OPM Medical Retirement: Holding on

The sense of belonging — of the attraction of the communal hearth — is a powerful draw, and prevents many from traveling too far from the proverbial oak tree.  The inherent contradiction, for Americans, is the paradigm of the rugged individual, and the concomitant idea that this country was and is different precisely because of the type of individuals and individualism which formed the basis of this community we call country.

But times change.  Change itself is a concept which engenders fear, loathing, and angst beyond mere discomfort.  Habituation and repetitive comfort can be derived merely in the methodological constancy of the mundane. Being comfortable and seeking human comfort is not a crime, and is often the telos of career choices. It is when that second step of the dialectical process intercedes and interrupts, however, that the discomfiture of disruption creates havoc and one’s life can go awry.

The thesis is the life lived; the antithesis is the condition of interruption or disruption; and the synthesis is that which is potentially to be, but now not yet known.  So goes the Hegelian dialectical process.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker whose career has fortunately been gliding upon a linear path, and from start to career’s finish, a relatively smooth ride has been enjoyed, the blessing of such a continuum is one of mundane and delicious success.  But for the Federal employee or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the possibility that one’s chosen career may need to be interrupted, is indeed a hearth-wrecking event.

Determining whether or not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a necessity, is a hard choice; knowing what the choices are, while limited and finite and therefore easily discernible, can nevertheless remain a conundrum but for good advice and counsel which can be objectively assessed and conveyed.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement can be a two-edged sword: on the one hand, the mere existence of the benefit reminds us of our vulnerability and mortality; on the other hand, it is a benefit to be accessed when needed, and the need is based upon a legal criteria which must be proven to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and such need allows for an out from the quandary of one’s medical conditions.

The draw of the hearth is indeed a powerful one; one’s organization, agency or Federal department can be considered a hearth of sorts, especially when one has expended so much time and effort in building one’s Federal career. But when the embers of warmth begin to fade, and the winds of winter blow the chilling parabola of a future reflected, consideration must be given for change, and change may require the embracing of an antithesis in order to build a brighter future for tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: House of Cards

The proverbial metaphor referring to the House of Cards is well-known to most: it symbolizes the fragile nature of that which we so carefully construct and devise; the time, effort and sensitive touch needed, sometimes holding one’s breath lest a puff of passing turbulence should undo the work of uncommon concentration. But who among us applies the same levity of construction upon the actual foundation we build in real life?

It is clear that the fragile nature of careers, built upon years of relationships, garnering loyalties and cultivating awards, performance reviews, meaningless pats on the back, and encouragement meted out ever so sparsely. How little we require in payment for our unswerving loyalty and fealty to an uncaring entity, but for commendations constituted by cardboard casts?

For Federal and Postal employees, the House of Cards if often finally recognized when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job. Loyalties are suddenly and conveniently forgotten; past awards become irrelevancies brushed aside like memories shuffled in the mind of an amnesiac; and those glory days of quick smiles and congratulatory looks of adulation are replaced with grimaces and furtive looks accompanied by hushed whispers of sneering conspiracies; and so one is suddenly thrown under or overboard — another proverbial metaphor — the bus or the boat.

Federal isability Retirement is a benefit which is a “safety net” in the sense that it pushes back against the fickle ways of agencies and departments; it is a safeguard against the world of short-term memory banks held by faceless entities. Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, it allows for the Federal and Postal Worker to exit the Federal workforce with dignity, and a certain semblance of security, and thereby leaving behind the leaning House of Cards for residency by those more able to continue to hold up that which faces the inevitability of chaotic destruction.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Uniqueness versus homogeneity

It is the lack of recognition of singularity within the greater species of one’s kind, which results in an universal loss of empathy and understanding. Homogeneity presumptively recognizes the cumulative identity of functional values, and from that, extrapolates to an assumption of sameness in everything — from capacity to ability; from tolerance to reactionary fortitude. We tend to project that which we are able to handle; if we have withstood years of stressful environments, we assume that everyone else can do so, and should; if we have lived through tragedy with little to no ill effects, we scoff and sneer when others break down and disintegrate upon experiencing a fractional encounter of comparative insignificance.

But it is precisely the fragile uniqueness of human beings which is overlooked in such embracing of homogeneity; as Aquinas modified Aristotle’s perspective and argued that it is the combination of form and substance which results in the essence of being, so some of us have psyches which are made of more brittle but fragile ingredients.

For Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the issue is often when, to what extent, and how long can one hold out until the breaking point arrives? There is no “objective” criteria in which to apply; for, just as the individual is an unique entity, so the impact of one’s medical condition upon one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job is also singularly tied to the facts and circumstances of each case.

Abstract forms in a platonic world are no longer believed in; and as unicorns and giants pervade only those universes of mythology and science fiction, it is a sad thought to consider when the uniqueness of individuals are overlooked for the commonality of a subsumed species.  In our work-a-day world, it is easy to walk past a hurting soul; and all the more so when the one hurting is the same one who is walking by.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire