OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: The Promise

Can you make a promise to yourself?  What would that look like?  Would it be valid and binding?  If not, how would we “prove” it?  Perhaps in a similar manner as Karl Popper’s “falsification” approach — of being able to come up with conditions under which a theory or a posited application can be “falsified”?

Take the following hypothetical: A man sits in a cafe and is clearly upset; perhaps he makes unconscious heaving sounds, and tears stream down his face.  A friend of his happens to visit the cafe, enters, sees his friend in distress and sits down at the same table, uninvited.  “What’s the matter?” the friend asks out of concern.  Hesitant but clearly wanting to share his feelings, the individual queried answers, “I broke a promise, and I feel really terrible about it.”  Pausing — for, despite being his friend, this particular person has a reputation for exaggeration and overstatement — he forges onward bravely and asks him to “share” his story, believing that empathy is the better part of valor.  “Well, I made a promise that… [and the reader can fill in the blank following the ellipses].  And I broke it.”  The friend, concerned and puzzled, asks: “And who did you make the promise to?”  The distraught Person A looks up, tears still streaming down his face and states calmly, “To myself, of course.”

Can such emotional turmoil remain commensurate with the fact of a broken promise made to one’s self?  Can a unilateral promise be binding, or can it be broken with as much ease as the creation of it in the first place?

We all make promises to ourselves, and perhaps an argument can be made that the very essence of “character” and “integrity” is revealed in how scrupulously one abides by those promises made and kept by and to one’s self — even if others don’t know about it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the promises made, thought of, kept or broken may make a long list in a cruel world of treachery and misstatements.  Perhaps you made a promise to yourself that you would make the Federal Service into your lifelong career; or, perhaps it has to do with not wanting to “give up”.  Whatever the promise, life intervenes and we all have to adapt to the changes of tumultuous circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS is never a broken promise, no matter the soliloquy spoken or thought left unspoken; rather, like the friend who comes into the cafe to give some comfort, it is a reminder that there are choices and options in life that may be a better fit than to remain miserable with a job that is no longer consistent with your medical conditions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Trapped, the feeling

It is an unmistakeable sense; of panic which may ensue, or a narrowing of the universe where being shuttered, the walls shrinking, a sudden and overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia; and of physical manifestations, of an inability to breathe, of constrictions and lameness of limbs; it is all of being trapped, the feeling.

It need not be in a physical sense; a psychological condition that is just as real as the reality of the chair one sits upon; but others cannot see it, empathize about it nor conduct one’s actions toward ameliorating the condition; for, in the end, being trapped, the feeling, is an existential condition that can only be cured by first recognizing the source of one’s situation.

Observing an animal, trapped can evoke an empathetic comity of such feelings; we “know” how they “feel” just by the mere manner of actions they reveal.  The pacing back and forth; the eyes which tell you of their anxiety and distress; and constant movements in a frenzy of attempting to escape.

We have all been beset with being trapped, the feeling, and not knowing where to turn to, how to escape, what to do.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, being trapped, the feeling, often accompanies one’s situation when handling both the medical condition and the reaction of the Agency or Postal Service.

The vicious circularity that begins to swirl like the formation around the hurricane’s eye or the tornado that touches down upon flat plains near an unwary midwestern town — of the increasing pressures being placed by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service and the need to attend to one’s medical conditions — at some point, something has to “give”.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often the “escape route” available.  As to understanding the various exit points, the method and manner of escaping — for that, you should consult an attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, and one who performs the practice of law exclusively in the area of Federal Disability Retirement.

Being trapped, the feeling, is never a “good” feeling; but consulting with an attorney who specializes in finding the best approach in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application allows for its opposite and positive feeling: being freed, the sense of elation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The image we cling to

Whether of a “bad boy”, a “choir boy” and some other like, “He is such a quite, obedient and unassuming young lad,” or even, “She is a real go-getter” — whatever the image created, whether by our own manufacturing or by the reputation pasted upon by others, the image we cling to can remain with us such that it haunts and trails like the residue of those ghosts of Christmas past.

Are reputations and images one and the same?

They certainly cross over from border and fence to similar lines of demarcation, such that the jumble of what others say, think and believe about you are an admixture of one’s self-image, the reflection of how we think about ourselves and what we believe others believe about ourselves.  Changing the image we cling to is often difficult; believing in the change, nigh impossible and rarely achieved.

Whether from the incremental and sometimes insidious perpetuation from the subconscious destructiveness haunting one from a childhood past, or of reinforced negativity from bad parenting or abusive relatives, an image is a residue of a tapestry complicated by those unknown circuitry making up what is generically identified as one’s inner “conscious” life.

It is, as some philosophers would put it, the “ghost in the machine” — of that something “other” that eerily floats about above and beyond the collection of cells, genetic matter and neurotransmitters.  It is “who we are”, or more aptly, “who we think we are”.

For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the image we cling to is often the one that prevents us from doing that which is best for ourselves.

We think of ourselves as hard-working, conscientious, never-a-slacker, and conflate that self-image with performance ratings, step-increases, promotions and awards, and it is that compendium of reputation-to-self-image that marks our downfall when a medical condition hits the brick wall of reality.

What are our priorities?  Do we cling to the images manufacture, at all costs — even to our own detriment?

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a silent admission that the image we cling to may not be the reality one hoped for; but to live in an alternative reality when one’s health is at stake, is to ignore the obvious, and to fall prey to the destructive tendencies of an uncaring world.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is not to destroy the image of ourselves that we cling to; rather, it is merely a recognition that we, too, are human and imperfect, and it is the shedding of perfection that is often the greatest problem we face.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirements: Focus away from ‘self’

The heightened problems emanating from a chronic medical condition cannot be quantified; as the medical issues themselves become exacerbated while attempting to work and engage in other “major life activities”, the pain, psychiatric debilitation and interruption of things once taken for granted, become all the more magnified and exponentially exaggerated in significance, relevance and focus of daily contention.  Or, to put it in more common parlance, it makes us grouchier as the day goes.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit offered for all FERS employees (and any in the older CSRS system who may still be around – a rarity, like dinosaurs and gnomes of past ages), and is meant as a progressive paradigm of inestimable worth.  Unlike other systems of compensation, it encourages the (former) Federal or Postal employee to seek employment in the private sector, because the generous allowance that the former Federal or Postal employee can make up to 80% of what one’s former salary currently pays, on top of the annuity itself, allows for “the system” to be a self-paying entity, because such individuals then pay taxes and contribute “back into” the very system which is being accessed.

The fact that it is such a thoughtful, progressive system is rare – for, government bureaucracies tend not to embrace an insightful program of wider application, but this is a case in point where the system “works”.

That being said, the Federal or Postal employee who continues to try and extend one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service by “hoping” – and, do not misunderstand, for hope as an element of human focus for events yet to occur, is a good thing – that the medical condition will get better, and thus to delay initiating the complex process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, does so at the peril of self-focusing immolation.

The point of getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits is just that – to be able to attend to the medical condition itself; to attain restorative sleep; to not be embroiled in the vicious cycle of having to work at a job where one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties cannot be met because of the medical condition itself, and therefore a stark reminder, on a daily and sustained basis, upon one’s self, the limiting aspects of the medical condition, and the inability to escape the constant gravitational dissection of “me, myself and I”.  That’s the rub, isn’t it?

As you try and get better, those around you – supervisors, coworkers, etc. – begin to harass, criticize and compound the problem by redirecting your shortcomings resulting from the very medical conditions from which you are trying to get better.  Federal Disability Retirement is the next step in that process – where, once attained, the stress of focusing upon one’s self is relieved by being able to actually focus upon what is important:  one’s health, and the pathway to a secure future through getting approved for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Attorney: Negating the Sense of Panic

It comes upon all of us; the stealth of the sapping subtlety; the interruption of sleep, once removed in the quietude of dawn’s calm but for the far echoes of distant yearnings once deliberated, but as in the morning dew which forms soundlessly upon the bending blade of beatitude, the slow slide and dissipation tells us with an alarm that awakens:  What am I doing?

Panic is the alarm system which propels with an urgency, and often it results in the furious activity of unproductive futility.  Are we merely spinning our wheels?  A sense of one’s fate, the inevitability of timeless onslaught; these are all buttons pushed which call upon a person to act.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the sense that “something” needs to be done is always just around the next proverbial corner, and leaves one with the feeling of unease and panic.  And while King Lear may admonish his daughter of brevity by noting that nothing comes from nothing, the “something” which we do should not be merely engaging in acts of futility, but constructive advancements toward a teleological embracing of an identified goal.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, is a concrete goal with tangible benefits to be accrued.

As panic is an ephemeral but powerful sense of the unknown, the antidote to performing non-constructive modes of activities is to recognize, identify and initiate a concrete process with actual ends; and for the Federal or Postal worker who has realized that continuation in the Federal or Postal job is no longer a viable option, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will help to negate that nagging sense of panic, and compel one towards a constructive and productive future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Purgatory Reverie

The state of the intermediate, the surreal loss of traction in suspended animation; of trying to jog on ice, or to reach a destination traveling on a treadmill; this is a sense one is left with in dealing with a juggernaut of a bureaucratic morass.

In this day of immediacy, where the instant satisfaction of wants and the now of gratifications is met and reinforced by the push of a key, the click of a mouse, and touch of a sensor; and as virtue is no longer looked upon as a necessary ingredient of character, but rather an irritating obstacle to a material goal, so patience cannot be wanting where fissures have widened to such an extent that chasms have created chaos.  Planning ahead is always the key to the timely confluence of achieving the stated goal.  And then some. And perhaps even to multiply the waiting time by a factor of 2.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is precisely that inherent self-contradiction of the constancy of being forever suspended, which gives rise to frustration and turmoil.

Much of it is in anticipation of what the Agency, or the U.S. Postal Service, will or will not do.  Will they initiate an adverse action during the process?  Will they approve the discretionary LWOP request?  Will they “support” the Federal Disability Retirement application, or attempt to undermine the procedural march towards OPM’s approval?

Waiting upon an agency is never a good idea; neither in deciding to move forward on a Federal Disability Retirement application, nor in trying to make an educated guess as to what the agency’s reaction would be (or, in dealing with one’s agency, is it an oxymoron to concurrently use the terms “educated” and “guess”?).  Agencies move at their own pace, and do what they want, when they want, as fiefdoms and totalitarian republics are decidedly meant to provoke.

It is never a good idea to make one’s decision concerning preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, by waiting upon an agency’s actions; for, the immediacy of ignorance may never come about, or suddenly be initiated yesterday; and as purgatory is in and of itself a reverie of angels suspended in timeless harpsichords of orchestrated serenity, so the ill Federal or injured Postal employee who thinks that it is a good idea to wait upon the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service before initiating a Federal Disability Retirement application, will of course remain lost in the long and winding road leading to the pearly gates of tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire