FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Losses

How many losses must one accumulate before being deemed a “loser”?

Was it just yesterday that Cal Ripken, Jr. won with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, after a mere couple of years in the minors, but with that World Series ring on his finger, would then see decades of losses mount as a result of poor decisions in trading players, acquiring “has beens” and being in the unfortunate AL East where the Yankees and the Red Sox seem always to vie for the top tier of the elect?

Can a team win a World Series one year, then go on for thirty-plus years without ever winning one again, and yet be deemed “a winner”?  Or, can one always pause, give a grin, and say, “Yeah, but we were winners in 1983!”

Does one win wipe out an avalanche of losses such that the singularity of glory negates the overwhelming statistical significance of unending disappointments?  Or, what of the person who once had a promising career, but through a series of unfortunate circumstances considered by most to be no fault of his or her own, cannot quite achieve that level of promises dreamed of but never materialized?

Do we, in our own minds, create conditions which are impossible to attain, and then deem those unreachable goals as “losses” despite the artificial nature of the criteria imposed?  Do losses mount and exponentially aggregate because failure seeks after failure, and somehow the subsequent one is a natural consequence, inevitably by inherent nature, of the previous one?

Does bad luck come in bunches because of some Law of Nature, or is it just in our imagination that it seems so?  Are much of losses artificially created — i.e., we set the proverbial “goal post” in our own minds, then miss the metaphorical field goal and become despondent over the “loss” created within our own imagination within contextual circumstances fantasized that have no connection to objective reality?

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of “loss” can be an admixture of both objective reality and subjective, artificial creations.

The medical condition itself is an “objective” loss; but the Agency or the Postal Service’s efforts to compound the adversarial circumstances can be created in an ad hoc manner, where there are no rules or criteria to follow except upon the whim of the supervisor or the department’s reactionary intuition.  The interruption to one’s career; the constant struggle with a chronic medical condition; of being forced to deal with deteriorating health — these are all real “losses”.

On the other hand, adversarial initiations by one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these, too, are “real” losses, though artificially created and unnecessary, in many instances.

Both must be dealt with when preparing, formulating and filing a 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 — but the fact that one must “deal with” so many “losses” does not, in the end, make one a loser.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Perfection

Can it ever be achieved?  Is our possession of it proof, as Anselm’s Ontological Argument asserts, of the existence of that which we ourselves cannot ever attain?

Perfection as a “goal” is considered “unrealistic”; as a paradigm against which we compare in order to impose a standard or paradigm of success, we often accept as a given; and, with the exception of stereotypical “Tiger Moms” and other unreasonably demanding categories of nightmarish figures unable to ever please or gratify, perfection is merely an unattainable hollow easily moveable within a spectrum of endless sights much like the proverbial movement of goal posts so-named when nearing the end.

Yet, we constantly strive for it, despite the knowledge that it is unachievable and unrealistic, declaring that the nearer we reach towards the boundaries of perfection, the closer we become as gods of lesser heavens.

The Ancients regarded certain physical characteristics as those “perfect” dimensions based upon proportionality of appearance; in modernity, we have dispensed with any such paradigms and instead have elevated acceptance and tolerance as the greater good, thereby negating hurt feelings, unattainable heights and unreachable expectations.

Perfection, as applied to a specific category such as “health”, can yet nevertheless remain relative in terms of acceptability.  Perfect health can never be maintained forever; relatively good health can be sustained for a time; and poor health, once experienced, is like a bad dream that one wishes to be awakened from, lest it turn into a nightmare that never ends.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a deteriorating, progressively chronic condition of a medical nature — one that is likely to last for a minimum of 12 months in preventing or otherwise impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and 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.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is not an admission that perfection is an unattainable goal (although we know it is); rather, that merely a particular job or career is not the “right fit” — and in the end, that is the greater perfection of all: To recognize one’s limitations, properly evaluate and assess one’s circumstances, and adjust and modify in accordance thereof.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The option of nothing

The path of least resistance is often to simply do nothing.  To make an affirmative choice is sometimes a painful one involving sacrifice and steps taken which will determine an outcome, later to be judged by retrospective insight, as to whether it was the “right” one or a “wrong” one.

To negate, refute or otherwise do the opposite, and to say “no” in the choice-making process, is also an “affirmative” one, if only in the negative sense.  It is still a call made, a judgment asserted, and while the “no” may not be able to arrive at a retrospective viewpoint as to whether it was the “right” one or the “wrong” one (precisely because, in the very negation of making a choice, one may never see any further consequences, but merely a nothingness that prevails from the option to not do that something, which is essentially a double-negative that results in nothing).

The worst option to assume is to allow lapse to occur – to do nothing, neither affirmatively nor negatively, and allow outside circumstances to determine the course of fate.  In taking such a path of least resistance, two things occur: First, you have left it in the hands of circumstances, and failed to take any affirmative steps in the allowance of lapse; and Second, the fact that you will never know it was a good or bad idea to allow for the lapse means that you have forsaken the entire decision-making process, and thus you disengaged yourself from the importance of life’s major participation.

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, the Statute of Limitations that imposes a restriction upon post-separation filing is One (1) Year.

Thus, the law is as follows: Upon separation, whether by termination or resignation, of a Federal employee, that Federal employee has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If the Federal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement within 364 days of the separation from Federal Service (give yourself at least 1 day, just to be on the safe side), then no harm is done.

If the Federal or Postal employee determines not to file (i.e., a negative – affirmative decision), then so be it, and after the 365th day, that Federal or Postal employee is forever prevented from asserting his or her rights under the Federal Disability Retirement laws, acts, statutes and regulations.

If the Federal or Postal employee simply does nothing – neither making an affirmative or a negative decision, and simply allows for the time to lapse and the opportunity to pass – then the path of least resistance has been taken, with the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Moral Code lost in pragmatism

Kant is the best example, and is used often.  Of that arrogance defined by universalization of a query; and if we are willing to apply it in all circumstances, regardless of individual differences that may matter in the context of exceptions recognized, we are to adhere to that which may harm our own interests.  Why is transcendence important?  Why do philosophers insist that any “valid” moral basis possess a metaphysical foundation, transpired in order to justify a cornerstone unsullied by the meanness of common life?  Is the fact of relative significance unacceptable merely because it is subject to change?  Do we not, in daily life, have to adapt in every circumstance, all the time throughout every encounter with experiences, and is this not the very essence of survival?

We bought the posit of Plato and Aristotle – those two old Greek men who provided the foundation of Western Thought – that either (A) a transcendent Form of universalized principle must exist, or (B) that a methodological argumentation must be able to be advanced, in order to “justify” the ethical groundwork telegraphed.  That is how laws, statutes, and societal foundations have evolved – from the implicit assumption that, somehow, principles above and beyond the pragmatic are necessary.  But are they?  In a world that embraces pure materialism and the genetic predisposition of all that exists, without the inconvenience of a creator or grand inquisitor, is not the approach of pragmatism – of that which merely “works” – enough?

That is how the Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service operates these days; they care less about any “principles” of fairness in the workplace, or employment “codes” that allegedly overshadow the work ethic applied to employees, and instead, approach it with a view towards the bottom line:  Profitability.  For so many years, the Federal Government was incessantly being compared to the private sector – in terms of output, efficiency and investment-for-returns.  Such comparisons failed to recognize the obvious:  the two general entities served different purposes and needs of society, and forcing them to coalesce and reflect each other merely denigrated the essence of each.

It is not so much the attributable similarities between Plato and Aristotle which form the foundation of such thinking; rather, it is the contrasting approaches between Heraclitus and Parmenides that conform our moments of contemplative underpinnings:  between change and permanence, betwixt relativity and transcendence.

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, the question often arises as to a conflicting sense between one’s “Moral Code” and the pragmatic need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.  Often, such a conflict is merely a result of muddled thinking – that, somehow, it is not “right” or “fair” to file for benefits when one is so young, or where one can still be productive, but not at the same level as before.  But that is precisely how the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is set up – to allow for a retirement from one’s particular kind or type of work, yet presenting an opportunity to remain productive in the private sector, and potentially make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.

Morality is all well and good for the elitists of our culture, but in the common world of pragmatism, we must embrace that which we are given, like breadcrumbs dusted off at the dinner table of the behemoth called, the United States Office of Personnel Management.

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