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

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Order & Disorder

Isn’t that what most of us are trying to do for a good deal of time spent?  Not to compare it to such a “Biblical” extent — but like the figure in the very first chapter of the very oldest book some hold as “sacred”: out of chaos, order is created.

Throughout one’s day, from the very awakening of those sleep-encrusted eyes, when the dreams dissipate and the nightmares subside, we wake up and try to create order out of the chaos that surrounds us.  The key to sanity is to keep pace with, or try and “get ahead”, if possible, of the impending disorder around us.  Thus can insanity be redefined as: We “lose” it when the disorder around us becomes exponentially quantified beyond one’s capacity to maintain the level of order required.

Think about it: the bombardment of stress that continues to envelope us; of a time not too long ago when “correspondence” was a written letter sent by one individual to another that took 2 – 3 days by first class mail to arrive after the postage stamp was licked and carefully placed, now replaced by a quick email and a button-push with a singular finger, multiplied by hundreds, if not thousands, and in a blink of an eye one’s “Inbox” is filled with requests, tirades, FYIs and spam beyond the measures order needed.

Isn’t that what “bringing up children” is also all about — of creating order out of disorder?  Without discipline, guidance, schooling and a bit of luck, we would all become maladapted individuals running about in diapers devoid of the learned proclivities of polite society, and be left with the allegation that one is “eccentric” or, worse, an “oddball”.

Medical conditions, too, have a way of overwhelming a person with a sense of “disorder”, in that it forces a person to do things outside of the ordinary repetition of an ordered life.  That is why it is so difficult to “deal with” a medical condition, even if it is not your own.  It interrupts one’s goals, plans, and the perspective of order that is so important to one’s sanity.

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, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often necessary just in order to attain that lost sense of order that has become created by the disorder of one’s medical condition.

Medical conditions make the universe formless and void; and it is the regaining of a sense of stability — of molding some sort of order out of the disorder — by obtaining some semblance of financial security through an OPM Disability Retirement, that the devil of disorder can be overcome with the gods of order in a genesis of new beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The realization

In most cases, it is not as dramatic a moment as we all tend to think; it is rarely “The X”, as in the penultimate juncture of enlightenment where the “The” is prefatory to the noun, as opposed to a more general article such as, “A realization” — meaning, one among others, or just another one amidst many.

Most such moments are not “Aha” ones, where there is a sudden and profound revelation, like the proverbial Road to Damascus experience or the Gestalt shift in thinking.  Instead, the realization of X is more often than not subtle, incremental and a slow progression towards an acknowledgment, observable and quantifiable over a period of many months or years.  Whether we make it into a momentous period, a critical juncture in our lives, or as one of many tokens of change often depends upon how we view each segment that results in a modification of a life judged in its totality.

Aristotle’s belief is that a person’s life cannot be fully evaluated until much later in life.  Indeed, what do we make about a person’s career, reputation and overall “life” when a critical mistake is made at the beginning — say, in the early years of youth when one is more susceptible to the vicissitudes of emotional upheavals and pursuance of desires without thought?  Or, of the fool who, in old age, does something similarly rash?  Do we make an evaluation at the eulogy and excuse the one bad bit?

Something like, “Now, we all knew X.  He was a great man.  He had, of course, that one incident, but …”.  Is it better to have the negative incident occur early in life so that you can rectify and redeem for the remainder?  Or, is it more acceptable and palatable to live an exemplary life, then commit an error in later life so that you can excuse it as the “folly of age”?

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 the Federal or Postal employee’s job and duties, “the realization” that something has to change will mostly come about over a period of time — incrementally, perhaps even subtly, and then one day there is a determination that has to be made that priorities of life need to be reordered and modifications to a life of struggle necessitates modifications.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the necessary next step after such a realization.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application is the natural course of events once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that change must occur.

Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is also a good next step — for that points to the realization that not all things in the universe are known, and some things may need some further guidance in pursuit of a gargantuan effort required to go up against a behemoth of a bureaucracy — OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

How much OPM Disability Retirement Pays?

“What will the benefit pay?”  That is often the primary concern of a Federal or Postal employee who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), and it is certainly a valid first question.

The greater concern that cannot be overlooked, however, is the one that involves calculating the cost of NOT filing.  In the end, those Federal and Postal employees who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits have three fundamental options: Stay put; resign and do nothing (or wait for termination/separation proceedings to occur, which amounts to the same thing); or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS.

The benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is quite simply calculated as 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of service for the first year (offset by 100% of any Social Security Disability benefits received during the concurrent payments received) and 40% of the average every year thereafter (offset by 60% of any Social Security Disability payments received during those years), until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity is recalculated as “regular retirement” based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, including the time that the disability retiree has been on Federal Disability Retirement.

Thus, the “greater” benefit in calculating the cost has to take into account the fact that one is actually “building up” one’s own retirement by the years one stays on disability retirement — for, those very years that you are receiving a disability retirement annuity count towards the total number of years of Federal Service when it is recalculated as “regular” retirement at the age of 62.

Yes, it is true that on the cost/benefit ledger that one should review before filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, you need to take into account the lesser income and the lengthy bureaucratic process that must be engaged, but you should also never forget what the originating basis for considering such filing compelled the consideration in the first place: Your health.

Calculating the cost of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits too often places the emphasis on what is lost — in terms of monetary gain and loss, etc.  But in calculating the cost of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted and considered to and by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the primary issue involves one’s deteriorating health and whether you can continue to remain in a job which has clearly become inconsistent with the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In the end, calculating the cost must go beyond the lessening of income; it must calculate the cost of one’s health, which is the single greatest asset one possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: A breach of instinct

What if? that fragile balance that exists in nature, seen when squirrels scrounge about in search of roots and nuts, moving within the tranquil space besides cardinals, woodpeckers, rabbits and robins abounding when, suddenly, birds attack the rabbits and squirrels, and in turn, the rabbits and squirrels chase one another and attempt to catch and devour the birds, and the mayhem that follows goes on for an unceasing eternity.

Of course, such a scene is not “nature” in its nakedness, but a scene from a suburban backyard, whereas in the true “state of nature”, in the distant woodlands not easily traversed by the human eye (are there such places, anymore?), such scenes of predatory confrontation held by a tentative and tacit agreement of abeyance may occur daily. Or, in those National Geographic scenes, where there is a quietude of implied ceasefire in birds standing atop the backs of hippos and rhinos pecking away calmly at whatever delectable insects abound, and their sturdy underlings happily go about their business – what if, suddenly, the hippo or rhino turns around and with a swift lunge of its massive neck, grabs that bird and devours it whole?

Was there a breach of an implied or tacit agreement, a breach of instinct, or both? When such “agreements” develop within a slow, steady and evolutionary process, over a period of time imperceptible but for the peace and tranquility it creates, and everyone is perfectly content with the circumstances ensconced by tradition and the state of current affairs, what leads to the breach, what are the consequences and is there blame to be spread about?

What if a rogue animal one day just declares to itself, “The hell with this; I was never a party to this agreement, and so I shall do as I please” – what then? Is it not true that no true “breach” has been committed, as the parties were never official signatories to the agreement, explicit, implicit, tacit or otherwise? Who determines that there ever existed such an agreement, anyway, and where is it written in the “rules of order” that certain sequence of decorum must be followed?

That is, of course, the crux of the matter; for, what is the retort of those who have no ethical or moral compass, but to sneer with the declarative, “Show me where it is written!”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the presumption is that tacit or implied standards of conduct is often tested at the outset, both by the Federal agency or Postal Service, and even by OPM.

You rely upon the rules, but the Agency may completely ignore them. If you are a Postal employee, this is to be expected.

Yes, there are laws, but so long as silence governs the assertion of rights denied, a breach of instinct becomes the rule of law and the depiction by Locke and Rousseau of that “State of Nature” devolving into a “State of War” can become a contentious state of affairs unless, in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant asserts the legal precedents controlling and constraining the fragile balance that restrains a breach of instinct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Those bare moments of honesty

They come in flashes of rare instances; sometimes, in a more subtle manner, like encroachments by a nimble adversary; at others, tantamount to ugly boils erupting in the middle of one’s forehead while interviewing for a sought-after position.  We cloak ourselves in lies, more lies, and obfuscations wrapped in greater deceptions of self-doubt.

Sometimes, such concealment is necessary; for, perhaps it is an evolutionary tool in order to merely survive.  Those who have lost such capacity may have to face the harsh realities of day-to-day living, and simply go mad; others who cannot defer the decadence of self-realization may react by engaging in binges of bifurcated pigeonholing and compartmentalizing of walls constructed to deny access to intercontinental flights of fancy.

Heidegger would say of it that we are merely procrastinating the inevitable.  The reality of Being is too harsh; projects and made-up, artificial distractions allow us to avoid the revelation of the ugliness of the world, or at least delay its unconcealed rupture for the time being.

But medical conditions shatter that quietude of avoidance.  For, their reality and intentional rudeness in deliberate interference in our daily lives presents itself like the fat uncle who takes up the entire couch without asking; the ugly displacement of pleasurable moments cloaked in deceptive avoidance of self-awareness makes for an elephant which is whispered about but nobody notices.

Becoming lost in virtual reality; Facebook friends whom we never meet; Twitter followings which meander in meaningless platitudes; the very lack of substantive discourse in our lives belies our greater efforts to avoid and confound.

Does it matter that the team one roots for will have lost on Sunday, or that the Lottery Ticket was a wasted twenty-dollar bill flushed down the toilet?  Mere distractions become central in lives of desperation and quiet moments of weeping in the dark caverns of lost thoughts, sought-after childhoods and forgotten moments of honesty and carefree pictures frozen in time.  But it is the ugliness of troublesome truths which reveal themselves to haunt and nudge.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who must face that challenge, the reality of life occurs when the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or Postal worker from continuing to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  At some point, serious decisions must be made.

The clash between avoidance and reality comes to a flashpoint of sorts, and procrastination of the delayed cloaking of harshness can no longer be discreetly catalogued.

The page is opened upon us, and we must ask:  Can I continue in this same way?  Is the Agency or the Postal Service considering termination?  Will I become a young retiree in a 90-year old body if I struggle to remain?  And those haunting images of 40-some-year-old former football players in wheelchairs and walking like senile old men — does that portend of images for my life in the not-too-distant future?

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, is a viable alternative to allowing for those bare moments of honesty to become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Indicators mean something, and when one’s body, mind or soul shout within the quietude of one’s nudging conscience, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, lest those bare moments of honesty become lost in the forgotten crevices of secluded fears relegated to the growing trash heaps of avoided realities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Unending Cycle of Relapse

It is merely from a perspective of combined incrementalism with an admixture of hope and self-delusion that people talk about a “relapse”.  The plain fact is, most medical conditions follow a fairly predictable and linear path of progressive deterioration, with critical junctures of static chronicity, and marked by charted moments of quietude interrupted with a fury of vengeful prose.  If a business graph were to depict the pathway of most medical conditions, the ups and downs of the jagged lines would mesmerize and confuse us with contemptuous puzzlement.

We assure ourselves that we are “getting better”, when all the while we continue to ignore, procrastinate, explain and justify all of the indicators and warning signs of downward decline.  An increase in the medication regimen, explained by mere temporary need; greater pain, with reference to some minor activity recently engaged in; and so the self-justifying conundrums are thrown as explanatory deliberations, when the bodies suffer so despite the words offered as sacrificial animals to the gods of thunder.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this phenomena of parsing words despite facts which fly in the face of reality, is often born of necessity and a false image of self, society and servitude to the “mission of the agency” or the Constitutionally-born importance of the U.S. Postal Service (circa Benjamin Franklin, thank you).  But health has a funny way of  defying self-justifications of ineffective prose, and poetry and thought never curtails the unending cycle of relapse, precisely because what we do to our minds, bodies and souls accounts for little when misuse and unintended abuse prevail.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who fails to make one’s health a priority first, then all other considerations of secondary import, the need to file 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, often becomes a victim of such unending cycle.

To suffer a “relapse” is merely an attempt to justify that which the body or mind was merely telling you all along.  Yes, sometimes the quiet whispers in the deadened silence of night can be ignored and disregarded; but it is those haunting quietudes which perturb and disturb despite our best efforts to ignore, which roar back to engulf us when least we expect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire