Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Down a Rabbit Hole

The phrase originates from the novel by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll) entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, shortened to “Alice in Wonderland”, and has come to take on a wider meaning — embracing any experience where one unexpectedly encounters a surreal, bizarre universe or phenomena.

The phrase is an interesting one — of somehow entering a different kind of reality where a parallel universe exists.  The rabbit holes of real life are more mundane — of a nest found in one’s back yard where young bunnies huddle together in fear of being discovered, and where hope of survival depends upon people walking by oblivious to the shelter and dogs failing to sniff out the hideouts.

We all walk through life hoping that we can avoid falling down a rabbit hole, and many of us deliberately avoid areas that may be pocked full of them, like so many potholes in roads and bridges that have been left in disrepair.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the necessity of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be file through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be considered tantamount to falling down into a Rabbit Hole.

OPM is a large bureaucracy, complex in its administrative procedures and processes, and the entire journey of preparing, formulating, filing and maneuvering through the Federal Disability Retirement laws, procedures and regulatory morass can be somewhat likened to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — only, the reality of it is that the surreal universe of the bizarre must meet the universe of necessity, and while the child who reads about Alice can delight in its wonderful tales and adventures, the Federal or Postal worker must live within the reality of a medical condition that remains forever.

That is why, in both cases, falling down into a rabbit hole will often need some expert guidance — like consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law so that the rabbit hole one falls into enhances the chances that the bizarre will ultimately lead to a successful endeavor out of the maze of OPM’s complex processes.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The legacy

It is something that we leave behind.  Yet, unlike a wallet, a watch, a piece of jewelry or a troublesome child better left forgotten, we don’t have an opportunity to go back and get it.  We say of that laundry list, “Oh, I need to go back and get it” (except maybe of the last in the list, whom we hope will be adopted into a kindly family and simultaneously also leave the parents behind); but not of the legacy.

No one ever says of that, “Oh, I left my legacy behind, and I need to go back and get it.”  Instead, it is intimately bound up with mortality, our sense of the future minus our own presence, and a dominant desire and urge to “leave a legacy” behind, as if to do otherwise will diminish the memory of one who has now departed, will soon be forgotten and will populate the mass of unknown graves without tombstones littering the earth beneath ivy and weeds that overwhelm.

It is often money itself, which is soon spent and forgotten; or a special “something” that one remembers another by, which is placed in a drawer and also quickly, easily and without conscience soon forgotten; or, perhaps a more lasting imprint of some residual effect – a poem, an antique car (otherwise referred to as a “junk heap”), or the family farm.

Whatever the legacy left leaving lasting latitudes of lost loneliness lacking love’s longing for lengthy locutions (sorry for the alliteration, but it cannot be helped), it is something that is left behind, cannot ever be retrieved, and may or may not have a lasting impact upon the person or groups of people for whom it is intended.

Then, one can stretch the meaning to include a more modern interpretation of the concept of a legacy – of one’s own.  That is a paradigm of a “legacy” in the more common usage – of a memory of one’s life, of what kind of a legacy will one leave that will be remembers by others – that you worked yourself to death and didn’t spend the time with your kids (refer to the above, first sentence herein, where that may be a blessing), your wife or friends?  What is the point of an empty legacy of that sort?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who begins to think of one’s life, health, future and legacy, especially because a medical condition has begun to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue in the Federal or Postal career of one’s choice, the consideration of preparing, formulating and filing 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 often and intimately tied and bound to the fragile nature of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s life.

Struggling daily with a medical condition while trying to contend with a contentious Federal Agency or Postal Facility is not only “not fun” – it is, moreover, a futile exercise that diminishes the legacy of one’s life as a greater whole.

The “legacy” one leaves behind, indeed, is not like a wallet, a watch, or a piece of jewelry; but it is like a child left behind, where regrets for the future may yet be corrected, and for the Federal or Postal employee who needs to focus upon one’s health and future orientation that can no longer include the current job one occupies, preparation of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to OPM, may be the next best thing to a legacy yet to be considered.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Intrinsic Value

There is, at the outset, a question as to whether such metaphysical distinctions of esoterica have any relevance, anymore.  The ivory towers have all lost their sheen; civilizations have now embraced the comfort of relativism in the West, excepting those outliers who cling to antiquities of thought believed to merely be vestiges of a prehistoric era; and all such bifurcations of minutiae are considered mere word games designed to enhance and promote the ability and capacity for further social engineering.

Perhaps in the pragmatic world of options trading, there remains a definitional need to distinguish between “intrinsic” value and “extrinsic” value; where the nature of the option being traded constitutes the former, and the circumstances and previously-unknowable factors impacting upon the value of the trade itself defines the latter.

In real life, the philosophy of pragmatism itself has dissolved the principles once touted; the Aristotelian differentiation of ascribing value based upon its inner sanctity, as opposed to a derivative preciousness contingent upon other entities or circumstances, was once accepted as a given.  But such metaphysical distinctions have been cast aside upon the trash heap of historical irrelevance, and one rarely hears, anymore, about such highfalutin concepts, as they are now considered outmoded, irrelevant, or worse, pompously presumptuous in a world where only the politically powerful, the super wealthy, or the “beautiful” people are allowed such exemptions of conversational engagements.

One might still argue, in this present age where the force of logical argumentation has been replaced with the volume of vociferous condescension intolerable to auditory quietude, that a great work of art has intrinsic value recognized intuitively, no matter the extrinsic cirumstances.  But if a dystopic universe prevailed, and there was but one person left to visit the last burning embers supporting a museum left as a testament to humanity’s former greatness — but, where, no food was left, and starvation was the remaining mechanism for death of this last poor soul — would the salvaged Rembrandt have any “intrinsic” value, leaving aside the issue of extrinsic worth (of course, human nature being what it is, such a sole survivor may still have the imaginative inner strength to recognize that there may be a future still, and scurry off with such masterpieces in the hope that the future may hold a better day).

Metaphysical principles which once held some meaning, significance and defined linguistic purposes, have now given way to daily blatherings of “I feel” and “I sense”, where, in each such utterance, it is the “I” which defines intrinsic value, and the subjectivity of sensing and feeling enhances the contingency of external worth.  It is, in many ways, a sad loss for all of us, that we should rely upon such subjectivity of an objective-less concept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the loss of any meaningful discussion between the intrinsic worth of X, or even the differentiation from the extrinsic value of Y, results in a universe where we are all treated as “means” to an end, and never just an “end” in and of itself.

That is why protective laws are necessary — precisely because we have lost any semblance of viewing one another as worthy because we belong to a greater principle called “humanity”.  But that is the practical world in which we live, and to which we must abide.

Filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement is the best option left, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Thus, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the pragmatic course for future security.  It is in that, where intrinsic value will be found, in the consolation of a future security otherwise lost in the extrinsic void of an unsympathetic universe.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Federal Disability Retirement: The Happy Warrior

The linguistic implications are multiple and rich in historical nuances, derived not merely from the combination of words but because of images from the past and residual connotations not always agreed upon but nevertheless trailing like appendages holding on for dear life to a departing conveyor of thoughts, ideas and characters.

It evokes caricatures of contrasting conditions of smiling in the face of adversity; of taking on opponents on the proverbial field of battle despite unwinnable odds, yet with an optimism unable to be undermined; and evocative shadows of withdrawn faces, like the peek behind the kabuki painted cosmetics and the space between the flesh and the Noh mask, that moment when doubt is surely to surface and a moment of realization comes about.  Behind closed doors, does “The Happy Warrior” truly smile, or is there hesitation resurfacing, but not for public consumption?

We honor and value that smiling face in the contest of adversities not our own, and disdain and discard upon the garbage heap of history those who disappoint and destroy our carefully crafted image of the warrior who reveals the felt pain and the loss of control of fear and doubt.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves can only maintain one-half of the equation, and the perfect balance between the “happy” side of yin-yang combination, in contrast to the “warrior” component, leaves us empty and without courage.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must daily put on the impassive Noh mask in order to counter the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service in contending with adversity because of a medical condition, the recognition that in Noh theatre it is expected that as shadows change and perspectives alter, the expression of the Noh mask adapts and reveals character and substance beyond the original intent, may be of some comfort.

The legend of the happy warrior is just that — a residue of days past when history with its feeble memory forgot the tears shed when the transference of the reality of blood and guts to the paper description of battle and fury became lost in the mediocrity of words and wordsmiths.  Life is sometimes too real for even reality to bear.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether psychiatric, physical, or a combination of both, the daily requirement of showing “happiness” despite pain and deteriorating health, and to maintain that armor of a “warrior”, can and does come to a point of irrefutable untenability.

Filing 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, is never a surrender to one side or the other of the unfair equation beset by a societal image of who we are, what we are supposed to be, or where we are meant to go.  Instead, the simple formula for the first half of the combination is:  Take care of one’s health first, and let the rest and residue scatter to cubbyholes in faraway places.

And once that has been taken care of, the second half:  Prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because one’s health is paramount in this progressively uncaring universe, and attaining a level of restorative health can only become a reality when once the armor which protected begins to show the chinks of time and deterioration, and where the component of “happy” can no longer stand alongside the “warrior” within, and it is time to move on to another day, a greater battle, and a more winnable war.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Palate of Human Living

It is both an identifier of a specific part of the human body, as well as a noun used to describe a sophisticated and discriminating characteristic of the human animal.  Used in the former manner, it merely describes nothing more than the biological component in common with all other animals; as presented in the latter form, it distinguishes from the greater commonplace testament of a refinement not otherwise found.

That, then, is the uniqueness of the human being; the capacity to be part of the world around, yet able to be distinctively different and to progressively advance (as opposed to regressively retreat) on the spectrum and scale of achievement.  But in the objective world of reality and pragmatic concerns, there are “equalizers”.  One such factor which levels us all, is an unexpected medical condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have striven to personally and professionally advance on a career path with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service, but who now find that the unpalatable future orientation belies one’s capacity to continue because of a medical condition, serious consideration must be granted to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The decision itself is not what impacts the palate; rather, it is the cessation of progression on one’s career scale which makes for the unpalatable idea.  But that is where the pragmatics of life, and the dream-like quality of ambition, willfulness and the human spirit of positive-thinking, all come together in a clash of titanic proportions, and serves to undermine the reality-oriented universe of necessity and practicality.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a reflection upon the capacity of the creative drive of the individual; it is merely a necessary step in response to a biological requirement in order to advance to the next stage of one’s life.  And just as the palate is not merely a body part, but a refinement of distinguishing taste, so the Federal or Postal employee who cannot see the distinction between moving forward into the next and future achievement from a biological condition which cannot be avoided, is merely of the lower animals, and not the angel whom the gods entrusted as the caretaker of a universe gone astray.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Subtle Warnings

Subtlety is not an inherent trait of the American psyche.  As pragmatism and materialism dominates the prevailing thought-process, the capacity and ability to recognize and act upon indirect signs and hints is underdeveloped and considered a disadvantage.   From recognizing the early warning signs of a medical condition, to responding to an agency’s initiation of adverse administrative proceedings, the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker is marked for his or her naive forthrightness.  Thus the recurring quip:  “Why can’t they just come right out and say it?”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to recognized and act upon subtle warnings becomes a necessity crucial for survival.  Timeliness matters; planning for the future requires a thoughtful recognition of harbingers of hazards.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like the childhood game of  “cat and mouse”.  As a game involving constant pursuit, avoidance of capture, near-misses and resumption of pursuit, staving off administrative sanctions, actions and similar initiations of contrivances by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service while the Federal or Postal employee is awaiting a decision by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is simply part and parcel of this complex process involving a burdensome bureaucracy.

Filing early for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is often the key; ignoring those subtle warning signs, both about one’s own medical condition as well as the underlying substratum of intentions as indicated by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, is to disregard the inevitability of life and its complexity of meanings.  For, in the end, that which is subtle must unravel and manifest, but it is the one who first senses the forewarning of fate who ultimately can control one’s destiny and divert from the determinism of fatalism.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire