Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Kokeshi doll

They are wooden dolls that are colorful, with expressions painted upon that remain frozen except for the change that naturally occurs when viewed from differing angles of sight, reflecting altered perspectives and modified vantage points depending upon one’s own emotions.  They sit on tabletops, shelves and can be a child’s playmate, though parents often view them more valuably as display items rather than taking the chance that the little brother may play them as reenactments of a prior war imagined to be fought by banging pieces of wood and throwing them against the yet-undamaged wall.

The heads are often disproportionately larger than the remainder of the body; and the rest and remainder, often just a block of smoothed wood with hands painted in a one-dimensional pattern, revealing no motion but straddling limply alongside the rectangular shape, like a submissive figure shuffling down life’s difficult trials in the daily struggles we all face.

The Kokeshi doll never complains, but always delights; never talks back, but eternally agrees; and never fails to bring light into a dark corner, but forever allows for a reminder that it is the trivial joys of life that make for worthwhile endurance in times of misgivings.  We are all, in many ways, expected to be like these inanimate objects that we have projected our own emotional well-being upon.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s job, the fact that you are no longer able to remain impassive, implacable, disaffected and unmoved by the manner in which the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has begun to treat you, is not an extraordinary insight to possess and be suddenly enlightened by.

Though we may enjoy the delightful colorfulness of a Kokeshi doll, we cannot expect to be nor act like one.  It was always the productivity released, the competence revealed and the level of contribution inputted that made the Federal or Postal employee “valuable” to a Federal agency or a Postal facility; but when a medical condition hits a person, it is simply “not right” that the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service should treat the Federal or Postal employee as merely another Kokeshi doll who should remain quiet and unperturbed standing in a corner.

Thus, when the Federal agency or Postal facility fails to treat the Federal or Postal employee as something more than the inanimate object a Kokeshi doll ultimately is, it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before that rough-and-tumble younger brother comes along and really begins to mistreat that block of wood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The heckler

We see them from afar, as lone voices suddenly erupting with disruptive force, often barely audible, sometimes unintelligible, but rarely unnoticed.  In some corners of the world, their acts can become dangerous; inciting violence, being put upon by the surrounding crowd; their license to interrupt has been somewhat muted by the responsive threat of retaliation, voiced in more recent days.  Most of us sit back and wonder who “those” people are — such fury and passion to deliberately interject without invitation or welcome, and with the full knowledge that the subsequent events will lead to being either escorted out in less than gentle ways, or set upon in more violent fashion.

Are there causes which still exist, worth fighting for, anymore?  Is it just boiled-over frustration against a political firestorm of ineptitude and economic vicissitudes which leaves the ordinary person powerless and voiceless?  Or, is that interruptor a paid badger from another camp, merely acting as an apparently passionate interlocutor, but nothing more in reality than an employed spoiler to reveal the disarray of discontent allegedly felt by the greater populace?

It is a tradition of American politics, certainly, to have the presence of at least one heckler rise from the quietude of the sheep’s fold; and like the wolf covered by the lamb’s clothing, with barely an eye peeping through to gauge the exact timing for the sudden uproar, the impertinence of a question posed, a harassing shout and a barrage of epithets and garbled sentences drowned out by a sea of groans from around; does it all really matter?

There have always been hecklers of time and badgers of dishonor; and like the crowd which follows blindly in sequence of movements, such temporary interruption of a planned event is but merely a nuisance of life tolerated.  How we treat the heckler is but a reflection of life itself. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a similar interruption of “the event” of life, such as a medical condition which cuts short the Federal or Postal career, and where a responsive interlude must follow — 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 often the only choice left, and the best alternative to pursue.

Suddenly, it becomes the “quiet one” who must turn and heckle; for the Federal Disability Retirement applicant is often that part of the crowd which never made waves and rarely complained, but merely went about his or her business and accomplished quietly the “mission” of the agency or the daily repetition of work at the Postal Service.  Then, suddenly, the Federal or Postal worker was “singled out” as the “troublemaker” — all because of a medical condition which the Federal or Postal worker never asked for, never wanted, and rarely complained about.  But like the heckler who knows of the oncoming consequences, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is surely a cause worth fighting for — despite the rude exit which is certain to follow.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Profiles in Discourage

It is, of course, an obvious play off of the 1957 Pulitzer Prize winning work (publication date of 1955), describing 8 U.S. Senators who displayed courage in the face of criticism (an inherent oxymoron?).  Whether or not, and to what extent, Kennedy himself wrote the work (Ted Sorenson, John F.’s speechwriter, finally conceded in his 2008 autobiography as much) has become historically irrelevant, for the legend has become the man, and has replaced the truth of clear lines that once constituted the demarcation between fantasy and reality.

Ancient references to “Camelot” and metaphors about some obscure “torch” being passed through a generational transfer of linguistic fluff, have all cumulatively obscured the stark nakedness of that which makes people and events accountable.  The irony of real life always goes well beyond any fictional attempt to deceive; at least, by designation ascribed, we know what to expect of the latter; but then, there wouldn’t be anything like irony without the absurdity of the former.

Look at the recent allegations of the murky money-trail from Malaysia as the source of funding for the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; how much more deliciously ironic can it get, where a movie depicting blatant corruption is paid for by the very manner in which the moguls of Hollywood are allegedly attempting to make a point about?  What prompted the short-cutting which undermines the title of the work credited to the 35th President?  Is it merely the old adage that the “ends justify the means” — and that not writing a work but claiming its authorship is allowable because the greater good of fame and the road to the presidency will account for such deception?

It is, in the end, the title itself which makes for the irony; for, in a work which describes the integrity and character traits of the subjects within, it is precisely the lack of such which presumes a contradiction without.  And that is the connection with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers of today — for the entities which employ them represent the “official” face of this country, and yet the way they treat Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers when Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, reflects upon a discernible and palpable profile in discouragement (the suffix is added to make the sentence grammatically correct, although poetic license has been taken in the caption of this blog with the title, “Profiles in Discourage” in order to remain consistent with its alter-ego of the work by JFK and Sorenson).

One could argue, of course, that because there is the statutory right of all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, therefore any maltreatment or mistreatment of a Federal or Postal worker based upon the medical condition becomes a moot issue.

But that is precisely the point — treatment of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker in the process of engaging the long and arduous bureaucratic process of filing an OPM Disability Retirement application, should reflect an integrity of cover-to-content.  For, in the end, it is not the cover, nor the first impression which matters, but like the historical characters which are insightfully described in the book itself, the title should always match its claimed authorship.  But, then, of course, we would be left without the delicious irony of man’s daily folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employment Medical Separation & Retirement: Putting forth an air of pretension

Why is it that changing one’s vernacular accent is considered pretentious?  What if people, on a daily basis, came into the office and assumed a different dialect — the Northerner with a sudden affectation of a Southern drawl; a Midwesterner assuming the melody of the Irish; or the New Englander presuming upon a Jamaican tango; and the next day, in random turns, everyone played musical chairs with the spoken word and its vehicle of communication — why would we be critical of such a display of linguistic malleability?  The phonetics of pretension remain predictably unacceptable; somehow, we know that a certain “putting on” of an accent is either bad or less than genuine.

Take the hypothetical one step further:  Say that the world went mad (this part of it is hardly difficult to fathom) and everyone around went about taking on a different accent, and there was one particularly annoying person (you pick the gender) who everyone thought was being overly “pretentious” by speaking in a melodious gaelic accent.  “Oh, he thinks he is so good at it!”  “She sounds so fake and insincere!”  But let’s take it a step further:  Assume that everyone agreed that the person was so terrible that we all demanded that he/she cease the phonetic banality, until it turns out that she is actually a native of Galloway from southern Scotland, and that the alleged pretension was truly genuine.  Would the accent still be a “bad” accent?  Is there such a thing as a bad but genuine accent, or does the “badness” inure to the pretension of insincerity?

Now, take the Federal or Postal worker who has a medical condition or is injured, and comes into the office or the facility daily, and hides — as best he or she can — the medical condition, but suffers by way of less productivity and inability to fulfill all of the essential elements of the position; is that Federal or Postal employee being “pretentious”?  And when the Supervisor or Manager of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service discovers the medical condition and begins the inevitable campaign of harassment, intimidation and PIP preparations, do the others come to his or her defense, or scurry away like rats on a sinking ship?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, have the option 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.  In the end, there is never a “bad accent” when the origin of phonetic uniqueness is genuine and sincere; just as it is never a negative reflection upon a Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM when there is a medical condition which prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Both are valid and viable “life” choices that must be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Annuity: The mindset resulting in a witch’s brew

We can often dismiss antiquity with ease by relegating personalities to caricatures and stereotypes.  Thus, of the Crusaders, that they were merely simple folk unsophisticated in the evolutionary Darwinism of modernity; of Roman legions, fearful of punishment and brought up to bear the cruelty of his environment; or even of more recent vintage, the gunslinger out West — of Billy the Kid or Wild Bill Hickok, where legend surpasses the individual and becomes fact.

But a slight alteration of a vantage point can skew the perspective; and thus, when we focus upon the cauldron of the witch’s brew, as opposed to the personality who stirs and skims the steaming pot and tastes with a silent laugh the compilation of herbs, incantations and bones of lizards extinct but for the ghostly aura of a hand which discovers the mist of superstition, then we begin to truly understand the nature of human beings.

Even the modern day “curandera”, or traditional healer who must speak to the Andean underworld and mix the exacting drops of bat’s blood and seek out the plants and herbs in the harsh mountainous enclaves, possesses an aura of mystery unable to be discerned, unless one averts the eyes from the window of the soul and instead transposes upon the metal source from whence the steam arises.  Then, there in the transfixed embrace switching from the deepened riverbeds of facial ravines of the one whom we cannot comprehend, and corners instead upon the objectified universe out of the contextual historicity of predetermined ideas, we begin to understand.

We put faith in others, and repetitively so, and when the self-flagellation wrought by dependence upon the kindness of others is crushed beneath the weight of rejection and rebuttal, then and only then are we able to “move on” and pick ourselves back up in order to advance towards goals abandoned and dreams unfulfilled.

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 realizing the fruition of one’s career as a Federal or Postal employee, and must by necessity forego the compensatory benefits of job, career, TSP build-up and years of in-service accumulation; it is, then, time to consider 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.

Once a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is obtained, the time that one is receiving a OPM Disability Retirement annuity counts towards the total number of years of Federal Service, so that when recalculation occurs when the Federal or Postal employee reaches age 62, those years of Federal Service while receiving the Federal Disability Retirement annuity counts towards the recalculated annuity.

But first, the refocus of one’s perspective must occur, in order to alter the mindset from whence to proceed.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker must begin to think “differently” from the personality occupying the identical space as “before”.  Like the mouth agape with wonder and the eyes of disbelief, the parameters of transfixed minds must change in order for change itself to occur.

Focus not upon the personality in history, but the object which remains constant throughout.  For, the cauldron which bears the aroma of a witch’s brew is not the same as the hand which stirs the pot; though, the ingredients of mystery and secrets unrevealed are lost in the historicity of timeless knowledge, and that is why the thought-process resulting from the witch’s brew is often as important as the personality who gathered the aura of potency lost in the steaming mixture of life’s hidden darkness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Incantations of Modernity

Each generation believes itself to be the pinnacle of knowledge, wisdom, evolutionary apex and sophistication of fashion, open-mindedness and technological brilliance.  All previous generations are either mere residue of antiquity, caught in a dust-bowl of stale sentiment or stuck in a muddle of disproven superstition.  Yet, within the deep psyche of individuals, as opposed to the collective mentality of the herd, there remains wishful soliloquies of incantations marveling at the wonder of hope and fate yet in the hands of gods, gnomes and elven lineage.  “Perhaps, if I do X, then…”; “If I wait long enough, then…”; “Maybe I just didn’t say the right words…”

There is always that sense and belief, despite daily evidence to the contrary, that the objective world remains impassive, that technology is the invention of man’s imagination and fearful inner soul, revealing itself in torturous tumults of hidden consciousness; and yet we hope and wish.  That is what we impart and project upon others, no matter the extent of evil, and in spite of the manifested scorn of others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a change must take place in one’s career and plans for the future, this encounter and clash between one’s inner wishful thinking, and the reaction of those around — including coworkers, supervisors, managers, and the collective cold shoulder of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service — is nothing short of devastation to the soul.

Hope extinguished by unwarranted dependency becomes the root of cynicism.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who thought that a sympathetic reaction or an empathetic emblem of responsiveness would be forthcoming when a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the disappointment felt becomes palpable.

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, often becomes the only alternative remaining.  It is certainly a better pathway to one’s future endeavors, than to wait upon the silence deafening from the incantations of modernity, which fall upon deaf ears to the gods of yesteryear and the dwarfs who have long ago abandoned the hutches of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire