OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file 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 reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Life’s ruinations

The poetry of a fork in the road sings to us from those innocent days of childhood voices; of life’s beginnings, the promise of future longings, and those lazy summer mornings left far behind in dusty coves where love’s forlorn memories linger in misty waves of lapping thoughts.  Life has a way of beating us down.  A wise man once said:  If you don’t like the way the day is going, stick around, as everything changes over time.

We tend to focus upon the trials of the moment, as if there is no tomorrow, and perhaps that is a “good” thing, if we think that life is a linear progression (or regression, as it were) of experiences unfolding and eternally unending.  What does it mean to have a “proper perspective”, or a “balanced view” of life?  In the living moment of travesty and despair, can one reach beyond on either side in order to view the middle from afar?  Or are we so wrapped up in our own troubles that we can never quite see beyond the travails of our own creation?

We have lost the capacity to maintain vigilance as the gatekeeper of incoming information and data; instead, we are like rudderless vessels, being thrown to-and-fro by the waves of data-overloads, forever accosted by the connectivity for which we pay dearly in terms of money, loss of soul, and depleted creativity.  We cannot think for ourselves, anymore, because we have Google and viewfinders to guide our ways; and we no longer map out our road trips because we have electronic guiding devices to do that which we have lost our way in attaining.

For every second we have been promised that we would save with the advent of a new electronic device, Jim Croce’s time in a bottle would have been filled tenfold, if only we had stuck to the revolving voices emitted by the crank of an antique phonograph.

Life was once a promise of a future hope and unrealized cacophony of mirth to be reached; now, the darkness of life’s ruinations overshadow us all.  There are no promises or instructions of “how to” when we are born; only a meandering sense of anarchy by which we are shoved into and respond by the seat of our pants.  In the end, life’s ruinations are determined by the choices we make, and are well within the control of our willpower to map out fate, destiny and the avenues of alternatives offered.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who see the coming signs – of increasing harassment, administrative pressures and managerial sanctions – it is time to begin preparing.  Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, if and when a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset becomes disabled as a result of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, is a necessary step in sidestepping and avoiding those pesky forks in the road which represent life’s ruinations.

In such instances, Google won’t help, and even an expensive GPS device won’t be of much use.  Instead, it is an individual choice to be made, and the time is ripe when you realize that life’s ruinations are often the result of procrastination and delay in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM forthwith.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s Joke

The funniest line in literature comes from Carl Sandburg’s “Potato Face Blind Man” stories, where he describes the reason for the wooden mug:  “There is a hole in the bottom of it.  The hole is as big as the bottom.  The nickel goes in and comes out again.  It is for the very poor people who wish to give me a nickel and yet get the nickel back.”

Satire has often been overly-discussed, and attempting to explain why a particular scene, line or story is amusing, is somewhat like trying to explain to a Martian why Bradbury’s chronicles fascinated the young:  it just is, and either you get it, or you don’t.  It is, perhaps, the incongruence between expectation and reality; of a projection of incommensurability that occurs when a portrayal doesn’t quite meet the anticipation of “should”.

In Sandburg’s description, two such anomalies occur:  First, that the figure who holds the mug does so with the expectation that passersby will drop a nickel out of a sense of pity; but second, and poignantly portrayed, that the tables are turned around by the one who allegedly is begging for the nickel, in that he recognizes the empathetic component that there are others who are poorer in the world who also want to give, but needs the nickel more than the beggar to whom it is given.  Thus, the hole on the bottom where the nickel given drops back for the giver, yet the act of giving has been consummated.

Of course, in modernity, perhaps such innocence of satiric portrayal is no longer thought to contain humor; that, as the ethics of inequality and financial disparity have given rise to resentment, and the inane concept of “fairness” today pervades the political spectrum throughout, the focus would be upon the fact of maliciously describing a person with a disability in terms which might betray mocking jest.  But that is clearly not what Sandburg meant by it; and, indeed, it was because he believed that his generation lacked children’s stories which taught lessons of virtue and behavioral uprightness, that he engaged the literary device of satire.

Life itself is difficult enough without undermining the joy of a joke recognized.  A funny line, a witty scene, a belly-laugh from a picture of incongruence; such moments allow for innocence and the lightness of being to prevail as an interlude to an otherwise dreary continuum of surviving in a world which shows but cold shoulders twisted and followed by phony smiles to cut the throats of back-turned bystanders.

Such experiences, of course, are not new to the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers through the meanness of workplace hostility and harassment at the hands of supervisors and coworkers, merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when the Federal or Postal worker must decide to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to escape the diatribes of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Carl Sandburg’s joke was of a time when true empathy was understood by all; unfortunately, in modernity, the nickel which was meant to be returned to the giving passerby, would today be snatched up by wolves in waiting, where the lambs who once roamed the hillside of life’s joke no longer gather upon the pastures of a forgotten innocence forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement Benefits: The Diary

Many begin the process at an early age, then abandon it with little remorse or afterthought, as a worthless project discarded for want of inherent value; and when, years and even decades later, it is discovered behind a bureau or a secret cubbyhole where trinkets and memorabilia retaining an eternal aura of privately precious remembrances are stored away, we shriek with joy as if the lottery had been won, a proposal has been declared, or a camouflaged vault containing the mysteries of gemstones and valuable cadavers had been pried open with but the wishes of gold pots at the end of a rainbow.

Then, as we turn the pages and delight in the innocence of bygone days, we regret that early abandonment turned away the gleeful idealism of a youth now a stranger, a mind intimately once known, but somehow forever a mirrored reflection of an identity of the same historicity in time and element, but yet in a parallel universe now non-existent but for memories kept securely in the destined vault of youthful summers.

Blank pages which abruptly reveal the terminal secrecy of thoughts and activities recorded once as sacred incantations of mysteries foreboding; whether of loves begotten or turmoils annotated in cloaked tears when others had retreated to the privacy of a house appearing in mirth, but ignoring the secret lives even in the midst of intimacy; now from the perspective of wisdom and maturity, do we laugh, or yearn for that innocence lost and the extinguished glow of naive eyes now dim with the experience of calloused beatings?

In more recent times, of course, we are told that one can actually lie to one’s self in a diary; but our own experiences tell us with greater certainty than the world can accord, that the tattered pages of bygone memories reveal truth as never before declared, and moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than the self-confessions of a heart once pure, only to be consecrated into the malignancy of a world which cares little.

It is, indeed, that transition from writing to the imaginary character of one’s own creation, to the intermediate level of testing the waters of reality, then to be pushed into the manifold chaos of the greater world, that constitutes the sin of destroying the human soul.  But that we could turn back the hands of time and reenter the hallways of innocence; but, no, that would mean that the womb of our essence would be revisited, and the soil of our own impurity would desecrate the purity of those precious memories we safely tucked away.  Then, one day, we open our eyes and we have “grown up”; and nowhere is there any room for such foolishness as hearts which once poured out for yearning of innocence betrayed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer the inequities of workplace hostility, harassment — no, let’s just use the singular word which is simple, outdated, but still relevant — “meanness“, as in the child who has just had enough, screws up his face and cries out, “You are just plain mean!” — know of the experiential desecration of humanity, when a medical condition becomes revealed, and others who were perhaps identified “friends” and coworkers suddenly turn the proverbial “cold shoulder” upon the vulnerability opened, as a wound wrapped but now exposed.

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 not unlike the youthful abandonment of the innocent diarist from bygone days.  For, like that abandoned project scoffed at for want of perseverance or perhaps plain boredom, it is the treasure found at the end of the process which resuscitates the goals once considered and the future to be embraced; and, in the end, there is a difference between regret for a childhood forever gone, and a later stage now delivered, but where broken promises are ignored with a twinkle of a child’s forlorn gaze.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Disability Retirement: Language Decoupled

The correspondence theory of truth has long since been abandoned; whether by congruence or of fair representation, the classical model dating back to Plato and Aristotle has been replaced by Wittgenstein‘s description of “language games“, which really possesses no reflection upon the objective world which surrounds us “out there”.

With the advent of virtual reality; the blurred distinction between truth and falsity as merely words in play; and Bertrand Russell’s playful destruction of any such theory with the singular statement, “The King of France is bald” (where the truth or falsity of such a statement cannot be questioned, despite there being neither a King of France, nor a determinative value of validity as to his baldness).  Yet, somehow, congruence and correspondence refuses to die outright.

Truth and falsity lives on, like the last vestiges of royalty or lineage of blood, where the twilight of history raises the final flag of rebellion and resistance. Whatever the historical tenacity of such movements, language can never be decoupled from the anchor of reality.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the reality of connection between one’s medical condition and the need for an accurate description, through words, of the symptoms and diagnoses, cannot be overstated.  This is also true of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or even CSRS Offset.

Language decoupled becomes an ethereal vestige of residual meaninglessness; an accurate depiction of reality, through the strength of words and language, cannot ever be cast aside.  For, as language is the vehicle of interpretation and communication, so the abandonment of that modality would result in the destruction of human progress on a scale unimaginable within the purview of history’s epochal dawn.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need such a vehicle in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, the very idea of language decoupled would mean the defeat of an OPM disability retirement application at the outset; for it is the very coupling of one’s medical condition to the positional duties required, which proves beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the Federal or Postal employee is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and it is the effectiveness of language itself which is the vehicle of that successful enterprise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those bare moments of honesty

They come in flashes of rare instances; sometimes, in a more subtle manner, like encroachments by a nimble adversary; at others, tantamount to ugly boils erupting in the middle of one’s forehead while interviewing for a sought-after position.  We cloak ourselves in lies, more lies, and obfuscations wrapped in greater deceptions of self-doubt.

Sometimes, such concealment is necessary; for, perhaps it is an evolutionary tool in order to merely survive.  Those who have lost such capacity may have to face the harsh realities of day-to-day living, and simply go mad; others who cannot defer the decadence of self-realization may react by engaging in binges of bifurcated pigeonholing and compartmentalizing of walls constructed to deny access to intercontinental flights of fancy.

Heidegger would say of it that we are merely procrastinating the inevitable.  The reality of Being is too harsh; projects and made-up, artificial distractions allow us to avoid the revelation of the ugliness of the world, or at least delay its unconcealed rupture for the time being.

But medical conditions shatter that quietude of avoidance.  For, their reality and intentional rudeness in deliberate interference in our daily lives presents itself like the fat uncle who takes up the entire couch without asking; the ugly displacement of pleasurable moments cloaked in deceptive avoidance of self-awareness makes for an elephant which is whispered about but nobody notices.

Becoming lost in virtual reality; Facebook friends whom we never meet; Twitter followings which meander in meaningless platitudes; the very lack of substantive discourse in our lives belies our greater efforts to avoid and confound.

Does it matter that the team one roots for will have lost on Sunday, or that the Lottery Ticket was a wasted twenty-dollar bill flushed down the toilet?  Mere distractions become central in lives of desperation and quiet moments of weeping in the dark caverns of lost thoughts, sought-after childhoods and forgotten moments of honesty and carefree pictures frozen in time.  But it is the ugliness of troublesome truths which reveal themselves to haunt and nudge.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must face that challenge, the reality of life occurs when the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or Postal worker from continuing to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  At some point, serious decisions must be made.

The clash between avoidance and reality comes to a flashpoint of sorts, and procrastination of the delayed cloaking of harshness can no longer be discreetly catalogued.

The page is opened upon us, and we must ask:  Can I continue in this same way?  Is the Agency or the Postal Service considering termination?  Will I become a young retiree in a 90-year old body if I struggle to remain?  And those haunting images of 40-some-year-old former football players in wheelchairs and walking like senile old men — does that portend of images for my life in the not-too-distant future?

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 a viable alternative to allowing for those bare moments of honesty to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Indicators mean something, and when one’s body, mind or soul shout within the quietude of one’s nudging conscience, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, lest those bare moments of honesty become lost in the forgotten crevices of secluded fears relegated to the growing trash heaps of avoided realities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire