FERS Medical Retirement from OPM: The Fun of It All

Is that the point?  Do we live because there is a balancing of accounts, and so long as the right side of the ledger has enough checkmarks on the “leisure” side of life, where fun, joy, entertainment and self-satisfaction retain more fulfillment than on the left side (i.e., where work, drudgery, misery and repetitive monotony are recognized) — then, it is all “worth it”?

Do we continue on because of the “fun of it all”, or do most of us merely endure life, barely acknowledging the futility of our efforts and the inevitable melancholy of our lives, paused and interrupted only by the temporary suspension by sleep or daydreams?

We whisper our fantasies: “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if…”.  It is the “Ifs” of life that transport ourselves from the reality of our condition into transferences of fantasies where for a brief moment a virtual reality replaces the starkness of present circumstances.  “If only I had a million dollars” (although, in this day and age, with inflation and the monetary devaluation of purchase power combined with the exponential increase of modern life’s consumer appetites, such a paltry amount barely makes a difference, anymore); “If only I had done X when I was younger”; “If only I had invested in such-and-such stocks”; “If only …”.

Like the overused reference to Sisyphus and the rolling boulder that never ceases, the toil that forever must be embraced and the daily grind that always remains, the fun of it all was always a misshapen goal that was never to be. Obligations in this society are no longer recognized; duties are easily abandoned; there remains only the barrenness of an isolated existence.  Where was “the fun of it all”?

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 may be time to prepare, formulate and submit an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consult with an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, even if one’s Federal or Postal career was never sought based upon the illusion that life and a career should be pursued for the “fun of it all”, if the medical condition has stripped away even the illusion one once possessed, then it is time to seek a remedy for a replacement illusion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement under FERS: The Inconsequential

In the annals of history, most of us remain as the inconsequential.  Not even a footnote, nor even a passing reference, we are lumped into generations of third-person subjects unnamed and faceless.  We might read, for instance, that during the “Sixties” or “Seventies” (or beyond), this group of people or that community of individuals did X or participated in Y, and we might say to ourselves, “Oh, that is a reference to my generation”.  Yet, as an individual, it is rare to be identified by name.

History always fails to recognize the inconsequential; except, perhaps, by memory of relatives and faded photographs barely remembered in gatherings where old folks once chattered about this or that person whose absence emphasizes the starkness of the inconsequential.

Is that what many of us fear?  Not just about being ignored; and perhaps not even of leaving this world without a mark of recollection; but of being one of the inconsequential within a mass populace of unknown graves, unmarked but for those faded memories of vestiges in whispered conversations once echoing down the forgotten chambers of time.

And of that place where we toiled for a decade or more — where so much time was spent, so much effort and expenditure of labor: The workplace.  Once we are gone, will we even be remembered?  Will a fellow worker say, years hence, “Oh, remember that guy who…?”

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, the fear of becoming one of the “inconsequential” is often what makes the Federal or Postal worker pause before considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

But just remember this: There is life after work, and whatever “consequential” work you believe you contributed to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, there is nothing that cannot be replaced, and the greater consequence of failing to attend to one’s health is what makes for the inconsequential to loom larger with greater consequences down the road.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Silence

Whether of the historical novel by Shusaku Endo or of the film adaptation by Martin Scorsese, the powerful images evoked (or provoked?) by the contrast between noise heard and the silence following can be felt only with the “before” and “after”.  The novel itself is Endo’s masterpiece, although he has written many; and, of course, Scorsese has a long list of accomplishments and commercial successes, but Silence is not one of them— at least not by commercial standards.

It is a serious movie with few bright moments; of contracted theological arguments and disputations revealing cultural chasms so deep that only a simple metaphor can make it comprehensible; of an agonizing series of endless torture; of the anguished, linguistic divide apparent between two countries which fail to understand each other because of the subtleties of language’s disconnect.  And then there is — silence — in contrast to noise; of a “before” and an “after”.

And the questions which foretell of the quietude: Does the lack of God’s intervention mean that there is no God?  Does “speaking” of denying and renouncing, or the act of stepping upon the image of God, determine one’s faith, or can faith be alive within the silence of one’s inner soul?  Can the Peter-like character, Kichijiro, remain a “faithful apostle” despite his breaking of his silence in actively renouncing and apostatizing?  And who has the greater faith — the priest who grudgingly passes judgment each time the apostate comes for confession and forgiveness, or the one who renounces but then confesses and asks?

In the end, Silence is too heavy a movie to be considered “entertainment”, and most people will not want to spend an evening watching a movie that has little joy and less to laugh about; for, the pain that is experienced by so many in this world in the silence of one’s own suffering is torturous enough without asking to view an even greater expansion of such pain and silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, similarly, suffer in silence because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consulting and being guided by an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is likely the wiser course to take, as the bureaucratic morass that one must be guided through can be likened to the foreign country that the priests in Silence had to endure — through the pitfalls of dangers and caverns of unknown territories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS: Adopting an Adaptive Plan

Most of us barely have one; and when we do, we quickly forget about it and move on, satisfied that —by the mere declaration of having one — we need not implement it or follow it rigorously beyond the mere possession of it.

The old Soviet Union (do we remember what the abbreviation, “U.S.S.R.” stood for?) had 5 and 10 year plans, and when the stated goals were not met, they simply cooked the books and declared that they were well ahead of the declared plans, and so the satellite nations under the rubric of the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” nodded its approval and genuflected to the Soviet Central Planning Committee (for, you couldn’t have a plan unless there were multiple committees to make those plans) and were grateful for the plans even though their populace were starving, despite the declared success of all of that planning.

Battlefield officers rely upon them; although, in recent years, because war is no longer fought by armies planning an attack upon other armies, the need for adopting an adaptive plan has become a survival necessity.  Life itself rarely follows a plan; most of the time, one’s day is consumed by just trying to survive.

When a medical condition hits us, of course, then all of the planning in the world — from a retrospective and myopic viewpoint — didn’t amount to much.  What is the plan, then, for a Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform his or her job because of the medical conditions that prevent one from doing so?

The Federal Disability Retirement “plan” is to allow for a Federal or Postal employee to file for OPM Medical Retirement benefits under FERS, so that the Federal employee can medically retire, focus upon one’s health and still, hopefully, enter the workforce in the near or mid-future and continue to contribute, all the while receiving a disability retirement annuity.  Now, that sounds like adopting an adaptive plan where interruption of a life plan allows for some grace beyond lack of planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Lifetime Achievement Award

There is a sadness necessarily attached to such an award: It is an acknowledgement that a person’s worth has come to an end.  A life’s end is recognized when such an award is granted, and no one believes that anything further will be attained.  It is a dismissive award — a pinning of a goodby to the lapel of one’s mortality and an applause that soon fades because of achievements recognized and easily forgotten.

No one says of the recipient of such an award, “Boy, but does she have such potential!”  Rather, it is the very awarding of it which is the indicator that: The curtain is closing; the rocking chair is there in the corner; it is time to let others in the door; and, your time has passed.

What can it possibly mean for a person to accept such an award?  How can others determine the achievement within a span of a lifetime, and can it ever be rescinded?  What if, upon receipt of such an award, a person turns around and commits a heinous crime — do we then walk out of the ceremony shaking our heads and whisper to one another, “Well, he would have achieved it but for….”?  Isn’t that always the party-pooper conclusion, when we say of this or that: Except for; but for; if only…?

It is like saying that X was a great president except for Y, or that such-and-such was the best leader but for this-and-that.  To receive or be offered the “lifetime achievement award” is to declare the end of one’s life; to refuse it, is to embrace life and one’s future.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe that filing for Federal Disability Retirement means that it is an “end” to something — somewhat akin to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award — such a thought should be reconsidered.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement is not an end, but a mere beginning: It allows the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon one’s health, and then to consider another vocation or career in the private sector by allowing him or her to make up to 80% of what one earned in the Federal sector, and continue to receive a disability retirement annuity. Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to “get the facts”, lest you become embroiled in the fallacy that Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Perfecting life versus living perfectly

It is the latter which most of us do, or pretend to do, and which stunts the capacity to engage in the former.  And so that which we should be doing (the former) is prevented because of that which we are already doing (the latter), in a never-ending cycle of self-destruction.

Those Internet internecine attempts which include Facebook and Instagram don’t help in these matters, and perhaps exacerbate them exponentially.  For, in both cases, they encourage each one of us to “appear” to be living perfectly, when the whole endeavor of human existence should be a striving towards perfecting our lives — i.e., of recognizing the imperfect status of our current condition, having a paradigm towards which one strives in order to correct those defects, and thus towards the “end” of this prosaically-described “journey” of sorts, to be able to declare that “perfection” was somewhat achieved.

But — no — instead, we create an appearance, a facade, a dissembling image of one’s appearance and put forth a self-portrait of an already-achieved perfection: The perfect happiness; the perfect outing; the perfect couple and the perfect participle.

The origins of philosophy (i.e., Plato, Aristotle and those who followed) were always concerned with the differentiation between “Appearance” and “Reality”; in modernity, the two have been conflated, where one’s appearance is the reality of one’s existence.  By commingling concepts which were once clearly bifurcated, we prevent the capacity of human beings to strive to be better, to grow and mature towards greater fulfillment of one’s potentiality.

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 a familiar concept — of hiding one’s imperfections in an environment that demands perfection daily.  Medical conditions and their impact on a person’s life — these are considered “imperfections” in a society that demands nothing less than perfection.  Thus does the targeted harassment begin — to “punish” the very person who needs support, empathy and understanding, instead of the constant barrage of unneeded animosity.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not, in and of itself, be the perfect solution; but, as imperfect a solution as filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may seem, the appearance of an imperfect solution may be preferable than the perfection expected but unattainable in a society that appears to be perfectly fine with imperfections pervasively perfected by appearances of concealed imperfections.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Damaged goods

Perhaps it is of a fine porcelain statue; or a painting that depicts perfection in a pastoral panorama presenting a private purview of picturesque purity (sorry for the alliteration that cannot be resisted); or a first edition book that is without blemish; or a host of other “goods” that one values, admires, cherishes — and is purchased with anticipation of contentment.

Upon returning home, one notices an imperfection not previously spotted: a small “crack” on the forearm of the porcelain figure; a tear in the upper right portion of the canvas, just below the line where the frame casts a shadow and becomes almost imperceptible; or a crayon marking on page 324, in the middle of the book, unnoticed unless one inspects each and every page.

The item cannot be returned, because of either distance (perhaps it was purchased on international travel in a small shop in a foreign country not known for return policies); policy (the sign clearly stated, “All sales are final and the purchaser bears all responsibility in inspecting the condition of the item prior to buying”) or some other impracticable reason.

The imperfection is so minor that no one else knows, would notice or otherwise cares to comment on such an impurity of the state of the condition, except for one small and irritating fact: You know.  It bothers you.  The fact of the damaged goods betrays something about yourself — not merely that a contrast against a paradigm of perfection has stirred an irrationality that struggles against good judgment, but moreover, that there exists an intolerance for a standard of less than the penultimate apex of an unreachable standard.

What does one do?  You can: Hide and stash away the item (but it yet remains with the knowledge that, hidden or not, the aura of imperfection exists); you can give it as a gift, or sell it to a third party (but what if the potential purchaser recognizes the imperfection and bargains for a better price, leaving you with a loss — will that constantly remind you of your lack of judgment when once you thought that your expertise in such matters was the paradigm of perfection itself?); justify to yourself over and over that, “Yes, it isn’t perfect, but boy is it a great piece regardless!” (perhaps, over time, this approach may work); or, do the most drastic of solutions: destroy the item and trash it.

Medical conditions have a way of impacting individuals in a similar manner as the discovery of imperfection in what one once thought was a paradigm of perfection: somehow, it is even worse, because of the personal manner that medical conditions impact: it touches upon one’s self, one’s self-image and the crumbling sense of self-confidence one possessed when health was taken for granted.

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, always try and keep in mind that the diminution of the “product” concerned (i.e., yourself, the Federal or Postal employee) is not discovered by the mere fact of filing for Federal Disability Retirement — rather, the fault is in the system of the Federal Government for not being able to be patient as you struggle to recover from you illness or injury.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is not a reflection on the “value” of you; it is, instead, the reality of a system that fails to recognize the difference between the relative value of “goods” as opposed to the priceless perfection of a human being and his or her contribution to society.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire