Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Cower v. Cowardice

To cower paints a word-picture of crouching or retreating in fear.  Cowardice, on the other hand, is the cumulative character of a man or woman, wrought upon through a lifetime of milestones and the reactions to each.  The latter can represent the aggregate of the former; the former may be, but is not necessarily, a singular action symbolizing the former.

Sometimes, there is a basis for being fearful.  Fear is quite obviously an evolutionary instinct which has a survival value attached; how one responds to the overwhelming stimulus of fear will often determine the value of such survivability instinct. But to cower in response to a given circumstance, a sudden crisis, or an unforeseen emergency is not to conclude cowardice; it is, as Aristotle would point out, merely one indication in a lifetime of red flags determining the linear value of one’s essence.

For the Federal or Postal employee who must face the crisis of a medical condition, such that important decisions must be faced, made and lived with, the step to Federal Disability Retirement is one fraught with the fear of the unknown: for one’s future, one’s vocation, and one’s financial security. To cower in confronting such a major decision is understandable; it does not indicate a character of cowardice. Facing a medical condition takes fortitude and clarity of mind, and in the midst of dealing with the crisis itself, it is often difficult to make cogent decisions ancillary to contending with one’s health issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a daunting task which requires mental acuity and intellectual stamina. In one’s weakened state, it is often advisable to have objectivity and good counsel. To cower in the face of a challenge is sometimes understandable; but to reveal cowardice is unnecessary, especially when the Federal or Postal employee who must decide upon the issue of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits can turn to competent assistance to guide one through the complex process of the administrative morass.

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

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Linguistic World of Mirrors

Mirrors are peculiar human inventions; they play to the vanity of men and women, while at the same time revealing the cosmetic warts and boils which remain unhidden and starkly open on display.  But linguistic mirrors take away that disadvantage of visual perception; instead, through the vehicle of words, one can create reflections of a fantasy world of make-believe, without ever having to confront the ugliness of reality.  Thus can we go through the day by surrounding ourselves with platitudes:  “It’s not that bad”; “You look good, today”; “Things will get better tomorrow”.  Linguistic mirrors avoid the direct reality of one’s reflection, and instead create a mythical world of statements bouncing back to the bearer of siphoned and filtered news.

Further, the one who surrounds himself with sycophants and yes-men can continue to live in a surreal world of compliments and make-believe for countless years, without suffering the consequences of objective reality.  And we can do that with medical conditions, too.  One can survive through years and years by avoiding the signals of progressive physical and cognitive deterioration.

Federal and Postal workers are quite good at this game of mirrors — that is why it often comes to a crisis point before Federal and Postal Workers consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS; and that is why Supervisors and Managers are surprised; and, moreover, at least one of the reasons why performance appraisals reflect “outstanding” throughout the years of pain and debilitating conditions.  But in the end, mirrors fade, crack, and reveal the ugliness beneath the cosmetic surface; and even words begin to fail.  Pain in the human body is an innate alert system that is fail-safe, and when the medical condition begins to manifest itself to the point where one can no longer mask the symptoms, the seriousness of it all becomes apparent.

Federal Disability Retirement is at least an option for Federal and Postal Workers to consider, in order to be released from the “true picture” of one’s conditions.  There are legal criteria to meet; medical statements to obtain; narrative statements to write; but all in good time, as we see the reflection in the mirror, and apply more cosmetic means to hide the reality of our true condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: That “Aha” Moment

There are moments when one comes to a realization of solving a problem, or perhaps of  breaking through an obstacle in the process of a creative endeavor; or even in making a simple decision — of overcoming the problem of how to systematically eliminate “other” options and alternatives in order to arrive at the most intelligent decision.  Some identify such moments as “aha” experiences; others, merely the result of systematic activity leading to a fruitful conclusion.

In coming to a decision to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, some will look upon the decision and the realization for the need to file, as a life-changing event, where one has finally overcome the mental obstacle that it is somehow a demeaning and diminishing decision to admit the manifestation and impacting consequences of a medical disability.  But one should always be aware of the fact that, in pragmatic terms, it is merely a decision that one must change vocations and attempt to become productive in some other capacity in life.

The hard work of life does not disappear merely because one has an “aha” moment; rather, it is the systematic living which occurs after such an experience, which will test the will and character of a human being.

Federal Disability Retirement is not an admission of defeat; it is not a filing for “total disability“; rather, it is merely an identification of the inconsistency between one’s medical condition and the particular kind of job which one finds one’s self in.  Far from a termination of a process, it is merely the beginning of the road to recovery and a venture into a different vocation and realm.

That realization — that it is merely a change of circumstances — is the true “aha’ moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: After the Dust Settles

Moments in time are often emphasized by specific occurrences; one may have vivid memories of rather mundane freeze-frames of one’s life, and such flashes of remembrances may be punctuated by an event which exponentially magnifies the importance of a particular pinpoint in one’s life.

One often talks about the “aha” event, or in psychology, the gestalt moment, where clarity comes upon one and sudden illumination occurs, where understanding, comprehension and embracing of intellectual openness comes to fruition.  But what one fails to realize, is that the real work — the hard work of life — comes after such a moment, when the mundane drudgery of daily living must follow thereafter.

In any moment of victory of defeat, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must recognize that, if, whether and when, a Federal or Postal employee obtains and gets approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, life must still go on, and the hard choices of such a life must still be made at each moment of one’s life.

Thus, throughout the administrative process of trying to obtain Federal Disability Retirement, it is important to recognize that the process itself continues; but in a different form.  If denied, the disappointment of a denial should not overwhelm one, but merely be understood as a momentary setback which must be fought.  Everything in life comes at a cost — and expended effort.

If approved, then such an approval is merely the beginning point to the next phase in one’s life.  After the dust settles is when the real work begins.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire