OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Pruning Mechanism

It is one of life’s anomalies that plants flourish and thrive with targeted pruning; too much dismembering, and the sap of life can wither; too little, and the nutrients required for new growth will be diverted to wasted areas of decay, thereby allowing for greater susceptibility to disease. As animals cannot regenerate new appendages (with some variable exceptions), so pruning of limbs is not recommended. But the term itself can imply metaphorical contents — of leaving behind and cutting off ties which harm; of terminating associations which contribute to the decline of one’s health.

The complexity of medical conditions will often bring to the fore questions of causation and exacerbations; and while stress is an inherent factor in almost every employment arena, and further, is not normally recommended in a Federal Disability Retirement application to be focused upon (see previous articles on work-place stress resulting in “situational disabilities“, which can defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application), nevertheless, it is an issue which any Federal or Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, should consider carefully, seriously, and with deliberate intent.

It is ultimately the U.S. Office of Personnel Management which reviews, approves or denies all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS; thus, unless one works for OPM, it is an agency separate from one’s own employing agency.

It is that agency — one’s own — which always must be considered for “pruning”. For, while the central issue in all Federal Disability Retirement applications is the nexus, or “bridge”, between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; still, it is often a prudent thought to consider that “burning” one’s bridge is the penultimate act leading to a fruitful “pruning” — a mechanism sought in a metaphorical manner, to redirect life’s nutrients into more productive tissues for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Transfinite Cardinals

It is a concept invented in order to avoid the inherently problematic implications of the “infinite”; yet, it clearly means that it is “not finite”. It is meant to avoid a type of exclusive disjunctive and attempts to equivocate and obfuscate, implying that it somehow goes beyond the finite but refuses to become embroiled in the complexities of the infinite, thereby allowing for a compromise by remaining forever in the limbo of mathematical purgatory.

Such conceptual word-games save us for a time; and, sometimes, time is what is needed. Thus, for universes of pure theoretical constructs, where application has little or no impact upon the reality of life, conceptual language games can be daily engaged and walked away from, without any practical consequences. It is, however, when theory intersects with reality, that qualitative reverberations become felt, as in the application of theoretical physics upon the pragmatic application of nuclear fusion.

Advancing from Thought to Action

Advancing from Thought to Action

For the everyday Federal and Postal Worker, the theoretical existence of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is likened to transfinite cardinals: until the intersection between thought and action occurs, it remains safely in the universe of theory, mind, and limbo; but when the reality of a medical condition hits upon the physical universe of the real, and impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability/inability to maneuver through the employment sector because of physical limitations or psychiatric obstacles imposed by the medical condition, then one must reach beyond the theoretical and take pragmatic steps of prudent applicability.

Like boilerplate legalese in multi-paginated contractual agreements, theoretical constructs exist for potential applications in the real universe.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits remain in existence for all Federal and Postal employees, and must be accessed by submitting an application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is like the Platonic Ideas of Greek philosophy “out there” in the ethereal universe, but of no consequence but for ivory tower constituents. And like transfinite cardinals, Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits remain in a parallel universe of theoretical constructs, until that time when a particular Federal or Postal employee accesses the need to ignite the fuse of pragmatic intentions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Achieving the Objective

We often hear of people striving to achieve “the good life”, or perhaps, sometimes it is characterized as the “easy life”; one of leisure, pleasure, lack of worries (financial or otherwise), and at least in evocative pictorial representations, surrounded by multiple beautiful people all with dentures which gleam with gaiety and unbounded mirth.

How one achieves such a state of ecstasy (by following directions provided), where it exists (some utopian tropical island which can only be reached via a private plane), when to begin (by calling a certain toll-free number), and what to do (respond to the advertisement within the specified time period offered), are somewhat murky, but belief in such an objective to be achieved keeps human hope alive.  Somehow, such predilections of a state of finality seem hollow in the face of reality; it is the latter with which we must contend on a daily basis; the former is merely a fantasy left for dreamers and fictional characters.

For Federal and Postal employees who face a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s chosen Federal or Postal vocation, there is little extra leisure time to engage in such phantasms of thought.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, takes a clear, analytical approach, and one which cannot be sidelined by daydreams of virtual realities in a hemisphere of utopian musings.  But, then, Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions and must contend with the agency’s hostile response to such matters, already understand the necessity of engaging reality versus the world of imagination.

While it is sometimes preferable to get lost in the parallel universe of ecstatic fantasies, it is always the harsh reality of this world which must be the ultimate objective of achievement.  Fantasies are left for those precious hours of sleep one can enjoy; the rest of the waking hours must be to tackle the reality of the real.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Rubik’s Cube

Why we spend so much time of our lives attempting to return and reattach ourselves to that which once was, is a puzzle of human nature.  Comfort zones and childhood safety sensations of warmth and security; and yet, often the reality is that, to cling to something gone is best left behind, and the romanticization of past events is the undoing of present paths of success.

The frustration of fiddling with Rubik’s Cube is an anomaly; once the cube has been rearranged out of the original order of colors, we spend countless hours attempting to return it back to its state of inception.  In life, as in virtual reality, as in the games we invent to whittle away time, we perpetually attempt to return to the origin.

For Federal and Postal employees 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 job, that same characteristic of “holding on” to the security of that which we are fondly familiar with, is often the making of our own downfall.  While we try and return to the place of bygone days, the agency moves steadily forward, but without the baggage of romantic notions of loyalty and keeping to the past.

If you are not fully productive, they will find someone else who is or will be.

Like the repetitive attempts to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube, the frustration of trying to change the lumbering course of an agency’s methodology of interaction with its employees will leave one to merely run on a treadmill which goes nowhere.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum years of service (18 months of Federal Service for FERS employees; 5 years of Federal Service for CSRS employees).

If attempting to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube is performed merely as a leisurely exercise, that is a productive distraction.  If, on the other hand, it is a metaphor for engaging in the substantive labors of life, then it becomes an exercise of frustration leading to dire consequences of epic proportions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Real Things, Once Upon a Time

One wonders the precise point in historical time when Man decided to consciously escape the harshness of the objective world.  It is perhaps when Kant identified the bifurcated world into the phenomenal world which we experience through sense perception, as opposed to the “noumenal” universe beyond our ability to perceive or even experience.  By creating such a distinction, he at once solved the problem of metaphysics by banishing that which we cannot experience, into a segmented concept of irrelevance.

But within the perceptual world of our daily experiences, we then went on to create other worlds — ones which included virtual realities.  At first, one had to travel elsewhere, to video arcades and malls, in order to escape for a brief moment into the world of other galaxies and wars fought within the constraints of 2 x 3 screens. Then, such parallel universes were allowed into our homes through video monitors hooked up to television sets and the like; then to desktop computers, and the rest is now ancient history.

Our escapism into the virtual reality within the perceptual reality of our categorical constructs, continues with each breathtaking “new” and “better” invention, allowing us to lose ourselves into the fantasies of our own making.  But the harsh reality of the world around us does not diminish. When, for example, we are hit with a medical condition such that no amount of escapism works to make the impact disappear, then we have no choice but to directly confront and engage the reality of life.

For Federal and Postal employees faced with the reality of the medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, it becomes important to confront such a reality by gathering all of the useful, pragmatic, and helpful information in making the proper decisions for one’s future.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; how that impacts with one’s age, number of years of Federal Service, etc., must all be taken into account in making a proper decision.  Such a time as now, when one is surrounded by parallel universes of playful electronic media, must be set aside in order to “deal” with the reality of one’s situation.

Virtual Reality is just that — not quite real.

The reality of the real is what must come first, and for the Federal and Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the historical context of the Kantian separation of our two worlds merely voices an interesting moment in history, but one which has little to no impact upon one’s everyday world of realities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: The Hearty Laughter

Laughter is therapeutic; it is an expression, often spontaneous, responding to an event, a circumstance, a joke; sometimes, merely upon meeting an old friend and becoming flooded with reminiscences of mirthful times long ago.

It is a response of physical, emotional and mental totality; the body reverberates with joy and the echoes emanating from deep within; the flood of emotions are released; the mind becomes relaxed and unguarded.  Often, however, it is the eyes which are most telling.  Listen to a person laughing, and you may be fooled; watch a person’s eyes as he laughs, and it may reveal a dissonance which contradicts and raises suspicions.  For, laughter can also be the veil which attempts to conceal.

Similarly, in this economy of heartless efficiency, the Federal and Postal worker who must daily attempt to work through one’s pain or psychiatric condition in order to continue to work, despite suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, there comes a point where the capacity to present one’s self contradicts the reality of what is actually occurring.

Most Federal and Postal workers are such dedicated workers that they continue to work through a progressively deteriorating medical condition to one’s ultimate detriment.  At some point, the dissonance and contradiction will reveal itself; and it is at such a crisis point when the Federal and Postal Worker comes to realize that Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be considered.

Whether one should wait until that flashpoint arrives is an individual matter.  But like the hearty laughter emanating from the deep chasms of a person whose eyes reveal pain and sadness, the Federal or Postal Worker who continues to put on a brave face each day, knows that as all the world is a stage, the actors must one day face the reality of the world in which we live.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire