Federal Disability Retirement from the OPM: Expectations

What are they?  Is it something that we place upon ourselves, or merely the burden of what others have said?  Are there implied ones as opposed to direct and blunt ones?  Do they scar and damage throughout our lives, based upon the haunting sense of what we believe our parents demanded?  Are expectations the cumulative juncture caught between our own dreams, the demands of parents, and what we believe society considers success or failure?

Do we carry them about without an awareness of their influence, forgotten in the closets of our memories until psychoanalytical triggers suddenly bring them to the fore and where we suddenly blurt out, “Oh, yes, that is where it all comes from!”  And what happens when reality blunders upon expectations and the two conflict within the agony of our lives — do we (or more appropriately put, can we) abandon them and leave them behind in the ash heaps of discarded disappointments?

And when do we become “smart enough” to realize that the old vestiges of expectations need to be reevaluated and prioritized, and not allowed to remain as haunting voices that we no longer remember from whence they came, but remain as unwanted guests within the subconscious purview of our daily existence?

Expectations — we all have them; but of priorities in our lives, we rarely reorganize them in order to meet the present needs of our complex lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and position, it may be time to re-prioritize those expectations that one has about one’s career, one’s future, one’s…life.

Expectations can be a positive force — of placing demands that spur one towards heights previously unimaginable; but that which is a positive force can turn upon itself and become a negative influence, especially when the check of reality fails to make one realize that priorities must be reassessed based upon the changing circumstances that life itself brings about.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of one’s deteriorating health may not be what one ever “expected” — but, then, all expectations have always been conditional in the sense that the demands made depended upon circumstances remaining the same.  When circumstances change, expectations must similarly adapt.

Preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may seem like a lowering of one’s expectations; yet, as it was always conditional upon the state of one’s health, a concomitant alteration of one’s expectations must meet the reality of one’s changed circumstances.

That is the reality of life’s lesson: Prioritize — health, family, career and the changing levels of expectations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: The isolation

Generally, we accept the statement that Man is a “social” animal, and by that we mean that he or she prefers, all factors considered, to live in communities and interact voluntarily with others, as opposed to living in isolation, apart and separate.  That we congregate in bunches of aggregate intercourses is not uncommon; that we enjoy the company and camaraderie of social discourse is considered “normal”; but on the other hand, that we like to be alone at times is also not disputed.

There are those who cannot stand being alone; others who must always be in the company of someone; of still many who fear being alone in life, and desperately cling to partners who one neither deserves nor should solicit for the sake of one’s own well-being.  For, in the end, even the loner was born into the communal world; that he or she decided to betray the conventions of society and isolate himself is not an argument for normalcy of being.

It is, in the end, the isolation that is most daunting; of being targeted and separated and placed into a proverbial-type of sequestration or solitary confinement.

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, the concept of “isolation” is not a new one.  Whether because the Federal or Postal employee feels isolated because he or she cannot tell anyone about the medical condition or, having told about it, the Federal or Postal employee is deliberately being isolated because of the medical condition, matters little.  Both result in the same consequences.

The “targeted” employee; the one who is no longer “part of the team”; the one who has dared ask for an accommodation; the one who is no longer invited to meetings or in the general sharing of information; the isolated Federal or Postal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, lest the isolation results in the continued harassment and ultimately ends in a termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Tantum ergo

It is the incipit of the last two verses of a Medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas is best known for his inclusive osmosis by fiat of stretched logic to accommodate and force commensurability the texts of the ancients (i.e., Aristotle) within the essential boundaries of Christian theology.  His methodology in accomplishing this feat was to posit the weakest of straw man arguments, then to systematically appear to knock them down, and then to declare a forceful conclusion as if the ergo naturally and rationally followed.  That the conclusion is followed by verses subsequent, reflects how life works as well.

Sometimes, we mistake the “Hence” or the “Therefore,” and believe (wrongly) that nothing should follow.  But such conjunctive adverbs are often confused as if they denote answers to mathematical calculations.  Life rarely works in that manner, and it is entirely right that the tantum ergo should follow with additional discourses upon the beatific vision of the hymnal’s content.  Indeed, that is how we often and mistakenly live our lives – to accept with resignation that the declarative utterance, “Therefore, so great,” results in a quietude and silence of subsequent ceremony.  We wait upon it, and when it comes, we submit and concede.  Or, as in cases more common, it never comes, and thus do we surrender.

That is how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on the verge of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, approach the impending suspicion of doom or failure; the Tantum ergo is declared by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker accepts it as gospel truth, when in fact one should always recognize a countervailing principle of life:  a lie is a lie, is an untruth, is a lie, is a mis-statement of the law, is still a lie.

This author will not go so far as to say that Human Resource offices throughout the Federal Agencies systematically engage in disseminating falsehoods; perhaps, many merely relate the misinterpretations gained through osmosis of gossip; but, in any event, whether from a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the groundless surrender based upon a seemingly unassailable declaration that, “Therefore, so great” – whether referring to itself; whether in misstating the legal consequences of failed accommodations and the impact upon filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; of failing to inform the Federal or Postal employee of the rights of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal and Postal employee should always be cautious of taking as face value a declaration by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service that single utterance of self worth:  “Therefore, so great.”

Especially when it is referring to itself; always, when ascribing motives unstated; and forever, when trying to undermine the Federal or Postal employee.  And as to the multiple verses which follow upon the Tantum ergo?  Mistake not:  there is always life after Federal Disability Retirement; and let not one be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The centrality of fringe

In whatever definition one wants to adopt, the meaning is clear:  It is that which is on the outer periphery, and not central to the essence recognized.  But what if the reversal occurs?  Can that even be imagined?  Can the fringe constitute a substantive centrality, and yet retain the stability of its essence?  And, once the mirror conversion occurs, does the identification remain as it was, or do we accept the fringe elements as the convention, and the formerly known staid components as outside the normative foundations of an acceptable core?   Can that which was once considered unacceptable, metamorphose over a sufficiently quantitative linear heritage to the extent that the bizarre can become the best and brightest?

In Darwinian evolutionary hypotheses, the concept of a sudden mutation occurring as a result of environmental pressures forcing an alteration for the benefit of the organism’s survival, is often rejected because, as a general rule, nature does not favor large-scale transformations, unless there is a concurrent catastrophic need arising with little time for adaptation.  Yes, in cultural transformations, where artifice of choosing may occur by the quiet assent of a silent majority, the fringe elements may dominate by sheer vocal exuberance in drowning out any meek protest by will of volume.

Most people want quiet lives uninterrupted by forced decay of choosing; the sheep follow in drones of silent consent, if only because each can see only the limited perspective of the backside inches before, and stoppage of movement would mean being accosted in the rear by another follower of mindless assent, where discomfort is the greater evil in comparison to refusing to take another step.

At what point does an insignificant minority take upon an appearance of greater dominance, where the cacophony of shrill voices exceeds the disproportionate echo of seamless quietude, and we simply give in because the comfort zone of silence is shattered by the discomfort of resistance?  Those threads which flow freely – the ones which give an added “touch” to a piece of clothing, the Persian rug or the shawl which warms; what distinguishes that from a frayed mind, a singed material where residue of ashen leftovers appear as dangling limbs from a cauldron of confusion?

At some point, each of us becomes mere fringe elements, despite our best attempts at remaining relevant.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has cast the Federal or Postal employee into that pot of “otherness” because of an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job – it is time to do something about having been re-categorized as a “fringe” element.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only way in which to cross back over into the essence of what it means to be central to the essence of life’s hope, and not allow others to castigate us into being the centrality of fringe, when that is not where you belong in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The vibrancy factor

There is much talk these days about energy, vibrancy, health and stamina; what defines it, that which best represents it, and to whom we attribute the importance of superficial concerns.  This is an age of appearances, and it has been now for many decades.  We still hear talk about the disjunctive opinions embracing the first televised debates between Kennedy and Nixon – how, for those who viewed it, the former “looked good” and the latter appeared “drawn and shady”, with dark shadows under shifty eyes in contrast to the well-tanned presentation of the former.

For those who didn’t have access to a television, or otherwise sat forlornly in a corner pub sipping the froth and listening somewhat distractedly, the voices emitted from the trusty radio transmission evoked a different opinion and perspective:  Nixon won the debate, and Kennedy sounded less confident, less knowledgeable on the substantive issues.  So, who was right (note the past tense, as most who were old enough to pass such monumental judgments have already entered through the corridors of Dante’s Circle)?  Or, is the judgment of “right” versus whatever other categorization one may presume, of irrelevance, and it is all a pot of bosh left to subjective opinions cascading down waterfalls of opinionated tropes?

There is, in the end, a vibrancy factor which we all care about, whether or not it shows, or to what television personality we may attribute such sustained bursts of energetically deplorable innuendoes.  “Charisma” was associated with the Kennedy presidency (likely imparted by the conspirators and inner circle of advisors and political hacks), and the entrails of Nixon’s later administration became an emblem of who we are today (yes, he must be turning in his grave when comparing notes with today’s standards as to what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors resulting in insinuations of impeachability).

For the rest of us, however, the vibrancy factor is a very simple matter:  Do we live life with a liveliness of hope, or dread each day with the burden of despair?  That simple bifurcation defines most of us.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition burdens and drags, and depletes and destroys – the choices are fairly simply and straightforward:  Stay, walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The first of the tripartite is rarely a true option if Federal Disability Retirement is being contemplated because of a medical condition; the second, barely to be considered because of the time already invested and the question of one’s future stability is asked; and so the Federal or Postal employee suffering 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, must ask and consider the viability of the “third option” – Federal Disability Retirement.

For, in the end, the vibrancy factor rules us all, whether because we attribute self-worth and society’s superficial concerns to the advent of television or not; “vibrancy” has to do with life itself, and the innate charisma of a soul battered and pushed about, but rarely beaten until life’s loss of vibrancy takes its ultimate toll.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The effect of nature’s muse

The connotation is often in the quiet reflection of silence; but other references can embrace any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, and as each presided over various arts or sciences, so the inspiration or guidance we receive is spiritual or otherwise from an unknown source of creativity.  Have you ever walked through a forest and come upon a clearing where the light suddenly opens upon a spot of heaven?  That is the effect of nature’s muse.  Or of a sudden realization that the darkness overwhelming as a burden upon a donkey’s back, is lifted without explanation and released with but an unspoken pardon?

Much of life and living involves sadness, decay, dominance of fear and trepidation of anxiety; and so when deliverance from devastation comes in slices and paper cups of limited portions, we drink thirstily as if the starvation of life’s travails imprisoned our very existence for an eternity of hell.

We often suspect that gods and goddesses laugh at us from on high, behind corridors shuttered and tree limbs cascading; and in the hint of nature’s muse, we wonder whether it is all “worth it”, as if value is embedded in the secrets of Tibetan mountains.  But as the guru who drives a Rolls Royce but speaks the language of a spiritual monk winks at the followers who would grant comfort and bespeak of secret incantations reserved for the spirit of folly, so the rest of us suspect that there is something inherently wrong with the world at large.

There are always “dark forces” gathering, conspiracies mounting, and greater inequities planned for the lives of the “common folk” – who almost always includes you and I, but never the guy on television.  Does nature indeed have a sense of humor, a glint of glee or a mirth of pardonable satire?  Or is it as cold and impervious as Darwinians would have us believe?  Better were those days when hobbits, goblins and elves could be believed; where the moon was more than just mere lifeless rocks and dirt; and unnamed spirits roamed the earth.  But of nature’s muse, we can still attach our own joy, the inner warmth we still possess and the jewel of a private soul we still retain.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who yet seek to become released from a private hell involving a medical condition and the persistent deterioration wrought from an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the preparation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like a realization that the effect of nature’s muse is like that sudden clearing one accidentally wanders upon in a forest full of darkness; it is only when there is a spot of light which provides for hope, that value is rediscovered, and that search and discovery may be attained in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire