FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Dickens, Salinger & Capote

It is always dangerous to offer an overview of complexity; simplicity of explanation often teeters upon the precipice of superficiality, and when it comes to the psychology of people, we normally get it wrong.  Yet, we can try.

For Dickens, the childhood experiences of destitution and humble beginnings allowed for a magnification of love for humanity borne of cruelty in childhood.  In Salinger, we see the pent-up destruction of a young man whose anguish was molded through sights, sounds and experiences devastated by war.  And of Capote, we glean the lasting scars of rejection, first with minor cuts and burns by the divorce of his parents, then deeper in being bounced about by relatives, only to stab him with disappointment when his childhood friend, Harper Lee, received the accolades and universal love he sought so passionately, needed beyond all others, but never felt but for the loss of that which he could not embrace.

The life experiences each encountered reflected, in the end, upon the exhibition of an inner soul:  Dickens continued to provide the public with readings of characters forever loved, and embraced the sea of admiration which was the source of his limitless imaginations, borne of a world which tried to contain him with a system of caste and class.

Salinger retreated more and more into the insular world of his own safe web of privacy and secrecy, having concluded that the world was not to be trusted, that phoniness lurked in every man’s soul, and the horrors witnessed at the hands of war and concentration camps were evidence enough to deny others anything remaining.

And for Capote — we may sum it up in the cruel but crisp truism upon his death, by fellow author Gore Vidal, who quipped that it was a “good career move”.  Acting ever the fool with drunkenness and debauchery, the public destruction of a talent so extraordinary was a painful sight to witness.

Can we learn anything from these paragons of talent?  Or, are such characters merely of our own creations, snickering at the fact that, even where seemingly boundless talent exists and opportunities reflect limitless choices, self-destruction nevertheless becomes the teleology of choice.  At a minimum, they reveal to us the complexity of human essence, and that what people react to on the outside barely scratches the surface of what remains within.

And this is the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are harassed and intimidated in the workplace, when a medical condition results in the necessity to prepare, formulate and file 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.  For, the coworkers, managers and supervisors who treat the Federal or Postal worker as nothing more than a nuisance through loss of productivity, fails to address the core value of the individual suffering at the hands of consequences not chosen through self-destructive behavior, but merely because of fate of circumstances.

The key for the Federal and Postal worker both, is to choose a path which refuses to submit to self-immolation resulting from the negative experiences at the hands of others; rather, to embrace the love of others as Dickens did, and not retreat into the insular retardation of life as Salinger proposed, or the reverberating echoes made by the empty bottle of alcohol, drowning in later life as Capote consumed, shuddering with the laughter of others and snickering for want of fools in his diminishing stature, ever losing the love which he sought so selfishly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Moments of Perceptual Clarity

We tend to seek that which we cannot find; apply criteria beyond rational capacity; and derive statistical results nowhere to be discovered but for quantitative input implied by imaginary output.

That single source of “meaning”; that “cause” which provides value; that lottery of life’s misgivings which fortune promised but never conveyed; and so the inheritance which Cain and Abel sought but for the love of their father and the instability which Dostoevsky described in his novels of heritage, destiny and anguish, are but filaments of our own fears and misgivings in a world which defies our limited attempts to garnish, contain and delimit.

There are moments of perceptual clarity, and then there is the rest of life.  Perhaps it appears amidst the morning fog at first dawn of light; or just before sleep overtakes, as the subconscious is allowed to enter into the rational discourse mandated by daily toil; in any event, it comes only in fleeting moments, or from the ashes of destruction and self-immolation, like the Flight of the Phoenix whom everyone else had forgotten.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in a conundrum, where life’s misgivings seem too complex and too confusing to move forward because of a medical condition which has curtailed the hopes and dreams once sought for, and attained through hard work and toil of sweat, the need to 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, may become a reality only at the highest point of personal crisis.

That is often when the only moment of true clarity comes to the fore; and when that time comes, it is necessary to hold onto that time of self-revelation, and begin to seek the counsel and wisdom of others, in preparing an effective and compelling case in order to win the benefit awaiting, from OPM and through the Federal agency for whom you toiled and sacrificed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The Demarcation between Sanity and…

The dividing line itself may be a false option; for, there may well exist a spectrum of alternatives prior to falling off of the fathomless cliff into the netherworld of the opposite.  Yet, human behavior often reveals to us the tenuous hold we have upon this thin reed we identify as the “civilized” world, where conformity to standards of behavior are relatively followed, and the social contract between citizens constrains open aggression towards one another; and from the individual’s viewpoint, the internal mechanism of orderliness remains fairly intact.

We recognize, however, that there exists such a dividing line; how else to explain the rise of dystopian novels and movies depicting the quick regression into chaos and madness?  Then, on an individualized scale, the daily pressures, the stresses encountered, the bombardment of data, needless and useless information, and the constant obsession with our Smartphones — we come to believe that the demarcation is between sanity and the “other” universe, comprised of complete loss of rational discourse.

That is why we come to accept that a person has “snapped” or “gone postal“; and the new normalcy includes a bomb being set off in a crowded mall, and certainly for some endangered countries and populations, that is a daily occurrence to be expected, like birth, death, taxes and sweaty palms on a first date of teenage romance.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must work under conditions of daily and almost intolerable levels of stress, well comprehend the plight of that fragile decomposition of demarcations.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to continue performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the exponential quantification of stress levels begins to expand and show the almost-imperceptible cracks opening the inner resolve to “tough it out“.

The question is:  How long does it take, and not “whether”, but “when”?  The reason why the little old lady next door always says to the reporter, “He was such a nice young man…” is that we rarely take the time to notice the subtle changes of decomposition.  Instead, we tend to observe things in incremental jumps, like warp speeds of bouncing into another universe of experiential encounters, instead of being watchful to daily needs and wants.

For the Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition has come to a point where it becomes clear that simply “existing” as opposed to “living” has become a daily reality, the time may be now that preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has become a necessity, and not merely a theoretical option for an obscure future event.

The dystopian universe first begins with the demarcation between sanity and reality, and the failure to recognize and identify the source of deterioration; rarely is it between sanity and its opposite, except perhaps in timeless tunnels of inchoate universes where the whispers of crying fears shout out in chasms of darkness, in a madness we are creating daily for ourselves as we delay the inevitable.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The False Option of Extremes

-The choices we make are contingent upon the knowledge we possess; thus, if we choose between a tripartite offering of x, y & z, when (as perhaps illustrated by Venn Diagrams within a rectangular border representing the “universal” set of possibilities) actual and available options may extend beyond the known quantities available, then we have made our decision based upon an ignorance of alternatives.

Offerings are generally made based upon self-centered care; in negotiating with an adversary, it is normally the option of extremes which are granted:  Either X, or Y, but not both, and if neither X nor Y, then consequence-T.  No mention is made concerning the availability of sub-options Xx, or Yy, to the remaining result of T1, 2 or 3.  Furthermore, when the concealment or unrevealed alternatives fail to be presented, it is often the case that only the extreme of options are conveyed, which makes the entire set of non-universal choices false in their very definition.  This can be exponentially quantified when a medical condition is introduced into the equation, precisely because mental acuity and sound judgment become influenced by desperation of circumstances.

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 positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the false option of extremes can very likely be attributable to fear, lack of knowledge, combined with loss of confidence in the fair distribution of justice and good sense.

It is indeed troubling that so many Federal and Postal workers know nothing about Federal Disability Retirement, or its availability after having worked just 18 months in the Federal sector (under FERS), or 5 years under CSRS.  The confusion can sometimes arise in the availability of Social Security Disability, which is distinct and separate from Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The two are distinct and different in multiple ways:  the criteria to qualify; the nature of the benefit; the rules concerning employment after approval of either, etc.  Yes, if under FERS both SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement are granted, there is an “offset” tantamount to a coordination of benefits between the two, but for those who do not seek outside employment, the combination of both (despite the offset) will normally net the (former) Federal or Postal employee more in terms of a monthly annuity.

Whatever the reasons, the age-old adage (attributable to Sir Francis Bacon) that knowledge is power, and lack of it injustice and contempt (the addendum clause is merely added by this author) by those who possess but offer mere false alternatives, is but a pervasive truism abounding despite the Internet, Google and other information-searching technologies of modernity.

In the end, the false options of extremes should be countered by a deliberative intent and real curiosity to know — know that the “other side” is never truly looking out for your best interest; that in making spur-of-the-moment decisions, to take a further moment to investigate and reflect may be fruitful, and in the end, to recognize that for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, working on at the expense of one’s health, or resigning, are not the only two options available, but preparing, formulating and 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 also within the subset of universal alternatives available to the Federal or Postal employee.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire