Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Avoiding the anarchy of thoughtless acts

Life requires acting; successful living demands thoughtful acts.  Every good stage manager recognizes the signs; there are those who float through the script, with nary a cognitive engagement; others who involve themselves with an exhaustive turmoil of stipends unpaid; and still, those who think that talent alone will carry one through, despite the mediocrity which has surfaced unabashed, and where fingerprints left behind of tattered devastation betraying the lack of success.

Do we ever really “get over” our own ignorance or arrogance?  It is said that the two go hand-in-hand, like cousins who dress identically, or twins who hide their natural jealousies by inventing figments of unborn siblings.  It is because we need to compensate for our ignorance that our arrogant character traits surface; and by our arrogant personalities, we reveal the depths of our vacuity.

In history, there never has been a successful civilization based upon anarchical designs; despots and totalitarian conduits aside, such an institutionalization of disarray would never work.  We already have that in supposedly “organized” governments: bureaucracies of mammoth proportions that continue to thrive on indolence and disrepair.

In a state of anarchy, there isn’t even the semblance of competence; as everything is allowed to work without rules, principles or vicarious rationalizations for perpetual existence, so the inherent despair of personal destruction would prevail over any healthy ego or psyche which attempted to reassemble and reorganize.

But what of individual acts?  Does cruelty originate from an anarchy of thoughtless acts, or do they appear from a deliberative consciousness of knowing resolve?  Must institutions reflect the disarray of individual minds, or does a collective anarchy somehow transcend the singularity of thoughtful vacuity, and translate by pure osmosis a secularization of bifurcated consciousness?  Since when was cruelty excused because of lack of thought, when all throughout history it was precisely that principled requirement which mandated good manners and decorum of proper living?

We have come to a point in history where we have accepted a degraded standard, an institutionalization of mediocrity, and thus the faceless shame of inhumanity.  In the end, we will pay a price for such a state of concession, with a thousand cuts inflicted daily.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers 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 his or her positional duties, the daily harassment, hostile environment and constant bludgeoning of the fatigued workforce is but a microcosmic reflection of the greater macro-indicia of a world gone mad. One may take some consolation in the dismissive aside that, “It is nothing personal” – but that is indeed some minor conciliatory excuse.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the best option available, but it is that which attempts to preserve a scintilla of dignity, as a safeguard away from the daily imputation of cruelty designed, and a means to avoid the anarchy of thoughtless acts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

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 never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire