FERS Employee Disability Retirement: The Legacy of Achievement

We all dream of having contributed to society in greater or lesser ways.  Whether individual achievements are enough, where private satisfaction is gained through a restricted circle of those “in the know”, is doubtful; and even of leaving a name behind on a building, a statue or a commemorative stamp — what difference does it ultimately make, the cynic would wonder aloud?

When we pass by a building with a nameplate in one of the bricks or chiseled into the mortar, do we even acknowledge it, let alone recognize who that person was or what contribution he or she had made to the world?  Do we stand and Google the name and ooh-and-ah at the achievements bestowed?  Or of a statute with the proverbial fountain spewing daily freshness of recycled water, of perhaps a general who had once-upon-a-time led a charge and captured or killed a great opposing force — is that what we consider an achievement worthy of a bronze emblem?

And how about the more subtle legacy, of leaving imprints and personality traits, whether positive or negative, in one’s children or grandchildren?  “Oh, he is just like his father!”  “She reminds me of her mother.”  Or of those quiet achievements by challenged individuals daily around the world; we know not what effort it took, but for the person making the effort in the silence of his or her private suffering.

Achievement is a funny animal; it is ultimately a feeling; otherwise, why would we build statues to declare it to the world if we truly believed in the legacy entombed?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, perhaps the achievements one had hoped for in one’s career are no longer achievable, and thus the “legacy” of achievement is no longer possible.

In that event, the Federal or Postal worker needs to reconsider the values once sought, and to re-prioritize the goals pursued.  Perhaps “health” was not part of the original list, but should be; and that is where an effective preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application comes into play: One’s career was never the legacy to achieve; it was merely down on the list of priorities to be sought, where one’s health and well-being should have been higher on the list to begin with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Night wanderings

Ever open your eyes in the middle of the night and, instead of falling quickly back to sleep, allow for the eyes to wander across the silent room where others are still and asleep — the dog on the floor (or perhaps curled at the foot of the bed where human warmth has gathered for the pure comfort serving the creature) and the partner beside; the quiet glow of the digital numbers in bold red reflection; the pictures on the walls — though you “know” what they depict, the shadows hide them, and yet you believe you “see” them because familiarity arouses the imagination even in darkness; and the squeezing sense of silence so overpowering that you wonder about the universe at large and who, like yourself, is awakened by silence itself?

It is in those moments that, just before the panic of realization sets in that tomorrow is just a few hours away, we realize that mortality is a condition we must face; that the child’s imagination cannot revisit yesterday’s remorse; and the saddest of all truisms: For the most part, this is a cruel and uncaring universe.  Where do such thoughts originate?  Is it just the dream-world when sleep battles with sanity and one’s night wanderings will not suppress the bustle of the day’s meanderings?

Perhaps clarity comes in the wake of slumber’s twilight; whatever the phenomenon, night wanderings bring one into the netherworld of the “in-between”, where reality is not quite recognized and a dream is not ever fulfilled.  That is the type of experience that the Federal and Postal worker experiences when confronted with a medical condition that impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position: not quite in the reality of the world’s harshness, not yet tested by the Agency’s or Postal Service’s full force of cruelty and uncaring.

Will they put me on a PIP?  Will they require a “Fitness for Duty” evaluation?  What happens when my FMLA is exhausted?  Will the agency just cut me off?

It becomes clear at some point that the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not there as a friend or colleague looking out for your bests interests, and that you must initiate the process of looking out for yourself by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Those night wanderings often have the advantage of giving clarity to a reality beset with the quietude of pure silence, but then morning arrives and the clash of the day’s reality awakens within us the cruelty of the world around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The tentative step

This is a tough and dangerous world.  No longer a Hobbesian State of Nature nor of War, the Social Contract as envisioned by Locke or Rousseau provides some nominal protection, and thus do we identify ourselves as “civilized” entities in yet a dystopian universe where a greater majority of the rest of the world acts with unconcerned insanity by engaging in senseless wars of mass killings and genocidal encounters.  In such a world, we thoughtlessly bring newborns who must contend with an uncertain future, fraught with challenges unasked for and conflicts yet to be encountered.

Those tentative first steps of a toddler – how we watch with awe and observe with wonderment.  Why is that?  Why is the transition from ambulating as most other mammals do on four legs, to engaging an awkwardly wobble as a bipedal hominid, of such significance?  Is it because it marks the steps of initiation into the club of “civilized” society – that to stand upright and walk with our two feet, as opposed to the addition of the other two appendages, signifies the next stage of growth and maturity?  Yet, that tentative step reveals all, doesn’t it?

It marks the magnification of uncertainty for the future; it reveals the imperfection of the human animal; and it manifests the symbol of insecurity by deliverance of a vulnerable entity thrown into a pit of vipers and hyenas.  We do this to ourselves, and to the ones we say we love.  And as the toddler grows up, through further steps of initiations into a cruel world, how that tentative step cements and molds itself into a characterization of so much of life’s violent encounters.  Whether remembered or not, those nascent steps of uncertainty carry along with us like Pilgrim’s burdensome backpack, weighing upon us at different and varying stages of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition reenacts those tentative steps taken as a toddler, one becomes reminded that we came into this world uninvited, presented without a guide as to how to go about living life, and suddenly find yourself with a challenge:  No longer able to perform all of the essential elements of your job, your choices are to stay and endure the pain; leave, resign and walk away without anything you worked so hard to attain; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, like the toddler taking those first tentative steps, this is a new endeavor, a next phase, but probably without those doting parents cheering you on.  As a result, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, if only to steady those two feet as you jump forward into an uncertain future by submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Disability Benefits: The Wind-Up Man

Before the age of batteries and electronic sophisticates, there were wind-up toys.  Mere mechanical wonders involving hidden spring actions and tightly wound coils for deliberative unwinding to propel movement, they betrayed a sense of wonder for their independence once released by the child’s hand.  But the movement stopped; the unwinding of spring actions released to their full extent; and further human involvement was necessary.

In stage plays of yore, what amounts to a “deus ex machina” required intervention; and so the thumb and forefinger would grasp the flat key inserted in the back of the toy, and wind it up all over again.  Many of us feel a kinship to such a descriptive process; the “winding up” may involve an unseen hand, but the rest feels eerily similar.

Medical conditions tend to magnify such a state of feeling; for, like the wind-up toy of childhood joys, the need for an intervening hand is required of both.  But for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who needs to go home for that restorative sleep, or that 3-day weekend in order to regain a semblance of stamina for the week ahead, whatever winding up process may occur, is never enough.

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 positional duties, often find that — as each time the “winding up” process takes place, it becomes less and less effective, and more and more necessary to keep going back to the source of intervention — and so the vicious cycle ensues.

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 never the “total solution” to one’s medical problems; but, at the very least, it allows for one to reach that plateau of restorative rest, in order to recuperate.  As the wind-up toy must come to the end of its uncoiling mechanical actions, so the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer continue in the same manner, must consider options available to him or her, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is certainly an alternative to consider.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire