Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Joy of the Mundane, Though We Knew It Not

The very concepts of “joy” and “mundane”, placed within the same breath, the same sentence, creates what is tantamount to an anomaly, a self-contradiction, an oxymoron, or at the very least a questionable positing of an invalid proposition.

For we tend to consider joy in terms of momentary elation, an extended period of satisfaction, or a sense of quietude wrapped in layers of giggling quivers.  Conversely, the mundane evokes boredom, monotony, a time devoid of elevated emotional responses; a time of negation, where the chasm between desire and duty floats apart from one another like drifting icebergs in the cold North Atlantic seas.

Until a medical condition intervenes.  Until the chronicity of a progressively deteriorating and debilitating disease or injury eats away at our body, mind and/or soul.

In a crisis, the monotony of the mundane becomes preferable; and in a protracted life of chronic ailments, that momentary period of quietude when life was merely the ordinary and the boredom of everyday existence prevailed upon a life questioned as to value, purpose, character and the eternal “why?”; it is then that one comes to realize the ultimate Zen character of enlightenment, and recognizes the living distinction between joy and the mundane.

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers daily, Federal Disability Retirement is a viable alternative to the daily divide which has grown disproportionately magnified, between joy and the mundane.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are part of one’s bundle of employment benefits.  It is a benefit filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for those under either FERS or CSRS, and allows for early medical retirement, while tending to one’s health conditions.

We all once knew the joy of the mundane; but such knowledge quickly gets erased when a medical condition creates a crisis.  Federal Disability Retirement allows the Federal and Postal employee to relive that joy — of the mundane, the monotonous, of the everyday existence of the ordinary which we all seek and desire.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Unknown

Irrational fears reflect the extent of human imagination, and the creative capacity of the human species to engage in fantasies.  For, in the animal kingdom distinct from civilization, the ability to survive depends upon accurately assessing real-time dangers and impending surroundings and circumstances; to go after imaginary ones merely exhausts the reserves needed to battle against real dangers.

That is why the virtual world of modern video games is so detrimental to the proper development of children; experts miss the real point:  the world of make-believe is more exciting than the objective world we live in — witness which is preferable, real time deer hunting (a monotonous adventure at best), or being able to shoot at will at a video arcade.  But it is ultimately the unknown which haunts and stresses most.

For the Federal and Postal employee who must contend with the real issues of a debilitating medical condition, the unknown of one’s future; the unknown of the reaction of one’s agency; the unknown of when and what decision will be rendered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is never as exciting as the virtual world of the video arcade, or as depicted in the privacy of sitting at one’s personal computer.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is oftentimes a surreal experience; but it is never like a video game, because there are real-life consequences which result from the action, just as the medical condition itself is a reality which cannot be avoided, unlike the switch from virtual-reality to objective-reality, with the push of a button of one’s PC.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Pilot

It is actually a misnomer to connect the terms “automatic” and “pilot” , precisely because the former term completely and unilaterally undermines the latter.  Think about it:  the entire concept of the term “pilot” denotes and encompasses the ability of an individual to control the destiny, direction and distance of that which he is maneuvering; once it is turned over to an engineering phenomenon which performs the activity with data already inputted by others, such control is lost, and the fullness of what it means to pilot a vehicle becomes meaningless.

It is, ultimately, a question of who controls the destiny.

For Federal and Postal employees contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the question is often one of being pulled and controlled by one’s circumstances, or becoming the pilot of one’s destiny and proceeding to dictate the terms and timing of one’s future.

Agencies by nature like to have control; whether it is in hiring, promoting, separating or engaging in adverse actions, agencies enjoy being the determining entity in all aspects of a Federal or Postal employee’s life.  One can wait for an agency to make a determination on one’s career or future; and, to that extent, they become the “automatic pilot” of one’s destiny.

It is up to the Federal or Postal employee to make a decision as to whether or not one should erase the former term, leaving one with the unmistakable role of being the pilot who determines one’s own destiny.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Returning to the Boredom of Health

Everyone desires to attain a path of certainties, where life has a rhythm of regularity, predictability and consistency.  We often complain of a life of boredom, but there is a distinction to be made between “being bored” and having what some would consider a “boring existence”.

One need only encounter a life-threatening emergency, or a crisis impacting self, family members or friends — or a serious medical condition.  Then, one yearns for those “boring” days of yore, when living a daily existence of merely being pain-free, when one could bend, reach, turn, twist, pick up a cup of coffee — without a thought of invasive and excruciating pain; of a time when focusing upon a task did not require one’s utmost energy and stamina; where the intrusion of nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks did not paralyze one’s totality of being.  Living a boring life for those encountering the “excitement” of a medical condition, as opposed to “being bored”, found a consistency of a rhythm of certainty.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is the goal of the Federal or Postal employee to enter into a period of a recuperative universe, in order to get back to the days of a boring existence.  Boredom is not necessarily a negative thing; indeed, when one is beset with a medical condition which prevents one from performing the essential elements of one’s job, the very notion that one’s prior existence of health was somehow less than exciting, is a puzzle to those who have lost their health.

Federal Disability Retirement is a chance to attain the boring life of yore; preparing properly the application for submission; formulating it effectively; and filing it to attain the goal of returning to that former self, is a consideration worth making.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: During the Lengthy Process

During the “waiting time” of the lengthy process in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is important to begin the secondary process of preparing for the next “phase” of one’s life.  

Many Federal and Postal workers unfortunately view the waiting period — that period when one’s Federal Disability Retirement application has been filed, and is waiting for a determination by a Case worker at the Office of Personnel Management — as a time where everything is on “hold” because the lack of a determinative decision results in a paralysis of an ability to plan for the future.  However, submission to such paralysis would be a mistake, and a misuse of the most valuable resource which one has:  time.  For, ultimately, one must make future plans based upon an assumption that one’s Federal Disability Retirement application will be approved.  

This assumption is based upon the factual underpinnings of the filing of the Federal Disability Retirement application itself:  it was filed with the support of a doctor; the Federal or Postal worker is unable to continue in his or her job; the medical condition is expected to last a minimum of 12 months.  If all three of these basic criteria are met, then one must proceed with the assumption that one’s Federal Disability Retirement application will ultimately be approved.  

Based upon the foregoing, the time of waiting should be spent — not in anxious despair and despondency because of the wait — but rather, in preparing for the future.  To allow for those things which one has no control over to control one’s life would be a foolish endeavor.  OPM will ultimately make a decision, and whether at the First Stage of the Process, the Reconsideration Stage, or before an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board, one should be preparing for the next phase of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Planning Ahead for a Better Future

Ultimately, when the time comes for a Federal or Postal employee to begin to think about preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is both the beginning of a long administrative process, as well as the endpoint of a long period of reflection (hopefully), preparation (a necessity), and enduring of a medical condition (which has eventually transitioned into a state of chronic medical condition or a progressively deteriorating condition, but in any event one which has lasted or will last a minimum of 12 months, which is the legal requirement under FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement).

Thus, the point of the decision is a critical juncture in a Federal or Postal worker’s life, precisely because it marks both the end of a productive career, as well as a beginning of a process.  However, just to think in terms of the two points of the process — the end of a career and the beginning of a long administrative process — would be to fail to look beyond the obtaining of Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For, the truth of the matter is that there is “life beyond” obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, and indeed, there is an incentive for a former Federal or Postal worker who is receiving a Federal Disability Retirement annuity to become productive in another capacity, in the private sector.  The next stage of life is often the more critical period of one’s life.  Reflection on that “next stage” is something worthwhile to think about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Labor Day Weekend and the Federal Employee

Labor Day is traditionally viewed as the end of summer, the entrance back into the routine of the work world, where the lazy days of camping, spending additional time with one’s family; of the soft, lapping sounds of waves rolling as one attempts to squeeze the last remaining hours of leisure and tropical enjoyment.  Then, on to the rushing days of work, and more work.  It is, moreover, a celebration of the laboring exercise of a productive economy — one which has sputtered and stalled in the last two years.  

For the Federal or Postal worker who has filed, or is contemplating filing, for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the celebration of Labor Day comes whenever there is the recognition and acknowledgement that one can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  At that point of recognition, the time to plan for a secured future comes into play.  The days of full labor and productivity may be coming to an end; but that does not mean that one cannot go out and be productive in some non-Federal, non-Postal capacity.

Remember that Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS does not mean that you cannot work at any other job, ever.  Indeed, the opposite is true.  You may, after securing your Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, go out and get another job in the private sector, and make up to 80% of what your former Federal or Postal position currently pays.  While it may be difficult to do that in this tough economy, brighter days are hopefully ahead, and the time to begin preparing for that brighter future is now.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire