FERS Disability Retirement: The facade of happiness

There are weather-related “fronts” — of “cold fronts” and “warm fronts” bringing in the freshness of change, a sudden modulation of temperature and a gust of windy hollows echoing through valleys and down into the chill of our bones.  They change the temperature of the air around us, and often moods are impacted as well.

Then, there are also “fronts” of human characteristics — of “putting on a brave front”; of making a “frontal assault”; and of these latter, we realize that there is always something behind, like the wizard concealed by the curtain undrawn.  We all of us put on “fronts” — and like the weather fronts that fool us at first that Spring may be nigh or Winter’s discontent may be around the corner, the “brave” front may be just a put-on, just like the “frontal assault” is likely a ruse to deploy one’s forces all at once to meet the enemy head on.

Of all the fronts, it is the facade of happiness that fools the most, even one’s self, into thinking that contentment is the amassing of objects surrounding, careers advancing and problems left avoiding.  The facade of happiness works well for a season, so long as the fool who buys the bridge of smiles never lifts the veil an inch to peer into the darkness of a soul in anguish.  Happiness is a fleeting state of existence; here for a moment today, it vanishes like the spirits of yesterday’s underworld where gods were chosen to wander the earth in ashen looks of greying days.

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 facade of happiness has likely been an essential tool for survival in this past year, if not longer.

It allows for the Federal or Postal worker to put on a “brave front”, to fool the others for a time — somewhat like the cold front that descends upon the south in the middle of summer to remind one that change is in the air, or the “architectural front” that gives an old building a facelift and draws people inward as an inviting new asset.

But don’t be fooled; for the facade of happiness can never hide for long the suffering beneath, and for the Federal or Postal worker, preparing a 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 the first real step towards an abiding and real happiness, as opposed to the fake smile that conceals beneath the facade of happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Monday’s Startle

There is not much that needs to be said about Mondays.  The standard response to, “So, how is your day going?” is quickly understood with the response of, “It’s Monday”.  What is it about the first work-day of the week that brings about the startle of life?  Is that why the traditional week’s cycle begins from Sunday-to-Saturday, because we want to avoid the memory of a week beginning so disastrously?

Do we dread work so much that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the expectation of the day following the day off becomes so anticipated with angst and considerations of impending disasters, that what we come to expect we impose our will upon the universe such that reality follows our fears and imagination?  Or, is it that there is an across-the-board truce that comes about without a word of acknowledgment — shortly after the close of business on Friday afternoon — when everyone heaves a sigh of relief, goes into the weekend, and everyone follows the protocol of no longer bothering one another?

How did we come to that unspoken rule — you know, the one where emails suddenly become reduced in volume (except by those with OCD who increase the length and number because of the unresponsiveness of the previously-sent dozen or so), phone calls are put on hold and the furious activity of keyboard punching and looking about anxiously at the clock-that-never-moves — where suddenly a peaceful calm descends like a spirit from on high above the clouds, the white flag of a temporary truce is reached without anyone saying a word, week after week, month after month, year in and year out?

It is reported that such unspoken occurrences were common during every war — our own Civil War, the two World Wars (but not in the more recent ones in Southeast Asia and the Middle East), where ceasefires were embraced around Holy Holidays and some Sundays without any need for negotiated settlements, but with merely a wave and a smile.

Then, Monday’s startle comes with a roar.  Whether because it remains such a contrast against the quietude of the day before, or merely the release of pent-up energy allowed to aggregate over the 2 days of respite and restoration, one may never quite comprehend.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, Monday’s startle is often a chronic condition because of the inability to escape from the anxiety of the medical condition itself over the weekend, Holidays or summer months.

Monday’s startle can be survived, for the most part, precisely because of Saturday’s respite and Sunday’s quietude; but when every day of the week and weekend results in the same angst as Monday’s startle, it is likely time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to focus upon one’s health, lest Monday’s startle turns into an endless stream of red flags replacing the white ones of truce where such flags are warning signs of an impending condition that only gets worse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Ruminations on the past

Whether one does X is often of little significance; “Why” it is done, and to what extent, is quite another matter.  The past – whether of long ago, beyond the time of memory holding presently or of history being read about, or the past of one’s own kept in sequestered moments of reflective thought and in photographs carefully guarded and encased within a protective album of shelved remembrances – is a time behind; the future, an angst-filled uncertainty few of us look forward to.

It is the present, and how we treat it, spend it, work it and waist it away or labor furiously to appear “productive” about; and then, there are ruminations on the past.

That is where the “why” and the constant obsessions begin to overwhelm – of what we could have done differently, where we “went wrong” and what lessons can be gleaned for today.  Ruminating on the past is a favorite pastime for many; but when it begins to destroy the future by robbing from the present, it is time to set aside such wasted efforts and begin to focus more upon one’s current situation in order to prepare for the future.

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 job, the time to set aside ruminations on the past is “now”.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, takes up a significant amount of time, effort and required focus upon gathering the necessary information, presenting the compelling facts and establishing the legal nexus between the medical conditions and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.

In doing so, ruminations on the past need to be suspended; angst-ridden obsessions about the future will need to be ignored; and only the “present” focus will become the necessary standard.  Ruminations on the past can come about sometime in the future; it is the present concern about past events that will be significant in securing one’s future by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Dickens, Salinger & Capote

It is always dangerous to offer an overview of complexity; simplicity of explanation often teeters upon the precipice of superficiality, and when it comes to the psychology of people, we normally get it wrong.  Yet, we can try.

For Dickens, the childhood experiences of destitution and humble beginnings allowed for a magnification of love for humanity borne of cruelty in childhood.  In Salinger, we see the pent-up destruction of a young man whose anguish was molded through sights, sounds and experiences devastated by war.  And of Capote, we glean the lasting scars of rejection, first with minor cuts and burns by the divorce of his parents, then deeper in being bounced about by relatives, only to stab him with disappointment when his childhood friend, Harper Lee, received the accolades and universal love he sought so passionately, needed beyond all others, but never felt but for the loss of that which he could not embrace.

The life experiences each encountered reflected, in the end, upon the exhibition of an inner soul:  Dickens continued to provide the public with readings of characters forever loved, and embraced the sea of admiration which was the source of his limitless imaginations, borne of a world which tried to contain him with a system of caste and class.

Salinger retreated more and more into the insular world of his own safe web of privacy and secrecy, having concluded that the world was not to be trusted, that phoniness lurked in every man’s soul, and the horrors witnessed at the hands of war and concentration camps were evidence enough to deny others anything remaining.

And for Capote — we may sum it up in the cruel but crisp truism upon his death, by fellow author Gore Vidal, who quipped that it was a “good career move”.  Acting ever the fool with drunkenness and debauchery, the public destruction of a talent so extraordinary was a painful sight to witness.

Can we learn anything from these paragons of talent?  Or, are such characters merely of our own creations, snickering at the fact that, even where seemingly boundless talent exists and opportunities reflect limitless choices, self-destruction nevertheless becomes the teleology of choice.  At a minimum, they reveal to us the complexity of human essence, and that what people react to on the outside barely scratches the surface of what remains within.

And this is the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are harassed and intimidated in the workplace, when a medical condition results in the necessity to prepare, formulate and file 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.  For, the coworkers, managers and supervisors who treat the Federal or Postal worker as nothing more than a nuisance through loss of productivity, fails to address the core value of the individual suffering at the hands of consequences not chosen through self-destructive behavior, but merely because of fate of circumstances.

The key for the Federal and Postal worker both, is to choose a path which refuses to submit to self-immolation resulting from the negative experiences at the hands of others; rather, to embrace the love of others as Dickens did, and not retreat into the insular retardation of life as Salinger proposed, or the reverberating echoes made by the empty bottle of alcohol, drowning in later life as Capote consumed, shuddering with the laughter of others and snickering for want of fools in his diminishing stature, ever losing the love which he sought so selfishly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Government Disability Retirement: The Best of Mediocrity

There is an overriding principle that, where excellence is sought, higher expectations are exceeded.  Acceptance of a given human condition and resignation to that which is less than the best, is to embrace the heart of banality and to reject that august status reserved for the human species, of being above the animals and just below the angels.

There is a syndrome for that; of thinking and believing that one’s situation is all that one can hope for, and this resignation to life’s circumstances occurs when mediocrity becomes the meddlesome cousin to dashed hopes and dreams, and when the toxicity of one’s surrounding environment will not widen the narrow imaginations once the muddle of the middle prevails upon human potentiality.

It is like the parental fight which tumbles unchecked into an ugly shouting match of epithets and unbridled accusations of meanness and vicious ferocity, flung at each other out of frustration and fatigue, and then the realization that the children are watching, ever so observant, and you ask, Who are the grownups in this morass?  Where did the emperor’s clothes go?  What happens to a couple when there are no longer control mechanisms and neighbor’s noses to sniff the air for scandal, and when destruction of stability is accepted, any and all sense of obligations are thrown out the proverbial window, and the visiting aunt is no longer there to lend a critical eye, but instead has been shuttled to a nursing home where decay, death and dementia of purposeless existence remains in the antiseptic stench of lifelines and plastic tubes draining the life out of a society’s level of excellence?  We accept our “station in life” when hope is vanishing in the degeneration of societal decay.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sense this morass of loss, especially when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties and there comes a recognition that one must prepare, formulate and file 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 time to shed tears for the loss of mediocrity comes when affirmative steps are taken to recognize that there can be something “more” than merely the best of mediocrity.

Never think that filing for and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is merely to accept “less”; rather, it is a recognition that there is an inconsistency between the medical condition one suffers from, and the limited positional duties of the Federal or Postal job for which one is positioned.  There can be further opportunities for work and vocational advancement in another job in the private sector, while still retaining one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement annuity (as long as the type of job one chooses to engage in is somewhat substantively distinguishable, and if one remains within the “80% rule” of earned income).

The best of mediocrity is to accept the loss of one’s Federal job or Postal work, and to not see that the proverbial corner one cannot yet view, is but road yet untaken, an opportunity unseen, and a future to behold as the golden dust of an angel’s flight may yet sprinkle upon elevating the best of mediocrity into a stratosphere of excellence, beginning with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Agency: Alliances

Meritocracies are built upon an ideal of competency; quickly, however, as reality creeps into the ineffable truth of what actually occurs, people tend to fall back upon the comfort zones of unspoken alliances, allowing for protective measures tantamount to the nuclear paradigm of mutually assured destruction in saving one’s own skin.

The person who goes to work with quiet competency believes that hard work and incremental contribution will ultimately win out the day; the hardy laughs outside of the office echoing down the hallway with vague reverberations of mirthless camaraderie; the social events invited with a mere pop-of-the-head mention in passing by, but quickly with the added disclaimer of, “Oh, it won’t be much fun, but you’re certainly invited,” as if you are offered a discount coupon which needs only to be cut out and brought with you, but no scissors are provided and tearing such conveniences outside of the dotted line is considered in bad taste; and the Monday recounting of the get-togethers with back-slapping tales of associations forged and assuredly irrelevant to the work at hand, but somehow those quiet stares held for a moment too long between unspoken alliances concretized in what once was described as backroom deals filled with cigar smoke and consideration exchanged under poker tables, comes back to haunt in subtle ways in misdeeds of unaccounted time.

When a crisis hits the fan, favoritism is always denied, despite the facts which betray the truth.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider preparing for another vocation because the one presently positioned is no long viable, resulting from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it often becomes evidence that the leeway given for approving FMLA in the meantime, or liberal leave policies, redistribution of workloads in order to temporarily accommodate or suspend many of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, is based not upon laws, regulations or those pesky statutes of alleged protective shrouds proudly declared by politicians from both sides “of the aisle”; rather, it is as it always has been — upon the feudal fiefdoms of alliances forged upon meritless applications of weekend romps.

The payment for hard work is the salary one receives; the “extras” depend upon the discount coupons one has discarded over those many years.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is when the medical condition begins to impact and prevent one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job; and when the afterthought of alliances left unattended results in regrets of unquantified good-will, one should remember that meritocracy is best judged in the faces of a family spent with, and not in the empty beer cans of remorse and despair.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire