Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Complexity and Confusion

Life has become more complex than humanity has desired; those harsh days of “horse-and-buggy” past – of simplicity which is romanticized, yet of a day’s labor just to provide a subsistence lifestyle; where technology was not yet invented, leaving aside having had any thoughts about it; of leisure and convenience relegated to a Sunday afternoon, where even then, preparation of a meal was not about whether to go to the local supermarket or out to a restaurant, but to take and kill from one’s farmstead or hunt in the woods.

Is there a compromise and middle ground?  Does it all have to be complexity and confusion, or simplicity in its harshest manner?  There is, in modernity – and throughout the ages – a desire to “return to nature”; of an idealized perspective which is represented by dystopian narratives promulgated through epidemic catastrophes or war-torn holocausts of unimaginable proportions.

And, although such stories purport to reveal the dire consequences of how we treat this planet and seemingly portend of undesired results, yet there is a secret, underlying and not-so-discreet relishing of reincarnating Locke’s and Rousseau’s “State of Nature”, more formidably proposed by Darwin and his sycophantic followers, where the “survival of the fittest” best defines the characteristics of human excellence, and that those with book-smarts and wily, cagey talents – i.e., Wall Street Traders, computer geeks who made millions and billions by creating cognitively-applied moneymakers, and Bankers, Lawyers and the like (in other words, those who would never survive in a State of Dystopian Nature) – get their due recompense by being enslaved by the fitter and stronger.

But this is really nothing new; look at the utopian approach reflected in the transcendentalist philosophy represented by Walden, in the collective silliness of grown-ups wanting to be children as snot-nosed fantasies running around in diapers and hugging the earth, as Thoreau, Emerson and Channing, et al, were keen to do.  There is, then, a pervasive desire throughout history, of harkening back to a time never known, rarely reinvented, and forever in existence in its idealized, paradigmatic pinnacle of forms; but what of the alternative?

That option is already here – in the full complexity and confusion of modernity.

If we could just bottle every second, all of the minutes and the collection of hours promised that would be saved by each incremental advancement of technology’s rise, we should all be living the life of leisure.  Instead, it has all come crashing down upon us:  greater stresses; more complexity; a wider expanse of confusion.  They seem to come hand-in-hand, don’t they?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal Service worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the chosen career, complexity can lead to confusion, and by the inverse laws of physics, confusion can compound greater complexity.  Federal Disability Retirement is an area of law that is infused with inherent complexities; being confused about the process, including the statutory basis, what meets the preponderance of the evidence standard, and which case-law precedents apply, can further add to the complexity and confusion.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney who can alleviate both, and as life itself is complex and confusing enough, adding to it by stepping blindly into the foray of Federal Disability Retirement without legal representation may be not just the height of foolhardiness, but more akin to the fool who not only attempts to have himself as a client, but is moreover a confused fool with an unidentified personality complex.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: The Clock

It is an interesting device.  We can try and project back to a time of its non-existence, or at least when not every household owned one.  What could it have been like?  Where the hour was guessed at by the position of the sun – or was that not even part of the thought process?  Did the sun, dawn, dusk and twilight merely present a foreboding for a different paradigm?

Certainly, minutes and seconds likely had conceptual meaninglessness, and everyone worked, played and lived for the “moment”, without great regard or concern for the next day, the following season, or a decade hence.  Ship’s captains had a greater sense of future foreboding, though not necessarily of time, but of oncoming storms or changes in the currents; farmers lived season to season, and fretted as they still do about droughts or floods that might destroy crops; but as we entered into modernity, it was the grind of the clock that set the day for the city dweller, where payment for labor earned was remitted not by the rising and setting of the sun, but by increments of hours, minutes and labor beyond the darkness of a day ended.

At what point did time entrap us into a thought-process of expectancy that destroys the joy of a living moment?

If Friday provides a needed anticipation for a weekend of rest and repose, we immediately destroy and capacity to enjoy it by looking at the clock and realizing how many hours and minutes have passed by, and further denigrate our ability to appreciate by calculating the remainder of time.  We can become obsessed with the clock – its ticking diminution by projecting the decrease; the foreboding of what is yet to come, though it is merely within our minds; and the constant checking of incremental living of a life as against the clock that rules.

Medical conditions tend to remind us of the clock; or, perhaps it is the opposite, where the clock reminds us of our mortality when we suffer from a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity, the clock can serve as both a reminder as well as an obsession of foreboding thought processes.

Yes, the clock is likely ticking in a proverbial sense in terms of the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service having the patience (does such an animal exist for either?) in trying to “work with” the medical condition (a euphemism often interpreted as, “You better become fully productive soon, or else”), but in a more real sense, the Federal or Postal employee must make a decision at some point as to the prioritizing of one’s health as opposed to the positional elements of the job which is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to fulfill.

By law, the Federal or Postal employee who is released, separated or terminated (yes, there is a distinction between the three, but for the Federal employee of Postal worker, not enough of significance to define them here), the Federal or Postal employee can file for Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of such separation from service.  Certainly, in that instance, the clock begins to tick, and not just in a proverbial sense but in real legal terms.  One need not, however, wait for such an event to realize the clock’s significance; watching the clock as the medical condition continues to deteriorate, is reminder enough that time rules us each day whether or not we succumb to it, or not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Intestinal Fortitude

It is a word past its prime; one which was prevalent and pervasive in use during this author’s childhood, and represented a more refined way of saying, “guts” or “courage”.  It is one which brought forth a seeming awe and sense of credibility to the person who uttered the words, and once stated, it spread like wildfire amongst the pseudo-intellectuals and wanna-be William-F-Buckley-Jrs of the world.

Of course, no one could effortlessly drop a line of Latin like he could, and just as the death of an icon can fade the philosophical context of a given epoch, so words can lose their efficacy from generational transfer to the next; yet, the substance and essence of the meaning of the word remains like the vestige of wisdom displayed in a singular utterance from the toothless mouth of one’s grandfather, where the wide-eyed child looked from a vantage point well below, peering upwards with awe and disconsolate foreboding against the shadows of a crackling fireplace exuding warmth and tenderness amidst the melodious voice of loving care.  Use of words can be distinguished from the power of persuasion such usage can engender.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to consider the next step in 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, there are often three (3) primary issues to be kept in mind.

First, there is a vast difference with a real distinction, between having a medical condition, and proving that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The former concerns medical care and a doctor’s expertise, exclusively; the latter remains the territory of the attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law.

Second, the affirmative step in making progress towards filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must be of the Federal or Postal employee’s own choosing.  No amount of persuasion, harassment or good old-fashioned pestering can move the mountain, and it often takes a crisis of realization until such an important decision is finally made.

And, third, whether of guts, courage, forward-thinking or intestinal fortitude, that step to be taken can be a life-altering advancement into an unknown future; but in the end, when a medical condition arises, the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a positive affirmation that the future for the Federal or Postal employee can be secured through an annuity which represents something beyond mere wasted effort for all of those years of service to the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and whether by intestinal fortitude or something else, such dedication to service is a mark of honor well-deserved.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Nature’s Purposive Divide

Teleological ascription accounts for the rational foundation behind the activity of an organism, and explains the “why”, but not that it necessarily “is” or how it came to be.  Inertia is the very opposite, or perhaps in Heidegger’s universe, the “nothingness” as opposed to “being”.  When bees swarm in a frenzy, there is a “reason” for their activity; and just as the skittishness of a herd portends a sensing of danger, so the aggregation of ants streaming back and forth from a given point normally means a food source attracting for plunder.

We may speak about these occurrences in academic and esoteric ways, but the underlying foundation to it all is actually quite simple, but not necessarily simplistic:  Nature provides for a purpose to pursue, and that is what divides the living from the inertia which surrounds us.  And the rule of Nature and the idea of teleological impulse is that, when we lose that purposive divide, we become like the non-living substance which everywhere reminds us of the corollary of life:  death, and the loss of one’s soul.

Constancy of deterioration, progressive destruction, systematic downgrading, and persistent harassment can dampen the soul; but it is ultimately the loss of Nature’s purposive divide which finally stamps out the glowing flame within one’s soul.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, unbeknownst because of the flurry of daily activity, it is often the meaningfulness of the work one engages, which provides for that teleological impulse.  When a medical condition begins to pervade, and systematically denigrate and degrade the quality of that aspect of meaningfulness, and further, when the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service constantly and persistently acts to exacerbate and rob one’s joy of the projects of life, then it is time to 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.

Federal Disability Retirement through OPM allows for a further teleological chance and opportunity, by first securing a lifetime annuity, then allowing for earning income in the private sector and beginning a second career or vocation.  While many may not consider the securing of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity as a meaningful endeavor for one’s financial security, it is precisely the stability of income which allows for the Federal or Postal employee to turn one’s energies upon other and more important things, and to allow for Nature’s purposive divide to propel one forth into the community of men and women who separate themselves from the mass of humanity who see drones and crestfallen vestiges of souls who once rushed where fools had remained and lost that flickering flame of teleological pull.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Attorney: The Cauldron of One’s Past

The oversized iron pot hangs over the open fire, and the gurgling of ingredients steams and burps the lid in predictable sequences of rhythmic timing; the aroma is an admixture of sweet and mysterious combinations of one knows-not-what; perhaps of bones, marrow and herbs, here a whiff of something which touches upon the dark recesses of one’s memory, and there a hint of harboring horrors, reminding us of past deeds and loathsome reminiscences.

The figure who stands hunched over the source of pervading uprisings, is covered in a dark shawl; a bony hand gripping the large wooden ladle, mixing, turning, crouching over to sniff and taste; and from the chasm of the figure’s hollow mouth, toothless and echoing a chamber of snorting chafes, the sigh of satisfaction emits, as the cauldron of one’s past is ready to be served.  And so the story goes.

Who among us would want the fullness of one’s past and history of deeds to be revealed?  What pot would hold the full taste of one’s misdeeds, private concerns and actions engaged?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the process itself sometimes feels like one is forced to partake of a witch’s brew — who will be in the mix?  What private information will have to be revealed?  When will the pot of information be ready?  Who will mix the ingredients?  The mysteries contained within the mixture of the witch’s brew is indeed terrifying.  Every process which is unknown and, moreover, unknowable, is one fraught with concerns and trepidation of purpose.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is like the witch’s cauldron — it must bring to the fore one’s current circumstances (the medical condition), the impact upon the future (finances, future job prospects, etc.), and potentially the confrontation with one’s past (agencies love to do that).

The key is to understand the complexities of the administrative process, and to maneuver through the bureaucracy of the witch’s brew.  In doing that, one must always be cognizant of the cauldron of one’s past, and keep out of the reach and grasp of those bony fingers which reach out to encircle one’s throat, lest you become an ingredient in the admixture of the skeletons found at the bottom of the pot.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Plantar Fasciitis, Rotator Cuff, Extremity Injuries, etc.

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is often the case that Federal and Postal workers (and the general population) tend to “pigeonhole” medical conditions, injuries and disabilities.  Certain medical conditions are considered “causally related” to certain types of jobs, and this type of relational categorization is often true in Worker’s Compensation claims, or other benefits sought in other areas of law. 

Thus, Plantar Fasciitis is often closely associated with Postal Workers who must remain on their feet throughout the day; Rotator Cuff injuries are often associated with the repetitive physical use of upper extremities; Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, Cervical, Lumbar & Thoracic pain, degenerative disc disease, etc., are all categorized and pigeonholed into physical types of jobs.  Yet, chronic pain of one’s extremities, joints, musculature, etc. can often severely impact more sedentary types of jobs, precisely because of the high distractability of such chronicity of pain.  Additionally, one often overlooks the excessive amount of repetitive “micro-movements” one engages in while on a computer — of the thousands of dexterous manipulations of the fingers and the concomitant engagement of the shoulder muscles, etc., in the very act of typing on a keyboard. 

Pigeonholing a medical condition to a specific type of job is a dangerous endeavor of dismissing a viable Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS and CSRS.  Careful thought and consideration should be given for each medical condition, especially when attempting to ignore the impediment it is causing in performing the essential elements of one’s job does not make the pain go away.  “Out of sight” does not mean “out of mind”, especially when dealing with pain and the underlying medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire