Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Moments of clarity

There are those moments, aren’t there?  It may come as a flash, in the middle of the night, while walking quietly in the woods (or in one’s back yard, pretending that it is in the middle of somewhere’s nowhere, despite the loud humming of lawn mowers and air blowers whoosh-whooshing in the distant yonder over the fence beyond); and it need not be because of some eureka moment or because of problems faced and meditated upon.

There are moments of clarity in life, and they may be identified and described in various ways – of periods of inspiration; of a heated splice of madness; an awakening from a dream despite lack of sleep.  Or, perhaps a spark of genius came about.  A childhood memory, a dream once vanquished, a feeling of regret later in one’s life; these are the crumbs that gather in the corner of the dinner table, left behind like the ghostly apparitions of yesteryear’s hopes and unfulfilled cannibals of thoughtless mimes; and yet they can haunt or stir.

Such moments of clarity can bring about change; or, we can repress, suppress and ignore them, and allow them to wither away like flowers left in the pot of life’s mish-mash of events, and slowly they die, weakened by lack of care and ignorance of beauty.  Medical conditions themselves can bring about such moments of clarity; of the futility of trying to maintain appearances, and instead of facing a reality that is sharpened by pain, anguish and society’s definition of what it means to be productive.

Health is indeed a gift; poor health, or deteriorating health, brings about a different kind of gift – one that sometimes allows for those moments of clarity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition brings about a realization that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to carry on as before, and that preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is now a necessity, it may well be that such a conclusion of a necessary change in one’s life came about because of one of those “moments of clarity”.

Don’t ignore it, as it may not come about again.

Instead, like warnings, clues and prognostications of impending necessities, the need to listen carefully to one’s health and mind may be just a moment of clarity that your body is simply telling you something.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The changing straw

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” is a known idiom that essentially reveals to us the last in the series of incidents or actions that cumulatively result in the destruction of the whole.  What in the series preceding the last straw; of what weight and import; to what significance may be attributable, we rarely focus upon; it is the last one in the series that we focus our attention upon, precisely because we assume that it is the causal connection to the event that conclusively occurs with a finality of actions.

Yet, as Hume would point out, the fact that a “final straw” placed upon the camel’s back resulted in the next event following, does not establish a causation where that final straw was in fact the cause before the effect.  It merely shows us that X occurred prior to Y’s conclusion.  If a rooster awakens and makes his morning call and the sun rises upon the horizon, and thereafter an earthquake shakes the foundation of the planet, do we conclude that the rooster was the final straw, or that the rising of the sun “caused” the tectonic shifts beneath?

No – the idiom itself, of course, is not meant to be analyzed in that manner; rather, it is a “saying” that merely denotes that, upon a series of events, issues or actions, there comes a boiling point of finality where enough is enough.  But the evolution of societal norms does, indeed, allow for the straw to change over time.

Once upon a time, people “stuck it out” and remained married – if only to keep one’s vows, or for the “sake of the children”, or perhaps some other noble purpose.  Now, the “straw” that results in a divorce has changed – it can range from “failing to communicate” or even because one spouse has gotten bored of the other.  With that changing straw, people tend to tread lightly, given the low threshold of tolerance.  Law is somewhat like the changing straw – perhaps not the substance (although that can change through legislative action), but certainly the application.

For Federal or Postal employees who are considering 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 to always be kept at the forefront is the changing straw throughout – what is the “straw” at work which will help make the decision?  What “last straw” is needed before the cumulative effects of the medical conditions persuade you to realize the need to file?  What “straw” of the law needs to be applied to persuade as to the viability of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application?

There are many “last straws” in life, and much of them change as time goes on; the law, however, remains fairly constant, except for the “last straw” of legal opinions that often alter the landscape of substance and applicability.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees 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, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Does reading alter?

Of course, we teach our kids to believe that it does, thinking that education is the all-important focus for future endeavors and successful careers.  And yet, the statistical studies show a consistency of denial – after schooling, whether of high school, college or beyond, the majority of individuals stop reading, unless you include road signs, directions on the back of packages (which most people disregard as well – come to think of it, of road signs, too), and the fine print on warranties (ibid).

So, is it just one of those pithy, inane phrases that fall under the general umbrella of, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Does reading alter?  Alter what?  And does it matter “what” we read, as opposed to the act involved, “that we read”?  Would it bother someone if you saw a grown-up reading those old “Spot” books, or a collection of nursery rhymes?

If you approached the individual, or engaged in common banter at the workplace and made fun of him or her, would it make a difference depending upon the responses given?  What if the old gentleman responded with, “Well, at least I’m reading something!”  Or, what if the person turns seriously, sheds a few tears and admitted, “I never had time to read as a child, and never really learned.  I’m trying to better myself and teaching myself to read, now.”

Would such a confession instead garner a new perspective and bring out an empathetic reaction?  Or, what if that same person was seen reading a 1st grade book one day, and then tackling a complex manual about advanced logic or neuroscience – would that make you pause?

Perhaps the question itself is considered by most as rather rhetorical and irrelevant; that, it is presumed that reading does alter, but many prefer not to change and instead to remain in the constancy of monotony and repetitive stillness.  Just as the flow of a river results in erosion and soil shifting, so reading does indeed alter, and out encountering with the mind-bending activity results in the internal modification and modulation of complex biochemical structures.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to read the questions posed in each of the Standard Forms in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement packet, precisely because it will alter not only the responses being prepared, but how those very responses will serve to result in a successful outcome.

Just as reading alters, so the responses to the questions read, to be read by an Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is also meant to alter.  For, change is the mainstay of a living entity, and reading is that tool which is meant to alter, even when preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmation, Affiliation and Affectation

But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.

The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.

As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.

It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts.  Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life.  Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.

Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.

If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.

If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.

But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Time Travel

H.G. Wells touched upon our imaginations in 1895 with his novel, The Time Machine, and ever since, the concept itself has been accepted within the cultural milieu of ideas incandescent.  Mathematicians find it as a challenge to decipher; astronomy, an idea to ponder; astrophysicists, a vehicle to revitalize the despair of incomprehension; but for poets and prophets, it is the fodder for creativity and imaginations to become unfettered by want of belief.

What child (or adult) does not ponder the mysteries of the universe by means of a device to enter a future yet unknown or a past replete with narrated stories of pirates, heroism and grandeur consumed, but awaiting the entrance of a character unhistorical, as Roman legions march the sands of timeless deserts where echoes of unknown characters appear to suddenly participate in the making of events yet blank upon the slate of unwritten participles.

But too few of us recognize that time travel was always being accomplished; the author merely confirmed that which was already done.  For, in our wanderings and imaginations in minds traveling afar, the daydreamer thus reached beyond the constraints of physical presence.

Whether an occurrence in objective reality, or the indistinct touch within the creativity of a limitless mind, the difference was never noticed by the child of laughter or the boy lost in wonder.  And for the adult who must daily make decisions upon a cauldron of reality and harshness of unenviable encounters?  While never as the pleasantries of a child lost in the world of make-believe, the pondering of future courses of action and the consideration of past consequences must always be deliberated by everyone who engages the world of modernity.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates the Federal and Postal employee to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, consideration must be granted to the time machine and time travel by means of coordinating what past actions have occurred (e.g., the medical condition), the current milieu (i.e., the actions of the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service concerning the ongoing status of the Federal and Postal employee), and the future plans (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset).

Thus, without knowing it, time travel was always something which the Federal and Postal employee engaged in; and never just within the province of childhood dreams left to the plodding monotony of brave acts unrecorded, or the samurai who refused to unsheathe his sword for fear of death and loss of honor, it is indeed the Federal and Postal employee who must consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and must engage time travel and press the complex levers of an unfathomable machine — that bureaucracy of depthless administrative morass one must enter, to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire