FERS Employee Disability Retirement: The Legacy of Achievement

We all dream of having contributed to society in greater or lesser ways.  Whether individual achievements are enough, where private satisfaction is gained through a restricted circle of those “in the know”, is doubtful; and even of leaving a name behind on a building, a statue or a commemorative stamp — what difference does it ultimately make, the cynic would wonder aloud?

When we pass by a building with a nameplate in one of the bricks or chiseled into the mortar, do we even acknowledge it, let alone recognize who that person was or what contribution he or she had made to the world?  Do we stand and Google the name and ooh-and-ah at the achievements bestowed?  Or of a statute with the proverbial fountain spewing daily freshness of recycled water, of perhaps a general who had once-upon-a-time led a charge and captured or killed a great opposing force — is that what we consider an achievement worthy of a bronze emblem?

And how about the more subtle legacy, of leaving imprints and personality traits, whether positive or negative, in one’s children or grandchildren?  “Oh, he is just like his father!”  “She reminds me of her mother.”  Or of those quiet achievements by challenged individuals daily around the world; we know not what effort it took, but for the person making the effort in the silence of his or her private suffering.

Achievement is a funny animal; it is ultimately a feeling; otherwise, why would we build statues to declare it to the world if we truly believed in the legacy entombed?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, perhaps the achievements one had hoped for in one’s career are no longer achievable, and thus the “legacy” of achievement is no longer possible.

In that event, the Federal or Postal worker needs to reconsider the values once sought, and to re-prioritize the goals pursued.  Perhaps “health” was not part of the original list, but should be; and that is where an effective preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application comes into play: One’s career was never the legacy to achieve; it was merely down on the list of priorities to be sought, where one’s health and well-being should have been higher on the list to begin with.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Night wanderings

Ever open your eyes in the middle of the night and, instead of falling quickly back to sleep, allow for the eyes to wander across the silent room where others are still and asleep — the dog on the floor (or perhaps curled at the foot of the bed where human warmth has gathered for the pure comfort serving the creature) and the partner beside; the quiet glow of the digital numbers in bold red reflection; the pictures on the walls — though you “know” what they depict, the shadows hide them, and yet you believe you “see” them because familiarity arouses the imagination even in darkness; and the squeezing sense of silence so overpowering that you wonder about the universe at large and who, like yourself, is awakened by silence itself?

It is in those moments that, just before the panic of realization sets in that tomorrow is just a few hours away, we realize that mortality is a condition we must face; that the child’s imagination cannot revisit yesterday’s remorse; and the saddest of all truisms: For the most part, this is a cruel and uncaring universe.  Where do such thoughts originate?  Is it just the dream-world when sleep battles with sanity and one’s night wanderings will not suppress the bustle of the day’s meanderings?

Perhaps clarity comes in the wake of slumber’s twilight; whatever the phenomenon, night wanderings bring one into the netherworld of the “in-between”, where reality is not quite recognized and a dream is not ever fulfilled.  That is the type of experience that the Federal and Postal worker experiences when confronted with a medical condition that impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position: not quite in the reality of the world’s harshness, not yet tested by the Agency’s or Postal Service’s full force of cruelty and uncaring.

Will they put me on a PIP?  Will they require a “Fitness for Duty” evaluation?  What happens when my FMLA is exhausted?  Will the agency just cut me off?

It becomes clear at some point that the Federal Agency and the Postal Service are not there as a friend or colleague looking out for your bests interests, and that you must initiate the process of looking out for yourself by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Those night wanderings often have the advantage of giving clarity to a reality beset with the quietude of pure silence, but then morning arrives and the clash of the day’s reality awakens within us the cruelty of the world around.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: Palatable possibilities

We often hear of that which is “possible”, then immediately pause to consider the probabilities of such declared possibilities.  For, isn’t it possible that there are martians on the far side of the moon, or that we all live in a dream, dreamt by the fragile whisperings of a butterfly, or that everything that we see, hear and experience is just nothing more than pure bosh, and Bertrand Russell was quite right after all, that our rumblings of metaphysical yearnings were merely a result of a stomach virus that needed an antacid to cure?

At what point are possibilities presented no longer palatable, and where are the limits of our imaginations such that reality clashes with fantasy and the medium between the two becomes so stretched that we cannot fathom their practical effects?  Have we come to a point now where supermarket tabloids are just as believable as mainline newspapers that cross the thresholds between truth and opinion?  Is virtual reality just as pleasurable as “real” reality, and does the realness of reality depend merely upon one’s perspective and opinion and how we view things?

Then, of course, there is the reality of a medical condition, and everything comes crashing down into a singular reality: mortality and health tend to bring us “back to the basics”.

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, what possibilities are palatable; whether possibilities presented are meaningful; it all comes down to the pragmatic choices from three: Stay, walk away or 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.

The real possibilities in life are generally quite simple; it is the luxury of the healthy to entertain the greater expanse of palatable possibilities, but for the Federal or Postal employee who is faced with a chronic and progressively debilitating medical condition, the choices are stark and limited.  It is within those limitations that the palatable possibilities must be carefully chosen, and such course of actions to be chosen should be advised and guided by a consultation with an attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement, lest the palatable possibilities turn out to be an unpalatable probability chosen out of a mistaken belief in the existence of palatable possibilities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Owning a landline

It is perhaps the single telling factor of a generational divide; if you own a landline, it is likely you are not a millennial.  Or from the generation just before, or even the one before that.  You are probably from the generation sometime within the timeframe of “just after” the Korean War and around the end of the Vietnam War.  It is the remembrance of unreliable “bag” phones and cellular connections that barely became audible; but more than that, it is the evidence of who one is based upon the generational divide that naturally occurs between sets of population growths.

Can there be similarity of morals, ethics and behavioral patterns merely because one is born into a designated generation, as opposed to other such assignations of identifiable features?  Is it really true that one generation has a characteristic trait that is identifiable, recognizable and with imprints that define it with clarity of traits?  Are there “lazy” generations, “psychotic” ones and those that are mere sheep in a fold of followers?  Does owning a landline betray such a characteristic, anymore than being a hard worker, a person who always attends to one’s responsibilities and never turns away from obligations ensconced in the conscience of one’s being?

Yet, at some point, we all become adults, make decisions separate and apart from a “generational identifier”, and go on to become responsible for the pathways taken, the decisions undertaken and the consequences wrought.  Can it be so difficult to abandon a landline, to cancel it, to unplug it?  Or is it the imprint of a generation, so steeped in regularity and reliance that the youthful days of one’s generation cannot ever be completely severed and forgotten?

Owning a landline is like the Federal or Postal employee who comes from a generation where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is almost unthinkable.  It is that characteristic trait that you have to continue working, striving, contributing and making it into work “no matter what”.

Yet, the silliness of such a thought process is about the same as paying for a landline despite the fact that you no longer use it, never rings and sits in a corner silently except for the occasional caller who happened to ring up the wrong number and got a hold of another occasional individual who, upon picking up the receiver, realizes that it feels somewhat strange not to be using one’s cellphone as opposed to this “thing” that you have to put back into the cradle of a time long forgotten.

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 point always is not to allow for some silly notion of a generational identifier to keep the Federal or Postal employee from doing that which must be done for the sake of a higher calling: One’s Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Reality and poetry

A woman sits on a park bench surrounded by the concrete giants of looming buildings and antiseptic structures overhanging and overshadowing all but the remnants of nature’s detritus, with the cooing pigeons that bob their heads back and forth as they meander about in the contrast between reality and poetry.

And she has a book in her hands.  It is a book of poetry.  Who the author is; what the verses metaphorically narrate; how the images impact the quiet reader; these are not so important as the oxymoron of life’s misgivings:  A city; the overwhelming coercion of modernity’s dominance and encroachment into nature’s receding and dying reserve; and what we hang on to is a book of poetry that reminds us that beauty is now relegated to printed pages of verses that attempt to remind of beauty now forever lost.

No, let us not romanticize the allegory of a past life never existent, such as Rousseau’s “state of nature” where man in a skimpy loincloth walks about communing with nature’s resolve; instead, the reality that man has lost any connection to his surroundings, and is now lost forever in the virtual world of smartphones, computers, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Texting.

The tactile experiences of our individual encounters with the objective world is now merely the touch of a screen, and feel of glass, metal and plastic, and the pigeons we feed with such joy and excitement from park-benches manufactured with recycled materials so that we can “feel good” about the environment that we have abandoned.  And so we are left with the reality of our lives, and the poetry that we always try and bring into it, if not merely to remind us that there is more to it all than work, weekends and fleeting thoughts of wayward moments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from an additional reality – of a medical condition that impacts his or her life in significant ways – the third component is not a mere irrelevancy that complicates, but often becomes the focal point of joining both reality and poetry.  Medical conditions have the disturbing element of reminding us of priorities in life.  Reality, as we often experience it, is to merely live, make a living, survive and continue in the repetitive monotony of somehow reaching the proverbial “end” – retirement, nursing home, sickness and death.

Poetry is what allows for the suffering of reality to be manageable and somehow tolerable; it is not just a verse in a book or a line that rhymes, but the enjoyment of moments with loved ones and those times when everything else becomes “worthwhile” because of it.  But then, there is the complication of a medical condition – that which jolts us into wakefulness of a reality that makes it painful and unacceptable.  What is the road forth?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition now makes even work at the Federal agency or Postal facility intolerable, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is at least a path to be considered.  It is a long, arduous and difficult road that must wind its way through the U.S. Office or Personnel Management, but the choices are limited, and surely, you never want to abandon the poetry of life, and be left with only the reality of the medical condition?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The tentative step

This is a tough and dangerous world.  No longer a Hobbesian State of Nature nor of War, the Social Contract as envisioned by Locke or Rousseau provides some nominal protection, and thus do we identify ourselves as “civilized” entities in yet a dystopian universe where a greater majority of the rest of the world acts with unconcerned insanity by engaging in senseless wars of mass killings and genocidal encounters.  In such a world, we thoughtlessly bring newborns who must contend with an uncertain future, fraught with challenges unasked for and conflicts yet to be encountered.

Those tentative first steps of a toddler – how we watch with awe and observe with wonderment.  Why is that?  Why is the transition from ambulating as most other mammals do on four legs, to engaging an awkwardly wobble as a bipedal hominid, of such significance?  Is it because it marks the steps of initiation into the club of “civilized” society – that to stand upright and walk with our two feet, as opposed to the addition of the other two appendages, signifies the next stage of growth and maturity?  Yet, that tentative step reveals all, doesn’t it?

It marks the magnification of uncertainty for the future; it reveals the imperfection of the human animal; and it manifests the symbol of insecurity by deliverance of a vulnerable entity thrown into a pit of vipers and hyenas.  We do this to ourselves, and to the ones we say we love.  And as the toddler grows up, through further steps of initiations into a cruel world, how that tentative step cements and molds itself into a characterization of so much of life’s violent encounters.  Whether remembered or not, those nascent steps of uncertainty carry along with us like Pilgrim’s burdensome backpack, weighing upon us at different and varying stages of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition reenacts those tentative steps taken as a toddler, one becomes reminded that we came into this world uninvited, presented without a guide as to how to go about living life, and suddenly find yourself with a challenge:  No longer able to perform all of the essential elements of your job, your choices are to stay and endure the pain; leave, resign and walk away without anything you worked so hard to attain; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, like the toddler taking those first tentative steps, this is a new endeavor, a next phase, but probably without those doting parents cheering you on.  As a result, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, if only to steady those two feet as you jump forward into an uncertain future by submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire