FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The tenuous seat

It may be that where you are sitting, you have that constant sense of insecurity and angst; that the legs that are currently holding you upon the wooden seat are unstable, questionable, perhaps even possessing a history of prior breakage and collapse.  Is the position you hold flimsy, weak, subject to the winds of change and the moods that prevail?

Life isn’t supposed to be that way; or so we are taught from a young age.  There are “rules of the game”; people “have to” abide by certain unspoken (or openly declared) constrictors of behavioral acceptability; and yet, the rule-breakers seem always to be able to flaunt the exceptions and sidestep, overstep and trample upon the boundaries that everyone else must abide by.

The tenuous seat is the one that the person sensitive of and susceptible to the whims of societal constructs so diligently struggles to abide by; it is the vulnerable who always pays the price, while the brash and uncaring go on and pass by everyone else.  The tenuous seat is the one that the ordinary person sits upon; then, when a medical condition comes along and weakens the structural foundations even further, the very wobbling legs that barely withstood the vicissitudes of time begin to fracture and reveal their internal fissures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of sitting in the tenuous seat because the impact of the medical condition is beginning to take its toll, it is time to make plans to secure a more stable future — or, metaphorically, to consider sitting in another chair.

The tenuous seat is the one you have been sitting in for these past several years, and it is time to play the rules of the game of musical chairs, and to find the one that will “fit” the seat of your pants, by 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.

The tenuous seat is the one that needs repair, and the one that needs repair is also the one that needs replacement.  When life’s chair that once provided a sense of stability and rest begins to wobble with the changes of time, it is an indication that the next step in the musical chairs of life’s stormy periods calls upon the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the steps to embrace the change; it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes exclusively in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Leaving without a Blip

Remember those old films, of silence, submarines and sonars (an acronym we have forgotten from the combination of terms, SOund, Navigation And Radar)?

There were those tense moments of complete silence, where heartbeats and perspiration could be palpably heard when life and death depended upon it, and the moment when someone coughed or dropped an object at the crucial moment; then, the sudden entrance of old Navy footage of depth charges being flung like spitballs from a rubber band, splashing into the ocean, then the angst of awaiting the slow sinking until the violent detonation of that camera-shaking explosion.

Was it close enough to have caused damage?  Can the heavy metal doors be shut in time to prevent deadly flooding?  Can the engineer fix the dent in the tin can just enough to chug along to the nearest base for further repair?  In the end, it all depended upon the blip on the screen, as the clockwork motion of the round screen revealed the positioning of the enemy vessel as the ghostly residue of existence left behind one’s presence, if only for a brief moment in time.

It is, in many ways, a metaphor for all lives; as merely a blip on a screen, and whether we are noticed, to what extent, by whom, and if one’s location deserves the catapult of a depth charge, or to be ignored as not warranting an adversarial response.

That is often how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contend with a medical or health condition which threatens to cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service:  Has enough of a blip been made?  Will a greater blip, or a longer presence of that ghostly residue on the clock-like screen, make up for the difference of extinguishment of existence?

There are those who enter a room quietly, and leave without notice; others, who must make a splash with each entrance, and falter in the exit because they have extended their welcome beyond polite niceties; and still others, who refuse to leave until formal recognition has been wrought from gated societies of diminished returns.  Which is preferable —  a blip which returns with a detonating device, or barely a yawn with the resulting quietude of an unnoticed exit?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a OPM Disability Retirement application — the question of being noticed or leaving a lasting mark is often a subconscious pull which unknowingly damages or delays.

But like the submarine in those old films, it is always the capacity and ability to control that moment of anxiety and fear which propels the successful endeavor of formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and lest we forget, avoidance of the depth charge is just an indicator of how much of a blip we really were, and not a precursor of what ghostly residues the Federal or Postal worker may become on the clockwork screen for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Resigning from Federal Employment and Filing for OPM Disability Retirement

Resignation is what the adversary wants; it is rarely an innate condition of the human animal.  Whether one believes in the evolutionary process of incremental genetic adaption, progression and determinism, or that the gods of traditional theology puts forth a teleological foundation, the concept of “giving up” possesses an inherent shrinking away, a repugnance and a natural inhibitor to an act which constitutes surrender and, in some corners of thought, betrayal to self.

But the will of human beings is what separates from the genus of that which we derive; and as monks can defy instinct and sit in burning bonfires of self-immolation, and sheer determination of will-power can overcome fear, the rush of adrenaline and the propulsion of compulsive irrationality through reasoned guidance, so there may be times when resignation carries with it a compelling basis which justifies the action.

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 issue of resignation is often at the forefront for multiple and varied reasons:  the agency often suggests it (which, in and of itself, should not be a basis for acting, as the self-interest of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service should not be the paramount concern during such a time of turmoil when a medical condition is impacting the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service); where all Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA rights have been exhausted, and the inability to maintain a regular work schedule has resulted in the initiation of disciplinary actions by the agency (here, the language contained in any such action proposed by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service may be of some use in a Federal Disability Retirement application); or where other pragmatic decisions may be contemplated, such as the ability to access one’s TSP in order to financially survive during the process of waiting for a decision on a pending Federal Disability Retirement application, as well as multiple other unnamed reasons too numerous to discuss within the confines of this limited forum.

Whatever the underlying reasons and rationale, there is often an instinctive reaction, a repugnance and resistance, in engaging an act which is tantamount to surrendering one’s career and “walking away”.  There may, in the end, be compelling reasons to perform such an act, and not all actions involving resignation constitute a reflection of a desperate need.  If reviewed calmly, and decided rationally after due consideration of all of the factors and elements involved, such an act of apparent self-destruction may in fact be the most prudent course of action which perpetuates the genetically-determined embracing of evolutionary survivability, or the voice of gods long whispering in the echoing reverberations of Dante’s concentric circles of ever-impending escape from the fires of hell.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Problematic Loss of Confidence

Confidence is an ethereal character trait; in some ways, it is self-perpetuating, as success relies upon it, and feeds it, which in turn reinforces any lack thereof.  At once fleeting but full, the loss of it can be devastating.

For some, a mere look of doubt or suspicion from others can undermine the fullness of possession one may have had of it just a moment before; for others, whether lack of competence or never having had any reason for possession of it appears to matter not, and like self-esteem in the generation of modernity and “me”, a complete void of accomplishments seems not to overturn those who accumulate an abundance of it.  But weakness or negation from outside sources can be the final straw in undermining that sensitive sense of self, and a medical condition which attacks the body, mind and psyche of an individual can be devastating.

Thus, when the Federal or Postal employee who has confidently strode throughout a long and satisfying career, whose performance has raised eyebrows of accolades beyond mere efforts of competence, and where performance reviews have always included adjectives and superlatives searched out beyond mere templates previously applied with thoughtless automation, the introduction of a medical condition into the life of such a Federal or Postal employee can be like the Martian Chronicles revealing the strangeness of alien cultures clashing in a battle of titans heard beyond the roar of civilizations long lost and forgotten.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle with this, resist the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because the disbelief is overwhelming that, somehow, this loss of what was once taken for granted, could possibly be.  But as “possibility” includes the building of concrete structures in thin air, whereas “probability” involves the hard computation of one’s life and “reality-living” in a harsh and uncaring universe, so the Federal or Postal employee must take into account that past foundations of accomplishments may not uphold the confidence once shared and held by a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Confidence, indeed, is like the golden dust sprinkled sparingly by the fluttering angels of yesteryear; and today is a dawn of dying expectations, where the harsh realities of a medical condition must be faced with a freshness of purpose, reserved for that fight which may require one’s presence on a day in future pasts, unforseen and as of yet unfought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Devising Escape Routes

What a person spends his or her time doing away from work, reveals much as to how one’s work will be accomplished.  If one attempts immediately to build protective walls around the core of a project in an effort to stave off potential marauders, as opposed to focusing upon the substantive essence of the idea itself, then perhaps the vulnerability of the project itself will begin to manifest.

Our own fears often overwhelm; but healthy fear can be a positive use of an evolutionary tool meant to apprise and alert.  It is only when it becomes an impediment and obstacle for progress and advancement that our own self-immolative actions begin to impact our capacity to grow.  There is a delicate balance between healthy fear and that which lends itself to self-destruction.  Proper evaluation and analysis of a circumstance or situation is required in order to establish the former; for the latter, a groundless allowance without facts or evaluative input.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the question often becomes, At what point do I begin to consider escape routes?  Do I need to devise them, or are the mechanisms already in place?

Escape routes are devised in response to dangers present; and often it will appear as if the manifestation of a medical condition will bring out the worst in others.  Isn’t that an anomaly in and of itself — that one’s own deterioration of health will impact the behavior of others, in a derogatory manner?  But that is precisely what a “stress test” is for, is it not?  It is never in the best of circumstances that reveals the true nature of a thing; rather, it is under adverse conditions which unravel the artificial appendages with which we camouflage.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat like an “escape route”, in that it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to exit from the adversity of circumstances, and plan for one’s future.  One need not “devise” it, to the extent that it is “already there” — a benefit for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum number of years of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).

For the Federal or Postal employee considering such a route, the priorities of life should always prevail:  Focus upon one’s health in an effort to remain (for those who are beset with a medical condition which is “work-related”, filing for Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits may be the first option to consider); then, if it becomes clear that one’s medical condition is impacting the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and that the medical condition will last a minimum of 1 year (and it should be emphasized that one does not need to wait for a year in order to determine this aspect; rather, it is merely a medical prognosis that the medical condition will likely last at least 12 months or more that is required), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

In the end, it is not a matter of devising escape routes, but rather of recognizing the limits of human endurance, evaluating one’s place within the context of growing adversity, then acting upon those exit points available and allowable — then to make a proper decision for one’s self, and for one’s family and future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire