Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Servitude

It is a term that is viewed as neutral in one sense; for, the concept itself, while implying subjection to an owner or master, does not require it.  “Slavery”, on the other hand, necessarily connotes a system of ownership and involuntary compulsion; “servitude” can quite simply be tied to the idea that there exists a lack of freedom.

Taking it a step further, one can experience servitude if one has complete freedom; for, the excess of X often results in the opposite of X, as in the statement, “If everything is nothingness, then nothing is everything.”  Thus do we believe that, in modernity, everyone has greater liberty and freedom.  Fewer and fewer issues are any longer societal taboos – from what entertainment we prefer to any constraints on the choice of a career, Western society claims to have the greatest extent of freedom.

Yet, why is it that people don’t “feel” free?

That economic limitations and restrictions seem oppressive; that no one has time to gather together as families; that the more technology accords and claims to give us greater freedom to do “other things”, the less time we feel we have to do anything but work and rush about in this world where the intrusiveness of technology has had its opposite effect – not of granting greater freedom, but of voluntarily goading us into a servitude of acceptance.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of creating that bondage of servitude.  Somehow, when a medical condition begins to develop, it ties us down, requires us to change the way we have been living, and forces us to think again about the priorities in our lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have “served” their Federal and Postal “masters” well, the rise of a medical condition often magnifies how much we are a “slave” to time, to productivity and to the pursuance of goals that somehow, in light of the medical condition, become less and less of importance.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a necessity required by and resulting from a medical condition that makes the Federal or Postal employee realize that he or she can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

All the while, the anomaly of life intrudes: One had believed that one had chosen freely one’s Federal or Postal job, but when the medical condition began to impede, and the demands of the Federal Agency or the Postal Facility made it clear that it had become a job of servitude, it may be time to cut those chains of bondage and free one’s self to attend to the greater arena of liberty – one’s health, by preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The worthwhile life

Is that what we are all striving for?  Is the myth that never occurs the one that urges us on?  There are multiple idioms and pithy sayings by which “wisdom” is extracted and thought to be a solid foundation for acting and reacting in certain ways.  “No one ever says at the end of one’s life, ‘I spent too much time with my kid’”.  “Live for tomorrow and you will regret a month of Sundays”.  “Time spent at work is time away from family.”

Yes, yes, all of that is true, but one must still make a living, be productive, “make something of one’s self”.  That last saying – of essentially having one’s 15-minute moment of fame (that was Andy Warhol’s generation, wasn’t it?  Today, it has been shortened by microchips and technological speeds into the milliseconds, so it is no longer applicable) – is what people do, work for, strive to attain and act without shame to achieve; and if so, does that make it all “the worthwhile life”?

What ever happened to those who made it on to some morning show or other, who were interviewed for some act of insanity, some bold moment of fame that captured someone’s imagination somewhere in some unknown sector of a now-forgotten universe?

Recently, there was a “lower-tiered” author who died, who shall remain nameless to maintain a sense of decorum for the dead; and a certain number of books of this now-dead author was obtained, which had been signed and inscribed.  Now, the inscriptions were clearly to her children, and were written with a fondness and private display of affection.  The question that is naturally posed, however, is as follows: Why were the books, inscribed by a “somewhat known” author to the author’s children with such love shown, sold to a used bookstore?  How did they end up there?

From a reader’s perspective, the author may have been deemed a person with a “worthwhile life” – for, to be published, to be well-enough-known, and to produce books that were enjoyed and read; these would, in the eyes of the world, be considered “making a mark upon the world” and deemed to have had a “successful” life.  And, yet – the sad fact of the sale of a book, inscribed to the author’s children, sold for a pittance; it harkens back the pithy saying, in whatever form, that “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I didn’t work too much’, but there are more than a few who have said with a last gasp, ‘I didn’t spend enough time with my kid’”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, that is the point, isn’t it – that to “hold on to” one’s job despite the increasingly debilitating medical condition because one considers the Federal or Postal job to define one’s identity as a “worthwhile” person, is mere folly in the scheme of life’s gifts.

Health, and maintaining one’s health, should be fame enough in pursuance of a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Let the others in posterity of hope determine whether the worthwhile life has been lived, and by whom, but more importantly, for whom.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Of the Black Widow

The subtlety of its attractiveness is often overlooked because of its mythology of potent venomousness, where it is said that its sting is more than 15 times the deadliness of a mere prairie rattlesnake, which — at least we can attribute an anthropomorphic characteristic of favorability — warns one with its loud systems resulting from its namesake.

It is often invisible, as its black and unassuming appearance allows for quiet traversing along the undersides of human existence; and the signature red or orange marking, often reflecting an hourglass on the ventral abdomen tells the frightening narrative of the limited time remaining once smitten.

Perhaps, while sitting outside enjoying the warmth of a mid afternoon pause, you reach half-asleep beneath the slats of the lawn chair, and it awaits; or the enthusiastically rapacious urban gardener who wants to feel the richness of the soil in the thawed gallows of springtime brightness, working by reaching with ungloved hands through a thicket of branches and deadwood, unintentionally grabs a bevy of clumpish organic material, and instead disturbs the habitat of this beauty of deadliness.

The mythology surrounding the Black Widow spider increases exponentially with greater study; from its sexual cannibalism to its neurotoxic potency, the innate fear towards spiders in general is magnified when encountering this particular one of is own species.  Yet, by metaphor or mere anthropomorphic analogy, we encounter similar and parallel behavior within our own species — of venom so toxic, and of seemingly innocuous engagements that barely warn, but where wariness should prevail over our lack of judgment and insight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the confrontation with an agency’s Black Widow can be shocking, daunting and ultimately fatal.

And they can — of the human kind — lurk anywhere and everywhere; from sudden eruptions of coworkers and Supervisors whom you thought were harmless, to Human Resource personnel who spew secrets of stinging, venomous sprays which can destroy the privacy and personal information of countless victims; they, like the spider of infamous beauty, can reveal greater enmity than the prairie rattlesnake.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application 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 antidote available; but like the signature mark of the hourglass glowing in revelatory horror only after it is too late, filing for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement should be considered way before reaching into territories where unknown responses and reactions may prove too deadly or too costly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step 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, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Upon the Altar of Work

They are structures where sacrifices or worship occur.  Not being mutually exclusive, the former can represent the act of the latter, and the latter can constitute the fulfillment of the former.  And while we, in modernity, think of ourselves as sophisticated and beyond the vestiges of former practices of superstition and unscientific religiosity, an objective view of our actions betray the ongoing reliance upon past residues of robotic constancies.

Of course we have to make a living; of course we have to support our families.  But at what cost, and to whom do we owe our allegiance?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sacrifice themselves at the altar of work, when medical conditions begin to clearly impact, deteriorate, denigrate and destroy the body, mind and soul of the Federal and Postal worker, then it is time to consider 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.

As most Federal and Postal employees are under FERS, the minimum eligibility requirement is to have at least 18 months of Federal Service.  Once that threshold is met, then the question is one of having the proper support from one’s treating doctor, psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, etc.  The true test for a Federal Disability Retirement application will be in establishing the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional duties of one’s official job, as reflected on SF 50 (Federal employees) or PS Form 50 (Postal employees).

Ultimately, when the altar of work becomes more than a means of support, and harkens back to the days of yore where sacrifice and worship intersected to pay tribute to the gods of the underworld, it is time to consider the alternatives available, and for Federal and Postal employees, that should always include the possibility of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire