OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Life Changes

For some, transitions constitute mere alterations with minimal reverberations; but for most, change from routine is itself a traumatic event worth resisting even at the expense of one’s own good, one’s advantage, one’s self-interest.  Stability and the status quo represent a daily habituation of life where symbolism of sameness parallels security and safety.

It may be the routine itself; and while complaints about work may abound, the complaining itself engulfs a camaraderie of a community of collectivism. But for the injured Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who begins to suffer from a condition, such that the progressively deteriorating nature of the injury or disability begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is often the forced imposition and lack of choice in the matter, which exponentially magnifies the hardship of acceptance.

Man lives by routine of daily monotony.  Economic requirements imposing a time to get up, to groom oneself, perform the toil of the day, and then to come home exhausted but satisfied that some contribution to society was made, some significance in the greater cosmos of teleological void was marked in an unnamed and unrevealed book of acknowledgments; to interrupt such a routine after years and decades of fighting for an obscure cause, is a shock of life.

To choose to change is one thing; to have the choice made for you, quite another.  And of course, acceptance of an altered life can take some time, but time is never on the side of the Federal or Postal worker who must find an alternate source of income.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an easy venture to undertake.  Alone, it is a lonely meandering within a confusing morass of administrative conundrums; with some guidance, it is merely a directed disruption of a disquieted life. But necessity mandated upon the Federal and Postal work often reveals an inner strength which somehow manifests itself in the sea of change, and for the Federal and Postal worker who must file for Disability Retirement from the OPM because of the imposition of a medical condition, life’s inevitable changes must be accepted in this world of shifting sands, as time marches on whether the invisible chains of stability keep secure the earthquakes felt, or yet to be experienced.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Evidence of Change

The charge against Bishop Berkeley has always been one of contemptuous absurdity.  For, if all that we can ever rely upon are sense impressions, then how can one maneuver through the dangers of the physical universe without bumping into tables and chairs, with calamitous consequences of mortal endangerment?  If we step from Room A into Room B, does the former disappear and lose objective existence while the latter reappears and reconstitutes itself into a viable, vibrant universe?  But that is precisely Berkeley’s point, isn’t it? One could argue that his philosophy represented the nascent murmurings of the English linguistic movement (perhaps he is turning in his grave, as he was born in Ireland), where definitional realignment of language became the methodology of solving all philosophical problems.

Thus, in pure technical terms, inasmuch as what we perceive are merely changes to our sense perceptions, as opposed a direct contact with the physical universe, his approach merely confirmed Kant’s later bifurcation of the world into an objective universe versus a subjective, humanly perceptible world. And, indeed, we tend to become lost in the universe of our own making. That is often the problem which confronts the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a realization that one’s Federal or Postal job has been, and remains, in jeopardy because of an ongoing medical condition which has been impacting one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

The internal ruminations spurred by worries, concerns, stresses and anxieties, often form a wall where the evidence of change and the need for alternative measures is prevented because of the blindness of our awareness. Concerns can be overwhelming; and when medical conditions impact the Federal or Postal Worker, such that the Federal and Postal Worker is beset with chronic pain, psychiatric conditions which overtake one’s capacity to possess the acuity of mind needed to maneuver through this complex world, etc., then it is too often the case that the one who is impacted by the medical condition — the Federal or Postal employee — is the one who is the last to notice the evidence of change and the need for change.

Clinging on to the habituation of daily living provides a level of comfort necessary for sanity.  But staying on when everyone else — the agency, supervisors, coworkers, etc. — has changed in their attitude and approach to embracing the Federal or Postal worker as the valued employee he or she was once considered, is a foolhardy and stubborn refusal to acknowledge the obvious.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step in recognizing the growing evidence of and for change. And, whether what we perceive are merely sense impressions, or the actual rumblings of the objective universe, the reality of one’s medical condition which the Federal and Postal employee must face in determining the best course of action, should always involve a focus upon one’s own best interest, and that may include consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquir

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Myth of Sisyphus

Albert Camus’ classic essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus“, involving the Greek mythological figure who was condemned by the gods to perform a meaningless task in repetitive perpetuity, is appropriate as a metaphor for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Camus’ point was to reveal the absurdity of the human condition, and yet to find meaning in the penultimate meaninglessness of that very human condition — to reverse the philosophical template where essence precedes existence, and to instead grapple with meaning, value, significance and substance in the midst of human toil and turmoil.

For the Federal or Postal Employee, the heroics of continuing to work in the face of a progressively deteriorating medical condition, can seem like the task of Sisyphus:  the meaning and value of such toil is questioned; the chronic pain or uncontrollable psychiatric symptoms begin to loom larger in proportion to the lack of sensitivity by coworkers, supervisors, and even family members and friends.  Yet, like Sisyphus, it is important to continue the day-in and day-out work, if only to survive for the next day.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available for the Federal or Postal worker who finds that he or she is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  It is, in many ways, an avenue to break away from the repetitive toil — a pathway which Sisyphus himself did not have.  It allows for the recuperative timeframe, and to perhaps move on to another career or vocation, away from the work which either contributed to the deteriorating medical condition, or one which could no longer be pursued because of the medical condition.  Either way, pushing the boulder up the hill and watching it roll down the hill, only to push it back up the next hill, is a manner of living which constitutes mere existence, as opposed to embracing the potentiality of the human condition.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an option which any Federal or Postal worker who has a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, should be seriously considered.  It is a benefit which was not available to Sisyphus; it is available to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, as long as you have the minimum 18 months (for FERS employees) of Federal Service (it is assumed that if you are under CSRS, you already have a minimum of 5 years of Federal Service).  Sisyphus, of course, is presumably still rolling that boulder up the hill (or watching it descend), as we speak.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Future Reviews

I have had a number of inquiries concerning events which may or may not occur post-approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application, including a Medical Questionnaire or the extent to which Federal authorities may inspect or otherwise monitor a Federal Disability Retirement annuitant.  

First, let me state the obvious:  one should never engage in fraud.  That being said, remember that the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS overtly encourages that one should remain productive and engaged in the workforce.  Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS is designed to compensate an individual because of a specific disability from a specific type of job.  It pays less than other forms of compensation (i.e., Worker’s Comp) precisely because it encourages you to go out and find another job in another field, one which may be part-time (and therefore would qualify you because you could not perform a similar job on a full-time basis), or one which may utilize a different set of physical requirements; or one which may be “less intense” than your former Federal or Postal work.  

Sensational stories about Federal or Postal workers who have been arrested because of video-taped evidence of engaging in high-impact sports and recreational activities, or of individuals seen performing physical exertions beyond their “stated medical limitations“, almost always involve OWCP/Worker’s Comp violations.  Under OWCP rules, an individual is receiving “temporary total disability” benefits — and the emphasis must be focused upon the middle word — “Total” — as opposed to a FERS or CSRS Federal Disability Retirement annuitant, who is receiving a retirement benefit based upon his or her medical inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and is encouraged and allowed to go out and get another job making up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal Job paid.  There is a vast difference between the two.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire