OPM Disability Retirement: Those intersecting connections

We hear all the time about the shrinking world, the smaller universe, the global village – all metaphors to help and understand, to comprehend and be able to withstand within the insanity of a world that continues to intrude, intersect and impose itself upon every corner and aspect of lives lived and daily interrupted.  It is a way for people to cope with the fact that we can no longer avoid the reality of those intersecting connections from worlds, cultures and universes that make up the daily reality of our walking lives.

The newspapers globalize each and every issue; the television and cable news outlets care little for local news unless it, too has some national consequences; and so we live with the anomaly that the only time you might hear about your own hometown is if some horrific event occurs that other people in other towns might care about.  And, even when a story is reported about an event that occurs just around the corner from the news station, headquarters or whatever manner of identifying the central place where all of the equipment, studios and personnel gather to emit their airwaves of newsfeeds, they act as if it is occurring in some distant county or country, with perhaps a bit of weeping as an afterthought with a statement like, “And it makes it all the worse because it happened just in our own neighborhood!”

The world is indeed one comprised of intersecting connections, and we voluntarily allow for those connections to make our own perspectives molded into “theirs” by inviting various cable channels into our living rooms.  Do we really have a choice?  Can we just remain ignorant and ignore the reality of the global economy, the extended village and the universal concerns of the day?  How do we live with the complexities of intersecting connections, when we can barely deal with the local problems that beset us within the cocoon of our own lives?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the daily ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the microcosm of intersecting connections may well be magnified to a level where it competes with what is occurring on a more global scale.

Suddenly, the Federal Agency is moving to put pressure on you – like those competing foreign companies you hear about in the world economy.  Or, the Supervisor is no longer being cordial – somewhat like the world leader who doesn’t return calls to the President.  Coworkers no longer treat you as an equal – like nations that suddenly go rogue without explanation.  You have to file a complaint – like submitting to a U.N. vote for sanctions.

We have all been groomed and prepared to think in terms of intersecting connections, but for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, it all comes back to a more local and personal connection: one’s health, and the need to focus upon one’s personal life.

No matter how global the world has become, never forget that it is the personal life of close connections that really only matters in the end.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Closet of skeletons

It is a metaphor that is familiar; of secrets, or near-secrets; of those cluttered past incidents and events that need to be kept in the hallway closet, perhaps even locked for safety and security, whether of embarrassment, regret or shame.

Yet, modernity has less of them.  With the disappearance of shame, of openness of societal mores and normative values disappearing, almost vanishing, there is then no need for the closet to exist, and skeletons are fewer and far between because we have redefined what is shameful, what should be regretted, and that which is deemed unworthy of public display.

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”  That quip is attributed to Mark Twain, of course; the grand humorist of American society, and the author of books that have touched the conscience of an unsettled people.  How does a species stop blushing?  By rearranging that which triggers such a characteristic – the words that touch, the concept that shames, the sentence that embarrasses and the paragraph that pushes.

There are, of course, positive consequences, as well; for, the openness of society and the suppression and obliteration of normative standards have allowed for silent crimes that were once unspoken to be openly displayed and cauterized.  Perhaps, sometimes, “talking about it” opens things up, allows for the public airing of that which was hidden because polite society did not want to deal with it; but since it existed, anyway, we might as well open the closet of skeletons as a society and let everyone see whatever it is that we were ashamed of.

Sometimes, or more often than not, those monsters within are greater than the reality of the objective world.

Medical conditions often relate to such a concept.  We tend to hide them, be ashamed of them, and make of them larger than what necessity dictates – except for old men and women standing in the line at the post office who openly discuss the details of their last operation and procedures, of course.

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, remember that 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 often like the closet of skeletons; once they are out in the open, the agency and the Postal Service will have to deal with it, just like the Federal or Postal worker who had to “deal with it” – the medical condition – for all of these many years, fearful of the shame of revelation and the reaction of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The image we hold

What picture do we carry?  No, not in one’s pocket or wallet, but in the eye of one’s mind.  Is it one that has been frozen in time; an imprint from a bygone era, a specific day in one’s past where childhood memories once floated upon a cloud of dreams and wishes?  Or, is it of more recent vintage – wrapped in layers of cynicism and denied opportunities, huddled in a corner where bitterness, wrongs and outrages of blames and byproducts of what others have “done” have emasculated and left that image we hold with disdain and dank disgust?

Where we are in life, at what stage we find ourselves; often, how we act and engage the world depends upon the image we hold of ourselves.  It is, after all, the one person whom we have no idea about.

Oh, yes, we try and fool ourselves by claiming to know ourselves better than any other, and we do this because we are the only ones who have access to that “inner” soul that speaks soliloquys and bitter asides when we believe no one else is listening.  But that is merely a subjective understanding of a subject that lives in the world of pure subjectivity; it is not, after all, an “objective” perspective and assessment of who we are.  For that, we must turn a dispassionate eye in reverse-form upon the image we hold of ourselves.

In the end, are we anything more than the aggregate of a language we have learned, and the very usage of the language we have acquired, the sense-impressions we have encountered and the image we hold – is it any more or less than what others have of ourselves?

That is why, in preparing, formulating and filing 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, it is important to have a greater sense of who we are when we write that “Statement of Disability” on SF 3112A.  For, SF 3112A requests certain and specific information about one’s self, the nexus between one’s medical condition and the impact upon one’s positional capabilities and essential elements of one’s job.

But the narrative we write should have a certain sense of objectivity about it, precisely because it is going to be some “other” person who will be reading it, assessing it and evaluating the sincerity and persuasive impact of the delineated discourse.

From that perspective, the image we hold of ourselves can be an impediment, precisely because it may not be an objective viewpoint, but one wrapped in the perspective of pain, turmoil, anger and despair, which is understandable, taking the medical condition into account.  Perhaps, an advocate who has a more “objective” perspective – like a lawyer who is well versed in Federal Disability Retirement law — might be of some assistance in the process.  Just a thought.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: If not X, then at least Y

Many such contingent annotations are in the form of:  If not illegal, then at least unethical; or, if not unethical, then at least lacking of propriety, etc.  It is the pathway to a lesser acceptance, where the focus of one’s aspiration is lowered because of the inevitability of discovering that evidence insufficient will be uncovered.  Thus can one go on ad infinitum in various but similar forms:  If not happiness, then at least some semblance of contentment; if not a soul mate, then at least someone to share my experiences with, etc.

But what if that “replacement” standard turns out to be less than acceptable over time, through duration of toleration, and during cold nights when boredom no longer excites in playing pinochle while the kids are asleep?  Or, if the infractions and constant infringements persist with no end in sight, and no appropriate definition of a violation such that there are penalties to be ascribed and consequences to be felt?  Do we then accept an even lesser paradigm, and if so, how do we know that such diminution and diminishment of acceptance won’t again be averted and avoided?  Thus, do we assert:  If not X, then at least Y; but if Y doesn’t work out, then at least Z; and so on?  When first one submits to the acceptance of a lesser standard, the proverbial horserace has already been lost.

In negotiations, in contractual disputes, in attempting to come to terms, etc., the sign first evidenced of conceding the lesser standard is the first indicator that the slippery-slope has just begun.   There are instances, of course, where the opposite is true, as well, except that we can rarely discern beneath the surface appearances.  That is what Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, must face and accept daily – the conflict between an aspirational paradigm of hope, and the reality of daily pain and anguish.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee, we have:  If there is lesser pain today, perhaps I can last through the day; If I show that I am productive this week, then maybe the supervisor will just leave me alone, etc.  As if, “lasting through the day”, or just “being left alone” for a week, a day, an hour, etc., are acceptable standards for living life?  That is why abandonment of all prior paradigms must often be employed in the journey of life, career and fortitude of endurance; we tend to cling on to categories of an “ought” no longer applicable.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who can no longer endure the acceptance of the lesser standard when there is an alternative to the constant suffering and persistent harassment at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, fortunately, there is the ongoing benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Even for that, the road is still difficult and arduous, for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the agency that determines all disability retirement applications, does not merely “hand out” the benefit.  Like everything else in life, it must be fought for.

But, then, the Federal or Postal worker who fights for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit can retrospectively declare:  “If not the constant and daily struggle, then at least an annuity to secure my future” – the “exception” to the rule, where the lesser is in fact the greater, but is not always apparently so.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Catching with a net

Have you ever tried catching multiple entities with a net?  Whether more than one butterfly, or goldfishes in a pond, or even debris floating at the skimming water’s edge, the act of scooping, trapping and encircling with the tool of a net requires dexterity and unique hand-eye coordination.  Then, the one first caught escapes, and the frustration of gain-versus-loss ensues.  Is it greed which continues to compel despite the persistence of loss and diminishing return, or sheer stubbornness that we somehow battle against our own interests even when further escape occurs?

Ever the frustration of observing those once caught and get away, and chasing after those very ones we just enmeshed and caged within the netting of this ingenious deployment; and yet we insist.

How does that translate into a specific personality, or the manner in which we carry on in our daily lives?  Is going out and catching butterflies with a net the perfect methodology of determining a prospective employee’s “fit or unfit” personality and character for an organization?  Does it reveal a side of the person – for example, in the financial sector, or investment banking, if a person approaches the task by catching one, stopping, putting the insect or other entity into a bottle with pre-bored holes for oxygen, then proceeding in a sequential manner and attending to catching the next one, etc., does that tell of a prefatory commensurateness with careful investment strategies?

Or, take the very opposite, where the task is to catch 10 moving entities, and instead of stopping after each one, the future employment prospect goes about madly racing through the tall fields of grass furiously attempting to net the quota of requested numbers, despite imposing no time-frame in the completion of such a task – does that necessarily reveal a personality of lesser caution, of a person who may be rash and imprudent?  Does one revelation of acting in a particular context unmask a parallel semblance of reality in another, or do the specific circumstances themselves confine and define within a marginalized mirror?

Whether transferable or not, the imagery and metaphor of a person attempting to catch multiple entities with a single net, shows a side of human life which can be both comical as well as compelling.  For, as a reflection of parallel circumstances, it is somewhat indicative of the Federal or Postal employee who must begin the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Like the person handed the net, the Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, must make a pragmatic determination as to the diminishing returns recognized in continuing in the same repetitive venture of living.  At some point, there comes a flash of realization that the same acts cannot continue without something else giving – and whether that “giving” is the butterfly which escapes, or one’s deteriorating health further and progressively becoming destroyed – is the flashpoint of reality revealing itself in compelling a decision for today, and no longer procrastinated for some unknown time in a future left insecure.

And like the butterfly which escapes to be free for another day, the Federal or Postal employee who cannot perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties must by necessity attempt to free him or herself from the medical condition in order to reach that place in life where pain, misery, and the sense of being “caged” will no longer apply.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The Beast of Burden

Is there a limit to the capacity for a draught animal that engages in the heavy toil so assigned?  Like the proverbial reed of hay which breaks the camel’s back, what is the limit, the absolute capacity, the outer stretches of what the psyche can absorb, the ultimate strain upon the human physical endurance and the will to survive; until the beast of burden crumples upon an exhausted heap of fatigue and loss of hope, a broken mass of bones, organic matter and mindless assemblage of shattered void?

Is that not how one sometimes feels, when the strains of daily toil aggregate to such an extent that stress is no longer merely an acceptable medium of daily work, and information is no longer a tidbit of enlightening accentuation; rather, too much means that the system is overloaded, beyond the acceptable parameters of mere survivability, and enters into the unknown universe of meltdowns and nuclear fissions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that the balance of life which was so delicately maintained throughout one’s career, can come careening down an uncontrollable chasm of chaos, when once the medical condition becomes that proverbial piece of hay upon the beast’s back.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are not just an “out” for the faint-hearted; rather, it is part of the compensation package which all Federal and Postal workers are accorded, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is filed (ultimately) through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and it is not one’s own agency which makes the determination of approval or denial.

For some, it is the only solution remaining; for others, it may be a godsend; for all, it is merely a benefit which allows the Federal and Postal worker who finally recognizes that priorities in life must include, first and foremost, attending to one’s health and well-being, to actually effectuate the balance of life once maintained, but temporarily lost.

For, in the end, while we all like to think that the beast of burden is some mythical creature on a farmer’s pasture in a foreign land, it is often the one who imagines that about the “other”, who is the subject of toil; one needs to merely look in the mirror on a morning when time, stress and stretching of tolerance exceeds the point of no return, and realize that the beast of burden is the one with eyes looking back at you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire