Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Our place in the world

One morning, we wake up and go into the backyard or, perhaps if one is living in an apartment, simply observe some trees or a little oasis of nature — a park; a clump of bushes situated in a grove of lawns coalescing; or just a singular mulberry tree that has grappled upon a cracked corner of the concrete jungle where some soil has erupted, surviving in the middle of a desert of the city’s impervious view; and a bird sits and sings.

We don’t think about the bird:  Does it know where its place is in the world?  Did it struggle as a young bird-ling to find its place, to “fit in”, to be “unique” and thus “special”?  No — it is just us humans who engage in that sort of thinking — of the awkward youth who tries to find his or her place in the universe; of going through those difficult years finding one’s place, one’s niche, and one’s solace in the troubled waters of one’s soul.

Are those merely foolish thoughts of a young person — do we all eventually grow out of it and return to the level of cynicism and conclude that it’s all bosh, and there is no such thing as one’s “place” in this cold and impersonal universe?  It is a safe haven, is it not, to remain as one’s father and forefather’s placement offered, and not have to think about one’s place independently and separately?

To that extent, birds and others who merely survive based upon instinct and thoughtless intuitiveness possess a survival advantage over those who must search and become affirmed:  There is no need to find one’s place, for that has already been pre-determined from generations ago.  Then, in later life, what does one do when one has lost one’s identity?  If you never searched for it to begin with, will it feel as a “loss” if you lose something you never attained in your own right in the first place?

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 position, part of the fear, angst and anxiety in initiating and proceeding with the process of Federal Disability Retirement, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the loss of our place in the world.  For, that career that you worked so hard to sustain — whether in an administrative field, a technical niche or as an expert in this or that elite vocation — may have to either come to an end, or become modified to accommodate your medical conditions.

Your “place in the world” may become upended, and that is often a fear that must be confronted.  But like the hummingbird that seeks the nectar of life’s offerings, if health is not the first priority that makes it all worthwhile, then you’ve likely mistaken which priorities need to be first in line, lest you mistakenly think that your Federal Agency or the Postal Service will help you in the never-ending quest for one’s place in the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Forgetting for a moment

It is a game we play, or perhaps “have to” in order to retain our fantasy-world and “pretend” selves. We like to think that we gave up, long ago, those childish dreams and fantasies we engaged and tolerated as younger selves, and that as adults we must daily face the realities of problems encountered, difficulties arisen and turmoil challenged.  But we haven’t.  We have merely replaced it with another, more productive methodology of play-acting: Forgetting, for the moment.

Perhaps it occurs when we take a day off; or engage in a sports activity, like golf or a pick-up game of basketball where we can imagine ourselves in our glory days, not quite good enough to become pro or even semi-pro, but better than most by sheer force of will, practice and dominance of creative moves that would be whistled away as a travel violation by any half-competent referee, but in the imaginative world of concrete basketball, we can take those extra steps, much like Michael Jordan used to do under the “Jordan Rule” of play.

What we forget; how we forget; the technique of forgetting; whether and why; when and where; these all depend upon individual circumstances and requirements of the day, forged with dependencies, co-dependencies and enablers of time and leisure.

Perhaps it is by daydreaming; or sitting in a café fantasizing of having won the lottery; or in simply watching a television show or a movie where, just for a moment, you can forget everything and become consumed by the story, the special effects and the emotional upheaval of the actors and actresses on the flat screen of make-believe.  Then, of course, in the next moment, or sometime thereafter, reality sets in and we must go about the daily business of living.

The one component in life that makes the whole activity of “forgetting for a moment” difficult, is when you are suffering from a medical condition.  For, a medical condition never seems to “let up”, never allows for a moment of forgetfulness, and never ceases to remind.

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 position, not only will the medical condition itself not allow for forgetting for the moment, but it is also the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service that also disallows such momentary distractions.

Life is always a bundle of problems, but when you are a Federal or Postal employee, that bundle of problems comes with it a greater bundle when you are beset with a medical condition.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best option available, and consulting with an attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement is probably the next best course of action to undertake in this long and complex road where, at the end of it all, you may be able to engage in that most pleasurable of activities: Forgetting for a moment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The tentative step

This is a tough and dangerous world.  No longer a Hobbesian State of Nature nor of War, the Social Contract as envisioned by Locke or Rousseau provides some nominal protection, and thus do we identify ourselves as “civilized” entities in yet a dystopian universe where a greater majority of the rest of the world acts with unconcerned insanity by engaging in senseless wars of mass killings and genocidal encounters.  In such a world, we thoughtlessly bring newborns who must contend with an uncertain future, fraught with challenges unasked for and conflicts yet to be encountered.

Those tentative first steps of a toddler – how we watch with awe and observe with wonderment.  Why is that?  Why is the transition from ambulating as most other mammals do on four legs, to engaging an awkwardly wobble as a bipedal hominid, of such significance?  Is it because it marks the steps of initiation into the club of “civilized” society – that to stand upright and walk with our two feet, as opposed to the addition of the other two appendages, signifies the next stage of growth and maturity?  Yet, that tentative step reveals all, doesn’t it?

It marks the magnification of uncertainty for the future; it reveals the imperfection of the human animal; and it manifests the symbol of insecurity by deliverance of a vulnerable entity thrown into a pit of vipers and hyenas.  We do this to ourselves, and to the ones we say we love.  And as the toddler grows up, through further steps of initiations into a cruel world, how that tentative step cements and molds itself into a characterization of so much of life’s violent encounters.  Whether remembered or not, those nascent steps of uncertainty carry along with us like Pilgrim’s burdensome backpack, weighing upon us at different and varying stages of our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition reenacts those tentative steps taken as a toddler, one becomes reminded that we came into this world uninvited, presented without a guide as to how to go about living life, and suddenly find yourself with a challenge:  No longer able to perform all of the essential elements of your job, your choices are to stay and endure the pain; leave, resign and walk away without anything you worked so hard to attain; or file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

And, like the toddler taking those first tentative steps, this is a new endeavor, a next phase, but probably without those doting parents cheering you on.  As a result, you may need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, if only to steady those two feet as you jump forward into an uncertain future by submitting a Federal Disability Retirement application to the OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmative Steps

Procrastination is the bane of progress; by delaying and kicking the proverbial can down the road, the chances of decreasing one’s odds of accomplishment become magnified exponentially.  What is the reasoning behind inaction and inertia?

Human life must by necessity involve movement and progress; for, unlike other species who find the immediacy of satisfaction and gratification to be the basis of existential justification, we bring to the fore the coalescence of one’s memory of where we came from; a future hope of where we want to go; and in combing the two, a greater purpose of teleological rationality within the context of the here and now.  But that which provides the foundation of uniqueness, can conversely be the lynchpin of destruction.

Self-justifying language games of self-immolation; we can construct strings of logically valid reasonings based upon convoluted cacophonies of orchestrated mutterings.  But that which appears reasonable is not always valid; and as validity constitutes the systemic structure of logic, so that which may reveal itself as sound uttering may merely be a whining whisper of a mad man’s meanderings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s position, the reasons for not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits are wide, varied, and often complex.  “This job has been my life for so long” (understandable, but change is often an inevitable feature of life); “Maybe my agency can accommodate me” (unlikely); “I am hoping to get better” (yes, but in the meantime, what is your agency planning to do?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a big and dramatic step.  But for the Federal and Postal worker who cannot perform at least one, if not more than one, of the essential elements of one’s positionally-determined duties, it is time to consider taking some affirmative steps in a direction which one often knows to be true, but where procrastination is the path of least resistance.

And, yes, to err is human, but at what cost, and where does human history reveal that delay results in a successful outcome?

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process of 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, the similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire