Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Forced Choice

One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit.  However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?

Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.”  There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”

Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?

Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter.  Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

What are my choices?  Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service?  Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?

These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all.  For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker considering Federal Disability Retirement, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to understand the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The greater monsters within

Have you ever engaged in lengthy ruminations, procrastinating because of fear, trepidation and cautionary constraints before proceeding, only to find in retrospect that there was really nothing – or, at least, not much – to have worried about?

Often, it is the greater monsters within that become compounded, exaggerated and increased in fearsome proportions beyond the reality of the objective world, in parallelism with the anxiety we release and the angst we allow.  Within the insular world of our language games and conceptual apparatus created by a complexity of admixtures involving conscience, history of childhood imprints, traumas and psychic damages, it is important to bifurcate the universes of our own makings from those of manifested plenary encounters that can be evaluated, assessed and properly analyzed.

The ability and capacity to judge between the reality of the problem and the internal struggle of an imagined encounter grows exponentially the longer we procrastinate, and that is why the anticipation creates those “butterflies-in-the-stomach” that flutter about like so many somatic consequences of the subconscious angst we create.

The greater monsters within roam about in the neurological fissures that connect the physical brain to the consciousness of life, and when they are allowed to exit from the jailhouses we have compelled them to remain constrained within, it is the damage done from roaming unrestrained, when they trample upon the safe zones we have created, meandering into secluded corners where previously we have carefully posted signs of “no entrance beyond this point”, but have let our guard down, allowed the nailed-down posts to deteriorate, and misplaced the orange cones to be shoved aside in our careless lack of disciplined living.

How do we stop such miscreants from wandering through the sensitive crevices of our own consciousness, and to restrict their access from creating havoc and tumult which we least can afford because of the vulnerabilities and fissures created by the objective world’s intrusion firstly, and secondly and all subsequent times, the exponential expansion of the greater monsters within.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the procrastination resulting from the greater monsters within becomes a vicious circle of eternal damnation:  The medical conditions are worsening, exacerbating the internal struggles and the external responsibilities compelled by the job itself, the requirements of the position and the Federal Agency’s and Postal Service’s expectations; concurrently, the greater monsters within create a turmoil that influences, impacts and worsens the medical conditions themselves, such that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of self-immolation.

It is the greater monsters within which must be challenged, slaughtered and vanquished, and that can begin by taking the first and subsequent steps in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and thereby successfully activating the proverbial ending of killing two birds with a single stone, and also overcoming the greater monsters within.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: Life’s Scarring

It builds through repetition of wounding, or because it is deep, jagged, or otherwise unable to repair through normal processes of cellular regeneration.  It remains a mark of a person; over time, fading through exposure to sunlight, disappearance of discoloration, and the slow erasure of the damage done through the healing process of the linear course of a lifetime, may allow for one to forget.

Traumas, medical conditions and chronic maladies takes time to heal, and time is the commodity which society relishes, values, and measures by the worth of productivity.  It is that segment of immeasurable continuity which determines the markings of a lifetime’s work; like prehistoric epochs which we name in order to neatly fit in the existence of dinosaurs and their disappearance through volcanic and meteoric catastrophes, we bifurcate the unconquerable continuum with significations of memorable moments in time.

Medical conditions and their disruptions to lives require time for healing; and whether it is the impact of psychiatric conditions upon one’s psyche and soul, or the physical manifestation of a chronic illness or injury, that commodity of value in the world of economics remains unsympathetically beyond the reach of most.

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 the Federal or Postal job, the acquisition of time becomes ever more important and critical as one awaits the winding morass of a Federal Disability Retirement application through the bureaucratic maze of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Bureaucracies grind forward as if time is nonexistent; but all the while, life must continue to flow, as rivers unfettered by dams and natural obstacles, the course of life cannot be interrupted by mere tragedies of fate.  The problem is, of course, that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy — agencies, coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc. — does not have the patience to wait upon Federal and Postal employees during a daunting administrative process in which it is already known that, if successful, the Federal or Postal employee will be leaving the agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

So, what is the reaction during this administrative process?  Sometimes, it results in an administrative separation; more often than not, to simply allow the Federal or Postal employee to remain on LWOP and remain forgotten, lost in the maze of time immemorial.

In the end, it is life’s scarring which remains; how one has been treated; whether the burns of fate scorched upon flesh or memory were deliberate or through an uncaring indifference. No matter; as life’s scarring is like an organic monument of one’s test of endurance, so the manner in which one approaches the wound will determine the character of an individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire