Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Rhymeless Poems

When did it happen?  Certainly, by the time E.E. Cummings came upon the scene, with his oddity of typographical stream of consciousness, the acceptance of it had already come to fruition; or, perhaps it was in the translation of foreign such vehicles of linguistic amalgamations – when the first frustrated translator threw up his hands in disgust at a Japanese Haiku or a German verse of too numerous a compendium of throat-clearing consonants, that the advent of the rhymeless poem reached its fulfillment and pinnacle of public acceptance.  Or, maybe we just ran out of words.

Words are funny vehicles of communication.  With facial expressions, the scent of another, the movement of body or a sense of fear, anticipation and the adrenaline of life, one can discern an endless eternity of subtleties that, in their inexhaustible divining of messages sent and received, can further be conjoined, compounded and confounded by the essence of human complexity.  But words are limited to the meanings of each; and in the finite world of vocabularies existent, the rhyming words are that much more delimited.

It is not, as Wittgenstein would point out, something that we can just create out of whole cloth; for, there can be no “private language game” of one, as the very essence of it would be lost in the creation of a singular language game – communication, which is the purpose and teleological livelihood, cannot be justified if no one else understands the word, the greater concept, or the linguistic artifice intended.

Sure, sure – words are created everyday, especially in order to accommodate the growing technology of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.; and the abbreviated forms of linguistic devices necessitated by text messaging, as well as the diversity of communicating through emoticons, etc., only prove the point:  All such such inventions and convoluted conventions of acceptability have a finite basis in any algorithm created.  In the end, we are just left with more words, and the inability to find that perfect rhyme in a verse of poetic need.   And that is the point, isn’t it?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, having a medical condition is similar to reaching that point in writing a poem, when the rhyming word can no longer be found.  Life itself is like an endless verse of poetry; we flow along and rhyme from word to word, with a cadence found in maturity of experiences; then, one day, a medical condition develops, and the rhyming verses suddenly pause.  We don’t know what to do.  Search as we may, we cannot find that perfect word, or that acceptable cadence of living life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may not be that discovery of the perfect word to end the silence of a rhymeless poem; it is, however, the last word in the verse of a Federal or Postal employee’s career, which may save the day from leaving the empty space blank, and instead, allowing for the next cadence in this continuing drama of verse-filled experiences, to take a leap into a future of security and new beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Paradigms abandoned

Of course, the most significant discussion concerning the shifting of major paradigms in the intellectual sphere of human advancement, occurs in Thomas Kuhn’s work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The concept of a “paradigm” shift, of adhering to a hypothetical model despite evidentiary incommensurability with the reality of an impervious and objective world; of a theocratic insistence upon a geocentric explanation despite factual calculations pertaining to a heliocentric reality; of bloodletting in medicine based upon the foundational paradigm of the bodily balance of humors; and, in personal lives, of how things “ought to be” as opposed to what actually are.

The farther an issue is removed from a direct impact upon one’s life, the easier it is to discuss it and arrive at conclusions based upon a rational discourse of commensurability.  Life lived as art is far more convenient than when the dreariness of engaging in the proverbial “reality check” must be faced in the mirror of one’s life.  Rarely does one apply a “scientific” approach when evaluating and assessing the reflection in a mirror; that is always left to the laboratory phase of one’s bifurcated life of compartmentalized delusions.  Yet, paradigms are precisely how we live; we just may not call it that, nor the foundation of our own actions in that manner.

Do we proceed based upon the expectations of others?  That, then, is a paradigm of objectified influences upon our motivational structure.  Are decisions primarily based upon an instinctive reservoir of emotional turmoil?  Consider, then, the paradigm of that lesser construct of our soul as identified by Plato in delineating the greater whole by comparative analysis between the state of one’s inner workings and that of the state itself.  In the end, the most telling factor in determining the essence of any human being, is not necessarily by the paradigms by which one adheres, but in the very ones which have been abandoned.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition will likely cut short a promising and lengthy career, the abandonment of a paradigm must by necessity become an integral part of the process.  For, the attachment to the conventional perspective cannot be underestimated; the belief that career should override all other concerns, including one’s own health; that future retirement is to be dictated by an imagined age of demarcation where competence and inertia rules by physical necessity; or, that the “mission of the agency” is the priority at all costs, including one’s own health and well-being.

Whatever the paradigm upon which the basis of motivational irrationality subsists, the facing of reality will clash when the progressive deterioration resulting from an unexpected and chronic medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing any longer.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes an inevitability when the proportionality between reality and the conceptual construct of a paradigm insisted upon becomes incommensurate; but, then, Kuhn had already warned us of that eventuality, as well as the fact that a paradigm abandoned is tantamount to a revolution conceived; we just kept believing that the tectonic shift was meant for the “other guy“, and never for ourselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Medical Conditions

The problem with “lists” is that, the moment one realizes that one is not on the list, the tendency is to simply give up and go home.  But lists are rarely exhaustive; rather, most are merely to provide a “paradigm” or “type”, as opposed to exclusionary intent by failing to specify or name.

PTSD

Federal Civilian employees with PTSD may qualify for OPM Disability Retirement depending upon the circumstances.  There is no need to prove that this condition is pre-existing or job-related

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the critical issue to recognize is threefold:  First, becoming qualified for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not dependent upon having an officially identifiable diagnosis which matches a “list” compiled at OPM; Second, in some ways, the symptoms manifested are just as important as the underlying diagnosis, precisely because what the Federal or Postal employee “suffers from” is what impacts the capacity and ability of the Federal or Postal employee in performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties; and Third, because Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties required in one’s job, there is a requirement of showing the “connection” between the Federal or Postal job and the manifestation of the diagnosed medical condition(s).

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (or Apnoea) may also qualify for OPM Disability Retirement if this condition causes fatigue and sleepiness in such a way that it interferes with work productivity

Thus, while a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an “essential element” of one’s positional duties is not required (the recent Henderson case reiterated that issue), a showing of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional requirements is enough to establish eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement Benefits.  In the end, providing a “list” is somewhat more of a disservice than not, because no list would ever be complete, and an incomplete list has a tendency to dishearten and dissuade.

Sciatica and Low-back pain

Sciatica is a type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, often as a result of repetitive strain injury.  U.S. Postal employees are especially vulnerable to low back pain and repetitive strain injuries when pulling “cages” (Mail Handlers); standing, twisting, turning, and bending when working with Flat Sorting Machines (Distribution Clerks); standing for long hours (Windows Clerks); and when sitting in mail trucks and carrying heavy mailbags on their shoulders for several hours (Letter Carriers)

That being said, there are overarching “types” of medical conditions in either categories:  of Psychiatric (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideations, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, ADD, ADHD, OCD), but which also fall under the general aegis of “cognitive dysfunctions” as well; and of Physical (Chronic Pain, Degenerative Disc Disease, Cervical degeneration; disc bulges and herniations; disc impingements; RSD; chemical-sensitivity issues; Asthma; pulmonary issues; anatomically-targeted issues involving hands, wrists, knees, feet, etc.; as well as GERD, Sleep Apnea, Profound Fatigue; IBS; residual effects from treatment regimens; symptoms which impact, directly or indirectly, the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties); and many, many more.

Doctors' OPM narrative

Doctors are usually familiarized with SSDI rules, not with OPM Disability law; so, even if they are willing to help, they will be typically unable to do so

There:  the disservice has been accomplished; like being back in elementary school where the “list” for the most popular, the coolest and the best dressed did not recognize your name, for Federal and Postal employees, the focus needs to always be upon that “secondary” issue of the 2-part nexus: Whatever the “it” is, is it impacting your ability or capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of your job?

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