OPM Disability Retirement: Life’s Strata

In geology and archaeology, the term strata refers to layers of sedimentary rock, soil, etc., which provides for identifiable characteristics distinct from previous and subsequent layers, such that time periods and markers can be established and differentiated.  From it evolved the discipline of stratigraphy.

The fact that we can actually study dirt and debris and glean meaning from it is exceptional in what we do in life; but on the other hand, it should not be surprising, given the extent of such debris and layers of rot which we allow to form upon our own lives on a daily basis.  We rarely even notice how much dirt we allow to accumulate; then, at the end of the day, we look at our hands and realize how dirty they are, and proceed to wash them without thought.

But what of the strata of human debris?

Of traumas and psychological harms which we allow to press upon us, leaving aside the toxic physical fractures which we ignore until it requires emergency surgery.  Medical conditions will sometimes occur suddenly; often, however, they result upon the incremental cumulative impact from repetitive laying of stresses, both physical and psychological.  And like the strata studied in geology and archaeological expeditions, in retrospective reflection, there are clearly identifiable markers during a specific time period of our lives.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions such that the medical conditions, whether physical, psychiatric or emotional, impact and prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, may allow for the next strata of life to be identifiably distinct from the previous layer, and therefore allow for the stratigrapher to engage in the true study of relevance:  an improvement in the human condition.

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

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

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: When It All Becomes Worthwhile

Aristotle’s admonishment of determining too early the virtue and reputation of an individual, can be analogously likened to the state of emotional turmoil we find ourselves in, at any given moment of one’s life.  Happiness is indeed a fleeting state of one’s being; and the history of civilization is one fraught with trembling and fear, with interludes of joyous celebration.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the administrative process of the actual filing itself, and the patient waiting for months-on-seemingly-unending-months, is merely a continuation of the trials which the Federal and Postal Worker has had to endure within the context of a history of such trials.

We tend to view life’s events in a vacuum, as picture-perfect albums of lives lived in tandem with our selective memories.  And for evolutionary purposes, perhaps that is the only way we could survive; for, to constantly be reminded of the trials would be to relive the morbid traumas of our lives.

The Federal and Postal employee who has come to a point in his or her life such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement is the only viable option left, must then endure the further trial of waiting upon the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to render its decision.

In the end, when an approval is received, the sigh of relief reverberates to tell of the happiness felt in that moment of jubilation; but silent is the suffering which preceded that fleeting snowflake of time as joy floats soundlessly for a frozen frame of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: And Beyond…

Can you remember a time of health?  A time in the past when you were pain-free, able to have the cognitive acuity to focus, concentrate, and attend to the details of a task?  A time past is a reminder of the potentiality of a time-future.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the central point of the administrative process should always be kept in mind:  to reach a point in life where one can have a recuperative period of rest, restorative time, and multiple days beyond pain and ill health.  But just as the “gestalt” moment in a psychological awakening is not the end of the story, but merely a slice of life in a greater context of historicity, so the various events of the administrative process in preparing, formulating, filing, and finally obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM is not the end of the narrative for the Federal or Postal employee seeking to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

There is life beyond; as such, obtaining an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement application is merely the beginning of the next step, and not the “end” of anything.  An approval from OPM is a goal worth achieving; but such a goal is merely an intermediate step in a greater cause:  of attaining a state of health, somewhat like the “former” self of yesteryears; of planning for a brighter future in a second vocation; and to be able to enjoy one’s family, friends, and the circle of those closest and most important:  those who have been loyal, even when loyalty revealed a disappointment in those whom you depended upon, and thought you could depend upon.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Life after Disability Retirement

The focus upon the “now”, of course, can not be avoided; for the “now” constitutes the present circumstances, the period of preparing, formulating or filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; where the medical condition impacts and prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; where the severity, chronicity and extent of the persistent pain, the overwhelming psychiatric infringement upon one’s ability to focus, concentrate, etc.; or where the ability to have the sustained stamina and daily energy has been depleted to such an experiential phenomena that the very “now” is all that one can focus upon.

There is, however, indeed a life after Federal Disability Retirement, and as much of the administrative process of obtaining the benefit is a long and arduous waiting period, it is beneficial to consider what will happen, what one will do, can do, etc., once an approval is obtained from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Remember, in being approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, one can go out and earn up to 80% of what one’s former salary pays currently.

Further, this is not OWCP — where, if one is receiving temporary total disability compensation, you cannot work at all (there are some minor exceptions under FECA/OWCP rules, such as if you were working at another part-time position of a different nature prior to the accepted date of injury, you may be allowed to continue to work that “other” job, etc.).  Nor is this SSDI, where there is a severe cap on the limit of what one may earn (although, if one is getting FERS Disability Retirement concurrently with SSDI, then there is an offset between the two).

The period of waiting can be a fertile time of preparation for life after an approval.  Or, such future plans can be placed on temporary hold for purposes of using the time for recuperative rest.  In any event, the “now” is merely a passing time of fleeting moments, as a cherry blossom withering in the early morning dew as the sun begins to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Ecstasy of Approval

Winning, of course, cures all ills; it is the pinnacle of a goal-oriented aim of any endeavor — to prevail, to obtain the intended effect, to accomplish the very goal which one has set out to do, etc.  In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the goal is to obtain an approval from OPM.

An approval, however, has many consequences, and often in very short order — separation from Federal service; a sudden cut in pay (if one has continued to work during the administrative process; of course, the opposite may be true if one has been on LWOP or has already been separated from Federal Service); a drastic change in daily routine, etc.

Thus, part of the process during the patient time of waiting (I will restate the syllogistic quip which I have repeatedly invoked:  Patience is a virtue; Federal and Postal employees who file for Federal Disability Retirement must be the most patient of individuals; ergo, Federal and Postal employees are the most virtuous of people) is for the Federal and Postal employee (or ex-employee, as the case may be) to prepare for the eventuality of the achieved goal, both physically (perhaps a move is contemplated because of the reduced circumstances?) and psychologically (the sudden alteration in work, economic changes, etc.).  The ecstatic response of Federal and Postal employees in being informed of an approval from the Office of Personnel Management is indeed gratifying; but it is the days, weeks and months that follow, which tests the preparatory mindset of the Federal or Postal Employee.

In psychology, there is that special Gestalt experience; but it is often the period that follows which constitutes the more important phase of psychological awakening.  Similarly, while the “win” in a Federal Disability Retirement application is indeed the intended goal, one must always remember that there is an afterlife to live, and how one prepares for that, is all the more important.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire