Federal Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The sparrow

It is a bird that remains unappreciated — that generic entity which, when not identified by the wandering ornithologist, is simply referred to as a “sparrow”.  They are like the “default” bird, unassuming, pervasive, lost in the underbrush of time and history, and are taken for granted in their existence, presence and attraction — sort of like most of humanity.  One doesn’t hear the wandering bird-lover with his or her oversized binoculars strung heavily around a neck that is straining from a disc herniation from the sheer weight of the magnifying mechanism suddenly stop and declare loudly, “Look — a sparrow!”

People walk by throughout the cities of the world without ever noticing the thousands of such generically-forgotten creatures; those brown little blurs that fly about singularly or in large groups; flitting about, searching for sources of food, flooding the air with their chirping and fluttering.  But then, most of humanity is somewhat like the sparrow — in great numbers, never standing out from the rest, and merely trying to break out from the anonymity of life’s toil.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, the sense that can remain as a “sparrow” of sorts becomes less of a possibility — but not because of any unique features that have suddenly been noticed by the plumes of one’s species; rather, you have suddenly been noticed and selectively chosen precisely because of the medical condition itself.

Suddenly, you have become the narrow focus of greater observation:  Leave Restrictions are imposed; your performance is reviewed with greater interest; harassment ensues; the magnifying glass of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is upon you.

Once upon a time, the sparrow was flying about happily unnoticed, perhaps wishing to be a peacock, not knowing how fortunate it was to remain in the abyss of anonymity.  For the Federal or Postal worker, to be noticed can have some negative effects, and it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, lest the sparrow that wished to be a peacock suddenly realizes the looming shadow of a predator overhead, bearing down rapidly to end the anonymity that was lost because of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The fallacy of just-ology

It is the manner in which we dismiss the relevant, the attitude of minimizing and the conduct of our nature in modernity; just-ology is the capacity to turn one’s back upon something and dismissively wave a hand and declare, “Oh, it’s just___”.  It’s just a minor set-back; it’s just X being X; it’s just a passing phase; it is just….

The mindset itself is one that can incrementally, insidiously creep beneath the surface of what we actually believe; for, the word itself — ‘just’ – is a peculiarly insignificant word, and one that is surreptitiously inserted amongst other words, concepts, hidden between phrases and carelessly dropped between lines of greater thoughts.  As an adjective, it connotes the moral compass of a person or society; as an adverb, it often implies precision or exactness; but in common, everyday usage, it is that word which minimizes, limits and casts away into the garbage heap of irrelevance.

It is precisely by the exactness of defining something so narrowly that the precision itself makes it irrelevant.  It “puts X into its proper place” by defining it “just” so.  Precision is good; precision for accuracy’s sake is even better; but when precision minimizes to the extent of insignificance, it can be misleading.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition for many years just won’t go way, and just keeps getting worse, and just continues to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it just may be time to begin preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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.  Just in case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Of mice and things

In the early morning hours or in the late twilight of night when everyone else is fast asleep, of mice and things scurrying about tells of a world beyond the days where we awaken and watch.  We all have a tendency to anthropomorphize upon a world we otherwise would fail to understand, and projecting our own characteristics upon another species has always been what we cannot resist.

Of mice — do they run about when everyone else is away because of fear, or because they, too, love the quietude of a period when all except the insomniacs and burglars tiptoe in shadows of darkness where the innocent dare not trample upon?

Sometimes, in the rush from hiding place to food source, the mouse will pause, lift up on its hind legs, look about, nibble a bit, then off again; and when they become bold enough to actually stare and look directly at the master of the house, you know that it is time to bring out the cheese and the traps, for they have exceeded their welcome and are likely becoming too comfortable in a home that they are unwelcome.

And what of the “things”?  Well, there are mice, and then of course, centipedes and spiders, and cousins of mice, and other things.  They are the ones who go “bump” in the night.  Are we like them?  If a greater master were to look upon us like we do of mice and things, would that Grand Wizard think similar thoughts?  That if we scurry about in fear and try and remain anonymous and unobtrusive, we would be left alone; but if we became bold in our unwelcomed status, a trap would be set for us and we would be cast aside into the oblivion outside of the walls of our own making?

Isn’t that how the injured Federal or Postal worker feels when a medical condition continues to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position?  Such a Federal or Postal worker begins to feel like the mouse that scurries about trying to survive, but once he or she gets noticed, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to set traps, to put the pressure on and proceed to ostracize and get rid of the pesky things.

Fortunately, Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition have somewhat more protections than those accorded to creatures small and large, of mice and things.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is one such “protection” that allows the Federal or Postal employee to move beyond the workplace harassment and attempts to remove and terminate, thereby ending a career where one has invested one’s life to prolong.

What the Federal or Postal employee does not want to do, is to end up like those creatures that go bump-in-the-night — of mice and things — by failing for access all available benefits, and especially a Federal Disability Retirement annuity that can secure one’s future and allow for one to focus upon the important things in life, like one’s health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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 & Postal Disability Retirement: Bugs

Some are systematically exterminated; others, kept by organic farmers for their predatory advantages, including killing others; and still others are quickly brushed off as pesky little creatures not necessarily bothersome in numbers or even in appearance, but because “bugs” are simply not tolerated in an antiseptic universe where good order and neatness cannot include the appearance of a creature that may do nothing but crawl, creep and fly about in the open space of a garden, within a house or along the fence posts.

They have become a generic “catch-all” phrase that includes anything that moves about that is smaller than a rodent and larger than a speck of dust.  We have, additionally, transferred the sense of anathema in a more metaphorical manner, as in “bugs” in computers or in other appliances that fail to work properly, as if the living bugs in the universe are equated with those imaginary deficiencies of human technological innovation.  Then, there is the phrase, of course, of being worried about something, or having something bother one’s thoughts and invading the peace of one’s mind, as in the question, “What’s bugging you?”

We attribute and project from experiences we have had, and by analogy and metaphor transmit reputations that may never be deservedly ascribed.  Bugs are, in the end, creatures that are avoided, entities that have a reputation encompassing something less than desirable, and for the most part, have become a focus for instincts to exterminate, no matter that they are environmentally positive and have contributed to the balance of nature for endless ages.  And yet, we squash them without a second thought, brush them aside and swat at them to rid them from this universe.

They are, in many respects, tantamount to a microcosmic manner in which some people treat other and fellow human beings.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the very concept of the “bug” applies in so many small and almost insignificant ways, but we just don’t realize it.  Has it “bugged” you that the Federal Agency or Postal facility mistreats you because of your medical condition?  Are you considered now as nothing more than a pesky “bug” that irritates, and does the Agency wish to treat you as nothing more than a “bug” to be squashed if given half the opportunity?

Yet, despite having contributed to the mission of the Agency or the work of the Postal Service for all of these many years, just like the bugs that have made the environment better throughout, the Federal or Postal worker with a medical condition is considered expendable.  It may be time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Leaving without a Blip

Remember those old films, of silence, submarines and sonars (an acronym we have forgotten from the combination of terms, SOund, Navigation And Radar)?

There were those tense moments of complete silence, where heartbeats and perspiration could be palpably heard when life and death depended upon it, and the moment when someone coughed or dropped an object at the crucial moment; then, the sudden entrance of old Navy footage of depth charges being flung like spitballs from a rubber band, splashing into the ocean, then the angst of awaiting the slow sinking until the violent detonation of that camera-shaking explosion.

Was it close enough to have caused damage?  Can the heavy metal doors be shut in time to prevent deadly flooding?  Can the engineer fix the dent in the tin can just enough to chug along to the nearest base for further repair?  In the end, it all depended upon the blip on the screen, as the clockwork motion of the round screen revealed the positioning of the enemy vessel as the ghostly residue of existence left behind one’s presence, if only for a brief moment in time.

It is, in many ways, a metaphor for all lives; as merely a blip on a screen, and whether we are noticed, to what extent, by whom, and if one’s location deserves the catapult of a depth charge, or to be ignored as not warranting an adversarial response.

That is often how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contend with a medical or health condition which threatens to cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service:  Has enough of a blip been made?  Will a greater blip, or a longer presence of that ghostly residue on the clock-like screen, make up for the difference of extinguishment of existence?

There are those who enter a room quietly, and leave without notice; others, who must make a splash with each entrance, and falter in the exit because they have extended their welcome beyond polite niceties; and still others, who refuse to leave until formal recognition has been wrought from gated societies of diminished returns.  Which is preferable —  a blip which returns with a detonating device, or barely a yawn with the resulting quietude of an unnoticed exit?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a OPM Disability Retirement application — the question of being noticed or leaving a lasting mark is often a subconscious pull which unknowingly damages or delays.

But like the submarine in those old films, it is always the capacity and ability to control that moment of anxiety and fear which propels the successful endeavor of formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and lest we forget, avoidance of the depth charge is just an indicator of how much of a blip we really were, and not a precursor of what ghostly residues the Federal or Postal worker may become on the clockwork screen for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire