FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The tenuous seat

It may be that where you are sitting, you have that constant sense of insecurity and angst; that the legs that are currently holding you upon the wooden seat are unstable, questionable, perhaps even possessing a history of prior breakage and collapse.  Is the position you hold flimsy, weak, subject to the winds of change and the moods that prevail?

Life isn’t supposed to be that way; or so we are taught from a young age.  There are “rules of the game”; people “have to” abide by certain unspoken (or openly declared) constrictors of behavioral acceptability; and yet, the rule-breakers seem always to be able to flaunt the exceptions and sidestep, overstep and trample upon the boundaries that everyone else must abide by.

The tenuous seat is the one that the person sensitive of and susceptible to the whims of societal constructs so diligently struggles to abide by; it is the vulnerable who always pays the price, while the brash and uncaring go on and pass by everyone else.  The tenuous seat is the one that the ordinary person sits upon; then, when a medical condition comes along and weakens the structural foundations even further, the very wobbling legs that barely withstood the vicissitudes of time begin to fracture and reveal their internal fissures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a sense of sitting in the tenuous seat because the impact of the medical condition is beginning to take its toll, it is time to make plans to secure a more stable future — or, metaphorically, to consider sitting in another chair.

The tenuous seat is the one you have been sitting in for these past several years, and it is time to play the rules of the game of musical chairs, and to find the one that will “fit” the seat of your pants, by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The tenuous seat is the one that needs repair, and the one that needs repair is also the one that needs replacement.  When life’s chair that once provided a sense of stability and rest begins to wobble with the changes of time, it is an indication that the next step in the musical chairs of life’s stormy periods calls upon the Federal or Postal employee to initiate the steps to embrace the change; it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes exclusively in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Where we are

Wherever we are, we believe that is where the focal point of life resides.  Yes, it is a truism that the wider the travels, the greater recognition that one’s life is relatively insignificant, and that there are others in distant places where greater importance and relevance is objectively established.

But the subjective, human perspective cannot ultimately abandon the compass of where we are; for, it is the center of the compass itself that controls the direction of the gravitational pull, and while the North Pole may be where the forces reside (including Santa, all of his elves and helpers, and presumably Rudolph and the offspring), the perspective of where the arrow points remains constant:  It is the I, where I am and what circumstances impact me (in whatever form the personal pronoun is enunciated).

Is it an inevitable perspective – this egoism of the subjective “I” from whence the world is viewed, around which swirls the universe that rotates, churns and erupts in unanticipated transcendentalism encompassing the universal karma denoting an insignificant place in the warped historicity of mankind?  Or, is it possible to have been brought up in a community where there is no word within the language game of the collective peoples that points back towards one’s self?

Thus, the “what if” game:  What if there is no personal pronoun?  What if the perspective embraces only some other, such that each views the importance of the other and the relative irrelevance of the one who perceives the other, such that there is no one but the ego in a reflection of a mirror pointing to someone else – would that make a difference, such that there would therefore be no personal possessiveness, neither in grammar nor in envious jealousies of owning that which is everyone else’s?  Can a person exist without being erased and stamped out, in a society where collectivism is constant and self-realization is an alien concept unable to be comprehended?

But that is not so; here, in modernity, there is but the subjective “I”, the royalty of self, and the self-importance of the fanfare where each and every one of us seeks and relishes the quarter hour of fame, now transformed into reality television shows and Selfies on an extension pole, or by min-drones hovering with a camera taking aim at every movement of our selfish worth.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, be cautious in determining “where” one “is” – for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can quickly become consumed by the subjective “I” in the narrative delineated in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A).

To be an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, there must by necessity contain and retain a certain sense of objectivity, tempered by the medical documentation and evidentiary compilation to be submitted.  Yes, yes – where we are is important in life, but remember always that where we are is only relevant from the vantage point of where we want to be tomorrow, and the day after that.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employees Disability Retirement Benefits: Weather and the Prognosis

Prognostication of weather, beyond a day (or sometimes a couple of hours) can be treacherous and self-defeating.  With enhanced computer networks which reevaluate information as it is fed with information concerning patterns of predictability, shifting atmospheric changes and spectrums of barometric alterations; cumulatively, a pie in the face is preferable despite advanced technologies allowing for respectable predictability.

Similarly, the medical field is expected to provide predictions of future events and as-yet unforeseen consequences.  Because medicine is considered a “science”, the level of accuracy is required beyond mere witch’s brew, or the spell of waved wand cast upon an unsuspecting eye.  Thus do doctors engage in percentages and probabilities; of mortality, X-percentage, give or take a few months, based upon studies delineated in some obscure journal presumably respected and hidden in the esoteric towers of ivory bastions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the requirement for Federal and Postal employees includes information that the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months (from the date of filing for Federal Disability Retirement).  Persistent and prevalent misinterpretation of this requirement pervades; one often hears the belief that the Federal or Postal employee must be away from work, or otherwise incapacitated, for that period of 12 months before filing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The requirement is merely one which denotes a prognosis or prediction, no more than what the medical field can predict and what the weather can portend.  It merely means that a Federal or Postal employee 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, will be so prevented and impacted for a minimum of 12 months.

Any doctor worth his or her salt can provide a prognosis of how long the medical condition will last, and whether or not such a prognosis is as accurate as the 10-day forecast promulgated by weather entities is often irrelevant.  For, in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from the medical condition and who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, knows in his or her “heart of hearts” how long the medical condition will last, whether it is for a day or a season, or a lifetime of chronicity requiring longterm care and treatment.

As one’s own body, mind and soul rarely mistakes the shifting changes of life, so the weather and prognosis of one’s own health can be established through the experience of pain, agony, and the pounding of deterioration perpetrated upon the vulnerability of a mortal being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Avoidance and Delay

Human beings have an uncanny capacity for avoidance.  In the greater genus of the universe we identify as the “Animal Kingdom”, where survival of the fittest determines the genetic viability of the evolutionary scales of neutral justice, avoidance means potential death, and delay constitutes a certainty for an untimely demise.  For, as thought and reflection is the pause between an event and a necessary response, so avoidance and delay is that interlude between necessity and regret.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties as a Federal Employee or a U.S. Postal Worker, the avoidance of the inevitable, and the delay for the obvious, often becomes an intransigent approach to life’s misgivings.

The act of 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 thought of as a step of finality — an admission to one’s self that the battle has been lost, the war’s outcome has been determined, and the cards dealt must now be played, with nothing left to trade in or replace.  That is the “short view”, as colored by the perspective of avoidance and delay.  The “long view” is that there is actually life after Federal Service, and potentiality for growth beyond the U.S. Postal Service.

We become entrenched in the habits of our own making, and while filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM may seem like a step of finality, it is actually just a step in a different direction, where one can open up new avenues for a second vocation, while at the same time securing a financial future for stability and further growth.

Avoidance and delay — they are the price one may pay for the limitations imposed by our own lack of imagination, but the greater canvas of life opens up the power and creativity hidden within the deep recesses of a childhood potentiality we once held on to, but somehow let go in this journey we call “life”, which often puts us down and tramples upon the flights of a child’s wide-eyed vision of the greater universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Shame

Anthropological commentators have variously pointed out that the human being is the only one of the social animals to exhibit the characteristic of shame, and then quip with a spirit of mocking sharpness, “and the only ones who have a need to be”.  But the problem of shame is that the responsiveness exhibiting that overwhelming sense of self-immolation is often misdirected. Shame, or being ashamed, can occur resulting from the collective behavior of others, where a majority opinion can persuade through ostracizing, manifesting group hostility, or through persistent hammering.  It can even be through the misinterpretation of the normative behavior and conduct of acceptable societal customs and social rules of engagement.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, such a misdirected response is often seen when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  For the Federal or Postal employee who feels such “shame”, there is often a dual track of thought-processing:  A.  The Federal or Postal employee is unable to do all of the positional duties assigned and expected, and as a result, one feels “shame” for that lack and growing inability, and B. the medical condition itself makes one “ashamed” because it constitutes a reduction of the whole person, and the societal stares and hushed whispers reinforce one’s self-image that, somehow, one is “less” than the aggregate shown by the collective others.  And there is often a third, where:  C.  As work has become the source and sole reservoir of one’s sense of worth and accomplishment, so the potential loss of it results in a growing sense of shame, embarrassment and self-hatred.

Indeed, the loss, or the potential loss, of one’s identity at the workplace is a profoundly devastating undermining of one’s own self image.  But that is where the misinterpretation of values originates; for, by placing so much emphasis upon the goal of a herd’s collective mission, one fails to properly prioritize an individual’s sense of self-worth.  Health, and the need to recognize one’s place within the greater context of society, must always be taken as the priority of life’s misgivings.

For the Federal or Postal worker who has misinterpreted the importance of work over health and family, preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a difficult trial to undertake.  But it must be so, and recognition that compassion is the antidote to the false sense of shame experienced when the fate of a medical condition begins to deteriorate one’s health, capabilities and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, is to merely be human, and it is not even erring which acknowledges such humanity, but a condition of life which is neither the fault of the Federal or Postal employee, nor within the control of the future, but within the soft breath of the gods who smile upon the infirm with love and empathy — those true attributes of heavenly concerns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Environment

There is pervasive talk about the importance of containing toxic waste dumps, keeping our air and water clean; of limiting the dumping of animal feces into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.; and, indeed, there are agencies and departments created by State, Federal and Local governments devoted to enforcing laws designed to protect us and preserve the pristine condition of our “environment”.

But what of toxic environments of another sort?  What of the poison inserted through malicious intent?  Of the constant harassment and hostility used to intimidate, cower and attain submissive unraveling of defiance?  For those, there are designated courts, commissions and laws passed to protect, for purposes of prosecution and pursuit of money damages.  Of course, the results from either and both arenas of judicial relief are difficult to quantify; whether and to what extent pollutants were introduced into the environment, and by whom; or of what level of toxicity caused harm and damage to an individual; the qualitative measure of damages is always difficult to ascertain.

It is, ultimately, only from the personal perspective and experience that one can gauge the damaging results.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is often a parallel track of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits and concurrently to go after the individuals or organization that discriminated because of the disability acknowledged and recognized.  For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to secure some semblance of “justice” in the process, the goal of the law has been misdiagnosed:  Justice is not the stated teleological motivation of statutory relief; rather, it is a means to appease.

But at what cost?  To what end?  By whose measure?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, sets a specific goal:  cut one’s losses and move on in one’s life.  By filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee is able to leave the toxic environment which may have even contributed to one’s medical condition or disability, or at the very least, exacerbated it; by fighting it, one must remain within the very environment which one is attempting to escape from.

Like Father Damien of Molokai who helped lepers live with dignity as a separate individual from without, but who later contracted the disease and died as “one of them” within, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may want to consider the consequences of the dual track of environmental toxicity before taking on a behemoth of mythical proportions, as opposed to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to exit the poisoning atmosphere.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire