OPM Disability Retirement: Life at the Apex

Life is on a spectrum variable; instead, we tend to view it as a linear progression, as one from birth to youth, middle to old age; death as the ultimate outcome.  The content of life is therefore arranged based upon this organic paradigm projecting towards an apex, then a steady decline thereafter.  Thus are one’s education and school days fashioned, where the traditional pathway is from high school to college, from college to graduate school, medical school, law school, etc., and then onto a career.

A second opportunity to be useful in life with a second career or vocation

Federal Disability Retirement is all about having a second opportunity to be useful and productive with another career or vocation

Whether this linear application of life contains an inherent evolutionary advantage for survivability remains a question mark; the fact is, while lives are experienced along the parallel pathways within the greater population, the more relevant question is the Kantian one: Is this a reflection of reality, or have we created another category of an imposed preconception by which we live? One often hears about having reached the “apex of life”; if that proposition is accepted, then everything beyond will merely be a downward degeneration.

For individuals who suffer from a medical condition, it is often whispered of past times of a better life, as if resignation to fate justifies remorse and regret.  For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, should always be entertained.

Such a critical juncture in the life of a Federal or Postal employee cannot be ignored. Yet, whether the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application constitutes an admission of progressive decline after an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, is entirely up to the Federal or Postal Worker who takes such a step.  Medical conditions often necessitate change; but change can be seen as a spectrum variable, and not as an inevitable decline on a linear path.

Happiness, joy, fulfillment and accomplishment; they can be charted on a graph of ups and downs, and sometimes the “ups” can occur long after the apex of one’s linear life, and embrace the Federal or Postal employee long after one has left behind the bureaucratic morass of the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Escaping the Feudal Paradigm

Anachronisms rarely die a sudden death; instead, they fade over time, with vestiges and residual skeletons of facades and structures remaining stubbornly in place for decades, and sometimes centuries.  The system of vassals paying homage and fealty to those who are anointed and favored, has been a longstanding feudal system ensuring loyalty and fidelity to particular fiefdoms and individuals; for, as the consecrated individuals are provided with special privileges, including use of prime land, serfs and servants, so the unwavering allegiance to a lord is established in bonds of sequestered servitude.

Federal and Postal Workers are intimately familiar with this feudal system of fealty; they witness it in qualitative and quantitative instances throughout agencies, departments and post offices.

The rules of servitude closely parallel the bonds of loyalty; the consecrated and anointed are allowed the use of royal carriages, even, and minor violations of protocol are overlooked for those whose favor has been curried and fostered, while a technical infraction by he who stands outside of the legion of sycophants faces a deluge of sanctions, including warnings, reprimands, suspensions and the ultimate hanging by the hooded element: termination.  But as all Federal and Postal employees know and understand, loyalty is a unilateral function; it is never bilateral. One’s relevance extends only so far as usefulness to the anointed one; and once such usefulness is extinguished, so one’s relevance diminishes.

There is no debate between substance and appearance in a philosophical sense; appearance always wins out. And, of course, as empathy for the human condition can find no room in the evolutionary process of survivability, so the vestiges of a feudal system of fealty exists well beyond its existential relevance or functional import.  For the Federal or Postal employee who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the problem of usefulness, loss of position and status as “one of the anointed” (if one ever even enjoyed that level of stature), and relevance to one’s agency or department, becomes a pragmatic problem of stark existential reality.

Fortunately, the gods of caring provided for a more modern, non-feudal mechanism to escape the brutal residue of the feudal system, by allowing for the administrative option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS.  It allows one to sever the tentacles which place a stranglehold upon Federal and Postal employees who are mistreated for circumstances beyond one’s control.

Yes, it is true that vestiges of old systems fade slowly; but in the end, the inexorable march of progress will hopefully win out, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to escape the lords of fate, Federal Disability Retirement is an option to consider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: An Altered Life of Habituation

Loss of stature and status can come in many forms; we think too often in terms of financial status, of material belongings, where we live, with whom we associate, and the subtle evaluation of social consciousness in relation to our neighbors, friends and family.  But as work constitutes a majority of the time we expend, we often fail to understand the profound impact that we subconsciously place upon the status and standing we perceive within the employment arena.  This is closely related to the conceptual viability of bifurcating our “time at work” and “closing the door behind us” when we exit our place of employment, get into the car, and begin the commute home.

More and more, of course, the traditional dichotomy between work and personal life has been destroyed with the intrusive nature of email, smart phones, laptops and the constant need to keep in communication via electronic media.  The sanctity of the home life is deteriorating; weekends are merely interludes of a slower pace of work; and Sundays are rarely categorized as days of unreachable separateness.

With all traditional social and employment walls disintegrated, it becomes all the more profoundly insidious when one’s employment is severely impacted by a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the change from the status of “Federal employee” or “Postal Worker” to one of “Disability annuitant” can have a devastating psychological impact. For, in the end, it is not merely a change of status and stature; it is a profound alteration of a way of life, arrived at through habituation without thought, mindlessly embracing the insidiousness of technological intrusions which we never asked for and rarely sought.

The negative view for the Federal and Postal Worker is to myopically observe this profound change in sadness; the positive outlook is to have a fresh perspective, and to actually take the opportunity to use the time for rehabilitation of one’s health, perhaps just to be able to — for a brief moment in the history of one’s life — stop and smell the proverbial flower on the way out of the office door.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: To Be a Squirrel, for a Day

Watching them is an exercise of fascination; with nimble flight, to jump from a rooftop to the tip of a branch 10 feet away; scurry up and down trees with little thought (or is that merely a human projection without justification?) and no hesitation between the daredevil act and the graceful landing; and then to sunbathe in the midday warmth on a protruding ledge of the fence.

What a carefree existence; or so it would seem.  For, upon an extended observation, one realizes that there is never a moment when the squirrel is unaware of its surroundings, and that the anxiety-filled existence of human beings is not too different from that of the animal kingdom from which we conceptually separate ourselves, but of which reality forces a recognition of kinship.

One wonders how the ordinary individual can survive the daily stresses of life; but in turning to an uncomplicated animal such as a squirrel, you quickly realize that we are created as a bundle of stress-resistance nerves.  For the squirrel, the probability of a predator ready to pounce requires a heightened spectrum of awareness that approaches constant vigilance.  For the individual human being, the technological, artificial, but nevertheless just-as-real “stressors” of stimuli which require minute-by-minute responses, are readily received by the evolutionary adaptation first developed in the dangers of wildlife.

Thus, it is little wonder that when a medical condition hits an individual, the quickened pace of deterioration and progressive chronicity of the condition turns to debilitating impact.  By then, the stress-overload has reached its maximum impact.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is beset with a medical condition such that one must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time between the onset of the medical condition and the need to file is often short.  This should not be surprising, given that the Federal and Postal employee has often ignored or otherwise overcompensated for the warning signs of impending consequences.

OPM Disability Retirement can take some time to obtain.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, every Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the waiting time tends to be arbitrary, but in each case, somewhat lengthy.  Given that, once the crisis point of “needing” to file has been identified, it is important to take the next giant step and initiate the process.

And, like the squirrel of whom we imagine is merely frolicking in the sun, the lack of outward appearance of a need is never the true indicator of what is going on underneath.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Where Once, the Mirror Reflected

Communities are sensitive organisms; what constitutes one, how and when it is identified as such, and whether there exist any such entities, anymore, is of valid concern.

Is a suburb comprised of mansions constructed in the middle of an outlying tract of land, formerly occupied by a farm house, but where none of the neighbors know each other, seldom say hello, and never socialize, a community?  Does there have to be some interaction between neighbors, of showing and evidencing some concern or interest in one another’s lives, hobbies, common interests and attractions, before we can point to an aggregation of homes and declare that it is a “community”?

The origin of the word itself implies a “with”-ness among and between two or more people; and, in order to call a group of people a “community”, does not the identification of a group refer to an entity separate and unique from the rest of those surrounding the identifiably distinct group?

Furthermore, communities reflected a uniques set of social characteristics; like a mirror which reflects a recognizable face, so a community manifested a pattern of social characteristics distinct from a separate group.

Once upon a time, perhaps there existed a Federal community; or, perhaps, a particular agency or department revealed a cohesive set of principles and goals which set it apart from others.  For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who finds him or herself no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job to full capacity, the harsh realization that one may no longer be able to continue with the agency — a community of sorts — is often a macrocosmic reflection of the micro-identifier of a mirror reflecting the future of one’s path.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, identifies the individual as somehow separate and apart; and what one saw previously in the mirror becomes a reflection upon the greater community one was once a part of, and no longer will be, like the disappearance of a social phenomena diffusely evident throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Paradoxical Soiling of Sacrament

Can a person enter a religious institution (i.e., a church, a synagogue, etc.) without an intent to worship, but merely as an onlooker, and yet assume the role of a congregant without soiling the sacrament of its grounds? Tourists do that all the time, and perhaps mere “visitors” who desire to “try out” a church or other institution.

Is there a paradox in taking pictures of old Roman grounds of sacred pasts? Do we somehow justify actions by assuming one role (e.g., as a tourist and not a member) without the intent of what is originally meant of the place we visit? Can a person lie to one’s self, or unintentionally deceive others merely be entering a place of worship, or does one declare the status properly by having a digital camera in tow?

Similarly, if a Federal or Postal Worker goes to work without declaring one’s medical condition, and is able to for many years mask and conceal the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is there anything wrong with such deception — except perhaps that one is doing grave harm by progressively and purposefully deteriorating one’s own body?

Federal and Postal Worker have a tendency to do that, and in today’s harsh and competitive work environment, holding onto one’s job at all costs appears to be the rule of thumb, until it becomes apparent to everyone around, and lastly to one’s self, that one cannot continue in the same vein, any longer.

In that event, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, becomes the only viable option left; assuming, of course, that one has a body, mind or soul left to enjoy in retirement. But that is always the paradox of soiling any sacrament — especially the sacrament of one’s own body.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Threatened Order

One’s orderliness of life is dependent upon the next person; and like the proverbial domino which stands precariously wedged between the one previous and the one subsequent, the universe of stability is dependent upon the static nature of the surrounding environment.

Thus, in the antiseptic neighborhoods around the country, the quietude of the next door neighbor ensures the peacefulness of one’s heart.  If a violent eruption or turmoil occurs next door, and the flashing lights of law enforcement blink through the closed blinds and curtains of your house, you feel violated.

The principle has been tested and verified, that one’s own order in a physical, as well as psychological sense, is only as secure or vulnerable as that maintained by the next person.  For, we do not view ourselves; we view the world around us, and especially our peers, neighbors, coworkers and extended families, and it is by judging the stability of our surrounding environment by which we determine the security of our own lives.  That is why when a person becomes disabled, it threatens the relative peace and security of supervisors and coworkers within the agency, and they react accordingly.

In advising Federal and Postal Workers throughout the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question which is often asked is the timing of when to inform one’s Supervisor as to the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, the time to inform should normally coincide with the actual event of filing, unless there is a valid reason to preemptively inform the agency.

The reaction of an agency is rarely different is substance from one’s neighbor or relative; the disruption of one’s antiseptic and ordered life is seen when a blemish occurs upon the landscape of a cosmetically airbrushed photograph.  When a slight rumble is heard, one looks immediately to the domino standing to the fore and the aft, in the known language of shipmates drifting rudderless in the vast sea of our own making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Tendencies and First Impressions

First impressions are funny animals; while potentially misguided and fraught with errors, they are difficult to shake off because of our natural inclination to form them.  Tendencies, on the other hand, are established over time, and tend (sic) to reliably reflect a routine of repetitive behavior.  In both cases, they are difficult traits to get rid of, sort of like a nagging cold or a hairball in one’s throat.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, both traits are important to recognize.

First impressions — and from knowledge gained over time:  one’s agency; how will one’s supervisor act or react; one’s treating doctor; the extent of support one will receive; they will be the initiating basis and foundation in determining whether to go forward or not.

Tendencies — one’s own; is procrastination a problem?  Is avoidance an issue, such that it is best to jump into the process, knowing that delay is an identified enemy of one’s own best interests?

One’s formed personality and characteristic traits are established early in life; it is the remainder of our lives where we work to understand them, and to undo, supplement, or learn from those early first impressions and tendencies molded into our very being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Expectations

Puppies are special creatures.  They give their loyalty and love unconditionally, and only ask to explore the world we present within the constraints we define.  They are expected to grow old with us; and when they die young, it is a tragedy beyond comprehension.  To cease before one’s time is difficult to bear, precisely because one’s expectation is that the next generation will carry forth where the previous one left off; and so we view the world in this logical, sequential manner of linear progression.

The puppy grows; he may not live as long in terms of human dimensional existence, but we expect our companion to accompany our linear presence.

Careers are formed that way.  We expect incremental progression; for the Federal and Postal Worker, step increases and annual recognition through monetary incentives for the valuable work which is performed.  But life has a way of interrupting our expectations; and just as the life of a puppy may suddenly and without reason end through an accident or illness, so a career may be cut short because of reasons beyond one’s control.  When life’s harshness intersects with human expectations, a change of one’s linear thought processes must occur.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have met the minimum eligibility rules of 18 months of Federal Service (for FERS) and 5 years (for CSRS employees).  It is that benefit which must be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for those whose expectations have been cut short because of a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

As the precious life of a puppy may unexpectedly encounter the harshness of the world in which we live, so the Federal or Postal employee may face the same hardships; however much we may try to cushion and protect, both for the Federal and Postal employee, as well as for that special creature.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire