OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: The Temptation of More

It is similar to the proverbial truth of the “straw that broke the camel’s back”; or of the wise commoner who saved the king’s daughter from drowning, and who was offered a bounty of rice, to which he proposed the following: on each square of the chessboard, a doubling of the number from the previous square.  The temptation of the exponential factor is almost always unable to be resisted; that is the converse principle by which we live: by adding one (we are told), it will make our lives less complicated (so we believed).

Technology and the addition of each innovation would buy us more leisure time; work and stress would be lessened, because the salesman persuaded us that it would be so.  And so we have become accustomed, attuned, and trained to think in a linear, progressively upward trend; that the more we accumulate, the happier we will become, until one day the economics of aggregation become so burdensome that the weight of all of those additional threads of straw pile upon us with ever-growing pressures of daily living, and the salesman who sold that last gadget has walked away with the sack full of rice, content to have saved our lives (or laughing all the way to the bank with a knowing grin).

It is the conditioning of a cumulative-based society.  And, of course, when the burden is further exacerbated by a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to remain at the same purchasing power of economic viability, we are willing to sacrifice our health for the sake of more stuff.  For the Federal and Postal Workers who have dedicated their collective lives to furthering the mission of one’s agency, it is often a little more complex and complicated than just the economic issue; it is entangled with a sense of self-sacrifice, and a loyalty tending towards irrational discourse.  Perhaps this is a natural course for things; perhaps it is “the mission” which first tempted and attracted the Federal or Postal Worker to begin with.

In any event, Federal and Postal Workers fight to the end before contemplating filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, and often to the detriment of one’s own health.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits are there, however, for the Federal or Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job. Whether under FERS or CSRS, it is ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

While it is an annuity which will reduce the purchasing power of the Federal or Postal employee, the question which all Federal or Postal employees must ask is the following: What is the priority of one’s life, and at what point in our lives did we come to believe that acquiring things were more important than life itself?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Sometimes, Even Squirrels Fall from the Sky

Nature is not the penultimate paradigm of perfection.  Think about it: the entire apparatus of evolutionary advancement is based upon the theory of accidental genetic alterations of incremental imperceptibility, over great expanses of time, as opposed to the disfavor shown to sudden mutations.  Survivability of a species depends upon environmental adaptations and genetic flexibility in the hereditary accrual of alleles, favoring small and progressive steps of advancements dependent upon environmental pressures and factors of change.

Grand mutations and the fictional existence of the “missing link” are rarely successful; mistakes are successful if accomplished in small portions; but they are accidents of reliable anomalies, nonetheless. It is thus upon missteps, accidents, and mutations which we rely for advancement, and not a teleological drive towards a perfect being, like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover.  And squirrels do sometimes misjudge a branch, and fall from the sky.

That is why it is anathema for the Federal and Postal employee to refuse to accept one’s vulnerability because of a medical condition, as if he or she did something wrong.  Youth tends to begin life with a view that upward mobility and progression is always to be expected; but the reality of life is that the principle underlying the universe favors interruptions and interludes. Having a medical condition is simply an event which is a natural part of life; and as mortality proves an organism’s existence, so a medical condition is merely its temporary reminder.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, there should be no cause for embarrassment or shame in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS. Yes, filing for the benefit is an admission of one’s vulnerability and susceptibility to nature’s admonitions; but as we agreed at the outset, nature is not the penultimate paradigm of perfection, and our bodies and minds are part of the macrocosmic universe of nature. To defy the natural degeneration and imperfection of nature is to ignore reality.

Sometimes, it is only when a quiet walk through the woods is suddenly interrupted by an unexpected thud, and we turn and see a dazed squirrel looking around as it limps off in confusion, do we recognize that perfection is a fiction created by man, and refusing to file for Federal Disability Retirement is a stubbornness that borders on ignorance.

Even the squirrel knows that much.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Old Barn

It sits like an eyesore and can be seen from the main road; dilapidated to some, while bringing warm remembrances of bygone days from real or imagined childhoods.  The edges of the roof have curled upwards, revealing rotting slats and welcoming sunlight, rain and birds to nest where previously it provided shelter for domesticated animals and field mice who took refuge on cold winter nights.

It needs refurbishing.

Strangers who pass by daily on their commute to important jobs, who carry impressive leather briefcases and wear finely knit suits adorned with cufflinks and driving in vehicles which speak in crisp, electronic voices of modernity and technology betraying the rural setting of that aggregate of rotting lumber, sometimes dreamily suggest that perhaps purchasing that tract of land and putting money into fixing up that old barn would be worthwhile.  But such thoughts are fleeting and become quickly overwhelmed by the busyness of the day.

But old barns reflect a metaphor for people who, like the deteriorating structure, need a pause in the middle of the day to consider specialized attention.  And people with medical conditions, especially, require that segregated time and peace.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from being able to fully perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that one has merely become an old and dilapidated barn becomes a daily sensation.  Perhaps it is just a new coat of paint, or a more expensive tin roof.  Whatever the needs, people barely give a second glance, except perhaps in moments of guilt-filled but short-lived days.  The old barn always stands alone.  For the Federal or Postal Worker, waiting on others to “refurbish” the old barn is to procrastinate the inevitable.

One must take charge of one’s own destiny.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often the only and pragmatically viable option for the Federal and Postal Worker.  Like the old barn that sits out in the harsh sun surrounded by imposing structures of modern life, that lonely feeling of being isolated will only grow more poignantly with time, until one day the developers come to tear down the old structure, leaving only a memory of bygone days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Power Outages

Power outages resulting from an ice storm are humbling experiences; it reveals the extent of how dependent we are upon electricity and how interconnected everything is.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such an experience is one which is daily felt through the deterioration of one’s health:  the interconnected dependency upon the power source of one’s body.  The steady decline of power and vibrancy is what the Federal and Postal worker has relied upon for so many years — for work, family, career and livelihood.  When that main switch begins to fray, all of the ancillary dependencies begin to suffer.  When the impact of that “power outage” results in one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, it is time for repair and troubleshooting.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a means to an end; the means require recognition of the need; the end is to reinvigorate the power source.

May this winter of 2014 begin to thaw out and allow for such rejuvenation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Insular Worlds

The private domain of individual, insular worlds always remain unknowable and profoundly unreachable. We can extract common linguistic signposts to have some superficial encounters, with at least a semblance of comprehension; but in the end, can one ever “know” the sensation of pain which another experiences? Or the extreme emotional turmoil that a person who suffers from schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder; the diffuse pain of a person suffering from Fibromyalgia; or the cognitive dissonance of one beset by Major Depression, uncontrollable anxiety or panic attacks?

Yet, it is a necessary step in preparing, formulating and submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, to have the ability to convey, delineate and describe the nexus between one’s experiential phenomena of the insular world of a medical condition, and one’s external encounter with the Federal position in the work-world.

The private chaos of one’s medical condition must be linked to the public display of one’s physical or mental capacity and capability in the employment with the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service; how one makes that connection, the manner of the description, and the characterization of the impact of the former upon the latter, will make all the difference in the world whether or not that unique universe of insularity can be protected from the progressive harm of one’s job.

For, in the end, it matters not whether one can adequately relate to another’s medical condition; it is enough to know that the private domain of one’s life is that which makes human consciousness the unique mystery peculiar to the human animal.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Excuses

Language is the vehicle by which self-justification is established.  Think about it; if we assume that there is a conceptual void in the mind of other animals, that the consciousness of a squirrel, a raccoon, an owl, etc., is devoid of language as we employ it, then how can procrastination or delay occur?  It is precisely language and the tools of conceptual constructs which provide for an “excuse” for response to a stimuli, and allows for human action to be prevented.

The will to act or refrain from acting is often considered the hallmark of higher intelligence; but intelligence itself can be a detrimental quality, allowing for self-destructive actions resulting from a string of illogical but persuasive reasonings.  Where lack of intelligence provides for the immediacy of response to a presented encounter, so the presence of it in elevated forms will allow for justifying delays to such responses, even if it means a magnified danger to one’s own survival.

Excuses and self-justifying declarative sentences allow us to maintain a false sense of security by providing foundations for continuing on a path of self-destruction.  That is precisely why the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a progressively deteriorating medical condition can maintain a semblance of normalcy despite physical and cognitive indicators to the contrary, sometimes for months, and even for years.  But pain and cognitive dysfunctions have a funny way of reminding the body and mind of danger signals.  Brain synapses communicate the growing danger, and they continue to alert until the time comes when no more linguistic justifications will maintain that false sense of security.

When that time comes, the Federal or Postal worker must consider the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There is always time for being excused, and sometimes it is well-justified; then, there are other times when the exhaustion of excuses comes to a crisis point, and one must consider a different path.  That “different” path is the need to have a restorative period of recuperation in order to attend to one’s impending medical condition.  Federal Disability Retirement, under FERS or CSRS, is just that allowance for recuperation, and is a path of difference for many Federal and Postal employees.

There are excusable considerations, which last for a time; but time is a linear movement of bodies, and on the universal scale of progression, there comes a point when both time and excuses run out their course of self-justifying efficacy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Shrines of Our Own Making

For some inexplicable reason, we construct shrines which are deemed sacred, without ever evaluating whether or not the sanctity of the structure deserves our unwavering devotion and commitment.  Shame, embarrassment and the cognitive infrastructure of self-worth often remain the singular obstacles in preventing the Federal or Postal employee from filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

It is the mental constructs of our own making — the shrines of sacred sanctimony — which obstruct the linear progression from a life of constant turmoil to one of relative peace.  And so we are admonished that having a medical condition is somehow shameful; that taking off too much time from work to attend to one’s health somehow devalues the inherent worth of a person.  And we come to believe such folly despite the source of such value-driven thoughts, and make shrines and sacred temples of societal determinations despite the harm to one’s existence.

Life without health is less than a full existence; the self-harm and self-immolation one engages in by continuing on a course of destructive behavior, in ignoring the deterioration of one’s health, is in itself a form of sacrilege; the deconstruction of those very temples we find ourselves trapped within, is often the first step towards recovering one’s health.

Federal Disability Retirement is an option which all Federal and Postal employees who are suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job — should be looked into.  But the first step in the entire process is to revisit the shrines of our own making, and to determine which sacred cow is blocking the entranceway to a life of fulfillment, as opposed to mere existence of being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Insidious Tragedy

Progressively deteriorating medical conditions comprise a category of tragedies which are especially insidious.

Automobile accidents; natural disasters; even airline catastrophes; such dramatic events, while shocking and tragically devastating, seem to encompass calamities of epic proportions equal to the turmoil of modern times.  But the quiet tragedies which are unheard of — the insidious nature of chronic pain, debilitating migraine headaches, overwhelming Major Depression, anxiety, panic attacks which paralyze one’s ability to engage in employment in a minimally functional manner; progressively degenerative spinal diseases; diffuse pain through Fibromyalgia; and similarly such “quiet” calamities, are especially insidious because, more often than not, there is no proportional visual confirmation of the suffering and tragedy.

Such private calamities are what must be adequately conveyed to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management when preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application.

When a “public” catastrophic event occurs, people tend to search for the picture which matches and confirms the described disaster; but when no such visual confirmation is available, there is often a suspicion that the event itself never occurred.  It is this visual-centered universe which makes for the insidious nature of chronic pain — for how can one confirm the latter?  What picture would provide the wanted affirmation?  It is always the quietude of a private catastrophe which is exponentially magnified in its tragic components — for lack of sympathy, devaluation of empathy, and a question as to the sincerity of the one who suffers.

That is precisely what must be overcome in preparing, formulating and filing for FERS or CSRS Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Weeds in Our Lives

Weeds are irritants.  Ecologically, they contain erosion and the loss of soil; but in the suburban paradigm of our lives, they represent the unruliness in an otherwise pristine and antiseptic face-lift of our artificial lives.

Weeds also represent an unwanted intrusion into the image we create; further, they have deep roots, and even if torn out and discarded, have the ability to regenerate.  In that metaphorical vein, they stand for the very things which we desire to uproot, but continue to cling to, despite our best efforts.

In considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal worker will often cling to the weeds which have overwhelmed one’s life.  Once, perhaps, in years gone by, such weeds may have been the beautiful flowers one had planted and tended to with affection and care; but the weeds have now invaded and enveloped the areas which once were the showpiece of one’s life.

The acknowledgement itself may be the most difficult; to admit that one’s career, job, vocation, etc., with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service is now the weed which must be uprooted and discarded, is often the most trying and difficult of decisions to make.  But like the weed with the vast and endless root system beneath the terrain of appearance, merely breaking off the stem will not solve the problem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Supervisors, Performance, and Other Matters

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS (although the latter is increasingly becoming a rarer animal, almost to the point of extinction, and has been recently annotated on the “endangered species” list), the concern of many Federal and Postal employees often centers around past performance reviews (a history of “outstanding” performance, etc.), the potential statements of the Supervisor on an SF 3112B, and similar issues.

What the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits fails to understand, is that the reason why he or she has reached that critical juncture where Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, is tied directly to that long and commendable history of outstanding performance.

To put it bluntly, the Federal or Postal employee who has done his or her job so well over the years, has killed him/herself in doing it.  That is why the medical condition has not improved; that is why the progressively deteriorating process, whether of a physical nature or of a psychiatric bent, has reached its critical mass, and one cannot go on in the same manner, any longer.

It has come to a point of a necessity to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  It matters not what one’s history is; if one cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, then it is time to file; regardless of what one’s performance history is, or what one’s Supervisor’ Statement may potentially reflect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire