Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Forced Choice

One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit.  However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?

Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.”  There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”

Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?

Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter.  Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

What are my choices?  Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service?  Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?

These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all.  For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker considering Federal Disability Retirement, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to understand the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Palatable possibilities

We often hear of that which is “possible”, then immediately pause to consider the probabilities of such declared possibilities.  For, isn’t it possible that there are martians on the far side of the moon, or that we all live in a dream, dreamt by the fragile whisperings of a butterfly, or that everything that we see, hear and experience is just nothing more than pure bosh, and Bertrand Russell was quite right after all, that our rumblings of metaphysical yearnings were merely a result of a stomach virus that needed an antacid to cure?

At what point are possibilities presented no longer palatable, and where are the limits of our imaginations such that reality clashes with fantasy and the medium between the two becomes so stretched that we cannot fathom their practical effects?  Have we come to a point now where supermarket tabloids are just as believable as mainline newspapers that cross the thresholds between truth and opinion?  Is virtual reality just as pleasurable as “real” reality, and does the realness of reality depend merely upon one’s perspective and opinion and how we view things?

Then, of course, there is the reality of a medical condition, and everything comes crashing down into a singular reality: mortality and health tend to bring us “back to the basics”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, what possibilities are palatable; whether possibilities presented are meaningful; it all comes down to the pragmatic choices from three: Stay, walk away or file 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 real possibilities in life are generally quite simple; it is the luxury of the healthy to entertain the greater expanse of palatable possibilities, but for the Federal or Postal employee who is faced with a chronic and progressively debilitating medical condition, the choices are stark and limited.  It is within those limitations that the palatable possibilities must be carefully chosen, and such course of actions to be chosen should be advised and guided by a consultation with an attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement, lest the palatable possibilities turn out to be an unpalatable probability chosen out of a mistaken belief in the existence of palatable possibilities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The greater monsters within

Have you ever engaged in lengthy ruminations, procrastinating because of fear, trepidation and cautionary constraints before proceeding, only to find in retrospect that there was really nothing – or, at least, not much – to have worried about?

Often, it is the greater monsters within that become compounded, exaggerated and increased in fearsome proportions beyond the reality of the objective world, in parallelism with the anxiety we release and the angst we allow.  Within the insular world of our language games and conceptual apparatus created by a complexity of admixtures involving conscience, history of childhood imprints, traumas and psychic damages, it is important to bifurcate the universes of our own makings from those of manifested plenary encounters that can be evaluated, assessed and properly analyzed.

The ability and capacity to judge between the reality of the problem and the internal struggle of an imagined encounter grows exponentially the longer we procrastinate, and that is why the anticipation creates those “butterflies-in-the-stomach” that flutter about like so many somatic consequences of the subconscious angst we create.

The greater monsters within roam about in the neurological fissures that connect the physical brain to the consciousness of life, and when they are allowed to exit from the jailhouses we have compelled them to remain constrained within, it is the damage done from roaming unrestrained, when they trample upon the safe zones we have created, meandering into secluded corners where previously we have carefully posted signs of “no entrance beyond this point”, but have let our guard down, allowed the nailed-down posts to deteriorate, and misplaced the orange cones to be shoved aside in our careless lack of disciplined living.

How do we stop such miscreants from wandering through the sensitive crevices of our own consciousness, and to restrict their access from creating havoc and tumult which we least can afford because of the vulnerabilities and fissures created by the objective world’s intrusion firstly, and secondly and all subsequent times, the exponential expansion of the greater monsters within.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the procrastination resulting from the greater monsters within becomes a vicious circle of eternal damnation:  The medical conditions are worsening, exacerbating the internal struggles and the external responsibilities compelled by the job itself, the requirements of the position and the Federal Agency’s and Postal Service’s expectations; concurrently, the greater monsters within create a turmoil that influences, impacts and worsens the medical conditions themselves, such that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of self-immolation.

It is the greater monsters within which must be challenged, slaughtered and vanquished, and that can begin by taking the first and subsequent steps in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and thereby successfully activating the proverbial ending of killing two birds with a single stone, and also overcoming the greater monsters within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire