FERS Disability Retirement: The facade of happiness

There are weather-related “fronts” — of “cold fronts” and “warm fronts” bringing in the freshness of change, a sudden modulation of temperature and a gust of windy hollows echoing through valleys and down into the chill of our bones.  They change the temperature of the air around us, and often moods are impacted as well.

Then, there are also “fronts” of human characteristics — of “putting on a brave front”; of making a “frontal assault”; and of these latter, we realize that there is always something behind, like the wizard concealed by the curtain undrawn.  We all of us put on “fronts” — and like the weather fronts that fool us at first that Spring may be nigh or Winter’s discontent may be around the corner, the “brave” front may be just a put-on, just like the “frontal assault” is likely a ruse to deploy one’s forces all at once to meet the enemy head on.

Of all the fronts, it is the facade of happiness that fools the most, even one’s self, into thinking that contentment is the amassing of objects surrounding, careers advancing and problems left avoiding.  The facade of happiness works well for a season, so long as the fool who buys the bridge of smiles never lifts the veil an inch to peer into the darkness of a soul in anguish.  Happiness is a fleeting state of existence; here for a moment today, it vanishes like the spirits of yesterday’s underworld where gods were chosen to wander the earth in ashen looks of greying days.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the facade of happiness has likely been an essential tool for survival in this past year, if not longer.

It allows for the Federal or Postal worker to put on a “brave front”, to fool the others for a time — somewhat like the cold front that descends upon the south in the middle of summer to remind one that change is in the air, or the “architectural front” that gives an old building a facelift and draws people inward as an inviting new asset.

But don’t be fooled; for the facade of happiness can never hide for long the suffering beneath, and for the Federal or Postal worker, preparing a 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 the first real step towards an abiding and real happiness, as opposed to the fake smile that conceals beneath the facade of happiness.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last Days of Summer

When the urgency of a sales event about school supplies blinks prominently across television screens, and those couple of days in August arrives where a foretelling of colder weather breathes a freshness as a reminder; and when the haziness of plants wilting, the stickiness of summer’s heat has faded the memory of last year’s harsh winter — we suddenly realize that the last days of summer are upon us.

Days come and go like gnats that take a single bite and then fly on; and suddenly we can’t remember where time has disappeared to, and another gray hair has sprouted, another wrinkle has cut deep the lines of time and timeless lines of memories now vanishing like so many waves that lap upon the seashores of countless hours.  And like the last days of summer, we relish the good fortune of health and painless existence only so long as fate allows for another day of challenges left unfulfilled.

The last days of summer are like those unwanted encounters that life inevitably challenges us with: It reminds us that what was once promising may not always come to fruition, like the beginning days of summer that looked forward to a respite from the humdrum of everyday existence, only to be snatched away like an illness that debilitates.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the last days of summer often represent as a metaphor the realization that one’s Federal or Postal career must come to an end.

Where the choice is between health or career, it is not much of an option presented: health must always be and remain the priority, and preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat akin to the last days of summer, where the end of something is merely the foretelling of a new season beyond.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Conversations

What is a conversation?  Or, is it an empirical phenomenon that — only when we are in the middle of it — we know as we experience it, but otherwise is undefinable?  If there are 5 people in a room but only 1 is doing the talking, is a conversation ongoing?  Must there be a “back and forth” give and take, or must something more be involved?  If the same 5 people are in the same room, and all of them are talking all at once, does that rise to the level of a conversation?  Does interruption and talking over one another undermine the definition?

What if there is extraordinary politeness — of each waiting his and her turn — and where no one interrupts, there is a pause between each discourse and a civility beyond mere lack of rudeness, but upon listening, one realizes that each one of the individuals is speaking about a completely different topic, and there is no interaction or even acknowledgment that anyone is listening to anyone else — does this all of a sudden undermine the concept of what is occurring?

This is an Age of Discord — of intractable positions taken, where the foundations that once formed the Age of Reason have been decimated and we are left with empty voices of loud vehemence, hollow in content but roaring in volume.  Truth, objectivity, logic and rational methodology — the very essence of discourse and conversation — have been hollowed out and cast aside.

It is now in camps of “us” against “them”, but the singular missing component that has devastated the capacity to have a conversation is the one that no one ever talks about: The ability to recognize and admit that someone else’s argument is superior to one’s own.

When was the last time you heard someone say: “Hey, that argument is quite good and persuasive.  I think you are right.”?  Instead, it is the familiar refrain: “That’s just your opinion.”  And as the volume of decibels increases, the content of substance proportionately and precipitously falls.

There are, of course, various levels of conversations, but one level is clear: Listen to the other side.  This also includes reading, recognizing and understanding the applicable statutes in an administrative process in order to meet all of the elements of the burden of proof.  Being intransigent and stubborn are qualities that makes one feel empowered, but concurrently, are often self-defeating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, it all begins with knowledge — of the statutes, the case-law and the precedents that apply.

We may all have to concede that the Age of Conversations is over; what we may be left with is a process where, at the very least, one must listen and try to learn.

Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process which is never simple, and must be approached with knowledge, tenacity and an ear to listening to what is needed in order to meet the eligibility requirements.  Having a medical condition is a start, but it is not enough.  And like conversations that may have started but puttered out without fanfare, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will take more than talking about how we “feel”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A traveler’s perspective

How is it that a tourist can see the same building which local people pass by every day, as something of an attraction worthy of encapsulating and embalming for posterity’s sake, with a click of the camera?  What is it about the eye of the traveler which is different from the staid repetitiveness of the citizen occupying for decades, centuries, and eons long forgotten, which challenges the uniqueness of stability and contrasts it as against the unwanted forces of change?

Like tectonic shifts, mass migrations armed with Smartphones and caravans of conscious interests move about like little mini-quakes barely discernible; Europeans fly to the New World; the Americans travel to Asia, Europe and beyond; then, at the end of it all, excepting those ex-patriots who are hounded for their untaxed outlays, everyone marches home to the warmth of intimacy and familiarity, where security of the known overrides the curiosity of the unseen.

Parables abound about the unwary one who enters into the strangeness of the foreign land; most reveal the welcoming hand of courtesy, hospitality and the receptiveness of presumed brevity.  Modernity defies such intercourse of comforting eyes; a seemingly abandoned piece of luggage no longer results in a frantic search for its owner, but a call to armed inspection and mechanical robots with detonation devices and close circuit monitoring to sniff out the contents of deadly emissions.

If doors can no longer welcome the weary traveler, what hope is there in mankind?  It was but for the door seen uniquely, the fountain forgotten of its historical eminence, the cornerstone marked for the brief encounter with revolution, and the lost etchings down voiceless corridors where the figure of foreign accents once dominated but where now the laughter of innocence peeks down dusty pathways of trodden sights that matter to each of us.

Where is that uniqueness of a traveler’s eye, when dangers thought to lurk in airports everywhere and bus stops no longer congregate with greetings to strangers and small tidbits of conversational reminiscences dot the quietude of breaths icily frozen in the morning mist of a cold winter’s day?  We have lost that capacity to welcome, that narrative of embracing, and instead have replaced it with the cynicism of modernity.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management because of an ongoing medical condition, the feelings felt must be likened to that modern-day traveler who re-enters his own neighborhood, and finds the suspicion and decay insinuated by strange lands to have infiltrated and invaded one’s own place of abode.  For, it is the difference displayed by the medical condition which results in the treatment by coworkers, supervisors and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, to suddenly treat the neighbor next door as a suspicious traveler hitherto unknown or unfamiliar.

When that peculiar feeling grows in ponderous weights no longer tolerable, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for, in the end, a traveler’s perspective is no different than the Federal or Postal employee who must exit from one’s own career because the comfort of a once-familiar workplace has become a cauldron of fear and angst.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Potentiality extinguished

Aristotle addresses the concept well; of the inherent nature of being not defined merely by the state of current existence, but encompassing the finite potentiality of what it is yet to be, as well as being based upon the historical lineage of origination.  Only within the context of that truism can children be treated as more than mere commodities of sweatshop workers, as in the days of Dickens and the Industrial Age empowered by the need for cheap labor; and on the other side of the spectrum, the old and infirm whose contribution to society has reached its apex of productivity, and is slowly receding into the sunset of former days filled with youth and vigor.

Without the argument of potentiality progressing linearly towards actualization, we are left with Camus’ world of the absurd, the loss of any sense that the Phoenix would rise from the ashes of forgotten civilizations, and the eternal loss of beauty reflected in a fluttering butterfly caught in the quietude of restless twilight, with wings shorn and shredded by timeless envy when humanity disappeared, love was forever forgotten, and the laughter of children playing in the sand no longer brought a smile upon the grandmother sitting in a rocking chair of timeless hope.

Organizations tend to do that; modernity almost guarantees it; and the unstoppable march of bureaucracies and administrative agencies possess a subtle manner of extinguishing that innate potentiality with which we once glowed like an insatiable torch bright upon a conquered hill.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who once viewed his or her career in “that way” — of a limitless expanse for doing good, in accomplishing important and relevant missions, and abiding by the complexity of the system but always with a hope that one can impart significant change from within — often become disillusioned and disengaged, once the bump of reality impedes upon the dreams of yesteryear.

And for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the dent of stubbornness encountered begins to wear upon the soul of hope.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only route available when the incremental insidiousness of resistance to change, adaptation and responsive loyalty is spoken of with silence and increasingly hostile and punitive actions; for, in the end, the Federal or Postal worker who is no longer wanted by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must recognize that the potential for the extinguishment of potentiality exists in reality, and it would be a real shame to allow for such potential extinguishment to become an actualization of fated potentiality.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Meaning, Value and Worth

The last in the tripartite of this conceptual construct possesses a relational significance, where fluctuation of the assigned designation may occur based not upon extrinsic objectivity, but upon a personal sense of attachment, and thus the influence on a spectrum may artificially go up or down depending upon whims of fancy.  The middle term, on the other hand, is often seen to characterize an intrinsic scope, where the assignation of pricing can be determined by market forces, such as the capitalistic paradigm of scarcity of supply and increase in demand coalescing to determine the monetary stability of an essential rating of specified consideration.

The first in the series, then, encompasses both — where derivation attaches to an intrinsic specificity for a given item, but may also alter and amend based upon an intrinsic, personal aura.  It is, in the end, the first for which we strive; for it is meaning that gives fodder to our actions and persistent struggles, while value is that which we attach based upon the objective world around us, and worth can alternate between the historicity surrounding our relationship to the object or the cold detachment we can impart when loss of feeling results in despair.

Of what value does that which we do, have to us, or to the greater society?  That question is often determined by pay, promotions and accolades attributable to accomplishments recognized and applauded.  What is it all worth?  The unstated addendum to such a query, of course, is encapsulated in the following:  “…to you?”  For, worth is often clouded by a sentimental attachment or clouded histories of unknown psychosis; that is why auction houses and bidding wars attempt to portray an impervious face of dispassionate aplomb.

But for meaning, well…  Meaning is what we bring to the fore, embellished by our own sense of bloated narcissism, and derived from childhood dreams and sophomoric pretentiousness.  We attach too little to true value, and too much to sentimental worth.  And when it all comes crashing down because of the fragile house of cards upon which we built our lives, we sit in amazement and wonder, “What did it all mean?”  Such questions will often arise in the midst of a crisis.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a similarly troubling tripartite of parallelism — of meaning (corollary of the medical condition which erupts in questions of why); of value, where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service attaches extrinsic obstacles which signify the course of one’s future within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and worth, which must emanate first from the Federal or Postal worker within the standpoint of whether continuation with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is even practical, given the loss of meaning and the reduction of value to the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

In the end, the striving of life is encompassed by the tripartite of human mysteries; we search for meaning in a world devoid of determinable value, and must yet come to terms with the worth of ourselves in relation to the things we do.

That is why, when a 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, 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 an intermediate step towards finding the next phase in the search for meaning in life, the value of the search, and the worth for which we struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Disability Retirement: Vultures the world ’round

Despite what they do, some find them to be elegance in flight; and whether the encounter is in the New World or Old, their bald heads mark them out to be the focus of fascination, repulsion and avoidance of shuddering whispers.  Scavengers upon carrion of dead carcasses, the full display of their baldness and redness marks them for a discriminated species.

Evolutionary scientists note the advantage of the featherless appearance — of cleanliness in the act of wading deep into the putrid caverns of hollowed bodies and able to shake off the decaying infestation of harmful bacteria; while some in the minority have posited the age-old explanation of colorful display for attraction to the opposite sex and promotion of the genetic dominance of the handsomest.  We humans may find them repulsive; within the species, perhaps there is an attraction unknown and undiscoverable, unable to be understood from the perspective of a different viewpoint.

Yet, we humans can understand the plight of the vulture; for we see them all over the place, as existentially pervasive as the world ’round.  Like the soaring wingspan in the animal kingdom, vultures watch and wait in the world of men and women.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, their presence is everywhere, and frighteningly lacking in discreet patience.  As empathy is not a character trait of the vulture in the animal kingdom, so it is lacking in the world of men and women.  Thus, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, the circling shadows of the ever-present scavengers from high above begin to circle the decaying carcass of the Federal or Postal employee whose progressive medical condition signals the decline and inevitable debilitation leading to absence and exit.

While the final chapter of each story may be different, the intent of the vulture of either species always remains constant — of circling, waiting, and watching with anticipation to swoop down upon the weakened and disadvantaged figure, when such bold presence would never have been displayed at the pinnacle of one’s power.

For the Federal and Postal employee weakened by a medical condition, 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 the road away from the inevitable circling of the awaiting scavengers.  In the end, breeds of a pair tend to stick together, and vultures the world ’round — whether of the bird type or the animal kind — wait for the pickings to ripen in their state of decay.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire