FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The wasted life

Perception is one thing; reality is quite another.  Plato’s entire compendium of works can be reduced to the essence of that thought: The worth of life’s goal is to embrace pure Being, the reality that surrounds, and to distinguish between appearance and truth; the allegory of the Cave; the arguments with Thrasymachus; the diatribes against the poets — the latter, because they distort perception and create myths by which people live for and believe in.

Some would argue that the starkness of reality cannot be the sole arbiter of life’s value; that poetry adds to the worth of life, even if misperception of Being dominates.  What is a life’s value, and how is it determined?  Who considers that a life is wasted, and by what standard do we judge?

In the Allegory of the Cave — when the man who frees himself from the shackles of misperception climbs up and sees the sunlight: What if he desires to go back into the darkness of untruth, precisely because the unreality of the world is preferable to the pureness of Being?  And how much of convention and human folly attaches upon the judgment of worth?

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 judgment of others in determining the valuation of one’s life often gets in the way of doing that which is “best” for one’s circumstances.

Yes, career and continuation in a secure, stable job is important; and, yes, financial stability for the future is an important consideration in the decision-making process.  But so is health and the balance of one’s life.

When health becomes a concern where there arises an incompatibility between work and well-being, the latter must always be chosen as a priority over the former.  And while others may judge that an interruption of a promising career constitutes the wasted life, such conclusions are made by those who, like the unfettered encounter of the man in the Allegory of the Cave who sees the pure Being of reality by looking up at the sunlight, it is the blinding darkness of ignorance that follows which makes for poor judgment and lack of insight into another’s life.

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

 

Early Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Life Well-Reflected

Such a concept can have a duality of meanings; from an outsider-insider viewpoint, or an objective-subjective perspective; of a life that reflects positively to others, such that a community views an individual favorably; or, an alternative interpretation is of a person who has lived one’s life carefully, with planning and thoughtful care.  Most of us live, or try to live, in the former manner; some few, unique in its rarity of form, carefully and thoughtfully plan first, then set out to accomplish goals and objectives in accordance with those plans.

Life’s unexpected vicissitudes, however, come in waves of unexpected and unplanned consequences, and rare is the exception that can accommodate and assuage the tumults that demand and compel change and circumstances that obstruct or otherwise alter the course of any given day.  That is why even a well-reflected life, with the best intentions of traveling a straight line between Point A and Goal B, can rarely be accomplished without some modifications along the way.  Instead, the “other” meaning of the concept — of a person who lives in accordance with principles and integrity no matter the obstacles that come one’s way — is true of the greater percentage of most of us.

We go through life keeping our commitments, doing the best we can, honoring promises and treating others in a fair and respectful manner.  Then, in the end, when the old man is rocking in the proverbial chair of honor, a community can say of him or her that the individual reflects well upon all of us.  It is rare to have a well-reflected life based upon careful planning, precisely because life just doesn’t “work” that way.

Medical conditions constitute a prime example.  They suddenly appear, wreak havoc upon the best-laid plans, and proceed to persist in their vehemence of obstructing, diluting and impeding every effort to to get to that Goal B.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition impedes or prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may become necessary to adapt to the changes that impose upon a “well-reflected life”.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a negative reflection upon a life well-reflected; it is just another “bump in the road” that requires further thought and planning, and the first step in a well-reflected Federal Disability Retirement application is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The pleasurable distraction

When does a distraction itself become a distraction, such that the pleasure beheld becomes instead a burden and no longer is a pleasurable distraction?  It is like the tangents that become the mainstay of a life; suddenly, the peripheral matters become the central conditions, and those fences that once preserved the clear boundaries have fallen into disrepair, and instead there seems to be no end to the bifurcations needed in life’s inherent complexities.

Thus, was once a hobby a pleasurable distraction, now merely a nuisance that is left in the junk heap in the corner of the garage?  Or an activity of physical exercise that one exuberantly tackled, now a necessity because of failing health, and increasingly intolerable because of the time it takes, the stresses of needing to attend to other, more “meaningful” projects, and so we exchange prior declarations of glee for that of old-age grumbling.

Playing with the kids; throwing the ball with the dog; watching a movie together with that “special other”; these were once pleasurable distractions, now jumbled into the stresses of life as if they are just “things to do” on the daily lists of activities, as opposed to that which is “looked forward to” in order to escape the centrality of problematic living.

We have lost, in modernity, the capacity to enjoy; oh, yes, we make statements about how “happy” we are, and put on a brave face or a phony smile; but the reality is that “happiness” has lost its core meaning precisely because we are all expected to be so.  And thus has the pleasurable distraction been cast away on the trash heap of history’s many experiments, one more to be counted on the negative side of the proverbial ledger.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have experienced 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, always remember that the pleasurable distraction was once the central focus of why we do what we do; and when that pleasurable distraction becomes transformed into a nuisance because the core basis upon which we engage the world – our work, our career, our means of making a living – becomes such a burden that we must abandon all such pleasurable distractions, then it is probably time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

For, when those pleasurable distractions become impeded by the unpleasant deterioration of a medical condition, the entire basis of the structure of why we continue on becomes questioned, thereby requiring a reformulation of the structures of unscientific evolutions – i.e., what it means to be “happy”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: The Time In-Between, Afterwards

That time, as a historical event, is quite different from the retrospective vantage point of what we perceive today; and that is good to keep in mind.  After the event itself, the followers were not waiting around for the next event; rather, they were likely scrambling to determine what to do next, as they had no foresight of the coming circumstances, and thus did not consider themselves to be “in-between” two major historical pillars awaiting the next condition for completion.

In the aftermath, we can look upon it as a continuum, and view the time in between as one of anticipation and waiting; but from the real-time moment of the figures involved, the past trauma had already occurred; what was to come next could not have been known.  That is similar to how we live a life today.

For Federal and Postal employees who are anticipating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a good lesson to view things in the “now”, as in-between, or afterwards, and from a later perspective.

Waiting upon a behemoth of a bureaucracy as that of OPM is never a pleasant experience, and one often feels like being in a suspended mode of administrative purgatory; and yes, there can be contingencies which must be first established before the next “move” in life can occur; but in the end, one should not wait upon the approval of a Federal OPM Disability application, but rather continue to pursue and build upon one’s life as in the aftermath of the occurrence. That is sometimes difficult to do, but necessary.

Waiting is often the hardest part; once the “happening” occurs, the tumult is released, and the Federal or Postal employee often feels that he or she is “set free” from the bonds of suspended time. But then, think about those followers of the fisherman who waited from that Friday until the morning when a seeming disaster turned into a triumph of historical proportions untold and unknown, at the time.

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

 

Postal & Federal Disability Retirement Attorney: VERAs

With spring comes the rumors of love, furtive dalliances, clandestine consummation and intrepid interludes; as well as the potential for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority for Federal and Postal employees.  What the latter (known under the acronym of VERA) has to do with the multiple listings of the former (rumors of love, furtive dalliances, etc.) is anyone’s guess; perhaps there is no connection at all or, more likely, the cognitive comparisons we make have to do with offers of change, adventure, and a need to evaluate the impact of all of the above upon the security of one’s future.

The devil, as in all things, is in the details.  Whether a VERA is accepted or not should be based upon the incentivized offer; and it is often the short term gain (a large enough sum of cash “up front” in order to make it attractive), like the adrenaline-flowing excitement propelled by a romantic interlude, which compels the Federal and Postal worker to accept the VERA.

Be not fooled; the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Worker is proposing a VERA not out of the kindness of their abundant hearts; rather, it is to streamline, strip and effectively make skeletal the overburdened bureaucracy of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service.  But the question, as applicable to all VERAs (as well as to romantic dalliances) is, Is it good for your future?

If the Federal or Postal worker must accept a VERA, the underlying reason and rationale is often because he or she can no longer continue in the job anyway; and, to make the point ever more poignant, that foundational reason for an inability to continue often involves a medical condition.  That being the case, it would be wise to evaluate and compare the short-term gain potentially attained through a VERA, as opposed to a long-term security of purposes accessed through filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Both a VERA and a Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Both are ways to discontinue the present set of circumstances the Federal and Postal employee finds him/herself in.  The VERA, however, is a plan of self-indulgent action proposed for the benefit of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; Federal Disability Retirement is a course of determination based upon the best-interests of one’s health and well-being.  And, like clandestine romances engaged in behind the locked doors of distant roadside motels, the VERA may merely be a response to a mid-life crisis leading to an emptiness in one’s soul once the excitement has passed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire