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

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Flux

Life must of necessity involve change; otherwise, the definition of its corollary occurs, or at a minimum, a deadened spirit.  But the tripartite self-contradiction of life, death, and the security of habituated changelessness entraps us all: In youth, the excitement of constant flux energizes; in later life, the unwelcome changes and interruption of daily routine leads to turmoil; yet, as the negation of the mundane equals the non-existence of youthful energy, so the denial of needed change must of necessity result in a deadened soul.

It is, of course, a concept which is often associated with Heraclitus, who proposed that all is change, and inevitably so, as we cannot ever step twice into the same river.  Parmenides, on the other hand, introduced the contrary idea, that change is impossible and merely illusory.  Subsequent philosophers have melded the two, and compromised the bifurcated extremes, somewhat akin to the composite yin-yang embracing of the opposing forces of life.  But as resistance to change implies change itself, so surrender to flux may also indicate loss of will.

For Federal and Postal employees who begin to suffer from a medical condition, such that the impact from the medical turmoil must of necessity dictate some needed changes in one’s life, so the natural instinct to resist the flux of one’s career is a natural reaction.  But for the Federal and Postal employee who ignores the need for change, failure to foresee will ultimately result in changes being made by external forces, and not necessarily by choice.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is something that must be proven by the Federal or Postal employee who becomes a Federal Disability Retirement applicant.  It must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence; it must be affirmatively shown to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that one is eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

When a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the temptation is to first see the world as Parmenides did, and to resist change; but the reality is that change has always been in the air, and the metaphorical river to which Heraclitus referred has been eternally running through the peaks and valleys of life, quietly and without our realizing it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Things We Hold Onto

Human behavior reveals much; while we believe we are the cleverest of all species, and persistently engage in self-congratulatory endeavors, including self-esteem courses and passing laws to ensure that we cannot mistreat each other; nevertheless, leaving one deep in the wilderness to face other carnivores, even for a single night, without implements, flashlights or prefabricated weaponry, shows how we might fare against our competition.

Within the context of our own safety nets, what indicates much about ourselves are the things we hold onto.  Whether memorabilia from an era long past; or perhaps a piece of clothing from our childhood; old photographs of a friendship once thought unimpeachable, but somehow lost touch through distance, time and divergent paths of life’s difficulties.  We hold onto things, people, memories and habituated lives, because the trend of daily monotony provides a circularity of security.

There is comfort in knowing, and doing, the same things we did yesterday and the day before.  Erratic lives and daily unforeseen circumstances are rarely welcomed events.  Certainty evinces security; past patterns provide surety; and monotony allows for meaningful interludes of interrupted excitement.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is unfortunately often those things we hold onto for too long which comes back to haunt.  The old job, the past pattern, the known life; it all worked when once we were healthy.  But the uncertainty of the future dominates precisely because we tend to hold fast that which needs to be let go.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an employment benefit available to all FERS, CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees under the Federal employment system.  It allows one to “let go” of past patterns of pain, suffering, and constant agony because of one’s medical condition, and to look to the future for a different and brighter prospect.

It may test the Federal or Postal Worker by placing him or her in situations not previously known; but, fortunately, it will not be a test against other species in the wilderness, but merely of one’s own kind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Flashpoint

The flashpoint is the temperature at which an organic compound becomes combustible; during the entire time building up to that point, the rising temperature in combination with the chemical reactiveness of the substance was all the while sitting in preparation for the point of ignition; were there options to pursue prior to the point of ignition?  If there had been a change in chemical make-up, then perhaps the point of temperature-to-combination of substance would have altered, where either a higher or lower flashpoint would occur; or, the rise of the temperature, and the rate of acceleration, could have been changed.

Whatever the needed changes in order to avoid the flashpoint, however, one thing is clear:  the options are limited, and any altered states would merely delay the ultimate event of a flashpoint occurrence.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the flashpoint of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an inevitability which leaves the Federal or Postal employee similarly limited options.

One can continue in the mode of life which one finds one’s self in: of the daily treadmill of suffering through the workday with pain, profound fatigue and progressively debilitated emotional turmoil.  Or, one can wait for the Agency to initiate an adverse action, such as a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), periodic suspensions or reprimands — or removal.  Or, one can begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Limited options do not necessarily constitute a flashpoint of negative consequences; yes, a fire bursting in a home is a tragedy, but then there are controlled fires and even naturally occurring ones in fields of decay which benefit the environment.

It is thus ultimately up to the Federal or Postal employee to determine the point of combustibility, and therefore the timing of the event identified as the flashpoint.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Moving beyond the Stagnant Waters of OWCP

“Is it possible…” is an impossible question to answer.  For, the conceptual distinction between that which is possible, as opposed to probable, is one which reveals the chasm between the world of fantasy and one of reality.  The world of the “possible” is unconstrained and unbounded; the world of probable occurrences may be fenced in by statistical constructs, actual circumstances, and real-world experiences.

While it is possible to stay on OWCP for a long duration, it is also probable that OWCP will cut off one’s benefits at some future, undetermined and unexpected time.  Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee who is on, has been on, or even is contemplating filing for, OWCP/FECA benefits because of a work-related injury, the benefit itself is attractive enough to remain on the rolls of OWCP until such time as (A) the Federal or Postal employee can return back to work, (B) the Federal or Postal Worker is deemed recovered, and the OWCP benefits are cut off, or (C) the Federal or Postal Worker decides to “move on” in life.

The first two choices are essentially out of the arena of “control” of the Federal or Postal employee, for one cannot determine or expedite the recovery period of a medical condition, and further, only the doctor (or its surrogate, the Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs) can determine whether or not the Federal or Postal work is now recovered.  As for the last choice, however, it is the Federal or Postal worker who can make the determination — especially if one has already gotten an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

OWCP is not a retirement system; one cannot work at another job while on OWCP; one must sit and do what the OWCP case worker tells you to do.  It is only with Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, that one can actually engage in another, alternative vocation or career, and begin to move on in life, and become released from the stagnant waters of a constraining medical condition — or that of OWCP.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Man’s Best Friend

Dogs reflect the owner’s personality, character, and often even one’s appearance. Whether by intuition or by sheer chance, the choice which the master makes in the selection of a dog is more revealing about the former than the latter.  On the other hand, just as in marriage, where a man and a woman begin to think, act and live alike, perhaps it is merely that the master and the dog begin to assume the personalities, traits and characteristics of one another, over a period of time.  Certainly, there are instances where mismatches occur — as in an older couple rescuing a large dog out of sympathy, but who have neither the physical strength nor the means to manage its care.  Sometimes, the mismatch is merely apparent; what one finds is that the adoption of a particular breed of dog is “just what the doctor ordered”.

In making a decision about preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the initial reaction is simply one of doubt, hesitation and foreboding; for, throughout one’s life, one is taught to advance in one’s career, to “give it one’s all”, and that the Protestant Work Ethic is the essence of meaning which drives one forward from birth until death.  Circumstances dictate one’s life more than one would like to admit; the vicissitudes of life’s unexpected gifts and challenges require an acceptance without doubt or question.  Medical issues will often mandate a change; and while one may be reluctant to change a career, admit to a medical condition which requires a different pace of life, the acceptance of such a change will often prove to be a blessing.  Fear is often both a motivator, as well as the obstacle to change.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is indeed a change which is hard to accept for the Federal or Postal employee; but like adopting a dog which appears to be a mismatch to one’s personality, character, and style of living, it may prove to be the prescription which is necessary.  The real difference is that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits will reduce the financial resources one receives; adopting a dog merely increases that which is essential to man’s happiness:  unconditional love, provided in the form of a slobbering canine tongue first thing each morning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Exaggerated Supervisor’s Statement

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, the Federal and Postal employee should focus upon those aspects of the OPM Medical Retirement which are under his or her “control” — directly or indirectly — and not worry excessively about those things which are beyond one’s control or responsibility.  

Thus, obtaining the proper medical documentation; accurately, succinctly and coherently formulating the Applicant’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, etc., are within the purview of one’s control and responsibility.  Having the Supervisor complete the Supervisor’s Statement — SF 3112B — is part of the required final Federal Disability Retirement packet; what is contained within the parameters and confines of the form itself, however, is often beyond one’s control.  

While one assumes that a Supervisor’s Statement will be completed with a fair amount of accuracy, it will necessarily contain a certain perspective, intent, and often a sense of “protecting” the agency’s interest and goals.  Thus, the Supervisor will often overstate the extent of an attempted accommodation engaged in, real or imagined, in order to justify its actions concerning the Federal or Postal employee.  Further, it will often mis-state the concept of “light duty” and how it relates to accommodating the Federal or Postal employee.  In other sections of SF 3112B, it may over-state and exaggerate the employee’s conduct or impact of the medical conditions upon the Agency’s workload.  

An exaggerated Supervisor’s Statement will often be helpful to a Federal Disability Retirement case. Don’t be too hasty in attempting to correct inaccuracies and differing perspectives; sometimes, the exaggerated statements are merely differences of opinions and viewpoints, and may in fact be helpful in obtaining an approval from the Office of Personnel Management.  

In any event, a Supervisor’s Statement is beyond one’s control — and undue focus upon those issues beyond one’s control can detract from the greater mission at hand.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire