Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The elixir of life

Is the substance we expunge necessarily the opposite of the positive?  Does the mere fact of expiation denote that which is unwanted, or merely no longer of utility?

In ancient times, an elixir was considered to be a substance of great desirability; it possessed multiple meanings, including a reference to that substance which was used in alchemy to alter base-metals into the gleaming riches of the natural order found deep beneath the chasms of the earth – gold.  Or, alternatively, it meant the potion or mysterious concoction that prolonged and extended life into an eternity of ecstasy; and in other definitions, a curative medicine that attended to all diseases, corrected every malady felt and balanced the unbalanced humors within the human body.

A further meaning has encompassed the concept of an essential principle – that core of something that provides an Aristotelian connection of all first causes such that when one discovers and comprehends the elixir of life, one has attained a pinnacle of wisdom next to the gods who otherwise mock the foolishness of human suffering and striving.  But back to the original query: What about the waste that is squeezed from the substance we desire – of human detritus, urine, scatological excretions and the leftovers of those thought to be unproductive; are they not necessary in that, without the capacity to expiate, it would rot within the cavities of the human tissue and destroy the very fabric that retains them?

We often fail, at the expense and detriment of our own thoughtlessness, to consider an inversion category of the original posit; we accept, at face value, that human functions of expiation and riddance constitutes just that – of throwing away, expunging, extricating and discarding – as a categorization we simplify into elementary concepts: what we consume and embrace is “good”, and that which we expiate is “bad”.

Thus do we build toilets in unassuming locations within a residence; outhouses are just that – some dilapidated structure constructed away from the home, and somewhat upwind from the wind currents that carry the daily odors of life’s contrariness.  But is that the proper way to view things?  Should we not, instead, liken our activities to that which a messianic proverb once elicited: How we treat the least among us reflects the true character of our inner nature?

Inversion thinking is a process that is too often overlooked, and because of this, we often walk through life passing by opportunities and gifts otherwise there to be accepted.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for one to continue with the present course of a Federal or Postal career, it was once believed that the elixir of life was intricately wrapped up in continuing the Federal or Postal job because it allowed for a certain career, standard of living and measure of self-worth.

This is where inversion thinking needs to be considered.  For, at what cost, and what price to be paid?

Preparing an effective 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 a necessary step in order to attain a level of continence such that the proper balance and focus can be reached – of one’s health, as opposed to continuing in a job that has become harmful; of separating from Federal Service or the Postal facility in order to escape from the daily harassment of somehow being “lesser” because of one’s medical condition; and all of the other garbage that is thrown at the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition.

For, the elixir of life is not always that substance we thought was the pathway to a mythological fountain of youth, but an inversion of that thought – of removing, as opposed to taking more on; of separating, in contradistinction to enduring the pain; and of expiating, in contrast to accepting.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Childhood wishes

We had them; some of us still remember and harbor them like sacrosanct relics of priceless value; and still others know of them and recollect some general idea long forgotten, once delighted in, but now rotting in the vestiges of abandoned buildings hollow but for the frame that haunts in the midnight moon.

Wishes remain throughout one’s life, whether in the stage of adulthood or old age; but it is the childhood wishes one remembers that reveal the empty soul of what one has become, may still be, but struggles to abandon with a hope for tomorrow.  Some of them may be set aside as silly thoughts of an immature time; others, a revelatory insight into who we were, what made us become what we are today, and a telling hint of our present-day bitterness of embattled constitution.

Perhaps it was a love thwarted; a Dickensian tale of another Scrooge who foolishly wanted to pursue one pathway at the cost of another; or, maybe the childhood wishes were merely promises of correcting the sorrow of yesteryears, where neglectful parents and inattentive love left one yearning to promise corrective action when one became a parent yourself, but somehow such commitments were waylaid by daily life – of money troubles, relationship squabbles and expectation bubbles bursting by fits and starts.

It used to be that, before the age of Facebook and obsessive hounding for revelatory information about past friends and acquaintances, people would try to “better themselves” when they went away in order to come back and “show them” how successful one had become upon the glorious return and reentry at gatherings such as high school and college reunions – much like the Tom Sawyer effect of coming back from the dead – but not anymore, as everyone already knows everything to know about everyone else before such a re-gathering is effectuated.

At some point in one’s life, the comparison between childhood wishes and the reality of a daunting world magnifies the contrast that leads to an inevitable conclusion: the naïve innocence of those former times either worked as a detriment, in which case cynicism prevailed; or, those childhood dreams allowed for an expansive, healthy and positive outlook such that they provided a foundation for growth and potential for happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with 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 job, perhaps contemplating 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, is the next step beyond for one’s future and security, and thought to be the “end” of something.

The difference between the two approaches may be nominal, or momentous, depending upon how one looks at it.  Is it like the proverbial attitude of the “cup half full” or “half empty”?  Or, is it because childhood wishes were never resolved, and that lonely and unhappy child one remembers never quite grew up, and the debilitating medical conditions now recall the dreams never realized, the hopes barely reached, and the potentiality not quite cultivated to fruition?

Look at it this way: Medical conditions are a part of life and daily struggle; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should not be viewed as either the end-all or the be-all, but a necessary next step with a view towards advancing beyond the childhood wishes one still awaits to fulfill.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The precarious self

Self-preservation is said to be high on the list of instinctive survival mechanisms – that which society cannot “un-learn” because of the inherent nature of such evolutionary entrenchment of DNA-coded characteristics.  It used to be that, whether in the mythical “State of Nature” as advanced and envisioned by Locke, Hobbes or Rousseau, or the more fossil-based models as posited by anthropologists, the individual who was widely considered as a precarious survivor was quickly extinguished from the gene pool either though acts of foolish daring or by neglectful carelessness.

Survival was, until recent times, always high on the list of priorities.

In modernity, we rarely even consider it, and that is why we cringe with disbelief at horror stories of sitting placidly in a café or restaurant when suddenly innocent bystanders are being shot at, or become the victims of an explosion where shrapnel and other ravaging debris aim at the human flesh – not for predatory hunger, but for mere destruction and devastation.  Laws become enacted and govern safety; mechanisms are put in place to prevent industrial accidents or massive catastrophes impacting a wide swath of population centers; these are all, in modernity, for the most part, avoided and of rare occurrence.

Thus, the precarious self has become an irrelevant concern, or not at all.  The incommensurate dilemma of an individual being lost in his or her own thoughts as he walks upon a den of wolves out to find and devour dinner, is not of a major concern; perhaps, the closest we may come to in considering the precarious self is of a person lost in thought who crosses the street without looking for oncoming traffic; but, even that, the new technology arming every vehicle with sensors which automatically prompts the braking systems are attending to that potentiality, as well.

It is, in the end, more in the arena of making mistakes, proceeding in ignorance and creating circumstances of irreconcilable self-destructiveness, that the concept even becomes applicable or comprehensible, in these days.  For example, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, does the Federal employee or Postal worker know enough about “The Laws” governing Federal Disability Retirement in order to proceed successfully?  Have you spent enough time to familiarize yourself with the statute, the case-law and precedents of recent import in order to successfully maneuver your way through the administrative process?

This is, whether one likes it or not, a highly bureaucratized universe, and the ability to avoid the precarious self often requires a great amount of investment of one’s time, energy and concentrated focus upon the details of daily, unavoidable complexities.  Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee falls under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something that requires avoidance of the precarious self, at a minimum; and, more than that, to maneuver around the precarious “others” as well – including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Substantive vacuity

Another oxymoron, of sorts.  There are many of them in life, and the longer we live, the greater recognition we purport to identify.  People often say things and don’t mean it; or, such declarative niceties are meaninglessly bandied about because there is never any intention of follow-up or fulfilling of statements made.  We all know of people like that – commitments made with words, but no actions to follow; promises allegedly posited, with failed remembrances later on; or, misunderstandings on your part, and never theirs.

When did words become so meaningless?  Was it when the national debt soared beyond the proportional number of lawyers graduated from unknown law schools and the pendulum began to swing towards that abyss of linguistic elasticity upon the President’s quibbling with the meaning of a verb in a scandal and cover-up leading to impeachment?

Or, did the pinnacle of time when substance was king become a bottomless pit of mindless vacuity when Smartphones were introduced into the fray of conversation-stoppers, where once we had to rack our neurological cells to remember whether it was Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds who beat out Babe Ruth’s home run lead, and in what year, and whether being on steroids made it count or not – now, replaced by Google or some app that only two generations hence can figure out how to download and use?

Once upon a time, substance meant the essence of a person – whether by moral fortitude, steadfastness in faith or belief, or by quiet feats accomplished but never spoken about in polite company; and vacuity was relegated to braggarts and unfaithful husbands, when emptiness of societal discourse combined to free a man to declare that the Beatles were greater than Beethoven, and somehow it was imaginable that the words of Dylan could win a Nobel Prize, despite such accolades being the frenzied rebuttal of a generation who could fathom a purist’s discontent.

Uneducated boors possessed substantive vacuity; and so does the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service that fails to try and accommodate the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition results in the necessity to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

This is, indeed, a strange, strange world, and when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker comes to a point of needing to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concept of substantive vacuity comes to the fore because, after all, we are dealing with a bureaucratic nightmare in the form of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – a behemoth among juggernauts, wrapped in the conundrum of a puzzled but substantive vacuity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Answering Questions

How do we come to learn how to do it?  Certainly, we come across certain eccentric individuals who defy every conventional norm, and somehow manage to appear as if they have done what otherwise we recognize as not having been completed.

Have you ever come across someone who just isn’t “quite right” – such that, when you ask a question, the tangents that flood forth and the meandering thought processes make it an arbitrary conclusion as to whether it was the specific question asked that prompted the incommensurate response, or just the mere fact of a tonal posit of a question-like query that compelled a verbal reaction, even if it has nothing to do with the substance of the question itself?

How do children learn how to answer questions?  Is it natural; is there a systematized process of acceptability; is it taught in any course with a heading like, “Elementary Basics 101: How to answer a question”; and do we presume that acceptable and normative constraints are just learned effortlessly?  Certainly, the classical educational approach of dialectical methodologies – of a question posited; raised hands, chosen orders and an answer provided; then the reinforced positive feedback by the teacher in either affirming or rejecting the response – is an approach that somewhat answers the mystery.

But what of that “weird” kid?  The one where the teacher asks:  “Is the earth round or flat?”  The kid answers:  “That is an oversimplification, as the geometrical constructs require a perspective that betrays ignorance of quantum physics, where flatness is a relative concept to roundness, and vice versa.”  Now, one may smile and wonder whether, perhaps such a child prodigy reveals an intelligence quotient beyond his age or class assignment, but all the rest of the kids would just roll their eyes about as the class bullies await for recess hour in order to beat that kid to a pulp.

But was the question answered, and to that end, satisfactorily?  Or, what if another kid, perhaps half-daydreaming, suddenly blurts, “It’s blue!  It’s blue!”  Did that kid answer it any less adequately than the first?  How do we learn to answer questions?

What if the questions are essentially legalese and incomprehensible, or of a “tricky” nature and makes one pause before moving forward?  Do questions posed, for instance, by law enforcement officials evoke greater caution (as in, “To the best of my recollection…”), and if so, why?  Is it because the stakes may be higher and the suspicion of the double entendre is always there?  Which brings us to the problem of Federal Disability Retirement applications, and specifically SF 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The questions posed on the Standard Form 3112A seem simple enough; but simplicity does not necessarily mean straightforward, and indeed, when a Federal or Postal employee is completing SF 3112A, it is best to go back to fundamentals and ask yourself, How did I learn to answer questions, and are these questions the type that may need additional help, because – though they may seem simple enough and not quite in legalese – there is some trickiness in the very simplicity of the query.

And it is the rule to remember, that the simplest questions require the greatest pause, where suspicion will warrant a more extensive pondering of reflective repose.

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