OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Working to preclude

Aren’t most of us perennially, incessantly, constantly and by chronic despair in that “emergency mode” of operating through life?

We are working to preclude: Some imagined disaster; some trouble just around the corner; some depth of a hole we cannot dig ourselves out of; and some problem that we are thinking about that is developing that we are not yet aware of.  Few of us actually work with a positive attitude to build; fewer still with a confidence that tomorrow will bring some answers; and rarely, of that person who does not work to preclude.  Caution is the mainstay of a troubled past that left a child anxious, uncertain, self-conscious and entirely lacking of self-confidence.

That is why that wide arc of “self-esteem” training that began to spread about in the classrooms and throughout communities took hold – in the false belief if we just kept saying to a child, “You are worthy” or poured accolades and trophies just for showing up, that somehow we would counteract the deep imprints left upon the cuts and scars that were perpetrated by homes of divorce, emotional devastation and incompetent parents.

Working to preclude is often a form of sickness; it is the constant scrambling to try and play prevent defense, and how often have we seen an NFL game where the team that scores first and many times ends up losing because they spent the rest of the game working to preclude?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering 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, the constant effort in working to preclude the Federal Agency from putting you on a Performance Improvement Plan (acronym “PIP”), issuing a letter of warning, or proposing a removal based upon excessive absenteeism, being on LWOP for too long, or for poor performance, leaves a hollow feeling of an uphill battle that can never ultimately be won.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a step away from working to preclude – it is, instead, a positive first step towards securing a future that is otherwise as uncertain as one’s efforts in working to preclude.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Morning quietude

It is that early morning time when dogs remain still, mice scurry about and the soft snore of distant somber drifts down hallways without traffic of daily discourse.  Morning quietude is a slice of a coming day before the tumult of life begins.

Modernity possesses a level of activity heretofore untried and unimaginable; the constant barrage of emails, the connectedness that everyone feels pressured to comply with; the fact that we are glued to technology, dependent upon it, anticipating it for satisfying our every needs; and beyond the storms of everyday living, there is still a need for that brief period of morning quietude.  It is, in many ways, an extrapolated slice of a metaphorical interlude; for, like the stages of a linear life itself, there are periods of extremes that can be charted on any graph that reflects the daily heights and depths of human activity.

The other side of the spectrum, of course, is the nighttime rest – whether of the need for a period of “down-time” before turning in for the night; or even of sleep itself: how difficult, whether immediate or preceded by a period of insomnia; or even of tossing and turning throughout each night, every night.  Then, morning quietude dawns.  Does it last for very long, or will the rush of the day’s noisiness shatter any semblance of peaceful calm?

Medical conditions are likened to those mornings shaken and interrupted.  For, with unexpected rudeness, they awaken us from that slumber we feel where we were once immortal, invincible and unchallenged.  Then, one day we wake up and realize that we are all too human, and our bodies deteriorate, our minds begin to slip.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates one to begin considering 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, it is like that interruption of morning quietude that finally makes us realize that one has no choice in the matter.

Just as the peace and calm of early morning cannot last forever, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job cannot sit idly by and watch as events continue to deteriorate at one’s job, in one’s personal life, and the clash between health and work.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the next logical step after the morning quietude is broken – when the mice no longer make noises and the dogs begin to bark.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Little battles fought

It is the minor skirmishes of life that maintain the vitality of everyday existence; they are fought in preparation for the greater battles and campaigns.  That is why a ‘strategy’ is important; otherwise, taking the same hill countless times in a day leads one to wonder what the greater plan is.  For, futility and the sense of meaninglessness are what defeat any motivation to continue.  Incentives for advancement; a sense of growth and an optimism for the future; these and other values are what one fights for, engages in skirmishes, and those little battles that are fought with a worthwhile sense of gaining something.

Medical conditions, especially of a chronic kind, tend to diminish the will to fight.  They not only weaken and debilitate; they begin to eat away at any sense of accomplishment and striving for those valued goals.  It is, in the end, a sense of hope for which we all fight the little battles fought; otherwise, the major wars would fail to be worthwhile.

Medical conditions are the “unfair” factor in any war, sort of like roadside bombs planted in this new war of hit-and-run attacks.  They often come upon one slowly; and whether in a sudden, traumatic event or evidencing a slow progression of debilitation and subtle changes over a period of days and months, the insidiousness of not knowing how to battle it, of doctors telling of being patient, of medications themselves sometimes having worsening side effects that complicate, exacerbate and exponentially magnify in frequency, severity and other realms of wounds endured – these all cumulatively combine to create a sense of frustration like fighting an enemy you cannot see and will never be able to actually “fight” in the traditional sense.

That is why preparing, formulating and filing 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, is an important step in those “little battles fought” – for, unless the little ones are taken care of, the large ones that loom ahead may not be properly engaged in.

Reorganizing priorities; focusing upon one’s health; determining the future course of relevancy; these are all part of the metaphorical battles to be fought, but for the individual who experiences the medical condition and specifically for the Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, they are no less real than the sudden devastation of a roadside bomb exploding beneath one’s Humvee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Annuity after a Disability in the Federal Workplace: Formulaic writings

It is both of predictability and boredom that we seek when enjoying such genres of form and content – of the “formula” in a who-dunit, or a love story that brings together two unlikely individuals in their awkwardness and geekiness, but somehow overcomes the considerable odds and obstacles placed in their way (and we don’t ask, in a 2-hours snippet, how can so much happen to two people when not even a smidgeon of such events were faced in our entire lifetimes?) and ending with an orchestral crescendo that brings tears that raises handkerchiefs throughout the audience, which we all quickly stuff into our back pockets with embarrassing quickness when the lights are turned on.

But that formulas could be applied to real life, and not just in presentations that appear slick, without error and marketed with such efficiency that we think it is just that the “other person” is naturally good at it, and we are not.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  Formulaic writings, formulaic plays, formulaic movies, formulaic – lives?

Perhaps it exists in the fictional world of fairytales and corporate pathways where certain individuals – whether because of the family name, the tradition of old wealth, or those “connections” that the inner circle depends upon for their very survival – are groomed towards reaching the top in some predetermined formulaic manner.  But for the rest of us, our lives are more likened to the undisciplined ocean where storms come at unexpected and unpredictable moments; strong surges and wind currents destroy that which we have so carefully built; and our ship’s rudder suddenly fails to guide or lead us towards our intended destinations.

There is no formula.  We are left without a map, less a compass, and more and more without the guidance of our parents or grandparents because, they, too, have become as clueless as the rest of society.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition has interrupted their career goals, hope for the future and dreams of security – preparing 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, may become a necessity.

Then, when one researches and looks at SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, one realizes that the questions posed are the same posed to everyone who files – and so the information requested is based upon some “formulaic” approach from the agency’s side of things; but what about the individual Federal or Postal employee’s side of it?  Is there, also, a “formulaic” approach to winning a Federal Disability Retirement case?

Like everything else in life, it always seems as if the slick advantage that the large bureaucracy possesses is overwhelmingly in favor of going against the Federal or Postal employee.  However, there is, indeed, a “formulaic” response – and that is the “laws” that govern Federal Disability Retirement.

Life in general may not always have a winning formulaic approach, but in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to at least garner the formulaic support of the laws that protect and preserve.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Minor pleasures

At what point does the transference occur?  Minor pleasures are those interludes in life that make for everything to become, and remain, worthwhile; sometimes, because of various tumults in our lives, the designation of “minor” becomes altered, and becomes “major” – like the dream fulfilled of that kid who toiled in the minor leagues for so many years and finally got his big break by being called up to the majors.

Is such an indication of a metamorphosis a harbinger of something else?  If the minor pleasures of life – coffee with a piece of chocolate; reading a favorite book; a swim in the ocean; an early morning walk (or run) with the dog; or even a weekend, afternoon nap – are suddenly taken away, what (major) consequences would accrue?  Does subtraction of it, or negation of the enjoyment, determine the substantive input and extent of the designation?

If it is missed to the point where it makes you miserable, does it indicate that it was never “minor” to begin with, but of major proportions all along, but you just didn’t realize it?

How about its opposite – a “minor irritant” – does that possess a meaning encompassing a parallel but corollary effect?  What if your “significant other” engaged daily in a habit that irritated you, but in a minor way – you know, those things that, when you were dating (or, to show your age, applying the anachronistic terminology of “courting”) or just hanging out together until you both decided to make the arrangement permanent, it all seemed “cute” and attractive, but now is a bothersome dig, but not enough to engage a war over – like blowing one’s nose loudly in public, or picking one’s toenails and leaving the remains on the bathroom floor; or leaving a door unlocked, etc.

At what point does a “minor” irritant become a major one?  When you get into a fight and you point out the laundry list of such irritants?

But take it in another sense – all of a sudden, that significant other dies or departs, and you realize that all of those irritants are suddenly missed, and you actually wish that you were tormented by them, because they amount to minor pleasures that awaken the dull sensibilities of life’s monotony.

Medical conditions can be like that – like a minor irritant that becomes a major complaint.  Or, the absence thereof can be the minor pleasure, where you remember that once, not so long ago, you were fit and healthy, and just the mere fact of a medical condition’s absence is a minor pleasure in life.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, the question is, What is the point of life’s minor pleasures?  Is it to make everything else tolerable, or to be enjoyed regardless?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often not just a necessity, but a path towards regaining a sense of balance – of asserting those minor pleasures in life that have been erased and eradicated because of the constant harassment at work and the hostility that kills all joy.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is just the first step in the long road towards getting an approval from OPM. But it is a worthwhile step, especially if the goal of life itself is to enjoy those minor pleasures of living – like attending to one’s health as a priority in order to once again relish those minor pleasures.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Forgetting for a moment

It is a game we play, or perhaps “have to” in order to retain our fantasy-world and “pretend” selves. We like to think that we gave up, long ago, those childish dreams and fantasies we engaged and tolerated as younger selves, and that as adults we must daily face the realities of problems encountered, difficulties arisen and turmoil challenged.  But we haven’t.  We have merely replaced it with another, more productive methodology of play-acting: Forgetting, for the moment.

Perhaps it occurs when we take a day off; or engage in a sports activity, like golf or a pick-up game of basketball where we can imagine ourselves in our glory days, not quite good enough to become pro or even semi-pro, but better than most by sheer force of will, practice and dominance of creative moves that would be whistled away as a travel violation by any half-competent referee, but in the imaginative world of concrete basketball, we can take those extra steps, much like Michael Jordan used to do under the “Jordan Rule” of play.

What we forget; how we forget; the technique of forgetting; whether and why; when and where; these all depend upon individual circumstances and requirements of the day, forged with dependencies, co-dependencies and enablers of time and leisure.

Perhaps it is by daydreaming; or sitting in a café fantasizing of having won the lottery; or in simply watching a television show or a movie where, just for a moment, you can forget everything and become consumed by the story, the special effects and the emotional upheaval of the actors and actresses on the flat screen of make-believe.  Then, of course, in the next moment, or sometime thereafter, reality sets in and we must go about the daily business of living.

The one component in life that makes the whole activity of “forgetting for a moment” difficult, is when you are suffering from a medical condition.  For, a medical condition never seems to “let up”, never allows for a moment of forgetfulness, and never ceases to remind.

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 position, not only will the medical condition itself not allow for forgetting for the moment, but it is also the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service that also disallows such momentary distractions.

Life is always a bundle of problems, but when you are a Federal or Postal employee, that bundle of problems comes with it a greater bundle when you are beset with a medical condition.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best option available, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement is probably the next best course of action to undertake in this long and complex road where, at the end of it all, you may be able to engage in that most pleasurable of activities: Forgetting for a moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire