Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Of August Reminders

As an adjective, the accent is placed upon the second syllable, and recalls of supreme dignity and grandeur, with images of a Roman Centurion with his breastplate shining in the full sun of power and prestige.  As a noun, it is the doldrums of the eighth month, but where a breath of coolness always invades and reminds us of the possibilities, and of the coming winter still to arrive.

The inflection upon the first syllable makes all the difference; yet, the word remains the same, and only the harkening echo of a meaning concealed by mere intonation of voice.  What reminds of possibilities yet to be revealed?  Do smells, sounds and memories of potentialities unseen but foretold by parents, uncles and relatives, of the limitless anticipation of a world still before us?  Or of that cool respite, when the heat of summer turns suddenly a winter’s reminder, and allows us to bask in the sweat of our own memories, when toil was but a lazy dream in the midst of shadows by the stream’s edge?

There are times in life when possibilities seem endless, and the potentiality for happiness, joy, and sheer pleasure are limitless but for the darkness of our inner essences; when childhood memories once granted the wishes of a butterfly’s dream, and love was still the scent of flowers yet blooming in the valley below. But life tends to intrude and intercede; interruptions of august dreams in the doldrums of August nights; but for us, dreams are the escape from the reality of today, where tomorrow only brings sorrows but for lonely nights where the unity of solitude interrupts the daily grind of reality.

We never could precisely pinpoint when childhood ended; only, that adulthood “is”, and forever was.  Those summer dreams when the first kiss awoke our inner stirrings; when innocence was lost forever; and, somehow, we grew up with august reminders in those lazy August days when the fireflies died, and darkness enveloped the universe of possibilities.  There will still be days when we believe in ourselves; but as lives pass by, we watch and listen, and rarely see.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the heat of summer’s suffocating dawns, those few days when the blast of reminders come our way, we relish and believe that the August doldrums are now behind us, only to realized that the days ahead will still embrace the sweat and toil of endless streams of treadmill repetitions.

When a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s positional duties, it is time to harken back to the days when august thoughts pervaded, and leave behind the August doldrums of sweat-filled concerns.  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 best option left as a reminder that August is the month of possibilities yet unfulfilled, and where august thoughts must emphasize the syllable following the doldrums of past reflections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Epistemological Privilege and Federal Medical Retirement

The unique position of the individual in the greater world of objectivity — where the “I” dominates the subjective world but with a recognition that such a peculiar feature of the ego represents an almost insignificant, singular entity in a greater world of objects and other subjects — often results in a duality of opposing and contending, irreconcilable and incommensurable conclusions:  the centrality of a unique person, but a necessary and humbling recognition that in comparison to an infinite universe, one is merely a speck of irrelevance.

Bureaucracies tend to do that to a person.

The cold, indifferent and uncaring attitude of systematized control, requiring almost meaningless steps in order to complete a process mandated in order to achieve an end; you are merely a number to account for, in a greater administrative process of files to be audited.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the issue is how best to attempt to reconcile the need to speak about one’s self in the crucial and ever-important Statement of Disability, as required on the bureaucratic form SF 3112A, yet, at the same time convey a sense that “what” is being said is objective, scientific, and medically verifiable.

Too much of the “I” in the Statement of Disability will tend to undermine the validity of the narrative; too little of it, and it is merely a regurgitation of conveying to a disinterested individual, medical facts which fail to compel, persuade and convince.  The concept of epistemological privilege is one encompassing the unique privacy of the subjective person.  Left within that universe, it fails to reveal the impact of one’s interaction with the greater world.

But in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to recognize that remaining within the insular universe of epistemological privilege, may well undermine the efficacy of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application filed through OPM, and it is crucial, therefore, to recognize the dualism, attempt to strike the proper balance, and consider the weight of the narrative statement one must convey, including bridging the gap between one’s uniqueness in the subjective universe (the “I”), and the impact upon the greater world of objectivity (the description of one’s capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job).

Otherwise, the epistemological privilege will remain just that — lost in a world of subjectivity, and potentially to be rejected by the faceless bureaucrat in a world where you are merely one amongst many.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OWCP versus OPM Disability Retirement

I still get periodic telephone calls with much misinformation, mixing terms applied to FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement with “Department of Labor Retirement” or Worker’s Comp retirement.  While there are indeed people who remain on OWCP temporary total disability for years and years, OWCP/DOL is ultimately NOT a retirement system.  It is a system meant to pay for injured Federal and Postal workers while he or she is recuperating from an on-the-job injury.

The Department of Labor thus does everything in its power to get the injured worker back to work, by various means:  assigning a nurse to “oversee” the treatment and “progress” of the worker; by sending the injured worker to second opinion doctors to see if there is a medical opinion different from one’s treating doctor; and other means which have nothing to do with the patient’s best medical interests.

I don’t handle OWCP issues; however, because many individuals who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS have intersecting OWCP issues, also, I have some “on the job” knowledge of such issues.  Ultimately, a worker must decide between the two systems, although one can file for both benefits concurrently, one can only receive from one or the other — not both at the same time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire