Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The negative of a photograph

In this digital age, the disappearance of the negative in photography is quite appropriate; for, this is an age that has attempted to expunge everything negative, both in form and in substance.  That thin strip of plastic film that was always retained, and carefully coupled with the “positive” prints, was preserved with the idea that the more valued sets of prints may become lost, distributed or otherwise disseminated, and in that event, so long as the negative of the original was retained, more could be printed out.

Just before the digital age, there were “do-it-yourself” machines – monstrosities that received the film, processed them and spit out two-prints each; or is that just the faulty memory of this writer? The double-prints were meant to allow for giving of one and keeping the other, just in case grandma or grandpa wanted one of those cute pictures where everyone simultaneous said the universal word: “Cheese!”

Yet, the concept of the negative still retains some fascination, despite its obsolescence in the modernity of the digital age; for, it is the reverse order of reality, where the lightness of images retains the darkness of reflection, and vice versa, because of the chemical sensitivity in processing the film.

And who among us recalls the ghoulish search when we actually did want to get another print made – of searching through various negatives, seeing the hollow images of figures staring back, trying to discern whether multiple negatives that appeared similar but not quite the same could be the one, by matching the angle of the face, the tilt of the head, or some mysterious figure in the background not shown in the original?

Have we all had that experience – where there is something that appears in the negative but not in the print, and attribute it to the ghostly mysteries that somehow and by mistake captured the supernatural world otherwise banished from this day and age?

The romantic world of the unknown has now vanished, along with the negative of a photograph; now, we are left with the virtual reality of a mundane universe, with nothing left for our imaginations.  For, the negative of a photograph is the mystery itself that always spurred us onward and upward, trying always to achieve the next level of accomplishment.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the concept of the negative of a photograph should be quite familiar; for, once upon a time, that image beheld on that strip of plastic was the “real” you, preserved and retained for posterity as the valuable essence of a being otherwise forgotten.

Federal agencies and Postal facilities only care about the print that stays forever in the same pose and manner, unchangeable and forever identical.  The mere fact that a medical condition has “changed” a Federal or Postal employee is somehow rejected by the Federal agency and U.S. Postal Service, and that is why filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes so important.

For, just like the negative of a photograph, it is the medical condition in its negative aspects that always seems to be the sole focus of the Federal or Postal facility in determining the worth of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Poetry’s death

By the title is not meant the terminus of the literary genre; that would be too great a claim to consider.  No; instead, it is the more subtle manner of thought, the perspective of viewing, and the approach to living.  We live by metaphors and analogies; that is what the rise of language has accomplished, where the raw violence of predatory insights in nature’s setting of surviving could no longer tolerate, but where some amount of leisure, such little calculation of foresight, and a crumb of thoughtful reserve allowed for a world of mythological beauty.

Materialism killed the purring cat.  For a time, Charles L. Dodgson – whom we all know by the pen name, “Lewis Carroll” – attempted to stem the tide of decay, and succeeded for a generation or so.

Once upon a time, parables could be understood; elven creatures and angels with wings releasing residues of golden dust, tinged with faith and tinctures of mysterious delights would pass by windows left ajar for welcoming strangers; and sleeping beauties, knights in shining armor riding upon white horses to rescue were but assumed and accepted, and not the rattling ugliness of windmills mistaken for dragons no longer existing.  We believed.

But then came science, logic and the Darwinian distance of antiseptic explanations, and we all embraced it because of its allure of pragmatic promises.  But has it brought us any greater joy or insight into life’s misgivings?

Shakespeare referred always to the alignment of the stars, and of gargoyles behind the fool’s mask; and while the inquisition of religion’s past haunts still in the corridors of forgotten subterranean memories, it is the loss of inquisitiveness which makes for greater sorrow.

Words and explanatory concepts must abide by the correspondence they convey to the greater world about; and whether the world is deemed flat, or the earth is no longer a geocentric universe but a reversal to an upside-down world constituting a heliocentric perspective, unless the believer is a seafarer or an astrophysicist attempting to calculate the incalculable in geometric complexities beyond our present concerns, what difference does it make – except that we no longer embrace the wonderland lost to the science of inchoate values.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the present pain and anguish suffered is something experienced in “real time” and impacted in actual terms, it is often poetry’s death which compels one to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Think about it:  it is work in order to play; play is the time of leisure in order to engage in the poetry of life.  But when a medical condition forces one into a life of drudgery, where the “play” part of life is merely more work in order to get enough rest or sleep to continue in the “work” portion of living, then life as a whole becomes unbearable, and no amount of poetry can soothe the pains of this life.

That is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application – in order to circumvent the agony of one’s medical condition – becomes important in order to reach that plateau where one can attend to the medical conditions themselves, and further, to forestall the inevitability of poetry’s death.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Another Test

Peel an orange, and you have the fruit; skin a nut, and the unmasked food is revealed; but how does one get to the essence of a person?  Schools do it repetitively; job interviews count on it; security clearances rely upon it.  Life is one set of tests after another; and whether through formalized questions designed to reveal the extent of rote knowledge, or of more subtle encounters to discover one’s character, the attempt to unravel the essence of an individual comes in many forms, in multitudinous appearances, and in engagements which never fully define the person tested.

Some see it as merely a necessary irritant; others, as a challenge to be faced with relish; and still others, an angst to be avoided, like the proverbial plague which leaves scars of motley disfigurement to the heart of one’s soul.  Whether to avoid or to directly confront, life presents a series of challenges, and the test of relevance is not necessarily the score to achieve, but rather the responsiveness which engenders cause.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are daily “tested” because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the job requirements of the Federal or Postal employment, the issue becomes one of survival, or not.  At some point, the test itself becomes irrelevant, and must be replaced altogether.  Whether the agency views it as such — or, more appropriately, it has now turned into harassment and hostility — the basis of such testing becomes an absurdity.

That is when the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must consider filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits.  There again, it is likened to another “test” to be faced and undertaken.  For, the bureaucratic morass which must be tolerated is inextricable entangled with the preparation, formulation, proving and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement case, where the evidence must be gathered, the test of viability of the case itself becomes of concern, and the next steps in encountering and facing the “test of life” must be faced.  Oh, but that life would refrain from the constancy of death, taxes and tests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: A Series of Refinements

Age does not necessarily result in greater wisdom; rather, for many, it merely sits in a puddle of stale intransigence.  As well, palpable advancement on a linear scale occurs only in the context of the capacity to make progress, but remains in a state of limbo without an intermediate causal impetus.  Throughout life, it is the refinements made which make for differentiation.  A minor tweak here; a self-reproachful reminder here; for, very few begin the journey needing a complete overhaul, but merely a readjustment and cleaning of those spark-plugs gone bad.

Thus, when a medical condition hits an individual, it often becomes a crisis of identity; for, throughout, up until the point of realizing that a change in career may be necessitated by the unexpected health condition, the thoughts and plans always included a series of minor refinements, and nothing more.

But Federal Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal employees is, in fact, nothing more than a greater series of minor refinements; it is the focus upon the change which transforms it into a traumatic event of sorts.  For, in the end, it is precisely those series of refinements made throughout the course of one’s life, which has prepared one for the vicissitudes wrought by unexpected circumstances; throughout life, we prepare for the next storm; wisdom is merely the ability to recognize the inevitability of change, and through a series of refinements, to adjust accordingly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file 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, the need to file an OPM Disability Retirement application through OPM is often looked upon as a crisis-embroiled act.  And, indeed, it is certainly a troublesome venture, one fraught with headaches, obstacles and administrative confusion; but in the end, it is a step necessitated by circumstances beyond one’s control, and merely another in a series of refinements required by life’s bumps and bridges, and one which requires some amount of wisdom in going forward into the bureaucratic nightmare of OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The touch of life

People often refer to “the touch”; of Midas’ ability to engage in alchemy, now transformed into a metaphor for those whose every endeavor results in financial gain; or of that “soft touch” in the arena of basketball, where the swish of the net and the easy bounce which finds the diameter of the hoop always larger than the irascible target of our trying attempts.  But it is the “touch of life” which encompasses all of that, and more.

When most struggle with the morning fog of first dawn, and youth craves for the security of childhood but act with cynicism to protect their own pride; and pride itself, foolish in its heart, but where wisdom never finds refuge but for the mistakes made in trying.  The touch of life comes to the fore when wandering souls finally find restive quietude from the troubles of the world, and for a brief moment when time, history, and the troubles which beset, can be set aside in an orderly, systematic and rational universe of timeless peace and finality of purpose.

Wisdom is hard to come by; and in the midst of daily struggles, finding clarity of purpose is impossible, especially when troubles abound upon the horizon of life’s plenitude.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service harasses, intimidates and engages in unfair labor practices, preparing an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the only viable choice left.

Life often grants only limited options, but when we grumble and complain about the lack of alternatives, we merely delay and obfuscate the richness open to our own lives.  Instead, what the Federal or Postal employee needs to do, is to take that opportunity and prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM.

Grumbling about fate not in the cards merely takes energy away from that which will work; and as America is a land of pragmatism, the home to William James and the only original philosopher from this country, it does well to recognize that the touch of life is not reserved to the magic of alchemy, but to the choices we wisely accept and forge forward upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire