Disability Retirement under FERS: Adopting an Adaptive Plan

Most of us barely have one; and when we do, we quickly forget about it and move on, satisfied that —by the mere declaration of having one — we need not implement it or follow it rigorously beyond the mere possession of it.

The old Soviet Union (do we remember what the abbreviation, “U.S.S.R.” stood for?) had 5 and 10 year plans, and when the stated goals were not met, they simply cooked the books and declared that they were well ahead of the declared plans, and so the satellite nations under the rubric of the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” nodded its approval and genuflected to the Soviet Central Planning Committee (for, you couldn’t have a plan unless there were multiple committees to make those plans) and were grateful for the plans even though their populace were starving, despite the declared success of all of that planning.

Battlefield officers rely upon them; although, in recent years, because war is no longer fought by armies planning an attack upon other armies, the need for adopting an adaptive plan has become a survival necessity.  Life itself rarely follows a plan; most of the time, one’s day is consumed by just trying to survive.

When a medical condition hits us, of course, then all of the planning in the world — from a retrospective and myopic viewpoint — didn’t amount to much.  What is the plan, then, for a Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform his or her job because of the medical conditions that prevent one from doing so?

The Federal Disability Retirement “plan” is to allow for a Federal or Postal employee to file for OPM Medical Retirement benefits under FERS, so that the Federal employee can medically retire, focus upon one’s health and still, hopefully, enter the workforce in the near or mid-future and continue to contribute, all the while receiving a disability retirement annuity.  Now, that sounds like adopting an adaptive plan where interruption of a life plan allows for some grace beyond lack of planning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The river of life

The evocative images of such a metaphorical phrase are immediately understood by most.  As in challenges we all face throughout life, a river snakes across different and foreign terrain; in some seasons, a drought may dry up the vibrancy of the river, while in times of plenty, flooding and overabundance may occur.

There are periods of swift currents, and days of lazy haze; and underneath the calm exterior is an underworld of activity and blur of living, both of tumult as well as those timeless memories forever remembered, and it is precisely the paradigm upon which Heraclitus staked his perspective upon with the statement that “No man steps in the same river twice.”  For, indeed, the essence of the universe is one of ever-present change; it is the one constant in a life filled with unpredictable indifference, of inchoate beginnings that never lead to any fruition; of trials encountered without reason or rationale; and the river of life leads us through the mountaintops of emotional pinnacles and down into the depths of a valley so dark that despondency fails to reach the eternal chasm of sadness undefined.

Streams flowing into rivers; unexpected tributaries swallowing up the nameless and uncharted waters; and of snowcaps that melt and flow without fluidity of purpose, so life brings about such challenges, engagements and unexpected face-offs.  What are we to make of this river?  What to do in this life?  Must we always be defined by accomplishments, or can the value of a human being be sufficient by reason of a self-fulfillment of an ego’s search?  Is it truly the person who has amassed the greatest amount of “stuff” who is considered the “winner”, and does the river of life grant any greater significance, relevance or meaning to the quantifiable monetary value than to the man who dies penniless?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates the Federal or Postal worker into preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such questions embracing the river of life can be daunting, obsessively important, and awakening of a spark in the deeper recesses of one’s forgotten past to come to the fore.  Why?  Because medical conditions force a prioritization of values, meaning and relevance in one life; and, indeed, that is the foundational essence of every river of life – of what we believe; that we believe; and for which we believe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s enjoyment

Are we ever taught that?  If the answer is in the negative, then from whence did we learn, attain or otherwise receive the tools to engage in the purity of sensation such that we could embrace it?  Did we become such through osmosis; from imprints; from learned behavior encompassing a lifetime of observations reinforced by wisdom’s refrain upon the blank chalkboard of our consciousness?  How does one “enjoy” life, anymore than learning to ride a bicycle, drive a car or care for a cute puppy (the last in the list, of course, need not be learned, but only be taken in by the natural affinity one has upon seeing the eyes of warmth, intelligence and fierce loyalty displayed, and is an exception and one of life’s conundrums to be accepted without questioning)?

There are many who walk about, who have absolutely no clue as to how one can, should or would have any enjoyment at all; and thus the total immersion in one’s work, or projects begun and always left unfinished – for, to complete them would mean that something ended, and that would force one into a reflection about the meaning, value and relevance of one’s activities, would it not?

One often hears the familiar refrain:  “I don’t know how to enjoy life; to me, unless I am busy with work, chores, updating my Facebook page, texting friends or jogging, I can’t be happy.”  Productivity is the measure of success; time set aside for vacations – despite still doing email, texting, messaging or other forms of “connectivity” as advertised to be the horror of all horrors if loss of it were to ever occur – is a concept that questions the very meaning of life’s enjoyment.  For, if one pauses for a moment to reflect:  Is the treadmill one is on merely for purposes of getting off for a moment, then to get right back on in order to find, again, a time to get off for another period of repose?

If so, how is that any different from Camus’ essay on the absurdity of life’s perspective as seen through the eyes of a French Existentialist, and specifically, of the Myth of Sisyphus and the condemnation by the gods to roll the boulder up the hill, only to watch it tumble down, then to engage in the eternal monotony of pushing it back up, only to observe its descent?

Life’s enjoyment, and the promise for tomorrow, was always meant to be more than that – of a daily sense of joy, a widespread sensation of contentment, and an ease of burden when once we were innocent children playing with but a ready laughter to give.  It is the truth that haunts, and especially the proverbial quip about the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.  With the persistent onslaught of stimuli unable to be resisted, we allow for the daily bombardment to deplete the little energy we have in reserve.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition not only intervenes in the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, but further, depletes, diminishes and – ultimately — destroys even the potentiality to enjoy life and all of its complex presentations, the option to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must be considered.

Yes, it is a long and arduous bureaucratic process.  No, going through the process will not enhance, for the short term, life’s enjoyment.  But in the end, necessary changes are called for – nay, compelled by – medical conditions that interrupt life’s enjoyment, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to enhance that potential for the future enjoyment of life’s joys, while perhaps foregoing the short-term stubble of inconvenient interludes of angst-driven necessities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

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

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: Erasing imprints

We spend half of our lives trying to accomplish that which may never be done; go to others to obtain guidance; take medications in order to stamp out the cacophony of voices from a past regenerated in mindful moments when reflection is not what we want but quietude away from the cackle of memories.

Imprints are those stamps that remain with us, like burn-marks seared indelibly into the far corners of body parts unreachable and unseen but by the telescopic lenses of our own souls.  Perhaps the memories have faded, or we simply cannot pinpoint that precise moment when the stamp was made, the mark of the devil was inked or the scorching stab wound rutted; but it remains upon the child, grows with the malignancy of the young one, and becomes magnified into adulthood like the burdensome satchel filled with rocks, each day adding another, never able to open it to lighten the load, except here and there when one accidentally falls through an unnoticed tear before it is quickly sewn up again to reinforce the nightmares of our lives.

Try as we might, through pharmacological modalities of treatment regimens or embroiled by years of therapeutic encounters, the monsters within from our childhood past of flashes when the mother turned her back upon a child in crisis, or of anger devolved when fury left the frustrated child in a chasm of loneliness unattended; it is the trembling of innocence that remains forever, and a day.

Erasing imprints is what we try to do the rest of our lives, when all that can really be done is to contain, bifurcate, box in and restrain.  Of course, there are “good” imprints, as well – those marks which developed the personality and characteristic traits considered “positive” to our lives; the trick is to recognize the difference between the negative and the positive, and that is not always easy to do.  Further, what if we erase the “good” imprints in the process of stamping out the “bad”?

Being human carries with it the compendium of complexities all wrapped into a conundrum of puzzling packages of personality quirks, and sometimes it is those imprints we attempt to erase which characterizes the very uniqueness of our being.  Then, as we grow older, the callouses form and the attempts to replace imprints become less effective; for, presumably we have learned to resist the influence of others, or at least found ways to limit them.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, remember that the road to obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is likely that you will have to encounter many obstacles, many “mean” people who themselves have likely been harmed by a lifetime of imprints.

Focus upon erasing imprints that harm, and disregard the imprints exhibited by others; for, it is a lifetime endeavor identifying the negative ones in yourself, without worrying about needing to erase imprints manifested by others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire