Reflections on Federal Disability Retirement this Independence Weekend

Each country has a symbolic date for celebrating independence; that historic marker which represents the freeing of a populace from the chains of tyranny.  Some may view it as an anachronism, and in such a mindset, it is merely another day off from the daily toil of work. Others, with half-hearted attempts at joining the revelry of the occasion, may actually convince themselves of the celebratory relevance of the extended weekend.

How does one keep alive the historic importance of past markers?  As veterans of past wars begin to decrease in number, so the present fervor of an event parallels the diminishing stature of the occasion.  Why is World War II more prominently featured than the “Great War” some mere decades preceding; and what of the cost of the Civil War?  As living memories fade, so the pages of history remain kept on dusty bookshelves left for college professors and their students to ponder. In the end, relevance of an event must be personalized; that is how connections are made.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition itself becomes a tyranny of dependence, it is precisely that marker which separates one from confinement which reveals a revelatory relevance to the greater world.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option available to all Federal and Postal employees who seek to become independent from the chains of turmoil and turbulence caused by one’s medical condition and the exacerbation of such conditions upon one’s Federal or Postal position.

Independence day is often a marker of historical significance, but it must always relate at the personal level for each individual. Otherwise, it remains merely an extension of another weekend.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Pruning Mechanism

It is one of life’s anomalies that plants flourish and thrive with targeted pruning; too much dismembering, and the sap of life can wither; too little, and the nutrients required for new growth will be diverted to wasted areas of decay, thereby allowing for greater susceptibility to disease. As animals cannot regenerate new appendages (with some variable exceptions), so pruning of limbs is not recommended. But the term itself can imply metaphorical contents — of leaving behind and cutting off ties which harm; of terminating associations which contribute to the decline of one’s health.

The complexity of medical conditions will often bring to the fore questions of causation and exacerbations; and while stress is an inherent factor in almost every employment arena, and further, is not normally recommended in a Federal Disability Retirement application to be focused upon (see previous articles on work-place stress resulting in “situational disabilities“, which can defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application), nevertheless, it is an issue which any Federal or Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, should consider carefully, seriously, and with deliberate intent.

It is ultimately the U.S. Office of Personnel Management which reviews, approves or denies all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS; thus, unless one works for OPM, it is an agency separate from one’s own employing agency.

It is that agency — one’s own — which always must be considered for “pruning”. For, while the central issue in all Federal Disability Retirement applications is the nexus, or “bridge”, between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s job; still, it is often a prudent thought to consider that “burning” one’s bridge is the penultimate act leading to a fruitful “pruning” — a mechanism sought in a metaphorical manner, to redirect life’s nutrients into more productive tissues for the future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Restorative Sleep & a New Day

For whatever evolutionary reasons, the necessity of sleep is apparent to anyone who lacks it.  On just a basic level of understanding, one assumes that the extent and level of daily activities results in the corresponding necessity of one’s sleep pattern; but one sees certain individuals do next to nothing, who seem to need a vast amount of sleep, and conversely, those who expend a tremendous level of energy who seem to thrive on minimal periods of somnolence.

The necessity of sleeping is a given; when interrupted patterns occur, and identifiable sleep disorders intervene, including insomnia and sleep apnea, then we begin to recognize the differentiation between mere ‘sleep’ and the concept of ‘restorative sleep’.  The former is simply the state that one finds one in; it is the latter which is the more meaningful state.

Whether because of chronic pain which, throughout the period of attempted sleep, interrupts the pattern of relief sought through sleep; or severe psychiatric conditions which require lengthy periods of quietude; mere sleeping does not necessarily result in the state sought — of restorative sleep, in order to wake up to a “new day”.  Without that level of restorative sleep, the human mind and body is unable to perform at the peak level which must be attained, in order to thrive in the technologically challenging work environment of modern day.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who must face such a challenge daily, where one’s medical condition begins to impact the ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether under FERS or CSRS, Federal Disability Retirement allows for the Federal or Postal Worker to enter into a period of interlude in order to attain that sought-after restorative sleep.

The respite from the turmoil of work and responsibilities is often the recipe needed, and until the Federal or Postal Worker acknowledges the need, that proverbial “new day” may never arrive, and one may find that sleep is not a friend of the night, but an adversary to be battled within the darkness of one’s mind.

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

 

 

OPM Disability Retirement: When Once Sleep is No Longer Restorative

Sleep is more than the cessation of activities; it is a state of slumber and dormancy, when one can effectively escape from the daily stimuli of variegated bombardments; as an escape, it allows for the mind to suspend the frantic functioning of communicating and conveying the billions of information bits which must be perceived, processed, bundled, interpreted, and delivered to the destination needed for instantaneous response and decision-making.

Such a complex, subconscious and underlying process may be comprised of a simple act as mundane as scratching an itch located in one’s lower extremity; or it may be to respond to an emergency of epic proportions involving countless lives.  But for each response and particularized stimuli, the multitude of processing venues which the mind must filter requires a time of restorative relief, known variously as that state of “sleeping”.

Thus, for the Federal and Postal employee — whether in law enforcement in tracking down criminals and drug cartels; or for Federal prosecutors who must weave a complex web of details to put together a case; or for the window clerk at the Postal Service who must respond to multiple queries from customers on an hourly basis; all are subjected to varying degrees of information processing by the brain, which requires complex connections occurring beneath the skin, within the protective skull of our brains, and sent to destinations throughout our bodies.

At the end of the day, sleep becomes a necessity, for purposes of restorative value, to rejuvenate mind, body, and the classic “ghost in the machine” — the human soul.  But when sleep is no longer restorative; when the chronic pain interrupts the required time of suspended dormancy; or when the anxieties of the human psyche overwhelm us with uncontrollable ruminations of fears both real and created — then sleep itself becomes an enemy of our own making.  Without that period of restorative suspended dormancy, the very lack of sleep exacerbates those other medical conditions which dominate our daily lives.

Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the Office of Personnel Management, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to escape that vicious cycle of medical condition/lack of sleep/progressive deterioration/work/back to the constancy of the debilitating medical condition.  Perhaps it is time to rethink the paradigm.

Federal Disability Retirement is a step forward for Federal and Postal employees, in order to reach that point of restorative sleep needed, for the health of the human psyche.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire