Postal & Federal Disability Retirement: Meaning & work

A book of very recent vintage, written by an anthropologist, uses an 8-letter epithet in its title.  While it is always dangerous to refer to something without having read it, the various book reviewers have provided enough insights to recognize that it involves a judgment upon employment, work and the meaninglessness of many jobs held by the population at large.

There would be, of course, some criticism as to the validity of such a judgment, given the nature of being an “outsider” as opposed to an “insider” — i.e., from the “outside” (e.g., the author/anthropologist himself who makes a living by selling books criticizing certain subjects) perspective, it may seem like certain types of work retain no inherent meaning, but from the “inside” perspective (i.e., those whose jobs it is to perform such tasks, and the companies, corporations and entities that require that such tasks be maintained), elements of employment that outsiders may deem meaningless may contain elaborate foundations of meaningfulness.

That was, of course, one of the criticisms thrown by Marx — of the separation of labor from the value of existence, arising coincidentally from the industrial revolution where mass production and assembly lines in factories that exploited labor resulted in a disillusioning effect because people no longer saw the fruits of one’s own labor (an aside: Does that explain why so many people think that the original source of beef, poultry and dairy products come from the storeroom of Safeway?).

How does one work, make a living and concurrently retain “meaning” in all, if not most, of the tasks performed?  Anyone who has been employed for any significant length of time comes to recognize that the three are distinct and separable: work is different from “making a living”, in that you can work for endless and tireless hours and yet not make enough wages to pay all of the bills; and whether you work long hours or not, and whether you can pay all of the debts incurred or have extra spending money at the end of each pay period, the “meaning” one derives from the work engaged is not necessarily attached to either the hours expended or the money earned.

For some, perhaps, meaning is never derived from the work itself, but merely from a recognition that the work is merely a means to an end — of performing tasks in order to earn enough wages to own a home, start a family and provide for a retirement, etc.  Or, for others, perhaps a deep-seated recognition is acceptable, that life itself is like the task that Sisyphus engaged in, and the toil of work is as the meaninglessness of rolling the boulder up another hill, only to see it roll back down again, and thus repetition allows for the futility of all tasks great or small.

One’s resolve and the will to impose meaningfulness in the face of alienation is a testament to man’s capacity to seek greater good.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the need to continue to find “meaning” in striving often is closely tied to the progressively deteriorating aspect of one’s health.  When one’s health is at issue, “meaningfulness” of one’s work may come into question, precisely because one’s capacity to view employment as a means to another end itself becomes a struggle.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, allows for one to reorient the priorities in life that should not be confused: Health, family, a sense of accomplishment, and somewhere in that mix, a career that may need to be changed, abandoned or otherwise modified because of one’s deteriorating health and the impact upon the meaningfulness of carrying on where to do so sacrifices one or more of the mixed priorities.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Owning a landline

It is perhaps the single telling factor of a generational divide; if you own a landline, it is likely you are not a millennial.  Or from the generation just before, or even the one before that.  You are probably from the generation sometime within the timeframe of “just after” the Korean War and around the end of the Vietnam War.  It is the remembrance of unreliable “bag” phones and cellular connections that barely became audible; but more than that, it is the evidence of who one is based upon the generational divide that naturally occurs between sets of population growths.

Can there be similarity of morals, ethics and behavioral patterns merely because one is born into a designated generation, as opposed to other such assignations of identifiable features?  Is it really true that one generation has a characteristic trait that is identifiable, recognizable and with imprints that define it with clarity of traits?  Are there “lazy” generations, “psychotic” ones and those that are mere sheep in a fold of followers?  Does owning a landline betray such a characteristic, anymore than being a hard worker, a person who always attends to one’s responsibilities and never turns away from obligations ensconced in the conscience of one’s being?

Yet, at some point, we all become adults, make decisions separate and apart from a “generational identifier”, and go on to become responsible for the pathways taken, the decisions undertaken and the consequences wrought.  Can it be so difficult to abandon a landline, to cancel it, to unplug it?  Or is it the imprint of a generation, so steeped in regularity and reliance that the youthful days of one’s generation cannot ever be completely severed and forgotten?

Owning a landline is like the Federal or Postal employee who comes from a generation where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is almost unthinkable.  It is that characteristic trait that you have to continue working, striving, contributing and making it into work “no matter what”.

Yet, the silliness of such a thought process is about the same as paying for a landline despite the fact that you no longer use it, never rings and sits in a corner silently except for the occasional caller who happened to ring up the wrong number and got a hold of another occasional individual who, upon picking up the receiver, realizes that it feels somewhat strange not to be using one’s cellphone as opposed to this “thing” that you have to put back into the cradle of a time long 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 worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the point always is not to allow for some silly notion of a generational identifier to keep the Federal or Postal employee from doing that which must be done for the sake of a higher calling: One’s Health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Social Justice

Concurrent litigation entanglements occur often enough; if one has the capacity and ability to compartmentalize life, such multi-adversarial offensives can be effectively coordinated.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the folly of spreading oneself too thin; history confirms the defeats suffered at the principle of too much, too soon, as in Germany’s incursion on the Eastern Front while taking on North Africa and the entrance of the United States into a reluctant war.

Strategies of logistical considerations, as well as pragmatic considerations of finances, must always be a factor; thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who face a future with an ongoing medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration should be given to concurrent filings.

If an injury or medical condition is “work-related“, there is nothing wrong with filing for OWCP/DOL benefits, while at the same time filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If both are approved, the Federal or Postal employee has the option of choosing to activate one, and allowing the other to be approved but remain passive.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits, for those Federal and Postal employees under FERS, is a mandatory requirement during the process of filing for OPM Disability Retirement, anyway, so obviously the concurrent nature of filing is a necessary given.

When considering more far-reaching litigation entanglements, however, such as filing an EEOC Complaint potentially leading to a trial in the Federal Courts, pause should be given, if only because of the statistical disadvantage and high cost of such litigation.  A 2009 WSJ Article found that EEO discrimination lawsuits fared worst in statistical analysis in wins-to-losses ratio, and more recent studies do not provide greater encouragement.

While the recent focus upon the Pao v. Kleiner Perkins case would seem to highlight such statistical disadvantage, at the same time, one must recognize that the particular court case was a gender discrimination case filed and tried in state court, not in Federal Court, and each case reflects the complexity of the uniqueness of a particular set of facts.

The point here, however, is that while statistical analysis certainly can be skewed based upon a multiplicity of complex factors, for Federal and Postal employees who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, a pragmatic assessment should be made which asks, at a minimum, the following:  Do I want to be involved in a protracted litigation with my supervisors, agency and coworkers?  What is the purpose of my filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  Is the cost-to-benefit analysis sufficient in justifying litigation?  What is my definition of “Social Justice”?

For Federal and Postal employees, filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a practical exit from one compartmentalized stage of life; there is awaiting the next stage, of which Shakespeare reminds us all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: The Aftermath

We like to think in linear prose; that is why, when E. E. Cummings showered the literary world with typographical disarray, a collective groan of discomfort visibly shook the foundations of the art form.

In daily life, it is the capacity of seeing a beginning, continuum and conclusion to a segment of a bifurcated visual horizon, which makes for sanity.  Closure and a sense of termination allows for satisfaction of an accomplished deed.  To be required to maintain a project, a task, an obligation, etc., is to engage in an eternal hell of unendurable agony; but that is, in the end, what must be done for most things, which is precisely why life is a challenge of inestimable proportions.

Federal Disability Retirement is no different; once obtained, one would like to think that closure has been accomplished, and that life is nothing more than forward-looking deeds to be reached like ski slopes allowing only for downward spirals of travel, never needing to look back.  But maintenance of effort is always a requirement; making sure that one is preserving the rights which one has fought so hard to gain, is a daily task, a present obligation, and a necessity of life in Federal Disability Retirement law, as in other sectors of life.

Whether to recognize the earned income cap for Federal Disability Retirement annuitants while still under a certain age, or making sure to be able to re-certify one’s ongoing medical condition and disability — these are never tremendously onerous tasks, but ones which can only be satisfied if one is fully aware of the laws which govern them.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first step in securing one’s future; the aftermath is the second and many subsequent steps, in ensuring the viability of that which one fought for in the first place, lest history should be repeated and goblins be allowed a resting place where none should be.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Quiet Subtlety of Excellence

Failure blares like a discordant trumpet in a confined space with no exit; success flows like the quiet stream on the other side of the mountain, barely noticed.  In law, it is the appeal, and the written order issued therefrom, which receives the attention of the daily press.  Yet, if one pauses to consider:  The reason for the appeal, is the lack of success at the trial court level.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find themselves the target of workplace hostility because of a medical condition which now prevents them from performing one or more of the essential elements of their job, it is often a surprise that they have become a focal point of interest.  The quietude enjoyed for so many years, in relative anonymity, is actually a reflection of one’s outstanding performance throughout the years.  It is because of the threat of departure — of the “failure” to continue to support the agency, or to provide ongoing efficient contribution to the U.S. Postal Service — that results in the sudden and unwanted attention.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who cannot perform all of the essential elements of one’s job anymore, is an option which must be considered precisely because of the limited alternatives offered or provided by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Health should always be the primary concern; maintenance of one’s health, the focal point of endeavor.

And just as importantly, to maintain that quiet subtlety of excellence in the next important step of one’s life — to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

All these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has dedicated him or herself to the excellence of combining career, family and personal relationships; when the time comes to attend to one’s own medical difficulties, it is important to maintain and continue that standard-setting record of accomplishments, by ensuring that one’s Federal OPM Disability Retirement claim reflects what has always been known all along, but has only received the murmurings of a muffled fanfare — that quiet subtlety of excellence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Medical Retirement: Kaleidoscopic Clash

The watchful eye of the human animal is quite different from that of other species; for the human interaction and interpersonal encounters bring together the complexity of past histories and memories; of present foibles as uniquely colored by one’s past; and always of projected future concerns and anxieties.  It is this admixture of kaleidoscopic clashes, where the past, present and future become wrapped into a tightly knotted ball of human thought, that the peculiarities of human personalities intersect with the needs and wants of societal conflicts.

Dickens was a master at describing the eccentricities of humanity; today, one wonders whether such straying from convention and normative confinements are allowed; or perhaps they are hidden, with barely a hint beyond superficial discourse as revealed on social media, but where heinous crimes are better concealed and the universe of sociopaths are scattered within the dungeons of private basements and base minds.

Is it because of the repressive nature of a seemingly open society that subtle meanness and baseness of spirit prevails?  One can witness it pervasively in the workplace; and, indeed, the greater the need for laws and restrictions, the manifested cruelty will find corners of inconspicuous outlets, like ratholes gnawed in the baseboards of concealed crimes. The worst of humanity always seems to reveal itself when the best is required.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in need of sympathy, compassion, empathy and understanding, when a medical condition hits them at moments of mid-career and accommodations would potentially lengthen an otherwise promising future with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; it is then that Supervisors, Managers, coworkers and the entire bureaucratic apparatus of human baseness seems to erupt.

Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s position, becomes the brunt of human complexity.  Perhaps human compassion exists, but we are too busy to reveal it; or that misunderstandings occur, and the grounds for explanatory eloquence is wanting; but whatever the reasons, the protective shields of legal applications have failed to adequately provide assurances.

Fortunately, there is the option for Federal and Postal employees to seek an “out” by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  How one presents one’s Federal Disability Retirement case as described and delineated on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), and in any legal memorandum one files to accompany the justifying basis in law of eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, is all-important, and must be considered in light of collateral issues and parallel forums involving hostile work environments, EEO complaints, grievances filed, etc.

It is, indeed, this kaleidoscopic clash of separate entities of conflicting combinations, which must be sorted through in order to effectively present a persuasive Federal Disability Retirement application.  Within the complex context of intersecting personalities, where the past, present and future come together in a cauldron of human conflict, it is important to have the advice and consultative opinion of an objective perspective in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire