Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Kokeshi doll

They are wooden dolls that are colorful, with expressions painted upon that remain frozen except for the change that naturally occurs when viewed from differing angles of sight, reflecting altered perspectives and modified vantage points depending upon one’s own emotions.  They sit on tabletops, shelves and can be a child’s playmate, though parents often view them more valuably as display items rather than taking the chance that the little brother may play them as reenactments of a prior war imagined to be fought by banging pieces of wood and throwing them against the yet-undamaged wall.

The heads are often disproportionately larger than the remainder of the body; and the rest and remainder, often just a block of smoothed wood with hands painted in a one-dimensional pattern, revealing no motion but straddling limply alongside the rectangular shape, like a submissive figure shuffling down life’s difficult trials in the daily struggles we all face.

The Kokeshi doll never complains, but always delights; never talks back, but eternally agrees; and never fails to bring light into a dark corner, but forever allows for a reminder that it is the trivial joys of life that make for worthwhile endurance in times of misgivings.  We are all, in many ways, expected to be like these inanimate objects that we have projected our own emotional well-being upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the fact that you are no longer able to remain impassive, implacable, disaffected and unmoved by the manner in which the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has begun to treat you, is not an extraordinary insight to possess and be suddenly enlightened by.

Though we may enjoy the delightful colorfulness of a Kokeshi doll, we cannot expect to be nor act like one.  It was always the productivity released, the competence revealed and the level of contribution inputted that made the Federal or Postal employee “valuable” to a Federal agency or a Postal facility; but when a medical condition hits a person, it is simply “not right” that the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service should treat the Federal or Postal employee as merely another Kokeshi doll who should remain quiet and unperturbed standing in a corner.

Thus, when the Federal agency or Postal facility fails to treat the Federal or Postal employee as something more than the inanimate object a Kokeshi doll ultimately is, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before that rough-and-tumble younger brother comes along and really begins to mistreat that block of wood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Between balance and perspective

Between the two is a chasm often unnoticed, where the preface to either and both may be a skewed outlook or a myopic view of an issue, a trope of a trolley of hardships gone uncontrollably berserk; and once a person “gets over” the emotional turmoil of a reaction steeped in feelings, sensibilities and angst, then a certain condemnation of “balance” may arise, which then allows for a different “perspective” to develop.

Balance is often thought to come after perspective, as if the former is the more important conclusion to arrive at, whereas the latter is merely likened to the prefatory problems encountered to begin with.  But balance merely provides the spectrum; the weights at each end may now allow for a proper judgment and determination, but only as to the quantitative bunching of problems to be faced.

Perspective, on the other hand, allows one to take a step back and review the qualitative potentialities of a consortium of issues otherwise unavailable without the weighing of all issues simultaneously, to be evaluated, analyzed and judged upon.

It is that pause and moment between the two, however, that allows for the former to result in the productivity of the latter, and without that split, abbreviation and semicolon of reality, we may jump from the proverbial frying pain into the fires of our own making.  For, we like to think of ourselves as “rational” (whatever that means) and imbued with a capacity to view things in a “balanced” way, thus allowing a reasoned “perspective” upon all matters of importance.

In the end, however, do we ever follow the advice of sages long past, dead anyway, and suspected of gross negligence by the incomprehensible garnishment of society’s lack of empathy and understanding?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suddenly, or over a period of time, 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue is often one of balance and perspective – how do I make a “right” decision that balances all of the issues involved?  And what is the “proper” perspective to arrive at, given all of the jumble of issues – whether legal, real, imagined or feared?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important decision to make from any perspective, and in order to arrive at a “balanced” judgment on the matter, the Federal or Postal employee needs to allow for that pause between balance and perspective to include a third-party voice to intervene and provide some advice; the only question is, will that comma or semicolon that allows for soundness of judgment be from a friend or cousin who may not have a clue, or from an experienced attorney who may be able to fill in the gap between the balanced perspective in making a proper decision?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement Benefits: Linguistic Machismo

The term is derived from Spanish origins, and it is that characteristic which contributed most to the rise of Hemingway’s fame, and his ultimate act of self-destruction.  Of bullfights, big-game hunting, reporting amidst the Spanish Civil War, leaving unmentioned his encounter with death and devastation from his experiences in World War I, resulting in the Phoenix rising through his unforgettable fictional characters, Howard Krebs and Nick Adams, whose souls have been damaged beneath the surface of any physical manifestation of wounds or injuries, where reconnection with society, its rhythms of daily living and silliness of interests, can no longer be possible — these comprise the defining events of the meaning of the word itself.

Combined with the compounding prefix, it delineates the approach of modernity in engaging in communitarian communications.  You know — of bombast and lambaste; where subtlety of meaning is left without room for doubt, connotation, denotation or a question mark, but merely a hyphenated sense of an unstated thud followed by an exclamation point.

The famous debaters have now faded into the antiquity of forgotten dustbins; Lincoln-Douglas; Buckley-Vidal; the courteous but inquisitive Dick Cavett show; and the late-night show of Johnny Carson, whom many consider to encompass both intelligence and complexity of thought, especially when compared to parallelisms truncated by modernity.  Civility is gone; subtlety as an art form is all but lost; the only teleology of choice these days focuses upon the viral nature of a YouTube video, and only if it trumpets the extreme with the blare of sensationalism.

This approach — of linguistic machismo — has crept into the narrative of today.  Leaving aside the repugnance of the term for feminist causes, the substance of the concept implies an aggressive tone in setting forth a narrative.  The problem with engaging in such a consistency of intolerance in conveying as a vehicle of communication the toughness of a “no-holds barred” language game, however, is that it soon and quickly loses its efficacy.

Even an elephant struck repetitively to move the lumbering animal will develop callouses which defy the oncoming blows of future pain; encouragement by blunt force trauma is a discouraging device over time, if used without discretion.  Incessant screams become deafening to ears sensitized; physical pain becomes numb to repetition; repetition itself creates a havoc of unnoticed constructs; and so it goes.

This can be a lesson to Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to construct an effective narrative in preparing one’s Statement of Disability for submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When the Federal or Postal applicant for Disability Retirement purposes envisions who will be reading, reviewing and analyzing one’s Statement of Disability (as posited on SF 3112A), it is well noting that the Administrative Specialist who will be making a decision at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will have hundreds of cases to get to; and from that caricature of a singular soul peeking out from a mountain of files, the subtlety of a whispering voice immersed in truth, objectivity, and persuasive force of argumentation quietly encapsulated by law and proper documentation, will be the light which shines from the darkness of ineptitude, where even the emotionally-damaged, fictional heroes of Hemingway’s short stories may shed a tear now and again.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of the Charmed, Charted or Chartered Life

Of the troika of possibilities presented, the first is rarely available or even an option, if by a “charmed life” is defined as one where wealth is never a restrictive element, potentiality is ever compensated by unlimited resource, and freedom to choose — whether an unproductive, leisurely lifestyle or one which mixes pleasure with some semblance of “doing something” — is but a whim of desire and utterance of a command.  Few of us have this option.

As for the second — of a charted life, where cultural conventions, societal norms and limited possibilities structurally imposed by birth, circumstance and family lineage — this characterization is fast receding into the dustbins of antiquity.  For, we no longer believe that one should be constrained by outside forces — whether of teleological originations or based upon genetic dispositions.  The “charted” life — where an omnipotent external derivation or an internal, evolutionary mandate, matters not; it is, instead, the belief that the stars guide our destiny, and the hubris of Shakespeare’s characters cannot be altered by the sheer willpower of an internal desire.

Then, of the triumvirate, we are left with the third and last — of the “chartered” life, where we recognize the finite character of our existence, borrowed from a slice of timeless history, having to live the consequences of actions preceding our use of the vehicle, and appropriately adjusting the capacity to move forward based upon the present condition of our circumstances.

Do we drive the conveyor ourself, or allow for the owner to send a captain of a ship for which we have paid?  That often depends upon whether we can be trusted with the talents we are born with, the resources we inherit, and the burdens of responsibilities which we voluntarily embrace.

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 question is often likened to the options presented before the last of the triplicate:  At what point do we take charge of the chartered life, and begin to steer and maneuver beyond the pitfalls of life’s misgivings which have been presented?

Filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is part of the responsibility of the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; and when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is up to the chartered life to have charted the course of destiny towards a life more charmed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of consideration and comity

The singular identifiable factor that destroys is the very reflection which elevates; for, it is power which undermines the source of comity.  With it is accompanied the shedding of a need for appearances; that which genuinely festers beneath the surface can bubble up into the tyrant which we all can become, and of that which we suppress and repress throughout our miserable lives.

Why does “winning the lottery”, in whatever proverbial form that can take, destroy lives, divide marriages and deconstruct lifelong friendships?  How often does a promotion crumble the fragile structures of co-working symbiotic relationships within an organization?   When has empowerments resulted in the disseminated good of the organic whole?

An appearance of comity within a societal structure can endure for a time, given conventions which protect, preserve and punish; but the tendency of consideration will crumble when the normative constraints collide with freedom and forgetting; and, in modernity, where self-expression trumps the towering temperament of talking tantrums, any semblance of putting forth an appearance of comity and consideration can quickly evaporate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who often ask the question, When should I inform the agency (or the Postal Service)? — the general answer given is:  Only when there is a compelling reason to do so.  For, when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the urgency of a need to inform should be proportionately weighed against the likelihood of the disintegration of any prior structure of consideration and comity shown in the past.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are bureaucratic structures of power centers; while the symbiosis of a working relationship with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may have served well both the worker and the organization in past terms, once it becomes known to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service that the Federal or Postal worker is about to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately to be received by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is likely that the fragile structures of consideration and comity will quickly and decisively deteriorate and deconstruct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire