Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and 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 image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Fear of one’s shadow

What does that metaphor mean?  Perhaps to different people, different and varying things — of constantly being on edge despite nothing objectively to be anxious about; of fearing the worst around every bend and corner; of imagining impending doom despite the best of times; of never being able to enjoy that which has been attained or accomplished; and a multitude of similar circumstances that evoke an image of a person who remains in a perpetual flux of emotional turmoil.

Does this describe you?  Perhaps there is a reason — some Freudian abscess deep within the damaged psyche of an individual, unidentified and undetected, originating from a trauma experienced in childhood; or, he’s just a “nervous sort of fellow”.  Fear of one’s shadow is that person who expects the worst even within circumstances that highlight the best.  It is not just a lack of confidence, nor a pessimism that pervades against the reality of the illuminated world; rather, it is the expectation of disaster when reality fails to coincide with shadows that fail to appear even when all around you darkness dominates.

Perhaps we have done a disservice to this newest generation, and the one before, by always encouraging them with hope, never criticizing them, and allowing them to always think “positively” about themselves, their expectations and their future.  Then, when reality abuts against the expectation of anticipated success, this young generation falls apart and is inadequately prepared to handle failure.

Fear of one’s shadow is often the byproduct of an upbringing unprepared and unfortunately ill-prepared to become responsive to failures in life’s cycle of successes and failures.  It is, in many ways, a protective mechanism, where fear is the dominant factor in order to shield one from the reality of the world around.

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 fear of one’s shadow may not be so unrealistic — especially as it concerns how the agency or the Postal Service will act, react, respond to or otherwise initiate sanctions, actions and administrative proposals if you fail to return to a previous level of productivity and attendance regularity.  For, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not in a protective role; rather, they are often the adversary that needs to be constantly reminded of “the laws” that protect and preserve human dignity and contractual responsibilities.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, remember always that it is not one’s own shadow that needs to be feared, but rather, the looming figure behind your own shadow that may come unexpectedly to attack you, and that is why you need to consult with an experienced attorney in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Devotion

Must it by necessity have a “religious” component?  Devotion is an anachronistic concept – of individuals who have committed their lives to one involving (or devolving?) sacrifice and selflessness, where individual strivings for fame, wealth or power are forsaken and the plight of others is the focus of one’s resolve and vocation.

Certainly, there are subcategories of such descriptions, as when we hear about a parent of such-and-such being so “devoted” to his daughter or son; or of a scientist whose mother or father died of a certain rare disease and later grew up to “devote” his or her life to finding a cure.

But with those unique exceptions, the term itself was once applied to priests, nuns and (perhaps) non-Catholic preachers and ministers who had engaged a life of “devotion” – and the last vestige of such descriptions may be those attributed to Mother Teresa (that Saint of Calcutta, canonized less than 20 years after her death, and loved by all except perhaps by Christopher Hitchens, that cutting essayist who could state in a single sentence that which took paragraphs for most of us to develop).

And yet… There are dogs who are devoted; old men who have been married for decades to left caring for their ill wives, and vice versa; and Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, contrary to what the general public views about Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers.

That is why taking that “giant leap” into preparing an effective 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, is such a difficult step.  Does the concept of “devotion” apply, or do we now view such dedication and commitment to one’s vocation and career as foolhardy, misguided, a warped sense of priorities?

Certainly, wanting to do a “good job”, and be committed to advancing one’s career is considered having a “devotion” to a career in the loose sense; but should such a concept necessarily be sequestered only in the antiquated sense discussed herein?  How about its opposite – of having a devotion to such an extent that you continue to harm your own health?

For, that is what many Federal and Postal workers end up doing – of continuing to work despite its detrimental impact upon health, as opposed to taking advantage of the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement and focusing on that which one’s devotion should be centered upon: One’s health, one’s future, and the pathway towards securing both.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: The Aftermath

We like to think in linear prose; that is why, when E. E. Cummings showered the literary world with typographical disarray, a collective groan of discomfort visibly shook the foundations of the art form.

In daily life, it is the capacity of seeing a beginning, continuum and conclusion to a segment of a bifurcated visual horizon, which makes for sanity.  Closure and a sense of termination allows for satisfaction of an accomplished deed.  To be required to maintain a project, a task, an obligation, etc., is to engage in an eternal hell of unendurable agony; but that is, in the end, what must be done for most things, which is precisely why life is a challenge of inestimable proportions.

Federal Disability Retirement is no different; once obtained, one would like to think that closure has been accomplished, and that life is nothing more than forward-looking deeds to be reached like ski slopes allowing only for downward spirals of travel, never needing to look back.  But maintenance of effort is always a requirement; making sure that one is preserving the rights which one has fought so hard to gain, is a daily task, a present obligation, and a necessity of life in Federal Disability Retirement law, as in other sectors of life.

Whether to recognize the earned income cap for Federal Disability Retirement annuitants while still under a certain age, or making sure to be able to re-certify one’s ongoing medical condition and disability — these are never tremendously onerous tasks, but ones which can only be satisfied if one is fully aware of the laws which govern them.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first step in securing one’s future; the aftermath is the second and many subsequent steps, in ensuring the viability of that which one fought for in the first place, lest history should be repeated and goblins be allowed a resting place where none should be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Usual Dialogue

Much of our daily dialogue is determined by rote repetition.  Discourse throughout a typical day need not be given much thought; breakfast routine; interaction with colleagues and coworkers; declarative statements which have been repeated hundreds of times, both by one’s own voice as well as by others; salutations which require merely an audible sound; and the sun sets upon another closure of human inertia.

Then, some dialogues awaken the soul.  A sudden discovery of infidelity (though, given the pervasive appearance of popular culture, that, too, is quite commonplace); a perpetrated criminal act; a discussion with one’s doctor concerning a medical condition.  Even the latter, of course, from the doctor’s viewpoint, can be quite commonplace.  But for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has been pursuing one’s Federal or Postal career for years, decades, etc., the self-realization that a medical condition may end the financial security represented by one’s job, is a traumatic event in and of itself.

All options for the future must be considered; and the daily dialogue of rote routine must be cast aside.  This is not a time for niceties; it is an event for thoughtful action.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an affirmative step which one must pursue aggressively.

The inertia of past repetition of life’s puzzlements; the frightening prospect of an uncertain future; these must all be cast aside, and the reality of facing a time of forced creativity must be fully engaged.  And then, of course, there is the added anxiety that the administrative specialists at OPM will view your own application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits as just another ho-hum event, one which is merely part of their usual dialogue.

It is up to the Applicant him/herself, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to ensure that the Federal Disability Retirement application is cogent, clear, concise and convincing — in other words, not part of that daily dialogue of thoughtless repetition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Purgatory Reverie

The state of the intermediate, the surreal loss of traction in suspended animation; of trying to jog on ice, or to reach a destination traveling on a treadmill; this is a sense one is left with in dealing with a juggernaut of a bureaucratic morass.

In this day of immediacy, where the instant satisfaction of wants and the now of gratifications is met and reinforced by the push of a key, the click of a mouse, and touch of a sensor; and as virtue is no longer looked upon as a necessary ingredient of character, but rather an irritating obstacle to a material goal, so patience cannot be wanting where fissures have widened to such an extent that chasms have created chaos.  Planning ahead is always the key to the timely confluence of achieving the stated goal.  And then some. And perhaps even to multiply the waiting time by a factor of 2.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is precisely that inherent self-contradiction of the constancy of being forever suspended, which gives rise to frustration and turmoil.

Much of it is in anticipation of what the Agency, or the U.S. Postal Service, will or will not do.  Will they initiate an adverse action during the process?  Will they approve the discretionary LWOP request?  Will they “support” the Federal Disability Retirement application, or attempt to undermine the procedural march towards OPM’s approval?

Waiting upon an agency is never a good idea; neither in deciding to move forward on a Federal Disability Retirement application, nor in trying to make an educated guess as to what the agency’s reaction would be (or, in dealing with one’s agency, is it an oxymoron to concurrently use the terms “educated” and “guess”?).  Agencies move at their own pace, and do what they want, when they want, as fiefdoms and totalitarian republics are decidedly meant to provoke.

It is never a good idea to make one’s decision concerning preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, by waiting upon an agency’s actions; for, the immediacy of ignorance may never come about, or suddenly be initiated yesterday; and as purgatory is in and of itself a reverie of angels suspended in timeless harpsichords of orchestrated serenity, so the ill Federal or injured Postal employee who thinks that it is a good idea to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service before initiating a Federal Disability Retirement application, will of course remain lost in the long and winding road leading to the pearly gates of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire