Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Contested lives

We hear of such terms in specific linguistic contexts; of a “contested” divorce, or that a variable version of a testimony or evidence has been “contested”; or that the results of a certain race or game has been contested.  If you drop the affix placed after the stem of the word (i.e., the suffix or the “ed”), and emphasize the first syllable, it becomes a noun; whereas, if you engage in the identical mental exercise but intone upon the second syllable, it becomes a verb.

As a noun, it is normally relegated to a challenging game, a sport or perhaps some duel; when applied with the second word in the title above, it takes on a wider meaning that encompasses an endless spectrum and, unless further delineated, undefined in a disturbing way.  If denoted in a general sense, as in the statement, “All lives are contested,” the generic meaning loses its force; for, it is a truism which is rather inane in that, yes, all lives have facets of contested issues, and in that sense, it becomes a “meaningless” statement of trope and triviality.

Yet, that truism is something which we all experience.  When one hears the complaint, “Life is a series of conflicts and is a contest of endurance,” we nod our heads and know exactly what that means.  We all recognize that our lives encompass a consistent effort to contest (emphasis on second syllable), and that the contest of life is to endure (emphasis on the first syllable); and we must persevere to contest it (again, emphasis on the second syllable).

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, the truism that there are contested lives is a simple fact.  It is not just a matter of going to work – rather, it is going to work with a medical condition.  It is not just going to work and doing one’s job – it is, moreover, doing that and contending with a medical condition, as well as the growing harassment from coworkers, supervisors, and the Agency and Postal Service as a whole.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is also a matter of a contested life – for the bureaucratic process with OPM is an embattlement of sorts, and it only reinforces that inane, trite and trivial aspect of the statement, “We all live contested lives.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Benefits: Immunity

It is both a state of protective legal cover, as well as possessing enough strength of resistance to counter the invective of marauding viruses invading beyond the walls of health-moats keeping out unwanted Trojan horse violators.

In the former meaning, it is often granted through agreeing to deliver the goods on others, and breaching the code of silence in stabbing unsuspecting co-conspirators in the proverbial backsides, but assuring survival of the weakest link in the chain of criminal conduct.  In the latter sense, one is told to “build up” one’s immunity, or to become inoculated in order to obtain it; and in a wider and more pervasive annotation of the word, it generally possesses the connotation of self-protection, egocentrism and self-centered focus against the world at large.

Further, when we talk about the “Teflon” effect, it is akin to having an immunity against criticism, of possessing that self-effacing sheen that never spoils, and a reputation that while others may walk about this world with soiled garments depicting poor circumstances and unfortunate trials of reduced means, that special person who has the “Midas touch” is the one immune from the everyday travesties that desecrate the rest of us.

Immunity is that which we seek – for ourselves, to protect against others, and always as a wall of separation in the event that the Mediaeval horrors of the Black Plague come back to haunt and destroy, so long as it fails to touch the inner sanctum of those who are blessed with the inoculation of life’s fortunes never to be interrupted.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the idea of immunity quickly becomes a fiction that only others can abide by.  At one’s weakest point of vulnerability – when the medical condition depletes, progressively destroys and become a chronic condition of perpetual misery – does the Federal agency and the Postal facility suddenly take away all semblance of immunity.

It is withdrawn; it is voided; it is disallowed until further notice.

Immunity is no longer part of the “deal” and, instead, full prosecutorial discretion is suddenly imposed.  No accommodations; punitive actions are suddenly initiated; and it is as if the grand Plague of former times has advanced with greater force and energized vitriol than ever, and the Federal or Postal employee is left with no choice but to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Thus is immunity often granted when one least has need of it – unless, of course, you are caught in the very act of involvement as a co-conspirator, in which case it is cloaked in a request to sharpen the knives to harm others.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire