FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

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 job, the distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Disability Retirement: The complexity of 2

It is the solo flight that presents the escape of simplicity; inclusion of another, and suddenly the complexity of responsibility, duty, obligation and sense of “ought” becomes a part of the entire equation.  At first, it may be love born upon an equal plane; any sense of disproportionality is easily ignored, quickly deflected and unselfconsciously dispensed with; but over time, the complexity of 2 begins to creep in.

It is neither insidious nor inherently negative by artifice; rather, it is the most natural of sensibilities, arising from a knowledge that reliance upon one another not only acknowledges and validates the vows of matrimony, but moreover, the eternal commitment each makes to the other forever forges the bonds of undiluted friendship, like kindred spirits floating in some ethereal universe unperturbed by distractions of consternation consecrated upon the altar of destruction.

Have you ever observed the interaction of singularity?  That is correct – it is simple and uncomplicated.  The asides are mere reflections of one’s own troubles; the soliloquys stated without puzzlement or obfuscation.

Then, if you add a second, the complexity of 2 comes into play – of misunderstandings, miscommunications and loss of solidarity in the oneness of judgment.  What if there are three?  Then, suddenly not only are there relationships between the first and second, but between first and third, second and third, as well as the tripartite interaction between all three simultaneously.  And of four?

The exponential complexity that arises from adding one more to each magnification of interrelationships enhances beyond the mere introduction of another, but creates a havoc beyond the singularity of such an entrance.  Why is this?

One would, on a purely conceptual level, likely argue that since the simplicity of 1 remains so, ergo the combination of each should logically retain such lack of complication.  But such an argument based upon theoretical argumentation and rationality elliptically conducted in an antiseptic environment and context fails to recognize the innate complexity of each human being.

That is why, in 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, the simple-enough questions posed and queried on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, can never be characterized as “easy” or “straightforward”.

Why?  Because there is the complexity of 2 – or more.  For, while the questions themselves are answered by the singular Federal or Postal employee, there are multiple facets of that same employee which requires a response – the Federal or Postal employee in the status of an employee who suffers from a medical condition; the relationship between the medical condition and the positional requirements of the Federal or Postal job; the Federal or Postal employee in the capacity of his or her personal life; the introduction of the diagnosed Federal or Postal employee with a specific medical condition.

Do you see the complexity?  It is, as always, the complexity of 2.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Magnum Opus

It is applied as the masterpiece and pinnacle of achievement, but is more generally referred to as the identifying crown for an individual of some notable accomplishment in the various fields and disciplines.  There are looser forms of using the term, of course, in common parlance, in a half-joking, half-serious manner; as in referring to one’s spouse with greater humility, or events that occurred with greater consequences than expected or foreseen.  Like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the Magnum Opus represents the pinnacle of one’s achievement in the career of a chosen field, or within a discipline one was merely destined for.

Most of us, of course, never reach that height of human achievement recognized and lauded by a standard of excellence the world around; mediocrity is the lot of most, and that is okay, so long as the achievements made within the confines of private lives are accorded a similar standard striving to reflect the apex of human worth.  For, the Magnum Opus can be in the simple act of kindness in daily living – of bringing in the garbage can of an elderly neighbor too frail to wander out on a snow-fallen morning, or giving a shelter animal a chance at some semblance of happiness and contentment, and diminishing the violent memories of prior mistreatment and maltreatment.

In the end, it is not the marking of graves with epitaphs of grandeur that matter – though we may fantasize of jealousy and envy overwhelming relatives we disliked, visiting the tombstone of our own creation and smirking at the largesse accorded by a public never quite knowing but the public figure of accomplishments we deign to applaud – but of unmarked ones that are visited by a family left behind, empty with an aching heart for the laughter that we brought, the joy we helped enliven, and the fleeting moment of happiness that encompassed the otherwise dreary lot of a population confused between sex and love.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has believed that the Magnum Opus of one’s fortunes were somehow tied up inextricably in the career path of a Federal agency or Postal facility, rethinking the paradigm is tantamount to a heretical utterance of unfathomable delay.  There is life beyond a Federal agency’s mission (though you may not discern it well from the attitudes of coworkers and Supervisors), and there is importance and relevance beyond the Postal facility one has worked for.

When a medical condition comes to a point where one cannot meet the expectations of that grand “mission” that has been a constant drone of contention, it might be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Don’t let the Magnum Opus of one’s career be on the downturn of one’s accomplishments because blind fealty to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service has stopped any forward progress; instead, it may be for the next phase of one’s life that the unmarked grave is visited upon with an epitaph still to be written.

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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: A Pedigree of Choices

There are still some parts in the world where line of descent and lineage of genealogy matter; certainly, for spectacles such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the origins of breeding, the line of winners, and the genetically pure tree of aristocratic connections matter still.  But humans are different; or so we like to think.

We are repulsed by the very idea of placing substantive significance upon birth rights, yet we fawn all over royal births and deaths; we deny the importance of name, lineage and legitimacy, yet grope with incestuous perversity for information of scandal and bastardly genealogy; and while we feign to act disinterestedly in matters blared in tabloid newspapers, somehow they continue to sell well, and the supermarket lines are crammed with such addictive fare, alongside candies and covered chocolates.

Pedigree is to the dying aristocracy what the economy is to today’s worker:  slow death, and fading into an unknown abyss.  That has been the beauty for democracies around the world — the choices given, the opportunities provided, in a universe where lineage, heritage and genealogy matter less than the chance to thrive.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to a point in his or her career, where a medical condition has become an impediment, it is the pedigree of a different sort which must be considered.

Pedigree in a narrow sense is that which constitutes the DNA of bloodlines; in a more general sense, it is the recorded ancestry which determines fate, but which in the modern era we have been able to free ourselves of, and with deliberative intent, force the issue.  Thus, when we talk about a pedigree of choices, it is meant to denote the reaching branches of multiple paths to consider, from a singular trunk of limited origins.

Federal Disability Retirement is one such branch, reaching out into a different direction.  For the Federal and Postal employee who 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 positional duties, it will often seem that future choices are as limited as the former system of feudal paucity of exclusion except for name, blood and descent by birth.

But the modern pedigree of choices is determined not by the tree of ancestry, but in the tree of knowledge; and as Federal OPM Disability Retirement is a choice available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS employees) and 5 years (for CSRS employees), it is incumbent upon the Federal or Postal worker who thinks that a medical condition is as self-limiting as the former constraints of pedigree, to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as the pedigree of choices.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire