OPM Medical Retirement: Days of Sisyphean Drudgery

The Myth of Sisyphus is well known, both because of the philosophical essay written by Camus, as well as through the Greek mythological narrative of the condemned figure to toil in endless meaninglessness, by rolling the boulder up the hill, only to watch it go down, and to repeat the process all over again.

For Camus and the existentialist viewpoint, it is in the very act of absurdity itself that meaning and significance can be derived; for the Greek citizen of yesteryear, it was perhaps the circularity of the human condition which provided for relevance in the telling of the myth. In either extrapolation, the powerful and profound story provides for an image of consequence in this modern age of technological overload, where causes are no longer believed in, customs no longer adhered to blindly, and social constraints no longer attached by meaningful obedience.

The absurdity of daily toil has come to a fruition point, where the great expanse of information in the age of the internet now destroys any definitional meaning, either in words, relationships, or for lives and livelihoods.  Crisis points often infuse momentary meaning in meaningless and mindless midpoints; and so, at the pinnacle of balance, just as the boulder meets the midpoint of the hill and balances for a millisecond upon the hill before “deciding” to roll forward, the point of reflective relevance engulfs Sisyphus within a frozen moment of infinity.

Medical conditions often have a similar effect and impact upon a life; for, in the turmoil of trauma, one asks those reflective questions as to the mundane:  what does it all mean?  What is the point?  But perhaps such questions of eternal queries last only for a brief moment in time, before pain, fear, angst and anxiety overtake; and in this physical world where materialism and the scientific narrative prevails and predominates, getting beyond pain and through the day, only to experience insomnia and unsolicited loss of solace is not enough to attain a meaningful existence.

Are there solutions?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, there is a likening of the work performed with the Sisyphean plight of the Greek mythological figure:  the greater bureaucracy representing the scene of turmoil; the medical condition representing the task itself; and the heroic feats of the meaningless in the context of the greater significance of life, surviving medical conditions and getting beyond pain, despondency, depression and anxiety, and the exit one attempts to find in order to escape from such a condition, leads one to that moment of absurdity and balance of the boulder at the pinnacle of the hill.

For the Federal employee and the Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is a way to attain a level of restorative capacity in order to escape the vicious circularity of the toil which only further exacerbates one’s medical condition.

While never the answer to all, obtaining OPM Disability Retirement benefits allows for one to move forward, and to progress beyond the absurd.  Otherwise, the disabled Federal employee or the injured U.S. Postal Worker may find him or herself caught in the web of another narrative put forth by another well-known existentialist philosopher, entitled, No Exit.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Macro & Microcosms

Reading the newspapers can be a tricky affair; for, while the importance of being “informed” must arguably override the need and desire to remain untroubled, one cannot but engage a short perusal before concluding that cataclysmic events daily dominate. Perhaps sensationalism and the competitive drive to sell a story requires the printing of negative news; or, maybe there is a journalistic force of integrity demanding that crimes, wars, ruination of reputation, and calamities both natural and man-made be the center of our attention.

The macrocosmic events which have little to no direct connection to our lives, are allowed in by our need to be informed; and, as gatekeepers of what enters our insular world of quietude, such disturbing allowances prevail upon us at our discretion. Medical conditions, of course, are of a different generic stripe.

Within the microcosm of our peaceful and mundane lives, the intrusion of a medical disability, whether of an acute and sudden nature, or of the more insidious, chronic and progressively debilitating nature, is akin to a stealthy burglar who invades without invitation, who creates havoc without discretion, and who leaves behind a trail of overturned chaos with little understanding or sympathy.  The microcosmic universe of one’s personal mind, body, soul and emotional balance, can turn into a turmoil of abysmal ravages no less than a war-torn nation some thousands of miles away, and having no direct connection to one’s town, neighborhood or household, but with just as devastating consequences.

For the Federal and Postal employee, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is merely a trifle of a step in an attempt to stabilize the chaos one experiences when the microcosmic world of one’s creation becomes likened to the macrocosmic state of disastrous events.

Federal Disability Retirement is a “positive” step within a disintegrating universe impacted on a large scale by a deteriorating medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job.  It is a goal sought in order to reach a state where one can attend to chasing out the proverbial burglar, or at least to straighten out the mess left behind.

In the end, try as we might, perhaps we can never truly escape the deep abyss of the human condition; and ultimately, perhaps it is best to cancel one’s subscription, and instead become lost in a novel about elves and hobbits. Ah, but we forget…there are those unseemly orcs, too.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

It is both informative and interesting to observe various personalities in the thought-process of decision-making.

Some will merely be silent and ponder for hours, days, and weeks (or longer), as if time alone with resolve an issue; others will be proactive and aggressively inquire, gather further facts; still others will make a quick and decisive stand, with little thought or reflection.

Then, of course, there are those who rely upon “gut instinct”; others who apply a methodological paradigm where each criteria must be satisfied and checked off before a decision is made; and some who “hedge their bets” and make a contingent decision, which is often no decision at all.

For Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the luxury of time often works against them.

Time is the great decider of fate; for, whether because of financial reasons, Statute of Limitations, or impending adverse actions proposed by the agency, time constraints must always be factored into the process of decision-making. Wait too long, and it may be too late; wait not long enough, and an opportunity presently unforeseen may have manifested itself.

Time, in its essence, is both the outside influence and the internal trigger, and the time one takes in pondering the proper decision is often the indicator of whether it is the right or wrong decision.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Early Decisions, Later Consequences

Decisions engaged in early on, reap later consequences which often reflect the choices made in those initial steps.  This is true both in life generally, and in particularized ventures, endeavors and vocations.

That is precisely why we tell our kids to study hard; that the key to success is preparation and practice; that, on performance day, the ease with which the presentation appears reflects the extent of the behind-the-scenes effort which went into the show.

Such admonitions apply to every project we undertake, and it is no less different when one is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, for the Federal and Postal Worker.  The logical sequence of how a person puts together a Federal Disability Retirement application will be reflected both in the final submission, as well as in the results obtained.

Now, there may well be cases which are poorly compiled, yet approved without a glitch; just as there will be cases which are irrefutably argued, yet denied by the Federal Bureaucracy identified as OPM.

However, another adage which is also true, is that “the exception does not make the rule”.

What words are chosen; how the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A is formulated; what medical evidence is presented; which legal arguments are promulgated and highlighted; what collateral issues are preemptively brought up; collectively, they “matter”.

What we do today determines the course of tomorrow; what tomorrow brings, will reflect upon who we are today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Escape from the Morass

The loss of perspective comes at a price:  ever deeper in the morass of self-reflection, one cannot step outside of one’s self in order to attain a viewpoint other than that which one possesses.  That is often how we criticize politicians who have been in Washington for “too long” —  caught within a society of power and appearances, they fail to recognize how “real” people live and struggle.

The acknowledgment of such a perspective (or, to put it more correctly, some would say the “loss of perspective”) is a first step; the second, and more important step, is to do something about it.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important for the Federal or Postal employee to comprehend, understand, and ultimately “see” that there is a way out.

The desperation in the voices of those Federal and Postal employees who have been caught in the morass of the vicious cycle of pain, chronic and deteriorating medical conditions, the self-denigrating perpetual maze of being caught in a web where one can see no future in a job which one cannot perform because of a deteriorating medical condition which one cannot control, can be heard in the description of cries for help.

But the next step in order to escape such a morass is to prepare to formulate a plan, and the first stage of that plan is to decide whether one is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  As that old proverb goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Process

The engagement of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a “process” both on a macro as well as a micro level.

On a macro level, the ability to consolidate the variety and complexity of information; of understanding that there are multiple levels in the administrative labyrinth of a Federal Disability Retirement application, beginning with the initial stage of the process; then, if denied, the Second, or Reconsideration Stage of the process; then, if denied a second time, an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board; then a potential filing of a Petition for Full Review; and, finally, an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; all told, the aggregate of all of the procedural hurdles can be characterized as a “process”, precisely because of the complexity of each stage building upon the previous one.

On a micro level, it is similarly a process, but in a different sense.  The “pieces of the puzzle” must be gathered, and the best way to do so is in a methodologically sequential manner, one which reflects a logical structure, as opposed to a haphazard compilation of facts, tidbits, arguments and rants strung together into a barely coherent whole.

Remember that putting together a Federal Disability Retirement application must reflect an argument with a purpose — of proving one’s case by a preponderance of the evidence.  As such, understanding the “process” of such an endeavor is important in the very preparation of one’s case.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire