OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sign Posts

Whether used as a noun or a verb, the second grammatical appendage can have multiple meanings: as a stick of lumber; as an activity placing information, warning, directional declarative or similar linguistic affirmations; and the combination of the two words can be read only within a greater contextual enlightenment depending upon what meaning is meant to be conveyed or how the inflection and accent is emphasized.

As a mere stick of lumber, it is a rather boring concept, even when attached to the first word, “sign”, precisely because the focus is upon the “post”, and so the emphasis goes directly to the sturdy piece of wood and not to the interests of the information posted.  If, on the other hand, one means to connote a different linguistic avenue – of different and varying posting of signs, then our interest is tweaked because we are immediately drawn into the various and wider universe of warnings, directions, admonishments and disseminated information useful to everyday living.

Sign posts are meant to guide, warn, betray or inform; and between the spectrum of the duality of linguistic translations, there is a natural reflection to life’s everyday humdrum itself.  For, like the analogy between information posted or merely a stick of lumber, living life is likened to a wide spectrum of activities mirroring boredom and repetitive monotony, and those instances where sudden tumult and excitement makes for an interesting day.

Being healthy can be viewed as a form of boredom; it is like the person focusing upon the stick of lumber, even if there are signs posting some warnings.  And, correlatively, when sickness and debilitating medical conditions occur, the viewpoint and perspective alters dramatically, such that the monotony of the piece of wood is now replaced with the blare of the warning, admonishment and legal declaratives, and life becomes a tumult, not merely a lapping wave but a tsunami of devastating impact.

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 the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the alteration of the perspective – whether seen as a “eureka” moment, a modified weltanschauung, or some reflective recognition of changed circumstances – the point is to shift the focus from the stick of lumber to the sign post itself: the job, the harassment, the constant antagonism and acrimony in the workplace – these are all the stick of lumber; one’s own medical condition, dealing with the doctors, the deterioration of one’s physical, emotional and mental capacity – these are the “signs”.

What we focus upon will determine the course of one’s future; and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the combination of both words as a compound concept: of recognizing the sign posts, and dealing with it accordingly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: If not X, then at least Y

Many such contingent annotations are in the form of:  If not illegal, then at least unethical; or, if not unethical, then at least lacking of propriety, etc.  It is the pathway to a lesser acceptance, where the focus of one’s aspiration is lowered because of the inevitability of discovering that evidence insufficient will be uncovered.  Thus can one go on ad infinitum in various but similar forms:  If not happiness, then at least some semblance of contentment; if not a soul mate, then at least someone to share my experiences with, etc.

But what if that “replacement” standard turns out to be less than acceptable over time, through duration of toleration, and during cold nights when boredom no longer excites in playing pinochle while the kids are asleep?  Or, if the infractions and constant infringements persist with no end in sight, and no appropriate definition of a violation such that there are penalties to be ascribed and consequences to be felt?  Do we then accept an even lesser paradigm, and if so, how do we know that such diminution and diminishment of acceptance won’t again be averted and avoided?  Thus, do we assert:  If not X, then at least Y; but if Y doesn’t work out, then at least Z; and so on?  When first one submits to the acceptance of a lesser standard, the proverbial horserace has already been lost.

In negotiations, in contractual disputes, in attempting to come to terms, etc., the sign first evidenced of conceding the lesser standard is the first indicator that the slippery-slope has just begun.   There are instances, of course, where the opposite is true, as well, except that we can rarely discern beneath the surface appearances.  That is what Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, must face and accept daily – the conflict between an aspirational paradigm of hope, and the reality of daily pain and anguish.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee, we have:  If there is lesser pain today, perhaps I can last through the day; If I show that I am productive this week, then maybe the supervisor will just leave me alone, etc.  As if, “lasting through the day”, or just “being left alone” for a week, a day, an hour, etc., are acceptable standards for living life?  That is why abandonment of all prior paradigms must often be employed in the journey of life, career and fortitude of endurance; we tend to cling on to categories of an “ought” no longer applicable.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who can no longer endure the acceptance of the lesser standard when there is an alternative to the constant suffering and persistent harassment at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, fortunately, there is the ongoing benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Even for that, the road is still difficult and arduous, for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the agency that determines all disability retirement applications, does not merely “hand out” the benefit.  Like everything else in life, it must be fought for.

But, then, the Federal or Postal worker who fights for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit can retrospectively declare:  “If not the constant and daily struggle, then at least an annuity to secure my future” – the “exception” to the rule, where the lesser is in fact the greater, but is not always apparently so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The caustic nature of disdain in parity

In human history, class structure — whether of bloodlines or lineage; of wealth or claim to title and royalty; or of validated descendants from ancestral superiority — has been the norm.

Then, along came a religious figure (unnamed herein to avoid risk of inflammatory offense and preventing the potential for implosions of alarming hashtags in fits of fear and panic) who posited the notion that the “poor” (that class of mass populace which comprises the greater part of the world) should take “pity” upon the “rich” (those in the minority of the greater class struggle who control and manipulate the invisible levers of the world) because of the difficulties inherent in obtaining the proper credentials to enter through the proverbial pearly gates.

He went further in word-pictures of masterful storytelling, painting images of hellfire, suffering and punishment for those who mistreated the former, and where rewards, awards and commendations bestowed were merely of a temporary and ephemeral nature, whereas the eternal damnation based upon pleasures enjoyed in the temporal world would last well beyond the palliative superficiality of currency beheld.

The problem unstated, however, when the concept of “pity” was introduced, was twofold:  First, the validation of such a feeling and perspective made equals of those in unequal circumstances, and one could even argue, reversed the roles maintained for societal conformity and stability, and enforced a parity of stature; and, second, the emotional and psychological make-up comprised in the very heart of “pity”, is akin to “disdain”, and is a close cousin thereof.  Yes, yes — the one attaches to charity, a desire to assist and retains elements of empathy, sympathy, etc.; but it is more than that.  “Pity” allows for parity of status and stature, just as “disdain” reverses the roles of societal convention.

That religious figure of yore (though we may impute total and complete omniscience upon the fella) injected into society a heretofore unnecessary and problematic component of societal disruption.  It is, indeed, the caustic nature of disdain, which can evolve from pity, that presents itself as the poison which kills and the infectious spreading of ill-will and discomfiture.  The feeling of unease quickly spread throughout nations and continents, and we are in the state we find ourselves in modernity, because of that uninvited infusion of dissatisfaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily toil with a medical condition, and face the onslaught of the Federal workforce and the Postal groups, the problem of pity and disdain, and their combined causticity is well-known.  So long as you were healthy and fully productive, your coworkers, Supervisors and Managers treated you within the well-defined “class-structure” of acceptable conduct and behavior.  Once it was “found out” about your medical condition, suddenly their attitude and treatment towards you changed, and altered dramatically, or perhaps (in some instances) in incremental subtleties of quiet reserve but spiteful turns.

Perhaps some “pitied” you, and you them; but such feelings have turned to disdain — not on their half, but from your perspective. Why?  How?  You are the one with the medical condition, who cannot perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job, so what right have you?

Precisely because of that historical figure of yesteryear; that the true essence of human nature is to be cruel, and thus the best alternative remaining is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in an effort to preserve the last vestiges of a class structure quickly fading in this world where the caustic nature of disdain in parity still survives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Of Karl Popper’s ‘World 3’

Karl Popper’s division of the world into three clean segments of definable universes was, on the one hand, quite controversial — especially as the esoteric world of philosophy had been steadily ‘progressing‘ towards pure materialism and scientism; and yet, on the other, self-evident to almost a simplistic, tautological fault.  Perhaps that is the very implication of profundity: it is that which appears so basic and elementary as to presuppose idiocy, but containing such inherent complexity as to remain beyond the reach of most.

In simple terms, the division of the world followed the classic lines of human history and linear development of evolutionary concordance: ‘World 1’ referred to the physical universe surrounding us; ‘World 2’, the purely psychological make-up of human beings, with a special concern to Popper concerning the internal pain and anguish which we feel; and of ‘World 3’ — that universe which is the subject of this short blog, the aggregate of human products and man’s creative injection into the world, comprised of art, literature, cars, buildings, customs and normative behavior, including dress, style, fashion, etc.

There is, of course, inevitable interaction and intersecting between the bifurcated ‘worlds’ — for example, a book of literature (say, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye) would be both an object existing in ‘World 1’ as well as a product of human creativity from ‘World 3’. But note the peculiarity of the overlap, which makes for a unique phenomenological observation: Say you had 2 copies of the book, but one which was published in January, 2015, and another with the stated date of July, 1951.  Consider further the added element that in the latter edition, a scribble appears, which happens to be the autograph of the author.

From the perspective of Popper’s ‘World 1’, both objects would appear to be essentially identical — with the former intact, and the latter somewhat damaged because of the graffiti defiling a clean page.  However, from the vantage point of the person who possesses and ‘owns’ (a concept which would clearly belong to Popper’s ‘World 3’, as well) the autographed object, a sudden recognition of value, wealth and uniqueness would immediately attach — leaving aside intersecting points with ‘World 2’ involving envy, jealousy, awe and disbelief (which would be shared by the undersigned writer).  Thus do the various and variegated ‘worlds’ of Karl Popper posit for our study, agreement/disagreement, and further reflection.

Such division and segmentation of worlds and universes are often proposed merely for esoteric and pedantic purposes; of ivory tower conceptual constructs which have little to do with the day-to-day lives of ordinary human beings who struggle to make a living, maneuver through the complexity of the world, and attempt to survive the manipulative machinations of a society governed by microcosms of powerful but unnamed sources of evil and collusion.  But there is a recognizable worth and value to some of us, for pointing out the existence and demarcation of artifice as opposed to the natural environment from whence we came.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such a bifurcation of the universe into clean segments of definable compartments, is to recognize that the complexity of the administrative and bureaucratic process encapsulating the entirety and aggregation of the process cumulatively entitled, “Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset”, is ultimately a product of Popper’s ‘World 3’, and not merely a nightmare emanating from the deep recesses of our troubled psychosis self-contained in ‘World 2’, but of an intersection between the universe of madness created by our own desire to further separate ourselves from the simplicity of ‘World 1’, from whence we came.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The last hurrah

We dream of those moments; the final word in a debate which devastates the opponent; the retort which wows the audience; the closing statement that persuades beyond a reasonable doubt; the performance of a lifetime which defines the value of life itself.  The final breath taken, the last hurrah heard, and the concluding catapult left not as a dangling participle, but as a substantive grammatical perfection, leaves the participants and viewers in silent awe in the wake of the closing curtains descending as the roar of the crowd becomes muffled because of the thunderstruck performance left with little doubt or residue for an encore.

Sometimes, however, it is better to let the silence interrupt, the pause intersect, and the non-retort prevail.

Discretion is a characteristic personality trait which rarely prevails, and less so in moments of reactive anger and tumultuous needs of flaring emotions.  For, the time elapsing between a declaration made and the thoughtless contortions of an emotional response, will often be of a split millisecond, and certainly not enough consideration for the synapses to fire within the fermented (or is it demented?) mind of the turmoil encased within.

The samurai who touches the hilt of his sword must consider the consequences; for, once unsheathed, the metal blade previously encased within the master artisan’s work must be used, lest cowardice be charged and reputation be tarnished.  In life, work, and daily living, we have multiple instances and encounters where the opportunity to speak, or not, are confronted and engaged; rarely do we reflect upon the least-favored alternative: silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the repetitive refrain is often to let everyone know, and to express one’s opinion loudly and without thoughtful editing, like the book publisher who self-publishes because no one else has seen the value of the Greatest American Novel left as an unknown and unsought manuscript, hidden in the dusty caverns of a mind secluded but for diatribes on the Internet.

The sagely advice of this lawyer: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell — don’t.  For, in the end, declared asides of fictional characters and the hubris of a Shakespearean soliloquy often result in death, destruction and dementia (and not necessarily in that order), and the last hurrah is often like the drowning sailor whose final surviving words echo soundlessly in the lapping waves of a vast ocean of Nature’s impervious imperialism, lost forever in the terminal breath of a gasping desperation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement Law: The Carousels of Summer

The mounts littered throughout the roundabout can be diverse and captivating; in the swirl of the rotating platform, the child in us wants to sit upon every creature, from unicorns to zebras, the traditional horse and the mythological creatures of one’s limitless imagination.

As we grow older, we come to realize that the spinning sensation itself remains static; the difference between climbing into the bosom of one creature as opposed to another, is indistinct and ultimately irrelevant; when one’s childlike imagination and excitement wrought in ignorance of the cruel world becomes extinguished, the fun of being naive and clueless is no longer an option.  Cynicism comes with maturity; the older we get, the less likely are we to allow ourselves to travel into the realm of the unreal.  Life tends to do that to us.

The road of hard knocks is littered with tales of turmoil and turbulence; storms come and go, and while the devastation left behind can be somewhat repaired, the psyche and soul of damaged people can rarely be glued back together, as fragile porcelain leaving behind fissures wide and gaping as the childlike wonderment we once knew.

Federal and Postal employees know the experiences of life:  the internal battles, the power struggles and the herd-like mentality of agencies and departments.  Then, when a medical condition hits, and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer the golden-boy of past cliques, one is cast aside like the child who is left outside of the teams picked in linear sequence, until the silence of being ignored becomes a reality as shame and embarrassment shouts in muted suffering.  Sometimes, the wisest move is to move on.

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, is the best and only option remaining.  To attempt to stay is like the biblical admonition of “kicking against the goads“; to walk away and do nothing is merely to spite one’s self; and so the Federal or Postal employee who has a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, should always opt for the best remaining alternative.

To prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is ultimately not an admission of defeat.  Rather, it is to enliven that imagination once grasped, but since forgotten; of the child who discovered that changing from the seat of a dragon on a carousel to the bosom of a resplendent unicorn makes all the difference not in the change itself, but within the comfort of the limitless imagination of one’s mind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire