OPM Disability Reirement under FERS: Dylan Revisited

The British have the Beatles; America has Dylan.  Martin Scorsese’s ongoing documentaries covering the life of Bob Dylan (“No Direction Home” and “Rolling Thunder Revue”) reveals the obvious differences as well as depicting interesting tidbits of entertainment value, for those even remotely interested.

Dylan is the quintessential American — of the lone troubadour; the composite of a self-made star from multiple personalities, including Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters; and despite playing off and on with “The Band”, forever the loner — remote, distant and undefinable.

Bands come and go — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., and when they disband and disburse, some individually go on to similar heights of fame; but of Dylan, he has always stood apart with his soulful voice, his trance-like story-telling, and the enchanting universe of words conveyed on the airlift of music that brings one into a lyrical fantasyland.

In the end, Robert Allen Zimmerman remade himself from the outskirts of a rural town into the spotlight of musical genius over a span of a time when cultural revolutions were shaking the very foundations of a country at war.  We all yearn to be like him — if not for the fame, then for the uniqueness that becomes apparent when you listen to his voice: Not quite on beat and never able to be defined.

Whoever “Zimmerman” was, we will never know; for what we know is the folklore surrounding even the whispered utterance of “Dylan” — a name and word which provokes images, stories and memories that have cluttered the shadows of a legend like the barnacles encrusted on the underside of a drifting boat.

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 tragedy of the medical condition can be likened to the duality found in Dylan Revisited — that the person who is beset with the medical condition is not the same person who once forged ahead with a promising career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, the Dylan of today is not the Zimmerman of his past, just as the Federal or postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is not the same person as before the medical condition, and the whole point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to get back to a place where we can define ourselves within the uniqueness of who we are and were.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Sun rise, son set

Can homonyms be mistakenly utilized in spoken language, or only if written?  When we speak, do we have a conceptualized entity of the sentence spoken within the mind’s eye, or is it all just the blather of our own voice which prevails upon the sensitive ears of others?  If we have a word misspelled in our own minds as we speak of it, does it count?

Or, what do you make of a person who says, “I believe that the son is about to set”, then apologizes profusely, saying, “Oh, I am so sorry for the mistake; I was thinking about my son just as the sun was about to set, and mistakenly inserted one for the other as I declared the sun about to set.”  Does it even make sense to apologize?  Yet, in his own mind, he has made an error that needed to be corrected, so the further question would be: Can an error be one if no one else but the person who made the error recognizes it?

Oh, but if only this were true in all sectors of life — take, as another example, a person who finds that his bank account has been deposited with an astronomical sum: instead of $200.00 deposited on Thursday, the bank records show a deposit of 2 millions dollars.  You go to the bank and inquire, and the bank manager treats you like royalty and says, “No, no, there was no error; it was definitely a deposit of 2 million dollars.”  You know that an error has been committed; no one else will acknowledge it, and feigns either ignorance or rebuts your presumptuousness that you are correct and all others are wrong.

Is such a case similar to the one about homonyms in one’s own private world?

Or how about its opposite — Son rise, sun set.  You say that to someone else — “Yes, the son will rise, and the sun will set.”  It appears to sound like one of those pithy statements that is meant to be profound: “Yes, the sun will rise, and the sun will set”, stated as a factual matter that cannot be disputed.  Was an error made?  Do you turn to the individual who made the declarative assessment and correct him — “Excuse me, but you misspelled the first ‘son’ and should have been ‘sun’”?  And to that, what if the speaker says, “No, I meant it as it is spelled; you see, my son gets up to go to work when the sun sets.”

Of course, how would we know unless the speaker were to spell the words out as he is speaking — you know, that annoying habit that people engage in when they think that everyone around is an idiot who cannot spell, as in: “Now, watch as the entourage — e-n-t-o-u-r-a-g-e for those who don’t know how to spell and who don’t know the meaning of the word — comes into view.”  To such people, we roll eyes and step a distance away.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are wondering what homonyms have to do with Federal Disability Retirement issues, the short answer is: Not much.  Instead, the point of it all is to have the Federal and Postal employee understand that 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, is much like having a private thought — the medical condition — which is suddenly revealed only after we choose to do so.

Medical conditions are extremely private and sensitive matters, and are often hidden by taking great extremes of cautionary steps.  Privacy is crucial, but when the decision is finally made to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, you must accept that others will come to know the reality of the privacy you have protected for so long — somewhat like the sun rising and the son setting, only with greater significance and painful reality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s Joke

The funniest line in literature comes from Carl Sandburg’s “Potato Face Blind Man” stories, where he describes the reason for the wooden mug:  “There is a hole in the bottom of it.  The hole is as big as the bottom.  The nickel goes in and comes out again.  It is for the very poor people who wish to give me a nickel and yet get the nickel back.”

Satire has often been overly-discussed, and attempting to explain why a particular scene, line or story is amusing, is somewhat like trying to explain to a Martian why Bradbury’s chronicles fascinated the young:  it just is, and either you get it, or you don’t.  It is, perhaps, the incongruence between expectation and reality; of a projection of incommensurability that occurs when a portrayal doesn’t quite meet the anticipation of “should”.

In Sandburg’s description, two such anomalies occur:  First, that the figure who holds the mug does so with the expectation that passersby will drop a nickel out of a sense of pity; but second, and poignantly portrayed, that the tables are turned around by the one who allegedly is begging for the nickel, in that he recognizes the empathetic component that there are others who are poorer in the world who also want to give, but needs the nickel more than the beggar to whom it is given.  Thus, the hole on the bottom where the nickel given drops back for the giver, yet the act of giving has been consummated.

Of course, in modernity, perhaps such innocence of satiric portrayal is no longer thought to contain humor; that, as the ethics of inequality and financial disparity have given rise to resentment, and the inane concept of “fairness” today pervades the political spectrum throughout, the focus would be upon the fact of maliciously describing a person with a disability in terms which might betray mocking jest.  But that is clearly not what Sandburg meant by it; and, indeed, it was because he believed that his generation lacked children’s stories which taught lessons of virtue and behavioral uprightness, that he engaged the literary device of satire.

Life itself is difficult enough without undermining the joy of a joke recognized.  A funny line, a witty scene, a belly-laugh from a picture of incongruence; such moments allow for innocence and the lightness of being to prevail as an interlude to an otherwise dreary continuum of surviving in a world which shows but cold shoulders twisted and followed by phony smiles to cut the throats of back-turned bystanders.

Such experiences, of course, are not new to the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers through the meanness of workplace hostility and harassment at the hands of supervisors and coworkers, merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when the Federal or Postal worker must decide to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to escape the diatribes of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Carl Sandburg’s joke was of a time when true empathy was understood by all; unfortunately, in modernity, the nickel which was meant to be returned to the giving passerby, would today be snatched up by wolves in waiting, where the lambs who once roamed the hillside of life’s joke no longer gather upon the pastures of a forgotten innocence forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement Benefits: The Diary

Many begin the process at an early age, then abandon it with little remorse or afterthought, as a worthless project discarded for want of inherent value; and when, years and even decades later, it is discovered behind a bureau or a secret cubbyhole where trinkets and memorabilia retaining an eternal aura of privately precious remembrances are stored away, we shriek with joy as if the lottery had been won, a proposal has been declared, or a camouflaged vault containing the mysteries of gemstones and valuable cadavers had been pried open with but the wishes of gold pots at the end of a rainbow.

Then, as we turn the pages and delight in the innocence of bygone days, we regret that early abandonment turned away the gleeful idealism of a youth now a stranger, a mind intimately once known, but somehow forever a mirrored reflection of an identity of the same historicity in time and element, but yet in a parallel universe now non-existent but for memories kept securely in the destined vault of youthful summers.

Blank pages which abruptly reveal the terminal secrecy of thoughts and activities recorded once as sacred incantations of mysteries foreboding; whether of loves begotten or turmoils annotated in cloaked tears when others had retreated to the privacy of a house appearing in mirth, but ignoring the secret lives even in the midst of intimacy; now from the perspective of wisdom and maturity, do we laugh, or yearn for that innocence lost and the extinguished glow of naive eyes now dim with the experience of calloused beatings?

In more recent times, of course, we are told that one can actually lie to one’s self in a diary; but our own experiences tell us with greater certainty than the world can accord, that the tattered pages of bygone memories reveal truth as never before declared, and moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than the self-confessions of a heart once pure, only to be consecrated into the malignancy of a world which cares little.

It is, indeed, that transition from writing to the imaginary character of one’s own creation, to the intermediate level of testing the waters of reality, then to be pushed into the manifold chaos of the greater world, that constitutes the sin of destroying the human soul.  But that we could turn back the hands of time and reenter the hallways of innocence; but, no, that would mean that the womb of our essence would be revisited, and the soil of our own impurity would desecrate the purity of those precious memories we safely tucked away.  Then, one day, we open our eyes and we have “grown up”; and nowhere is there any room for such foolishness as hearts which once poured out for yearning of innocence betrayed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer the inequities of workplace hostility, harassment — no, let’s just use the singular word which is simple, outdated, but still relevant — “meanness“, as in the child who has just had enough, screws up his face and cries out, “You are just plain mean!” — know of the experiential desecration of humanity, when a medical condition becomes revealed, and others who were perhaps identified “friends” and coworkers suddenly turn the proverbial “cold shoulder” upon the vulnerability opened, as a wound wrapped but now exposed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not unlike the youthful abandonment of the innocent diarist from bygone days.  For, like that abandoned project scoffed at for want of perseverance or perhaps plain boredom, it is the treasure found at the end of the process which resuscitates the goals once considered and the future to be embraced; and, in the end, there is a difference between regret for a childhood forever gone, and a later stage now delivered, but where broken promises are ignored with a twinkle of a child’s forlorn gaze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Complexity to Defeat

Simplicity of former times is what we all seek; in the end, it is never as “good” as we all like to make-believe it was, and never as “bad” as we may feel at the moment.  But within a world which sees technology advancing not in incremental, thoughtful stages of periodic progress, but in exponential warp-speed unseen in the epochal movements of past generations, it is difficult to keep pace with the dizzying speed of innovation.  And that’s just in trying to choose a lightbulb at the local grocery store.

For must of us, the complexity which confronts and challenges are those within.  The viewpoints we bring; the skewed thought-processes from the baggages of childhood; and the enmity we harbor in secret compartments of resentment and shame.  Further, what exacerbates and complicates, is a medical condition, whether physical or psychiatric, and too often an intersection of both feeding one upon another.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s livelihood, the ability to even go into work, and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the complexity to defeat is the very same one that haunts and hinders from the residues of self-doubt:  making wrong choices when the right ones will save.  Hesitation; fear; anxiety and angst from not seeing clearly an unknown future; these will all continue to magnify beyond the panic of sleepless nights.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an “easy” engagement; in fact, it is merely one more complexity of life.  But the bureaucracy will always be there; the procedures, methodologies and sheer volume of substantive and procedural hurdles will always remain like an obstacle unmovable likened to Aristotle’s proverbial Unmoved Mover.

In the end, taking that significant step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be determined not by fate or misfortune, but in recognizing that the complexity to defeat remains hidden within our very souls, to be identified, tackled and wrestled with, in order to move on with our lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: In troves of battered grey

It is the crisis point of one’s life, and the interruption of plans, which seems to define the value of the narrative.  We tend to judge by leaps of negation; in a hurry to determine worth, we skim the beginning chapters, then rush through the middle, and read with intensive interest the last few pages and conclude the life of a character based not upon the lengthy experiences of amoral devices, but by the standards of terminal avalanches.

A short story is merely a slice of life; a novel, a jagged graph of extrapolated instances cumulatively garnered to present a coherent and systematized itinerary.  But real life is different.  Each entity is a uniqueness in and of itself; never a mere compilation of facts, nor a composite of irrational emotions; it is, instead, a story unto itself.  Like troves of battered grey, we try and open the chest of drawers and determine in an instant before we close the chapter.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact — and define — one’s worth to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is well to remember not to judge too harshly.  One’s worth should not be defined by any arbitrary point on a linear graph of time, nor determined by those who look disinterestedly beyond yesterday’s contribution to the “mission” of the agency.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who need 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, should never see the entrance into the steps of administrative and bureaucratic malaise as an “end” to the chapter of one’s life, but rather, still the ongoing narrative which requires further telling and editing.

When one is in the midst of turmoil, it is often difficult to see beyond; but like the troves of battered grey we encounter on a foggy night in rain-drenched clothes, we must remember that there is always the warmth of tomorrow, and sunshine of days to come yet to recall the moments of slumber when once a crisis tried to define a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire