Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The persistent tinnitus of life

The root word that contains a valid diagnosis of a medical condition, sometimes comes about gradually, others at a persistent rate of uncommon urgency; and whether by emanation of a serious, primary condition such as Meniere’s Disease, a brain tumor or cardiac elements impacting upon the heart or blood vessels, or mere residuals from a short-lived ear infection, the low, persistent ringing can interrupt and disrupt focus, concentration, attention to detail, and lead to depression, anxiety and panic that the idea of sounds being heard without the objective world recognizing or acknowledging them, can indeed be disturbing.

Tinnitus is a serious medical condition; yet, while we seek treatment for such a state of health deviancy, we allow the persistent tinnitus of life to surround, abound and confound us throughout.  The persistent tinnitus of life is almost an unavoidable juggernaut in modernity.   Yes, we can make the inane argument that, as we are the gatekeepers that can allow, deny or limit the access granted on any given day, who can withstand the active and passive onslaught of daily and onerous, oppressive bombardment of the multitudinous spires of high-speed jettisoning of such information overload on a daily, consistent basis?

From blaring headlines screaming while standing passively in a grocery store, to gas pumps that speak back to you with the selective entertainment headlines of the day; from unsolicited advertisements personalized to one’s computer based upon information provided and shared despite every precautionary steps taken, to mediums of electronic communication that are depended upon and mandated in this day and age just to remain employed; we cannot put a wall between the need for a soul’s quietude and the persistent tinnitus of life.  If not completely, then how about in some limited form?

The trick, then, is not to succumb completely, nor attempt to sequester one’s self in a hermitage of complete abandonment; rather, to selectively distinguish between information of useless human detritus from that of relevance and significance; in short, between Orwellian linguistic garbage and that which constitutes “wisdom”.

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 importance of limiting the persistent tinnitus of life applies to the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, especially by recognizing the distinction between truth and falsity, between objective facts and inaccurate innuendoes; for, in the end, the medical disability retirement application must contain the facts to persuade, the evidence to establish, and the legal arguments to consider, and in order to do that, one must resist the persistent tinnitus of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The clinical language

The antiseptic nature of language allows for the euphemism of linguistic cloaking to occur.  The corollary effect, however, is that it fails to provide a nexus to the humanity lost, and allows for an arrogance of language by imparting its distance and separation from warmth.

Clinical language has that characteristic, steeped in the mysterious and archaic history of Gregorian chants at altars once embodying the Eucharist’s theological secrets of transubstantiation with the priesthood undulating in phrases foreign to ears of modernity; and from that same pocket of incomprehensible linguistic sophistication that only New Englanders like Buckley and other intellectuals would bandy about with phrases we all nod at as if we understood them, comes the cold, clinical language that doctors, nurses and psychiatrists use in diagnosing conditions beyond the mere commoner’s ability to realize.

The clinical language bifurcates and objectifies; it is a way of keeping the discussion on a level of discourse where human emotions need not enter, will not intercede, and cannot invade through the impenetrable walls of the rational side of the brain.  Perhaps there is a need for that; a want, a desire and a worthiness to maintain that distance, so that the topics delineated, explained and obfuscated can be accomplished without the emotional turmoil of those consequences resulting from the realization that one is damaged goods beyond repair.

In the end, however, when the patient goes back home, discusses it with family, friends and close relations, the interpretive process must by necessity be utilized.

In former times, dictionaries were taken out, root words were defined and the Latin phrases whispered in secret murmurings of incantations incomprehensible were untangled, discerned and disassembled.  In modernity, we Google them and have the algorithm of computer intelligence in sunny California interpret the words for us to digest.  Then, the translation into the emotive language of kitchen-held talks in hushed tones where children strain to listen from stairwells around the corner; and tears wept, confidences given and lost, and the upheavals of families in crisis where the clinical language has been demythologized and demystified so that even the everyday person can recognize the human toil of a ravaged body and mind.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, whether that medical condition has been diagnosed in clothing termed by the clinical language used by the medical profession, or already interpreted in common everyday usage, the plan is to prepare an effective, understandable, cogent and coherent Federal Disability Retirement application, and one that can bridge that gap from phrases barely comprehensible to linguistic descriptions that present a viable case.

Doctor’s reports and office notes, clinical narratives and treatment records are all useful and necessary, but in order to create that legal nexus of presenting a persuasive argument and meeting the standard of proof of preponderance of the evidence in a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is always a good idea to interpret and translate that clinical language into a delineation that touches upon the everyday emotions common to us all, by breaking down the bifurcated walls and allowing for the warmth of humanity to pervade the narrative of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The compromised life

We all make them, though we deny it.  Iconoclasts scorn it; the extremes of either side scoff at it; and, in the end, it reflects the reality of who we are, how we live, and by what vaunted principles we purportedly possess.

On a theoretical level, it is easy to remain the stalwart – that singular entity standing on principle and commitment.  The one who has never experienced war – to express beliefs of “courage”, “unwavering loyalty” and blind bravery declared in wrappings of the flag and national identity.  Or of fidelity and traditional values despite personal shortcomings of multiple marital infidelities and 3 or 4 marriages, with the devastation of a trail of longing children with a hole in each heart, wishing that principles could be exchanged for a single memory of playing catch on a summer’s day.

If you are sequestered whether by wealth or capacity to ignore, it is easy to shout out principles; but, then, when the test of life intrudes, the failings of reality reconstitute an extraordinary hypothetical into a quivering crumbling of an ordinary person.

Ordinariness is certainly rarely looked upon as the paradigm to follow, and the argument often goes:  You never want to dumb down deviancy (Moynihan’s famous phrase extrapolated from a generation or two ago, lost forever by events of social and cultural turmoil hence), and so, even if no one actually lives like the pinnacle of beautiful thoughts and voices stated by writers, essayists and politicians (who themselves bifurcate “personal conduct” from the espoused rhetoric emitted from hollow mouths with a dead-panned look of seriousness), the common masses are admonished by rebukes of being responsible for the “cultural rot” that dissipates throughout.

Reality has a way of compromising the apex of beautiful words, paragraphs, pages and entire narratives of a singular life.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may be preventing the Federal or Postal worker from being able to perform all of the essential elements of the position occupied, the concept of a compromised life is now a reality.  For, the sequential perspective of what is expected – of continuing until retirement age a career fulfilled, with regular promotions and deserved merit pay – may need to be ‘adjusted’ in accordance with the reality of life’s impositions.

Having a compromised life and accepting the compromises of life’s misgivings is not a sin, nor a diminution of one’s principled belief-system; instead, in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is merely a recognition that theoretical foundations were always meant to be modified, and those speechifying vanguards of social commentators never meant the fulfillment of their own words, anyway, and it was always the compromised life that reflected the reality of the boorish insistence that we were angels and gods unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: The Clock

It is an interesting device.  We can try and project back to a time of its non-existence, or at least when not every household owned one.  What could it have been like?  Where the hour was guessed at by the position of the sun – or was that not even part of the thought process?  Did the sun, dawn, dusk and twilight merely present a foreboding for a different paradigm?

Certainly, minutes and seconds likely had conceptual meaninglessness, and everyone worked, played and lived for the “moment”, without great regard or concern for the next day, the following season, or a decade hence.  Ship’s captains had a greater sense of future foreboding, though not necessarily of time, but of oncoming storms or changes in the currents; farmers lived season to season, and fretted as they still do about droughts or floods that might destroy crops; but as we entered into modernity, it was the grind of the clock that set the day for the city dweller, where payment for labor earned was remitted not by the rising and setting of the sun, but by increments of hours, minutes and labor beyond the darkness of a day ended.

At what point did time entrap us into a thought-process of expectancy that destroys the joy of a living moment?

If Friday provides a needed anticipation for a weekend of rest and repose, we immediately destroy and capacity to enjoy it by looking at the clock and realizing how many hours and minutes have passed by, and further denigrate our ability to appreciate by calculating the remainder of time.  We can become obsessed with the clock – its ticking diminution by projecting the decrease; the foreboding of what is yet to come, though it is merely within our minds; and the constant checking of incremental living of a life as against the clock that rules.

Medical conditions tend to remind us of the clock; or, perhaps it is the opposite, where the clock reminds us of our mortality when we suffer from a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity, the clock can serve as both a reminder as well as an obsession of foreboding thought processes.

Yes, the clock is likely ticking in a proverbial sense in terms of the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service having the patience (does such an animal exist for either?) in trying to “work with” the medical condition (a euphemism often interpreted as, “You better become fully productive soon, or else”), but in a more real sense, the Federal or Postal employee must make a decision at some point as to the prioritizing of one’s health as opposed to the positional elements of the job which is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to fulfill.

By law, the Federal or Postal employee who is released, separated or terminated (yes, there is a distinction between the three, but for the Federal employee of Postal worker, not enough of significance to define them here), the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of such separation from service.  Certainly, in that instance, the clock begins to tick, and not just in a proverbial sense but in real legal terms.  One need not, however, wait for such an event to realize the clock’s significance; watching the clock as the medical condition continues to deteriorate, is reminder enough that time rules us each day whether or not we succumb to it, or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire