Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Threads

They are fragile and subject to being snapped; yet, we rely upon them to hold together the fabric of so many things, both in practical terms and in more nuanced settings of conceptual constructs cloaked in figurative speech.

As in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, that invisible thread that gently tugs despite isolation, renunciation and attribution of apostasy in the chaos of cultural confusion; or of the woven cloth where thousands in aggregate intersecting patterns creates the strength of multitudes where the single entity would snap upon the breath of a dragon’s snore.  Or, in a conceptual, literary sense, of thoughts and ideas weaving throughout, intersecting and inextricably interconnected with other major themes, of supportive quality and subchapters in reinforcing the main paradigm of a narrative in work.

Threads combine to strengthen; in their singularity, they are the arteries that course through one’s body and give life to an otherwise inert functionality of inoperable means, and allows for its almost invisible presence to dominate beyond its capacity to remain quantitatively anonymous despite its qualitative force of influence.  On a spool, amassed in its collective consolidation, its unique distinctiveness can be identified by color and hue; yet, pull a line of it, perhaps in inches, feet or even a yard, and only by squinting in the full refracted light of day can you discern the difference between that and another.

Thus as we enter into the millennium of future woes do we rely more and more upon the threads that hold up the fragile and ever tenuous spirits of malevolence, like the mistaken times in our own closet when Pandora’s box was unceremoniously allowed to release those skeletons we so deftly hid in the cellars of our private lives.

The threads we have woven, that are the inseparable fabric of our inner lives and outer layers of concealing veils; and yet we take them for granted, no matter the consequences of wrapping dreams and hopes within the fragile confines of the softness wrapped in the baby carriage left teetering on the cliff’s edge.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the applicability and relevance of threads is twofold:  First, remember to always weave in a reinforcing manner, the repetitive value of the themes documented involving one’s medical conditions throughout the applicant’s Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A, to reiterate those specific elements of incompatibility between the medical condition and the positional duties; and second, recognize that the figurative threads of life are those that need listening to, as symptoms of health conditions once ignored, now weaving through the very fabric of one’s daily life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues

Does anyone read such an author, anymore?  At least, once one is beyond the assigned reading list and mandatory college compulsions that allegedly define those who are “educated” as opposed to not, does anyone perform the act out of pleasure?  Or, perhaps we would consider it more like self-torture.

Once the diploma is rolled, handed and received upon the platform of recognized accolades for accomplished feats now disseminated throughout all levels of society, where “blue collar” or physical labor is no longer perceived as acceptable and everyone must be subjected to the torture of reading Dostoevsky and his impassioned monologues that seem to meander forever upon a single scene, does anyone pick up a copy of such titles as, The Idiot, or The Brothers Karamazov, or of that “classic”, Crime and Punishment, and take valuable leisure time to plod and plug through such lengthy paragraphs upon puzzling paragraphs of reflective self-aggrandizing streams of consciousness?

Did a former generation or beyond really think like such characters, or is there something uniquely troubling about the “Russian” culture such that the depths of such rich history encompassing misery, war, poverty, the tension between power and the powerless, the tradition of the Czar and the more authoritarian lineage of Stalin, the current power structure, etc.?

Perhaps the Russian people can relate more readily with such authors and comprehend the scenes of reflective streams of long-winded monologues that can only be characterized as “impassioned” and tumultuous by any standard of emotional fervor.

There are, however, such similar examples in narratives prepared for a Federal Disability Retirement application, written by Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers in response to the questions and queries posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability.  Such impassioned monologues tend to include a lengthy history of past wrongs committed (i.e., Crime and Punishment); a journey describing tremendous upheavals and pain (i.e., The Brothers Karamazov); and of character caricatures that depicts a lack of focus and streamlined narrative (e.g., The Idiot).

Most of us claim to have read Dostoevsky; some of us make the further and surprising admission that we have “enjoyed” him; and some few of us actually continue to pick up his translated works and persist in reading him.  However, such pleasure-reading should be uniquely sequestered for the late-night fireside restorations, with a glass of wine or other inebriant to counter such impassioned monologues, and certainly only within a proper context of applicable content, and formulating such meanderings in a Federal Disability Retirement application by the literary device of stream of consciousness is not the “winning” mechanism to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.

Keep the focus and maintain a streamlined narrative in creating the nexus between the medical condition, the positional duties of the Federal or Postal job, and the impact between the two, and leave Dostoevsky and impassioned monologues to yesteryear’s literary classics rarely read, uncommonly desired, and never quite understood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Means to an end

There is a difference, with a real distinction, between utilizing a process as a means to an end, as opposed to using people for the same purpose.  Such a concept should be a “given” – that logical posit which is unquestionably true, without the likelihood of being controverted, and generally accepted as a foundational principle in a caring society and community.  Yet, modernity has contravened such a belief, and truth and falsity have become relative concepts on the pendulum of linguistic elasticity where the spectrum of facts, beliefs and opinions have become an amalgamation of conflated confusions.

Have we lost the capacity to recognize and identify distinctions that are substantively different because of their self-evident meaning and relevance?  Do we no longer teach logic – whether of the fundamental Aristotelian syllogism, or the greater complexity by extension as delineated in Russell’s three-volume magnum opus, Principia Mathematica – such that we can no longer argue for even the basics when confronted by once-accepted paradigms that Kantian categorical imperatives allegedly put to rest forever and a day?

Yet, that final proverbial “day” has now passed, purportedly, and such statements have become mere fodder for dismissive philosophical trash-heaps characterized by “Mereology” and other third-rate, Oprah-like condescension of forgeries masking as genuine belief systems.

Sartre and Camus presented their cases; the former, through a meandering philosophical treatise some would characterize as “Heidegger-Lite” (the comparison can be made superficially on the titles alone – of “Being and Time” as opposed to “Being and Nothingness”) and where his plays allowed for greater coherence than any of his “serious” attempts, while the latter conveyed the angst of human repugnance to becoming “objectified” through novels depicting alienation and the dilemma of human value in the very activity of defiance and rebellion.

Man, we are told, should always be treated as an end in and of himself, and never as a means.  Yet, in this mechanized, electronic-ized, technologized society, where the Smartphone is King and the tactile engagement with one another is merely an afterthought, we have to recognize that such inane beliefs are now mere archaic formulations of former times, previous generations and outdated constructs no longer applicable.  The Angst of Existentialism has come full circle; that which we scoffed at because it originated from Continental Europe is no longer a Sisyphean mythology, but a reality that now consumes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the weight and burden of a medical condition, being treated as a means to an end becomes part of the process.

Past accolades of dedication and loyalty fail to leave a trail of concomitant interest and empathy of warmth; you find out quickly that others don’t give a hoot about distinguishing between “means” and “ends”; but in the end, it is precisely the means by which you end up treating a fellow human being, and the very filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application should in and of itself warrant treatment of being an “end”, and not a “means” – but such self-evident principles appear to no longer be the accepted normative value within a society that cries tears for the Oprah show, but not for the real human experiences of the person in your own office, sitting in front of you, a foot away, real, not imagined, not a picture on Facebook, but a person of real flesh and blood.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of human frailty

Youth is the folly that disbelieves; middle age, of a progressive realization that the past does not lie, but teaches us of existent graveyards we may have passed unnoticed just yesterday, with question suddenly more prominent about mortality, the afterlife, and whether it is possible to cheat illness, death or debilitation from its awaiting wages.  Do we call out to the gods in a moment of desperation, ready to make a Faustus-like contract, or buy into the cosmetic youth-movement with lotions, fitness regimens and, in the end, surgical alterations to cheat the fates of time?  Of human frailty, there is no avoidance.

We can demand damage-control and engage in the peripheral tinkering where the god’s of malevolent intent care not because of the harmlessly futile attempts we employ; and, in the end, nothing subverts but merely detracts, and only extends just beyond the embrace of our own egoism so long as we avoid the hanging mirror in the privacy of bathrooms unlit.

What cosmetic and artificial superstitions we initiate matters little; for human frailty is part of the joke that the mirth of mythological gods make game of, with mocking repose during lighthearted times of boredom refracted.  Frailty steals the clothes that hide, leaving naked the humanness of what we are, unearthed to reflect the very soil from whence we came and to which we return.

Medical conditions unravel the façade we create and surround ourselves, hiding the little we don’t already reveal, like Adam in those Medieval depictions with a leaf leaving the imagination to view beyond the superficial coverings of our own lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from such medical conditions, such that they prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties slotted, the reality of human frailty comes to the forefront.

For, ultimately, the purpose in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is twofold:  A recognition, acknowledgment and admission that the time has come to attend to priorities in life otherwise disregarded for too long; and an understanding that the history of human frailty does not merely depict and describe in dusty old books forgotten in the arcane halls of crumbling libraries, but lives on beyond the artificial facades of cosmopolitan egos that dwell beneath where the gods of fate, time and reincarnated echoes of forgotten graveyards remind with a cold whisper of tomorrow’s past.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Illness

It is the pause button rendered by the universe, often without warning, without invitation and unwelcomed by all.  Is it the gods laughing in the heavenly seclusion, as wanton children playing with the mortality of souls unrequited, as matches in the hands of mischievous hearts undisciplined by law, life or empathy?

Then comes the triteness of wisdom, yet true but too late: “Oh, what a blessing health is”; “Is there a lesson to be learned?”; “Why me?”.  Is this the crisis of life that is merely an obstacle to overcome, or the long road towards a progressive decline where mortality is not just tested, but revealed as the weak link in the proverbial chain of man-to-gods-to the theology of our own creation?

Illness comes like that unwitting thief in the dead of night, but unlike the burglar who tries to remain silent but for creaking floors and unoiled passageways, it comes without concern for being revealed.  Does the universe test – or remain impervious like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, where perfection attracts all towards its essence and destroys everything that attempts to escape?  Who determines the criteria of such a test?  What constitutes a “passing grade” as opposed to a failure in its mere attempt?  Is the evaluation contained within the strength of one’s own character, and what results in a declaration of “success” as opposed to the failure of everyday lives?

If it is truly a test of character, then Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers certainly get enough of it to collectively get a passing grade.  Yes, fortunately, there is the option of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, but for almost all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the reality is that such a step is the last option chosen.

It is not so much that the benefit reaped from a Federal Disability Retirement is so miserly as to not make it worthwhile; no, to a great extent, the annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of pay, then 40% every year thereafter until recalculation at age 62 is generous enough to survive upon, especially when the alternative is to remain and kill oneself, resign and walk away with nothing, or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and, in conjunction with the ability to go out into the private sector and be able to make (on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity) up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays – it can lead to an acceptable level of financial security.

Ultimately, however, it is a truism that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers wait until the final possible moment before making the decision to file a Federal Disability Retirement, often allowing the illness to debilitate beyond the point of reasonable acceptance.  That, in and of itself, is a character test, and one that makes the illness itself of secondary concern, when one’s health should be given the highest priority, lest we allow the gods of wanton carelessness to have the last laugh.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire