OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Cicatrize

It is a word which one does not come across very often; and yet, the greater question is: How many words are “out there” which we do not know, have never heard of and will hardly use?  Do words limit the universe of our thought-processes?

If paragraphs are composed of sentences, and sentences formulated from single units called “words”, do our thoughts retain paragraphs, sentences, or the singularity of words?  In our insulated monologues and soliloquies, do we hesitate because we fail to consult a dictionary, stop because we cannot come up with a synonym, or retreat because of a lack of an antonym?

In modernity, we have dispensed with the idea of memorization, precisely because — with a Smartphone constantly at our sides — there is (A) Either no more need for it, (B) It is cruel to force kids to undergo such mentally strenuous exercises or (C) There is simply too much information “out there” for memorization to be practical any longer.

I once knew a person who didn’t count sheep in order to try and fall asleep, but would recite the sonnets of Shakespeare — and would never be able to recite them all before slumber would overtake him.  Of course, “context” is important, and if there are no conditions within which a word should materialize, be utilized or otherwise applied, the need to retain such a word within the memory banks of one’s brain would never come about.  Yet, how many useless bits of information do we look up on a Smartphone on a daily basis, and “retain” much of it?

The word “cicatrize” means to heal by way of scar formation; by extension, one can become creative and apply the word in non-medical contexts, as in: “The constant taunting by his classmates resulted in a cicatrized numbness of his sense of self-worth; but in the end, Johnny could never have the thickness of skin needed to survive, and cried himself each night for the cruelty of the world that haunted him”.

That is the fun of words, isn’t it?  To take it and play with it; to retain it and fool with it, like a pebble in one’s pocket where you can feel the texture of a small remnant of the greater universe between thumb and forefinger, and fiddle without end in an insular universe that is limitless and infinite?  For, it is always the infinite that we seek; of paragraphs abounding and pages beyond the next one to turn.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, always remember that the application itself is a “paper presentation” to OPM — one which must be comprised of words, sentences, paragraphs, and even entire pages.

It must tell a “story” about your condition, your capacities and your frailties in the most personal of ways.  And while the world of such a bureaucracy may be cicatrized against an empathetic tendency of the truth of your condition, it is best to seek counsel and advice from an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the cicatrization does not impede a persuasive argument compiled precisely in order to cut through the cicatrized minds at OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Life’s Analogy

We make analogies of everything in life, but where is life’s analogy?  Human beings learn by analogy or metaphor; sometimes of a simile, but whatever the comparison or explanation, it is almost always by illustrative contrast that knowledge is gained.

How do you teach a child how to write well?  By starting with good literature.  How does one grasp the concept of a universe so small as to defy understanding of its basic molecular structure?  By use of models and diagrams.  And how does one realize the value of integrity and honesty?  Certainly, by reading and understanding definitions and concepts, but more effectively, by example.

But where is life’s analogy?  Or, is “life” too grand and unwieldy a concept to have an analogy — especially because “life” encompasses the entirety of all of the phenomenal experiences and stimuli that bombards us, and thus refuses to become segmented and bifurcated into bits of slices such that there can ever be anything of comparative discernment?  Or, perhaps its opposite is true — that in order to learn about “life”, one must compare and contrast it to its opposite, or near antonym, such as a medical condition that impacts and progressively deteriorates one’s life?

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 job, the question of whether there is an analogy relevant to “life” is an easy one.

There was once upon a time a life before the medical condition — then, the life after.  As the medical condition worsens, it becomes more and more difficult to remember the “time before”, and that is when one realizes that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to regain one’s “life” and to put behind the constant and unendurable struggle against a Federal Agency or Postal Facility that cares not a twit about the quality of one’s life.

Life’s analogy is thus found in its opposite — of what it once was and still can be, by comparison.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The facade of happiness

There are weather-related “fronts” — of “cold fronts” and “warm fronts” bringing in the freshness of change, a sudden modulation of temperature and a gust of windy hollows echoing through valleys and down into the chill of our bones.  They change the temperature of the air around us, and often moods are impacted as well.

Then, there are also “fronts” of human characteristics — of “putting on a brave front”; of making a “frontal assault”; and of these latter, we realize that there is always something behind, like the wizard concealed by the curtain undrawn.  We all of us put on “fronts” — and like the weather fronts that fool us at first that Spring may be nigh or Winter’s discontent may be around the corner, the “brave” front may be just a put-on, just like the “frontal assault” is likely a ruse to deploy one’s forces all at once to meet the enemy head on.

Of all the fronts, it is the facade of happiness that fools the most, even one’s self, into thinking that contentment is the amassing of objects surrounding, careers advancing and problems left avoiding.  The facade of happiness works well for a season, so long as the fool who buys the bridge of smiles never lifts the veil an inch to peer into the darkness of a soul in anguish.  Happiness is a fleeting state of existence; here for a moment today, it vanishes like the spirits of yesterday’s underworld where gods were chosen to wander the earth in ashen looks of greying days.

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 job, the facade of happiness has likely been an essential tool for survival in this past year, if not longer.

It allows for the Federal or Postal worker to put on a “brave front”, to fool the others for a time — somewhat like the cold front that descends upon the south in the middle of summer to remind one that change is in the air, or the “architectural front” that gives an old building a facelift and draws people inward as an inviting new asset.

But don’t be fooled; for the facade of happiness can never hide for long the suffering beneath, and for the Federal or Postal worker, preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the first real step towards an abiding and real happiness, as opposed to the fake smile that conceals beneath the facade of happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Dickens, Salinger & Capote

It is always dangerous to offer an overview of complexity; simplicity of explanation often teeters upon the precipice of superficiality, and when it comes to the psychology of people, we normally get it wrong.  Yet, we can try.

For Dickens, the childhood experiences of destitution and humble beginnings allowed for a magnification of love for humanity borne of cruelty in childhood.  In Salinger, we see the pent-up destruction of a young man whose anguish was molded through sights, sounds and experiences devastated by war.  And of Capote, we glean the lasting scars of rejection, first with minor cuts and burns by the divorce of his parents, then deeper in being bounced about by relatives, only to stab him with disappointment when his childhood friend, Harper Lee, received the accolades and universal love he sought so passionately, needed beyond all others, but never felt but for the loss of that which he could not embrace.

The life experiences each encountered reflected, in the end, upon the exhibition of an inner soul:  Dickens continued to provide the public with readings of characters forever loved, and embraced the sea of admiration which was the source of his limitless imaginations, borne of a world which tried to contain him with a system of caste and class.

Salinger retreated more and more into the insular world of his own safe web of privacy and secrecy, having concluded that the world was not to be trusted, that phoniness lurked in every man’s soul, and the horrors witnessed at the hands of war and concentration camps were evidence enough to deny others anything remaining.

And for Capote — we may sum it up in the cruel but crisp truism upon his death, by fellow author Gore Vidal, who quipped that it was a “good career move”.  Acting ever the fool with drunkenness and debauchery, the public destruction of a talent so extraordinary was a painful sight to witness.

Can we learn anything from these paragons of talent?  Or, are such characters merely of our own creations, snickering at the fact that, even where seemingly boundless talent exists and opportunities reflect limitless choices, self-destruction nevertheless becomes the teleology of choice.  At a minimum, they reveal to us the complexity of human essence, and that what people react to on the outside barely scratches the surface of what remains within.

And this is the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are harassed and intimidated in the workplace, when a medical condition results in the necessity to prepare, formulate and 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.  For, the coworkers, managers and supervisors who treat the Federal or Postal worker as nothing more than a nuisance through loss of productivity, fails to address the core value of the individual suffering at the hands of consequences not chosen through self-destructive behavior, but merely because of fate of circumstances.

The key for the Federal and Postal worker both, is to choose a path which refuses to submit to self-immolation resulting from the negative experiences at the hands of others; rather, to embrace the love of others as Dickens did, and not retreat into the insular retardation of life as Salinger proposed, or the reverberating echoes made by the empty bottle of alcohol, drowning in later life as Capote consumed, shuddering with the laughter of others and snickering for want of fools in his diminishing stature, ever losing the love which he sought so selfishly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Government Disability Retirement: The Best of Mediocrity

There is an overriding principle that, where excellence is sought, higher expectations are exceeded.  Acceptance of a given human condition and resignation to that which is less than the best, is to embrace the heart of banality and to reject that august status reserved for the human species, of being above the animals and just below the angels.

There is a syndrome for that; of thinking and believing that one’s situation is all that one can hope for, and this resignation to life’s circumstances occurs when mediocrity becomes the meddlesome cousin to dashed hopes and dreams, and when the toxicity of one’s surrounding environment will not widen the narrow imaginations once the muddle of the middle prevails upon human potentiality.

It is like the parental fight which tumbles unchecked into an ugly shouting match of epithets and unbridled accusations of meanness and vicious ferocity, flung at each other out of frustration and fatigue, and then the realization that the children are watching, ever so observant, and you ask, Who are the grownups in this morass?  Where did the emperor’s clothes go?  What happens to a couple when there are no longer control mechanisms and neighbor’s noses to sniff the air for scandal, and when destruction of stability is accepted, any and all sense of obligations are thrown out the proverbial window, and the visiting aunt is no longer there to lend a critical eye, but instead has been shuttled to a nursing home where decay, death and dementia of purposeless existence remains in the antiseptic stench of lifelines and plastic tubes draining the life out of a society’s level of excellence?  We accept our “station in life” when hope is vanishing in the degeneration of societal decay.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sense this morass of loss, especially when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties and there comes a recognition that one must prepare, formulate and 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 time to shed tears for the loss of mediocrity comes when affirmative steps are taken to recognize that there can be something “more” than merely the best of mediocrity.

Never think that filing for and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is merely to accept “less”; rather, it is a recognition that there is an inconsistency between the medical condition one suffers from, and the limited positional duties of the Federal or Postal job for which one is positioned.  There can be further opportunities for work and vocational advancement in another job in the private sector, while still retaining one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement annuity (as long as the type of job one chooses to engage in is somewhat substantively distinguishable, and if one remains within the “80% rule” of earned income).

The best of mediocrity is to accept the loss of one’s Federal job or Postal work, and to not see that the proverbial corner one cannot yet view, is but road yet untaken, an opportunity unseen, and a future to behold as the golden dust of an angel’s flight may yet sprinkle upon elevating the best of mediocrity into a stratosphere of excellence, beginning with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Agency: Alliances

Meritocracies are built upon an ideal of competency; quickly, however, as reality creeps into the ineffable truth of what actually occurs, people tend to fall back upon the comfort zones of unspoken alliances, allowing for protective measures tantamount to the nuclear paradigm of mutually assured destruction in saving one’s own skin.

The person who goes to work with quiet competency believes that hard work and incremental contribution will ultimately win out the day; the hardy laughs outside of the office echoing down the hallway with vague reverberations of mirthless camaraderie; the social events invited with a mere pop-of-the-head mention in passing by, but quickly with the added disclaimer of, “Oh, it won’t be much fun, but you’re certainly invited,” as if you are offered a discount coupon which needs only to be cut out and brought with you, but no scissors are provided and tearing such conveniences outside of the dotted line is considered in bad taste; and the Monday recounting of the get-togethers with back-slapping tales of associations forged and assuredly irrelevant to the work at hand, but somehow those quiet stares held for a moment too long between unspoken alliances concretized in what once was described as backroom deals filled with cigar smoke and consideration exchanged under poker tables, comes back to haunt in subtle ways in misdeeds of unaccounted time.

When a crisis hits the fan, favoritism is always denied, despite the facts which betray the truth.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider preparing for another vocation because the one presently positioned is no long viable, resulting from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it often becomes evidence that the leeway given for approving FMLA in the meantime, or liberal leave policies, redistribution of workloads in order to temporarily accommodate or suspend many of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is based not upon laws, regulations or those pesky statutes of alleged protective shrouds proudly declared by politicians from both sides “of the aisle”; rather, it is as it always has been — upon the feudal fiefdoms of alliances forged upon meritless applications of weekend romps.

The payment for hard work is the salary one receives; the “extras” depend upon the discount coupons one has discarded over those many years.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is when the medical condition begins to impact and prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job; and when the afterthought of alliances left unattended results in regrets of unquantified good-will, one should remember that meritocracy is best judged in the faces of a family spent with, and not in the empty beer cans of remorse and despair.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire