Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Silence

Whether of the historical novel by Shusaku Endo or of the film adaptation by Martin Scorsese, the powerful images evoked (or provoked?) by the contrast between noise heard and the silence following can be felt only with the “before” and “after”.  The novel itself is Endo’s masterpiece, although he has written many; and, of course, Scorsese has a long list of accomplishments and commercial successes, but Silence is not one of them— at least not by commercial standards.

It is a serious movie with few bright moments; of contracted theological arguments and disputations revealing cultural chasms so deep that only a simple metaphor can make it comprehensible; of an agonizing series of endless torture; of the anguished, linguistic divide apparent between two countries which fail to understand each other because of the subtleties of language’s disconnect.  And then there is — silence — in contrast to noise; of a “before” and an “after”.

And the questions which foretell of the quietude: Does the lack of God’s intervention mean that there is no God?  Does “speaking” of denying and renouncing, or the act of stepping upon the image of God, determine one’s faith, or can faith be alive within the silence of one’s inner soul?  Can the Peter-like character, Kichijiro, remain a “faithful apostle” despite his breaking of his silence in actively renouncing and apostatizing?  And who has the greater faith — the priest who grudgingly passes judgment each time the apostate comes for confession and forgiveness, or the one who renounces but then confesses and asks?

In the end, Silence is too heavy a movie to be considered “entertainment”, and most people will not want to spend an evening watching a movie that has little joy and less to laugh about; for, the pain that is experienced by so many in this world in the silence of one’s own suffering is torturous enough without asking to view an even greater expansion of such pain and silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who, similarly, suffer in silence because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Consulting and being guided by an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law is likely the wiser course to take, as the bureaucratic morass that one must be guided through can be likened to the foreign country that the priests in Silence had to endure — through the pitfalls of dangers and caverns of unknown territories.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Benefits under FERS: The isolation

Generally, we accept the statement that Man is a “social” animal, and by that we mean that he or she prefers, all factors considered, to live in communities and interact voluntarily with others, as opposed to living in isolation, apart and separate.  That we congregate in bunches of aggregate intercourses is not uncommon; that we enjoy the company and camaraderie of social discourse is considered “normal”; but on the other hand, that we like to be alone at times is also not disputed.

There are those who cannot stand being alone; others who must always be in the company of someone; of still many who fear being alone in life, and desperately cling to partners who one neither deserves nor should solicit for the sake of one’s own well-being.  For, in the end, even the loner was born into the communal world; that he or she decided to betray the conventions of society and isolate himself is not an argument for normalcy of being.

It is, in the end, the isolation that is most daunting; of being targeted and separated and placed into a proverbial-type of sequestration or solitary confinement.

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 concept of “isolation” is not a new one.  Whether because the Federal or Postal employee feels isolated because he or she cannot tell anyone about the medical condition or, having told about it, the Federal or Postal employee is deliberately being isolated because of the medical condition, matters little.  Both result in the same consequences.

The “targeted” employee; the one who is no longer “part of the team”; the one who has dared ask for an accommodation; the one who is no longer invited to meetings or in the general sharing of information; the isolated Federal or Postal employee needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, lest the isolation results in the continued harassment and ultimately ends in a termination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The need to belong

Is there?

The brashness of youth in the misplaced arena of self-confidence when one first encounters the reality of the world after being sequestered in schools, from High School to College, but yet to be tested by the reality of the surrounding world; and so the young person says thoughtlessly: “I don’t need anyone; I will go it alone.”  And so the story goes: and like Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, of little boy blue’s father who never had time to belong because he was always too busy; but then, we feel most comfortable in situations of familiarity, though we may deny it.

The need to belong is not a peculiarly human need; it is shared by most other species, although there appear to be exceptions within the subset of every species, where the loner presents with contentment, and even an antagonism towards the collective community.

Is it fear that compels the desire, or an innate sense of wanting to belong (a more positive characteristic than fear)?  Can the need be quashed and dismissed, set aside and disregarded as mere convention to be ignored and diminished?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is it the loss of community that often makes one pause — i.e., the need to belong?

Certainly, the camaraderie and being “part of the team” — though one may scoff at the very idea — allowed for one’s identity to thrive within the community of Federal or Postal workers; and identity-tied-to-career and work is an important component in belonging to anything, for everyone.  Yet, the medical condition itself is the very element that separated and excluded in the first place; the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is the “community” that begins to shun, to exclude, to make an outcast of the Federal or Postal employee, and that is almost an inevitability that must be faced.

At some point, that “community” called the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to lose its patience, and begins to restrict the use of Sick Leave or LWOP; or, when the FMLA runs out, a “demand” to return to work, to maintain a regular work schedule, etc., is imposed.

Unfortunately, the “need to belong” has to be a two-way street: The desire to belong on the part of the Federal or Postal worker, and the comity of interests shown by the Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  When one or the other begins to wane or vanish altogether, it is time to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and to look for other communities in which to satisfy the need to belong.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The subtlety of first light

Have you ever stood outside when first light breaks upon the darkened grounds?

How you struggle to see as your feet stretch forward with trepidation, unsure because of the shadows that befall, and with squinting eyes and a deepened sense of sleepiness, you struggle with the dawn of pre-dawn solemnity; and then, with such creeping imperceptibility, the world around begins to come into focus like the steamed mirror that suddenly lifts to show a reflection of a man standing and staring back at you; and the world in its sharp clarity unravels and manifests with a form of Being in its truest essence of Being.

When does the subtlety of first light sharpen into an image of unmistakable lightness of Being?  Can you ever pinpoint the moment?

It is always the incremental nature of beauty that creeps upon us, like the stealthy impact of the perfect word, the unannounced comma and the hyphenated pause; or like medical conditions that begin with a slight unease, evolve into a nuisance and become a chronic presence that just won’t go away.

Perhaps you cannot point to a particular day, or even a period when you first noticed that you could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position?  Like the subtlety of first light, there is no way to quantify the precise moment where darkness and light once clashing became the dominant force of visual clarity when once dawn reached beyond the rim of the universe?

Yet, on Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, it asks the question when you, as a Federal or Postal employee, first became disabled — i.e., unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job.  It is an important question and should not be lightly answered; for, there can be some dire legal consequences if you put down the “wrong” answer.

A “misstatement” can come back to bite; both in monetary terms, as well as providing a basis for an inconsistency where the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can use it selectively, as they often do, and extrapolate from other sources and argue that the inconsistency is more than mere coincidence, but a deliberate attempt to mislead and obfuscate.

And like the subtlety of first light, the answer to a question posed on SF 3112A is more than a fight between light and darkness; it is a question posed that may determine the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Information: Present Priorities

Present priorities differ from past ones, if only they have now passed as being present and thus are no longer priorities, as it is often the circumstances as presented in the “now” which matter most to us, as past priorities have lessened in terms of impact, significance, relevance and current importance.

The present priorities that were in existence a decade ago may no longer be the same priorities of the present of today; for, today’s present priorities have changed with the alterations of time, the focus of growth and maturity and their impact upon one another; and it is the context of today, the circumstances of the current period, that matter most to us.

Yesterday, the present priorities may have been the dinner or social function for that evening, or the open vacancy for this or that opportunity.  Then, a major “other” event occurs — perhaps the birth of a child or the death of a friend or relative — and suddenly, the priorities that seemed of such importance and consequence just yesterday, may seem trivial and insignificant today.

Medical conditions, too, seemingly have such an impact — of putting upon us a “reality check” that fades everything else into mere background noise.  What does it matter how one’s career is going, if you come home each night exhausted and unable to enjoy even the opening sonata of a symphonic masterpiece? Or if all of one’s weekend is merely to recover from the week’s fog of endless work, or of vacations and sick leave exhausted to endure constant and incessant testing and treatment regimens that leave no time for pleasure?

Whatever the present priorities and how they differ from past present priorities, one thing is clear: One’s health remains constant throughout, and preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, reveals that the present priorities of the most important priorities always endure, and that must always include one’s health and well-being, as the application for an OPM Medical Retirement is more evidence that the focus upon past priorities must be re-thought in order to accommodate the present priorities which are of greater importance and significance now that one’s health is at stake.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The peril of procrastination

Time is considered to be a continuum; it remains throughout, and except for artificial slicing imposed by seasons or bifurcations recognized by night and day, sunlight or darkness, or other natural categorizations which creep beyond our calendars, “time” remains a rhythmic cycle barely noticed until deadlines scream to be met and the ageless alarm clock suddenly awakens.

Noticed when the hands on a clock move; of the hour hand, slowly and with slumbering care; of the minute hand, more deliberatively; and of the second hand that ticks away while we watch time pass by.

In this digital era, time refuses to “march on” as the metaphor once informed us, and instead stares silently through the redness of a glaring, impassive face.  Waiting makes for awareness of passing; waiting in line to get into this or that establishment; waiting in a doctor’s office; waiting for a train; or do we just wait because there is nothing left to do?

Procrastination is a form of waiting, except we put the proverbial cart before the horse: Instead of waiting for the allotted time or event to occur, we wait for its non-occurrence, then rush to complete the non-occurrence before the expiration of the allotted time.

Certain events make for pleasantry of time — as in being with others you enjoy; performing a deed of delight; or merely resting, relaxing, engaging in activities of mirth; while others extend the laborious into an unbearable anguish of unending torment — of pain, unwanted relations and uninvited calamities.

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, time can become an enemy if one fails to foresee the peril of procrastination.  At some point — and often, early on — it becomes obvious that filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, becomes a necessity.

Trying to qualify for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and complex administrative process, and delaying that which one knows must be done is not merely the peril of procrastination, but an exacerbation and potential worsening of circumstances that may already require your attention today, if not yesterday or the day before.

For, in the end, it is not procrastination itself which creates the peril — rather, it is the peril of the medical condition left to time and its progressive deterioration — and that is why procrastinating can itself be avoided by consulting today, without delay, with an attorney who specializes in the the proper preparation, formulation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Now, as for that chore that was left for tomorrow…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Hope for tomorrow

Tomorrow”, as a word written today, pointing to a dimension beyond; to a vantage and perspective not yet realized, and forever to be referenced by a future date yet unknown.  When read tomorrow, it leads to the next day; and when looked upon the next day, to the following day again; and in this eternal sequence of tomorrows, whether written today, tomorrow or the next day, it forever reminds us that hope lies not in the morass of today’s problems, but in the change of things yet to be realized.

Yes, yes — we all recognize the scoffing that often surrounded the political banner of that famous phrase, “hope and change” — but that is merely because the potency of words, concepts and formulated paradigms lose their efficacy once they are used within a public arena that turns into a campaign slogan. Hope is always for tomorrow; for, without tomorrow, hope remains fallow as the desert that once promised a fertile reserve but never realized the rivers that had dried up because of the changes of the subterranean shifts in tectonic quakes that others failed to predict.

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 hope for tomorrow will often include the preparation, formulation and filing of 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 and CSRS Offset.

Today is already filled with the overwhelming problems that beset any Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition; it is for tomorrow that an application for Federal Disability Retirement must be considered, and that is the ray of hope that includes tomorrow, and the day after, in preparing and formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — today.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire