FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Tolstoy unedited

To read his works often entails utilization of descriptive metaphors, such as “tackle”, or “spend the summer” doing it, or even, “It has taken me a year to reach the midpoint”.  To have read Tolstoy’s major works is a kind of initiation into the upper echelons of cultivated sophistication; how many fakes and phonies there are, can only be guessed at, but some would estimate that nearly half of those claiming to have read “War and Peace” or “Anna Karenina” either failed to complete the rite of passage, skimmed or skipped major portions of either or both, or simply studied carefully the Cliff Notes in the secluded corner of nefarious midnight travails.

But consider the original, unedited version; what the Editor of such works must have had to contend with, just to get it sorted, compiled and drafted into a coherence of acceptability — all before the time of computers, cut-and-paste buttons, and leaving aside the untenable temperament of the author for whom suggested changes meant a challenge to a duel and likely emitting as a response a stream of unedited vitriol spiced with torrents of epithets unheard of in polite company.  But even Tolstoy must have known that his own works required further care and attention, like a child soiled and helpless in self-care; that no form of Art — regardless of its egomaniacal source and unmatched brilliance of the narrative creativity — could be stomached without correction, crafting and splicing of untethered verbosity.

Tolstoy, left unedited, would have required greater metaphors than those we already adopt, and perhaps would have been thrown into the dustbin of untranslated works stored in the vast warehouses of uninterpreted voices.  The parody to a life lived, of course, reflects a parallelism which everyone recognizes, but few undertake.  How one lives a life, also, requires constant perfecting, further editing, and persistent splicing.  The unedited version of any life would be left with an undisciplined mess, unfettered calamity and unconstrained egomania of purposeless vacuity.  Meaning can always be discovered in every life, but it is the cultivated perfection of a disciplined self which constitutes the essence of human uniqueness.

But there are interruptions in living, beyond the control of one’s will and fated determinism; a medical condition is one example, and for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes of utmost importance.  However, one must take care in preparing, formulating and filing an effective SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability — as so many people believe that the Tolstoy format of an unedited diatribe is as effective as the abridged version of a work of Joyce.

There is always a balance and a “middle ground”, whether in Life, Art, or in the effective submission of 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.  Art often reflects Life; Life is too often lived in an unconstrained fashion; but in either case, in preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application, it is important to recognize that Tolstoy unedited is as onerous an undertaking as a Federal Disability Retirement application left unfettered by purpose, application, and the careful compilation of meeting the criteria of law and life itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Benefits: The Eyes Which Betray the Laughter

Plato noted the significance of the eyes; as windows of the soul, they reveal the depth of emotion, character, empathy, interest, boredom, meanness, etc.; and just as true, the lack thereof.  Laughter provides the concordance of mirth to context; cacophony occurs when the harmony between the two somehow fails to connect.

The pinnacle of sadness is represented when one looks upon an individual, hears the laughter, and sees the revelatory sadness deep within the eyes of the soul.  The discordant contrast takes us aback; it is perhaps the height of self-contradiction, where the parallel universes which are never supposed to transect, suddenly violate the very content of definition, and betray the consciousness of self-doubt.

What has transpired?  What tragedy has befallen?  It brings to mind the poignant story by Chekhov, entitled “Grief” (or otherwise translated as “Misery”), where the death of the son is magnified by the haunting question, “With whom shall I tell my grief?”  As the world he continues to encounter is filled with passengers who laugh and carry on with life, the father must continue within the disharmony of his own tragedy.

Medical conditions tend to do that to people; it remains silent, but for the sharing beyond the perfunctory response to the passing, “Hello, how are you?”  We are expected to say merely, “Fine, thank you,” and move on.  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know about the emotional disjunctive between the eyes and the emitting laughter.  When the sound of mirth and the sight of pain clash, it is probably time to make an exit by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

While often not the “best solution”, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to leave one’s employment, secure a disability annuity, and seek a restoration of one’s health, in order to reinvigorate the soul behind the eyes of tragedy.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a long and arduous journey through a bureaucratic maze.  There is the process itself; the need to substantively put together and formulate an effective and persuasive disability retirement packet; and then the long wait before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Every Federal and Postal employee must make the decision of when and how; but as to the “why” of the foundation, it is when the eyes begin to betray the laughter, that affirmative steps need to be taken to begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hug That Wasn’t

Regrets are priceless; they lack both a marketplace value, as well as a worth beyond applicability of accounting principles.  The conceptual void of negation; the paradox of non-existence and nothingness; the chasm of obsolescence and absence where once perceptual conformity allowed for the revelation of a thing; these are all within the imaginative mind of the human puzzle.

What possible evolutionary utility can be ascribed to things that did not happen, could have, but never did, and where the pit of void in one’s stomach leaves a dissatisfying wanting of that which could have been?  In the quietude of a sleepless night, when images of past concerns invade and prevent that final lull into a dreamworld of peaceful intent, those thoughts of missed opportunities, bumps in the night of moments forgotten by interludes of dusty memories once enlivened but now deadened with time and fading photographs darkened by degeneration of remembrances once clung to; in a twinkle of twilight, a sense of regret can pervade.

It has often been said that, on the eve of one’s deathbed, one never remembers the time of work unfulfilled; rather, we recount the time lost of things we did not do because we were too busy with work.  Regret does not cull the graveyards of memories lost about parallel universes involving work left undone at the office; instead, it reaches into the bottomless chasm of simple recollections, like the hug that never was.

Medical conditions often serve as a reminder of important priorities, and tend to impose the sequence of one’s lives, reordering them into a listing of priceless artifacts, like uncut diamonds lost in the sands of time.  Suddenly, one’s mortality is in question, and more than getting meaningless tasks done, the vitality of relationships come to the fore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly recognize that a medical condition is beginning to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the sense of regret often accompanies the realization, but is also and just as often a misplaced case of loyalty.  Why should fealty be sworn to an agency which is impervious to human suffering?  How can a guilty conscience pervade when the Federal or Postal employee has already given beyond what is required, for years and decades already lost?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit open to Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes continuation with an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a legal criteria of proof of preponderance of the evidence.  Guilt and regret should never be a part of the process.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an employment right, accorded by statute, and should be done once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that one cannot perform at least one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a benefit tapped into only through proof by evidentiary sufficiency.

And like the hug that wasn’t, the failure to file for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the negation of rationality when continuation in circumstances of employment only exacerbates the pain, prolongs the suffering, and extends the nightmare; leaving to wonder the capacity of the human animal, the quietude of regrets and the forlorn despair of the empty space left, when once we tried to embrace a loved one, but instead spent that time serving a master who had long since gone home to his family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire