Reflections on Federal Disability Retirement this Independence Weekend

Each country has a symbolic date for celebrating independence; that historic marker which represents the freeing of a populace from the chains of tyranny.  Some may view it as an anachronism, and in such a mindset, it is merely another day off from the daily toil of work. Others, with half-hearted attempts at joining the revelry of the occasion, may actually convince themselves of the celebratory relevance of the extended weekend.

How does one keep alive the historic importance of past markers?  As veterans of past wars begin to decrease in number, so the present fervor of an event parallels the diminishing stature of the occasion.  Why is World War II more prominently featured than the “Great War” some mere decades preceding; and what of the cost of the Civil War?  As living memories fade, so the pages of history remain kept on dusty bookshelves left for college professors and their students to ponder. In the end, relevance of an event must be personalized; that is how connections are made.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself becomes a tyranny of dependence, it is precisely that marker which separates one from confinement which reveals a revelatory relevance to the greater world.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option available to all Federal and Postal employees who seek to become independent from the chains of turmoil and turbulence caused by one’s medical condition and the exacerbation of such conditions upon one’s Federal or Postal position.

Independence day is often a marker of historical significance, but it must always relate at the personal level for each individual. Otherwise, it remains merely an extension of another weekend.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Unchosen

It is a term and concept which denotes a negation of what once was; like an unfinished paragraph or a torn page in a novel, the act of undermining and incompleteness is implied; and so the reader will never know the full story or the thoughts once surfaced but buried forever in the settled dust of time.  A career cut short; quiet whispers of, “and he was such a promising young man…”

Federal and Postal Workers who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, fit nicely into that category of the unchosen.  Once part of the workforce, the need to detach, separate, and move on to another and different phase of life, career, vocation and stage — all are aggregately bundled into the entire process of separation from an organization which once chose, but because of circumstances beyond one’s immediate control, ascribed with the prefatory negation of that which once was.

When a medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the Federal employee has few choices.  Continue on as one of the chosen; walk away with nothing to show for it; allow the agency to determine the time and place of becoming one of the unchosen; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and have some semblance and control of being the master of one’s destiny and future.

Becoming the unchosen may begin with a preface of negation; it is up to the Federal and Postal Worker to replace the torn page, and complete the unfinished paragraph.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Fragrance of Fear

One rarely associates fear with fragrance; perhaps with a malodorous scent, mixed with angst and perspiring anxieties just before flight; but, no, fragrance is generally linked to perfumes and similarly heightened pleasantries which enhance the attraction of attention.  But to dictators and emperors of insignificant fiefdoms, fear emits a sweet fragrance, one inviting sadistic responses and enlivening a meanness awoken by the subtle aroma of vulnerability and susceptibility.

Medical conditions invite fear; fear within the individual suffering from the injury or disability, for the future, for the pain and suffering associated with the diagnosis and prognosis; fear from without, expressed by loved ones and those whose associations can be counted within the circle of friends, family, and close acquaintances.  Beyond the normal parameters described, however, the ethereal fragrance of fear is caught by the olfactory nerves of predatory consciences awaiting the whiff of anticipated anxieties; as an evolutionary conduit to survival, it serves also to invite the unintended to exacerbated difficulties of life.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, whether of a physical or psychiatric nature matters not, the progressive deterioration and manifestation of the medical condition engenders a proportional heightening of fear; fear, in turn, further impacts one’s inability to perform the full functions of one’s job; and failure revealed at one’s Federal or Postal employment tends to invite a hostile work environment, bringing out the worst in people.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which the Federal or Postal employee should always consider, when once the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Such a step is often the only pragmatic option to attain the needed context of restorative health, and to quash the fears which envelope and accompany the crisis. For, it is often the fragrance of fear which wafts through the still air and invites the things that go bump in the night, and where washing one’s hands clean is the single best route, as opposed to dousing one with perfumes, scented soaps and smelling salts, only to exacerbate the greater troubles of multiplied turbulences.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Suburban Sketches

Within the past 2 weeks:  a rabbit’s nest is discovered in the back yard; then, in the early morning dawn of the next morning, that same discovery is met with a predator whose presence is feared only in the limited universe of suburbia — the neighborhood cat.  Laying with a sense of indifference and aplomb, the cat is quickly shooed away, hoping against any glimmer of hope. Sure enough, the heads of the two young bunnies had been eaten.

And the second wildlife sketch (well, not quite, inasmuch as a backyard in suburbia hardly constitutes the wilds of woodland forests):  attending to some chores, a baby squirrel walks without thought or suspicion right up to this human; a moment later, the mother prances frantically, and in the quiet language known only to animals, directs the young prey back to the safety of trees and branches.

Humans are merely a species within the greater genus of animals, and yet we tend to forget that.  It is, of course, at our own peril that we forget the obvious.

For Federal and Postal Workers who encounter and engage the carnivorous power of an agency, the bureaucracy of destruction can quickly stamp out the youthful naiveté which the Federal or Postal Worker may exhibit.  Perhaps it is like the bunnies:  As long as one stays in the metaphorical nest of one’s own making, safety will be assured.  Or, like the baby squirrel:  Be open, and no harm will result.

Whatever the consequences of youthful exuberance, the difference is at least this:  For human, most mistakes based upon a reliance of trust do not end in terminal consequences; whereas, in the wild, a singular mistake can result in death.  Trust in one’s fellow man is a reflection of two sides of a single coin:  the one side, revealing moral character; on the other, naiveté.

When a medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee, and consideration is given as to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the query is often made as to how much trust should be granted or information should be revealed, and at what stage of the process, to the carnivorous animal known as “the agency”.

One should be able to glean the opinion of the undersigned as to the answer to that question, by the very nature of these sketches.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: To Be a Squirrel, for a Day

Watching them is an exercise of fascination; with nimble flight, to jump from a rooftop to the tip of a branch 10 feet away; scurry up and down trees with little thought (or is that merely a human projection without justification?) and no hesitation between the daredevil act and the graceful landing; and then to sunbathe in the midday warmth on a protruding ledge of the fence.

What a carefree existence; or so it would seem.  For, upon an extended observation, one realizes that there is never a moment when the squirrel is unaware of its surroundings, and that the anxiety-filled existence of human beings is not too different from that of the animal kingdom from which we conceptually separate ourselves, but of which reality forces a recognition of kinship.

One wonders how the ordinary individual can survive the daily stresses of life; but in turning to an uncomplicated animal such as a squirrel, you quickly realize that we are created as a bundle of stress-resistance nerves.  For the squirrel, the probability of a predator ready to pounce requires a heightened spectrum of awareness that approaches constant vigilance.  For the individual human being, the technological, artificial, but nevertheless just-as-real “stressors” of stimuli which require minute-by-minute responses, are readily received by the evolutionary adaptation first developed in the dangers of wildlife.

Thus, it is little wonder that when a medical condition hits an individual, the quickened pace of deterioration and progressive chronicity of the condition turns to debilitating impact.  By then, the stress-overload has reached its maximum impact.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is beset with a medical condition such that one must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time between the onset of the medical condition and the need to file is often short.  This should not be surprising, given that the Federal and Postal employee has often ignored or otherwise overcompensated for the warning signs of impending consequences.

OPM Disability Retirement can take some time to obtain.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, every Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the waiting time tends to be arbitrary, but in each case, somewhat lengthy.  Given that, once the crisis point of “needing” to file has been identified, it is important to take the next giant step and initiate the process.

And, like the squirrel of whom we imagine is merely frolicking in the sun, the lack of outward appearance of a need is never the true indicator of what is going on underneath.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Where Once, the Mirror Reflected

Communities are sensitive organisms; what constitutes one, how and when it is identified as such, and whether there exist any such entities, anymore, is of valid concern.

Is a suburb comprised of mansions constructed in the middle of an outlying tract of land, formerly occupied by a farm house, but where none of the neighbors know each other, seldom say hello, and never socialize, a community?  Does there have to be some interaction between neighbors, of showing and evidencing some concern or interest in one another’s lives, hobbies, common interests and attractions, before we can point to an aggregation of homes and declare that it is a “community”?

The origin of the word itself implies a “with”-ness among and between two or more people; and, in order to call a group of people a “community”, does not the identification of a group refer to an entity separate and unique from the rest of those surrounding the identifiably distinct group?

Furthermore, communities reflected a uniques set of social characteristics; like a mirror which reflects a recognizable face, so a community manifested a pattern of social characteristics distinct from a separate group.

Once upon a time, perhaps there existed a Federal community; or, perhaps, a particular agency or department revealed a cohesive set of principles and goals which set it apart from others.  For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who finds him or herself no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job to full capacity, the harsh realization that one may no longer be able to continue with the agency — a community of sorts — is often a macrocosmic reflection of the micro-identifier of a mirror reflecting the future of one’s path.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, identifies the individual as somehow separate and apart; and what one saw previously in the mirror becomes a reflection upon the greater community one was once a part of, and no longer will be, like the disappearance of a social phenomena diffusely evident throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Paradoxical Soiling of Sacrament

Can a person enter a religious institution (i.e., a church, a synagogue, etc.) without an intent to worship, but merely as an onlooker, and yet assume the role of a congregant without soiling the sacrament of its grounds? Tourists do that all the time, and perhaps mere “visitors” who desire to “try out” a church or other institution.

Is there a paradox in taking pictures of old Roman grounds of sacred pasts? Do we somehow justify actions by assuming one role (e.g., as a tourist and not a member) without the intent of what is originally meant of the place we visit? Can a person lie to one’s self, or unintentionally deceive others merely be entering a place of worship, or does one declare the status properly by having a digital camera in tow?

Similarly, if a Federal or Postal Worker goes to work without declaring one’s medical condition, and is able to for many years mask and conceal the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is there anything wrong with such deception — except perhaps that one is doing grave harm by progressively and purposefully deteriorating one’s own body?

Federal and Postal Worker have a tendency to do that, and in today’s harsh and competitive work environment, holding onto one’s job at all costs appears to be the rule of thumb, until it becomes apparent to everyone around, and lastly to one’s self, that one cannot continue in the same vein, any longer.

In that event, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, becomes the only viable option left; assuming, of course, that one has a body, mind or soul left to enjoy in retirement. But that is always the paradox of soiling any sacrament — especially the sacrament of one’s own body.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Things We Hold Onto

Human behavior reveals much; while we believe we are the cleverest of all species, and persistently engage in self-congratulatory endeavors, including self-esteem courses and passing laws to ensure that we cannot mistreat each other; nevertheless, leaving one deep in the wilderness to face other carnivores, even for a single night, without implements, flashlights or prefabricated weaponry, shows how we might fare against our competition.

Within the context of our own safety nets, what indicates much about ourselves are the things we hold onto.  Whether memorabilia from an era long past; or perhaps a piece of clothing from our childhood; old photographs of a friendship once thought unimpeachable, but somehow lost touch through distance, time and divergent paths of life’s difficulties.  We hold onto things, people, memories and habituated lives, because the trend of daily monotony provides a circularity of security.

There is comfort in knowing, and doing, the same things we did yesterday and the day before.  Erratic lives and daily unforeseen circumstances are rarely welcomed events.  Certainty evinces security; past patterns provide surety; and monotony allows for meaningful interludes of interrupted excitement.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is unfortunately often those things we hold onto for too long which comes back to haunt.  The old job, the past pattern, the known life; it all worked when once we were healthy.  But the uncertainty of the future dominates precisely because we tend to hold fast that which needs to be let go.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an employment benefit available to all FERS, CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees under the Federal employment system.  It allows one to “let go” of past patterns of pain, suffering, and constant agony because of one’s medical condition, and to look to the future for a different and brighter prospect.

It may test the Federal or Postal Worker by placing him or her in situations not previously known; but, fortunately, it will not be a test against other species in the wilderness, but merely of one’s own kind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Miracles, Superheroes, and CGI

The reality of this technology-driven world is that miracles are now relegated to excused absences; modern theology has either explained away biblical references to the miraculous, or we attribute the beauty around us as the “miracle of life”, thereby undermining the common understanding of metaphysical intervention.

Further, the sudden advent of superheroes and their feats of bravery and physical actions which defy the general laws of nature, reveal to us that miracles and miraculous acts can be performed by humans of a similar origin but of a higher order.  Spiderman, Superman, Captain America, et al, seemingly do with ease what Moses asked but only through obedience and a lifetime of virtue.

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has merely perfected and made beautiful such acts of death-defying, counterintuitive and anti-gravity gymnastics; and the pulley-strings and cables no longer need to be manually erased.  Such super-human feats as represented in virtual reality counter the mundane reality of true human existence.  Yes, yes — perhaps it is all “just for fun” and we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.  But societal representation of who we are is indeed a serious matter.

The reality of life is that human frailty, misfortune and pain pervades the vast majority of everyday existence.  Just ask the individual who suffers from a medical condition, and the daily encounter with pain and progressively debilitating illnesses.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that the condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the daily absence of miracles and gravity-defying feats is superseded by just getting through the day.  No CGI imposition can change the pain; superheroes cannot come to save the day; the modern theological explanations cannot expunge the reality of daily encounters with a cruel world.

In the end, the Federal and Postal employee has the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and through this administrative vehicle of attaining a different and new stage of life, the reality of what is available can attenuate the expectations driven by the brave but virtual New World as presented by the moguls of Hollywood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire