Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Tolstoy unedited

To read his works often entails utilization of descriptive metaphors, such as “tackle”, or “spend the summer” doing it, or even, “It has taken me a year to reach the midpoint”.  To have read Tolstoy’s major works is a kind of initiation into the upper echelons of cultivated sophistication; how many fakes and phonies there are, can only be guessed at, but some would estimate that nearly half of those claiming to have read “War and Peace” or “Anna Karenina” either failed to complete the rite of passage, skimmed or skipped major portions of either or both, or simply studied carefully the Cliff Notes in the secluded corner of nefarious midnight travails.

But consider the original, unedited version; what the Editor of such works must have had to contend with, just to get it sorted, compiled and drafted into a coherence of acceptability — all before the time of computers, cut-and-paste buttons, and leaving aside the untenable temperament of the author for whom suggested changes meant a challenge to a duel and likely emitting as a response a stream of unedited vitriol spiced with torrents of epithets unheard of in polite company.  But even Tolstoy must have known that his own works required further care and attention, like a child soiled and helpless in self-care; that no form of Art — regardless of its egomaniacal source and unmatched brilliance of the narrative creativity — could be stomached without correction, crafting and splicing of untethered verbosity.

Tolstoy, left unedited, would have required greater metaphors than those we already adopt, and perhaps would have been thrown into the dustbin of untranslated works stored in the vast warehouses of uninterpreted voices.  The parody to a life lived, of course, reflects a parallelism which everyone recognizes, but few undertake.  How one lives a life, also, requires constant perfecting, further editing, and persistent splicing.  The unedited version of any life would be left with an undisciplined mess, unfettered calamity and unconstrained egomania of purposeless vacuity.  Meaning can always be discovered in every life, but it is the cultivated perfection of a disciplined self which constitutes the essence of human uniqueness.

But there are interruptions in living, beyond the control of one’s will and fated determinism; a medical condition is one example, and for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 the Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes of utmost importance.  However, one must take care in preparing, formulating and filing an effective SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability — as so many people believe that the Tolstoy format of an unedited diatribe is as effective as the abridged version of a work of Joyce.

There is always a balance and a “middle ground”, whether in Life, Art, or in the effective submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Art often reflects Life; Life is too often lived in an unconstrained fashion; but in either case, in preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application, it is important to recognize that Tolstoy unedited is as onerous an undertaking as a Federal Disability Retirement application left unfettered by purpose, application, and the careful compilation of meeting the criteria of law and life itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The collision of grammar and life

The cynic will scour each entry for just such an error of punctuation or misspelling, and declare that, indeed, the author’s own actions confirm such an event; the greater question, of course, is not that it occurred, but of what import or consequence.

There was a time, of just a few generations ago, where the number of noted authors, commentators and social giants measured by pen and ink, were counted by the hands of a single individual; now, with the diffuse pervasiveness which includes paper editions exponentially quantified by electronic media, as well as the vast array of blogs, comments and Internet “conversations” on Facebook, Twitter (who ever imaged that such a limited conceptual construct would be considered seriously in a political campaign; yet, on the other hand, the limitation of the numerical volume of words likely is proportional to the intellectual capacity of the user, as confirmed by current events), Instagram, etc.

From H.L. Mencken to Hemingway; of the age of Buckley and Vidal; the heyday of the wordsmith, replacing the blacksmith who had to work in the forge where life, the torturous heat of hell, and the reality of contending with trying to mold the harshness of nature’s metals, brought to the forefront the daunting task of trying to earn a day’s wages. But as the general rule is that quantity diminishes quality, and wider dissemination fails not to embody pervasive ignorance, so the collision of grammar and life occurs less with the advancement of technology and informational overload.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the primary focus in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is in that “write-up” of one’s Statement of Disability as required by SF 3112A.  That is, indeed, where grammar meets up with life, and the manner of prose, the punctuation advanced, and the words chosen, will all coagulate to present the force and ferocity of one’s evidentiary impact.  If represented, the lawyer will likely include a “legal memorandum” arguing your case, as well, through legal citations and references to the statutory and case-law basis upon which the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved.

In the end, life is rarely lived in a vacuum, and hermitages of yore when medieval fiefdoms were aplenty, no longer abound with plenitude of choices; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the preparation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is indeed a time when the collision of grammar and life may well occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability from Federal Government Employment: That departed innocence of yonder years

Whether we have become meaner as a whole, or that people have always been so and we just never knew it, we shall never know.  How does one contrast the incomparable?  What algorithm would be applied, which quantitative analysis, and how would a qualitative methodology of content-purity be administered?  Parity of differentiation would destroy any meaningful application; for, the generational divide would question the relevance of any prior criteria applied, and the subjectivity of inherent bias as to the meaning of innately elastic words would undermine the entire format.

Is there a natural yearning for a bygone age — of romanticizing a time never quite existing, somewhat skewed, and forever filtered through the antiseptic memory edited by time, desire and the psychology of protective devotion?  Do we selectively choose, whether unconsciously or with deliberative acuity, that which we want to preserve, like those museums housing reconstructed prehistoric beasts from mere fragments developed into an imaginative construct of creative fantasies?  Yet, there are clearly narratives which have annotated a different mentality, a structure of a departed innocence portraying a pastoral purity forever vanquished by modernity of vacuity.

Mark Twain’s works surely provide evidence of it; although, one has to read his works of later years to recognize that even he succumbed to the cynicism of life’s undesired experiences.  Look at the ending in Pudd’nhead Wilson; do any of the characters emerge victorious from the circumstances ascribed, or does the wheel of misfortune simply accept the inevitability of a world ensconced in the satire of fate as administered by gods who play with eternity and circumstances, like malevolent children with insects and matches?

Then, of course, there is Carl Sandburg’s depiction in, The Prairie Years —  but does that not prove the point?  Was it not merely a retrospective outlook of a selectively chosen era, characterized by age and want of holding on to yonder years forever lost and transcribed merely by an age of innocence never in existence but by device of mythologization (despite the ugliness of such a term)?  Yet, whether of reality or of tricking one’s self by some repressed psychological device, the human need to retain and preserve that departed innocence of yonder years, is a reality which is part and parcel of the complexity inherent in the phenomenology of sanity.

This is important to consider, especially for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who feels a sense of hopelessness and despondency, given the current situation of contending with a medical condition and where decisions concerning one’s future must be made.  For, when a medical condition begins to intervene, and the Federal or Postal employee must consider the probability of 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, the “surface” issues that must be contended with — of the unpleasantness of the circumstances themselves; the hostility of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the medical inability and incapacity resulting from the illness or injury; all of these are mere “appearances” which conceal a more substantive undercurrent of “reality” imposed.

For, like the yearning for that departed innocence of yonder years, the truth of the matter is that all human beings seek for, and desire, a sign of kindness — that simple act that costs nothing, but encompasses an untold value of meaningful touch which feels for a brief moment the brush of an angel’s garment as it shuffles silently by, leaving the warmth and floral scent of a life worth living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement System under FERS or CSRS: The footnote

Who reads them, anymore?  Defined as an ancillary or corollary piece of information beyond that which is stated in the body of the main text, the footnote represents that which reflects an addendum and not something that is considered “required reading”, but more likely for the benefit of those who enjoy quixotic minutiae and esoteric details of irrelevant import.*  As referenced in history, one who is relegated to the afterthought failed to reach the first order of things, and their lack of relevance is reflected by banishment to the bottom of the page.

Before computers were invented, long before the notion of “cut and paste” defined the laziness of intellectual prowess, the writer had to engage in prescient forethought, and calculate by measured deliberation the space to leave, the length of the footnote, and whether there was enough white-out left in the crusted bottle to make up for any lack of proper preparation.

The pretentiousness of the pseudo-intellectual, of course, was to have footnotes of greater length than the body of the text itself, spanning multiple pages so that the reader would become confused as to what constituted relevance in contrast to signification of purpose, where some pages barely had a sentence with but a horizontal mark demarcating the onerous esoterica of erudite irrelevancy.  And the worst, of course, is when a teacher or professor would ask a test question based upon one; for, again, the common refrain was twofold:  Who reads them?  Were we required to read them?  And the scoffing retort from the test-giver — that god amongst gods who held grades, fate and future plans in the palm of a single hand: If it was in the assigned material, it was “required reading”.

Much later, of course, we came to realize that “it was really good for us to read them” (though we never really believed such inane confessions), or to our own children, “When I was your age, and computers weren’t yet invented…” (with but a reactive facial expression beyond capacity to translate).  In the end (literally and figuratively), we all realize that the footnote itself represents mere distractions upon an otherwise ordered pagination of an author’s meanderings, and for ourselves, that they reflect a metaphor of who we are.

Most of us are treated as mere footnotes, left unnoticed, disregarded except for occasional reference by accident or happenstance.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has progressed to a deteriorating consensus of requiring an alternative plan of action, being treated as a footnote within a subtext of irrelevancy amongst a sea of bureaucratic inefficiency, is likely a feeling of growing concern.

As footnotes are deliberately disregarded, so the majority of people are like those masses of addendum relegated to unnoticed details of sub-citizenship.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often elevate one’s status and stature for a time, if only because the Agency or U.S. Postal Service is suddenly forced to read the footnote, and take notice of the subtext; but beyond that, it is the medical condition itself which relegates the Federal or Postal employee to that numbering at the bottom of the page and left to irrelevancy, precisely because you are not one of the “productive” ones.

How does one force the “outside world” to “read” you?

In the end, there is life beyond a career with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a first step in getting beyond being relegated to a mere footnote.

As with those generals who served alongside Eisenhower, Grant, Lee and forgotten Roman centurions, most of us are mere footnotes, and glad of it for the unnoticed joys we can embrace in the anonymity of our privacy, and for the Federal or Postal worker who wants to get beyond the notoriety accompanying that unwanted attention for merely having a medical condition — and thus temporarily assigned to the body of the “main text” for being a nuisance — preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM is often the first step towards asserting one’s rights to getting back to the footnote of time and timelessness, where most of us want to remain, in the cocoon of irrelevancy and historical afterthoughts.

 


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*Footnote 1:  Just to make sure; otherwise, refer to page 3,275 herein, where you will be required to obtain a special password and key in order to access a pseudo-intellectual forum of erudition within an ivory tower of confounding thoughts, for further reference to important commentaries otherwise pretentiously inserted in order to appear intelligently cogent.

 

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Balance and Order in a Lost World

Once achieved, death destroys; it is the anomaly of life, that the linear progression leads toward its own terminus, and by slow and incremental degeneration, its own vivacity is defined by a sense of self-immolation.  The realization of attainment almost always occurs upon surpassing the apex of an ordering of one’s life, and so the inevitable decline necessarily diminishes any joy derived from self-reflection of having achieved that balance and order for which we strive.

We can pursue a lifetime of studying Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and the goal to achieve eudaemonia by living a life of virtue in accordance with reason, and thus comply with the essence of who we are, what we define ourselves as, and thereby fulfilling the conceptual construct of our own inventions.  Or, we can “chuck it all” and attribute absurdity to the universe, genetic predisposition as the defining essence of our being, and justify the arbitrary course of our lives by deconstructing the classical ordering of our civilization’s teleology.

Few of us consider ourselves to be the master of our own destiny; and fewer still, of much influence in the steerage of our direction or course.  We tend to believe in the magic of, “If only…” while simultaneously ignoring our freedom from society’s constraints and liberty’s folly.  And when tragedy befalls, we blame the collective conspiracies of the gods who view us as mere playthings, fodder for unenlightened determinism no more complex than a belief in superstitions once thought lost in the antiquity of timeless reservoirs of forgotten bookshelves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must suddenly end his or her career because of a medical condition, because the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal worker to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position description, the loss of balance and order is not just a hypothetical paradigm, but a reality enforced by circumstances beyond one’s control.

Indeed, the “world” within which such balance and order is lost, is not attributable to some greater concept of geopolitical significance, but one which touches directly upon the ephemeral plight of the here and now.  The striving for balance and the need for order; these are fundamental constructs required to maintain sanity and joy; and when the imbalance of life combined with the disorientation tethered by an unexpected medical condition intersects upon the rhythm of daily living, the shaking up of an otherwise tranquil life can appear to be devastating.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the necessary step in order to maintain that balance and order forever sought, and now interrupted by the gods of chance; and while the penultimate destiny of life’s striving may now appear to have lost its rationality for direction and purpose, it is always in the striving that one finds a way, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is often a means to a further end, if only to again regain a semblance of that balance and order once gained, and now temporarily lost, in a world already lost but for the insular privacy of one’s own happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire