Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The parade that fades

Parades are often forlorn events.  The pomp and circumstance that brings forth the loud serenade of trumpets, drums and cadence of disparate groups; the sequence of human colonnades marching to the beat of rhythmic blares where medals gleam in the glint of sunlight’s twilight; and when the speeches end and the parade that fades leaves but for the leaflets that once announced of its impending arrival, the hearts that once fluttered in anticipation of the marching band that lost its footing may but be a glimmer of tomorrow’s hope.

Parades celebrate, and the participants engage the public eye to put on a show of appreciation, but do they voluntarily come together, or are they merely compensated workers ordered to appear?  And when once the parade fades, what happens to those left behind, of the grieving widows and children left orphaned, and the pinning of medals that sang the mournful hollow of a priceless life?

Other lives march on; it is the forgotten ones that inhabit an earth that continues on in haunting groups of voiceless sorrow, for years on end without the recognition noted but for that singular day on the parade grounds, where glory once revived and then soon forgotten.  Much of life is like that, isn’t it?

Like a parade that is put on, lasts for a day, or perhaps merely a part thereof, and then soon to be forgotten except for memories that are seared with a grimace and graceless utterances of voices once remembered and now merely a fading vestige, if that.  What was the fanfare for?  Do we even remember? What was said in the speech now faded but for glory’s once grand applause?  Do we even care?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker’s attempt to continue his or her career because the progressively worsening medical condition itself is preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — the end of one’s career may be likened to the parade that fades.

That sense of belonging; that feeling that life’s cadence included you in the marching band of the colorful parade; of being part of a team, with a sense of coherence and purpose; but like all parades, the day’s end ultimately comes.  Whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the sinking feeling that the parade that fades may mean that there is no longer the trumpet’s blare or the drumbeat of life’s cadence is simply a fear within that does not reflect reality.

Tomorrow, the sun will still shine and the birds will yet sing; the grounds will still be there, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is merely changing the venue of where the next parade will be held, thus replacing the parade that fades at the end of this day alone.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Hub

It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve.  The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient.  And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it?  If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?

Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?”  The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?”  The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?”  Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer?  While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.

Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much.  Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.”  And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.

Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom?  And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same?  Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?

In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations.  But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.

If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important?  What is the hub of the matter?  What essence of life’s priorities are more important?  Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The content

It is ultimately the content that matters, especially in a technical, administrative procedure where tone and context become secondary.  After all, we are addressing a “medical” issue – a cold, clinical subject when it comes to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

What should be included?  How far back?  What is meant by the “essential” or “core” elements of a job?  Does the capacity and ability to arrive at work for the duration of completing assignments in and of itself constitute an “essential” element of the job?  What if the job can be performed, but one simply cannot drive to the job?  Must I address failed efforts by the agency to “accommodate” me, and does the term “accommodation” have a narrower legal meaning than the way it is loosely used by my agency?

These and multiple other questions go to the heart – the content – of the issues presented when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Content is all important, and the audience to whom the Federal Disability Retirement application is intended is relevant to keep in mind.  If you are standing in line at a grocery store, or at a Post Office, and someone remarks to you, “You are obviously in pain.  Go ahead in front of me” – such kindness and consideration may prompt you to explain, in somewhat abbreviated form, the content of what your medical condition is.  However, if that same person who showed such consideration turned out to be a close family member, who either already knows about your condition or is otherwise intimately familiar with the circumstances and the history of your medical condition, your response may be somewhat different.

How much history of the medical condition needs to be related to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; what medical records need to be attached and accompany the narrative report that creates the “bridge” and “nexus” between the medical condition and the essential elements of the job duties – these all fall under the general aegis of “content”, and must be carefully considered in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Narrative Recanted

The ability to expunge, extinguish or recant is only available to the extent that memory serves us well; for, as the last veteran of a war once fought follows to a grave avoided in the skirmishes and battles long forgotten, so the discarding of memorialized narratives will survive long past, or be placed upon the dusty shelves of books unread and periodicals unsealed.

Human memory itself, of course, is fickle and fraught with errors of judgment and contextual intermingling of past vestiges, present impressions and future anticipatory angst of what should be; thus do short stories and novels of Dickensian genres magnify the perspective from a child’s memory of slights and wrongs committed.  It is when the written form is completed, that we are locked into the truth or falsity of an otherwise remembered past.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the narrative Statement of Disability as propounded, explicated and sealed on SF 3112A becomes the foundation of one’s application.  For that is where the facts, figures and featured fellowship between one’s medical condition, the work one engages in, and the nexus between the two will determine the evaluative force and analytical judgment of the Administrative Specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Once the Federal Disability Retirement application is submitted to Boyers, Pennsylvania, and a CSA Number is assigned, the content of the narrative statement is accepted and ensconced in stone; medical conditions cannot be “added”, but they can follow the course of substantive inclusion; and nor can the narrative be recanted, despite differing memories diverging from the written Statement of Disability as submitted to OPM on SF 3112A.

As such, one must take care in the preparation, formulation and filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application, for the narrative recanted must be withdrawn, but the residue of past submissions may remain in copied form in the unforgiving files of a bureaucracy which never discards anything, even unto the dustbin of history.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intrusion upon the inviolable refuge

We all hold, savor and protect them; and whether they are physical escapes, relational interludes or mere cognitive distractions, they are the corners of secluded quietudes which serenely exist in the abandoned crossroads of time, like unbeaten dirt paths down lonely prairies of uncut grass wavering in the morning breeze of timeless passivity.

Perhaps it is watching a favorite television show; or of morning jogs leading to a little-used, covered bridge which tells of whispered pasts, history untold, and marvels unwitnessed but for the overhanging tress which record speechless events; or even the moments throwing a ball with one’s dog, where boundless energy is witnessed and with awe of language bonded by facial licks and warmth of hugs, that timeless memory is captured within the framework of human needs and wants.

The inviolable refuge is the shack we have built, and to which we escape and recede from the problems and complexities of civilization too weighty to bear without.  Those distracting hobbies, of collecting when amassing becomes a fetish, or when childhood dreams never amounted to much but where echoes of angry voices haunting us for innocence extinguished and promises unkept; those are the times when we close the door and lock it from inside, in order to regain the equilibrium lost in the maze of daily clatter.

Medical conditions have an invasive nature to them, where escape can never be completely pursued or accomplished.  Further, when medical conditions begin to invade the capacity of one to escape from the daily toils of the world, and where the universe of struggles becomes too much to bear and the crossing of lines held separate and apart by sheer force of willpower can no longer be rectified, then it is time to take steps to ameliorate the intrusive consequences.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives become consumed by the tripartite evils of work, medical conditions and the inability to fine refuge away from the creeping tides of problematic struggles, consideration needs to be given to advancing towards another horizon.

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 a “next-step” reflection for any Federal or Postal worker who has recognized that where a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and work therefore begins to intrude upon one’s personal concerns and struggles, then the demarcation between pleasure and pain becomes so confounded that all pathways for the requisite escape begin to close.

Each of us needs a refuge of quietude; and whether such haunts of escapism is satisfied by a quarter placed in a juke box, or travels to exotic destinations whether in physical flight or mental dreams, when life intrudes upon the inviolable refuge of our own creations, it is time to take affirmative steps to proceed and advance, in order to protect those hollow reeds of wavering wants waiting to whisper the sounds of silence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Noh & Other Masks

Every culture has some element of representative theatre of art, and Nogaku is the classical Japanese form which tells the narrative of human suffering, trials and challenges encompassing masks, elaborate costumes, and traditional music reflective of the times and periods of tragic and comic proportions throughout history.

Why are masks used?  What is it about the frozen caricature, that moment in time when a look, a grimace, a smile or an unconcealed filament of emotion that encapsulates human suffering, tragedy or a breeze of joy?  Masks frozen reveal but a singular moment — or so one assumes, until you look at it from a different angle, a changed light, or perhaps when one’s own emotions alter and bring to the stage the experiences and baggage accumulated throughout a lifetime.

Masks fascinate — look at the glee, fear and awe on a child’s face, and those memories frozen in time as the child claps, stares, puts the tiny involuntary hand to his or her mouth, as the play before unfolds, whether in life or on the stage.  We all wear masks; some to conceal, others to gloss over.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the daily mask in order to conceal the progressive deterioration of one’s health, is no different from the theatre of plays performed.

Only, for the Federal and Postal worker who must consider 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 “play” never ends, as real life is ongoing; and the mask worn changes not in response to the altering angle of light, but rather, because of the unremitting articles of life which slowly chip away at the brave face of time, like the dust of age which fades the painted Noh mask, whether on stage or in the arena of daily living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Byzantine Iconoclasm & Compromise

It was a period in history when religious images and icons were considered heretical.  It resulted not merely in the rejection of new such images, but in the active and aggressive destruction of venerated art, sculptures, etc., and the persecution of those who created or owned them.  The term itself has come to represent an unyielding, irrational stance, unmoved by rational discourse, and even more to the point, aggressive in stamping out all opposition.

“Compromise”, on the other hand, has come to represent the ability and capacity to accept something other than the original starting points of two or more conflicting views, victims or vantage vats; for some, it reflects weakness and meekness in the willingness to capitulate beyond principles, setting aside cherished beliefs for the sake of concession and agreement.

What happens when an individual possesses the personality characteristics of an iconoclast, but circumstances dictate flexibility for compromise? Beliefs are great to have; that, and a dime, won’t even buy a cup of coffee, anymore, and it is this conflict which often arises which tempers the spirit of human pursuit and happiness of infernal contentment.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impacts one’s capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the internal conflict between enduring the pain and turmoil of one’s medical condition, and the need to keep one’s commitment to family, employment and self-sacrifice, come to the fore, and is often reflective of the historical clash and intersecting conflict between Byzantine Iconoclasm and Compromise.

We often think that our own situation, in its microcosmic relevance, has never been known, unlikely to have been experienced, and stranger than fiction of verse.  But as Aristotle often notes in observing the physical universe, there is a “substratum” concealed by the elements merely seen by the observing eye, which continues on imperceptibly whether we know it or not; and for humans, that underlying unchangeableness falls under the generic aegis of the “human condition“.

Often, changing circumstances require a fresh perspective and a willingness to re-prioritize our lives.  For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must face the very-real prospect of a change in career and future goals because of a medical condition, the first order of priority must be one’s health and attending to his or her ongoing medical condition.

Once that has been established, then one must ask, Is continuing on in the same way — like the Byzantine iconoclast of yesteryear — impacting my health?  If the answer is a truthful, “Yes”, then one must consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to attain a state of circumstances where one’s health is not progressively being destroyed by one’s employment.  For, in the end, compromise from a prior set of circumstances is not indicative of weakness or concession of principles; it is merely to embrace the wisdom of ages long ago lost, and to recognize that those images destroyed in the fervor of Byzantine Iconoclasm never extinguished the true essence of religious belief, but merely the product of human creativity in service to the principles of beauty and art.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire