Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Wotan’s Spear

It is the spear engraved with runic laws, captured in Wagner’s opera cycle, and Norse legend has it that it never misses its mark regardless of the ability of the wielder.

In health, that is how many feel, and come to believe.  In ill-health, or declining and deteriorating health, one’s mortality, susceptibility, and vulnerability come into question; and all of those walls of invincibility begin to crumble.  Suddenly, Wotan’s spear is held with wobbly hands; the grip is unsure, and the mark is unclear.  Present circumstances become a muddle of uncertainty, with past accolades unaccounted for or of little to no significance; and the future is not the bright star guiding one’s course of current actions.

Lebenswelt constitutes the totality of subjective-to-world experiences in phenomenology; when a medical condition engulfs one, the sensitivities to all of life’s experiences comes to the fore, such that the desire for life’s fulfillment and all that it offers becomes exponentially magnified in relevance, importance, and significance. For the Federal and Postal employee who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the capacity to survive economically, financially, and physically, as well as maintaining a semblance of cognitive and mental normalcy, takes on a fresh urgency.

Filing for Federal & Postal Disability benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a pragmatic step which must be taken in order to attain a level of security and peace, and to attend to one’s health.  Health is the hallmark of who we are and how we are destined to live.  While filing for a benefit may seem like a mundane event when turmoil abounds, for the Federal and Postal employee who must continue to contend with the daily toils of life, the ability to throw Wotan’s spear and accurately hit the bullseye is still a needed goal despite one’s loss of stature in the Federal sector.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Those Moments of Enlightened Clarity

It occurs in momentary lapses of time, as if fate, the spirits and the ephemeral heavenly bodies are mocking us silently in childish teases of playful provocations.  They are brief segments of clarity, when all of the cylinders of life appear well-oiled, when the metaphorical pistons are firing simultaneously, and the fuel pump is injecting a sufficient amount of energy, and we feel on top of the world.

This is perhaps how man is supposed to live, is meant to exist, and is thought to represent the essence of his being.  But as Rousseau would quip, the ravages of society and civilization tends to weigh upon the natural state of man, and separate him from his true essence.

And so it often is with the daily fight with an agency.

It is interesting to study the entire history of the concept of “accommodations” in the field of disability law; for, what one finds is that entities, including Federal agencies, rarely attempt more than a show of appearance to accommodate an individual’s medical condition.  The unstoppable grind of a bureaucracy’s march forward will wear down the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition.  Fighting through standard means of EEO actions, discrimination lawsuits, formal grievances and complaints may stay the progress for a time; but time itself is always on the side of the Leviathan known as the Federal agency.

Ultimately, the disadvantage is two-fold for the Federal and Postal employee suffering from a medical condition: the process itself, and the medical condition which continues to debilitate.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an option which need not be considered the “nuclear” option, but rather an acknowledgment that agencies can rarely change itself to suit the individual, and instead, it is always the individual which must change to fit into the vast sea of an organizational morass.

As for those moments of clarity? They often come when an affirmative step forward is taken, as when the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that there is more to life than fighting against an entity which cares little for the human frailty of a medical condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Daylight Savings and First Light of Dawn

No matter our technological prowess, the attempt to distance ourselves from biological determinism fails at its most basic elements:  by most accounts, the simple change of moving the clock forward (or backward, when once Fall comes again) completely disrupts our connection to nature and the environment which we strive so hard to detach ourselves from.

We like to think that the artificial world which we have created, of imposing structures destroying and subjugating the natural elements, with allowance for a few trees spotting the proverbial jungle of our antiseptic existence, separates us and distinguishes our kind from other species.  But somehow the simple and artificial act of changing the appearance of time interrupts our biological rhythm for days and weeks, only to repeat the cycle again in the Fall.

Similarly, despite our reliance upon light bulbs and artificial illuminating devices, there is something strikingly different about the first light of dawn, with that shimmering brightness breaking open the chasm of darkness.  Lights created of man have certainly advanced civilization; but the sunlight of dawn is an irreplaceable phenomena of pure enjoyment.  That is why we have such metaphors as, “light at the end of the tunnel” which, by the way, is normally meant natural sunlight, and not a lamp post illuminating the street.

The first light of dawn is akin to hope for the future, and for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions, such that the medical conditions impact one’s future by preventing one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, often the only metaphorical light at the end of one’s traveled tunnel is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Such an action allows the Federal and Postal employee to attain a foundational element of financial security, but more importantly, to have the interlude to attend to one’s medical conditions.

Medical conditions, like daylight savings, clearly interrupt the natural and biological rhythm of Man; but like the first light of dawn, it is up to us to find a path back to the natural order of things.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Precipices, Edges and Flat Earths

When the earth was believed to be flat, to venture out beyond the known and navigable waters was deemed to foolishly challenge an inevitable fate; and to reach the precipice and totter carelessly at the edge is to defy and challenge the gods of fate, as Macbeth does repeatedly throughout the Shakespearean play.

Fate itself is a concept which has lost its meaning; that which is no longer believed, is erased through lack of usage, soon departs unnoticed behind curtains of anonymity.  For most people in the world, lives are lived as unmarked gravestones without headlines, fanfare or public accolades; and that is how it should be.  Seeking out one’s 5 minutes of fame; propelling one’s face in front of a news camera; stepping conspicuously in the background where a camera is being shot and waving furiously to get noticed; somehow, loss in belief in fate has been replaced with an urgency to be noticed for the moment.

For the Federal and Postal employee who quietly suffers from a fate hidden, unknown, or yet to be known, reaching the precipice, feeling like a tottering child on the edge leading to a deep chasm, or venturing beyond the safety of known waters, is a daily occurrence when facing a medical condition which threatens one’s livelihood.  Living on the edge is more than mere metaphor of tempting fate; it is a sense that the world is in turmoil, is uncaring, and is a harsh residue of human complacency.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an avenue which allows for the Federal and Postal Worker to escape the daily sense of being in those situations of remote dangers, by allowing for a base annuity, securing one’s future, and giving an opportunity to remain productive in a private-sector vocation.  Most importantly, it allows for one to recuperate from the physical and mental ailments which lead us into unnavigable waters of dangerous precipices and jagged edges, for the safer paths of secure fates.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: This Side, or the Other, of Paradise

It represents that mythical existence — whether in a physical sense, or a metaphysical state of being — where harmony, the absence of pain and a continuum of pleasure and contentment are experienced daily and in sustained fashion.  Perhaps it is a fictional creation propelled by those who have known the negative of that which has been formulated.

Ultimately, it is the place to which we strive, and whether we arrive just on the other side of paradise, or on this side, is the criteria which society judges as to the success or failure of a given life.  And who is the judge, and what right to render such a judgment?  One’s own assessment, and the insular world of one’s psyche, may well be enough for most; but that often merely involves the sleight of words, of redefining what words mean, in order to fit the conceptual construct which others have proposed.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that he or she must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS or CSRS, the capacity to attain a level of restorative quietude through relief from daily activities, may well be enough to constitute a state of paradise.

It is amazing how the threshold of meanings and goals to achieve are lowered considerably when one experiences pain or psychological turmoil and hurt.  Only those who have never experienced a medical condition fail to know what it means to be caught in the proverbial web of medical necessity.

For the Postal Worker and the Federal employee whose lives are shaken by a medical condition, whether it is physical pain or cognitive dysfunction, or both, the difference between landing on this side of paradise, or on the other side, is often determined by whether one gets Federal Disability Retirement benefits or not, and whether the period of rest and restorative state of being is attainable by securing one’s future stability and sense of peace.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Like the Perfect Storm

As the Eastern Seaboard gets pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, one can see the analogy with those who have come to a point where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, becomes a necessity.

It is the coagulation and coalescence of multiple factors, all coming together and making a direct impact upon an entity, geographical location, or in this particular case, a person, which defines a “perfect storm”.  For the Federal or Postal employee who finally sees the necessity for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the factors may involve:  the increasingly debilitating nature of the medical condition itself; the flashpoint of the Agency, where the agency is no longer showing any understanding or empathy for one’s medical condition (perhaps, as more likely is the case, they never showed any such understanding or empathy, anyway); the constricting resources because of the continuous need to exhaust sick and annual leave, and going out on LWOP; exhaustion of FMLA protection; adverse actions from the agency being proposed, including a Proposed Removal; and other similar actions and conditions coming to a forceful impetus where the Federal or Postal employee no longer has the luxury of considering applying for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement; rather, the time has come.  But many of those factors forcing the issues could be seen long before the perfect storm came to fruition.

Just as preparing for the onslaught of a hurricane can be adequately performed beforehand, the Federal or Postal employee should understand that the administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should be looked upon and considered long before that perfect storm hits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Social Isolation

Federal and Postal employees who contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, often feel a profound sense of isolation.

First, of course, the agency itself has a tendency to treat the medically disabled Federal or Postal employee as a pariah; that, somehow, suffering from a medical condition is within the control of the sufferer.

Then, if the agency is informed of the very intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, then certain consequential actions often follow:  a PIP may be imposed; leave restrictions may be enforced; an adverse action may be proposed, including a removal — often based not upon the medical condition, but all sorts of “other reasons” that have been tabulated, memorialized and recorded, by supervisors and fellow co-workers.  Yes, there is FMLA; yes, the Federal or Postal employee may file an EEO action or other potential lawsuit; but such counteractions fail to mitigate the sense of isolation and separation that the Federal or Postal employee feels, from an agency which he or she has expended one’s life and energies to advance for the cause of one’s career.

Third, when the Federal or Postal employee finally files with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPM’s non-responsive attitude further exacerbates the sense of isolation.  A sense of closure is what one desires; of being able to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, then to move on with life into the next phase of a vocation, the next step beyond.

One should always remember:  It is the very act of filing which is the first step in overcoming the profound sense of isolation; for, the act itself and the decision to move beyond, is the affirmative indicator that there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire