OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: To Lose a Kite

It is that loss of innocence; of a childhood cut and let go, a bifurcation of sorts, where the fluttering tail fades into the misty distance of time past, eternity unfulfilled, and the present moment shattered by a loss not valued by economic standards, but by the negation of that which was, will never be again, and won’t be coming back. The loss of anything is valued by the attachment of human passion, the trembling fear of future consequences known and yet to be determined, and the expectation of a hope left as a residue of hard work and toil.

Do we remember that loss of a kite, at a critical moment in time when the champion of winds clapped and cheered as we controlled the destiny of an artifice so flimsy in manufactured quality and yet defying the aerodynamic laws of the greater universe?  Neither the Law of Newtonian physics nor the quantum theories compromising Einstein’s theoretical constructs could defy the persistence of levitational determination, coupled with a coil of thread in the stubby little hands of a child, with but a tug and a pull; and then, suddenly, it was gone.

Is not the future of an adult like that fleeting moment? What a qualitative difference a day may make; when once free of pain, then to experience the excruciating agony of debilitating onset; or where rationality and promise set the course for future happiness, only to be overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Life is tough; but when a medical condition intervenes and tears apart the very fabric of living, that compromised life becomes almost an unbearable mesh of a twisted cathartic of impenetrable jungles of psychological, physical and emotional turmoils. For many, there is no escape, and that snap of a thin reed which left the child’s hand empty of promise, is all that remains.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have the minimum years of service under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the best — if not the only — recourse out of a madness undeterred. Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees as part of one’s compensation package, and allows a person to stop working, receive what amounts to a lifetime annuity, while accruing more years in building towards a final retirement converted from disability retirement to regular retirement at age 62; and all the while, to live upon that rehabilitative plateau in order to attend to one’s health and well-being.

For, when a Federal or Postal worker is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the choices become stark and limited: To continue in pain and agony; to walk away with nothing to show for one’s efforts and toil; or to file for Federal Disability benefits.

It is like the child who once felt the pleasure of life through the flight of a kite, only to experience the tenuous reed of promise when the snap of the thread leaves the twirling object uncontrolled and uncontrollable, left to the nuances of turmoil and trauma; but to move on is to forge a different path, with the echoes of regret howling in the memories of our childhood consciousness, never to be regained but for a semblance of fated warmth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Worker Medical Retirement: The Unnavigable Epistemological Gap

The phrase itself is borrowed from Roger Scruton, who is perhaps one of the most influential philosopher of recent times.   To be “influential” is perhaps problematic, for if the general public denies knowledge of an individual, to what degree can influence be determined?   Public figures — known entertainers, authors of general fiction, news anchors and talk show hosts — are considered societal giants whose comments on culture, trends, values and norms demand attention and guru-like following.  But philosophers tend to be relegated to academic ivory towers of irrelevance.

From biodynamic farming to a proper appreciation of fine wines; from complex fiction to esoteric writings questioning cognitive dualism; Scruton covers the expanse of categories of thoughtful exchanges relevant to an era which denies significance to subjects, anymore.  The only thing that matters today is the individual and the fame of singularity.  And so it goes.  The concept of an unnavigable epistemological gap implies a barrier to knowledge and a chasm between what something is, and what can be known about it.  Or, in another sense, a privacy of concerns which cannot be verified in a strictly “objective” manner.

Medical conditions have a tendency to fall into such a category.  While MRIs, X-rays, and to a large extent, consistent clinical examinations over a long period of time may establish an objective medical basis for certain medical conditions, the problem still abounds as to how to convey, delineate and effectively narrate one’s statement of medical disability and the impact upon one’s Federal or Postal position in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

As an OPM Disability Attorney who exclusively handles Federal Employee Disability Retirement claims for all civilian Federal and Postal workers, the concern is always in taking the medical condition as described by a doctor’s report, treatment notes, etc., then to interpret and fashion a narrative which effectively establishes the nexus, or bridge, between the medical condition and the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee.

For the disabled Federal or injured Postal employee who tries such an endeavor without any prior experience, it is indeed one of an “unnavigable epistemological gap”, in that — not only must the proper bridge be created between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions described but, moreover — it must be presented to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in such a way that persuasion and force will carry the day in order to attain the goal of efficacy:  an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

Such an endeavor, indeed, is one which constitutes an unnavigable epistemological gap.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire