ignorance.  In those instances, it is best to consult with someone who can present the options hidden, those unstated, or otherwise unknown.

In some circumstances, of course, the options available may be severely limited — as in a Federal or Postal employee suffering 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s essential job functions.  In such situations, the limited options must be considered in light of the priorities one assigns to the values one accords: How important is one’s health?  Is the deterioration of one’s health as exacerbated by the job one is remaining in important enough to continue with?  If so, perhaps disability retirement is not the “right” option.

Stay and remain; resign, walk away or get terminated and do nothing; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  The three options presented must be considered in light of one’s health, the effects upon it if one remains, and whether the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will continue to tolerate one’s excessive absences, inability to perform many of the essential functions of one’s job, etc.

When, after the options are considered, the Federal or Postal employee decides to move forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, then it is time to consider further options as well, such as whether one wants to represent one’s self in the process, like the old adage of that person who has a fool for a client — of representing one’s self.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Figuring it all out

We all try and do it.  Somehow, pride’s fall and the fool’s failure arrives by way of the solitary figure trying to go it alone.  Friendship never had a chance, and the neighbor’s mended fences never allowed for any conversation of depth beyond the wave of the hand or the occasional “hello, how are you” — punctuated by a quick about-face and racing with terror into the sanctuary of one’s home.

Figuring it all out on our own; walking about mulling over, obsessing into and turning it over and over, again and again; whatever the “it” is, that is where the focus of our attentions gain the greater amount of time and wasted efforts.

What is the “process” of “figuring it all out”?  Do we ask others — experts, perhaps, in respective fields where a lifetime of devotion to details has been contributed to and energy expended for — or do we just begin trolling the Internet and various websites, hoping that unsourced and unreferenced information “out there” will provide answers to questions of which we know not what to ask?

In modernity, where “facts” have now been conflated with unverified opinions, and where truth and falsity are all relative and justified as on an equivalency of values, it has become dangerous to “figure it all out” without some rational basis, some inception-point of a reference where even a remote semblance of simplified questions-and-answers can be gotten.

Life is complex as it is; trying to figure it all out can make the complex into a conundrum; and further, we must always come back to the age-old question:  It all depends upon what the “it” is (as opposed to what the meaning of “is” is), doesn’t it?

Fortunately, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — figuring it all out can, and should, begin with previewing and perusing “The Law” governing Federal Disability Retirement.

However, as there is much information — and misinformation — “out there”, be careful in believing what sources to rely upon, as there are many bumps and pitfalls in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; don’t try and “figure it all out” on your own, as it is an unnecessary and misdirected misadventure.

Only in the movies is it acceptable to “go rogue”; in real life, consulting with an expert is the best way to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Season’s end

The cyclical nature of the seasons provides for comfort in its monotony of regularity; we are subject to nature more than we realize, and the onset of the next season means the end of one, the beginning of another and the endless cycle of repetitive regularity.

That concept, in and of itself, is a strange one, is it not?  Of “repetitive regularity”; for, can “regularity” encompass a series of elements without repetition?  And, is not repetition itself the foundation of regularity?  Is there a distinction with a difference to be made?

If a person goes to the same coffee shop every day, at the same hour, and orders the same cup of coffee each and every day of his life, we would describe that person as being a “regular”.  Further, we might describe what he does as “repetitive”, and thus would say of him: “He engages in an act of repetitive regularity”.

That perspective would be a fairly accurate one from an objective, outsider’s viewpoint.  But what about from the subjective perspective – from the person himself who goes to that same coffee shop each and every day?  He might say: “No, it is not repetitive, because each cup of coffee, to me, is a brand new one, just as each day I wake up is a new day; and, besides, I might wake up one day and go to a different coffee shop, and then you would not consider me to be a ‘regular’.”

Would such a statement be accurate?  Would it be truthful?  And what about the short time-frame within which we assign so quickly the label of “regular”?  From an omniscient viewpoint, would doing X for a month, a year – or even a decade – properly constitute “regularity”, when eternity is the standard by which it is being judged?

A season’s end and the next one’s beginning can certainly be considered as repetitive regularity; for, that is often what we rely upon as a security of comfort, in the very knowing of the next one coming. That is the insidious impact of a medical condition, is it not?  That it creates uncertainty, and suddenly repetitive regularity is no longer guaranteed, as if the season’s end may be its last.

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 duties, the medical condition itself may be likened to the season’s end.

Fortunately, there is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, however, and that may, as well, be likened to the repetitive regularity of a season’s end – only, it is the onset of the “next season”, and that is some comfort upon which to take refuge, like the flock of geese that fly south for the warmer climate of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Private hells

It is a familiar refrain to note that everyone has a self-contained “private hell”; and an even greater understanding that it is well that such thoughts of other hells are both private, and for the most part, left silent without conveyance or communication.  But that is changing, in large part, because people believe that mass dissemination of information has now unleashed any unspoken decorum of dignified discretion.

We believe, now, that everyone should “tell all”; that private matters once left as remnants of shameful self-confessions should be publicized because it is healthy for the inner soul to be uncovered.  But if that were really true, wouldn’t utopia have descended upon the Western World by now?

Revolutionary experimentation is often a good thing – at least, in limited dosages of consumable quantities with tolerable levels of tenacity.  But the mass acceleration of unlimited informational discharges, as evidenced by the Internet, Smartphone usage and widespread hacking and release of information of such great quantities that we cannot even begin to sift through the volume, has resulted in less, than more.  Is it because of the consumer age of technological advancement in which we all presume that “more” equates to “better”?

Once upon a time, in the quietude of an asceticism viewed with reflective consternation, the serious young individual considered shame, hesitation and discretion of public pronouncement; now, however, we have lost faith, abandoned decorum, and relinquished sovereignty, such that we have sold our souls for a mere pittance in return.

We can “tell all” so that expiation of sins once reserved for Dante’s circle of hell could be replaced with and substituted for a therapeutic society which never quite treats effective, rarely cures and always costs.  The cost of what we have given up never returns that which we have invested, and what was once sacrosanct is now mere fodder for comedians and irreverence for late night chatter and laughter of the belly-aching kind.

Somehow, private hells no longer exist; instead, they end up being confessed on a daytime show by a host who is deemed to be a doctor, but of what kind, we are never told.  Private hells imply two consonants of behavioral conflicts:  of a secret and limited access of information (privacy) combined with a torment unimagined and unfelt by others (hell).  Does the former (privacy) exacerbate the latter (hell), such that there is therapeutic value in publicizing that which is private, which would then allow for hell to become transformed into heaven?

We tend to believe so, and this generation of modernity has begun the journey down that path without any empirical evidence to support its belief-system.  Whether it will work, or not, time will tell.  For the time being, however, the private hells which consume the islands of individuals will result in the devastation of souls and psyches, as it has throughout the history of mankind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who endure through such private hells, suffering from a medical condition only exponentially creates a greater hell than the earthly one which most people already experience.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.

The means is the administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The “ends” will come about in order to escape that private hell, which is the slice of heavenly gratuity we are given with the birth of an unasked-for life, impeded by uncalled-for harassment, by unapproachable supervisors and managers unabashedly unconscious of the private hells they themselves have created.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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 never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: House of Cards

We have all built them as children; those shantytown assemblages like the poverty-stricken and make-shift huts constructed by corrugated debris gathered from refuse and discarded materials, flimsy and ready to collapse, if not by architectural fault lines, then certainly from the sudden and malicious puff of air emitted by one’s younger brother or sister tiptoeing  up from behind in a sneak attack.  The House of Cards — they test the dexterity and patience of one’s character, and simultaneously represent anything built on a precarious foundation, including business ventures, family relationships, and of life itself.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of a House of Cards can become quite personal, and in the modern proverbial metaphor, “hit close to home”.

Daily, the precarious and tenuous state of one’s employment status is tested by sudden and unexpected winds of fate, by sneak attacks and underhanded methods of operational malice.  A sudden stir of the atmosphere, a deliberate act of adversity, or the unsuspected whisper of undermining; they all amount to the same:  an attempt to further weaken the foundations which were already being tested.

The option the Federal or Postal employee needs to consider, is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, because if the foundation of one’s life has already become shaky, the fall itself is an inevitability when confronted by the vast behemoth of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Just as 2 out of the 3 little pigs came to understand and appreciate the necessity of a firm foundation, so the Federal or Postal employee should see the wisdom in fleeing from under the House of Cards, and consider filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits; for, they ran to the third when they could, and lucky for them, the Big Bad Wolf could not get to them — at least not in some versions of the tale.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire