Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Ikebana and life

Flower arrangement is an ancient art form that reflects the conduit of living.  If you look up the etymology in wikipedia, the term is derived from 2 simple concepts in Japanese: “Ikeru” (meaning, “to live” or “living”) and “hana” (as “flower”).  Thus, the two concepts combined form the compound meaning that embraces multiple connotations — of paralleling one’s manner of living by the arrangement of flowers that fill the home; of the appreciation of such arrangement in reflecting the order or disorder in one’s own life; and of allowing the fragrance of life to permeate throughout one’s personal circumstances, etc.

The type of arrangement one engages; the sparseness or fullness that one orders; the manner in which color and form are aggregated, placed, trimmed and gathered — these can all mirror and duplicate the parallel universe of one’s own life.  An Ikebana arrangement can reveal much, both about a person and the inner soul, the life’s worth, the worthiness of deeds accomplished, and the lifetime of the values imparted.

Medical conditions can do the same — they tell not only about a person’s will to live and the endurance of pain and suffering within this world, but also about everyone else and how a society treats its workers.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the long and arduous journey through one’s medical condition must be met with the complex administrative process of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Through such a bureaucratic process, one will encounter the same things that are reflected in Ikebana and life: of a life that must be rearranged; of colors, shadows and hues that must be mixed and matched; and of the ordering of priorities encountered, the changes of that which thrives or wilts; all of these, like Ikebana and life itself, must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The period in-between

It is the squeeze that we abhor, the suspension of life during that time.  Like the craven soul that is relegated to purgatory or the mass murderer that must await the culmination of the sentence imposed, it is the period in-between that is wasted because we are frozen in time by the certainty of the past already ensconced and the future that is determined but yet to be fulfilled.  That is the rub, isn’t it?

The uncertainty; whether the future can be altered or modified; or has fate already made an irreversible decision and judgment?

When Scrooge encounters that ghostly apparition representing the future in Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, isn’t that the question posed – whether the course of future events as foretold could be altered, modified, reversed or otherwise replaced?  But while we wait, what can be done?  For, in reality, it is too often thought that only the judgment rendered can then be worked upon, worked around or somehow accepted submissively as fated karma that cannot be countered.

Thus is that the reaction of Federal and 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 the Federal or Postal position – it becomes the period “in-between”.

It is the “in-between” doctor’s appointments to see whether there is any hope of getting better; “in-between” performance reviews to see if anyone at work has noticed; “in-between” temporary teleworking arrangements to see if the Federal Agency can extend the authorization; “in-between” surgery and recovery to see if you can go back to full duty; and on and on, “in-between” the crazy universe of a medical condition and a dying hope for a future withering on the vines of other’s expectations.

It is like being stuck in mud, frozen in time, watching as the impending future comes upon you.

However, there is an affirmative step that can be taken to begin the process of altering, modifying and changing the course of an expected future event – by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

While filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a solution to the medical condition itself, it is a step towards altering and modifying the course of future events that are controlled by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by accessing an employment benefit that recognizes that you can no longer perform the essential elements of your particular Federal or Postal job, but there may be other things in life that you may be able to pursue.

That is how the period in-between can better be embraced, by making sure that the future does not end with a definitive period at all, but merely by a comma that represents a brief pause.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Resigning from a Federal Position Due to a Medical Condition

To resign is often considered the last vestiges of giving up hope; somehow, it contradicts our DNA, and the resistance to it reinforces the Darwinian idea that the evolutionary drive for survival rules our choices, as determinism persists despite our best efforts to remain free.  To resign is to give in, surrender, abandon the lifelong plans and dreams for the future; it marks, for many, a decision of raising the white flag.  In life, however, sometimes the choices offered are but a few, and within that limited arena of options, the best must be taken.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing the full panoply of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it sometimes becomes necessary to “cut the losses” and move onward to other ventures in life.

When the level of harassment becomes untenable; when the best negotiations lead to the Agency’s offer of resignation in order to keep the record “clean”; when access to one’s TSP is necessary in order to survive the long period of waiting for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to decide upon a Federal Disability Retirement application; or even when the constant “fight” is no longer worth it, or is not there within one’s self; then the only thing left is the proper characterization of such a resignation, for inclusion as a short statement on one’s SF 50 or PS Form 50.

Depending upon the particularized circumstances, a resignation is not always a surrender, but merely a regrouping in order to return to resume the fight of life on another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Linguistic Labyrinth

Language is a labyrinth of paths.  You approach from one side and know your way around; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about.”  #203, Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Life is never a static construct; those who consider it so, are sorely left behind when the winds of change suddenly fill the sails and the slumbering ship awakens with a groan to pull free of its moorings.

Left behind are the days when a person could count on the vocation of the parent, or of a career singular throughout.  Instead, the economy forces us to adapt and reconsider; new skills are needed, or old ones refined and readjusted.  And the feudal days when the kindness of the squire was tested where lameness or debilitating accidents incurred the wrath of life, are bygones of past initiatives thrown to the howling wolves of predatory eyes lurking behind to take advantage of every slight and weakness revealed.

Language is like that, too.  We think that schooling ends when the diploma is handed out, at whatever stage of advancement; but the reality is that the true test of self-initiative begins at that very moment, precisely because liberty allows the freedom to choose between vice or value, where the former is offered freely to the youth who has been released from the shackles of parental control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who find themselves in a position where a career move is necessitated by an unfortunate accident or onset of a medical condition, the truth of Wittgenstein, and of life lived in a world of complexities, comes to the fore.

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 a difficult approach when the mandates of life’s ferocity coalesce in a tripartite convergence:  a medical condition; impact upon one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and the need to secure one’s future in order to attain a level of financial stability.

The unknown labyrinth of language becomes a maze of confusion when the Federal or Postal employee encounters the legal eligibility requirements mandated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to overcome the obstacles and hurdles in an effort to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Throughout life, the Federal or Postal Worker has approached the path of language from one opening; now, he or she must enter the gates of a bureaucracy which requires expertise and knowledge of a completely different sort, and without the assistance of an attorney, you enter the labyrinth of the unknown at your own peril.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Identifying the Substantive Significance

We all know people who meander; whether aimlessly, or with thoughtful purpose, but in a circuitous manner belying of deliberate direction.  Instead of focusing upon the subject matter discussed, perhaps the creative impulse within constantly distracts, and so the splatter and spew of words and sentences are never formulated into a singular track from Point A to Point B, but rather, like the dow jones graph of recent phenomena, directionless outputs traversing the entire spectrum of possible ideas to touch upon.

Such creative constituents of unconventional thought processes make for interesting lives; if everyone spoke in formulations of straight methodological contents, science would rule the universe, and statistical boredom would control the monotony of the daily drone.  But recognizing the substantive core of a subject can be necessary, at crucial moments; identification, formulation and focus upon that which is significant, as opposed to peripheral matters which may be of importance in a personal manner, but irrelevant in the context of the business world or technical endeavors, cannot always be overlooked or dismissed merely for the sake of upholding creativity or charm.

The bomb expert attempting to deactivate the explosive mechanism cannot wander in thought from the task at hand; identification of that which is substantively significant must always be the primary focus of the detail, and wavering from that course of thought-process may have more than mere theoretical consequences and repercussions.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the need to file for a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, requires a level of focus, concentration, and capacity to identify the core issues to be discussed, and to create the proper legal nexus which satisfies the multiple criteria required in order to meet the eligibility mandates delineated by OPM regulations and laws.

As with every endeavor of life, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal and Postal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is never merely a logical algorithm of mathematical precision; yes, it involves a level of creativity, especially because it must inform the OPM specialist of the narrative of the medical condition and its impact upon one’s professional and personal life.  But in the end, the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker must be able to identify the substantive significance of the facts, the law, and the coexisting intersection and interplay between the two, in formulating an effective Statement of Disability as prepared on SF 3112A.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement from Federal Job due to Disabilities: Setting up the Contingency for Failure

We all engage in it, at times; and like the vertical clearance events, like the high jump, the measurement of the horizontal bar can make a difference by fractions of inches or centimeters, and where we place the bar will determine the outcome of failure or success.  “If X, then Y,” we whisper to ourselves daily; “If I am able to get through this day, then it shows that I am better, and…”

But medical conditions, especially, have an unique characteristic of skewing and distorting the predictable outcome; and, further, when human desire, unfettered by comparative milestones used as “reality checks” in order to keep contained the buoyancy of human wants, becomes part of the equation, the systematic self-deception can occur through setting up contingencies which will inevitably fail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of “when” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (submitted first through one’s own agency Human Resource Office if not yet separated from Federal Service or, if separated, not for more than 31 days; but if separated, within 1 year of being separated from service, which is the Statute of Limitations in all Federal Disability Retirement cases, with some stringent and narrow exceptions) has often been influenced by the imposition of setting up multiple and linear series of contingencies, all of which were doomed for failure.

That is why the very filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application often becomes a “crisis” of sorts; for, as we desire things beyond our reach, and know that such events are unlikely to happen, so we continually engage in such fantasies of hope, despite the facts which face us, the yearnings which remain unfulfilled, and the loud signals which have become sirens emitted from our bodies and inner souls, screaming to change course before the collision of life’s disaster brings tumult and chaos beyond the nightmares of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Jobs: Prerogatives

The exclusivity of a right or privilege can remain dormant until asserted; and assertion triggers and activates, and suddenly that which consisted merely of quietude and inertia, becomes the centrality of controversy, contention and adversarial encounter.  Much of life is like that; resembling the proverbial elephant in the sitting room, or the decaying clump of unidentified derivation of unseemly scents, people tend to avoid and take a wide berth while acting “as if” throughout the day, the week, a year, and in a lifetime.

In olden days of yore, the “prerogative” was retained by the King, the Crown and the Papacy to assert or not, depending often upon the whims of emotional and political turmoil.  The fact of inactivity or inertia with respect to the right or privilege did not result in the loss of it; rather, it merely meant that the non-use of power only magnified the unlimited potentiality for tyranny.  One doesn’t lose something merely because it isn’t used; unless, of course, you are a common man or woman without power or purpose.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have been “allowed” by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service to continue to remain in one’s position at the “prerogative” of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by being retained in some capacity of “light duty” or informal arrangement of “less-than-full-duty” status, the attitude and atmosphere can be likened to the Royal Family allowing and granting a limited dispensation at the mercy of the Crown, and always with humble subservience of gratitude and metaphorical acts of low-bowing.

While it is dangerous to be indebted to someone else for too much, the greater travail is to believe that one owes something of value when in fact no such indebtedness ever existed.

For Federal and 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 positional duties, the fact that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service “says” that it is “accommodating” the Federal or Postal employee, does not necessarily make it so.

The prerogative 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, always remains and is retained by the Federal or Postal employee, even throughout a circumstance and situation where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service contends that the Federal or Postal employee is being “accommodated”.  For, the term itself is one of art, and “accommodation” — in order to be a legally viable accommodation — must meet certain standards and rise to a level of legal sufficiency.

The mere fact that the Federal agency on High says it is so, no longer applies; for, despite its claim to greater status of Royalty, the days of uncontested power through mere lineage no longer exists, except perhaps in the feeble minds of the commoner who treads the hallways of Federal agencies and U.S. Post Offices with fear, trembling, and humble subservience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire