OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Challenges

Throughout life, they are always there — some, we take up; others, we ignore; and still others, we consider and perhaps avoid, and sometimes leave with the regret that not having taken the challenge may have left an empty void within our souls, but we will never know.  Some challenges we create; others, they just come along without even asking; and still others, it just appears that circumstances coalesce beyond our control and they just appear out of nowhere, neither asked for nor necessarily desired.

Health challenges are an inevitability.  Yes, there is the rare one who lives to be a 103, never was sick in a day of his or her life, and suddenly dies while doing an activity which was enjoyed throughout one’s life; or of those women in Siberia or some other exotically barren land who made and ate their own yoghurt or remained throughout on some other healthy diet because the environment left them no other choice, and somehow avoided the ravages of illness, fast-food restaurants, greasy cheeseburgers, French fries that were marinated and cooked in engine oil, traumatic injury or other deteriorating health conditions that could not be attributed to anything but a lifetime of a particular lifestyle choice.

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, the challenges are many: Continuation of a career or not?  Enduring of harassment for taking too much SL or LWOP, or surviving the PIP?  Possible termination to be faced in the near future?

And the ultimate challenge: Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — now that is a challenge for the ages, given the complex nature of the administrative process called “Federal Disability Retirement”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Childhood wishes

We had them; some of us still remember and harbor them like sacrosanct relics of priceless value; and still others know of them and recollect some general idea long forgotten, once delighted in, but now rotting in the vestiges of abandoned buildings hollow but for the frame that haunts in the midnight moon.

Wishes remain throughout one’s life, whether in the stage of adulthood or old age; but it is the childhood wishes one remembers that reveal the empty soul of what one has become, may still be, but struggles to abandon with a hope for tomorrow.  Some of them may be set aside as silly thoughts of an immature time; others, a revelatory insight into who we were, what made us become what we are today, and a telling hint of our present-day bitterness of embattled constitution.

Perhaps it was a love thwarted; a Dickensian tale of another Scrooge who foolishly wanted to pursue one pathway at the cost of another; or, maybe the childhood wishes were merely promises of correcting the sorrow of yesteryears, where neglectful parents and inattentive love left one yearning to promise corrective action when one became a parent yourself, but somehow such commitments were waylaid by daily life – of money troubles, relationship squabbles and expectation bubbles bursting by fits and starts.

It used to be that, before the age of Facebook and obsessive hounding for revelatory information about past friends and acquaintances, people would try to “better themselves” when they went away in order to come back and “show them” how successful one had become upon the glorious return and reentry at gatherings such as high school and college reunions – much like the Tom Sawyer effect of coming back from the dead – but not anymore, as everyone already knows everything to know about everyone else before such a re-gathering is effectuated.

At some point in one’s life, the comparison between childhood wishes and the reality of a daunting world magnifies the contrast that leads to an inevitable conclusion: the naïve innocence of those former times either worked as a detriment, in which case cynicism prevailed; or, those childhood dreams allowed for an expansive, healthy and positive outlook such that they provided a foundation for growth and potential for happiness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are struggling with 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 job, perhaps contemplating 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 the next step beyond for one’s future and security, and thought to be the “end” of something.

The difference between the two approaches may be nominal, or momentous, depending upon how one looks at it.  Is it like the proverbial attitude of the “cup half full” or “half empty”?  Or, is it because childhood wishes were never resolved, and that lonely and unhappy child one remembers never quite grew up, and the debilitating medical conditions now recall the dreams never realized, the hopes barely reached, and the potentiality not quite cultivated to fruition?

Look at it this way: Medical conditions are a part of life and daily struggle; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should not be viewed as either the end-all or the be-all, but a necessary next step with a view towards advancing beyond the childhood wishes one still awaits to fulfill.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Masking of Fate

It is still perhaps appropriate at the time of this writing, to consider masks and costumes, as Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve lingers is just over.  It is a celebratory time; and whether of religious significance or origins discovered in the medieval Gaelic folklore long lost but in remaining songs and ballads sung sweetly without instrumentality or electronic mixing, the tradition of putting on a disguise, concealing one’s face with a mask of another’s soul continues.

It is doubtful that the meaning behind such traditions are ever discussed or believed in; we live in a time when the pinnacle of belief is comprised of nihilism and disbelief; and so the request for alms or a few pieces of candy “on behalf of” a soul departed, is not the foundation as to why a disguise is embraced.  It is, instead, to “have fun” – which is a valid enough reason and rationale in and of itself, though such a goal is not exclusive to also engaging in the activity with a knowledge of why, where we came from, or what we are living for.

The medieval practice of mumming or souling have clearly lost their roots of meaningful efficacy; and with virtual reality overtaking the imagination of modern childhood, there is little room left for the spirit-world of other dimensions, even if we could bring ourselves to believe in them.  Materialism has deadened the parallel universes of fantasy and imagination; the moon smiling can be explained by craters and ridgelines of impervious rocks.  Costumes and masks merely reflect a world already dead; they are not put on for disguise on behalf of souls departed, but merely a put-on to justify laughter, lost innocence and untoward sadness.

Perhaps, by keeping a tradition alive, there will be the possibility of hope, that the meaningfulness of that which is preserved will have a flickering light of potentiality.  But, then, that would mean that elves, gnomes and goblins may still lurk behind hidden corridors of timeless imaginations.

Fate masked is to conceal nothing; it is only when there is a face behind the mask that the mask has any real value; but if the face concealed no longer possesses value, what is the worth of the mask itself?  It merely echoes the truth of Lear’s admonition to Cordelia that, “Nothing will come of nothing.”  There have always been masks to conceal, but worn on occasions recognized for specified events, where all can engage in the fun of hidden meanings; it is the mask of daily veil, however, that should instill terror in the hearts and souls of the living.  For, it is that smile dispossessed; the disarming wink; the open expression of camaraderie; yet, once the back is turned, the sharpened knives are unsheathed for selective display of unstated purposes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often posed is:  When should I?  The missing addendum to such a general question is multiple:  When should I file (as soon as possible, as the process to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is long and arduous); When should I inform my agency or the U.S. Postal Service (not until the time of filing, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise); When should I take off this masking of fate?

As to this last question – well, perhaps when the Federal Disability Retirement application is finally prepared and ready for filing; for, that is the time when the point of pain, anguish and the hollow eyes impounded by a medical condition may begin to repair themselves for the trading dawn away from the daily drudgery of the mask that conceals.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The perfection of nothingness

The advantage of nothingness over the clutter of everything is that the former – despite lacking any characteristic of anything concrete, or perhaps because of it – retains and reflects an aura of perfection.  It is perhaps a puzzle to consider perfection in that which represents vacuity, but think about it:  It is the figment and filament of negation which can represent the penultimate artifice of unsullied brightness; everything that is in being, can be found fault with, but nothing that exists cannot be prosecuted for imperfection.

That is why Anselm’s Ontological Argument for God’s existence is so deliciously irrelevant:  lacking any “real-world” content, the irrefutable perfection of its linguistic construct allows us to believe with such irredeemable faith in the a priori nature untouched and unable to be deconstructed in a world where everything is otherwise unmasked as either superficial, virtual or unreal.

The prefatory acceptance of the major premise – “That than which nothing greater can be thought of” – is itself of such irrelevant tripe (the substantive reference to the content, not the animal’s innards) that we involuntarily warm our hands and lick our lips before pouncing with predatory glee upon such sophomoric tropes (easy to exchange the “i” for an “o”).  And then we turn to our projects, as Heidegger would describe, in order to forget the unmasked and unveiled reality of our present concerns, because procrastination is the epitome of acknowledging our unmanageable souls and lives of decrepit conduct unlike the angels of yore.

There is nothing but imagination to feed our tired souls, anymore.  This isn’t even a “postmodern” world; instead, it is a “post-cynical” world.  We have unmasked every hero, dissected anything of value, and demeaned all content and reduced it all to mere materialism.  The only thing left for us to elevate to a heightened sense of ecstasy is nothingness itself.  Only if it survives in the corridors of our own minds and creative imaginations, can it be considered perfection.  For, in the real world, nothing that is of value can be trusted, and everything else remains but nothingness.

That is why, for the Federal or Postal employee who continues to procrastinate his or her Federal Disability Retirement filing, the perfection of nothingness often remains as the final hint of hope.  For, so long as one never tries, one can never fail.  Perfection in the security of not, is the epitome of safety.  By failing to file and remaining miserable in the pain and agony of one’s medical condition, the hope of future filing remains as the hint of hope for the future.  But the problem with such an approach – as with Anselm’s argument for the existence of God – is that we live in a world of real pain, real deterioration, and real destiny.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application by the Federal or Postal employee requires a “next step” forward in order to move beyond the perfection of nothingness.

In the trite parlance of ongoing modernity, there is never anything gained if nothing is attempted, but for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the agony of continuing in a job which is self-destructive, is by its very nature an admission that perfecting that artifice of nothingness is nothing more than delaying the reality of an uncertain future where the perfection of nothingness will gain nothing more than the reality of nothingness, which is nothing to hope for.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Life as a frown

Is most of life a frown, with a few smiles which make it all worthwhile?  Or is it perceived as its opposite – of predominantly smiles, with some frowns interspersed throughout?  Is that like the test-question for psychological health, of whether the glass is seen as half empty, or half filled?  Does the answer to the question depend upon the mood of the moment, the ethereal pattern of the day, or the fabric of that which is woven into our DNA by a matrix of unassailable conventions?  There is, to be sure, a weight of paradigms and an interwoven context which cumulatively aggregates into a “personality” of who one is; but can a Rorschach test unravel the depths of a psyche, or does it determine the course of one’s future actions because of the embedded nature of an anguished soul?

One wonders, ultimately, whether language is the conduit of the perception we possess, and that is why the Hindu guru or the Zen monk admonishes to seek silence, and to quell the obstacle of words and voices.  For, does an animal engage in unspeakable atrocities?  Of self-harm or self-immolation, or worse, of mass executions?  Is it not because of the conveyance of language, in communicating thoughts created and linguistic strings of previously-unimagined evils, that we reach the pinnacle of banality (to borrow a phrase from the Philosopher, Hannah Arendt)?  Would a man of such mediocrity as Eichmann have concocted the horrors of mass extermination, but for felicities directed by a conspiracy of greater evils?

Life as a frown; it is to approach the world with a certain perspective.  Life as a smile; it is to reproach the universe for being too downtrodden.  Is there a difference, or merely a play upon words where the distinction is lost once we wipe away the blur from our morning eyes and begin to engage in the work of the day?

Leisure is needed for the miscreant to employ the folly of a wasted day.  Time was that we all had to survive by physical toil, and worry involved how to eat in order to survive.  That is what consumes all of the rest of the Animal Kingdom; to survive, one must eat; to eat, one must toil; and the rest and residue leaves one too exhausted to consider, but for the technology of leisure where thoughts may invade and pervade, in order to create malevolent constructs of linguistic artifices.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the “approach of life” is an easy matter to conceive of:  the medical condition itself has made the determination for you.  Life becomes a frown, with nary a smile to intercede, when the work of each day is beset with anguish, pain and sorrow.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, actually has a constructive goal and purpose:  To alter the course of a future yet undetermined, and make life as a basket of smiles, to the extent possible in this universe of frowns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire