FERS Disability Retirement: Who I Am & Who Am I

One is a question; the other, a declarative statement.  The latter of a more subjective nature; the former, perhaps a composite of observations by third parties together with self analysis.  Both must begin with a query — of analyzing a statement “about” myself, through others who are well-known as well as of opinions rendered and judgments passed by acquaintances and passersby strangers barely acknowledged.

“Who I am” is often answered in response to a preceding query by a third party: “Who are you?”  It might be answered with fairly objective and short statements which are incontestable: I am X’s brother in-law; I am the husband of Y; “Oh, I am Sarah’s father” (in response to Sarah’s classmate who sees you standing outside of the classroom); or, “I am nobody”.  This last statement, of course, has implications well beyond being an unresponsive nullity; for, it goes to the heart of one’s own assessment of one’s self, one’s consequential impact upon the limited universe of one’s role, and the very essence of an ego left abandoned.

The other — Who Am I — is often followed by the grammatical punctuation of a question mark.  It is often a self-reflective query — one which causes a pause, a momentary furrowing of eyebrows raised, and then a regrouping of having just previously been taken aback by a question which stabs too closely to the essence of one’s being.  Perhaps a soliloquy follows.  One will normally cast the question off with a shrug and answer the self-query with, “I am X” and then move on to take out the garbage, watch a movie, see a documentary or engage in what Heidegger refers to as an activity which allows us to forget our mortality.

Will the question inevitably haunt us and force us into facing ourselves at some point in our lives?  Perhaps.  Can we avoid the question entirely?  Maybe.  It is the former, asked by others, which fails to have the force of the latter, and merely because of the placement and substitution of positions of the two words after the “Who” that makes all of the difference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who must face the prospect of facing the question, “Who I am” in reference to one’s position and role in the workplace, it is often the medical condition itself which prompts the second, more incisive query of “Who Am I?”

Does a medical condition define a person?  Certainly, the Agency or the Postal Service makes it the primary issue by questioning one’s competence or capabilities based upon your condition.  Both questions go to the heart of the issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application; for, in the end, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service treat both questions with a foregone conclusion of an answer: You are Nobody if you are no longer part of the “Mission”, and that is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The pecking order

Watching birds fly and cavort around a bird-feeder, one realizes that the term as applied to human conduct is not too far from the reality of the natural order of things.  There is, indeed, a “pecking order” in the world of birds and fowls aflight; it has to do with size, aggression, quickness and desire to survive. In other words, how birds behave is not too far afield from the way in which humans interact.

As children being thrown together in various institutions called “public schools”, we all recognize the concept of “the pecking order” – the sequence of priorities, of who dominates, which cliques attain a level of status and recognition, what is allowed and not, where one is invited to enter before or after others; it is the purest form of Darwinian natural selection, no matter what societal and cosmetic impediments and safeguards are put in place in order to engage in social engineering of one sort or another.

People think that this pecking order ends upon graduating from public school; that, somehow, release from high school ends this natural order of survival only for the fittest.  Yet, such pecking orders continue throughout – college; the military; the workplace; families.  They all require a pecking order of one kind or another, precisely because it is “natural” and the selection process is innately driven.

In the fowl world – both as “foul” and “fowl” – birds get to feed from the best and choicest sources based upon size, aggressiveness, and bravado displayed in standing one’s ground.  It is often the same with the human world of foul interactions, despite our claim to having become “civilized” and sophisticated, beyond reproach, somehow now asserting our independence and detachment from the genetically determined patterns of behavior.

More and more, however, it becomes clear that we are never exempted from the essence of our natures.  Aristotle may have asserted the grand stature of man with his rationality and capacity to cogitate, but the reality is that the ancient Greek civilization would soon become overpowered and dominated by the most basest of human instincts – of conquering by might and strength.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to manifest, to reveal, to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it becomes clear that the old “pecking order” approach again will dominate.

Federal agencies and the Postal Service will assert its cold dominance and indifference to the weak of this world, and weakness is never shown with greater vulnerability than when one must admit that he or she suffers from a medical condition.  Just as the fowls begin to take advantage of shown weaknesses in the pecking order of Darwinian natural, so Federal Agencies and U.S. Postal facilities show no remorse in treating their workers who show weakness with cruelty and aggressive lack of empathy.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an aggressive step to “fight back” against the rise of the pecking order that is, unfortunately, an inevitable consequences of who we are and continue to be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability: Those Winds of Change That Portend to Pretend Promises

Change is an inevitable circumstance of life; it is what we seek when we are discontented; what we demand when threatened; and of which we fear, when least we expected it.  For Plato and Aristotle, the puzzle of life and the winds of change had precursors who, in the tradition of ancestral doomsayers, declared the natural corollaries reflecting discontent, despair and fear, as represented by Heraclitus and Parmenides.

Such change was first observed in the natural order of the universe, and worked slowly, deliberately, and sought a teleological understanding because of the mysteries inherent in the seasons, the heavens and the geocentric perspective defied by the reality of a heliocentric algorithm of calculations.  At some point in history, man was no longer satisfied with measuring with thumb and forefinger; and thus were pyramids built and Stonehenge created, to satisfy the yearnings of universal comprehension.

Changes did not just occur from the ashes of natural disasters; we invited them, manufactured them, and manipulated the vast conspiracy of quietude, lest we became comfortable in our own discordant behavior.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a long and productive career may come to an end because of an intervening medical condition, the winds of of change may seem uninviting, but the inevitability of life’s resistance to permanence requires taking affirmative steps in order to establish future security, such that change which portends alterations of present circumstances does not pretend to make promises falsely expected.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option to be taken when once a medical condition is recognized to last a minimum of 12 months (which can be accomplished through a medical “prognosis” as opposed to actually waiting for that period of time) and where the chronicity of the medical conditions prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional requirements of the job.

Medical conditions portend change; but the promises resulting from inevitable change need not be subverted by subterfuge and lack of knowledge; and like the harkening of soothsayers of yore, we should listen to wisdom in light of a hastened call to change, and distinguish between those winds of change that portend to pretend promises, from those which have an established record of success.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Living “As If”

We all engage in it; it is a pastime, of sorts, which is enjoyed by the multitude, and reveals the imaginative capacity of the human animal, but with lingering questions concerning the evolutionary viability and purpose as to the utility of the need.

James Thurber’s “Walter Mitty” (the full title of the short story, which first appeared in The New Yorker in 1939, is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) relished the inherent escapism provided by the contrasting chasm between the monotony and oppressive reality of daily living in comparison to the far reaches of one’s imagination, thereby revealing the unconstrained heights of the human mind.

Living as if the reality of the objective world is not as it is, can be both enjoyable and healthy.  In this technological age of unfettered virtual reality, of computer-generated imagery melding the borders between that which constitutes reality and fantasy; and where little room is left to the imagination; perhaps the death of the world of imagination is about to occur.  Is that a good thing?

The problem with living “as if” has always been the other side of the two-edged knife:  the value of the first edge was always the creativity and imagination which revealed the powers of the human mind; but too much escapism, and one entered the world of self-delusion and consequential harm resulting from inattentive avoidance generated by reality’s harshness.

Some things just cannot be put aside for long.  Medical conditions tend to fall into that category, precisely because they require greater attendance to life, not less.  And that, too, is the anomaly of daily living:  when calamity hits, the world requires more, just when it is the reality of human compassion and empathy which is needed.

In the world of fantasy, those values of virtue which makes unique the human animal become exaggerated.  We enter into a world filled with excessive warmth, humanity, empathy and saving grace; when, in reality, those are the very characteristics which become exponentially magnified during times of crisis.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the idea that the workplace may reveal support and accommodation for one’s medical condition is usually quickly and expeditiously quashed.

Federal and Postal workers who have given their unaccounted-for time, energy, and lives throughout the years, and who suddenly find that they cannot perform at the level and optimum capacity as days of yore, find that reality and fantasy collide to create a stark reality of disappointment.  When such a state of affairs becomes a conscious reality, consideration should always be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is an employment benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and must ultimately be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (if one is still with the agency or on the rolls of the U.S. Postal Service, then the application for Federal Medical Retirement must first be filed through one’s Human Resource Office; or, if separated but less than 31 days since the date of separation, also through one’s own agency; but if separated for more than 31 days, then directly with OPM, but within 1 year of separation from Federal Service).

In the end, of course, the wandering imagination of the human mind only reveals an innate calling and need to escape.  Whether that call into the far recesses of fantasy reveals a defect of human capacity, or a scent of the heavenly within the brutish world of stark reality, is something which we should perhaps never question.  For, even on the darkest of days, when clouds of foreboding nightmares gather to portend of difficult days ahead, it is that slight smile upon the face of a person daydreaming amidst the halls of daily reality, that sometimes makes life livable and serene despite the calamitous howls of ravenous wolves snarling in the distant harkening of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hug That Wasn’t

Regrets are priceless; they lack both a marketplace value, as well as a worth beyond applicability of accounting principles.  The conceptual void of negation; the paradox of non-existence and nothingness; the chasm of obsolescence and absence where once perceptual conformity allowed for the revelation of a thing; these are all within the imaginative mind of the human puzzle.

What possible evolutionary utility can be ascribed to things that did not happen, could have, but never did, and where the pit of void in one’s stomach leaves a dissatisfying wanting of that which could have been?  In the quietude of a sleepless night, when images of past concerns invade and prevent that final lull into a dreamworld of peaceful intent, those thoughts of missed opportunities, bumps in the night of moments forgotten by interludes of dusty memories once enlivened but now deadened with time and fading photographs darkened by degeneration of remembrances once clung to; in a twinkle of twilight, a sense of regret can pervade.

It has often been said that, on the eve of one’s deathbed, one never remembers the time of work unfulfilled; rather, we recount the time lost of things we did not do because we were too busy with work.  Regret does not cull the graveyards of memories lost about parallel universes involving work left undone at the office; instead, it reaches into the bottomless chasm of simple recollections, like the hug that never was.

Medical conditions often serve as a reminder of important priorities, and tend to impose the sequence of one’s lives, reordering them into a listing of priceless artifacts, like uncut diamonds lost in the sands of time.  Suddenly, one’s mortality is in question, and more than getting meaningless tasks done, the vitality of relationships come to the fore.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly recognize that a medical condition is beginning to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the sense of regret often accompanies the realization, but is also and just as often a misplaced case of loyalty.  Why should fealty be sworn to an agency which is impervious to human suffering?  How can a guilty conscience pervade when the Federal or Postal employee has already given beyond what is required, for years and decades already lost?

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit open to Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes continuation with an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a legal criteria of proof of preponderance of the evidence.  Guilt and regret should never be a part of the process.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an employment right, accorded by statute, and should be done once the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that one cannot perform at least one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a benefit tapped into only through proof by evidentiary sufficiency.

And like the hug that wasn’t, the failure to file for Federal Disability Retirement is tantamount to the negation of rationality when continuation in circumstances of employment only exacerbates the pain, prolongs the suffering, and extends the nightmare; leaving to wonder the capacity of the human animal, the quietude of regrets and the forlorn despair of the empty space left, when once we tried to embrace a loved one, but instead spent that time serving a master who had long since gone home to his family.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire