Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The distant bark

A lone dog barks in the distance.  We cannot determine where, or even from what direction, but the echo of wailing, sometimes of whimpering, reverberates like a mist in the early morning that quietly pervades but can never be grasped.  Perhaps it persists, and we leave the safety of our own home in search of the cry, as the forlorn sounds made wavers between a spectrum of hurt, pain, loneliness or urgency of need; no matter the reason, the bark is desperate.

We begin the journey in one direction, but suddenly the winds of voices heard shifts, and we believe it may be coming from a completely different direction.  We shift course and walk in the exact opposite direction. The barking continues, now with greater tones of reverberating alarm, drifting from over there, somewhere out there, never to be determined.  The barking stops.  You pause, listen; but only the quietude of the midnight air breaks the stillness of the echo that now sounds within one’s imagination.

You begin to doubt yourself; was it my own fears, my own fantasy?  Did the sound ever break upon the dawn of objective reality, or was it something that originated from deep within my own needs and wants?  You go home.  Then, a few minutes later, after turning off the lights and drifting off into the slumber of night’s call, a lone dog barks in the distance.

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 Federal or Postal job, that Federal or Postal employee is the distant bark, and the help that never arrives reflects the situation that so often describes the events that unfold.  Federal Disability Retirement, as the analogy may be stretched, is the person who reaches out to try and find the source of the barking.  Failing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the metaphor where the searching man and the barking dog never meet.

Federal Disability Retirement is not just another “benefit” or a “give-away”; rather, it is part of the employment package that the Federal or Postal worker signed on to, and once obtained, allows for the Federal or Postal worker who is on disability retirement to pursue other careers and vocations, and more importantly, to focus upon regaining one’s health in the process by being separated from the work that has become problematic in the meantime.

And like the lone dog that barks in the distance, the Federal or Postal employee who fails to take the next step by not preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will end up like the dog that wails pitifully deep into the recesses of midnight regrets.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Arrive with bluff, depart with bluster

That has become the motto of universal exceptionalism; it is the bravado of the incompetent, the arrogance of the ignorant and the methodology of the unwary:  besides, it is a funny line plagiarized from a work by Evelyn Waugh (no, that is a male writer, not a female).

It is to come into a circumstance, a job, an assignment or a social conduit acting like one knows what one is doing, messing everything up, then leaving the desecration of incompetence and a heap of human detritus for others to deal with, while all the while turning up one’s nose, shaking the proverbial head in disgust, and departing with an unjustified defense of one’s own incompetence with:  “You guys are hopeless.”

That is the guiding declarative foundation of all self-help books, advice columns and Oprah-wanna-bees in columns of suspicious pearls of so-called wisdom:  “The key is to act like you know what you are doing, with confidence and assertiveness; the rest will follow and everyone will believe in you.”  Or, in other words, believe in yourself despite not knowing anything; act with declarative arrogance; be self-confident (of what, we are never told) and take charge of your life.  Then, if things don’t work out, don’t be too hard on yourself (or, better yet, not at all) and don’t ever allow others to get you down.

Such a foundational folly of methodological madness fits in very well, and is completely commensurate with the cult of youth; for, even if we all know that the younger generation knows not anything but having been coddled throughout their educational years (hint:  a euphemism for indoctrination for heightening self-esteem), the world generally operates on its own in spite of massive and daily incompetence, but that is precisely why there is a need to hire a dozen people for every job:  quantified incompetence somehow makes up for qualitative lack.

Once upon a time, bluster was known, recognized and dispensed with; and bluster was laughed at, mocked and ridiculed.  Now, it is an everyday and common occurrence, because the substantive basis has been ripped out and the soul is now an empty cavern of echoing banter steeped in words of meaninglessness topped by nonsensical linguistic cacophonies of boundless chatter.

Yet, there are times when substance matters, as when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker experiences a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s ability and capacity to continue in the position one is designated in.  That is the time when neither bluff nor bluster is desired, needed nor welcome.

Honest answers and forthright advice is what needs to be obtained, both from Supervisors, coworkers and Human Resource personnel; in the legal advice rendered and received from one’s Federal Disability Retirement lawyer; and from friends, family and loved ones in pursuing this very difficult bureaucratic process couched within a cauldron of administrative nightmares.

We arrive into this world without a clue; we learn to bluff, even when we don’t want to; and when we depart, it is up to us as to whether there needs be an imprint of bluster, or whether the honesty that still resides in the essence of our soul may still reveal a vestige of the true character we maintained, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The divided relic

If an ancient relic of sacred origins must always travel with wherever a community, a tribe or an individual must go, can its essence remain intact despite being divided into multiple forms?  Can a divided populace split into two its sacredly-held relic, whether for theological reasons of disputatious incommensurability, or simply resulting from an old-fashioned “I don’t like them anymore” conflict that has erupted into an irreconcilable fissure?  In other words, is the sacredness of the relic contained in the essence of the thing itself, or by the bonding influence of the people who view that item of antiquity with awe and frightful respect?

Whether a sacred scroll or a Bible (which, obviously, would be difficult to divide), or a crystalline object, an ancient arrow holding magical powers or an assortment of divinations empowered by a rich history of spiritual conquests — whether such relics can retain their efficacy for a community divided, might depend upon the strength of the belief itself, and the foundational reliance upon such antiquities of thought-processes.

That is, perhaps, one of the many problems of modernity; we no longer have the capacity to believe in the power of ancient relics, divided or not; and, instead, we put our faith into the predetermination of a Darwinian paradigm, where the gene pools of those who have survived merely contribute to the greater sense of invincibility within a genetically maladjusted populace of pure materialism.  Thus do we abandon all sacred rites of passage and living – of entrance into adulthood, marriage, the sacrament of forgiveness and the commodity of grace.

The divided relic does not lose its powers because of the division into pieces greedily and hastily fractured by human conflict, but because the very act itself merely reflects a broken heart no longer tethered by faith, belief, community or commonality of belonging.  No – it is because we have accepted fractured lives as a justification for dividing sacred relics, that the very sanctity of the relic itself has been diminished and sullied.

Indeed, that is what happens in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, with people and the workplace itself.  No, there are no sacred relics to be divided in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but there can be – should be – a sense of commonality of purpose and an empathy undivided such that the work and missions of the entity itself can be carried forth with a purposeful intent.  The strength of that sense of cohesion, however, is often reflected when a Federal or Postal employee is beset with a medical condition, and must file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

If the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility responds with supportive empathy (rarely seen), then that sense of an undivided and worthy relic remains like a residue of bright hope; but, more often than not, it is the opposite effect that is seen – of a divided relic reflected in the pool of harshness and indifference revealed by human depravity, by harassment, intimidation and scorn within the community of Federal and Postal workers.

Such a state of affairs when responding to a Federal or Postal worker who is in the process of going through the administrative trials of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is reflective of this state of modernity, where the divided relic can so heartlessly be accomplished without concern for the essence of one’s soul.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Trepidation

In this universe where pause reflects cautionary exposure, the Darwinian model of survival of the fittest prevails.  Ours is a society that lacks any patience; the youthful generation deems their “place” as a rightful commodity to assert without bashfulness; the old are shoved aside into old folks’ homes and nursing facilities, all the while as we give lip-service to the importance of love, family and care for one another.

It is easy to give utterances of inane and meaningless trope, of generalizations about values and moral circumlocutions of apparent profundities; much harder is to sacrifice what we want, desire or otherwise deem the encampments for our “personal bests”.  “Rights” asserted in your face constitute the norm of this generation; conformity to the quietude of societal conventions, of cohesions above dismembered cacophonies of ingratitude, are mere fodder to be cast aside.

Trepidation is a personality defect; as in the days of yore when tremulous fear, alarm or agitation constituted a pause which threatened the capacity to survive, so in modernity there is no room for such diminution of evocative negation.

Perhaps, in some other corner of the world, in a society which still values the careful fostering of human relationships, a person’s pause and trepidation to immediate action would be overlooked and unnoticed, if not merely because the significance of such hesitation would be considered nothing more than a throw-away phrase, somewhat like, “Oh, you know Betsy, she always has to have a few days before she does something!”  But we don’t have “a few days” in this corner of civilization, where daily predatory advancement is the means to success, and why disabled people are merely used as referential legal maneuvers, but otherwise shoved aside into dark corners where alleged accommodations are granted within the strictures of malleable definitions.  No, it was never curiosity that killed the cat; it was always trepidation of cautionary hesitancy.

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 or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the notion that the Federal or Postal employee may have some initial feelings of trepidation before engaging the process, is both understandable as well as self-defeating.

The reality is, we have to engage the world we live in.  And the world we occupy is this little corner of the globe, where patience is lacking, hesitancy is scoffed at, and delay is deemed a purposeless abyss of wasted time.  The bureaucratic morass itself will take a long, long time, just to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Trepidation is not a personality trait which is healthy for the process, and unfortunately, it is a counterintuitive characteristic that only serves to exacerbate the medical condition itself.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Private thoughts, public offerings

The bifurcation of human contemplation can take many forms, and rarely do they conflict with each other, unless the former is involuntarily injected into the cauldron of the latter.  One can hold private thoughts contrary to one’s public image; and the public self can contradict the private soul without a condemnation of hypocrisy, so long as the two are never manifested as unconcealed revelations of surprised protocols.

We suspect that exacting consistency between the former and latter has never existed in the history of mankind – beginning with the dawn of hunters who trembled with an inner fear so violent that want of flight was paused only by the shame that would prevail at the tribal dance where bravery, conquest and manhood are celebrated; or in more “civilized” settings when socialites raised eyebrows upon behaviors deemed uncouth and agrarian, where divisions of social consciousness resulted from the miscreant amassing of wealth previously unknown.

Can resentment be concealed in a long-enduring marriage, or fear of death be tightly coiled within the heart of a warrior?  The samurai who gave his fearless allegiance to the daimyo, who in turn swore body and soul to the Shogun – did they avert the openness of their trembling by dispensing favors and accolades to the underlings who disseminated the fearsome bloodlettings?  And what of politicians today – the acceptability of having a “private belief” contrary to the “public stance” – do they constitute a hypocrisy, or an acceptable division of setting aside personal feelings for the greater good in public service?

Often, the misguided confusion arising between a conflict of contrasting private thoughts and public offerings, is just that:  We fail to contemplate the ends thought, and mix the means for motives untold, and in the muddle of such a conundrum of confusion, think that it reflects upon the meanness of our own souls, without recognizing that human frailty must always allow for a bit of good humor, if we are to survive the self-flagellation of our inner desires.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers have this same problem – of fealty and loyalty to a Federal daimyo or Postal Shogunate without considering the misguided and irrational basis of such compelling inconsistency.  The thought that loyalty to an agency or fealty to the Postal Service must continue despite hostility and abuse perpetrated merely for suffering from a medical condition brought on through no fault of the Postal worker or Federal employee, is tantamount to the bifurcation between private thoughts and public offerings:  publicly, in the company of coworkers, supervisors and managers, the smile of contentment and membership in the agency’s team spirit must be on full display; privately, the suspicions and paranoia mount because of the workplace hostility engaged by others.

Betrayal itself is often a misguided embracing of a blind trust; you cannot betray those who have already undermined your every turn.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a very private matter, precisely because it involves the most private of information – one’s medical condition and the records which reveal the intimate and private details of it all.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s own Agency or H.R. Department, then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a “public” act in many ways, and it is that act alone which often makes one pause.  But this is where the “rub” must be faced:  In order to access a public right (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits), some extent of the private information (the medical condition; doctor’s narratives, office and treatment notes, etc.) must be “offered”.  Yes, it is a difficult decision – but one which must be faced in order to get beyond the private hell within the cauldron of the public hostility and workplace harassment which will only continue until an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is approved by OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Recognizing the best of times

Often, we mistake short-term travails with the chronic despair experienced by some.  In the midst of an experiential trauma, compounded by a lack of capacity to consider the limited perspective we find ourselves in, the enmeshment of the “now” without any insight for a better tomorrow, a future to behold nor a distance aglow with the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, inflames the inner Darwinian categories of instinctive responsiveness to merely survive.

In retrospect, one’s judgment on any particular day or time, or even of an event remembered, may be altered.  We may even point to that slice of life and state with aplomb, “It was actually the best of times.”  How often do we hear that when one harkens back to the starving days, when struggling was a daily commotion and worrying was but a common routine?

By contrast, such reverential references are rarely attributed to those periods where longevity of suffering cannot be measured, where the chronic nature of the pain cannot be determined, and where no promises can be made that tomorrow will be any better off, no matter what extent of effort is exerted, than the next day, or the day before, or the day after, or the time prior.  In such circumstances, change itself may be a necessary component in the search for a light of hope.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily struggle with fulfilling the positional requirements of one’s job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best option available.

The concept itself – the “best of times” – is a relative one; we compare it to other memories where distance of time has not faded too radically a moment of the negative:  no (or lesser) pain; controlled depression; inability to remain sedentary for long; unable to bend, lift or reach repetitively; unable to engage in the physical requirements of the job; inability to have the requisite focus, concentration or work for any sustained period of time without the high distractibility of pain; these, and many more, constitute the foundational loss which may qualify the Federal or Postal employee to become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Perhaps, getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not necessarily mean that the best of times still lay before one; but surely, whatever the future beholds, the chronic nature of one’s medical condition, the unbearable burden of the daily toil just to make it to work, cannot by any manner of the definition, even imply that the “best of times” resides in the present circumstances of choice.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a choice of sorts; it is to recognize that there is, indeed, life after Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, and further, that recognizing the best of times involves movement forward and beyond, where the present circumstances of negative returns will likely never allow for a regeneration of that which keeps us stuck in the quicksand of daily toil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire