FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: That cup of tea

It is the symbol of a quieter life; of a pastoral time of past remembrances, where the slower pace accorded a tranquility now lost forever.  It is referred to in many of William Trevor’s short stories — of that time in England when people still sat around and had “that cup of tea”.  For, somehow, the notion of fine china, the curling wisps of winding steam and the aroma of warmth and comfort retain a resonance of civility, quietude and the sentiment of calmer times.

Coffee, on the other hand, betrays a greater americanism — of forging ahead, forever seeking progress and movement, a person on steroids who cannot take the time, will not, and in fact has no time for the silliness of having that cup of tea.  That is why coffee is taken on the road, in plastic or styrofoam cups; in mugs and sturdy, thick jugs; whether plain, with a bit of milk and with or without sugar.

The two represent different times; of lifestyles gone and replaced; of civility and crudity.  Starbucks and others have tried to gentrify the cup of coffee, of course, and to create different “Internet cafes” with sophisticated-sounding names for lattes, “XY-Americano” or some similar silly-sounding names; but in the end it is the bit of coffee painted with a lipstick on the pig, and it remains the shot of coffee that provides the taste.

People are like that; and we all reminisce about times past, of “good old days” and for some, we miss that cup of tea.  For the greater society, the two contrasting flavors of a drink represent a bifurcation of sorts: One, for a kind of life we long for; the other, the reality within which we find ourselves.

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 distinction between the cup of tea and the mug of coffee is like a metaphor of one’s own circumstances: the body and mind requires that cup of tea; the reality that swirls around demands the mug of coffee.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is perhaps the antidote to the growing problem.  While it may not be every person’s cup of tea, it is something that — given the environment of the Federal Agency and the Postal Service in requiring every worker to act like a caffein-induced maniac — may medically indicate a change from the coffee-centered culture that cannot sit even for a brief moment to enjoy that distant reverberation of fine china clinking amidst the calm of a quiet morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The Whisper of Discontent

Seasons come and go; it is one of those ponderous “throw-away” lines that people utter without much thought, somewhat akin to the customary “hello, how are you” declarative that is stated without a pause as the speaker rushes quickly past without waiting for an answer.

Yes, and there are also winters of discontent — borrowed from the line in Shakespeare’s Richard III, and also, by happenstance, the title of the last novel by John Steinbeck; but more often, it is the whispers of discontent that prevail more pervasively, for “discontent” is not necessarily a lasting emotion, or even one that endures for a season; rather, it is whispered precisely because of its fluctuating characteristic.

We whisper it because we know that, like seasons and emotions, time may heal and further time will alter it; and others may whisper it because the fleeting nature of it may not stand the test of objectivity.  And when the whispers of discontent turn and become the louder shouts of adversity, we often failed to listen carefully and instead ignored the voices that forewarned of foreboding toils.

Medical conditions have a tendency to provide such preludes, as well.  One often knows well before a doctor tells us, whether and to what extent the chronicity and severity of the condition foretells; and whether and to what extent the impact upon one’s Federal or Postal career will be.

The law concerning Federal Disability Retirement requires that the medical condition must “last at least 12 months” — but that does not mean that one must endure a 12-month period of suffering before filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; rather, that the treating doctor or medical provider must provide a prognosis that the medical condition will last, at a minimum, that length of time.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the whisper of discontent comes about with the realization that the medical condition suffered is impacting upon one’s career by preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

Although seasons do indeed come and go, and there may well be winters of discontent, the Federal or Postal employee who hears one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service whisper utterances of discontent, may deem it advisable to begin to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, before such whispers become a winter of discontent where the avalanche of a proposed removal becomes initiated.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: That voice within

Whose voice is debating within the insular corridors of the otherwise silent individual?  Which one is the dominant voice, and how does one determine if that particular voice should be the one which attains such a prominent status and stature within the cauldron of one’s own thoughts?

We assume, of course, that when we are pondering within the insularity of our own thoughts, that the voice which speaks within is our own voice; but is it necessarily so?  Yes, yes — the traditional concept of “madness” will begin to encroach, of strange voices which begin to invade and intrude, and where schizophrenia is considered the likely explanation whenever “other” voices are considered.

But that is not what is necessarily the case.  It may be that the voice within is simply a regurgitation from a memory stored long ago — perhaps of one’s parents; a friend; an old school chum; a brother, sister or a cousin; and it is retrieved as an amalgamation of many others, besides.  More importantly, who determines the validity of what is being said, the subject of debate and the substance of the winning argument?

The danger of a soliloquy is that the lone figure who tries to figure things out on his or her own may not have all of the facts or information at hand which can lead to the right decision being made.  An unheard conversation undertaken and engaged by a singular voice may be no discussion at all; it may merely be a wrong-headed delineation based upon errors in fact and missteps in logical analysis.  That is why it is important to consult a person who specializes in a field and is knowledgeable at the outset, so that the facts gathered and the analysis conducted are sound methodologies based upon superior analytical insights and resulting in expert advice.

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, it is important to gather the necessary and pertinent facts about the entire process, the known administrative facets and pitfalls, etc., so that a superior decision can be reached in 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, so that the voice within will avoid the mistake of listening to too many voices without which may lead him or her down the false paths of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Being too kind

Can we be so? Is there a tipping point on the pendulum of sugary personalities where the spectrum of color-coded warnings tell us to be wary, for danger lurking within a context where one becomes suspicious of a conversation turning to an overabundance of kindness? Is there such an event, a personality, a characteristic and a trait of opposition as “being too kind”? On a spectrum or scale of revealing who or what a person is – does kindness turn about into an antonym of sorts, and become naked meanness or obstructive disregard in malfeasance by neglectful ignorance?

Can parents be charged with negligence or criminal neglect because they are “too kind” to their children by allowing them to do as they please?

Can a sugary-sweet conversation engaged in with a superior turn out to be a deliberate intent to elicit responses where safeguards are lowered and one’s instinctive inner alarms of suspicion are temporarily abandoned? If a person is truly “too kind”, does being so become a detriment, or a badge of honor that allows for one to pass through life with ever a smile on one’s face? Or, behind closed doors, in the dead of night when the darkness shrouds the turmoil brewing in ones’ inner thoughts, at what price does being too kind extract, like that pound of flesh diminishing the weight of relevance for each of us in a world known to be mean and unkind?

We all accept predators and other animals of wolverine intent; and there are surely angels amongst the population who wander throughout in order to touch the hearts for the pleasure of gods in the underworld of eternity; but of those who by personality quirks or some missing link in the Darwinian universe of survival instincts, do the opposites of kindness equal the mathematical rule and create the sum of meanness, or its very opposite, of angelic qualities rarely encountered in this universe of cynicism?

Then, of course, there is the dismissive wave of the hand of which no one wants to fall within that category: “Oh, he’s a nice enough guy” – a declarative which, when properly interpreted, means: “Irrelevant; not worth spending more than a few seconds with”. For, being too kind has two faces to it: Whether of a perennially naïve character, such that the person with that eccentricity can be trampled upon and yet remain so; or, there is an underlying and often malicious intent beneath the veneer of such kindness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, remember that there is always a history of repeated conduct by Federal Agencies and Postal Facilities, which should forewarn you about a person, an agency, a department of a facility, that suddenly is being too kind.

For, always remember the childhood fable about Grimm’s or Perrault’s eternal truth, as depicted by Little Red Riding Hood; and, depending upon the version written, you may not want to get into that bed with a grandmother who has a long and suspicious-looking nose, as well as other telling features that should ring the alarm.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s Joke

The funniest line in literature comes from Carl Sandburg’s “Potato Face Blind Man” stories, where he describes the reason for the wooden mug:  “There is a hole in the bottom of it.  The hole is as big as the bottom.  The nickel goes in and comes out again.  It is for the very poor people who wish to give me a nickel and yet get the nickel back.”

Satire has often been overly-discussed, and attempting to explain why a particular scene, line or story is amusing, is somewhat like trying to explain to a Martian why Bradbury’s chronicles fascinated the young:  it just is, and either you get it, or you don’t.  It is, perhaps, the incongruence between expectation and reality; of a projection of incommensurability that occurs when a portrayal doesn’t quite meet the anticipation of “should”.

In Sandburg’s description, two such anomalies occur:  First, that the figure who holds the mug does so with the expectation that passersby will drop a nickel out of a sense of pity; but second, and poignantly portrayed, that the tables are turned around by the one who allegedly is begging for the nickel, in that he recognizes the empathetic component that there are others who are poorer in the world who also want to give, but needs the nickel more than the beggar to whom it is given.  Thus, the hole on the bottom where the nickel given drops back for the giver, yet the act of giving has been consummated.

Of course, in modernity, perhaps such innocence of satiric portrayal is no longer thought to contain humor; that, as the ethics of inequality and financial disparity have given rise to resentment, and the inane concept of “fairness” today pervades the political spectrum throughout, the focus would be upon the fact of maliciously describing a person with a disability in terms which might betray mocking jest.  But that is clearly not what Sandburg meant by it; and, indeed, it was because he believed that his generation lacked children’s stories which taught lessons of virtue and behavioral uprightness, that he engaged the literary device of satire.

Life itself is difficult enough without undermining the joy of a joke recognized.  A funny line, a witty scene, a belly-laugh from a picture of incongruence; such moments allow for innocence and the lightness of being to prevail as an interlude to an otherwise dreary continuum of surviving in a world which shows but cold shoulders twisted and followed by phony smiles to cut the throats of back-turned bystanders.

Such experiences, of course, are not new to the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers through the meanness of workplace hostility and harassment at the hands of supervisors and coworkers, merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when the Federal or Postal worker must decide to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to escape the diatribes of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Carl Sandburg’s joke was of a time when true empathy was understood by all; unfortunately, in modernity, the nickel which was meant to be returned to the giving passerby, would today be snatched up by wolves in waiting, where the lambs who once roamed the hillside of life’s joke no longer gather upon the pastures of a forgotten innocence forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Dickens, Salinger & Capote

It is always dangerous to offer an overview of complexity; simplicity of explanation often teeters upon the precipice of superficiality, and when it comes to the psychology of people, we normally get it wrong.  Yet, we can try.

For Dickens, the childhood experiences of destitution and humble beginnings allowed for a magnification of love for humanity borne of cruelty in childhood.  In Salinger, we see the pent-up destruction of a young man whose anguish was molded through sights, sounds and experiences devastated by war.  And of Capote, we glean the lasting scars of rejection, first with minor cuts and burns by the divorce of his parents, then deeper in being bounced about by relatives, only to stab him with disappointment when his childhood friend, Harper Lee, received the accolades and universal love he sought so passionately, needed beyond all others, but never felt but for the loss of that which he could not embrace.

The life experiences each encountered reflected, in the end, upon the exhibition of an inner soul:  Dickens continued to provide the public with readings of characters forever loved, and embraced the sea of admiration which was the source of his limitless imaginations, borne of a world which tried to contain him with a system of caste and class.

Salinger retreated more and more into the insular world of his own safe web of privacy and secrecy, having concluded that the world was not to be trusted, that phoniness lurked in every man’s soul, and the horrors witnessed at the hands of war and concentration camps were evidence enough to deny others anything remaining.

And for Capote — we may sum it up in the cruel but crisp truism upon his death, by fellow author Gore Vidal, who quipped that it was a “good career move”.  Acting ever the fool with drunkenness and debauchery, the public destruction of a talent so extraordinary was a painful sight to witness.

Can we learn anything from these paragons of talent?  Or, are such characters merely of our own creations, snickering at the fact that, even where seemingly boundless talent exists and opportunities reflect limitless choices, self-destruction nevertheless becomes the teleology of choice.  At a minimum, they reveal to us the complexity of human essence, and that what people react to on the outside barely scratches the surface of what remains within.

And this is the same for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are harassed and intimidated in the workplace, when a medical condition results in the necessity to prepare, formulate and file 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.  For, the coworkers, managers and supervisors who treat the Federal or Postal worker as nothing more than a nuisance through loss of productivity, fails to address the core value of the individual suffering at the hands of consequences not chosen through self-destructive behavior, but merely because of fate of circumstances.

The key for the Federal and Postal worker both, is to choose a path which refuses to submit to self-immolation resulting from the negative experiences at the hands of others; rather, to embrace the love of others as Dickens did, and not retreat into the insular retardation of life as Salinger proposed, or the reverberating echoes made by the empty bottle of alcohol, drowning in later life as Capote consumed, shuddering with the laughter of others and snickering for want of fools in his diminishing stature, ever losing the love which he sought so selfishly.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmation, Affiliation and Affectation

But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.

The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.

As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.

It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts.  Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life.  Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.

Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.

If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.

If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.

But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire