FERS Disability Retirement: The Inevitability of Change

It is a tautology; for, “inevitable” encapsulated and embraces the term “change”, and one presumes that, in applying and comprehending the word “change”, there is a sense of inevitability contained within it.

Thus do we assume certain truths which naturally follow: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a moment (for, the natural course of the universe dictates that the weather will change over time); if you are dissatisfied with your life today, ride it out (for as circumstances appear static for the moment, time will resolve many of the uncertainties faced today); and similar dictums of sagely advice.

What we are not told, however, is that which we have already accepted by experience:  That “change” is too often a negative component, and that is why we believe that things almost always change for the worse.  That is the byline for the pessimist, of course: That good things never last; everything changes for the worse.  The optimist, on the other hand, always tries to squeeze the good out of anything that worsens, and tries to see the glass as half full, instead of half empty.  Whether you are an optimist or a cynic, both accept that change is inevitable; the difference is merely in how one perceives the change.

Then, of course, there is the human element — of affirmative actions taken by an individual or a multitude of individuals in performing acts that contain or otherwise alter the course of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, change is inevitable.  Whether by being placed on a “Performance Improvement Plan”, or the increasing harassment perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — or in the inevitability of a termination — the medical condition itself will normally and often dictate the need for change.

The “human element” is the action taken by the Federal or Postal employee in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where the affirmative intervention of actions taken may change the ultimate outcome of life’s trials.  Yes, the inevitability of change is a given; but how that change will come about and what outcome is to be determined will depend upon the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes both the inevitability and the need for change, but moreover, of how to go about initiating the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Footprints in the snow

Snow makes a flashlight irrelevant.  Even without a moon to shine, and of clouds to mask the twinkling stars, somehow the pure whiteness allows for visual acuity.  At dawn, the footprints betray the activity that once was; and the current inactivity shadowed by the early morning yawn makes one wonder: who noticed, and what if I were standing quietly under the elm tree, making myself a part of the stiff objects in the wintry twilight?

It is similar to the Zen query of the Sixties — of a falling tree with no one around, and the pondering: Was there a noise?  And then the rush of activity as the daylight dominates and the darkness recedes and the purity of the blanket of white that once betrayed the footprints in the snow is replaced by human trudging, winds blowing and the mere vestiges that are now only images in one’s memories.

People are born daily, live their lives and die; and like footprints in the snow that appear for a moment in history’s unmentioned footnotes, they disappear with barely a trace but a few words in the obituaries. Oh, try as we may in our futile attempts at being remembered — of graveyards with larger stones; of “memorials” pasted on the back windows of cars; or even of yearly vigils; the fact is that we are mere footprints in the snow.  Yet, what is important is that the footprints did, in fact, once exist, even if the windswept vanishing of once-seen imprints disappear like vapors of steam curling into the midnight sky.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is sometimes like footprints in the snow — you realize that you were once “relevant” in this world and that the Federal Agency once looked upon you as a “valuable member of the team”; but now, you are treated as the windswept footprints that were once clearly visible in the snow, and now no longer.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the last act before the wind sweeps away the footprints; it is a means of recognizing what is important in life, and to focus upon your health and well-being and to leave behind the footprints in the snow that are so easily forgotten in the hubbub of the world’s daily activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: The chaos of life

The Biblical reality depicted in the very first verses reflects a reality more real than most would suppose, and for those who dismiss the ancient Books as merely relics of a superstitious past and thus irrelevant for modernity’s wake of technological sophistication, perhaps a redux and revisitation is in order.

Most of life is chaos; or, to put it more starkly, the chaotic lives we lead are the rule, and not the exception.  How else to account for the constant need for quietude, of a short respite by leaning back into one’s chair and inviting the soft darkness of a needed nap; a renouncing and resignation away from the constant din of noisiness; of the rush to find time, just a sliver of sanity, within the vast chaos of a feckless universe.

The soft-lined trees that lead us back into our neighborhoods; of the structured redundancy where sidewalks circle into ever-repetitions leading to nowhere; of bedrooms lined like secluded rooms within insane asylums just to get a moment’s peace from the busy-ness of life; and then the alarm clock awakens, the rush is on, into traffic mazes that pound the heart, create migraines from a calm just experienced a mere hour before, and the addiction to craziness begins anew as the dawn of hope becomes mired in the hopelessness of today’s grinding schedule.

The earth is no longer without form, or void, and yet the chaos of formlessness and void-ness remains and surrounds; and the light that we declare is the recreation we so desperately seek, only to be interrupted by the survival instincts that remind us that what we live for cannot possibly be attained, but somehow the darkness from which we escaped so long ago is a vestige of hopes yet rekindling, and if we can only make it through this day, perhaps tomorrow will bring to us a sacrifice of our better selves.

The chaos of life is real; it is with us each and every day.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the reality of such chaos begins to dawn upon the need to prepare, formulate and file 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, lest the chaos of life become life’s chaotic life everlasting, never to be rescued from the formless void of ancients long since remaining.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire