Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Interruption or Interlude

Life is full of interruptions which push the pause button upon our grand designs for linear progression; how we view such events, whether as something bothersome, or as a respite and opportunity, a platform for the next stage of life, will determine the extent of character-building foundations needed to forge forward.  Taking care of aging parents is now considered a bother, and not a privilege; mentoring a young person just beginning in a chosen career is seen as a predatory challenge, as opposed to a chance to mold for the future; and revealing a fissure in the otherwise impenetrable public face of constancy is a chance to take advantage of the weakness of the opponent.

How one views a particular event; whether it is seen in the best light possible and anticipated for lessons to be learned; or instead, as a crisis point of quashing all hope for the future, never to be spoken about because of the devastation wrought, reflects both upon the present state of one’s character, as well as the potential for the future. Things are merely bothersome to us, now. Perhaps it is the result of a leisure society, where things once earned are now expected as givens; or, of greater probability, that the antiseptic isolation of our society engenders a certain aura of incomprehensible turmoil.

For Federal and 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 job, Federal Disability Retirement should be considered as a viable option. Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (and available to all eligible Federal and Postal employees who meet the minimum criteria of years of Federal service), it should be considered precisely for two (or more) reasons. First, it allows for a foundational annuity in order for one to move forward with one’s life. Second, it allows for the Federal and Postal employee to embark on a second vocation, and make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal job currently pays, on top of the base annuity.

As such, there is a built-in mechanism which recognizes that the event of a medical condition is not merely an interruption, but an interlude for the second and subsequent stages of a person’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Life at the Apex

Life is on a spectrum variable; instead, we tend to view it as a linear progression, as one from birth to youth, middle to old age; death as the ultimate outcome.  The content of life is therefore arranged based upon this organic paradigm projecting towards an apex, then a steady decline thereafter.  Thus are one’s education and school days fashioned, where the traditional pathway is from high school to college, from college to graduate school, medical school, law school, etc., and then onto a career.

A second opportunity to be useful in life with a second career or vocation

Federal Disability Retirement is all about having a second opportunity to be useful and productive with another career or vocation

Whether this linear application of life contains an inherent evolutionary advantage for survivability remains a question mark; the fact is, while lives are experienced along the parallel pathways within the greater population, the more relevant question is the Kantian one: Is this a reflection of reality, or have we created another category of an imposed preconception by which we live? One often hears about having reached the “apex of life”; if that proposition is accepted, then everything beyond will merely be a downward degeneration.

For individuals who suffer from a medical condition, it is often whispered of past times of a better life, as if resignation to fate justifies remorse and regret.  For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, should always be entertained.

Such a critical juncture in the life of a Federal or Postal employee cannot be ignored. Yet, whether the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application constitutes an admission of progressive decline after an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, is entirely up to the Federal or Postal Worker who takes such a step.  Medical conditions often necessitate change; but change can be seen as a spectrum variable, and not as an inevitable decline on a linear path.

Happiness, joy, fulfillment and accomplishment; they can be charted on a graph of ups and downs, and sometimes the “ups” can occur long after the apex of one’s linear life, and embrace the Federal or Postal employee long after one has left behind the bureaucratic morass of the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Cognitive Dissonance

In psychology, it is the state of self-contradiction, of holding onto a belief while simultaneously acting in a manner contrary to that belief.  If such a contradiction between belief-and-action impacts upon a core, foundational essence, of one which constitutes a defining centrality of a person’s character and personality of that which makes a person who he or she identifies him/herself to be, then the greater proportionality of discomfort and stress, often resulting in an alteration of either the belief, or the action intended to be engaged.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who experiences a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, such cognitive dissonance is an everyday, common occurrence. You already know that continuation in the position as a Federal or Postal Worker cannot continue; you do not need a medical doctor to tell you that; your body, mind or soul has already screamed that dissonance out at you multiple times, at varying degrees of decibels countlessly and in monotonously repetitive occurrences throughout each day over many months, and sometimes enduring over several years.

But the belief-system of the Federal or Postal Worker is to silently “take it”, and to continue on, with a self-destructive sense of blind loyalty in an effort to “accomplish the mission”; but the question always is, At what price?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal Worker is under FERS or CSRS, is an option which must be seriously considered when the extent of cognitive dissonance comes to a crisis point. It is the point of reference where one finally comes to recognize that the problem requires a solution — of abandoning the senseless embracing of blind loyalty and seeking a period of reclamation of one’s physical and mental health; or of continuing on the path of self-immolation in the Federal or Postal position of one’s chosen career.

Federal Disability Retirement: it is the bridge which one must pass upon to close the chasm between what one’s health screams out for, and the daily toil of one’s occupational duties.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Things We Hold Onto

Human behavior reveals much; while we believe we are the cleverest of all species, and persistently engage in self-congratulatory endeavors, including self-esteem courses and passing laws to ensure that we cannot mistreat each other; nevertheless, leaving one deep in the wilderness to face other carnivores, even for a single night, without implements, flashlights or prefabricated weaponry, shows how we might fare against our competition.

Within the context of our own safety nets, what indicates much about ourselves are the things we hold onto.  Whether memorabilia from an era long past; or perhaps a piece of clothing from our childhood; old photographs of a friendship once thought unimpeachable, but somehow lost touch through distance, time and divergent paths of life’s difficulties.  We hold onto things, people, memories and habituated lives, because the trend of daily monotony provides a circularity of security.

There is comfort in knowing, and doing, the same things we did yesterday and the day before.  Erratic lives and daily unforeseen circumstances are rarely welcomed events.  Certainty evinces security; past patterns provide surety; and monotony allows for meaningful interludes of interrupted excitement.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is unfortunately often those things we hold onto for too long which comes back to haunt.  The old job, the past pattern, the known life; it all worked when once we were healthy.  But the uncertainty of the future dominates precisely because we tend to hold fast that which needs to be let go.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an employment benefit available to all FERS, CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees under the Federal employment system.  It allows one to “let go” of past patterns of pain, suffering, and constant agony because of one’s medical condition, and to look to the future for a different and brighter prospect.

It may test the Federal or Postal Worker by placing him or her in situations not previously known; but, fortunately, it will not be a test against other species in the wilderness, but merely of one’s own kind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Value-Driven Life

Are expectations unrealistically embraced, adopted and concretized at the outset, without thoughts of malleability and alterations subject to changing circumstances? What happens when societal demands, whether explicit or implicit, clash with personal ambitions, to create a dissonance which tears apart the soul of Man?

The psychological chasm between what we believe our parents expect, what we desire, how we view the values as espoused in daily discourse with the world around us, becomes entrenched at an early age, and attaches to our psyche before we even have a chance to test the waters of reality. That is why most people find it difficult to adapt and to respond adequately to ever-changing circumstances.

Yet, the way in which we remain inflexible is a denial of reality; for, life rarely proceeds upon a linear direction without unexpected turns and twists. The love that we thought would be forever, ends in divorce and destruction; the career which we believed was the key to success, turns out to be a mere means to pay the bills; and the puppy that was to grow old with you, ceases to be before its time.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts and prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s job, the idea that life’s alterations must result in reactive responses different from the original course of one’s career, is not a new notion.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is obviously a career-changing, major decision to make. But the very fact that the benefit’s availability for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service under FERS, or 5 years under CSRS, at least allows for the option to be offered at all.

Options are avenues for responding to life’s reality of twists and turns, in real time, based upon real circumstances. The paradigm set as a child may be nothing more than a dream once enjoyed; but in growing up, those childhood dreams needed to be adjusted in order to accommodate the reality of our daily lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Paradigm Shifts

One of Thomas Kuhn’s major works, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, provides an excellent historical analysis, as well as a philosophical proposal, of how science works — not in a progressive linear fashion as one would expect and anticipate, but rather in erratic paradigm shifts based upon pragmatic considerations of that which works, replacing outmoded or unworkable models of inefficiency.

The book itself is instructive on how, in a macro sense, the scientific community, with all of its fallibilities, works with fits and starts; in a micro perspective, it is profoundly revelatory on how individual human beings operate in this world.  We all carry around paradigms; of who we are; what role we play in our family, our greater community, and in the historicity of our involvement.

Often, however, the outside world, through all of its influences and mandates, will force a change of our internal paradigm; at other times, we decide in our own volition to alter and tinker with the paradigm.  For Federal or Postal employees who are forced to contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the upheaval of a sudden career change, of a self-realization that one is no longer that youthful, energetic colleague who is efficient and competent, but rather a medically disabled employee, is often a devastating shift in one’s self-image and the paradigm which one carries about within the vast world of empathetic devoid.

Yet such a paradigm shift is necessary.

The good news is that Federal Disability Retirement is itself a paradigm which contemplates future potential for a second vocation; it allows for Federal and Postal employees to obtain an annuity, then to go into the private sector and continue to work, and make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal job currently pays.  Federal Disability Retirement is not a paradigm of “total disability”; it is one based upon a slight amendment to one’s original paradigm, with a view towards a brighter future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Career-ending Event

One often reads and hears about a traumatic injury which suddenly and unpredictably ends the career of a certain sports figure.  Such stories evoke sentiments of empathy, for the potential which was never entirely fulfilled, and for the personal tragedy which befalls the individual, the family, and those who admired the talent which failed to reveal its fullness.  

But in everyday life, such tragedies occur in less spectacular ways; perhaps not as sudden and unexpected incidents or injuries as to bifurcate between the day before and the day after; rather, through a chronicity of time, over months and years of struggling, until a day comes when one must admit to one’s self that the chosen career-path must be reevaluated.  

The trauma of the life-changing event is no less significant to the Federal or Postal Worker than to a star NBA, NFL or NHL player.  For the Federal or Postal worker who has worked diligently, if not quietly and unassumingly, in the chosen career path — a recognition that his or her medical condition will no longer allow continuation in the vocation, has the identical reverberations as those more notably identified, in terms of financial, economic, personal and professional significance, relevance and impact.  

In fact, sometimes even more so — because one never witnesses the long and arduous struggle for the months and years prior to making the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, through the “quiet years” of using Sick Leave sparingly; of trying to maintain a semblance of competence and work-completion in the face of medical conditions which are never told, never spoken of, and never acknowledged.  

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel management, is tantamount to that “traumatic injury”; it’s just that such an event is rarely, if ever, written about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire