Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Gathering

They come from afar, and wide across the expanse of multiple cities, towns, and whether from rural areas or suburban neighborhoods, the criss-crossing of America is a tradition reserved for those special holidays where families gather, friends reminisce and relations pick up where old memories had left off.  “The Gathering” may be a once-yearly event, or perhaps a couple of times, and only once in a decade moment; however often, whatever the occasion, it is a time of recollection, reminiscence, restoration and rejuvenation.

Sometimes, even a gathering with people you hardly knew, or didn’t particularly like, is enjoyable enough, and though you might in the middle of the chatter say to yourself, “Why am I even here?” —yet, it is the mere presence of belonging that harkens one back to the lanes of memories that will not let go, like the dog that has locked its jaws onto your pant-leg and will not release you until you have finally relented.

Of course, there are other “types” of gatherings that are not so enjoyable or which bring a sense of warmth and joy — as in the “gathering” of Supervisors or Managers in conjunction with Human Resource Personnel who attempt to subvert, initiate adverse actions and conspire to make the life of a Federal or Postal employee a “hell on earth”.

Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer form 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 are at a stark disadvantage when it comes to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits: Often, the Human Resource Office of one’s own agency is neither helpful nor mindful of the confidentiality of even asking a casual question.

A simple question like, “What forms need to be completed in order to file for Federal Disability Retirement?” — may suddenly lead to a wildfire of rumors and innuendoes concerning one’s motive, intention and future plans, and suddenly the “point-person” becomes the pariah and a gathering of managers and supervisors suddenly materializes like a an unexpected dust storm in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

Not all gatherings are equal; some are for the happiness of memories recollected; others, a conspiracy to initiate adverse actions and to undermine the future plans of a well-intended act.  For the Federal employee or Postal worker who must begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, “The Gathering” one should be most concerned about is the one to which you were never invited, so beware of the things you say, to whom you say it, and when you make the query.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Season’s end

The cyclical nature of the seasons provides for comfort in its monotony of regularity; we are subject to nature more than we realize, and the onset of the next season means the end of one, the beginning of another and the endless cycle of repetitive regularity.

That concept, in and of itself, is a strange one, is it not?  Of “repetitive regularity”; for, can “regularity” encompass a series of elements without repetition?  And, is not repetition itself the foundation of regularity?  Is there a distinction with a difference to be made?

If a person goes to the same coffee shop every day, at the same hour, and orders the same cup of coffee each and every day of his life, we would describe that person as being a “regular”.  Further, we might describe what he does as “repetitive”, and thus would say of him: “He engages in an act of repetitive regularity”.

That perspective would be a fairly accurate one from an objective, outsider’s viewpoint.  But what about from the subjective perspective – from the person himself who goes to that same coffee shop each and every day?  He might say: “No, it is not repetitive, because each cup of coffee, to me, is a brand new one, just as each day I wake up is a new day; and, besides, I might wake up one day and go to a different coffee shop, and then you would not consider me to be a ‘regular’.”

Would such a statement be accurate?  Would it be truthful?  And what about the short time-frame within which we assign so quickly the label of “regular”?  From an omniscient viewpoint, would doing X for a month, a year – or even a decade – properly constitute “regularity”, when eternity is the standard by which it is being judged?

A season’s end and the next one’s beginning can certainly be considered as repetitive regularity; for, that is often what we rely upon as a security of comfort, in the very knowing of the next one coming. That is the insidious impact of a medical condition, is it not?  That it creates uncertainty, and suddenly repetitive regularity is no longer guaranteed, as if the season’s end may be its last.

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 duties, the medical condition itself may be likened to the season’s end.

Fortunately, there is the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, however, and that may, as well, be likened to the repetitive regularity of a season’s end – only, it is the onset of the “next season”, and that is some comfort upon which to take refuge, like the flock of geese that fly south for the warmer climate of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The change is in us

We wake up each morning expecting the world to have remained unaltered during the night; yet, as Hume’s argument concerning causality would have us believe, there is no necessary connection we have identified or conceptually ascertained, but merely our imagination anticipating and projecting into the future, such that stability of the universe around us pervades in a constancy of regularity.

The surroundings remain familiar; the coffee machine is of the same make as when we left it the night before; even the dogs appear unchanged, ready to obey and begin the day in the fashion that canines are accustomed to.  Perhaps you bump into an object before turning on the lights, and you find that someone in the household has shifted it from where you last saw it.  You resolve to inquire about it later in the day, or are immediately satisfied that “X must have left it” and therefore the “mystery” is solved.  Never does it enter your mind that the world, in its own power of intended shifting, moved without direct causal intervention.  You step into the bathroom and look in the mirror, where the same features stare back.

Yet, what may be different, what results in a subtle but perceivable alteration, is not the world reflected on the wall behind, but the compendium of complex emotions, memories, thought-processes and cognitive intuitions having rested through the night, and now are awakened to perceive, judge, analyze and evaluate in the wakefulness of the moment.

It is us that changes.

As Kant pointed out, we bring human structures of perceptual constructs to the inert world which pervades and surrounds.  The universe we invade and occupy often remains constant, and in that rhythm of regularity, we find solace in a methodological quietude.  Yes, cars whiz by and honk their horns, and birds chirp in the early morning dawn, but such movement has already been anticipated and entered into the equation of our consciousness.  It is only if buildings move, like earthquakes responding to the tectonic shifts of unseen caverns, when we panic within the world of regularity we have created.

But then, sometimes, the outside force touches upon us directly, and that is when the peace and quiet of constancy becomes disturbed.

Medical conditions tend to do that — for they have a duality of existence.  It is a change “out there”, somewhere whether visible, as in a physical injury of open wounds, or “in there”, whether as an unseen pain correlated by a diagnostic test, or even a psychiatric condition which pervades and progressively debilitates.  But the duality exists precisely because the “there” is also part of the self which recognizes the change.

The change is not only “in us”, it is us.

And it is often that very duality of alteration which thus requires a further change in abutting against the unchanging and impervious universe around us.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, this realization that one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unwilling to change, to accommodate or to transform in response to the medical condition, is a knowledge which is gained often through the harsh reality of confrontation and harassment.  For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to this realization, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a consideration which must be seriously entertained.

It is, for many, a realization likened to “growing up” in a world which is often cold, uncaring and unconcerned.

As agencies are behemoths which reflect the character of a society, so it should not be surprising that Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities which respond well to change.  For, in the end, we must always recognize that the most significant change in the history of shifting burdens does not occur in the textbooks of time, but closer to the heart of every individual, and it is not change in the “other” which calls forth the earthquakes resulting in tsunamis, but it is the change in us, as it is change which is us.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Editorial Process

Every writer dreads the process; on the other side of the proverbial fence, it is the joyful perverseness of the editor, with markers in hand and metaphorical scissors and knives to slash and cut, the necessity of reducing and whittling away the creative volume of words forming descriptive paragraphs and the infancy of a birth of genius, or so one always thinks about one’s own work.

Everyone has a story to tell.  How cogent; whether systematic in logical sequence; the relevance of certain statements, sentences, and sometimes paragraphs and chapters, may undermine the greater purpose for which something is written.

The story to tell must always be refined and bifurcated into categories of recognized goals:  Who is the audience?  What is the purpose of the piece?  Is there a thematic foundation?  Who will be interested?  What is the appropriate forum for publication?  These questions, and many others, are rarely asked (or answered) beyond the egoism of the compelling need to tell.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a story to tell, the telling of the story is often the basis upon which one files for Federal Employees Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Sometimes, the story must be told in another forum — to the Office of Worker’s Compensation, or perhaps to an EEOC venue.  Will the stories change with each telling to a different forum?  Perhaps not the core of the story, but certainly some of the relevant details.

As with preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability for a Federal Disability Retirement application, the facts to be told, the focus to be emphasized; these all depend upon the audience of one’s target.  It is not a matter of changing or omitting; it is the necessary editorial process which makes for good print.

For the Federal and Postal employee who tries to go it alone, rarely can one be the writer and editor at the same time; and it is likely the editorial process which results in the successful outcome of any writing endeavor; and while the acclaim and accolades of success spotlight the named individual, the printed byline and the recognized author, it is the behind-the-scenes process which really wins the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pretending

It is the creative imagination which ultimately separates man from his counterpart; and, in the end, those costumes we display, and wear as vestiges of who we were, what we have become, and how we want others to appreciate us — in the aggregate, they reveal either our pretending selves, or at the very least, our pretentiousness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the extension from childhood through adulthood is best personified in the ability and capacity to “pretend” — assume the role of the loyal civil servant; march on in quiet suffering; brave through in silent grief the turmoil of a progressively worsening medical condition.  But when “pretend” encounters the reality of pain and self-immolation of destruction and deterioration, there comes a point in time where childhood fantasies and dreams of want and desire must be replaced with the reality of what “is”.

That annoying verb, “to be”, keeps cropping up as an obstacle of reality, forever obstructing and denying.  Reality sometimes must hit us over the head with harsh tools of sudden awakenings; for the Federal or Postal worker who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the wake-up call is often the alarm-clock that rings after a long weekend, when rest and respite should have restored one to healthy readiness on the workday following, but where somehow the face of pretending must still remain.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire