Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Be Wary of the Non-Substantive

The evolution of words, their meanings, the subtle connotations and implications gained or lost over time — these are all of interest, if only because they reflect changes to society, often in tumultuous ways, as earthquakes which shatter and create fissures within human normative designs, and in the midst of the rubble, a sense of loss and shattering beyond the mere tragedy of linguistic ruins.

In Aristotle’s time, the term “substance” had a specific meaning; and any superficial reading of Plato and his concerns involving appearance versus reality, the mysterious substratum which follows upon the continuity of what we see, what we suspect to remain unrevealed beneath the surface of visual phenomena; and, indeed, the history of philosophy is a dialogue of content verses context, from Descartes’ search for certitude rendering the entirety of Philosophy impotent by turning inward towards the self; of Kant’s consolation of such self-immolation by bifurcating the universe into a known and unknowable void; and into the modern realm of Deconstructionism, post modernity, Derrida’s meanderings, and the modern hermeneutics of non-religious definition of truth, reality and the condition of man.

Within that greater context, we are left with the devastation of a simple truth:  The essence of man rarely changes; we merely make way for new window dressings.  But through it all, we must always be wary of the non-substantive, and harken back to Aristotle’s concerns; that which we create and leave behind, we want to ensure that it survives with some rock-gut matter that makes a difference and actually matters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a condition, such that the medical condition impacts the capacity of the Federal or Postal worker to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal job, it is often that sense of loss, the discontinuity of what they were accomplishing, and the “leaving behind” of unfinished business, which pulls them from filing for what needs to be filed.

We like to finish what we began.  We want to leave a legacy, a memory of who we are, what we were, where we ended and how we got there.  The unfinished fabric of unwoven material leaves a fluff of scattered cotton fibers scattered for the winds of time to disperse.

For the Federal and Postal worker who has dedicated his or her life to a career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, leaving is a trauma upon a trauma of medical conditions.  But the Federal and Postal worker must always remember, that the substantive course of life must always begin with the impetus of self-motivation, and within the shark-infested waters of the undersea in lands and foreign worlds where human calamity coalesce, the self-preservation of one’s health must begin first, and only then can one step forward into the universe of the next career, the next life, the follow-up inning of future legacies.

Taking care of one’s self by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the move of wisdom if one is to secure a future of accomplishment and actualization of any remaining potentiality.  We all have reasons for not doing something.  Be wary of the non-substantive.  Focus always upon the true meaning of who we are, what we have become, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: To Fly a Kite

It is the epitome of a pleasurable moment, of engaging a mindless activity which spurs thought; and so to fly a kite is to soar with winds beyond our reach.  Does a life lived vicariously live life lifelessly?  As the flapping breeze at heights unreachable carries it airborne with but a thread to preclude its sudden spiraling away and into an abyss of telephone wires, treetops and treacherous heights of threatening snags, it is that hand which holds steady the coil of connection which controls length, movement, and steadiness of stability.

How tenuous is the reed of life?  When once youth masked the viscosity of existence, where mortality seemed but a yarn of empty rocking chairs and tall tells in the shadows of the flickering embers of a warm fireplace; and how the tenacity we maintained with vigor and vitality concealed those fears we harbored as we set about to conquer the challenges of an uncertain world; but when the fanfare subsided, and the promises of unspoken ceremonies fell silent before the finish line, the realization that life is but a short span of eternity where worth and value can be embraced only by measuring the momentary warmth of a hug or holding a gaze with a loved one for a millisecond beyond the practical, then does one finally achieve a balance of peace in a universe of turmoil.

The holidays tend to bring such realizations to the fore; so do medical conditions and their impact upon body, mind and soul.  If by “soul” we attribute, just for a moment, not that controversial component of man where existence beyond the ephemeral world of matter must by belief encompass eternity, but instead, the aggregate of man’s complexities:  of mind, physical body, consciousness, the heart and vegetative divisions, etc. — then it is indeed the totality of man who is impacted by a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the tenuous reed of life becomes exponentially magnified because of the stoppage of career, intervention of life’s goals, and interruption of all of the “things” that need to be done.  An interrupted life is like the proverbial ship without sails; the moorings have been damaged, and one senses a drifting without control.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pragmatic step for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker who cannot perform each of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  When a medical condition impacts a Federal or Postal employee, it is the pragmatic steps — the ones which can actually realize a practical outcome — which counts for something.

If you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, and you have at least 18 months of Federal Service, then you have already met the minimum eligibility requirement to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If you are a dinosaur under CSRS or CSRS Offset, then you have likely already met that requirement, anyway.  All that is necessary is to put together a case of proving that one’s medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by a preponderance of the evidence.

For, in the end, it is that thin thread which guides the pleasure of flying a kite which stands between chaos and connectivity; letting go should not be the only option; it may just be a little tug which is all that one needs, in order to steady the flight of life and retain that childhood sense of invincibility.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire