Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The Art of Expression

The title itself plays upon multiple meanings and combinations of words otherwise with connotations and implications intended within a panorama of conceptual constructs utilized in everyday discourse.

‘Art’ itself is an expression of sorts; “Expression’ is both a form of ‘Art’ and an actualization of it; and so to refer to the ‘Art of Expression’ is not merely somewhat of a redundancy, but further, a tricky combination of two entirely separable concepts, independent and yet expressing [sic] a specific duality of meanings.  Expression, whether of the verbal sort or, as in this instance, of the written variety, is indeed a form of art.  It is so by default.  Not being a discipline of precision; not anywhere near a science of any sort; not an academic major or even a subject that can ever be fully mastered; it is, nevertheless, an art form that thrives or places an indelible blemish upon the language of one’s upbringing.

Good writing, concise discourse, proper grammatical usage and persuasive argumentation in delineating a perspective and point of view continues and remains an art form that is lost in the daily plethora of linguistic garbage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition requires the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to ponder preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, consideration must ultimately be given to the art of expression when formulating the answers to SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

In preparing, formulating and putting the final edits and touches upon one’s Statement of Disability, the Art of Expression must be considered:  Does it adequately describe your medical conditions and the symptoms experienced?  Do the legal arguments persuade?  Does the medical documentation support the statements put forth?  Does the statement paint a picture of coherence within a universe of incoherence engendered by the medical condition itself?  Is the nexus sufficiently created between the medical condition and the positional duties?  Has one applied the principles of Henderson v. OPM, the Bruner Presumption, the Simpkins application, the Bracey Principles and multiple other legal underpinnings?

The Art of Expression is the capacity to pull together the vast compendium of expressive resources available, and the first step in reaching that goal is to consult with an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Circumstances and choices

When is it too late to begin reflecting upon one’s circumstances and choices?  Do we already do that daily, and does the length of rumination engaged depend upon where one’s station in life has reached? Do old men and squeaky rocking chairs justify such reflective modes of behavior, or do the young as well take the time to ponder upon choices made, circumstances encountered, and the spectrum of clashes in between?

Do we formulate a fauna of false representations of ourselves, and depict upon the screen of a mind’s inner movie of the “self” with edited versions so that, when queried, we can make those “bad mistakes” of past choices appear to fit into circumstances where we can innocently declare, “I had no other choice!”?  We “make the bed we lie in”; suffer from the “messes we make of our lives”; or of what other adage or declarative falsehoods may we come up with to excuse our own choices in life’s travail of valleys full of mournful echoes?

Circumstances often dictate the choices we make; or, at least the metaphor of “dictation” leads us to believe.  For, the very idea of “X dictates Y” as in the previous statement, “Circumstances dictate the choices we make”, removes us of the responsibility in making the choice, by making it appear as if the choice made is not really a choice at all, but merely an action that is necessitated and you are therefore merely an unwilling agent.

What is lost in such discourse, of course, is the lengthy history of sub-choices previously presented and ignored, where choices that could have been made before circumstances became so dire that the narrowing of alternatives dissipated until a crisis point came to the fore — that is where circumstances and choices require careful analysis before the alternative juncture of varying pathways disappear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is important to early on recognize the circumstances unfolding and the choices presented, before the multitude of “forks in the road” begin to disappear, and life’s circumstances begin to impose — not binary choices — but choices that begin to dictate.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not seem like a choice that one wants to undertake, but it is often the circumstances that one has no control over that dictates the future course of choices, and not the choices themselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The traveling troubadour and trobairitz

There are vocations and careers which once were, and now forgotten.  Life cycles in endless streams of dying embers and regeneration of growth; and like the mythical Phoenix which arises from the ashes of destruction, so we tend to romanticize that which once was, is now forever lost in the forgotten residues of concealed fingerprints in timeless memories once secluded but dissipated as storytellers no longer found an audience for tales left untold, and children turned to self-amusement with videos, technological blank stares, and smartphones which glow well into the night.

Troubadours of the middle ages (and for those wondering, since this is now a gender-neutral universe and we dare not fail to include the binary aspect of such identification, the female counterpart known as the “trobairitz”), traveling under the patronage of princes in fiefdoms who showed the first signs of supporting “the arts”, and thus would allow for actors, performers and lyric poets to entertain and provide a respite of asides from a world which knew poverty beyond modernity’s capacity to comprehend, plagues which spread quickly and with devastating tenacity, and amongst rogues who cared not for the intellectual conscience recorded by scribes and religious orthodoxy of the Aquinas tradition.

They came onto the scene of history, and disappeared by the end of the High Middle Ages.  Do we even think about them, today — their careers, their imprint upon a fellow human being’s life, and even of the shadow which appeared but for a whispering moment, and with the light of day left not even a hint of prior existence?  Is that what Heidegger meant, when he described human existence as an avoidance out of fear of the ultimate fate of each man?  And so we look upon our own careers, and the choices we have made in life, and that to which we look into the crystal ball for the future.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, must by necessity feel trepidation for the unknown.  That is natural.  But as necessity is the mother of invention, so the end of a Federal or Postal career should never bring pause to a hopeful perspective for a future yet undetermined, whether unknown or barely discernible.  And like the traveling troubadour and trobairitz of a past age, the career itself is but a whisper in time, and it is the substance of the life lived, and not the sacraments of a vocation we had chosen, which make for value in a life of plenty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The lethargic state of tacit acceptance

Life has a way of beating down.  Whether it is from the constant drudgery of daily responsibilities, or perhaps the overwhelming bombardment of the harsh technological stimuli foreign yet to the still evolutionary sensibilities of nature’s slow progression for adaptability; the human body, mind and soul, while possessing a capacity for resistance greater than many other species, nevertheless is contained by limits of restrictive mechanisms tested daily beyond the tolerance of allowable endurance.

It is often said that time and age will take care of any youthful idealism; for, as cynicism is the property of the older generation, folly is the playground of the younger.  Falls resulting in laughter, as opposed to empathy; tears paused by applause, as want of sympathy; but as we grow up on morsels of victorious tales from mythology and storytellings from the warmth of loved ones, that security which we were once wrapped in quickly becomes a tattered shawl unable to conceal the victimhood which haunts our inner soul.

Acceptance of one’s plight has been, throughout man’s history, the basis for longevity and survival; and the quietude of a tortured soul, nowadays, may result in a bloodletting untold in former times for their atrocity and ferocity for purposeless mayhem.

It is that lethargic state of tacit acceptance which we always have to battle against; for, we know not when that moment of quantified bevy reaches the point of no return and the boiling level of overflow; and, for each of us, the threshold of that which constitutes “enough is enough” is variable, as the genetic predisposition for an explosive overflow depends upon birth, character, and the historicity of experiential phenomena which all of us carry within as the baggage which is unseen but which exudes like gangrene and spoiled milk wreaks of a rotting soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have reached that point of despondency, where a medical condition has prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the time may have come, already passed, or may be nearing, when the liveliness of the inner psyche once running barefoot through the pasture of timeless childhood memories has transformed into the mummy-like vestige of what once was, and now in danger of a metamorphosis into the lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not always seem like a “positive step”, and may have the appearance of stoppage, cessation or even a terminal conclusion pausing forward progress; but in the end, it is the health of the body, mind and soul which should dictate the priority of one’s actions, and not a career which will go on in the bureaucracy of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, whether that rotting essence lives on for a more hopeful tomorrow, or remains quietly rotting in a lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A penchant for excess

Do the historicity and context of a given time determine the individual’s proclivity for behavior otherwise deemed unnatural?  Does that concept even apply anymore, as normative constraints are denigrated, societal conventions become ignored, and new frontiers bypassing the ethos of communities are no more than mere irritants to swat away?

There has always been, of course, a penchant for excess inherent in the human essence; the British Royal Family, the French aristocracy, the Russian Czar and the modern totalitarian state where wealth and abundance allows an opening for the limitless reach of man’s appetite and predilection for excess.

Does the quiet neighbor next door — that meek and unassuming character straight out of the parallel universe of Walter Mitty’s caricature, of the bespectacled individual always referred to as “growing old with grace and a potbelly” — become a tyrant upon winning the lottery?  Is it inevitable that he files for divorce the day after his bank account becomes flush with an astronomical sum, abandons his responsibilities, denies his lineage to aunts and uncles who suddenly want to become the proverbial long-lost cousins who always loved him but were too shy to previously approach — is there an identifiable genetic code of wrap-around dimensions coiling within each of our cells waiting to embrace an inevitable penchant for excess?

And what of our behavior towards our fellow men and women — is human nature so predictable that we fear the unravelling of ourselves, and thus do we cloak our ugliness and conceal our inner motives precisely because, like the largest organ covering our bodies — the skin which provides layers of protection to make our appearance presentable and unblemished — we require constructs of artificial boundaries because we ourselves cannot abide by the liberty we are granted?

These thoughts are nothing new for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who encounters man’s penchant for excess once the Federal or Postal employee shows the signs of weakness which accompany a medical condition.  Suddenly, the camaraderie and comity previously shown by coworkers becomes an unconcealed bevy of whispering conspiracies, like the silence of horrific quietude of a man drifting in a shark-infested ocean upon an overturned boat, waiting for that first bump of a forewarning to test the reaction before the initial attack.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must by necessity lead to 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, the penchant for excess as revealed by actions of the Agency, coworkers and people you once thought highly of, is really nothing more than the unravelling of that which was always there, but forever hidden but for that invisible thread which holds the fabric of society together — of self-restraint, like the distant echo of a forgotten discipline, lost in the meditation of a Zen monastery.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire