Disability Retirement under FERS: Adopting an Adaptive Plan

Most of us barely have one; and when we do, we quickly forget about it and move on, satisfied that —by the mere declaration of having one — we need not implement it or follow it rigorously beyond the mere possession of it.

The old Soviet Union (do we remember what the abbreviation, “U.S.S.R.” stood for?) had 5 and 10 year plans, and when the stated goals were not met, they simply cooked the books and declared that they were well ahead of the declared plans, and so the satellite nations under the rubric of the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” nodded its approval and genuflected to the Soviet Central Planning Committee (for, you couldn’t have a plan unless there were multiple committees to make those plans) and were grateful for the plans even though their populace were starving, despite the declared success of all of that planning.

Battlefield officers rely upon them; although, in recent years, because war is no longer fought by armies planning an attack upon other armies, the need for adopting an adaptive plan has become a survival necessity.  Life itself rarely follows a plan; most of the time, one’s day is consumed by just trying to survive.

When a medical condition hits us, of course, then all of the planning in the world — from a retrospective and myopic viewpoint — didn’t amount to much.  What is the plan, then, for a Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform his or her job because of the medical conditions that prevent one from doing so?

The Federal Disability Retirement “plan” is to allow for a Federal or Postal employee to file for OPM Medical Retirement benefits under FERS, so that the Federal employee can medically retire, focus upon one’s health and still, hopefully, enter the workforce in the near or mid-future and continue to contribute, all the while receiving a disability retirement annuity.  Now, that sounds like adopting an adaptive plan where interruption of a life plan allows for some grace beyond lack of planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Lifetime Achievement Award

There is a sadness necessarily attached to such an award: It is an acknowledgement that a person’s worth has come to an end.  A life’s end is recognized when such an award is granted, and no one believes that anything further will be attained.  It is a dismissive award — a pinning of a goodby to the lapel of one’s mortality and an applause that soon fades because of achievements recognized and easily forgotten.

No one says of the recipient of such an award, “Boy, but does she have such potential!”  Rather, it is the very awarding of it which is the indicator that: The curtain is closing; the rocking chair is there in the corner; it is time to let others in the door; and, your time has passed.

What can it possibly mean for a person to accept such an award?  How can others determine the achievement within a span of a lifetime, and can it ever be rescinded?  What if, upon receipt of such an award, a person turns around and commits a heinous crime — do we then walk out of the ceremony shaking our heads and whisper to one another, “Well, he would have achieved it but for….”?  Isn’t that always the party-pooper conclusion, when we say of this or that: Except for; but for; if only…?

It is like saying that X was a great president except for Y, or that such-and-such was the best leader but for this-and-that.  To receive or be offered the “lifetime achievement award” is to declare the end of one’s life; to refuse it, is to embrace life and one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that filing for Federal Disability Retirement means that it is an “end” to something — somewhat akin to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award — such a thought should be reconsidered.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement is not an end, but a mere beginning: It allows the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon one’s health, and then to consider another vocation or career in the private sector by allowing him or her to make up to 80% of what one earned in the Federal sector, and continue to receive a disability retirement annuity. Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to “get the facts”, lest you become embroiled in the fallacy that Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Beyond the weekend respite

It is always something to look forward to: Whether the regular rhythm of the 2-day, the “extra” delight of the 3-day, and the deliciously unexpected 4-day weekend when the time of rest is doubled and by the end of it, you’d almost forgotten about the frenzy of your day-to-day work schedule.

Do we “make up” for sleep?  Those so-called experts who claim that loss of sleep, once lost, can never be redeemed, clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.  A couple of naps; an extra hour of dozing; of coming to a profound realization that the sun can actually rise while a person is still asleep, and that consciousness need not precede the earthly rotation that allows for a peek of dawn — these are all revelations that can come on the weekend.  But then there is Monday; or the day after the 3-day weekend; and the day after that.

Years ago, in the idealism of one’s youth, one resolved never to live like this: As each day is a gift from God, one should not lack the relish of living during the week any more than on the weekends.  Yet, that is the cycle that most of us accept — of a bifurcation of leisure/work, enjoyment/dread.  And, in the end, there is nothing wrong with such a distinction; except when there is a despised exaggeration between the two.

The weekend is meant to be the respite away; but when the respite engenders a greater fear and dread of the following Monday, where restorative sleep cannot be attained no matter how much slumber is embraced, and when pain and recovery can never attain a level of coherent balance, then it is time to reconsider: Is this how life is meant to be lived?

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 one’s Federal or Postal job — and, just as importantly and concurrently, where beyond the weekend respite there never seems to be an end to the race for recovery — it is time to consider filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

When leisure is merely a time of suspension in the dreaded Mondays of work’s cycle; and where the treadmill of life’s spectrum between work and time-off is so out of balance that one cannot distinguish between the waking moment and sleep, or work and play because the medical condition is all-consuming; then, it is time to consult with an attorney who can guide you through the complex process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Today (pause), and Tomorrow

The parenthetical insertion creates a “real-time” interlude, and the addendum of the grammatical mandate, the unnecessary comma, extends the strained quietude of wanting to engage the sequential utterance.  There is the reality of “now”, which we occupy, fill and exist within, and the expectation of a tomorrow which never exists as a wholeness contained within a specified time period, but merely in anticipated form within the imagination of our cognitive universe.  To this, we can always add “yesterday”, as well, but that is merely of memories passed, reflected in the neurocognitive cellars of stored images.

It is of today and tomorrow which matters for the survival of a species, with yesterday reserved for learned experiences allowing for avoidance of mistakes in order to enhance one’s probability for remaining today and advancing into tomorrow.

Of yesterday, there is nothing that we can do, other than to learn from it and squeeze out the corners of lessons presented.

Of today, there are the problems known, the concerns we have to deal with and the stresses we are forced to tolerate.

And of tomorrow, we have to place into bifurcated boxes of manageable sizes, lest the overwhelming contents spill over to make us all go mad.

For, without the ability and capacity to filter, store and set aside, the extent of problems encountered, stresses envisioned or the troubles tormenting, would be of such quantitative overload as to leave us paralyzed daily.  Of chores left undone, relationships needing tethering, obligations still remaining and work much wanting; where will it all end except in the tombstones of unfinished business?

We are thus stuck in the rut of negation; some, in memories reflected over time enhancing in magnitude and perfection as duration allows for the fissures, wrinkles and ugliness of that once “today” to disappear, such that the retrospective life becomes the paradigm of lost souls.  Or, of those tomorrows yet to come, where we ruminate over troubles that have not yet occurred but we imagine them to become, and crisis that have yet to rear its horrific head, or so the expectations grounded in fear and loathing would have us believe.  Of the before and after, we spend so much time worrying about, and lose sight of the ambiance of today.

Today is what matters; today is the time to plan for tomorrow; today is the moment of applying principles failed by yesterday’s lack of discernment.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the focus upon “today” is the parachute that will catch the wind stream for tomorrow’s security. And of the past?  Let it remain with memories foretold of positive thoughts and lessons learned for tomorrow, and not of haunting nightmares forgotten but for awakenings in the middle of the night.

Prepare well a Federal Disability Retirement application, and formulate it effectively, and file it today – not tomorrow, and certainly do not ruminate upon yesterday’s failings, as that has already passed without fruition of a future left unseen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Erasing imprints

We spend half of our lives trying to accomplish that which may never be done; go to others to obtain guidance; take medications in order to stamp out the cacophony of voices from a past regenerated in mindful moments when reflection is not what we want but quietude away from the cackle of memories.

Imprints are those stamps that remain with us, like burn-marks seared indelibly into the far corners of body parts unreachable and unseen but by the telescopic lenses of our own souls.  Perhaps the memories have faded, or we simply cannot pinpoint that precise moment when the stamp was made, the mark of the devil was inked or the scorching stab wound rutted; but it remains upon the child, grows with the malignancy of the young one, and becomes magnified into adulthood like the burdensome satchel filled with rocks, each day adding another, never able to open it to lighten the load, except here and there when one accidentally falls through an unnoticed tear before it is quickly sewn up again to reinforce the nightmares of our lives.

Try as we might, through pharmacological modalities of treatment regimens or embroiled by years of therapeutic encounters, the monsters within from our childhood past of flashes when the mother turned her back upon a child in crisis, or of anger devolved when fury left the frustrated child in a chasm of loneliness unattended; it is the trembling of innocence that remains forever, and a day.

Erasing imprints is what we try to do the rest of our lives, when all that can really be done is to contain, bifurcate, box in and restrain.  Of course, there are “good” imprints, as well – those marks which developed the personality and characteristic traits considered “positive” to our lives; the trick is to recognize the difference between the negative and the positive, and that is not always easy to do.  Further, what if we erase the “good” imprints in the process of stamping out the “bad”?

Being human carries with it the compendium of complexities all wrapped into a conundrum of puzzling packages of personality quirks, and sometimes it is those imprints we attempt to erase which characterizes the very uniqueness of our being.  Then, as we grow older, the callouses form and the attempts to replace imprints become less effective; for, presumably we have learned to resist the influence of others, or at least found ways to limit them.

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, remember that the road to obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is likely that you will have to encounter many obstacles, many “mean” people who themselves have likely been harmed by a lifetime of imprints.

Focus upon erasing imprints that harm, and disregard the imprints exhibited by others; for, it is a lifetime endeavor identifying the negative ones in yourself, without worrying about needing to erase imprints manifested by others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Designing a different biography

Each of us has one, but we know not what it states; for, it is what is written and carried by someone else, and not from ourselves.  Yes, yes, we also have an “autobiography”, as well – a narrative of how we see ourselves, in what manner, of what form, in what scintillating and scandalous light.  But it is the collective viewpoints of all whom we have encountered that comprise, constitute and in the compendium of the aggregate, tell the story of “that person” – you.

What would you gather if you went about to all family members, friends, relations and relatives, and to a lesser extent neighbors and acquaintances, whether close or distant, and interviewed each as to the narrative they have about you; collect them into a coherent whole and arrange them into a comprehensible amalgamation for self-reflective, unpublished anonymity?

It would likely be surprising, with tidbits of disconcerting salaciousness – not necessarily involving any vice, but if honesty were to be an unequivocal mandate in the responses to each query, it is likely that one would be taken aback by the responses received, not only in content and substance of answers, but from whence the source of information came.

Would we, if given the opportunity, begin to design a different biography in response to the amassing of such a narrative?  Or, like most people, would we merely engage in defensive self-justification, cutting off relations, reacting with anger and disappointment, and like a child without remorse, regret from wisdom or any greater understanding than the idiot savant who can mimic brilliance from learned behaviors, sit glumly with self-pity and blame those who provided their honest opinion and perspective, and continue on in the same mold as before?

Designing a different biography requires, at a minimum, a capacity to still process information for the intended purpose of alteration of behavior; and like the metamorphosis depicted by Kafka, there are few who have the self-reflective capacity in order to initiate that which cannot be comprehended by an ego which refuses to change.  What chance, then, do we have for redemption?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires designing a different biography for a future event (becoming a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant) because of a present circumstance of altering issues (a medical condition that has arisen, worsened or become exacerbated over time, such that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity), the concept of designing a different biography may require an honest assessment and evaluation of one’s physical and mental capacity, what the requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job entails, and when the time is ripe to consider initiating the long, arduous and complex process of considering the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, designing a different biography always requires a moment of self-reflection – something more complicated than editing our own unsolicited autobiography.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire