OPM Disability Retirement: Escaping the Feudal Paradigm

Anachronisms rarely die a sudden death; instead, they fade over time, with vestiges and residual skeletons of facades and structures remaining stubbornly in place for decades, and sometimes centuries.  The system of vassals paying homage and fealty to those who are anointed and favored, has been a longstanding feudal system ensuring loyalty and fidelity to particular fiefdoms and individuals; for, as the consecrated individuals are provided with special privileges, including use of prime land, serfs and servants, so the unwavering allegiance to a lord is established in bonds of sequestered servitude.

Federal and Postal Workers are intimately familiar with this feudal system of fealty; they witness it in qualitative and quantitative instances throughout agencies, departments and post offices.

The rules of servitude closely parallel the bonds of loyalty; the consecrated and anointed are allowed the use of royal carriages, even, and minor violations of protocol are overlooked for those whose favor has been curried and fostered, while a technical infraction by he who stands outside of the legion of sycophants faces a deluge of sanctions, including warnings, reprimands, suspensions and the ultimate hanging by the hooded element: termination.  But as all Federal and Postal employees know and understand, loyalty is a unilateral function; it is never bilateral. One’s relevance extends only so far as usefulness to the anointed one; and once such usefulness is extinguished, so one’s relevance diminishes.

There is no debate between substance and appearance in a philosophical sense; appearance always wins out. And, of course, as empathy for the human condition can find no room in the evolutionary process of survivability, so the vestiges of a feudal system of fealty exists well beyond its existential relevance or functional import.  For the Federal or Postal employee who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the problem of usefulness, loss of position and status as “one of the anointed” (if one ever even enjoyed that level of stature), and relevance to one’s agency or department, becomes a pragmatic problem of stark existential reality.

Fortunately, the gods of caring provided for a more modern, non-feudal mechanism to escape the brutal residue of the feudal system, by allowing for the administrative option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS.  It allows one to sever the tentacles which place a stranglehold upon Federal and Postal employees who are mistreated for circumstances beyond one’s control.

Yes, it is true that vestiges of old systems fade slowly; but in the end, the inexorable march of progress will hopefully win out, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to escape the lords of fate, Federal Disability Retirement is an option to consider.

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: The Declination of Laughter

A Smiling USGS Employee

The Declination of Laughter

Does lack of laughter signify anything?  If a person was known to laugh a lot, then one day comes in with nary a chuckle, is it significant at all?  Is it the reverberation from the throat, or the eyes which reveal an underlying sadness, which tells the true tale of a person’s state of mind?  Can a person be in so much pain that he laughs out loud?  Why is it that there is such a thin and almost invisible line between laughter, insanity, and loss of control?

For the often contentious circumstances which surround and infiltrate the context and content of a Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question of the declination of laughter, whether by one’s Supervisor, the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, coworkers, or even family members away from the workplace, can be a telling factor on the spectrum and scale of who we are, what is being done, and what people are thinking.

In the end, life is a serious matter; medical conditions are no laughing matter; actions which impact the substantive future of individuals should be engaged with seriousness and consideration.  Ultimately, it is that dissonance between the mirthless eyes and the resonance of sound which is interpreted as laughter, which should concern everyone.

For the Federal or Postal Worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time of laughter may not occur until well after the attainment of that goal; and even then, the daily problems of life must still be faced, including one’s ongoing medical conditions.  But, at least, the mirthless state of one’s workplace will have been left behind, and with it, the stresses of trying to figure out the intent and motivation behind that Supervisor’s laughter who, just the day before, metaphorically stabbed another coworker in the proverbial backside.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Threatened Order

One’s orderliness of life is dependent upon the next person; and like the proverbial domino which stands precariously wedged between the one previous and the one subsequent, the universe of stability is dependent upon the static nature of the surrounding environment.

Thus, in the antiseptic neighborhoods around the country, the quietude of the next door neighbor ensures the peacefulness of one’s heart.  If a violent eruption or turmoil occurs next door, and the flashing lights of law enforcement blink through the closed blinds and curtains of your house, you feel violated.

The principle has been tested and verified, that one’s own order in a physical, as well as psychological sense, is only as secure or vulnerable as that maintained by the next person.  For, we do not view ourselves; we view the world around us, and especially our peers, neighbors, coworkers and extended families, and it is by judging the stability of our surrounding environment by which we determine the security of our own lives.  That is why when a person becomes disabled, it threatens the relative peace and security of supervisors and coworkers within the agency, and they react accordingly.

In advising Federal and Postal Workers throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question which is often asked is the timing of when to inform one’s Supervisor as to the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the time to inform should normally coincide with the actual event of filing, unless there is a valid reason to preemptively inform the agency.

The reaction of an agency is rarely different is substance from one’s neighbor or relative; the disruption of one’s antiseptic and ordered life is seen when a blemish occurs upon the landscape of a cosmetically airbrushed photograph.  When a slight rumble is heard, one looks immediately to the domino standing to the fore and the aft, in the known language of shipmates drifting rudderless in the vast sea of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Cold

“Cold” is a word with multiple meanings.  It can refer to the temperature of one’s environment; an infectious malady of common origins; or the emotional unresponsiveness of someone.  It can even be an adverb delineating the complete knowledge or mastery of a subject, as in, “He knew it cold”.

But temperatures can be countered; common colds have multiple remedies (though one wonders if any of them are effective, as opposed to bed rest and drinking fluids); and the adverb form is merely an informal allowance of language in a vernacular left for the younger generation.  We are thus left with the state of emotional paralysis — identified in one’s own being, or in another.

For the injured or ill Federal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such an appropriate identification of the concept and definition related to the emotional reaction (or lack thereof) by one’s own agency and one’s co-workers should be expected.

While it is a welcome and unexpected surprise if one’s agency and co-workers respond otherwise, it is simply the nature of human beings to respond with a herd mentality, and for the most part, once the Federal or Postal employee reveals the intention to depart from one’s agency, the common response is one which can only be characterized as “cold”.

Why must it be this way?

There is no adequate explanation.  But for the Federal and Postal employee under FERS or CSRS, who has had to endure the often unthinking bureaucracy of the Federal Sector, such lack of warmth merely exacerbates the dire situation of one who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is, indeed, a puzzle; for in the harshness of winter, where the cold winds blow, the emotional coldness of one’s workplace is somewhat akin the common cold — a nagging sense that something has gone awry, but most Federal and Postal employees know that cold, anyway.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Tendencies and First Impressions

First impressions are funny animals; while potentially misguided and fraught with errors, they are difficult to shake off because of our natural inclination to form them.  Tendencies, on the other hand, are established over time, and tend (sic) to reliably reflect a routine of repetitive behavior.  In both cases, they are difficult traits to get rid of, sort of like a nagging cold or a hairball in one’s throat.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, both traits are important to recognize.

First impressions — and from knowledge gained over time:  one’s agency; how will one’s supervisor act or react; one’s treating doctor; the extent of support one will receive; they will be the initiating basis and foundation in determining whether to go forward or not.

Tendencies — one’s own; is procrastination a problem?  Is avoidance an issue, such that it is best to jump into the process, knowing that delay is an identified enemy of one’s own best interests?

One’s formed personality and characteristic traits are established early in life; it is the remainder of our lives where we work to understand them, and to undo, supplement, or learn from those early first impressions and tendencies molded into our very being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire