OPM Disability Retirement: Silent lives defying interpretation

Life is a mystery, and individual lives a puzzle untold.  It is the calluses that we develop throughout our lives that diminish our individual and collective curiosity to get to know the “other”.

We are born with a teleological intellect striving to unravel and unmask the depths of human essence; but modernity, technology and the singular focus of tangents often involving prurient asides distract and envelop with unwavering obsessions, but it has gotten worse:  no, not in any violent manner or upheaval of historical significance; rather, the electronic means of texting, emailing, Facebook-ing and other such means – which, if one pauses for just a moment to reflect, is merely a white page on a screen of illuminating blindness where symbols representing communicative ignorance are exchanged through the ethereal conduit of airwaves – give an artificial semblance of comfort that we are still engaging in the essential project of destined human activity:  getting to know one another.

When, in fact, the distance between words and the human touch; the distinction between the beep apprising one of receiving a message and the subtleties of an eyebrow raised, a grimace faintly made or a sparkle from eyes admiring; or the differentiation between black lettering upon a lighted page as opposed to the intonation and undulating mellifluousness of the softly spoken word – these, we are losing as each day passes, unnoticed, unconcernedly, and without any real hope of recovery.

It is, in the end, those silent lives defying interpretation which are lost forever on the doorsteps of unwritten historical accounts, despite the stories never told, the narratives forever undeclared and the characters uncharted because of the mystery of life and the conundrum of human lives.

History, it has been said, is written by “winners”; and if there is indeed truth in such a statement, then its corollary opposite must be similarly true:  unwritten and unknown accounts are forgotten or never written of those “losers”.  But that is only half of the truth; for, there are those countless bystanders who are never acknowledge, but fail to be inserted and included in the narrative of unmarked graves unacknowledged through the accounts of history untold.

We all want to be “significant”; we all want to “make a difference”; and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition cuts short a promising career, a relevant contribution to the “mission” of the Federal Agency, or make a difference to an old woman living alone who waves hello to the Letter Carrier as the high-point of her day – filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may seem like the end of that teleological journey that we are all engaged in.

But always remember that there is life after the Federal workplace, and whether you are an active Federal or Postal employee, or getting ready to take that step to initiate a Federal Disability Retirement application, there are still silent lives defying interpretation, and yours is one of them.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Designing a different biography

Each of us has one, but we know not what it states; for, it is what is written and carried by someone else, and not from ourselves.  Yes, yes, we also have an “autobiography”, as well – a narrative of how we see ourselves, in what manner, of what form, in what scintillating and scandalous light.  But it is the collective viewpoints of all whom we have encountered that comprise, constitute and in the compendium of the aggregate, tell the story of “that person” – you.

What would you gather if you went about to all family members, friends, relations and relatives, and to a lesser extent neighbors and acquaintances, whether close or distant, and interviewed each as to the narrative they have about you; collect them into a coherent whole and arrange them into a comprehensible amalgamation for self-reflective, unpublished anonymity?

It would likely be surprising, with tidbits of disconcerting salaciousness – not necessarily involving any vice, but if honesty were to be an unequivocal mandate in the responses to each query, it is likely that one would be taken aback by the responses received, not only in content and substance of answers, but from whence the source of information came.

Would we, if given the opportunity, begin to design a different biography in response to the amassing of such a narrative?  Or, like most people, would we merely engage in defensive self-justification, cutting off relations, reacting with anger and disappointment, and like a child without remorse, regret from wisdom or any greater understanding than the idiot savant who can mimic brilliance from learned behaviors, sit glumly with self-pity and blame those who provided their honest opinion and perspective, and continue on in the same mold as before?

Designing a different biography requires, at a minimum, a capacity to still process information for the intended purpose of alteration of behavior; and like the metamorphosis depicted by Kafka, there are few who have the self-reflective capacity in order to initiate that which cannot be comprehended by an ego which refuses to change.  What chance, then, do we have for redemption?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires designing a different biography for a future event (becoming a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant) because of a present circumstance of altering issues (a medical condition that has arisen, worsened or become exacerbated over time, such that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity), the concept of designing a different biography may require an honest assessment and evaluation of one’s physical and mental capacity, what the requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job entails, and when the time is ripe to consider initiating the long, arduous and complex process of considering the submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, designing a different biography always requires a moment of self-reflection – something more complicated than editing our own unsolicited autobiography.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Common Ground

What could it possibly mean, and how did that concept ever develop?  It implicates, of course, by logical extension its very inverted context in an insidiously opposing perspective; for, in the very admission that the rarity of the shared values that have to be “sought for” and “discovered” merely reflects the wide chasm of that which does not exist.

Once upon a time, a “community” never talked about “finding” common ground, for the very shared commonality expressed the very essence of the social contract itself, such that people assumed and presumed a set of normative values that characterize the intimate nature of the collective whole.  Thus, disputes which created fissures within a tribe, a neighborhood, a town or a nation merely revealed the inconsequential rarity of such factional events; it is only when the wideness of the chasm requires expressions like, “We need to find some common ground” or the need to reach some “foundational commonality” – that is when we know that the cavern is deep, the friction tantamount to an incommensurate duality of paradigms, and the torrent of vitriol an unbridgeable gap reflecting inconsistent values.

Modernity has manifested such a state of affairs; and, perhaps it is merely an inevitable process of a developing nation, like a Hegelian dialectical fate resulting from a history of wrongs committed and evils perpetuated – from the systematic genocide of the indigenous population to the history of slavery, suspension of Habeas Corpus, a divided nation ripped by Civil War, to the internment of citizens based upon race and ethnicity; it is, indeed, division in recent times which appears to dominate, with the constant drumbeat of voices calling for the identification, recognition and discovery of “common ground”.

Laws, of course, try and protect and preserve the ground lost to lack of commonality; and such forced and compelled imposition of laws, regulations and statutory enforcement can, for a time, keep the fissures covered and the leaking faucets somewhat dry.  But always understand that the enactment of laws becomes a societal necessity only when shared normative values can no longer restrain; it is, in some respects, an admission of failure for each law that is passed to protect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the chasm between reality and theoretical construct must be faced the moment the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is informed of the intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, while the laws concerning administrative rights of filing, the requirement for the Agency or U.S. Postal Service to attempt to provide accommodations, and the absolute right to seek Federal Disability Retirement benefits are all there; the reality is that such laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits were fought for and maintained precisely because necessity compelled the recognition that that was a fissure widening into a deep chasm concerning the common ground of common decency in how Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service would, should and must treat Federal and Postal employees with an identifiable medical condition and disability, and it was precisely because of the loss of common ground that the laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits came into being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire