Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The shelf

The various components of our lives reveal the type of species we are, and the reflected anthropomorphism that parallels cannot be avoided.  Is the clutter in our life an expression of functionality or of an ostentatious display to stand out and apart?

The car we choose to drive; the clothes we wear; the expressions we adopt, undertake and use with aplomb like so many water balloons thrown from around the corner in anonymous chuckles once the projected implements explode upon the shameless lives of unexpected strangers.

What do we place upon the shelves that line the walls of our own personalities?  The shelf is a strange contraption of human invention; what other animal or species of alien origins has invented such a thing?

It serves a purpose both of functionality, practicality in storing effects, and at the same time, satisfying a human need to display and present to any who visit and succumb to the curiosity of watchful eyes. Or, is it to store and forget?  Where the shelf is placed is telling; is it in the basement where relics are stored, or out in the living room against the wall, or the foyer, the recreational room?

What do we place on the shelf — photographs, and if the photograph lies face down, does it mean that those who posed for it are now in disfavor and no longer merit the studious appreciation of all who visit?

Is the shelf lined with books, and are they in alphabetical order, or in some semblance of genre-driven or other means of clean and logical categorization?  Are they first editions, signed, hardback or paperback, or just a bunch of books bought at a used book store to impress any who might peruse the shelves of you?

And what of our “mental shelves” — what do we line upon them, what storehouses and warehouse are collected in dusty bins and small knickknacks that clutter the inner thoughts of our lives?  Have we placed certain memories upon “the shelf” and forgotten about them?  Or do we reach for them when we are lonely, abandoned and left to our own devices?  Have we come to a point where we consider our own lives to be “shelved”?  Or, do we submit quietly as others have determined to “shelve” our own careers as we sit quietly upon the shelf of living and wait for the dust to collect?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where one’s career has been placed on a metaphorical shelf — one where you are now relegated as a nonentity and barely recognized, much less acknowledged to even exist — it may be time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Agencies and the Postal Service tend to do that to their fellow human beings — of treating them as mere displays upon the shelf otherwise placed in a corner or down within the basement, and often, it is the medical condition and the loss of productivity or efficiency that determines the order of where you are placed on the shelf.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can take your off of that shelved status, and return you back to the world of the living, where dust and detritus may not be the order for the day; at least, not yet.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The legacy

It is something that we leave behind.  Yet, unlike a wallet, a watch, a piece of jewelry or a troublesome child better left forgotten, we don’t have an opportunity to go back and get it.  We say of that laundry list, “Oh, I need to go back and get it” (except maybe of the last in the list, whom we hope will be adopted into a kindly family and simultaneously also leave the parents behind); but not of the legacy.

No one ever says of that, “Oh, I left my legacy behind, and I need to go back and get it.”  Instead, it is intimately bound up with mortality, our sense of the future minus our own presence, and a dominant desire and urge to “leave a legacy” behind, as if to do otherwise will diminish the memory of one who has now departed, will soon be forgotten and will populate the mass of unknown graves without tombstones littering the earth beneath ivy and weeds that overwhelm.

It is often money itself, which is soon spent and forgotten; or a special “something” that one remembers another by, which is placed in a drawer and also quickly, easily and without conscience soon forgotten; or, perhaps a more lasting imprint of some residual effect – a poem, an antique car (otherwise referred to as a “junk heap”), or the family farm.

Whatever the legacy left leaving lasting latitudes of lost loneliness lacking love’s longing for lengthy locutions (sorry for the alliteration, but it cannot be helped), it is something that is left behind, cannot ever be retrieved, and may or may not have a lasting impact upon the person or groups of people for whom it is intended.

Then, one can stretch the meaning to include a more modern interpretation of the concept of a legacy – of one’s own.  That is a paradigm of a “legacy” in the more common usage – of a memory of one’s life, of what kind of a legacy will one leave that will be remembers by others – that you worked yourself to death and didn’t spend the time with your kids (refer to the above, first sentence herein, where that may be a blessing), your wife or friends?  What is the point of an empty legacy of that sort?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to think of one’s life, health, future and legacy, especially because a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of one’s choice, the consideration of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often and intimately tied and bound to the fragile nature of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s life.

Struggling daily with a medical condition while trying to contend with a contentious Federal Agency or Postal Facility is not only “not fun” – it is, moreover, a futile exercise that diminishes the legacy of one’s life as a greater whole.

The “legacy” one leaves behind, indeed, is not like a wallet, a watch, or a piece of jewelry; but it is like a child left behind, where regrets for the future may yet be corrected, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to focus upon one’s health and future orientation that can no longer include the current job one occupies, preparation of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, may be the next best thing to a legacy yet to be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Indeterminate Deterioration

Some events come with it a specific date, and even a time; others, within a span of identified moments and blocks of weeks, sometimes months; the rest, undetermined, unspecified, like the lost soul who wanders the traversing echoes of eternal reverberations left to the sifting cleansing of a foaming ocean washing and lapping, ever repeating the comforting sounds of surf and salt strolling like the footprints gone in the sands of countless castles disappeared.  But that medical conditions would conform to the science which attempts to treat, and approach one with technical precision and certitude.

When did you first notice the symptoms, the kindly doctor asks, as you scratch your head and stutter forth an incomprehensible gibberish of a response.  A similar question is posed on SF 3112A, concerning the “date” (approximate) the Federal or Postal employee became disabled from one’s position.  How does one answer such a question?  Fortunately, it asks not for a day or time, but merely the month and year, and to that extent we can be thankful for its inherent foresight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who attempt to answer this question without much thought or reflection, be forewarned and with a hint of suspicion; trap doors abound everywhere, and while one may overstate issues like the paranoid cousin who points a telescope not at the moon and stars, but directly at the next-door neighbor’s bedroom window, it is well to consider carefully the answer to be given.

The context of intermingling meanings:  Was it during one’s tenure as a Federal or Postal employee (for those separated but contemplating filing within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service)?  Will it prompt the question, Does the medical condition last for a minimum of 12 months, including the time encapsulating the prognosis of the doctor?  Does it coincide with any event or issue arising at work?  Does the date identified precede any adverse action promulgated by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  Truth is always the guide for integrity in all cases, but the reality of a medical condition is that time is often discovered on a spectrum, where chronicity and deterioration spans over many months, and often years.

To pinpoint is to be precise; but where deterioration is progressive and indeterminate, the fading sounds of an unspecified echo which bounces from cave walls to the expansive skies beyond the realm of certainty, the date recognized may be one which floats and fades like the dust of angels left as a residue of virtue.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire