OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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 question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic extinguished

Once, we were all children.  Of dreams once entertained, and roles of play-acting embraced; when once lines between reality and fantasy blurred like the fireflies burning brightly against the midnight sky, only to disappear and reappear, then fade into the quietude of dawn’s inevitable encroachment; and we, like fairies and angels on wings of carefree butterflies, wrapped in colors unimaginable but for unfettered naiveness and fenceless pastures of creativity, ran through the fields of time unconcerned with the worries and tumults of adulthood and the withering trials of timeless eternity which one day, not long hence, would come to gather up the faces of consternation, because we had to “grow up”.

There was magic, then, unextinguished even for the child with forlorn eyes who was constantly yelled at, heard through the walls of societal ingratitude, and when friends and neighbors huddled and shrugged, hoping against fear that Emily would not be spanked and Benny would not be kept behind.  That magic became extinguished — not because we didn’t care, or that grownups can’t remember what it is like to be childlike and innocent; but because life intervenes, interrupts, and disrupts the flow of humanity; because meanness prevails and technology assails; and because, while we say we care, and some of us do, we just don’t care “enough”.

Then, there are the “realities” of life — of making a living, embracing a career, getting married and doing all of that “stuff” that entanglements with another soul comes bundled with, and suddenly the uncomplicated mind where a stick becomes a sword, a pasture becomes a battleground, and the short, fat kid is named Napoleon, disappears like the wisp of willows bending at the easterly winds suddenly snaps, and we are back to facing the problems of life.  And medical conditions.

That is often the tragic mold of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must cut short his or her career because of a medical condition; fortunately, however, under FERS & CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Does attaining an OPM Disability Retirement annuity bring back one’s childhood?  No.  Does it guarantee happiness? Nothing ever does.  But that is the telltale sign of adulthood — of recognizing the chasm between expectation and reality.  The process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is beset with potential bureaucratic entanglements and complex legal challenges which must be faced with calm rationality.

Brave hearts and vanguard souls must always face and endure, but it is often the best course of action in order to attain the next phase for one’s life, in order to care for one’s medical condition and achieve that level of equanimity for life’s future challenges.  Yes, perhaps the magic of childhood lore has been extinguished forever, and the adult life’s “stuff” has replaced those yawning days of make-believe; but of the future, what remains is that which we make of it, whether in making it up as we go or mucking it up further.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Disability for Federal Employees: Waiting upon life

Being “pro-active” is a feature of modernity born of necessity when survival and the basic needs for human existence are essentially met; in days of evolutionary antiquity, when Darwinism ruled the moment and the growling pangs of hunger rumbled through the darkened streets of industrial ghettos and slimy slums of toxic waste dumps where hutches made of cardboard and corrugated tin put together effortlessly in a collage of unregulated stream of consciousness as a counterrevolutionary statement of defiance against pristine lawns and ordered houses designed by the evil eye of a home owner’s association — in those days of yore, being anything “less than” meant that you perished.

You see it in the eyes — Plato’s window to the soul — of shell-shocked dullness in a watchful glare of passivity, wide and seemingly alert, but failing to see beyond the fears and thoughts of angst like a permanent screen door shut and forever blocking.

If we bifurcate the world into doers and thinkers, it is the former who scoff and shrug their shoulders at the contributions of the latter, when it is thought which must precede action, where action performing too presumptively may leave a residue of meaningless accomplishments.  There is a middle ground, of course, where thinkers and doers coordinate and cooperate, in conjoined effort to plan, coalesce and complete a mapped task of purposive teleology; but that is a rare effort, indeed.  Most people wait upon life; it is not a criticism, but a reality which is reflective of a truism undaunted in this age of virtual reality.

The powerless grumble that there is a conspiracy of malevolent forces which hold the ordinary man down; the powerful, on the other hand, sip their wine and look condescendingly down upon the common populous, noting how they smell, think not, and must be watched lest the last true societal upheaval — not the American Revolution, but the French one where beheadings were rampant and horror became a mainstay for the ruling class — revisit the echoes of modernity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the cost of waiting upon life can be costlier than the cost of doing; for, to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to “do the right thing” by you, is to wait upon the moon to drop from the sky in order to feed us cheese; bureaucracies, Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities of empathetic concerns; they are what they are, and must be dealt with in the manner purposive to their existence.

Thus, if a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the positioned duties, then the next logical step would be to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

To merely wait upon life is to petition for starvation, deprivation and declination of a rightful existence; to await a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service to accommodate a Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition is to hope that democratic elections will be held by North Korea’s vaunted leader — but then, there may still be some hope, if you are either an accomplished barber or Dennis Rodman (if you are unsure of the references made as to either, look up (A) Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle, and (B) the strange travels of that former basketball star).

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Meaning, Value and Worth

The last in the tripartite of this conceptual construct possesses a relational significance, where fluctuation of the assigned designation may occur based not upon extrinsic objectivity, but upon a personal sense of attachment, and thus the influence on a spectrum may artificially go up or down depending upon whims of fancy.  The middle term, on the other hand, is often seen to characterize an intrinsic scope, where the assignation of pricing can be determined by market forces, such as the capitalistic paradigm of scarcity of supply and increase in demand coalescing to determine the monetary stability of an essential rating of specified consideration.

The first in the series, then, encompasses both — where derivation attaches to an intrinsic specificity for a given item, but may also alter and amend based upon an intrinsic, personal aura.  It is, in the end, the first for which we strive; for it is meaning that gives fodder to our actions and persistent struggles, while value is that which we attach based upon the objective world around us, and worth can alternate between the historicity surrounding our relationship to the object or the cold detachment we can impart when loss of feeling results in despair.

Of what value does that which we do, have to us, or to the greater society?  That question is often determined by pay, promotions and accolades attributable to accomplishments recognized and applauded.  What is it all worth?  The unstated addendum to such a query, of course, is encapsulated in the following:  “…to you?”  For, worth is often clouded by a sentimental attachment or clouded histories of unknown psychosis; that is why auction houses and bidding wars attempt to portray an impervious face of dispassionate aplomb.

But for meaning, well…  Meaning is what we bring to the fore, embellished by our own sense of bloated narcissism, and derived from childhood dreams and sophomoric pretentiousness.  We attach too little to true value, and too much to sentimental worth.  And when it all comes crashing down because of the fragile house of cards upon which we built our lives, we sit in amazement and wonder, “What did it all mean?”  Such questions will often arise in the midst of a crisis.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a similarly troubling tripartite of parallelism — of meaning (corollary of the medical condition which erupts in questions of why); of value, where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service attaches extrinsic obstacles which signify the course of one’s future within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and worth, which must emanate first from the Federal or Postal worker within the standpoint of whether continuation with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is even practical, given the loss of meaning and the reduction of value to the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

In the end, the striving of life is encompassed by the tripartite of human mysteries; we search for meaning in a world devoid of determinable value, and must yet come to terms with the worth of ourselves in relation to the things we do.

That is why, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, preparing, formulating and 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 merely an intermediate step towards finding the next phase in the search for meaning in life, the value of the search, and the worth for which we struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Fear Untethered

It is of evolutionary advantage for a healthy dose to allow; what amount, whether it can be quantified, and to what extent instinct should be restrained before intersecting rage and reactive violence meet, is a question, a puzzle and a conundrum.  An animal in fear is both broken and dangerous, and the corollary of the two sides of a singular coin reveals the thin line between innate survival instincts which we attempt to linguistically describe, but are at a disadvantage precisely because words are ultimately inadequate in reflecting reality.

Tethering our fears is a lifelong process for everyone; the balance between healthy bridling and repressive dangers where outlets are disallowed but when expression of ignored or unattended trauma may erupt in later discourses of life and leniency of self, validates the delicacy of our sensitive natures.  To be overbearing or detachedly impervious; to allow for expression beyond therapeutic value, or to blithely shut down all channels of thought and numbing emotions of eruptive tremblings of sobbing heaves; the tightrope of life leaves little room for error on either side of the equation.

We often speak in terms of “how much” and “what amount”, as if human frailty can be mixed in a crockpot of ingredients thrown by whim of recipe; a dash of solvent emotion here, a teaspoon of corrective stoicism over here.  The reality of the situation is that fear rules most of us; we just never allow the untethering of it to be revealed too soon, for greater fear of being found out, like the emperor whose clothes we knew to not exist, but were too cowardly to admit, until the boldness of a child took the lead in shattering the facade of our own making.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the emotion of fear is a known quantity.  Little fiefdoms and feudal fares of power plays occur as daily soap operas unraveling despite the bureaucracy of rules, regulations and administrative forces of containment.

Then, when the Federal or Postal employee begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten and impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability or capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the fears which were once effectively tethered begin to uncoil, as future uncertainty and suspicion of motives in the unexplained actions of others and the agency whispers begin to foment those recesses of evolutionary cries for survival and rage.

Medical conditions tend to do that:  they feed upon themselves, and exponentially magnify and exacerbate those very fears we were previously able to restrain, contain and maintain.  It is important in the time of fear and untethering of emotions, to seek wise counsel and obtain some direction in preparing, formulating and filing for 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.

For, in the end, fear untethered is like the pinnacle of the forgotten nightmare, when the abyss of sweat and trembling reaches a climax of unknown proportions, and when screams are no longer heard, pleas no longer considered, and the grace of angels flying beyond into the netherworld of residues where the golden dust of forgiveness is sprinkled afar.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire