OPM Medical Retirement: Beyond the shutdown

What does it mean for the government to “shut down” because the Congress and the President were unable to come to a budgetary agreement?  It is often the question that is focused upon, but may be the wrong one.  The more relevant issue concerns the events that will occur after the cessation of the shut down.  What happens afterwards?  For, everyone assumes that the government will come to some sort of budgetary reconciliation, and that there will ultimately be an end to the deadlock.

The House and Senate will finally pass a spending bill, whether of a temporary, continuing resolution, or of a long-term bill that addresses the various issues each side is fighting for.  With that assumption in mind, the question becomes, What happens beyond the shutdown?

Essentially, nothing dramatic, other than that the bureaucracy of the Federal government will experience greater delays, and the shutdown merely becomes interpreted as a slowdown for goods and services, much like the picture painted of a local grocery store closing for a week, a month or many months, and where shoppers would have to find another venue to obtain their wares.  The difference between the private-sector shutdown and a Federal government shutdown, however, is that the former often allows for its competitors to take advantage of the situation, whereas the latter has no such “competitors”, as it is the only “game” in town.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a 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, the question of “what to do” with the shutdown should be approached with the following questions: Do we assume that the Federal Government will “reopen for business” at some point?  The general answer is: Yes.

With that assumption, should we just proceed with preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application?  Again, the general answer is: Yes.

The “private” sector continues to operate, and so the doctors who need to submit medical reports and records can still be accessed; the standard forms still need to be prepared, and the faster one is placed into the “waiting line” for determination by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the quicker the “product” of an approved Federal Disability Retirement benefit will accrue, once the doors of the Federal Government and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management are again opened for “business as usual”, beyond the shutdown that occurs from time to time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Not the storybook tale

It has been widely commented upon, by naysayers, essayists and various commentators upon life’s winding course of pessimism, cynicism and some rarefied sprinkling of optimism, wherever the “isms” will take us: we are crippled from an early stage of life by being fed Fairytales and Fanciful Fantasies, and then pushed out the door to deal with the reality of the real world, which are NOT like the storybook tale.

Why the disconnect?  Wherefore the disjunctive between what we grant to our children in contrast to the objective world?  Do we witness any of the other species in this Kingdom harm with such aplomb their youngsters – where birds “cruelly” push their young tots out of the nest to force flight even if not quite ready; where predators abandon their herds and hoards to survive on their own – by first saying: “Now, now, kids, I am going to tell you a lie, then have you live in the early phases of your life only to be disappointed by the reality of what you will be facing”?

No, the human species is one of a kind; but then, we have the capacity of linguistic elasticity – a tool that others are (fortunately) not weighted down by.   Isn’t that the story of politics – of saying things that will never come to fruition, promising acts that cannot be accomplished, and declaring facts that are merely alternatives to objective reality – just so that votes can be accumulated and enemies can be identified?

It is well that human beings can fantasize and live in an imaginary world, because otherwise we would all go insane if we had to encounter the reality of the objective universe around us.  What of Marx’s dictum that religion is the opiate for the masses – if true, where are we today, inasmuch as religion is no longer a cohesive foundation in most people’s lives; and, if false, what has replaced it as the dulling effect for survival’s continuation?  Is it the flag, the Constitution, the hope founded upon a Lottery Ticket, or perhaps the greater indication of that which is not an analogy or a metaphor, but the reality of heroin addiction that is a growing menace?

Perhaps, after having tried everything else, the opiate itself is not just some proverbial reality, but the real thing itself, and that is why the problem grows exponentially.  Perhaps, we have come to a point where we realize that the fairytales told and the reality faced cannot be reconciled.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have had a long and productive career, but where medical conditions have more recently impeded, debilitated, and ultimately prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, perhaps the realization has come to the fore that the storybook finish line doesn’t quite match up with the reality of one’s present situation.

That’s okay.  You’ve earned the right to view reality “as it is”, as opposed to the fond remembrances of fantasies and fairytales.  Yet, don’t become too entrenched in a negative perspective; for, the objective reality is more likely somewhat involving greater balance, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not the end of one’s professional career, but merely another beginning.

Many have gone on beyond a Federal Disability Retirement and started new careers, initiated fresh vocations and enjoyed a second or third phase of life. It is somewhat like a marriage, a divorce and then a remarriage. Perhaps it is not the storybook tale written by some, but it can be one that is written by you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Consequence of Indecision

Why is it that some are able to make thoughtful decisions within a relatively short span of time, while others are paralyzed by indecision?  Is it purely a reflection of that — of “thoughtfulness” as opposed to lack of thought?  Or, perhaps because some have already predetermined the applicable criteria which is immediately instituted, like placing a window frame upon a hole in the wall, thereby capturing the stillness of scenery ensconced in a timeless warp of alternative displays?  Is it important to have set up a “criteria” upon which characteristic distinctions can be made, separated, identified, then dissected for evaluative reduction such that the proverbial chaff can be separated from the wheat?

Recognition that some decisions are based purely upon appetitive criteria — such as choosing a meal from a menu — as opposed to selecting a college to study at, a career to enter, a job opportunity to consider; what is the applicable criteria to help frame the issues to be questioned, inquired into, resolved?  And where do values come in — belief systems, what one holds dear, whether there are normative cultural pressures to consider, and the moral caveat which precedes the judgment of friends, family and relatives?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, at what point does the Federal or Postal employee consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?  is it when you finally drop dead?  Is it when you become so debilitated that you cannot make it into the office any longer?  Do you destroy your body, soul and psyche in order to prove a point of loyalty?

Fortunately, the law itself helps to frame the decision-making process.  As OPM Disability Retirement requires that certain age and time in-service criteria be met, and further, that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties,  some of the work necessary to “make a decision” has already been initiated in an “objective” manner.

In the end, however, even the child who first enters an ice cream shop and realizes that the world is not bifurcated into simplistic binary systems of “either-or”, but presents a multitude of endless summers of nuanced pathways to ecstatic completion, who must ultimately point to, and choose, between alternative compasses which will navigate one into the future of one’s contentedness, or dark chasms of dismay.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability: The Chasm between Expectation and Reality

Expectation constitutes the anticipatory goal to be attained sometime in the near or far future; reality is the actualization of the potentiality of one’s imagination.  That anticipatory potentiality, however, can be formulated based upon numerous factors, including:  baseless imagination (more of a child-like quality); desire and hope (with perhaps some admixture of factual context and content, and somewhat of a more mature basis); or sequences of planned actions culminating in a realistic fulfillment based upon actual circumstances analyzed, deliberated upon and ascertained (a mature consequence of purposeful strategies formulated and initiated).

The chasm which exists between one’s expectation, and the reality of fruition, retrospectively reveals the state of maturity (or immaturity) of one’s soul.  That is why gamblers and lottery tickets abound; for, the play upon adolescent wants and desires portends of dreams unfulfilled, desires still unrestrained, and creative imaginations unbounded allowed to wander aimlessly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who expected one’s own agency to embrace loyalty and constancy of support just because the Federal or Postal employee showed such honorable characteristics for many years previously, and perhaps for more decades than the half of one’s lifetime, the chasm of reality often hits hard.

Medical conditions can often be “accommodated“, if only in a loose, non-legal sense of the word.  But it is amazing how people and organizations suddenly become quite “legal” in matters where honor should prevail; and in that sense, to be “accommodated” takes on a new and restrictive meaning.  Medical conditions often bring out the worst in people and organizations, and concepts involving the humanity of one’s soul no longer become relevant, but mere irritants to be legally sequestered in order to protect and deny.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, 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 often the last bastion of hope — hope which bridges the chasm between expectation and reality, and one which sets the path for future security upon the solid foundation of a reality which one may want to shy from, but which one cannot escape in this world of love, hate, humanity and cruelty — the compendium of that complex animal called Man.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Nature’s Purposive Divide

Teleological ascription accounts for the rational foundation behind the activity of an organism, and explains the “why”, but not that it necessarily “is” or how it came to be.  Inertia is the very opposite, or perhaps in Heidegger’s universe, the “nothingness” as opposed to “being”.  When bees swarm in a frenzy, there is a “reason” for their activity; and just as the skittishness of a herd portends a sensing of danger, so the aggregation of ants streaming back and forth from a given point normally means a food source attracting for plunder.

We may speak about these occurrences in academic and esoteric ways, but the underlying foundation to it all is actually quite simple, but not necessarily simplistic:  Nature provides for a purpose to pursue, and that is what divides the living from the inertia which surrounds us.  And the rule of Nature and the idea of teleological impulse is that, when we lose that purposive divide, we become like the non-living substance which everywhere reminds us of the corollary of life:  death, and the loss of one’s soul.

Constancy of deterioration, progressive destruction, systematic downgrading, and persistent harassment can dampen the soul; but it is ultimately the loss of Nature’s purposive divide which finally stamps out the glowing flame within one’s soul.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, unbeknownst because of the flurry of daily activity, it is often the meaningfulness of the work one engages, which provides for that teleological impulse.  When a medical condition begins to pervade, and systematically denigrate and degrade the quality of that aspect of meaningfulness, and further, when the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service constantly and persistently acts to exacerbate and rob one’s joy of the projects of life, then it is time to consider 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.

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM allows for a further teleological chance and opportunity, by first securing a lifetime annuity, then allowing for earning income in the private sector and beginning a second career or vocation.  While many may not consider the securing of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity as a meaningful endeavor for one’s financial security, it is precisely the stability of income which allows for the Federal or Postal employee to turn one’s energies upon other and more important things, and to allow for Nature’s purposive divide to propel one forth into the community of men and women who separate themselves from the mass of humanity who see drones and crestfallen vestiges of souls who once rushed where fools had remained and lost that flickering flame of teleological pull.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire