FERS Medical Retirement: Trouble in Paradise

The initial question in modernity is, of course, whether such a place exists.  Paradise was always a fantasy which everyone dreamed about; the reality of a dystopian universe is what most of us experience on a daily basis.  Paradise Lost — of a time forgotten, of an Eden which once existed but was forsaken because of greed, corruption and human frailty; these, we all learned about as children and have built callouses against because of our experiences with the real world.

Paradise may exist in some form of a transcendent universe, but as a pastor once wisely observed, “Where there are people, there are problems”.  Of course, once trouble arises in paradise, it negates the definitional basis of what constitutes “paradise” in the first place and determines the reality of what we experience daily: Of a universe filled with contentiousness and conflict; of motives questioned, behaviors in frictional constancy and of organisms persistently at war.

Federal Agencies and the Postal Service are no different, in this respect, for they represent an aggregation of a macrocosmic representation of individual lives.

When a Federal or Postal employee begins to suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, two things begin to occur: First, there is “trouble” in the paradise of one’s personhood — whether of the body or of the mind — because of the overwhelming nature of the medical condition itself.  And second: the “trouble” begins to extend to the organism called the “Federal Agency” or the “Postal Service” — in the form of harassment and conflict.

If these two elements have begun to shake the foundations of your paradise, then it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and begin the process of regaining that paradise which you once had, but now have lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement from OPM: The Task Ahead

We all talk in those terms, don’t we?  And when the future is no longer referred to, we begin to worry; for it is the notion of a future that keeps us alive in the present, while the past is merely a portrait of who we were and what made us today.  A person without a history is an enigma; of what we are doing presently informs others of where we are going; and of future plans — well, that reveals of character, ambitions and the motivations of “what” and “who”.

When two people meet for the first time, it is commonplace to inquire as to the other’s past.  Why is that important?  Do we glean from a person’s previous experiences the type of “character” one has?  Of the places a person has been to; of his or her upbringing; of the hardships and trials one has endured; of the relationships one has been entangled in; and of the schools attended, the education received, etc. — are these, in their aggregate, what reveals the “make-up” of a person?

Can one sweep one’s past aside and simply declare, “I have no past and nor do I want to discuss it.  However, let me tell you of my future plans — of the task ahead.”  Why wouldn’t that be acceptable?  Is it because anyone can say anything about the future yet to be done, and it is the past which remains the telltale sign of a person’s true intentions and motivations — that is, the sincerity of one’s declarations?

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 task ahead becomes clearer each day as one’s medical condition worsens: Filing for Federal Disability Retirement looms as a greater and nearer necessity.

Does the past matter?  Yes — as to the deteriorating aspect and its impact upon one’s present circumstances.  Does the present have any relevance?  Yes, to the extent of one’s current medical issues and the nexus to one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  And what of the task ahead?  That is the true test — and for that, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law in order to prepare the most effective application for the task ahead: to formulate a strategy in order to pass muster with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Sense of Justice

Why do we speak in those terms?  Why a “sense” of X, as opposed to X itself?  Is it because it does not precisely fit into the strict definition of X, but may well be implied by it?  “Justice” is often enmeshed with a definition involving morality and the strict bifurcation between “right” and “wrong” — as well as compliance with “the law”.

Personal Injury lawyers will often scoff at the idea that compensatory damages awarded necessarily implies the level of justice received; if that were the case, most people who seek money damages would never be rewarded with the justice sought, whether of a “sense” or not.

Similarly, is there any rationality in discussing the concept of “Justice” in domestic relations cases?  Is there a “just cause” to pursue when two people decide to separate, especially when children are involved?  Is it all “subjective”, as in the case of “fairness” or “unfairness”?  Or is there a more “objective” standard — as in the strict definition where the requirements of X are met by the proof of Y, leading to the unmistakable conclusion that “Justice has been served”?  If that were the case, wouldn’t all of “Justice” be a mere tautology?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek to meet the eligibility requirements for Federal Disability Retirement, the “sense of Justice” is achieved by proving one’s case, meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, then obtaining an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

However, to achieve that goal — that “sense of Justice” — one must prepare the groundwork and set the foundation in order to meet the legal criteria posited.  In order to do that, it is wise to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest your sense of Justice were to fall somewhat short because of a lack of understanding as to what the law requires.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Natural empathy

Is there such a thing, or do we just fake it even when we do not naturally “feel” it?  If the official, technical definition fails to make the distinction between “feeling” and “understanding”, does it not discount the differentiation of the traditional bifurcation – that of rational capacity as opposed to part of one’s emotional quotient?

Further, if it is merely an emotion, do some have a greater capacity because of a genetic predisposition, while others at a minimal level acquired through accident of birth, and thus can one be held responsible for merely being who we are?  On the other hand, if it has a closer affinity to an “understanding” one possesses, then can it not be cultivated and enhanced, and therefore within the purview of an educational system that includes “empathy instruction”?

How would one “teach” empathy?  Would you present slide shows of unfortunate events, and by instructional imprinting, have the teacher or headmaster unravel with emotional turmoil and manifest tears of sorrow, and hope that the students will by some mysterious osmosis embrace that capacity to experience such travails “as if” one were in the other’s shoes?  And, what do we mean when we attribute empathy as a “natural” course of human characteristic – is it counterintuitive to the distinction made of its opposite, of an “artificial” construct?

In Darwinian parlance, of course, there is little room for Natural empathy – the weak merely dilute the sacrosanct genetic pool of the strong and those fit to survive, and time wasted in trying to protect the weak or to understand those less fortunate will only succumb to the inevitable devouring by prey otherwise in waiting.

In the “civilization” of the human animal, there are certainly historical instances of unexplainable natural empathy, but whether there was always even therein a hidden agenda, a personal motivation, or a self-centered glint of purpose, we shall never know.  The naïve will posit that natural empathy is central to the human character; the cynic, that it is neither natural nor a tendency discovered in any species known, but just another societal construct forced upon the strong as part of the social contract to defend the weak.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the health condition has resulted in testing the natural empathy of coworkers, supervisors and managers at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, there may well be a division and diversity of opinions on the matter.

Whether natural or artificial, unfortunate events do indeed test the capacity of human character, and when the Federal or Postal employee prepares a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the uncaring and impervious attitudes of those encountered along the long and arduous process in attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, can indeed test the attitudes of a generation yet to experience the cruelty of an otherwise imperfect universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire