FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: Intolerable conditions

We all have a threshold of tolerance; it is, in the end, a spectrum and a range which cannot be generalized.  The MRI that reveals degenerated tissue or organic dysfunctioning may parallel the pain experienced, but it does not determine the level of tolerance for any given individual.  Yet, while thresholds may vary, there is a limit to human toleration, and the question for each individual is: At what point do conditions reach the limit of my tolerance, and do I wait until I reach that ceiling, or is it then too late to have waited so long?

Most people wait until the intolerable conditions reach a critical juncture.  That is the rub of the matter — that, yes, human beings possess a great tolerance for the intolerable, but the further question that is too often missed, is: Should we?  Is it healthy to?  And: What damage is incurred by resisting the warning signs that our bodies and minds give such that we reach beyond those warning triggers and milestones of caution, and when we get beyond them, we leave them behind as sirens which have faded and been forgotten?

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 intolerable conditions which have erupted often includes: Increasing harassment from one’s Federal Agency and the Postal Service; exhaustion of SL, AL and FMLA; dealing with the medical condition itself; the failure of coworkers and managers to empathize or understand; the stress that is placed on personal relationships because of the deteriorating conditions in the workplace; the loss of stability; the increasing loss of livelihood, etc.

Any one of these, or all in combination, create those intolerable conditions, and when it becomes apparent that the proverbial rubber band that has held the whole together is about to snap, then it is time — beyond the time, maybe — to prepare an effective FERS Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement under FERS: Castles in the air

Is it the same idea as Cervantes’ Don Quixote who charges at the wind mills?  Or of Don McLean’s soulful lyrics when he wrote, “And if she asks you why you can tell her that I told you, That I’m tired of Castles in the Air.”?

Is there a difference between dreams and visions realized, and those that remain as castles in the air?  Are such unrealized castles merely the childish remnants that were left behind within the bundled laughter of grown-ups who saw the folly of youth, or are they they vestiges of frustrations discarded because, when we “grow up”, we realize that reality doesn’t quite share the optimism of youth’s unfettered vision?

Whatever the origin, wherever the spark, it is important to preserve a semblance of a dream, even if never realized.  The “dungeon” is its antonym, where all such dreams drain because the lowest point of any location is where the water flows and the desolation of a desert abounds.

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, it may well be that castles no longer exist in the air or elsewhere; that the medical condition itself has become the “reality” that one must deal with, and castles — in the air, on the ground, or somewhere far away — is a luxury one cannot afford to even consider.

And filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the farthest thing from childhood dreams of what you saw yourself achieving; but in the end, it is the best option available precisely because it frees you from the workplace harassment, embarrassment and resentment where work is no longer compatible with your medical conditions; and as for those castles in the air?

They may still be there once you can focus upon and regain your health; for it is the dream even unrealized that allows for human creativity to spawn and spread, but the pain of a chronic medical condition is what makes of us all the Don Quixote who charges at harmless windmills.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The imperfect image

There is, to begin with, the “perfect image” — that which we hope to project; those which appear on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook postings; and further, the public domain of our selectively chosen, carefully manufactured and manicured condescensions of carved lives.

The imperfect image is that which haunts us; it is the opposite of what we wants others to know about us; the very antithesis of what society allows for and deepens within the fears of our psyche where nightmares begin to boil over, anxiety begins to percolate, and stress-induced heartbeats rise to the level where dangerous palpitations lead to sudden onset of a terminal feeling.

The latter feeds upon the former.  It is precisely because the former exists that the latter becomes the illegitimate child of a figment of an unreality, and yet gnaws and destroys despite everyone’s recognition of its impossibility.  It begins perhaps with the age-old theological arguments — of the query, How can man have a concept of perfection unless there is such an entity that exists?

The classical counter-argument has often been: Well, we are able to imagine 3-eyed monsters with green-colored tentacles, are we not, even though they do not exist?  And the counter to the counter-argument was: Yes, but that is merely a matter of the imagination amalgamating all of the separate components — of 3 different eyes; of the color green; of tentacles like an octopus’ appendages; then, by creativity of the mind, to put them together.

Thus does one imagine perfection because there is such a Being as a perfect Being; and from that, Man views himself, sees the inadequacies and determines his or her own sin— unless, of course, you are on Facebook or Instagram, in which case you are the Being of Perfection itself…at least to all others who view you on such mediums of communication.

It is from that held-concept of perfection that when the early rash of imperfections begin to spread, we think in error that life is no longer worthwhile, and the despair of a false belief begins to pervade the inner psyche of our private lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the sense of despair and hopelessness often begins with the manner in which you are suddenly treated by others — by coworkers, supervisors and managers — where your imperfections are suddenly highlighted.

You are no longer as “productive”; your attendance becomes “unacceptable”; you begin to make too many “mistakes”; you are deemed less than “perfect”.  The reality is that there is no such thing as perfection — only a concept forever unrealized but put forth falsely into the arena of public consumption.

The imperfect image that we hold onto — of a deteriorating body or stress-filled mind that begins to show wear and tear over the years — that is merely the reality of who we are: Imperfect beings, frail and fraught with error and (used in the old-fashioned way) filled with sin.

For the Federal employee and Postal worker who comes to the realization that imperfection is a reality not to be ashamed of, preparing, formulating and filing 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, is not merely an admission of such imperfection, but rather, a facing of a reality that we all must embrace — of the imperfect image surrounded by false notions of a perfection never to be realized.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Battle of Spring

There are various “battles” of historical import, including “The Battle of Britain”, “The Battle of the Bulge”, and many others besides, whether popularly so named or forgotten within the annals of history’s short memory.  Then, every year, around this time where April and May meld into a battle of morning frosts and potentially damaging tug-and-pull between winter’s discontent and spring’s yearning for the robin’s call, we wake up one morning and realize that the desolation of winter has finally passed.

Isn’t that how life is, often enough?  There is that in-between period, where tension remains and uncertainty abounds, until the final resolution appears unnoticed, like the unwanted friend who stays beyond the welcoming time of twilight conversations only to finally depart, and the unpleasantries exchanged during conversations left imagined fade into the inglorious memory of yesterday’s sorrows.

Medical conditions, too, are a “battle” of sorts, and create a tension that will not let go, will not release, and will not give up despite every attempt to ignore, placate and shun.  The stubbornness of a medical condition cannot be ignored; its impact, unwilling to be forgotten; and its tension, unable to be released.

That is why, 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 tension and anxiety formed by the very existence of the medical condition is likened to the many “battles” that we face in life.

Perhaps it is a metaphorical observation; and like the allegories that give life-lessons, maybe there is an underlying meaning that can be extracted from the trials endured.

In the meantime, what the Federal or Postal employee needs to do, is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to release the tension that exists between work and life, work and medical condition, work and ….

The Battle of Spring will come and go, just like all of the other “battles” that have been fought throughout history; and this private battle against the medical condition itself is merely a private friction that also needs to be fought, on terms that create a more level playing field by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Something happened

Beyond a mundane declaration of befuddlement, it is also the title of a novel by Joseph Heller — his second novel published some 13 years after the successful first one that most people remember him by:  Catch-22.

It lacks the surrealism of the first novel; the absurdity of tragic events unfolding distinguishable from the logical and sequential manner in which we see the world, turned upside down by images of madness countering the reality of the insanity around.  The genre of the absurd — depicted in such movies as “Life is Beautiful” and in works such as Catch-22 — attempts to unveil the underlying insanity beneath the veneer of a world acting as if normalcy abounds.

Other movies that attempt to portray the absurd might include Sophie’s Choice, where the main character (played by Meryl Streep) keeps going back to the comfort of her insane boyfriend because that is the more comfortable reality she knows, having survived the insanity of the Nazi death camps.

But long before the genre of the absurd came to the fore, there was the brilliant short story by Cynthia Ozick entitled, The Shawl, which has been noted for bringing out the horrors of the holocaust through a medium — the short story — that captures the essence of absurdity and the surreal in a mere few dozen pages.  The story is a small bundle that reverberates so powerfully that it overshadows any subsequent attempts at depicting life’s absurdity.

Catch-22 elevated the absurd to a consciousness that brought further self-awareness of the unreality of the real — the Vietnam War — and tried to unravel the insanity amidst a world that tried to explain the event as something logical and sane.

Something Happened —  a book about a character who engages in a rambling stream of consciousness about his childhood, job and family — is perhaps more emblematic about the life most of us live:  seemingly logical, yet interspersed with events, reminiscences and memories that are faulty at best, and far from perfect.  The title itself shows a greater awareness of our befuddlement — of not knowing “what” happened, only that it did, and the inability to control the events that impact our lives.

Medical conditions tend to be of that nature — of an event that we have no control over, and yet, we are aware of its “happening”.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to realize that something happened — a medical condition; a chronic illness that simply will not go away; a traumatic event that has had residual consequences which are continuing to impact; whatever the “something”, the “happened” part still resides.

Such recognition of the “something” will often necessitate the further recognition that it is now time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to secure a future that is presently uncertain.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in getting Federal and Postal employees Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and take the necessary steps to ensure that the “something” that “happened” is not one more tragedy in this tragic-comic stream of consciousness we call “life”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire