Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and 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 one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The mistakes we make

There are those who make it their life’s goal not to have remorse for decisions made; but is that truly a worthwhile achievement?  At the end of it all, is there a special space on the unwritten tombstone that lists the mistakes avoided, the embarrassments averted, and the admissions of deficiencies concealed?  Is that not where much of Shakespearean web of deceits are constructed from – of attempting to cover up the insufficiencies otherwise already apparent in the foreboding appearances we attempt to portray?

Tenuously though we approach the daily chasms of darkened pitfalls menacingly threatening each day of our daily lives, we refuse to admit, fail to recognize or are too weak in the egocentric falsities of fragile souls to merely utter the simple words that allow for expiation of our weaknesses and quickly move on:  “Sorry, I made a mistake”.

No, instead, the complex rationale, the justifications of convoluted sequences of condition precedents that fall upon the next as dominoes of perfectly aligned decoys; and the blame then shifts upon an eternal direction of fingers pointing one to the next, until there is no one left except for that proverbial last figure on the totem pole, who cares not because he or she is the runt forgotten or the brunt of everyone’s joke and display of pure human meanness.

But at what cost do we avoid admitting the mistakes we make?  Of what layers of calluses formed, souls injured and responsibility averted, until the unquantifiable element becomes so saddled with a guilty conscience no longer able to feel, to be human, to rise above the bestiality of man’s base instincts?

The mistakes we make often harm another, but those we do not admit to, diminish the essence of who we are, what we are capable of, and always forestalls the capacity to grow.

As in any process that is complex, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can have a pathway full of difficult decisions and a complicated morass of complex legal precedents, statutory obstacles and sheer obstructions of meandering deliberations.

The mistakes we make can haunt us with consequences difficult to reverse, and in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is one of the rare instances in which he who makes the fewest errors, likely will win.  Mistakes in this area of law can range from the innocent and inadvertent, to the meandering blunders that lead to a denial from OPM.  It is often not enough to avoid a mistake in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application; indeed, it is the blatant mistakes we make without the guidance of wisdom and experience that determines the future course of events, as in life in general.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The monster within

There are gargoyles we imagine, which are scarier than those in real life – unless we mean by them the ones who plan to do us harm (and not just murderers, rapists and other violators of the social contract scheme).  For the latter, we have laws, self-defensive mechanisms, and the ultimate justification for flight, and sometimes they work, at others, partially or not at all.  We can spend a lifetime fretting over the monsters without; it is those within – the former that haunts and never leaves the home of the mind – that destroy without a finger lifted.  For, in the end, it is fear that defeats, and that is well known by students of military strategy.

What weakness the adversary has, should be exploited tenfold as a vulnerability beyond the actual numbers; and what suspicion of doubt is kept in reserve, should be accessed and manipulated in order to magnify the exponential harm perpetrated by a cautious mind.  What looms large in one’s mind is quantitatively expanded despite arguments of logic, rationality and calm discourse; for, it is the imagination left untethered when the quiet of darkness falls upon a sleepless night, that the qualitative lack of focus begins to take shape in shadows unseen by a dawning light.

What can be more fearsome than that which we cannot control?  In reality, the circumstances that develop and unfold are mostly those that we have allowed for; in the creative recesses of our mental reserves, the expansive and uncontrolled destinies can never be curtailed, but have the limitless potential beyond any reality of sanity.  That is why the master torturer knows never to rush, and the interrogator recognizes the value of anticipation; of allowing the quiet fears to grow in the solitude of thought; and in the period between reality and imagination, the monster within can grow tenfold in untold features of taking on masks of fearful expressions and profiles of unfathomable terror.

How does one break that spell?  The shattering of an imagined fear is often tied to a fragile psyche that cannot be separated, and like conjoined twins who share a vital organ, should not be bifurcated but with surgical precision.  Fear is an interminable intrusion, unless and until the causative forces are intersected by an antidote which dissolves and dissipates.  The key is to find the antidote; and in the meantime, to hope that the elements of reality are not so traumatic as to overshadow the forces of psychic quietude.

For Federal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and Postal workers who similarly experience the pain of physical disabilities or psychiatric dysfunctions, the issue of when, how, and if one should file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is intimately conjoined with the growing monster within, while battling the dual forces of antagonism and contentiousness from without.  For, it is often the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which exacerbates the problems associated with a medical condition, which then further complicates and magnifies the monsters stirring within.

To resolve such a problem, the answer lies in the very preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; for, in the end, the monster within becomes resolved only when the gargoyles outside are dealt with, and for the Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition, that resolution is defined by obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, in order to be able to take the next steps to secure a hopeful future, beginning with the act of separating from that environment of the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service which helps to create the monsters in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Another Test

Peel an orange, and you have the fruit; skin a nut, and the unmasked food is revealed; but how does one get to the essence of a person?  Schools do it repetitively; job interviews count on it; security clearances rely upon it.  Life is one set of tests after another; and whether through formalized questions designed to reveal the extent of rote knowledge, or of more subtle encounters to discover one’s character, the attempt to unravel the essence of an individual comes in many forms, in multitudinous appearances, and in engagements which never fully define the person tested.

Some see it as merely a necessary irritant; others, as a challenge to be faced with relish; and still others, an angst to be avoided, like the proverbial plague which leaves scars of motley disfigurement to the heart of one’s soul.  Whether to avoid or to directly confront, life presents a series of challenges, and the test of relevance is not necessarily the score to achieve, but rather the responsiveness which engenders cause.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are daily “tested” because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the job requirements of the Federal or Postal employment, the issue becomes one of survival, or not.  At some point, the test itself becomes irrelevant, and must be replaced altogether.  Whether the agency views it as such — or, more appropriately, it has now turned into harassment and hostility — the basis of such testing becomes an absurdity.

That is when the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must consider filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits.  There again, it is likened to another “test” to be faced and undertaken.  For, the bureaucratic morass which must be tolerated is inextricable entangled with the preparation, formulation, proving and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement case, where the evidence must be gathered, the test of viability of the case itself becomes of concern, and the next steps in encountering and facing the “test of life” must be faced.  Oh, but that life would refrain from the constancy of death, taxes and tests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Accepted Disabling Conditions: Suicidal Ideations

It is perhaps the final vestige of societal taboo; for, at what point the human animal realized that self-destruction became an option is open for debate.  In the Animal Kingdom, it is rare to find species openly seeking to end life; the struggle to survive and the Darwinian inherency for self-preservation and survival remains as vibrant as ever.

Being diagnosed with “suicidal ideation” is normally associated with psychiatric conditions of Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety, where the acceptable level of stress-tolerance exceeds the capacity to withstand.  Each individual is a unique creature; in this cookie-cutting mold of society where people get lost in the importance of position, fame, accolades and a false sense of admiration, it becomes commonplace to question one’s sense of worth and value.

Psychiatry has never been a perfect science; some even question the validity of its approach, as it has now become overwhelmingly a pharmacological event, with some semblance of therapeutic intervention thrown in as an afterthought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who are contemplating 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 even CSRS Offset, the existence of suicidal ideations (or otherwise simply known as “having suicidal thoughts”) is often lost in the compendium of diagnosed psychiatric conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where a significant event has intervened which has resulted in traumatic reverberations in one’s life; Anxiety (or more officially identified as Generalized Anxiety Disorder); Major Depression; Bipolar Disorder, with spectrum symptoms of manic phases and depressive states; as well as schizophrenia and paranoia.

For relevance to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the existence of suicidal ideations is often one more indicia of the seriousness of the diagnosed psychiatric conditions, but should never be determinative in whether one’s psychiatric condition is “serious enough” in order to be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Indeed, there are many, many Federal and Postal employees who file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, who suffer from Major Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and other forms of psychiatric conditions, without ever suffering from suicidal ideations, and yet are fully qualified for, and become entitled to, Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Further, as Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the algorithm of showing the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the impeding aspect of suicidal ideations may be negligible.  Rather, from a medical standpoint, it is one more factor of concern and consternation within a long list of diagnoses and symptoms which cumulatively form the basis for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire