FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The retirement itch

It normally doesn’t come until late in life; of that picturesque paradigm of the old man sitting in a rocking chair beside a crackling fire, a dog or cat, perhaps, on the floor just beside, reading a novel or looking through a picture album; where is Norman Rockwell, and is he still relevant?

In modernity and more recently, the picture depicted is of the old couple, or in solitary state of affairs, climbing the mountains in the Himalayas or traveling to exotic lands beyond; for, the advertising agents have figured out that if old people sit around in rocking chairs, mutual funds merely sit idly in accounts without becoming subject to trading fees and other expenses, and it is best to alter the mindset for future sources of income rather than to allow for stagnation to determine the course of a past.

Is that too cynical a view to posit?  Of course, events outside of one’s control will often determine whether or not activity in old age can be embraced, or will a more placid, sedentary lifestyle consume one’s retirement?

The “retirement itch” is one that often comes late in life, after a lifetime of toil, strain, stresses and “dealing with” problems.  Is “retirement” a concept that developed only in the last and present centuries?  Did not most people just work and work and work until one “died in one’s boots” – the proverbial preference of most people who have been productive all of their lives?

Then, of course, a medical condition can cut short and impose an early retirement upon a person – and that is what Federal Disability Retirement allows for, 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 Federal or Postal job.

It is that lack of a “retirement itch” that often makes the Federal or Postal employee pause; for, he or she is simply “not ready” to file for Federal Disability Retirement.

Yet, it is not any “retirement itch” or longing to rest and relax that leads one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Rather, it is the recognition that there are more important things to prioritize in life besides one’s work and career – such as one’s health.

It may well be that you are too young to have any sense of a “retirement itch”; but that sensation may be lost forever unless you focus upon your health and well-being, such that you will live long enough to scratch that itch that tells you that tomorrow may yet bring a brighter hope for a future yet untold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability: The constant struggle

It does appear never-ending, doesn’t it?  And what of that dream – of some windfall, or perhaps the lottery pick of numbers that somehow keeps people coming back to the corner Mart and purchasing tickets despite the astronomical chances that defy the odds of probability?  Why is it that people are more apt to believe in conspiracy theories that the moon landing or aliens from Mars have been concocted and coopted by some nefarious government, but no one believes that those “winners” of multi-million dollar lotteries have been a “set-up” to keep people enticed into buying more and more worthless tickets?

Is it because life is a constant struggle, and so long as there is some fantasy to believe in, some pie-in-the-sky probability to reach for and dream about, the misery of today’s misfortune can be borne with aplomb “so long as” … so long as there is some hope for tomorrow?  And even if the lottery were to be won, by some unforeseen whim of a chance begotten, would life no longer be that constant struggle, and does financial freedom guarantee happiness, joy, freedom from the struggle and liberty from the daily fetters of life?  Why is it that we believe that winning a treasury trove of sudden infusion of financial depth will suddenly resolve all ills of life?

And then, of course, there is the medical condition.

What most people would not trade for good health – and, for some, even a day’s worth, an hour’s splice of that day, or even a few minutes free from the pain, the anxiety, the worry of ill-health?  It is one of those statements of proverbial “throwaways” that we all pay lip-service to, isn’t it?  That one that goes something like: “Oh, I would trade in all of my wealth, status and everything I own to get my health back.”

We hear other people say it, and nod with quiet agreement, but somehow, we don’t quite believe it – until our own health begins to deteriorate.

The key to wisdom in life’s journey is to come to a point of recognition that the constant struggle never ends; and by such recognition, to savor the moments of beauty and those “little joys” of life.  Yes, yes, that is the basis of another “conspiracy” or sorts – of the wealthy and powerful to make the “little people” believe in such joys as flowers, children and puppy dogs, while they go out and sun themselves on the extravagant yachts of life.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose health has been deteriorating, who recognize that one’s career is more than just the constant struggle of daily living, it may be time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, you cannot any longer do all of the essential elements of your job; yes, life is a constant struggle, and your medical condition makes it all the more so; no, you are not going to win the lottery; and finally, even if you did, it won’t make the pain or depression go away, and winning the lottery, in the end, won’t make the constant struggle disappear, and probably won’t even make it any more bearable; and thus the need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The out-of-tune band

There is something particularly annoying about a piece of music, an orchestral ensemble or a simple song that is out of synchronized perfection, or put quite simply, out of tune.

The annoyance can be traced, of course, to the origin of the discordant piece; the “band” itself, the group of musicians or the orchestra or symphony that is responsible for the unpleasant sound waves that drift through the molecular structure of the unseen world and pervades down into the refractive caverns of one’s ears, then interprets through neurons firing in order to “hear” the vibrations that are supposedly in consonance with one another such that it becomes a coherent song, piece or musical collection.

The out-of-tune band is indeed an annoyance, and we believe should be outlawed and made illegal.  Short of that, what is it about a discordant collection of individual instruments that makes it unpleasant?

Taken individually, perhaps each player of a particular instrument can play it with utmost perfection; yet, when two or more players come together, it makes for an exponentially complicated attempt at coalescence, harmonious combination and synchronized heavenliness.

Getting married – of two different people coming together and making a lifetime commitment without killing one another – is difficult enough; getting a band together and coordinating disparate sounds and vibrations and, through practice, creating music that approaches a pleasantness of sounds – now, that is what you call nigh impossible, and somewhat like marriage in the sounds of silence (sorry, but somehow one must always try and include Simon and Garfunkel’s classic; and, of course, we must ask the eternal question: What ever happened to Art Garfunkel?) that we all strive to achieve by perfection of heavenly voices.

A Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is somewhat like trying to put a band together, as well.  Coordinating all of the elements – the Statement of Disability; the medical evidence, making the legal arguments; delineating the entirety of the Federal Disability Retirement packet into a coherent whole such that it does not “sound” discordant, which then hints at a trough of suspicion or insincerity, which then further leads back to an “annoyance” at the originator of the Federal Disability Retirement packet, and a likely denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – is an important step towards an uncertain outcome.

Like the out-of-tune band, the success of a Federal Disability Retirement application cannot be just “putting together” a few documents here and there and haphazardly writing one’s Statement of Disability; no, it must be put together so that there is coherence, coordination and coalescence in bringing together all of the evidence for such an endeavor to be deemed “a fine tune”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The centrality of fringe

In whatever definition one wants to adopt, the meaning is clear:  It is that which is on the outer periphery, and not central to the essence recognized.  But what if the reversal occurs?  Can that even be imagined?  Can the fringe constitute a substantive centrality, and yet retain the stability of its essence?  And, once the mirror conversion occurs, does the identification remain as it was, or do we accept the fringe elements as the convention, and the formerly known staid components as outside the normative foundations of an acceptable core?   Can that which was once considered unacceptable, metamorphose over a sufficiently quantitative linear heritage to the extent that the bizarre can become the best and brightest?

In Darwinian evolutionary hypotheses, the concept of a sudden mutation occurring as a result of environmental pressures forcing an alteration for the benefit of the organism’s survival, is often rejected because, as a general rule, nature does not favor large-scale transformations, unless there is a concurrent catastrophic need arising with little time for adaptation.  Yes, in cultural transformations, where artifice of choosing may occur by the quiet assent of a silent majority, the fringe elements may dominate by sheer vocal exuberance in drowning out any meek protest by will of volume.

Most people want quiet lives uninterrupted by forced decay of choosing; the sheep follow in drones of silent consent, if only because each can see only the limited perspective of the backside inches before, and stoppage of movement would mean being accosted in the rear by another follower of mindless assent, where discomfort is the greater evil in comparison to refusing to take another step.

At what point does an insignificant minority take upon an appearance of greater dominance, where the cacophony of shrill voices exceeds the disproportionate echo of seamless quietude, and we simply give in because the comfort zone of silence is shattered by the discomfort of resistance?  Those threads which flow freely – the ones which give an added “touch” to a piece of clothing, the Persian rug or the shawl which warms; what distinguishes that from a frayed mind, a singed material where residue of ashen leftovers appear as dangling limbs from a cauldron of confusion?

At some point, each of us becomes mere fringe elements, despite our best attempts at remaining relevant.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has cast the Federal or Postal employee into that pot of “otherness” because of an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job – it is time to do something about having been re-categorized as a “fringe” element.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only way in which to cross back over into the essence of what it means to be central to the essence of life’s hope, and not allow others to castigate us into being the centrality of fringe, when that is not where you belong in the first place.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employment Medical Separation & Retirement: Putting forth an air of pretension

Why is it that changing one’s vernacular accent is considered pretentious?  What if people, on a daily basis, came into the office and assumed a different dialect — the Northerner with a sudden affectation of a Southern drawl; a Midwesterner assuming the melody of the Irish; or the New Englander presuming upon a Jamaican tango; and the next day, in random turns, everyone played musical chairs with the spoken word and its vehicle of communication — why would we be critical of such a display of linguistic malleability?  The phonetics of pretension remain predictably unacceptable; somehow, we know that a certain “putting on” of an accent is either bad or less than genuine.

Take the hypothetical one step further:  Say that the world went mad (this part of it is hardly difficult to fathom) and everyone around went about taking on a different accent, and there was one particularly annoying person (you pick the gender) who everyone thought was being overly “pretentious” by speaking in a melodious gaelic accent.  “Oh, he thinks he is so good at it!”  “She sounds so fake and insincere!”  But let’s take it a step further:  Assume that everyone agreed that the person was so terrible that we all demanded that he/she cease the phonetic banality, until it turns out that she is actually a native of Galloway from southern Scotland, and that the alleged pretension was truly genuine.  Would the accent still be a “bad” accent?  Is there such a thing as a bad but genuine accent, or does the “badness” inure to the pretension of insincerity?

Now, take the Federal or Postal worker who has a medical condition or is injured, and comes into the office or the facility daily, and hides — as best he or she can — the medical condition, but suffers by way of less productivity and inability to fulfill all of the essential elements of the position; is that Federal or Postal employee being “pretentious”?  And when the Supervisor or Manager of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service discovers the medical condition and begins the inevitable campaign of harassment, intimidation and PIP preparations, do the others come to his or her defense, or scurry away like rats on a sinking ship?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, have the option of 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.  In the end, there is never a “bad accent” when the origin of phonetic uniqueness is genuine and sincere; just as it is never a negative reflection upon a Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM when there is a medical condition which prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Both are valid and viable “life” choices that must be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Medical Separation: The abstract concept of “the other”

Existentialism could only have arisen from the ashes of nihilism; Western Philosophy, spanning the spectrum of metaphysics, epistemology, Rationalism, Empiricism and the tradition of questioning origins, essences and the compendium of who we are and what it all means, does not lead to the natural annihilation of intellectual curiosity.  But Existentialism, does.  Why?  Because Existentialism is an emotional reaction, rather than a rational rebuttal.

From the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the denigration of human dignity reduced to mere abstractions, the philosophy of negation of which it is characterized, is more of a “sense” approach than a logical methodology of comprehension and understanding.  Thus, while traditional philosophy was always denoted by a curiosity towards abstraction, Existentialism was pulled back by a retractive revulsion because of the alienating impact of conceptualization.

That is why the most powerful explication of the philosophy of Existentialism is found in a novel by Camus (reference, The Stranger or The Plague), and not in reading Sartre’s meandering explanation (Being and Nothingness) of a confused attempt to systematize the emotive side of man.  Thus, in reading Camus, one gets the “sense” of abandonment, separation, distance and alienation of man from the community of others; whereas, in reading the traditional philosophical works — take any page from Plato, Aristotle or the Medievals — one enters an universe of order, systematized approach, and methodological rationalization emanating from curiosity and questioning.

The two approaches, however, are not unrelated; for, it is precisely because of the traditional training of discussing concepts in abstract form (and thereby separating the thought-process from human touch and interaction) that disregarding the humanity of a living being could be achieved.  In more provincial terms, it is easier to be cruel to a concept, than to one’s own child or spouse.  And, indeed, that is how we survive in advancing our purposive actions of harassment and sheer meanness; by objectifying “the other”, we can bifurcate our minds and categorize the subject into something less.

Supervisors do it to workers and underlings; no longer is the worker a fellow human being, but “that ## % !!”.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the lessons learned and gleaned from the reactive lens of Existentialism may be twofold:  First, don’t expect sympathy from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service because you have a medical condition (that, unfortunately, is probably self-evident and a “given” already), and Second, do not expect cooperation or efficiency to suddenly prevail when engaging the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, merely because the need to obtain Federal OPM Disability Retirement should in and of itself touch a sense of empathy.

In neither case will a positive response be evoked.

Ultimately, the bureaucratic process of filing 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, is a surreal experience, and one in which the sense of alienation felt by Existentialism is encountered throughout.  That is because, in the end, the Federal or Postal applicant in a Federal Disability Retirement case is none other than a mere “other”, and no more than an abstraction to be gotten rid of, like the distraction you became when once you were no longer fully productive on the assembly line of life’s refuse of illegitimacy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire