OPM Medical Retirement: The peril of procrastination

Time is considered to be a continuum; it remains throughout, and except for artificial slicing imposed by seasons or bifurcations recognized by night and day, sunlight or darkness, or other natural categorizations which creep beyond our calendars, “time” remains a rhythmic cycle barely noticed until deadlines scream to be met and the ageless alarm clock suddenly awakens.

Noticed when the hands on a clock move; of the hour hand, slowly and with slumbering care; of the minute hand, more deliberatively; and of the second hand that ticks away while we watch time pass by.

In this digital era, time refuses to “march on” as the metaphor once informed us, and instead stares silently through the redness of a glaring, impassive face.  Waiting makes for awareness of passing; waiting in line to get into this or that establishment; waiting in a doctor’s office; waiting for a train; or do we just wait because there is nothing left to do?

Procrastination is a form of waiting, except we put the proverbial cart before the horse: Instead of waiting for the allotted time or event to occur, we wait for its non-occurrence, then rush to complete the non-occurrence before the expiration of the allotted time.

Certain events make for pleasantry of time — as in being with others you enjoy; performing a deed of delight; or merely resting, relaxing, engaging in activities of mirth; while others extend the laborious into an unbearable anguish of unending torment — of pain, unwanted relations and uninvited calamities.

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, time can become an enemy if one fails to foresee the peril of procrastination.  At some point — and often, early on — it becomes obvious that filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Trying to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and complex administrative process, and delaying that which one knows must be done is not merely the peril of procrastination, but an exacerbation and potential worsening of circumstances that may already require your attention today, if not yesterday or the day before.

For, in the end, it is not procrastination itself which creates the peril — rather, it is the peril of the medical condition left to time and its progressive deterioration — and that is why procrastinating can itself be avoided by consulting today, without delay, with an attorney who specializes in the the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Now, as for that chore that was left for tomorrow…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of human frailty

Youth is the folly that disbelieves; middle age, of a progressive realization that the past does not lie, but teaches us of existent graveyards we may have passed unnoticed just yesterday, with question suddenly more prominent about mortality, the afterlife, and whether it is possible to cheat illness, death or debilitation from its awaiting wages.  Do we call out to the gods in a moment of desperation, ready to make a Faustus-like contract, or buy into the cosmetic youth-movement with lotions, fitness regimens and, in the end, surgical alterations to cheat the fates of time?  Of human frailty, there is no avoidance.

We can demand damage-control and engage in the peripheral tinkering where the god’s of malevolent intent care not because of the harmlessly futile attempts we employ; and, in the end, nothing subverts but merely detracts, and only extends just beyond the embrace of our own egoism so long as we avoid the hanging mirror in the privacy of bathrooms unlit.

What cosmetic and artificial superstitions we initiate matters little; for human frailty is part of the joke that the mirth of mythological gods make game of, with mocking repose during lighthearted times of boredom refracted.  Frailty steals the clothes that hide, leaving naked the humanness of what we are, unearthed to reflect the very soil from whence we came and to which we return.

Medical conditions unravel the façade we create and surround ourselves, hiding the little we don’t already reveal, like Adam in those Medieval depictions with a leaf leaving the imagination to view beyond the superficial coverings of our own lives.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from such medical conditions, such that they prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the positional duties slotted, the reality of human frailty comes to the forefront.

For, ultimately, the purpose in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is twofold:  A recognition, acknowledgment and admission that the time has come to attend to priorities in life otherwise disregarded for too long; and an understanding that the history of human frailty does not merely depict and describe in dusty old books forgotten in the arcane halls of crumbling libraries, but lives on beyond the artificial facades of cosmopolitan egos that dwell beneath where the gods of fate, time and reincarnated echoes of forgotten graveyards remind with a cold whisper of tomorrow’s past.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Civil Service: “Well, at least…”

Admittedly, any substantive insight into such a conceptual proverb used in everyday life is attributable to the eloquent thoughts of Yiyun Li, in her recently published collection of essays.  Such insights are so deliciously stated, with linguistic content so deftly conveyed, that the undersigned cannot refrain from grasping, grappling and attempting to add onto that which cannot be improved upon.

Well, at least plagiarism is no longer anything more than a forgivable sin, and not even a venial one at that.  The concept goes to the heart of comparing misery and quantifying misfortune.  When faced with a catastrophe, we minimize by comparative qualificationWell, at least…  As if contrasting a lesser misfortune on a spectrum of possible calamities will pull the pendulum away from the pain and sorrow it has reached, and compel a more balanced perspective and diminish the weight of heartache.  Does such a diminution of personal failure by reducing it to a lesser quantity concurrently minimize the sorrow felt?

To a grieving parent whose oldest child has passed away, while sparing the lives of another sibling or two; Well, at least…  At what point does such an insight fail to achieve its goal?  Would it carry the same weight if 5 of 6 children perished?  Could you still get away with saying the same thing?  What if she is the lone survivor?  At what point on the spectrum of human calamity does such a statement retain any semblance of empathetic import and meaning?

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 the positional duties occupied:  Well, at least he/she can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits…

The fact is, for almost all Federal and Postal employees, that option is the last one they want to initiate; for, most Federal and Postal employees want to continue to maintain, extend and excel in their chosen careers.

In the instance of Federal and Postal employees, however, such a phrase has further significance, in the following manner:  the availability of an alternative in the event that all other avenues of choices become unavailable.  Thus, in such a context, it is not a quantification of sorrow or comparative analysis of choices presented; rather, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a mere recognition that, in that unwanted event where a promising career needs to be cut short, there is at least the option of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Well, at least…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Benefitting from doubt

What does it mean to “give” one the “benefit of doubt”?  Is it something that is granted automatically, or must one “earn it” through labor, circumstances or sheer luck?  What are the elements that lead to it, and why are some people accorded such grace while others are treated with impunity of disregard?

Take the following hypothetical:  You are at a party with friends and acquaintances; you sit with a number of people, and among them are a very close friend and confidante, as well as a mixture of those whom you somewhat dislike and otherwise consider an “undesirable” of sorts.  Well, let’s be honest – you despise especially this one person, and hope daily that that individual will die a horrible death in a slow, agony-filled manner.  You may even daydream of torture and mayhem, and how your laughter at such pleas for mercy fills your inner soul with delight so devious that it even frightens you to consider your own meanness and ferocity of unsympathetic attitude towards this one subhuman miscreant.

During a lively conversation – we shall call the “friend” X, and the one whom you wish the horrible and slow torture ending in death, Y – the former (X) says something that refers to you in an obscure and somewhat polysemic context.  You pause and consider; then dismiss it; for, as a friend, you give the benefit of the doubt that the utterance was said innocently and without any underlying meaning of harm or tincture of criticism.  Then, later, Y says something as well –  perhaps a reference to you, your group of people or your team effort in a project – and with obvious sarcasm, says, “Yeah, right”.

Now, had X said the same thing, it might have been taken as a joke; but when Y says it, you burn with inner turmoil and it is just a miracle upon a hair’s breath that you don’t throw the contents of your drink across the circular gathering, right at the individual’s face.  For Y, you failed to give the “benefit of the doubt”.  Why?  Is it because such granting of unconditional grace must necessarily be encircled by a context of relational warmth, and lack of it provides grounds for withdrawing or withholding any such unilateral mandate?  Is the spectrum of doubt’s convergence and emergence correlated to the level and extent of trust and friendship already established, or can it also occur in the vacuum of dealing with strangers?  As to the latter – dealing with strangers – we often coin as an act of the foolish or resulting from innocence and inexperience, don’t we?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then on to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the issue of giving various individuals the “benefit of the doubt” will come up in numerous contexts and encounters – from discussing one’s medical issues with a Supervisor or Manager, to informing the Human Resource Department of one’s Federal agency that one intends upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; and such encounters, by necessity, will often involve that nagging feeling as to whether to grant (or not) the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, “doubt” is more likened to an intuition – like the hair reflexively standing on the nape of one’s neck as a warning against impending danger – and has more to do with our Darwinian background than any societal conventions we deem applicable, and when dealing with Federal agencies, it is often prudent to not grant that ultimate grace of unilateral conformity – and, instead, to withhold giving the benefit of the doubt in almost all circumstances.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire