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

 

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

One often hears about the fragile ecosystem of which we are a part.  We speak of such natural orders as if they are somehow separate and distinct from our own existence, and indeed, because we create insular communities and artificial oases of cocoon-like existences, differentiated from the rest of the natural world, we can refer to such organic systems as if they are merely textbook civilizations of another universe.

The linear line of manufacture-to-production, then to commercial commodity-to-consumption, where we pick up neatly packaged goods at the local grocery store, alienates us from the harsh reality of the slaughterhouse.  Just for academic interest-sake, look up the history of polio and how interconnected the epidemic came to be as a result of cleanliness, antiseptic living, and the desire to dominate our environment.  By separating ourselves and creating our own artificial universe of separateness, one wonders whether human frailty is another one of those unintended consequences.

The counter to such a view, of course, is the known resilience of human beings.  Even devastating and debilitating medical conditions often serve to magnify the strength of human character.  That is why, for Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where the medical condition has come to a critical point of impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, such Federal and Postal employees have often waited until they cannot wait any longer.  While not the wisest of decisions, it shows the resilience and determination of human beings.

Yes, Federal and Postal employees often have the unwarranted reputation of being civil servants who don’t “really” earn their money; but that is merely the ignorant groans from an unknowing public.  Federal and Postal employees whom this author has had the privilege to represent, are to a person workers who have dedicated their lives to the detriment of their own suffering.

For Federal and Postal Workers who need to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, no amount of apologies for such a decision should be necessary.  For, in the end, the most important of ecosystems which needs to be preserved and protected is that comprised of the individual human body, which is a self-contained ecosystem in and of itself.

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

 

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Body Breaking

The age-old paradigm of assuming that one’s career will take a singular path from birth to death is based upon a pre-industrial viewpoint fostered and solidified in the post-industrial age.  It is folly, however, to think that the human body can survive and withstand the repetitive stresses, both physical and cognitive, of the daily impact inflicted by the modern workplace.

Whether in physically-demanding jobs in the Postal Service; unrestricted stresses in Supervisory roles; of administrative functions in Postal and non-Postal Federal jobs requiring multi-tasking at levels unheard of; or of sustained, unsustainable endurance of data gathering, evaluation and analysis in front of a computer screen; there has been little-to-no time for evolutionary progress of the human body or psyche to adapt to the level of physical, mental and emotional demands and requirements coming from the modern workplace.

That is why Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit in the Federal Sector which is one of the few well thought-out compensatory packages:  a recognition that a particular kind of job may well no longer be able to be performed because of a specific medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing on in that career; paying a certain annuity amount; then, encouraging the (now former) Federal or Postal employee to remain productive by paying “back into the system” by becoming employed in some other capacity in the private sector.  Such a paradigm is a progressive one, and it recognizes the need for flexibility while understanding the reality of the human condition within the context of the workplace.

Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is a benefit which is available for Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and should be considered seriously by the modern workforce as a recognition that prior paradigms of single careers and vocations never took into consideration the complexity of the human body or psyche, nor the flashpoint of the body breaking.

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

 

 

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

It is a mechanically extraordinary creation, whether by means of transcendental creation or evolutionary process — the bipedaling human body. The ability and capacity of balance and coordination; the acuity of the human mind and its quickness in information processing; the amazing functionality of dexterous hands and adaptability to quickly changing environments.

It is perhaps because of the success of that which is given, that we take for granted what we possess, and in the very taking for granted of something, allowing for the abuse of that which we never earned, has been one of the greatest calamities for human beings.  To test the extent of endurance, strength and limitation of capacity is one thing; to abuse beyond what a thing was meant for, is quite another.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition has arrived at a crisis point of deterioration, incapacity and intractability, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, precisely because one does not wish to cross the line into “abuse” of one’s body.

It is all well and good to come to the point of testing the extent of one’s human capacity; but once the limit is met, the need for restorative recuperation must be embraced.

Federal and Postal workers have a reputation for hard work and endurance, including patience beyond being a virtue; but there is another component beyond the human body which one is gifted with — that of one’s brain.  It is a functional component which should be used in consonance with the body, but it requires thoughtful quiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Indicators

The technology of automobiles has changed radically in the past 2 decades.  No longer do we rely upon intuition, the automotive “ear” for that strange sound which, when talking to the service department, we attempt with futility to reenact with absurd pitches and tones in an attempt to accurately depict that which fails to occur when brought to the attention of the mechanic.  Instead, there are electronic warning lights and the computer sensors which specifically and with great detail indicate a past occurrence, a present problem, or a needed future course of action.

If the human body is the ultimate composite of neuro-sensors and complexities of the physical, the psychological, and the coalescence of mind, body and soul (including the philosophical “ghost in the machine“), then pain must be the warning indicator for past transgressions, current anomalies, and future need for servicing.  Those who ignore automotive warning signs do so at their peril; similarly, to ignore such signs emitted by the human body and transcribed in no uncertain terms via the daily chronicity of pain, do so with a singular certainty of progressive deterioration and decline.

Ultimately, the decision for the Federal or Postal Worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be accomplished once warning signs are heeded, and a blunt discussion with doctors, family and friends are engaged; but it is the pure and unadulterated ignoring of all signs which results in crisis and disaster.

The warning signs are there to heed; the future course of action is still left up to the recipient of such indicators.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Joy of the Mundane, Though We Knew It Not

The very concepts of “joy” and “mundane”, placed within the same breath, the same sentence, creates what is tantamount to an anomaly, a self-contradiction, an oxymoron, or at the very least a questionable positing of an invalid proposition.

For we tend to consider joy in terms of momentary elation, an extended period of satisfaction, or a sense of quietude wrapped in layers of giggling quivers.  Conversely, the mundane evokes boredom, monotony, a time devoid of elevated emotional responses; a time of negation, where the chasm between desire and duty floats apart from one another like drifting icebergs in the cold North Atlantic seas.

Until a medical condition intervenes.  Until the chronicity of a progressively deteriorating and debilitating disease or injury eats away at our body, mind and/or soul.

In a crisis, the monotony of the mundane becomes preferable; and in a protracted life of chronic ailments, that momentary period of quietude when life was merely the ordinary and the boredom of everyday existence prevailed upon a life questioned as to value, purpose, character and the eternal “why?”; it is then that one comes to realize the ultimate Zen character of enlightenment, and recognizes the living distinction between joy and the mundane.

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers daily, Federal Disability Retirement is a viable alternative to the daily divide which has grown disproportionately magnified, between joy and the mundane.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are part of one’s bundle of employment benefits.  It is a benefit filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for those under either FERS or CSRS, and allows for early medical retirement, while tending to one’s health conditions.

We all once knew the joy of the mundane; but such knowledge quickly gets erased when a medical condition creates a crisis.  Federal Disability Retirement allows the Federal and Postal employee to relive that joy — of the mundane, the monotonous, of the everyday existence of the ordinary which we all seek and desire.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Chronic Medical Conditions and the Dissonance of Society

Society proceeds with a dissonance of perspectives and beliefs; and the macro-approach of such societal values and norms is reflective of the individual microcosm of such self-conflicting belief systems.

On the one hand, we are taught that the physical universe is what constitutes the entirety of our existence; that consciousness, metaphysics and transcendent spectrums of existence are mere vestiges of our ancient, unsophisticated past.  On the other hand, society attempts to maintain a position that encompasses compassion, values of empathy and caring for those less fortunate.  But if a Darwinian approach of pure materialism is embraced, where survival of the fittest ensures the propagation of the hardiest of species, while at the same time negating the possibility of the existence of a metaphysical foundation for our existence, how can the truncated belief-system work in practical terms?

Witness the workplace:  an explosion of laws are enacted to allegedly protect those who suffer from medical conditions; yet, concurrently, one sees the exponential occurrence of workplace harassment and abuse.  Cognitive dissonance?  The runt of the litter is always shunned by the rest, if only because the “rest” — despite being siblings — have an innate sense that there is something “wrong” with the runt.

In the Federal Work Sector, Federal and Postal employees have legal rights intended to protect Federal and Postal Workers from workplace harassment, hostile work environments, etc.  Further, Federal and Postal Workers have the option and alternative to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which allows for an escape from such a non-supportive environment, in order to enter into a rehabilitative period secured by a monthly annuity, and perhaps to engage a second, more conducive vocation consistent with one’s medical conditions.

Such a paradigm of offering Federal Disability Retirement benefits reveals a side of human nature which is indeed compassionate and intelligent.  But it in no way undercuts the ugly side of human nature — of the workplace harassment which such Federal and Postal employees must often endure for their chronic medical conditions.  The cognitive dissonance of the human species is indeed confounding; but perhaps it is precisely the complexity of our nature which reveals the mystery of the unexplainable, and while Darwin may have a point, such a purely materialistic approach can never fully explain the proverbial ghost in the machine.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Returning to the Boredom of Health

Everyone desires to attain a path of certainties, where life has a rhythm of regularity, predictability and consistency.  We often complain of a life of boredom, but there is a distinction to be made between “being bored” and having what some would consider a “boring existence”.

One need only encounter a life-threatening emergency, or a crisis impacting self, family members or friends — or a serious medical condition.  Then, one yearns for those “boring” days of yore, when living a daily existence of merely being pain-free, when one could bend, reach, turn, twist, pick up a cup of coffee — without a thought of invasive and excruciating pain; of a time when focusing upon a task did not require one’s utmost energy and stamina; where the intrusion of nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks did not paralyze one’s totality of being.  Living a boring life for those encountering the “excitement” of a medical condition, as opposed to “being bored”, found a consistency of a rhythm of certainty.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is the goal of the Federal or Postal employee to enter into a period of a recuperative universe, in order to get back to the days of a boring existence.  Boredom is not necessarily a negative thing; indeed, when one is beset with a medical condition which prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s job, the very notion that one’s prior existence of health was somehow less than exciting, is a puzzle to those who have lost their health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a chance to attain the boring life of yore; preparing properly the application for submission; formulating it effectively; and filing it to attain the goal of returning to that former self, is a consideration worth making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire