OPM Disability Retirement under FERS: Another “Get Through” Day

We all have them.  They are the days when the body is transformed into a haggard display of human misery; where every urge to just crawl back into bed is resisted with a hollow groan; and when nothing positive can be squeezed from a life which is difficult, anyway.  Perhaps it is some low-pressure system that has moved in and dampened our spirits; or some unidentifiable “bug” that has attacked our system; or just a “bad hair day”, as we euphemistically refer to.

On such days, it is good to recognize that it is merely a day in which we must “get through” and, at the end of the day, sleep it off, shake our heads and declare, “Boy, that was rough, but I was able to get through the day”.  Perhaps productivity on such a day is not at its height; or the energy level is a bit off; or the ability to focus or concentrate is off kilter, and we just cannot seem to be in sync with the world at large.  Whatever the reasons, we all have days like that.

It is when those isolated days become a string of days, or an aggregate of months, and then into a compendium of years — that is when a Federal or Postal employee must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  We all have a “Get through the day” days; but when a medical condition becomes chronic and deteriorating, and when those rare “get through days” become commonplace, then it is time to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law in order to make the commonplace back into an event of isolated rarity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement: The Garden of One’s Mind

The metaphor has been used often enough; whether it enhances or enlightens one’s knowledge of one’s self is of dubious prospects.  The physical, objective entity identified as a “garden” is simple enough in being defined: it must include some plants and soil; perhaps a few rocks or boulders to enhance the natural contours of the landscape; and a person who “tends” to the garden — i.e., a “gardener”.

Can there be wild gardens without a gardener?  In other words, can you walk through a forest and come upon a clearing where there are flowers and various plant lives, and declare, “Oh, what a beautiful garden!”?  Similarly, can a person who lives in an apartment who has a collection of potted plants have the “right” to say to someone, “You should come and admire my garden sometime.”?

Purists may object to the application of the term “garden” to either of those described scenes, but a looser definition is still widely accepted in this modern age where malleability of language is a given.  Then, of course, there is the “stretching” of language’s boundaries by applying the metaphor of a “Garden of one’s Mind”.

What can it mean?  It often refers to the state of one’s mind: Of whether one has allowed for too much neglect and has failed to “prune” the overgrowth or let the weeds overtake; of failing to replenish the soil or allowed by disease and decay to overshadow.

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 encapsulated in the metaphor of the garden is appropriate.

For, like the untended garden, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must apply the same principles as the gardener who must begin to prune and replenish: decisions about the next steps, of what to cut out or whether one can leave things as they are; these are all contained in the metaphor within the Garden of One’s Mind, and it may be a first step to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before making important decisions like career changes and leaving the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: These Holidays

Do We dread, or welcome them?  Is it a season to which we look forward, or hope that they will quickly fade into memories best left forgotten?  Is it to endure, tolerate, give a plastic smile to, or do we guffaw uproariously where our hearts flutter with sincere flushes of joyful tears?

On the other hand, must our emotions always be bifurcated into extremes of disjunctives?  Must it be “Either/Or” (to borrow Kierkegaard’s Title to his opus magnum)?  Can it not be some compromised “middle ground” where we enjoy certain parts of it, tolerate with indifference others, and leave the rest to the ash heaps of eternal drawers shuttering away in memories unrevealed?

The “Holidays” are a time of bustle; and though we complain of the “commercialism” of the modern era, we refrain and restrain ourselves because we know that, to do so is to be tagged a “Scrooge”; and so we quietly acquiesce, “go with the flow” and smile wanly as the world decorates itself in preparation for a single day in a time of multiple troubles.

But in the end, isn’t it nice to “make-believe?”  For, there are always the tomorrows and the day after; the day before, and other times of mundane and common occurrences, and to celebrate one out of all of those “others”, even if tomorrow brings back the reality of tumults and memories of better yesterdays — still, through it all, it is nice to gather around and sing a Christmas carol, to light a candle, to bow in prayer for thanks and wishes.

In the end, it is — after all — these Holidays that matter not because the world says so, but because we have an excuse to be with family, friends, hug and laugh, if only for a day in remembrance of these holidays.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Perfection

Can it ever be achieved?  Is our possession of it proof, as Anselm’s Ontological Argument asserts, of the existence of that which we ourselves cannot ever attain?

Perfection as a “goal” is considered “unrealistic”; as a paradigm against which we compare in order to impose a standard or paradigm of success, we often accept as a given; and, with the exception of stereotypical “Tiger Moms” and other unreasonably demanding categories of nightmarish figures unable to ever please or gratify, perfection is merely an unattainable hollow easily moveable within a spectrum of endless sights much like the proverbial movement of goal posts so-named when nearing the end.

Yet, we constantly strive for it, despite the knowledge that it is unachievable and unrealistic, declaring that the nearer we reach towards the boundaries of perfection, the closer we become as gods of lesser heavens.

The Ancients regarded certain physical characteristics as those “perfect” dimensions based upon proportionality of appearance; in modernity, we have dispensed with any such paradigms and instead have elevated acceptance and tolerance as the greater good, thereby negating hurt feelings, unattainable heights and unreachable expectations.

Perfection, as applied to a specific category such as “health”, can yet nevertheless remain relative in terms of acceptability.  Perfect health can never be maintained forever; relatively good health can be sustained for a time; and poor health, once experienced, is like a bad dream that one wishes to be awakened from, lest it turn into a nightmare that never ends.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a deteriorating, progressively chronic condition of a medical nature — one that is likely to last for a minimum of 12 months in preventing or otherwise impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and 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.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is not an admission that perfection is an unattainable goal (although we know it is); rather, that merely a particular job or career is not the “right fit” — and in the end, that is the greater perfection of all: To recognize one’s limitations, properly evaluate and assess one’s circumstances, and adjust and modify in accordance thereof.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: The time of purpose

Does purpose always guide?  Or do we sometimes work on automatic pilot — without thought, working our way through a morass of repetition merely because that is the way we have always done things and it is more comfortable to continue on that same path?  What does it mean to live without a purpose, or even to live with one?  Are we more motivated; does initiative power the inertness within, like steroids or extra fuel added where the flickering flame is about to be extinguished but suddenly someone pours a cupful of gasoline upon the embers of a dying bonfire and “poof!” — purpose places us back on track?

Are there “times of purpose” as opposed to a lack thereof — like seasons that come and go in repetitive rhythms that we are quite familiar with — and during those times when we know the “why” for which we live, it makes it that much easier to get though the day?

Seasons come and go; the rhythm of a life is often impacted by the circumstances that we find ourselves in; and whether we “have” a purpose — as in possessing a clear path or vision forward, or retaining a certain goal or perspective on the “why” of what we are doing — or not, there are those who believe in a higher order of teleological framework where there is an objective reality that guides the course of all human activities and events.

Whether there is such a higher order or not is the Question of the Ages; of theological debates and one’s place in the wider universe; these are all great issues and questions pondered by greater minds, but when the voices of certitude and preaching become silent and the conversation wanes into the late evening, it is only the lonely voice of the individual and the soliloquy of quiet thoughtfulness that remains — and it then comes down to:  What is this time of purpose for me?

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, it is likely that the very consideration that one’s career and livelihood may be lost, will begin to drive the time of purpose.

Before the medical condition, the time of purpose involved one’s career and work; with the onset of the medical condition, the time of purpose encompassed getting back one’s health; and now, where it becomes clear that the medical condition and the Federal or Postal job are no longer consistent or compatible, the time of purpose must involve 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.  For, the time of purpose is driven by the circumstances that change and surround us, and one’s health is a significant life-event to compel that time of purpose.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Perilous times

It can refer to the particular or the general, interchangeably almost without thought.  To refer to these “perilous times” is to ascribe to a particular period, an epoch or an era, an acknowledgment that the surrounding days and months are unique from all other timeframes of perceived dangers and tumultuous upheavals.  Or, it can be quite personal — where one describes specific circumstances concerning one’s own life, one’s situation and the peculiarities of a life otherwise undisturbed by circumstances that stand out.

There is that expansive “we” form that can distinguish between the particular and the general, as in, “We live in perilous times.”  Or, one can personalize it and declare to a friend in confidence, “I live in a state of peril” or “My life reflects these perilous times.”  The latter, of course, implies both the particular and the general by including not only the personal aspect of one’s upheaval but the generality of the historical context within which we all walk about.  Perilous times, indeed.

Medical conditions tend to specifically impact individuals in this way — for, in the particular, it hits upon us as a crisis of quality.  How we have lived; the lifestyle we have chosen; the priorities of what constitutes “worthiness”; all of these are challenged by a medical condition that begins to insidiously eat away at our body, our mind, our spirit.

Whether by intrusion of pain or something within us that no longer “works” normally; of private functions that have become worn out, or perhaps it is the memory, mental capacity or ability to cope with daily stresses; but of whatever origin or outcome, we look about for cures and comfort and often find none but some palliative form in a pill or a surgery that fails to correct.  Times become perilous because of circumstances beyond our control.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, perilous times often require perilous choices, and preparing, formulating and filing 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 or CSRS Offset, becomes a necessary next step in attempting to forestall the inevitable results of these very times that we deem to be perilous, whether in a particular sense or in a more generalized historical context.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Wake-up Call

It can be requested pursuant to a prior arrangement or, with today’s technology, prewired on one’s own electronic device.  Time was when there existed an employed switchboard operator sitting in front of a pock-marked surface deftly inserting plugs of a dozen or more connections simultaneously, like an octopus whose coordinated extremities swirl about under and over with cross-purposed entanglements, pulling and inserting, with headphones half dangling, calmly stating, “This is your wakeup call.  Have a good morning!”

Then, of course, there is the other, more unwelcome meaning, of a negative connotation concerning an event or occurrence which portends of that which one may have always known, but only now realizes because of the impending doom.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, it may be the chronicity of the medical condition; or, the increasing outside pressures continuing to pile on, of leave-usage restrictions, suspension letters, placing you on a PIP, or the ultimate proposal of removal.

Whatever the proverbial wake-up call, it is time to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.   The call itself is merely the beginning of the process; there is the entirety and complexity to undergo, including the gathering of the compendium of medical documentation, the formulation of one’s Statement of Disability and the coordinating of all of the elements of the case, and then the submission and waiting.

The bureaucratic and administrative components of the process can sometimes appear to be archaic and somewhat anachronistic; but like the switchboard operator of yesteryear, the necessity of the service is never in doubt; it is merely the apparatus of change which remains relevant, and properly, and effectively preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a mandate of action compelled by the wakeup call entitled “Life and the inevitability of change“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire