Federal Disability Retirement: Keeping it together

Living in modernity is a complex juggling act that never ends.  Simplicity recollected in former times often harken towards an idealization that perhaps never existed, where toil, labor and survival were a coalescence of a person’s life, and meaning was never divorced from what one was engaged in, the acts of striving, the struggle to earn a living.

Modernity magnifies Marx’s observation that human discontent is a result of separating man’s labor from the self-esteem of accomplishment, where the factory worker sees merely a microcosm of monotony but never possesses the self-satisfaction of any meaningful end to the assembly-line of life.

Instead, today we are a fractured sort, running like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off (and we don’t even quite understand what that means, anymore, as no one lives on a farm to understand that when a predatory owl comes swooshing down and severs the upper portion of a cock-a-doodling bird, the feet continue to pedal forward even after the headless horseman is taken away), awakening, rushing, being dazed and in a trance to view the multiple screens of a Smartphone, the laptop, the desktop and being directed by electronic voices of commandeering vehicles, parking barometers and driverless vehicles to merely observe as bystanders in a world gone mad.

Credit crunch, debt overload, children brought into the world without direction or means, and droughts, famine and wars and rumors of wars beyond; it is a burden just to try keeping it together, these days.

Promises have been made for decades plus of technology granting a reprieve both in time, effort and human toil, and the time for leisure which the totalitarianism of oppressive modernization has detailed has somehow never come to fruition.  Work, and more work; overtime; the juggling of family time, work, filial commitments and more work; and we can “have it all”, or so they keep telling us.

Email was supposed to undercut the need for the snail’s pace of the Postal Service, but now we are bombarded with an exponential quantification of that which we used to open with a mail opener, inserting carefully into the edge of the fold and slicing gently so as not to spoil the contents within; and somehow that very act of ancient and tactile connection between the eye, the hands, the metal implement and the organic material of an unopened letter gave it a personal bond of sorts, even in a mechanized office setting.  Today, it is merely one more click of a computer button to open up the electronic mail.

“Keeping it all together” – is it possible, anymore?

Then, when you consider an unwanted intruder – a medical condition both unexpected and unforeseen – is it any wonder that things quickly fall apart.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find it difficult to continue in one’s chosen Federal or Postal career, when the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, it may well be time to recognize that the fundamental basis of keeping it all together rests upon the ability to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Law: Care to Perfection

At what point does one ascend from mere care, to perfection of accomplishment?  Is it when we determine that which matters to us most – i.e., where self-interest intersects with talent otherwise left unfulfilled?  Or, through maturity of purpose and a self-realization that perfection is preferable to a lesser kindling of care, does one simply “buck up” and seek to embrace a higher order of accomplishments?

Perfection is an impossible standard to attain; care, a reasonably easy one, because time, effort and struggled attempts compensate for any lack of natural talent.  Words themselves tend to camouflage the lack of perfection by care, for a lengthy dissertation of seeming interest and a cauldron mixed by questions of curiosity comprise evidence of “caring”.  But while perfection should always be reserved for the Pope, heavenly orbs and Platonic Forms otherwise unreachable by mortal hands and untalented mediocrity – which incudes the vast multitude of the ordinary folk that populate this earth – it is a goal worth trying to achieve.

This presents a particularly unique problem for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing 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 – for, when a medical condition dominates, the natural inclination is to quickly put together an assembled Federal Disability Retirement packet based upon mere care, but nowhere near perfection, when the very viewing bureaucratic body (the U.S. Office of Personnel Management) is often applying a higher standard than even what the law requires.

We are not saying, here, that any Federal Disability Retirement application to be filed should attain any level of perfection; rather, that when the applicant who prepares his or her own Federal Disability Retirement application is the identical person who suffers from the medical condition itself, then it is always very difficult to get beyond the standard of mere care, and will never be able to objectively strive towards a semblance of perfection.  Perfection as a standard is never meant to be attained, but merely to be striven for; and as a corollary, care is not to be acquiesced to without a pathway towards perfection.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management applies the standard of law that it is mandated to enforce, but in its zealous defense of the entire Disability Retirement system, it often goes beyond mere care, and applies the shadow of perfection upon unwary applicants.  What can be done about it?  Nothing, except to make sure that in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it to OPM, be aware that care may not be enough; rather, striving for the higher order of care – that of perfection – may be the requirement for the day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Character

If a person points to another and states, “He is really a character”, is it different from positing:  “He really has character”?  Can both statements mean the same, or is the subtle difference there to denote?  The former is customarily stated in defining a person as somewhat of an oddball, or perhaps eccentric to a degree that places him outside of the conventional norms of acceptable conduct.  The latter, on the other hand, could also mean that – the possession of it modified by the adverb describes one with a plenitude of extraordinary traits.  Or, it could connote the more classical meaning:  A worthy person of honor, dignity, courage, moral foundation, etc.

That is, in the end, what most of us consider to be the pinnacle and apex of that very noun, isn’t it?  Possessing it is that which makes of us; displaying it, what demands respect and attention; and abiding in it despite trials that test to compromise, what we hope and expect of ourselves.  Indeed, character is both tested and surfaces especially in those times of tumult and tribulation; it is the mettle challenged at the depth of the soul of being.  Yet, in this age of modernity where materialism prevails, power seems to overarch all else, and the traditional reference to one’s “character” no longer means much more than a rumble in one’s stomach as evidence of hunger or impoverishment, it is clear that neither form of the meaning evinces much curiosity.

Materialism is dominant; those in power dominate; and the once-vaunted “indomitable spirit” carried forth as a burden of possessing character no longer has much substantive weight.  Where it does reveal and manifest itself, however, is in the very lack thereof.  So long as things are going relatively smoothly; while the good fortune lasts; or, perhaps during those times when monotony merely puts one into a slumber of sorts, and actions and deliberations through life’s daily routine are placed on an unthinking mode of automatic pilot, the revelation or concealment of character matters not.

But take that onerous instance – as, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s life, and for Federal and Postal employees, compels one to consider filing 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; does character count?  One’s own and reliance upon another’s; both come to the fore and require an evaluation that will test the mettle of the substantive foundation.

For the Federal or Postal employee who begins to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application – tested to endure the administrative process and the onerous test of the entire bureaucratic procedure.  For those coworkers, family members and other encountering Federal or Postal employees, including Supervisors, Managers and Human Resource Personnel – of how they respond and what they do to make the process smooth and seamless.  In the end, character comes to the fore, and reveals the content of who we truly are.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Natural empathy

Is there such a thing, or do we just fake it even when we do not naturally “feel” it?  If the official, technical definition fails to make the distinction between “feeling” and “understanding”, does it not discount the differentiation of the traditional bifurcation – that of rational capacity as opposed to part of one’s emotional quotient?

Further, if it is merely an emotion, do some have a greater capacity because of a genetic predisposition, while others at a minimal level acquired through accident of birth, and thus can one be held responsible for merely being who we are?  On the other hand, if it has a closer affinity to an “understanding” one possesses, then can it not be cultivated and enhanced, and therefore within the purview of an educational system that includes “empathy instruction”?

How would one “teach” empathy?  Would you present slide shows of unfortunate events, and by instructional imprinting, have the teacher or headmaster unravel with emotional turmoil and manifest tears of sorrow, and hope that the students will by some mysterious osmosis embrace that capacity to experience such travails “as if” one were in the other’s shoes?  And, what do we mean when we attribute empathy as a “natural” course of human characteristic – is it counterintuitive to the distinction made of its opposite, of an “artificial” construct?

In Darwinian parlance, of course, there is little room for Natural empathy – the weak merely dilute the sacrosanct genetic pool of the strong and those fit to survive, and time wasted in trying to protect the weak or to understand those less fortunate will only succumb to the inevitable devouring by prey otherwise in waiting.

In the “civilization” of the human animal, there are certainly historical instances of unexplainable natural empathy, but whether there was always even therein a hidden agenda, a personal motivation, or a self-centered glint of purpose, we shall never know.  The naïve will posit that natural empathy is central to the human character; the cynic, that it is neither natural nor a tendency discovered in any species known, but just another societal construct forced upon the strong as part of the social contract to defend the weak.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the health condition has resulted in testing the natural empathy of coworkers, supervisors and managers at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, there may well be a division and diversity of opinions on the matter.

Whether natural or artificial, unfortunate events do indeed test the capacity of human character, and when the Federal or Postal employee prepares a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the uncaring and impervious attitudes of those encountered along the long and arduous process in attempting to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits, can indeed test the attitudes of a generation yet to experience the cruelty of an otherwise imperfect universe.

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