Federal Employee Disability Information: Among friends

So, in the cackle of laughter and the roar of a campfire, or perhaps in the hazy heat of summer outside by the swimming pool, or wherever; among friends, enjoying an afternoon, a late morning, an early evening or into the twilight hours when children whisper sweet sounds of snoring dreams and even the dog has had enough of the friendships, especially where table scraps are no longer offered and a wagging tail barely invites a pat on the head, and certainly no more tummy rubs no matter how many times a hint is dropped; and so the vacant stares begin to take hold and the late-hour goodbyes begin to be offered.

Among friends; and yet there is an uneasiness; perhaps you learned something about one of them that you never knew before; perhaps, that couple you knew from high school or college, of whom you and your wife have always said, “Oh, not them!” Life brings unexpected traumas and turmoil, tumultuous events and interventions that one never plans for.  People whom you thought “would never” – whatever the blank narrative that follows that phrase or conceptual construct – suddenly do, are or will become.

We fail to recognize, always too late, that it is the unpredictability of life that is the predictable, and when we become ensconced with the settled comfort that guided Parmenides in his philosophical outlook, and recognize the perspective of Heraclitus, then can we take a step back and plan for that unexpected travail.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, it is precisely that sense of “being among friends” that can become problematic.

When to inform the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal workers of the intent to file; what to say, how much to divulge and in what form; to what extent this or that individual, supervisor or manager is allowed to know; what prying eyes will have access to sensitive medical information; and who are we among – friends, foes or somewhere in between?

These are questions that will have to be confronted and sensitively danced around and about, for in 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, the questions are often not, “Are we among friends?” but rather, “Who are our enemies”?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Was it all worth it?

It is that penultimate question – the one that has multiple cousins and unwanted siblings, illegitimate off-springs and uninvited guests, like:  What is the meaning of my life (refer to previous posts concerning Russell’s quip that such pedantic queries are often the result of indigestion)?  Did I do the right thing (such lines of interrogatories often emerge from a guilty conscience, so you might not want to ask that one)?  Did I spend enough time with my kids (almost always, “no”)?  Did I remain true to my marriage vows (sadly, according the statistical analysis, most people would have to answer in the negative)?  Have I behaved honorably throughout (it would depend upon the definition of the term, and of by-the-way, we tend to have private dictionaries defining words these days in a subjective, self-serving manner)?

“Was it all worth it” goes in so many directions, it is like the catch-all phrase or the “general aegis” over which all other questions and queries reside.  To whom?  By what measure?  In contrast to what other “it”?  And the more important one: Can we clarify and “flesh out” what the “it” refers to?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prompts a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the interrogatory itself often means that the point of “worthiness” refers to the delay and loyalty shown by the suffering Federal or Postal employee before taking the next needed steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Often, to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, such a query means that you have already pushed yourself well beyond that which is actually for your own good, and while loyalty, faithfulness, hard work and such similar attributes are laudable and “example-setting” characteristics reflecting well upon the one who asks the question, the answer may be – at least from a medical perspective – formed in the negative.

For, isn’t part of the point in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application to do so before the medical condition gets to such a severe crisis point of deterioration so that there is actually a retirement to enjoy?

Remember that the standard of proof in obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is not to reach a state of “total disability” (which is the standard in a Social Security case); rather, it is to show that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, when you ask the question, “Was it all worth it?” – it is indeed important to know what the “it” refers to, both in the second word of the question as well as the fifth and last.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Pursuing the Daily Divide

The bifurcation of our lives is a habit of accepted normative behavior; for most, it is the simple divide between one’s personal life and professional endeavors; then, there are sub-categories of complicated spectrums, where criminal activity is pigeonholed from a daytime semblance of respectability, or deviant behavior is concealed from one’s reputation and facade of societal refinement.  Those separations make for ease of transition, or used to.

More and more, in modernity, the dividing lines have become obscured; work is performed from home, and personal, more private affairs are discussed and disseminated in the workplace.  The great equalizer of the daily divide is a medical condition.  For, when one leaves one’s home, you cannot leave behind the condition and pursue your professional life untouched; instead, because a medical condition is pervasive, remains with one until cured or kept in control or concealment, the stigma of the condition remains throughout.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it becomes apparent quite quickly as to whether one can maintain the daily divide, to what extent, and whether effectively or not.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service have little room for patience, and less space for empathy or an accommodating outlook (used in a general sense, as opposed to the term of art which “accommodation” implies in the legal field of OPM Disability Retirement).  It becomes apparent quite quickly that the daily divide — of separating one’s personal life from the pursuit of professional endeavors — cannot be maintained, and it is time to divide the daily divide by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Life is rarely a neatly-packaged ordeal, and the many years that we were able to fool ourselves into thinking that the daily divide would allow for an undisturbed bifurcation between the two universes, reveals the fragile nature of our own creations of artifices that remain shaky in their very foundations.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often the approach of a pragmatist; the divide between one’s professional endeavors and one’s personal life was never anything but a cognitive dualism concocted by clever cheats; life was, and remains, the bundle of complexities entangled in the web of unpredictable mysteries, as is the human being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Deeper Recesses of Unwanted Caricatures

Caricatures often depict an exaggerated degree of undesirable characteristics, whether for comic effect or sleaze of meanness.  The totality of the person or entity described is rarely the reality of the grotesque aggregate of the negative characteristics, but one can still see the relative truth of validation in the aspects shown.

Such caricatures, too, can be either internal or external; the latter being the depiction from the perspective of someone “other”; the former comprised of the totality of one’s self-image, how one projects from the perspective of the other, and the reflective thoughts of one’s self.  When others describe one in caricature form, you may laugh, but inwardly shy with horror and fright; and in the deeper recesses of one’s privacy, the truth and impact of such unwanted caricatures may pull one into a psychological chasm of despair.

Medical conditions, especially, can exacerbate an already-existent fear and loathing, precisely because they attack and undermine those areas of the physical, emotional and psychological vulnerabilities most open and revealing.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who becomes impacted by a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the unwanted caricatures which frighten and demean are often twofold:  Loss of productivity (resulting in reduction of income), and devaluing of self-worth, both in the eyes of coworkers as well as from the deeper recesses of one’s own perspective.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement may not seem like the perfect solution in dealing with a medical condition, but as this is not an infallible universe, so we must accept the imperfections offered.

The generous parameters promulgated within the legal regulations of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement, allows for the Federal and Postal worker to entertain a second vocation or career beyond the Federal Disability Retirement annuity (one may earn income in the private sector, up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal salary was, in addition to the Federal Disability Retirement annuity).  More importantly, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to first and foremost focus upon attending to the medical condition itself, while receiving a base annuity during the crisis point in determining the course of future actions.

Unfortunately, what often holds us back in securing one’s future is not the actual realities of an imperfect universe, but rather, the deeper recesses of one’s perfect world, as depicted in an unrealistic caricature within one’s own imagination, precluding progress where pantomimes may perform.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: That Spare Tire

We rarely think about it; and it is somewhere “back there”, in the event of, in case, if it happens, as a contingency, as an insurance policy, for the rare occasion of a potential mishap.  But with the modern ingenuity of reinforced rubber with a manufacturing process of innerliner calendering, one rarely even sees a car on the side of the road with a lone figure attempting to locate the spare tire, with the car unevenly perched upon a device secured in a dimensionally precarious manner, to change that flat tire.

But it does happen, and even with all of the advances in technology which resists direct punctures and roadside hazards pounding away at the four (or more) elements which keep the vehicle running, the flat tire and the need for a spare requires the safety net to ensure that secure sense of a peaceful mind.

Like life insurance, fire and catastrophic umbrella policies, the spare tire will always remain, no matter any future inventions or guarantees of outdated necessity.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are part of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, Federal Disability Retirement is precisely that spare tire which provides a semblance of security if and when the need arises.

Most Federal and Postal employees continue their careers to the end, until the time of retirement, or a transference of talents and abilities to the private sector for more lucrative venues; but for that small percentage of Federal or Postal employees who find that, during the course of one’s career, a medical condition has interrupted one’s goals and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, then preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a necessary contingency to trigger.

Suddenly, the benefit looms larger than ever, is more important than previously recognized, and becomes lauded as the lifesaver of the moment.  That is precisely what we do with the spare tire — we do not even think about it, nor are aware of its precise whereabouts (except that it is under the vehicle, in the trunk, or somewhere “back there”), but travel about with the peace of mind that, in the rare hypothetical event of “if”, it is there to be accessed, so that once the change is made, we are again well on our way down the road of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire