Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Under the clump of olive trees

There are certain phrases that turn one’s attention, and daydreams of exotic lands and foreign places become projected onto one’s imagination, like camels, Arabian nights and sand dunes in faraway corners.  But, then, reality imposes itself; such places probably exist a few miles hence; those distant lands are now war-torn and deemed by the State Department to be forbidden avenues for sightseers and tourists in cut-off shorts and Hawaiian Shirts (did you know that the latter are apparently “back in style” – as if they ever were?), with warnings and cautionary predictions where officialdom has already evacuated the premises.

The soft snore from a picturesque scene:  the shepherd with a crooked walking stick, the flock grazing in the near distance; a straw hat edged slightly over the forehead, an arm lazily twisted behind as a pillow against the rocky surface; under the cluster of the olive trees, where a partial shadow allows for the coolness in the heat of midday slumber.  Or, what of a child’s delight in fairytales and picture-books, of Arabian nights with camels chewing silently while tents alight with shadows from within reveal the soft mutterings of foreign tongues, yearning for the delectable offerings sizzling atop the burning fires glowing in the star-filled twilight of the vast ocean of sand dunes and shadows.

Of course, those days of yonder years are now gone forever.  There are no scenes of picturesque quietude; in modernity, every corner of the earth has already been visited; the Himalayan monk sits with earphones and scans the images of Facebook and the world he abandoned for prayer, meditation and enlightenment; and that herd of camels has now been replaced by hooded terrorists lurking to kidnap and maim.  Yet, we all retain and preserve those images of quietude and peaceful reserve; in an insane world, a virtual universe of sanity is necessary, even if non-existence must be acknowledged and admitted to.

For each of us, perhaps it constitutes a minor variation:  becoming lost in a sports league; watching movies in regularity of escaping; a hobby in the cavern of one’s garage; physical labor or forlorn love with strangers; this is a society which requires distraction.  Or, as Heidegger puts it, varying projects in order to avoid the ultimate encounter with Nothingness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition creates a working hell at work, what comprises the image of resting under a clump of olive trees?  Certainly, not the daily grind and antagonism experienced by supervisors, managers and coworkers who disallow any meaningful contribution because of the limitations imposed by the medical condition itself; and, certainly not the enduring of pain and anguish implemented by the constant fight against the illness.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pathway, for many Federal and Postal employees, to a state where one can attend to, and focus upon, caring for one’s self.  OPM Disability Retirement is a benefit which is part of the employment package for all Federal and Postal employees, and utilization of it requires a proper formulating, preparation and filing through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to prove one’s entitlement to it.  It is a “means” to an “end”; and the means provide for a pathway outside of the daily pain and suffering which defines one’s life; the “end” is that virtual image we all strive for – to lay one’s head upon a comforting pasture under the clump of olive trees.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The Gatekeeper

Garbage in, garbage out; leave the door wide open, and the flies come in; “we don’t live in a barn”; and other similar quips, quotes and quotidian truths abound to guide us throughout the day.  In Medieval times, the Gatekeeper held a prominent position of authority and safekeeping; trust was of paramount importance, and the potential for bribery to undermine loyalty and fealty to the inhabitants of the Court or Castle meant that treatment of the assigned individual demanded respect as well as adequate renumeration.

With the advent of privacy and the insular family unit, where community was replaced with walls of silence and solitude, the position of the gatekeeper was abandoned and relegated to the relics of antiquity.  Yet, while the public position has become extinct, the conceptual construct remains a necessity of choice.  Few consider the relevance, significance and importance the Gatekeeper, and so we allow for technology, any and all forms of television shows, images, opinions unfettered and logical (and illogical) consignments to enter and exit, leaving aside the mere tincture of bad taste to flow freely through our doors.

Who is the Gatekeeper in this age of unconfined information, where Orwell’s fears have been confirmed, and even more so; and where judgement, good taste and sheer hypocrisy of life matters not because “anything goes” and the only prohibition is to express one’s self honestly, lest the psyche and ego of one’s neighbor be offended and the thought police from the campus next door comes knocking on the proverbial wall in the middle of the night?  For, when the Gatekeeper was fired those many eons ago, we forgot that a locked door relied merely upon the person entering or exiting, and responsibility shared is no more than perils disbursed amongst the many, including those who fear not or carelessly sputter through life’s travails.

Now, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, what relevance does the concept of a Medieval Gatekeeper have in this day of modernity?  Much.  And beyond, of greater relevance than you might think.  Garbage in, garbage out.

Leave the door wide open, and a denial might be guaranteed by OPM.  “We don’t live in a vacuum.”  And another:  Since the applicant in a Federal Disability Retirement claim has the burden of proof, such that a “preponderance of the evidence” standard must be met, who will be the determinant of what facts, relevant information and significant documentation is to be forwarded to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

In the end, the applicant, or his/her attorney of choice, is/are the Gatekeepers of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; and like the Medieval Gatekeeper of yore, it is well to treat that position with respect, lest any undermined fealty results in the doors left wide and open for the haunting ghosts of yesteryear to enter and defile.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: To Lose a Kite

It is that loss of innocence; of a childhood cut and let go, a bifurcation of sorts, where the fluttering tail fades into the misty distance of time past, eternity unfulfilled, and the present moment shattered by a loss not valued by economic standards, but by the negation of that which was, will never be again, and won’t be coming back. The loss of anything is valued by the attachment of human passion, the trembling fear of future consequences known and yet to be determined, and the expectation of a hope left as a residue of hard work and toil.

Do we remember that loss of a kite, at a critical moment in time when the champion of winds clapped and cheered as we controlled the destiny of an artifice so flimsy in manufactured quality and yet defying the aerodynamic laws of the greater universe?  Neither the Law of Newtonian physics nor the quantum theories compromising Einstein’s theoretical constructs could defy the persistence of levitational determination, coupled with a coil of thread in the stubby little hands of a child, with but a tug and a pull; and then, suddenly, it was gone.

Is not the future of an adult like that fleeting moment? What a qualitative difference a day may make; when once free of pain, then to experience the excruciating agony of debilitating onset; or where rationality and promise set the course for future happiness, only to be overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Life is tough; but when a medical condition intervenes and tears apart the very fabric of living, that compromised life becomes almost an unbearable mesh of a twisted cathartic of impenetrable jungles of psychological, physical and emotional turmoils. For many, there is no escape, and that snap of a thin reed which left the child’s hand empty of promise, is all that remains.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have the minimum years of service under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the best — if not the only — recourse out of a madness undeterred. Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees as part of one’s compensation package, and allows a person to stop working, receive what amounts to a lifetime annuity, while accruing more years in building towards a final retirement converted from disability retirement to regular retirement at age 62; and all the while, to live upon that rehabilitative plateau in order to attend to one’s health and well-being.

For, when a Federal or Postal worker is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the choices become stark and limited: To continue in pain and agony; to walk away with nothing to show for one’s efforts and toil; or to file for Federal Disability benefits.

It is like the child who once felt the pleasure of life through the flight of a kite, only to experience the tenuous reed of promise when the snap of the thread leaves the twirling object uncontrolled and uncontrollable, left to the nuances of turmoil and trauma; but to move on is to forge a different path, with the echoes of regret howling in the memories of our childhood consciousness, never to be regained but for a semblance of fated warmth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire