Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: The Cadence of Life

We all “have” one, or at least sense it; and when we do not, it means that the tune to which we march is so coordinated that we don’t even realize that there is one; for, it is only when the song is “out of tune” or the marching footsteps are out of sync that it becomes apparent that the cadence of life is left askew.

There are days when the cadence of life is so perfectly attuned that we need not pause to consider it; then, there are other days when everything is out of tune — when the feet trip over one another, the dexterity of hands become all thumbs and nothing seems to work and the cadence of life has been disrupted.  Most days are somewhere in between upon the spectrum of daily living — of being in tune most of the time but with disruptions and pauses; “pregnant pauses”, at that, which make for embarrassment and disjointed agonies of trepidation and concern.

We say things like, “I feel out-of-sorts” or perhaps a slight cold or “bug” has infected us; but whatever the cause, we know that we must get back into the step of things and march along with the rest of the crowd, lest the band leave us and the quietude of isolation engulfs us with a fear of loneliness.

Medical conditions — whether of illness or injury — can likewise disrupt the cadence of life, and 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, filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits — to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — is one step towards regaining that step to bring yourself in cadence with the cadence of life once lost, and now to be found.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: Who we are

That is a rather presumptuous title, one might declare; for, it is always the “we” that others presume to know, as opposed to limiting the declarative within the restrictive confines of one’s self, family and surrounding community.

What is the great equalizer that allows for the collective plural pronoun?  Is it television (i.e., do “we” all watch the same shows and thus form a conglomerate of a universal consciousness)?  There was once a time when one could argue that a unity of convention existed — especially harkening back to the days when there were essentially 3 networks to choose from, and where all three were similar in content, thought and approach.

In modernity, is it the Internet?  But the worldwide “web’ is too diverse to narrowly formulate a cumulative effect of similar normative beliefs.

Perhaps that is why society in general is so diverse and fractured; where even a simple consensus amidst a small community cannot be reached, and how geographic differences have become exponentially and irreversibly altered and separated from one another.

Who are we?  Yes, the inversion substitution of the second word with the third makes the declarative into a query, and changes the entire subject matter.  It is, perhaps, both a statement and a question, and neither make sense, anymore.  And so we are left with a singular voice — of a monologue and an aside, or as in a play, a soliloquy, where the character asks the universal question, Who am I?  Am I the collective consciousness of my direct descendent, and does that have meaningfulness, anymore?  Why do we seek answers by purchasing and sending away “DNA kits”, as if the spiral spectrum of cellular anomalies would be able to answer the question which haunts us all?

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, the potential loss of one’s identity within the community of Federal and Postal workers is often the step that is difficult to take.

One’s identity, purpose, drive and dreams are often bundled up into an inseparable conglomeration of work and identity, and to separate from that self-identification is often a difficult venture to undertake.  But the danger, of course, is that you may be forcibly separated if you do not take the steps necessary to protect your identity.

The Agency will ultimately terminate you, and the harassment because you have taken too much Sick Leave, Annual Leave, FMLA or LWOP is inevitable.  Better that you file for FERS Disability Retirement benefits and retain a semblance of who you are, lest the Federal Agency or the Postal Service does that to you unilaterally, leaving you with the question, Who do they think they are?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: And then we are gone…

The trailing ellipsis establishes a pause for reflection, and the finality of three periods for an emphasis upon the irreversible nature of the statement.  “And then” connotes that something preceded – a lifetime of activities, a century or less of human historicity involving birth, growth, work, struggles, etc. – existed before the conclusion of the life.

The “we are” slice of the sentence implies two additional variables: the universality of involvement – an event that excludes no one – and the present tense of that which is inevitable.  And what about the final word before the ellipsis?  The eternal nothingness; the inescapable conclusion to every novel, every short story, every figure of historical significance or otherwise; we all die.

We somehow try and escape or avoid that fate.  Heidegger’s observation that the whole of human activity is merely a project of distraction and avoidance – that we perform this busy-ness and that all-consuming work or hobby, not because it is inevitable, important, relevant or even interesting, but because to do nothing would be to face the reality of our own demise daily.

Perhaps that is somewhat of an overstatement.  And yet… In the end, plastic surgery, herbal teas and strenuous exercise may only prolong the terminal exit ramp for a fortnight or even a calendric cycle or two, but it is the “in-between” times that make all the difference in a person’s life.  And what of quality?  Does quantification by pure duration determine the worthiness of that “in-between” period, or is it better to have lived a short but “full” life, before the finality of nothingness comes upon one?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is making that preceding period before the universalization of finality becoming a reality “less than worthwhile”, the time may have approached, and perhaps even passed, that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application has become not merely a necessity but a crisis of mandate.

Sometimes, in life, the choices are limited and the options presented somewhat less than the best of life’s offerings; yet, to live out that duration of what is future-oriented by enduring pain, suffering and illness in an atmosphere of hostility and adversarial contrariness for the remainder of the days yet to come, often become unbearable and unthinkable.

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 often the only solution to a problem unsolvable. It is that moment before the part that goes, “And then…”, where the ellipsis has not yet reached the “we are” portion, and thus a crucial section of a life still to be lived.

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

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Loyalties unrequited

Like the letter expressing undying love, returned without a forwarding address and stamped with a vengeance with ink smudges unable to erase.  Of course, such imagery is likely to be a puzzle and an unknown quantity for most, as no one writes letters, anymore.  What would be its modern equivalent?  An email returned, a text message ignored, or a Facebook request blocked?

Loyalties, on the other hand, are a funny thing; if left unspoken and implicitly assumed, each party to the “agreement” of loyalty can walk about with differing perspectives and alternative understandings.  The one with authority may well see it as a tacit, unilateral bondage; all others assume (most often wrongly) as being a bilateral vehicle for mutual benefit.  For many, such presumptuous loyalties never reach a pinnacle of an actual test; for, the test is in the crisis created, when that which is implicit must be expressed in terms loudly declarative to all.

Then, of course, the sad truth is that linguistic elasticity (i.e., in modern parlance, “alternative facts”, “hyperbolic truth”, or in archaic language, “lies”, “falsehoods” and “deceptions”) has resulted in the devastation of language, truth and reliance upon certainty of constrained declarations.

Language once reached a pinnacle of communicative practicality, perhaps redacted in the British command of subtlety and decorum, reflecting the sophistication of Shakespeare, Milton, Waugh and Hitchens, and even coopted by that New England appearance of relative kinship as characterized by Buckley, Vidal, etc.  Now, in modernity, language has become a free-for-all, where volume dominates substance and we can all maintain a straight face even when encountering a logical inconsistency, a methodological fallacy, or an outright lie.

This is a strange universe, a convoluted time and a conundrum of an age gone mad – especially when it comes to the communicative tool of language, and the underlying meaning of what is said, what is expected, and what can be stated with any meaningfulness at all.

Loyalty requires language – whether implicit or explicit – which consolidates trust, accord and like-mindedness.  The test of the viability of such an agreement can quickly become abrogated when life, reality and events intervene.  There is thus, often, a “crisis” which arises, which tests the veracity of that which may have been unjustly relied upon.  As in the heat of battle, whether one’s “own” will do as commanded, follow to the end and sacrifice for that tacit agreement, one will never know until put to the test.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who mistakenly believe that loyalty between the Federal agency and the Postal facility is a bilateral condition precedent – of work for these many years, and dedication beyond the agreed-upon hours of compensation, in return for commitment and caring when times become tough – the loyalty unrequited becomes a reality too quickly realized.

Letting the Federal agency know, or giving the U.S. Postal Service a “heads up”, of a mere intent to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application, can readily result in unwelcomed reactions and initiation of administrative movements previously unexpected.

Family relationships often become frayed because of intimacy of care; friendships can fluctuate as the howling winds of clashes between warm and cold fronts; and loyalties can be mistaken as to whether it is unilateral or bilateral, and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application can echo the hollow reverberations of loyalties unrequited, and we often walk away astonished at our own naïve beliefs, now dashed and damaged into the hallways of life’s cynicism learned.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Moving on

That is what people want to do, and in the aggregate, the world around.  In engagements with others, there is a limited and quantifiable extent of patience.  It is tantamount to that ‘arc of flight’ that every animal possesses – as long as you remain outside of that safe-zone, you will be a suspicious entity perceived by watchful caution; once you enter and breach the invisible periphery of an unseen arena, you become more than that and declare yourself a danger, a predator and a spoiler of tacit agreements.

Similarly, that interest shown in conveyed concerns – of domestic problems; complaints about personal issues; workplace conflicts that exacerbate common tolerance of stresses experienced; of medical conditions, procedures and impact upon physical and cognitive capacities – may last but a day, a week, a month, or even a year; but then, empathy intersects with everyday life forces, and patience wanes in proportion to an unstated ‘arc of human callousness’, and the justifications begin to echo forth:  “He’s a nice guy, but…”; “I’ve never met someone who has so many problems…”; “Boy, how long is she going to go on complaining?”

We give lip service to the problems of others; we try and maintain that eyebrow of concern, that look of interest and that grim frown of sympathetic pose; but, in the end, people want to move on.

Words allow for linguistic comprehension; spoken communication may touch upon emotional neurotransmitters that convey and enhance the angel in human beings, but there is a limit to the capacity of feeling what a person experiences in the shoes of that proverbial “other”, but in reality, we always remain in our own shoes, constrained within the self-contained egoism of cocoon-like lives, and “moving on” is both the engine of human progress and the regressive malfeasance of an uncaring lot.

In the end, we are left to our own devices.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, the empirical experience of others “moving on” will become a familiar refrain, and one that cannot be avoided.

You are no longer part of that mythical “team”; no longer the golden boy or girl who won those accolades translated into merit pay and promotions; and because of the chronic pain, the loss of mental acuity and cognitive decline from the progressively deteriorating, chronic medical condition, the need to prepare, formulate and file a Federal Disability Retirement application becomes that indicator that not only may others be ready to move on – but, more importantly, you are ready to move on.  And the entities that “move on” go about in different directions, and such disengagement and extrication is a natural phenomena resulting from a most unnatural condition of human frailty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Fatal Regrets

There are those that allow for reflection, constructive application and corrective adjustments that remain as a positive goal to achieve.  Then, there are such acts that become entrenched, atrophy with time, and perform activities of futile repetition unresolved and unattainable.  Regrets are what we all carry about in the deep recesses of unstated and unresolved sub-consciousness; fatal regrets are those haunting clouds that follow without being seen, cling without capacity to decapitate, and progressively dominate because we are unable to let go.

The conceptual coupling cannot easily be bifurcated; regrets unresolved become fatal precisely because of their lack of resolution, and fatality is compelled by the very nature of past wrongs that touch consciences without forgiveness.  How many of us shuffle through life, with trepidation, fear and conscience blemished by malfeasance unresolved, and because of the paralysis overwhelmed by our own creation, we are never able to get beyond the folly of our own devices.

Fatal regrets are those old clothes, moth-eaten and smelling of mold from past lives, that clings to the odors that remain in the nostrils of unforgiving memories; or of that gnat, mosquito or other pest that irritates beyond mere discomfort, and pushes us over the edge to destroy joy, comfort and conscience of peaceful repose.  Opportunities present themselves, and we ignore them; warnings abound, and we become distracted; conditions ripen, and we deflect to defer.  Regrets are those hauntings that we often have no control over; fatal regrets are those remembrances that we knew we could have, but did not have the will to proceed.

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 positional duties, the key is to recognize and cleanly bifurcate those issues you have control over, from those that cannot be managed.  Medical condition are a reality; you may regret such events, but they are beyond your control.

If you do nothing about them, such regrets may become fatal; and for Federal employees and Postal workers who may need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, you never want to allow for delay, procrastination or unnecessary extension by reason of paralysis, to leave yourself in the regrettable position of allowing non-action to get beyond a regret, to an irreversible state of a fatal regret.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire