OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Footprints in the snow

Snow makes a flashlight irrelevant.  Even without a moon to shine, and of clouds to mask the twinkling stars, somehow the pure whiteness allows for visual acuity.  At dawn, the footprints betray the activity that once was; and the current inactivity shadowed by the early morning yawn makes one wonder: who noticed, and what if I were standing quietly under the elm tree, making myself a part of the stiff objects in the wintry twilight?

It is similar to the Zen query of the Sixties — of a falling tree with no one around, and the pondering: Was there a noise?  And then the rush of activity as the daylight dominates and the darkness recedes and the purity of the blanket of white that once betrayed the footprints in the snow is replaced by human trudging, winds blowing and the mere vestiges that are now only images in one’s memories.

People are born daily, live their lives and die; and like footprints in the snow that appear for a moment in history’s unmentioned footnotes, they disappear with barely a trace but a few words in the obituaries. Oh, try as we may in our futile attempts at being remembered — of graveyards with larger stones; of “memorials” pasted on the back windows of cars; or even of yearly vigils; the fact is that we are mere footprints in the snow.  Yet, what is important is that the footprints did, in fact, once exist, even if the windswept vanishing of once-seen imprints disappear like vapors of steam curling into the midnight sky.

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, it is sometimes like footprints in the snow — you realize that you were once “relevant” in this world and that the Federal Agency once looked upon you as a “valuable member of the team”; but now, you are treated as the windswept footprints that were once clearly visible in the snow, and now no longer.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the last act before the wind sweeps away the footprints; it is a means of recognizing what is important in life, and to focus upon your health and well-being and to leave behind the footprints in the snow that are so easily forgotten in the hubbub of the world’s daily activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a 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, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Death of the metaphor

Metaphors and analogies are how we communicate; without them, it is the mere drone of sounds emitted, and even if without the directness of a simile where we place the comparison of two or more differing entities and connect with the word “like”, it is the only means of striving to reach a greater understanding of the world around.

The death of the metaphor is a certainty.  Modern technology has eviscerated the capacity of human beings to remain curious; and curiosity is not what killed the cat, but allowed it to remain a force in evolutionary stages of increasing survival instincts, as the trait of the inquisitive allows for greater mastery of the universe.  Smart phones allow for a person to defer memorization; computers deaden the natural instinct for query; and technology in general denies the relevance of a metaphor precisely because we need not struggle to explain – the machines do all of the explaining for us.

The death of the metaphor means the rise of the deadened soul, and suppression of everything that was uniquely human.  Would Shakespeare have survived in this day and age, or the complexity of language allowed for such subtleties of linguistic shades of meaning?

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s job duties, the need to employ metaphors still exists, as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications – must still be persuaded by argumentation and logical sequencing of thought processes.

Yes, the death of the metaphor is imminent and inevitable, but in the greater corners of administrative law, the metaphor, the simile, the analogy that persuades must yet be utilized in order to make effective a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Recurrent Nightmare

Perhaps it is explicit, of images which repetitively beat the drum of constancy; or, sometimes, despite every effort, one cannot recall the harrowing particulars of a nighttime of eternity filled with dissipation of fear and loathing.

Restorative sleep is lacking; whether from pain, nightmares or paralyzing panic attacks; and the medical designation of insomnia, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or psychiatric conditions of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, intrusive nightmares; or perhaps it is much more direct and simple:  pain which prevents getting into a comfortable position in order to drift off into the dreamland of serenity, and where the sharpness compels one to awaken with a scream, only to find that it is the silence of one’s aloneness which permeates the quietude of the voice which no one hears.

The next morning, the profound fatigue and exhaustion, beyond the mere ache of tiredness, with residual cognitive dysfunctions,follows one throughout the day, like a scent of undefinable and unidentifiable aura, always there but never quite connected, either in location, distance or substantive content.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience a semblance of such a state of being, it becomes like a recurrent nightmare, and work becomes impacted in so many different ways.

In physical-intensive jobs, in the greater potentiality for mistakes and accidents; in cognitive-focused positions, in analytical miscues and inability to focus and concentrate.  Perhaps it all becomes reflected in one’s performance review, or one becomes placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan” (a PIP); or even be handed an Agency’s Proposed Removal; whatever the cost, for the Federal or Postal worker, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

No, Federal Disability Retirement is not the “be all” and “end all” of solutions; but it is an option which should always be considered when once the recurrent nightmare engulfs the Federal or Postal worker with consequences of adverse actions imposed upon a fragile state of being ready to crack under the weight of a chronic disease or medical condition of such seriousness and sufficiency as to have impacted one’s capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Benefits: The Wind-Up Man

Before the age of batteries and electronic sophisticates, there were wind-up toys.  Mere mechanical wonders involving hidden spring actions and tightly wound coils for deliberative unwinding to propel movement, they betrayed a sense of wonder for their independence once released by the child’s hand.  But the movement stopped; the unwinding of spring actions released to their full extent; and further human involvement was necessary.

In stage plays of yore, what amounts to a “deus ex machina” required intervention; and so the thumb and forefinger would grasp the flat key inserted in the back of the toy, and wind it up all over again.  Many of us feel a kinship to such a descriptive process; the “winding up” may involve an unseen hand, but the rest feels eerily similar.

Medical conditions tend to magnify such a state of feeling; for, like the wind-up toy of childhood joys, the need for an intervening hand is required of both.  But for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who needs to go home for that restorative sleep, or that 3-day weekend in order to regain a semblance of stamina for the week ahead, whatever winding up process may occur, is never enough.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, often find that — as each time the “winding up” process takes place, it becomes less and less effective, and more and more necessary to keep going back to the source of intervention — and so the vicious cycle ensues.

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, is never the “total solution” to one’s medical problems; but, at the very least, it allows for one to reach that plateau of restorative rest, in order to recuperate.  As the wind-up toy must come to the end of its uncoiling mechanical actions, so the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer continue in the same manner, must consider options available to him or her, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is certainly an alternative to consider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire