OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Gatherings

What is it about human beings that compel and necessitate it?  Unlike the wandering Cheetah or the lone wolf, human gatherings have been the imprint of psycho-social requirements since the dawn of day.  The tribal gatherings around the campfire; the Thanksgiving feast that celebrates survival and the new season; the corporate board, the large-scale concerts and the network of social media; and then, of course, that which is all but forgotten, and yet always yearned for: the private gathering of “just the family”.

Somehow, we lie to ourselves and soothe our own egos, suppress the truth by – again, “gathering” – the number of “friends”, “likes”, etc., and it has now become a quantitative game as opposed to a qualitative reality that determines how “happy” one is.  In modernity, we have lost the whole purpose and underlying foundation for what gatherings are meant to be – of the interchange between neighbor and neighbor, the opportunity to listen to elders and the basis for which a society survives.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, does the Agency, the immediate supervisor or fellow coworkers even “know” about the medical condition, or even show any concern or care?

Each day, we “gather” together for a common purpose – for work, for the Agency’s “mission” and the “work-for-paycheck” agreement between employer and employee.  And, yes, there is a distinction to be made between a “social gathering” and a gathering intended for purposes of work and productivity.  Yet, there is something inherently amiss when one’s humanity is lost in the process of this thing called “employment gathering” – where no one seems to care about the next person, and when once the clock ticks to the closing hour, everyone departs to their own private gatherings, whatever that may be and wherever it may end up.  Of course, to invite a coworker to a home meal may constitute some form of harassment, and any gatherings to “pray” for another – regardless of what religion or denomination of belief it may originate from – is automatically excluded because of the offensive connotations of such an act; and so we are left with going home, each of us, and gather from a distance through the technology of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email.

And yet, the Federal or Postal employee who has all along suffered from a medical condition, suffers still, and the only option left is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, just because the “gathering” at work didn’t care enough to try and find a suitable accommodation for that Federal or Postal employee.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Medical conditions and the “to-do” list

We often approach everything in life in a repetitive, systematic manner; of a routine which engenders habituation of comfort, and of identity harkening to obsession of similitude.  It is said of Kant that his neighbors set and corrected their watches and clocks according to the regularity of his walks, as his life maintained a predictability of precision so reliable that error could only be ascribed to a mechanical defect, and never to his human constancy.

It is as if there is an internal “checklist” in order to attain a progression of human development, and in an effort to achieve that advancement, both of thought and of physical growth, we must be assured of completion and fulfillment.  But medical conditions are never like that; we cannot “do something about it” and expect to “check it off” of our “to-do” list, only to move on to the next item on the itinerary.  A pastor once quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough; although, there could have been an addendum:  “And where there are problems, you can always find impure motives.”

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 problem is one of duality of purpose:  For the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, the approach of attempting to “check off” the medical condition as another item on a “to-do” list is always rebutted by the stark reality of the medical condition itself; and from the Federal agency’s perspective (or the Postal Service’s), the thought-process of “when will it go away” simply avoids the issue, and fails to address the problem of the conflict which arises.

Thus, the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement is there for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely to allow for those circumstances in which (A) the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to be able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, (B) the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months — not that one must wait for 12 months, but rather, that the prognosis by a doctor or medical provider is willing to state that the medical condition will, within reasonable medical probability, last for that long, and (C) accommodation of the medical condition is not possible, and reassignment to a position at the same pay or grade will not ameliorate the situation.

In the end, medical conditions defy the human attempt to treat it as merely another obstacle to overcome, or an irritant to set aside.  It is a condition of human existence which represents a trial for a linear life we attempt to manage, when in fact a change of course is often the remedy, and not the repetition of comfort found in the thoughtless quietude of habit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The Question of Worth

Whether animals consider the question or not, they certainly make judgments based upon prudence, calculation and quantification of effort involved; but perhaps not in some conceptually systematic approach.  “Worth” can involve multiple meanings: of time expended; monetized value; quality; but always involving the evaluative process of comparative analysis.

It is this latter process which is important for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker in determining whether to proceed with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. The comparison may be on different levels, and pitted against and between various elements: priority of values (health versus continuation and persistence in present circumstances); current financial condition in contrast to future reduced benefits; the penalties imposed by taking an early retirement as opposed to a Federal Disability Retirement; the length of the process in contrast to one’s age and cost of hiring an attorney; and many such similar factors to be analyzed.

Perhaps the only comparative analysis which need not be engaged is the one which the Agency implicitly compels: The worth of self, derived from the manner in which the agency or the U.S. Postal Service treats the Federal or Postal employee once it becomes evident that the Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition such that it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and thereby consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Other animals never ask that question of self-worth, as survival and Darwinian principles prevail and overtake the inherently nonsensical nature of such a question; it is only the human being who ever questions the worth of self, and only within the greater context of a society which places a premium upon questions unworthy of consideration.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire