Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a 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, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The difficult good-bye

It is always difficult to say good-bye.  Whether of a long duration, or with a quick ending to an already fast-deteriorating relationship, the good-bye that brings sorrow, tears and a sense of unease is the one that once was never thought of.

Separating from loved ones; the end of a stay that may have begun with trepidation, hesitation or even loathing, but which turned out to be an embracing of past memories forgotten, revitalizing conversations and enlivening moments of collective reflections; or even of a chance encounter with someone, or with the lengthy last moments with a bedridden relative who wants the warmth of human contact nearby before departing into the netherworld through gates of wandering souls.

Whatever the circumstances, the good-byes we fear, the ones we think will be a relief, and even those that turned out to end merely with a half-hearted wave of the hand — it is the difficult good-bye that echoes within the hollow of one’s mind, squeezing between schedules full and memories touching upon a conscience that will not abide.

Careers have good-byes, as well, and not just between people; for it is the career that defines so much of who we are.  It is never just the “what do you do for a living” part of it, but the title that comes with it, the identity that is attached to it, the camaraderie that accompanies it and the past memories that haunt one; these are the cementing tributaries that form one’s personhood.

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, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the difficult good-bye is the one that separates the Federal or Postal employee from the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility — not necessarily because of the circumstances compelled by the medical conditions themselves (although that is admittedly difficult enough), but often because the job itself was and has been an integral part of one’s life, livelihood and identity, and because any change in one’s routine is hard enough.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is essentially saying good-bye to a good chunk of one’s daily routine of life and living — of spending about 50% or more of one’s life (including preparing for the day, commuting, doing work-related emails and similar activities, etc.) — and thus will be, even under the best of circumstances, a difficult separation and departing.

But always remember that the difficult good-bye is the one that retains an abiding meaningfulness within the souls of worthwhile characters, which then forms the seeds of hope for a future yet untold, as opposed to the half-hearted wave of the hand that dismisses so casually that we remember not even which hand with which we waved good-bye.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Of fortunes unattained

Here, of the story untold:

“He woke up and went into the bathroom, and there found an old man staring at him.  There was no voice that called; no utterance of a salutation so early in the morning.  The corrugated skin of this stranger was pulled back, revealing deep cuts in the rivulets of age where time had taken its toll.  His hair was unkempt; thinning and grey, with speckles of white reaching deep within the roots of timeless agony.

Where had time robbed this pathetic creature, where a lifetime was given as a gift in order to make his fortune, to find his love and to gather his friendships?

It seemed only yesterday that the toddler reached for his parents’ loving arms, and they who looked upon him with kindly affection and whispering, ‘There, there, you have a whole life ahead of you to dream your dreams and reach your goals’, and then the fading summers where life seemed but a dream where oceans divided and manhood arose from the depths of a sea that swallowed me whole.  And when the stranger in the bathroom finally spoke, it had the voice of one who stared back from a mirror that reflected the insanity of myself, old and lost, voicing a soliloquy of loneliness where once my children laughed within a wilderness of a future yet unseen.”

And so it is with many of us; time seems to creep ever so slowly during troubled waters of despair; and then, one morning, we wake up and decades have passed us by.  Did we do all that we wanted to do?  Did we find that love we yearned for?  Did we make that fortune we promised ourselves we would attain, remembering the poverty of our youth and the promises whispered in huddled caves beneath the conscience of our lonely hearts?

Of fortunes unattained, we can always justify by telling another tale: Life is too short to search only for abandoned treasures and, besides, what truly is a ‘fortune’?  Is love of lesser worth than gold in reserve, and does not friendship value greater than a penny saved?  And when compared with one’s health, is fortune amassed of any value if the former is sacrificed for the latter?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, 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, is an important step towards reaching those goals yet reconsidered.

Of fortunes unattained — perhaps so; but when one’s health is at stake, all else must become secondary, and for the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer continue in a career which is only exacerbating the deterioration of one’s health, those thoughts of fortunes unattained must by necessity be temporarily set aside and replaced by the wisdom of a more valued existence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: That voice within

Whose voice is debating within the insular corridors of the otherwise silent individual?  Which one is the dominant voice, and how does one determine if that particular voice should be the one which attains such a prominent status and stature within the cauldron of one’s own thoughts?

We assume, of course, that when we are pondering within the insularity of our own thoughts, that the voice which speaks within is our own voice; but is it necessarily so?  Yes, yes — the traditional concept of “madness” will begin to encroach, of strange voices which begin to invade and intrude, and where schizophrenia is considered the likely explanation whenever “other” voices are considered.

But that is not what is necessarily the case.  It may be that the voice within is simply a regurgitation from a memory stored long ago — perhaps of one’s parents; a friend; an old school chum; a brother, sister or a cousin; and it is retrieved as an amalgamation of many others, besides.  More importantly, who determines the validity of what is being said, the subject of debate and the substance of the winning argument?

The danger of a soliloquy is that the lone figure who tries to figure things out on his or her own may not have all of the facts or information at hand which can lead to the right decision being made.  An unheard conversation undertaken and engaged by a singular voice may be no discussion at all; it may merely be a wrong-headed delineation based upon errors in fact and missteps in logical analysis.  That is why it is important to consult a person who specializes in a field and is knowledgeable at the outset, so that the facts gathered and the analysis conducted are sound methodologies based upon superior analytical insights and resulting in expert advice.

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, it is important to gather the necessary and pertinent facts about the entire process, the known administrative facets and pitfalls, etc., so that a superior decision can be reached 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, so that the voice within will avoid the mistake of listening to too many voices without which may lead him or her down the false paths of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The story

Everyone has one; some, more interesting than others; others, less interesting than most; most, told in disjointed streams of subconscious dilemmas often coopted by deceitful tellings that leave amiss the juicier elements that would otherwise offend.

Is there “the” story, or just many little details comprised of “a” story here, a story there, and in the aggregate, it makes up the total picture of a person?  Can one ever know a person in his or her fullness, or must there always be left out an element of surprise, mystery and a deficiency otherwise not noted?  Can people be married for 50 years and still be surprised by something in the other spouse’s past?

How are memories triggered to begin with — say, for example, a couple has been married for half a century or more, and one night they get a carry-out from a newly-opened restaurant in their neighborhood that serves a special Moroccan dish from the menu, because the restaurant owner’s wife’s late husband’s third cousin twice removed recently visited the country and brought over a recipe that could not be resisted.

The two older couple (yes, you may infer from the fact that they have been married for over a half-century to connote that the couple are rather elderly) sit down for this delectable dish, and as they begin serving the various food items and transferring them from the paper boxes onto dinner plates, the wife takes in the aroma of the vegetables, cooked in a certain sauce, and declares to her husband, “Oh, this reminds me, I was in Morocco when I was younger.”

Now — for fifty some odd years, this couple has been married; they have had children; they have shared the many stories to tell, both included and some where each experienced a slice of life separately; and one would think that such a detail as having been to a foreign country which not many Americans visit in the first place, would be something that was told during the course of their long and lasting relationship.

What would be the explanation for not having told?  How about: “Yes, I was kidnapped and held for ransom for months, and I repressed the memories these many years”; or, “Oh, I was just 2 or 3 and don’t really remember much about it, other than my parents dragging me to Morocco just to get away”.

Such explanations might be understandable; but how about the following: “Yes, I was there for 5 years, from about the age of 10 – 15, and it was the most impactful experience of my life.”  Now, this last explanation — one would wonder, of course, what kind of a marriage this elderly couple could have had if the spouse had never related the most “impactful” period of her life, would one not?

“The Story” of one’s life will always contain some omissions (that is a conundrum and an oxymoron, is it not — to “contain” and “omit” at the same time?) about various experiences encountered, but that is a natural course in the very “telling” of one’s narrative.  Most narratives have a beginning and an end; some are interesting, others not; but in the telling, the narrative itself must be coherent and comprehensible, as well as containing relevance and significance within the meat of the narrative itself.

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 ones’ Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

During such an administrative process, it is necessary to “tell one’s story” by completing SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  It is a “slice of life” story, and should be as compelling as the aroma that triggered the admission of one’s Moroccan past — for, every story is a unique one; it is in the telling that brings out the mystery of a person’s singular tale of painful experiences, and this is one more slice that needs a coherence within a narrative required in order to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Hypocrisy

What is it about carrying about one’s state of existence with the knowledge that there is a dichotomy between that which we declare and what we secretly harbor, or between the words we convey and the actions we engage?  Is it likened to the adage of, Do as I say, not as I do?  Why do we so relish with a sneer when failure of moral dimensions become exposed — of a priest who is “caught in the act”, the preacher who is seen to embrace episodes of moral turpitude; a moralist who denies the obvious inclinations of human desire, or the purist who pounces when the mere tinge of impurity spreads its imperfect wings?

Hypocrisy abounds, and has always throughout history, and the louder the volume of protestations, the harder the fall as the chasm between reality and the theoretical purity of ivory towers only reveals the baseness of human frailty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel like hypocrites because of a medical condition that continues to be denied, hidden and overcome by sheer will of concealment, there often comes a time where fatigue simply catches up to the fear of being “found out”.  No, it is not quite the same as your run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, like the preacher who falls from grace; but the tension is still there, nevertheless, and it is just as real as if your moral failings suddenly become unconcealed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have to “hide” their medical conditions and act “as if” everything is fine and dandy, ultimate pay the same or similar price as the hypocritical moralist who walks about with a puffery undeserved: the anxiety that continues to grow and fester remains so and grows beyond a bearable state of concealment.

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, is often the first step in an admission of “failure” — but more importantly, of turning that failure into a success, by shedding the cloak of hypocrisy and facing the reality of a medical condition that needs priority of attending, in order to regain that balance that should be first, foremost and in the front of the proverbial line: One’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire