OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Imperfect Lives

Bringing up the very concept itself implies that the opposite exists: That of “perfect” lives.  We perhaps attribute the existence of such; perhaps it is the same line of thought processes which persuades us by the Ontological argument for the existence of God: God is that than which nothing greater can be thought of; To exist is greater than not to exist; therefore, God must by necessity exist.  The corollary argument which persuades us of the existence of a “perfect” life would then be: The perfect life is a life which erases all imperfections; perfection is better than its opposite; therefore there must by necessity exist perfect lives.

Yet, does reality indicate the existence of perfect lives?  Certainly, its opposite is true: imperfect lives being all around us, including our own, we then assume that there must be other, similarly imperfect lives.  Yet, while perfection is a non-relative term (it cannot be dependent upon a comparison to other terms, but is the paragon of all things not imperfect), its antonym — imperfection — can be.  Thus, X’s life may be less perfect than Y’s, and Z’s life may be less perfect than Y’s but better than X’s.  Can we ever say that X’s life is “more perfect” than X’s or Y’s?  Doesn’t “more perfect” necessarily imply imperfection and thus cannot approach a definitional plateau of “more”?

The plain fact is that all of our lives are imperfect, and perfection is an unreachable goal, and perhaps even undefinable.  For, who can define perfection of a life which fails to ever meet such a standard, and given the sins of human frailty, can it ever be achieved?

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 position, the time may be ripe to admit and acknowledge that “perfection” is a standard which can never be met, and to try and maintain that appearance of perfection is an unrealistic goal.  Medical conditions have a way of humbling us; and as we keep struggling to maintain an appearance of perfection, what we are doing is failing to acknowledge that such a standard is a harmful, detrimental one.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an admission of our imperfection; consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is a step towards acting upon that admission — that, try as we might, we live imperfect lives, and that’s okay; for, to err is human, and to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is to admit to being human.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Return to Who I Am

We all take on different roles — whether as a parent, a husband, a wife; of assuming the role each day of a supervisor, a worker, a doctor, lawyer, etc. The underlying “substratum” of the “I” is presumed to remain the same throughout, but there may be a difference in the character posed, the personality posited or the tone, tonality and tenor of a voice, inflection, the way you talk, etc.

Perhaps, on a “Take your child to work day” you bring along your son or daughter and he or she watches you work in a particular role. Afterwards, does the child think to himself — or express him or herself to you or some third person — and say: “Gee, Mom [or Dad] sure acts differently at the office.”

Actors and actresses take on a “double-role” of sorts, don’t they? They not only have to take on the role of a character, whether in a play or a part in a filmed venue, but moreover, to “become” someone other than the person Who I Am.

Is there a difference between “Assuming the role of an Accountant” and “Playing the role of an Accountant”? Certainly, the former must have some credentials — perhaps as a C.P.A. or some “financial consultant certificate”, or some degree in accounting — whereas the latter only has to “act like” he or she has merited such a status. And the clients who come to the former — they are presumably “real” people whose financial problems or quandaries are “real” as well, whereas in the “acting’ role, they are not real, per se, but are also assuming the role of a part for the sake of an audience.

In either and both cases — whether of being “real” or “acting” in a role — the person to whom one “returns to” is someone who is the substratum: For the child, it is “Mommy” or “Daddy”; for the spouse, it is the husband or wife who “went-to-work-and-is-now-home”; and for the life-long friend from childhood days, it may be “Oh, that’s Dan who works as such-and-such, but who is good ol’ Dan always and forever.” But whatever role one assumes in life, whenever he or she returns to that person “Who I am”, does he or she ever return as the same person, or is there always a slight difference?

For, whatever the experience encountered in the “role” one plays, doesn’t it always change the person such that the person to whom one returns to can never be quite the same as before?

That is what happens with the Federal or Postal employee who needs to file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits — Yes, the point of trying to overcome a medical condition is so that one can “return to who I am”; but in reality, that will never happen, precisely because the medical condition and the experience of enduring the medical condition has changed the person forever.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Changing Lives

The phrase can have multiple meanings, depending upon the emphasis given to the words.  On the one hand, it can imply an affirmative, active meaning — of some individual or organization implementing steps in order to alter the course of another’s life.

In this sense, it may be that a problem has been identified — for example, higher rate of drug addiction in a community; increase in crime rates; an intersection with a greater incidence of traffic accidents, etc. As a result of an identified problem, a person, group or entity goes about “doing something” about it — i.e., petitioning the city council to put a traffic light at the intersection; forming a community-watch program to reduce the crime rate; intervening and educating the community about drug addition, etc. Thus, the phrase “changing lives” in this sense can be characterized as an “active” involvement where X is impacting upon Y.

In another sense, it can remain inactive — as a passive onlooker who recognizes that there are alterations occurring in the lives of individuals.  Every day, changes occur in the lives of everyone about.  One may quip that such a manner of meaning is rather inconsequential, inasmuch as it is a given that lives must by necessity change and encounter adaptations every day; for, it is a tautology to include in a single breath the terms “life” and “change”, just as it is a redundancy to refer to the weather without admitting vicissitude.

Changing lives is to be presumed.  Life’s daily turmoils require it; it is an inevitability which cannot be avoided.  The greater question is: How do we respond to the changes?

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 issue about changing lives can take on a third meaning — that one’s life, career and employment status must by necessity undergo an alteration and modification.

The changes wrought are forced by an uninvited force — the medical condition — and the circumstances which mandate change cannot be controlled — of the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position with the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  How the Federal employee responds to this necessary change is where the relevant next step takes on greater consequences of potential harm.  What you don’t know in the changing life may harm you, and that is why consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law prior to initiating those next steps in changing lives, is important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Task of Forgetting

Leisure activities are the tasks of forgetting; it is to engage in them precisely in order to become distracted from our work-a-day universe and replenish our “batteries” in order to go back into the fray of battle.  Battle-worn soldiers need the time away from the constant stresses of perilous missions in order to regain a sense of balance and perspective; and the lioness with her cubs sees the value of play in preparing them for the more serious ordeal of hunting for survival.

The task of forgetting is how we entertain ourselves — of reading a novel by forgetting about the reality of our lives; of watching a television show or movie and forgetting about the troubles central to our lives; of playing a video game or participating in crowd gatherings in order to watch a sport being played, or even in the direct engagement of a sport; these, and many others, require the task of forgetting in order to become a participant.

A medical condition, however, denies the task of forgetting.  That is why medical conditions are so inherently exhausting; they remain as a constant reminder of our mortality and frailty, and deny the access to needed rest and restorative peace.  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, filing for Federal Disability Retirement should be an option to be considered, if only to attain the capacity to again engage in the task of forgetting.

The chronic nature of a medical condition is what often fatigues; and as the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job begins to fester and overwhelm, it may be time to consult with an attorney who is experienced in Federal Disability Retirement Law in an effort to reacquire the capacity to engage in the task of forgetting.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire