Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The inchoate life

The problem is often the perspective, and not the reality.  Somehow, human beings walk about this earth with the expectation that fulfillment is in the “now” and development is merely something ascribed to babies, yogurt and African nations on a far away continent of timeless immaturity.  Potentiality; the consistency of growth; and, even in old age, despite the deterioration and degeneration of cellular expansion, our lives represent an inchoate and rudimentary structure such that we have to constantly strive to grow.

Yet, somehow, we mistakenly believe in so many fictions; that the senior prom is the fulfillment of all things important; that graduation from college represents the pinnacle of our education except for those few who go on to graduate schools (which is now more common than even a decade before because of the intense economic challenges and competition); that the present job is the treadmill upon which success or failure reflects; and that, in old age, decrepitude and endless agony awaits us all.

All of us, in the end, are imperfectly formed and in the constant process of becoming formulated; yet, by our impatience and desire for fulfillment, we deny the very existence of the part-existence of our very Being.  And so we cry out in protest when a medical condition hits us and prevents us from being or doing that which we believe we were destined for; and like the shrill screams of hungry coyote in the wind-swept plains of a desolate landscape, we dream in solitude as the howls of time obscure the pain of suffering.

What dreams we once held; the journey from form to content; the need to accomplish, excel and fulfill; these are all human characteristics which bring out the best in us.  But reality is also a discourse where interruptions and interludes occur, and the reality is that most of us never fulfill the potential of our lives, and that is okay, especially when the circumstances intervening are beyond that which we have the ability or capacity to control. The inchoate life is seen throughout the many unmarked graves and tombstones lying in quietude of silent anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who realize that careers chosen, dreams yet unfulfilled and goals unachieved, the medical conditions that interrupt are merely reminders to us all that the inchoate life cannot be avoided.  Priorities must be set; a different path may be required.

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, is merely another step in the many steps of a Chinese proverb, and the inchoate life is just another movement, a stir and a wrinkle in so many lives yet to reach the completeness of a destiny still to call in the wilds of a lone wolf speaking to the full moon of purposeful lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Fodder for our own folly

We often collect that which we know we need not; and of fodder for other’s play, who but the foolish gather the refuse of one’s own folly?  Why does youth engage in a greater percentage of folly, and why do old men insist upon driving uncomfortable cars which make them look foolish once they park and struggle to get out from a position of near-supine discomfort so debilitating that you can almost see the decrepit arches of an arthritic back?  Foolishness, of course, is not the reserve of the young only, as middle-aged men with youthful grins and old men with conniving friends whose sole purpose in remaining a soul-mate is contingent upon peeking at the bank account of retirees, reveal and manifest daily.

In the end, the test that has always worked for this writer, is twofold:  First, that sincerity is never defined by more words piled upon a previous set of words, but action which follows to concretize the empty promises of uttered speech; and Second, that everyone in the world can do whatever he or she wants, so long as you are willing the pay the price.  Thus, as to the latter, it is all well and good to say you want to do this or that, but the problem occurs when consequences unfold, and you expect others to pay the fine, complete the obligation, satisfy the debt or expend efforts to extricate from the difficulties created.

For children, there is always an excuse:  Parental obligation and the minor’s claim of not having the maturity to “know better”, compels a feeling of empathy, a reminiscence of remorse, and a hint of guilt for not having spent that extra hour coaching youth baseball or embracing that “quality time” which forever harmed that fragile psyche of that young underling who – by all other measures of objectivity – is described as merely a “brat”.  Of the former, one must simply admit that the American folklore of a fool being born every minute – or was it every second? – is reinforced by our own inability to consecrate the condoning cadence of our corrugated cacophonies of constancy; sorry, but once alliteration becomes engaged, it is like putting a finger on the trigger of an automatic weapon and losing control.

More to the point:  Most arguments are non-substantive.  By that is meant the following:  there is rarely a “real” issue of disagreement, but rather, a mere necessity to renegotiate the words used in order to fit into a puzzle where two or more people interact.  That being the case, most issues that arise, are resolved with more words imparted, which is simply a further negotiation of words upon words in a language game of meaning, reinterpretation and declaration of purpose.

But as being foolish has a price to pay (refer to the Second Rule stated herein), so the need to follow up with a concrete action, instead of more words (i.e., the First Rule stated above) is necessitated when real issues that have an impact and consequence effect upon lives of others.  Most problems in life are self-creations; those who have a greater ability to justify by blaming others, simply get away with it without blemish or repercussions.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing on in the career of his or her choice, the exception to the above applies:  Medical conditions are never the fault of one’s own, and so Rule One and Rule Two should never be considered.  It is, instead, Rule Three (heretofore unstated) which should rule:  Prepare the most effective Federal Disability Retirement application you can, and file it as soon as practicable, as the wait before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is long and arduous, but always keep in mind the fodder for our own folly applies to everyone individually, including those within a massive bureaucracy as that of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Avoiding the anarchy of thoughtless acts

Life requires acting; successful living demands thoughtful acts.  Every good stage manager recognizes the signs; there are those who float through the script, with nary a cognitive engagement; others who involve themselves with an exhaustive turmoil of stipends unpaid; and still, those who think that talent alone will carry one through, despite the mediocrity which has surfaced unabashed, and where fingerprints left behind of tattered devastation betraying the lack of success.

Do we ever really “get over” our own ignorance or arrogance?  It is said that the two go hand-in-hand, like cousins who dress identically, or twins who hide their natural jealousies by inventing figments of unborn siblings.  It is because we need to compensate for our ignorance that our arrogant character traits surface; and by our arrogant personalities, we reveal the depths of our vacuity.

In history, there never has been a successful civilization based upon anarchical designs; despots and totalitarian conduits aside, such an institutionalization of disarray would never work.  We already have that in supposedly “organized” governments: bureaucracies of mammoth proportions that continue to thrive on indolence and disrepair.

In a state of anarchy, there isn’t even the semblance of competence; as everything is allowed to work without rules, principles or vicarious rationalizations for perpetual existence, so the inherent despair of personal destruction would prevail over any healthy ego or psyche which attempted to reassemble and reorganize.

But what of individual acts?  Does cruelty originate from an anarchy of thoughtless acts, or do they appear from a deliberative consciousness of knowing resolve?  Must institutions reflect the disarray of individual minds, or does a collective anarchy somehow transcend the singularity of thoughtful vacuity, and translate by pure osmosis a secularization of bifurcated consciousness?  Since when was cruelty excused because of lack of thought, when all throughout history it was precisely that principled requirement which mandated good manners and decorum of proper living?

We have come to a point in history where we have accepted a degraded standard, an institutionalization of mediocrity, and thus the faceless shame of inhumanity.  In the end, we will pay a price for such a state of concession, with a thousand cuts inflicted daily.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties, the daily harassment, hostile environment and constant bludgeoning of the fatigued workforce is but a microcosmic reflection of the greater macro-indicia of a world gone mad. One may take some consolation in the dismissive aside that, “It is nothing personal” – but that is indeed some minor conciliatory excuse.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the best option available, but it is that which attempts to preserve a scintilla of dignity, as a safeguard away from the daily imputation of cruelty designed, and a means to avoid the anarchy of thoughtless acts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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 never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Recurrent Nightmare

Perhaps it is explicit, of images which repetitively beat the drum of constancy; or, sometimes, despite every effort, one cannot recall the harrowing particulars of a nighttime of eternity filled with dissipation of fear and loathing.

Restorative sleep is lacking; whether from pain, nightmares or paralyzing panic attacks; and the medical designation of insomnia, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or psychiatric conditions of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, intrusive nightmares; or perhaps it is much more direct and simple:  pain which prevents getting into a comfortable position in order to drift off into the dreamland of serenity, and where the sharpness compels one to awaken with a scream, only to find that it is the silence of one’s aloneness which permeates the quietude of the voice which no one hears.

The next morning, the profound fatigue and exhaustion, beyond the mere ache of tiredness, with residual cognitive dysfunctions,follows one throughout the day, like a scent of undefinable and unidentifiable aura, always there but never quite connected, either in location, distance or substantive content.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who experience a semblance of such a state of being, it becomes like a recurrent nightmare, and work becomes impacted in so many different ways.

In physical-intensive jobs, in the greater potentiality for mistakes and accidents; in cognitive-focused positions, in analytical miscues and inability to focus and concentrate.  Perhaps it all becomes reflected in one’s performance review, or one becomes placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan” (a PIP); or even be handed an Agency’s Proposed Removal; whatever the cost, for the Federal or Postal worker, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

No, Federal Disability Retirement is not the “be all” and “end all” of solutions; but it is an option which should always be considered when once the recurrent nightmare engulfs the Federal or Postal worker with consequences of adverse actions imposed upon a fragile state of being ready to crack under the weight of a chronic disease or medical condition of such seriousness and sufficiency as to have impacted one’s capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire