OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Is There Enough of Me?

Whether consciously or not, that is the question we ask of ourselves.  Is there enough of me?  Meaning: Is life worthwhile such that the “me” exists substantially to reach a level of happiness, contentment and joy?

The worker, the parent, the friend, the husband or wife — they are certainly part of every person’s role within society, but there is a separate, private “me” that is defined by the uniqueness of each individual.  Perhaps the “me” part of one’s personhood is in the joy of reading; or of other hobbies and leisure activities, like hunting or fishing, or playing a game of cards, writing a short story, playing basketball, breeding dogs or just sitting in front of a fireplace with one’s dog.

These, and many other activities comprise a list of “me-things” which make for living in a society worthwhile.  Is there enough of me?  What balance within life’s daily grind and busy-ness would satisfy that question?

When the balance between work, obligations, responsibilities, mundane chores and sleep is disrupted such that there is not enough of “me” to be had, there is often the untold consequences of despair and depressive despondency.  In Japan, there is a term for this — Karoshi.  It literally means, “death by overwork”.  It is a state of being where there is clearly not enough of “me” within the daily living and routine of a person.

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 job, the overwhelming nature of trying to balance work, personal life and the medical condition itself will present the ultimate dilemma: If work cannot be accomplished, how will there be enough of me?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a way of attempting to restore some balance in one’s life.  Consult with an Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, a life where one’s medical condition consumes every aspect of daily living because work itself becomes a constant struggle, is one where, clearly, there is not enough of “me”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Forced Choice

One may, of course, counter that a choice which is “forced” is actually no choice at all, and such a rebuttal possesses some merit.  However, the rebuttal to the rebuttal is to say that it all depends upon what one means by “forced” — as in, was one’s liberty to choose otherwise restricted, or is it used in a looser sense, as in, “I just felt that I didn’t have any other choice, so I did X”?

Thus, if a person walks into an ice cream shop and there is only one flavor of the creamy product, one may say dejectedly, “I didn’t have any other choice, so I bought a gallon of ice cream.”  There was, of course, the silent other option — of not buying any at all — to which a person might respond, “Yes, if the original contingency was encapsulated by the thought that ‘I want some ice cream’, then based upon that paradigm, the narrow choice-making was limited to purchasing whatever ice cream that is available.”

Further, can one argue that the “sub-choice” was the amount of ice cream purchased — for, was there not a choice of a greater or lesser amount, as in a pint instead of a gallon, or 5 gallons instead of one?

Countering that issue, of course, is to go back to the “primary” paradigm of the choice — for, if the contingency was the issue of having-X or Not-X, then the secondary choice-making of the quantity or volume of the purchase is a collateral, inconsequential matter.  Thus, what is important to glean from such a discussion is to recognize and identify what remains as the essential contingency of a choice-making process before one complains that a person was “forced” into a choice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to begin the process of considering whether or not to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.

What are my choices?  Can I continue to work while I await the long process of a FERS Disability Retirement application?  Must I resign from the Federal Agency or the Postal Service?  Must I accept any and all reassignments offered, if offered at all?

These, and many other questions should be considered before one concludes that there were no options at all and that the only choice was a “forced” choice, which is no choice at all.  For, in the end, even the person who had no choice but to buy a gallon of vanilla ice cream had other options — like traveling to the next block or another town to go to another ice cream store.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker considering Federal Disability Retirement, consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to understand the options available.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The house next door

It is the one that follows the same comfortable convention for all these many years — of never knowing the intimate details; a wave of the hand every now and again; of fleeting appearances on various days, such as recycling, garbage and the occasional Saturday when the in-laws from out-of-state come to visit on Thanksgiving, or a birthday, or perhaps when a tragedy occurs and the sudden appearance in the driveway that is filled with cars never before seen.

The house next door, or across the street —the neighbor who you do not know, and somehow never got around to knowing, whether because they were latecomers or you were, and the “other” didn’t seem all that willing, friendly or “neighborly” to begin with, and so a settled truce became the daily routine that never altered, never became a problem, and forever became entrenched in the mundaneness of deliberate social avoidance.

We imagine what occurs in the house next door; or, perhaps not at all, except to complain when they’ve made too much noise, let their grass grow beyond the acceptable conventions of normative beliefs (or otherwise in violation of strict codes imposed by the “lawn police” of the local Home-Owner’s Association), or parked one of their cars in front of your house (yes, it is true — that street section in front of your house is actually not your property, and though it may be obnoxious, the house next door has every right to park the car on your side of the street, right in front of your house).

We never know what occurs to the house next door until one day we read about the tragedy in the pages of the obituary in the local paper.  There is a sadness in that very fact; or, perhaps that is the way we have set up this disinterested and alienated society?  Do we prefer to remain ignorant of the goings-on of the house next door?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition forces the preparation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it often feels like living in the house next door — for, suddenly, you find yourself looking at familiar surroundings from across the street, or from beyond the fence that separates, and you begin to wonder whether you ever knew your neighbor, and what they are up to.

There is an alienation involved, and you must always remain suspicious as a “new” car is suddenly seen parked across the street, and the Supervisor or coworker seemed to be sharing information and gossiping with furtive eyes averted from your view; and yes, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service may be getting ready to initiate an adverse action of some sort — like the house next door that you never knew and now would rather not.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Being another

When you read that some actor, writer, politician or commentator (dare we ask why, in a single sentence, all of them have been lumped side by side) says X or does Y, we often allow our own ego as the “one-upsmanship” to overtake us, and we imagine that, if we were there, we would have said “XX” instead of “X”, or done “YY” instead of the mere “Y”.

At the moment, though we rarely recognize the egocentric reality of what we are doing, we actually “become” that actor, that writer, that politician or that commentator, and assume the role and identity of the person we have replaced in our mind’s eye.  Insanity, of course, comes about when a further step is taken — of believing not what we “would” have done or said, but incontrovertibly becoming that someone whom we are not.

The quantity of time expended within the insularity of our lives is astounding; and the personal — albeit creative and imaginative — excursions into another type of virtual reality consumes a greater part of each day, every hour and multiple minutes of our disjointed lives.  Perhaps this occurs in a quick flash of a stream of passing thoughts; or a long, enduring daydream that recurs through the day, the week, and over a month’s time; but of whatever duration, being another is something that we all do, and always at the expense one’s own ego and those who are close to us.

Being another also occurs in hopeful encounters with our own circumstances.  We imagine that we are ourselves, but also another who is simultaneously identical and yet different.  That is what a medical condition does — it divides the reality of who we are today from the memory of who we were yesterday, and further projects a person of what will become of us in the future, near or far.  Often, emotions become entangled in the images of who we are, and so regret pervades the past, anxiety overwhelms the present, and fear pursues the future.

Medical conditions tend to inject a factor that we have no control over, and it is that loss of control, combined with who we see ourselves as, and who we would rather be or become, that presents a dilemma: As circumstances change, can we continue to remain who we are and allow for being another — the “other” being the person who we once were — to continue as if such changes of circumstances never occurred?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has “changed” a person to the extent that he or she is now “another” — someone not quite dissimilar to yesterday’s you but also not identical to today’s yesterday of the person we just met — because of circumstances beyond one’s control, it may be time to do that which only another in a different time and distinguishing context may have contemplated: 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.

The reality is that we are never the same as who we were yesterday, and last year’s child of imaginative “being another” has grown into the “other” that was once imagined.

In the end, the essence of who we are will not have changed because of a medical condition, and what we do in life beyond filing for and obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is more important than feeling self-pity for not having fulfilled one’s desire for being another, who was yesterday’s another in a different role from today’s another or tomorrow’s another.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Struggles

It is a law of life, is it not?  To struggle; to always have to thrash about just to survive, whether in the world of employment, the world of self-control, the universe of just maintaining a semblance of sanity within a greater complex of madness we face each day?

And, indeed, that is the basis of most philosophical systems that have been posited – from the Ancients who posited permanence as opposed to constant flux (Parmenides and Heraclitus); of the tension between Forms and the world of appearances; of the universe of perspectives empowered between one’s spatial imposition of human categories as opposed to an objective reality that one can never reach (Kant); or merely reducing all philosophical problems to one of linguistic inconvenience (the British Empiricists); and on and on, the struggle to learn, to maintain, to survive.

Life is a constant struggle, and when once peace is attained, we then die, or at least retire to an old person’s home for the forgotten and the ignored.  Even the fairytales we read to our children begin with the struggle, then end with a world of make-believe; only, those types of endings don’t occur in “real life”, and so we have to explain to our children when they get older that, well…heh, heh, heh…it was all a lie – that, unlike the stories told, mom and I hate to tell you this, but the struggles in life never end.  There is no “happily-ever-after” after all.

Then, life brings about a medical condition – those pesky irritants that hopefully can be controlled or maintained with a pill or a stiff drink, but otherwise an indicator that either we are growing old or something in our bodies are trying to forewarn us of the future.  Then, the medical condition begins to magnify, exacerbate, and turn into that state of being “chronic”, and slowly, it begins to deteriorate and progressively impact how we feel, who we are, and what we can do.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal or Postal job, the recognition that life is a constancy of struggles is nothing new; but, what is new is the realization that such a struggle now can become worsened by entering into arenas previously held inviolable – of work and the productivity that was once taken for granted.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a surrender to that constant struggle, but merely a change of direction and planning.  We all know that life is a constant struggle; sometimes, the struggle must be circumvented by moving onto the next phase of an ever-struggling life, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed with OPM is that next phase of the constant struggle.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The frog and the twig

Upon first encounter, the two appear not to have any correspondence or connection, leaving aside any explanatory significance to the issues of Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal employees or U.S. Postal workers.  Yet, it is always of interest to show how the “relatedness” of seemingly disparate concerns intermingle and intersect with each other.  The fact is, whether in a direct and non-subtle manner, or in some transcendent metaphorical context, Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who find themselves at a point in their careers where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes a necessity, constitutes a reflective representation of much of life’s challenges.

Loss of hope for the future; struggling with day-to-day work and family issues; contending with a medical condition; caring for one’s career and workforce, yet, being forced to make a decision contrary to the linear perspective of what is “supposed” to happen – of work, career, retirement and mandatory shuttling into a nursing home, then a tombstone with some etching of memorialized compassion.  The latter two (nursing home and tombstone) are stated in somewhat of a cynical humor, but the others comprise the core of real life in real time.

Of the frog, we know that experimentation reveals the effectiveness of methodical, incremental insidiousness where, placed in a pot of tepid water, it will sit unknowingly until the boiling point is reached, and it becomes too late to jump out.  Life has a tendency to do that to us – we wait and wait, and suddenly it becomes an emergency.

Fortunately for Federal and Postal employees who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, it is rare that the emergency situation is so dire as to undermine the capacity and ability to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, but nevertheless, one should always be wary of the metaphorical significance of the frog.  It is one of those “life-lessons” which should be considered.  Of the twig, it is perhaps a little less obvious as both metaphor and analogy.

Once a part of a greater organic whole, it splintered off and fell into the rushing waters of the river below, and drifts aimlessly down, coursing around jutting rocks and undisturbed banks of clay.  Slowly, incrementally, and just as insidiously as the frog in the pot of water, the underside of the decaying twig begins to soak in the waters which allow it to remain afloat, until sometime later, the absorbing principle reaches a point where weight of intake exceeds the capacity to remain buoyant.

That is where the connection appears, between twig and life; where unforeseen burdens weigh down the individual until one day, unknowingly, like the frog and the boiling point of unobserved conditions, nature suddenly overtakes and dominates. And so, from the time when the twig separated from the greater overhang of a vibrant life, the vicissitudes of a raging stream which carried forth the rudderless twig, pushing it to and fro and about without direction, sinks to the bottom of a silt-filled bed, until it, too, decays and becomes again part of a greater circularity of life’s regeneration.

It is with these two in mind that the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker needs to approach a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: both the frog and the twig represent a potential condition which we believe we are too smart for, but of which we find ourselves too often quite closely related to.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire