Reflections on Federal Disability Retirement this Independence Weekend

Each country has a symbolic date for celebrating independence; that historic marker which represents the freeing of a populace from the chains of tyranny.  Some may view it as an anachronism, and in such a mindset, it is merely another day off from the daily toil of work. Others, with half-hearted attempts at joining the revelry of the occasion, may actually convince themselves of the celebratory relevance of the extended weekend.

How does one keep alive the historic importance of past markers?  As veterans of past wars begin to decrease in number, so the present fervor of an event parallels the diminishing stature of the occasion.  Why is World War II more prominently featured than the “Great War” some mere decades preceding; and what of the cost of the Civil War?  As living memories fade, so the pages of history remain kept on dusty bookshelves left for college professors and their students to ponder. In the end, relevance of an event must be personalized; that is how connections are made.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself becomes a tyranny of dependence, it is precisely that marker which separates one from confinement which reveals a revelatory relevance to the greater world.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option available to all Federal and Postal employees who seek to become independent from the chains of turmoil and turbulence caused by one’s medical condition and the exacerbation of such conditions upon one’s Federal or Postal position.

Independence day is often a marker of historical significance, but it must always relate at the personal level for each individual. Otherwise, it remains merely an extension of another weekend.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Unchosen

It is a term and concept which denotes a negation of what once was; like an unfinished paragraph or a torn page in a novel, the act of undermining and incompleteness is implied; and so the reader will never know the full story or the thoughts once surfaced but buried forever in the settled dust of time.  A career cut short; quiet whispers of, “and he was such a promising young man…”

Federal and Postal Workers who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, fit nicely into that category of the unchosen.  Once part of the workforce, the need to detach, separate, and move on to another and different phase of life, career, vocation and stage — all are aggregately bundled into the entire process of separation from an organization which once chose, but because of circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, ascribed with the prefatory negation of that which once was.

When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the Federal employee has few choices.  Continue on as one of the chosen; walk away with nothing to show for it; allow the agency to determine the time and place of becoming one of the unchosen; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and have some semblance and control of being the master of one’s destiny and future.

Becoming the unchosen may begin with a preface of negation; it is up to the Federal and Postal Worker to replace the torn page, and complete the unfinished paragraph.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fragrance of Fear

One rarely associates fear with fragrance; perhaps with a malodorous scent, mixed with angst and perspiring anxieties just before flight; but, no, fragrance is generally linked to perfumes and similarly heightened pleasantries which enhance the attraction of attention.  But to dictators and emperors of insignificant fiefdoms, fear emits a sweet fragrance, one inviting sadistic responses and enlivening a meanness awoken by the subtle aroma of vulnerability and susceptibility.

Medical conditions invite fear; fear within the individual suffering from the injury or disability, for the future, for the pain and suffering associated with the diagnosis and prognosis; fear from without, expressed by loved ones and those whose associations can be counted within the circle of friends, family, and close acquaintances.  Beyond the normal parameters described, however, the ethereal fragrance of fear is caught by the olfactory nerves of predatory consciences awaiting the whiff of anticipated anxieties; as an evolutionary conduit to survival, it serves also to invite the unintended to exacerbated difficulties of life.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, whether of a physical or psychiatric nature matters not, the progressive deterioration and manifestation of the medical condition engenders a proportional heightening of fear; fear, in turn, further impacts one’s inability to perform the full functions of one’s job; and failure revealed at one’s Federal or Postal employment tends to invite a hostile work environment, bringing out the worst in people.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which the Federal or Postal employee should always consider, when once the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Such a step is often the only pragmatic option to attain the needed context of restorative health, and to quash the fears which envelope and accompany the crisis. For, it is often the fragrance of fear which wafts through the still air and invites the things that go bump in the night, and where washing one’s hands clean is the single best route, as opposed to dousing one with perfumes, scented soaps and smelling salts, only to exacerbate the greater troubles of multiplied turbulences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: An Altered Life of Habituation

Loss of stature and status can come in many forms; we think too often in terms of financial status, of material belongings, where we live, with whom we associate, and the subtle evaluation of social consciousness in relation to our neighbors, friends and family.  But as work constitutes a majority of the time we expend, we often fail to understand the profound impact that we subconsciously place upon the status and standing we perceive within the employment arena.  This is closely related to the conceptual viability of bifurcating our “time at work” and “closing the door behind us” when we exit our place of employment, get into the car, and begin the commute home.

More and more, of course, the traditional dichotomy between work and personal life has been destroyed with the intrusive nature of email, smart phones, laptops and the constant need to keep in communication via electronic media.  The sanctity of the home life is deteriorating; weekends are merely interludes of a slower pace of work; and Sundays are rarely categorized as days of unreachable separateness.

With all traditional social and employment walls disintegrated, it becomes all the more profoundly insidious when one’s employment is severely impacted by a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the change from the status of “Federal employee” or “Postal Worker” to one of “Disability annuitant” can have a devastating psychological impact. For, in the end, it is not merely a change of status and stature; it is a profound alteration of a way of life, arrived at through habituation without thought, mindlessly embracing the insidiousness of technological intrusions which we never asked for and rarely sought.

The negative view for the Federal and Postal Worker is to myopically observe this profound change in sadness; the positive outlook is to have a fresh perspective, and to actually take the opportunity to use the time for rehabilitation of one’s health, perhaps just to be able to — for a brief moment in the history of one’s life — stop and smell the proverbial flower on the way out of the office door.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: To Be a Squirrel, for a Day

Watching them is an exercise of fascination; with nimble flight, to jump from a rooftop to the tip of a branch 10 feet away; scurry up and down trees with little thought (or is that merely a human projection without justification?) and no hesitation between the daredevil act and the graceful landing; and then to sunbathe in the midday warmth on a protruding ledge of the fence.

What a carefree existence; or so it would seem.  For, upon an extended observation, one realizes that there is never a moment when the squirrel is unaware of its surroundings, and that the anxiety-filled existence of human beings is not too different from that of the animal kingdom from which we conceptually separate ourselves, but of which reality forces a recognition of kinship.

One wonders how the ordinary individual can survive the daily stresses of life; but in turning to an uncomplicated animal such as a squirrel, you quickly realize that we are created as a bundle of stress-resistance nerves.  For the squirrel, the probability of a predator ready to pounce requires a heightened spectrum of awareness that approaches constant vigilance.  For the individual human being, the technological, artificial, but nevertheless just-as-real “stressors” of stimuli which require minute-by-minute responses, are readily received by the evolutionary adaptation first developed in the dangers of wildlife.

Thus, it is little wonder that when a medical condition hits an individual, the quickened pace of deterioration and progressive chronicity of the condition turns to debilitating impact.  By then, the stress-overload has reached its maximum impact.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is beset with a medical condition such that one must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time between the onset of the medical condition and the need to file is often short.  This should not be surprising, given that the Federal and Postal employee has often ignored or otherwise overcompensated for the warning signs of impending consequences.

OPM Disability Retirement can take some time to obtain.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, every Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the waiting time tends to be arbitrary, but in each case, somewhat lengthy.  Given that, once the crisis point of “needing” to file has been identified, it is important to take the next giant step and initiate the process.

And, like the squirrel of whom we imagine is merely frolicking in the sun, the lack of outward appearance of a need is never the true indicator of what is going on underneath.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire