Federal Disability Retirement: Monday’s Startle

There is not much that needs to be said about Mondays.  The standard response to, “So, how is your day going?” is quickly understood with the response of, “It’s Monday”.  What is it about the first work-day of the week that brings about the startle of life?  Is that why the traditional week’s cycle begins from Sunday-to-Saturday, because we want to avoid the memory of a week beginning so disastrously?

Do we dread work so much that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the expectation of the day following the day off becomes so anticipated with angst and considerations of impending disasters, that what we come to expect we impose our will upon the universe such that reality follows our fears and imagination?  Or, is it that there is an across-the-board truce that comes about without a word of acknowledgment — shortly after the close of business on Friday afternoon — when everyone heaves a sigh of relief, goes into the weekend, and everyone follows the protocol of no longer bothering one another?

How did we come to that unspoken rule — you know, the one where emails suddenly become reduced in volume (except by those with OCD who increase the length and number because of the unresponsiveness of the previously-sent dozen or so), phone calls are put on hold and the furious activity of keyboard punching and looking about anxiously at the clock-that-never-moves — where suddenly a peaceful calm descends like a spirit from on high above the clouds, the white flag of a temporary truce is reached without anyone saying a word, week after week, month after month, year in and year out?

It is reported that such unspoken occurrences were common during every war — our own Civil War, the two World Wars (but not in the more recent ones in Southeast Asia and the Middle East), where ceasefires were embraced around Holy Holidays and some Sundays without any need for negotiated settlements, but with merely a wave and a smile.

Then, Monday’s startle comes with a roar.  Whether because it remains such a contrast against the quietude of the day before, or merely the release of pent-up energy allowed to aggregate over the 2 days of respite and restoration, one may never quite comprehend.

For the Federal employee or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition which necessitates preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, Monday’s startle is often a chronic condition because of the inability to escape from the anxiety of the medical condition itself over the weekend, Holidays or summer months.

Monday’s startle can be survived, for the most part, precisely because of Saturday’s respite and Sunday’s quietude; but when every day of the week and weekend results in the same angst as Monday’s startle, it is likely time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to focus upon one’s health, lest Monday’s startle turns into an endless stream of red flags replacing the white ones of truce where such flags are warning signs of an impending condition that only gets worse.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Dreams quashed

It has a ring of finality to it, a tone of termination, a quake of unequivocal endings; to extinguish, to suppress or to stamp out; it is often used as an example of some authoritative juggernaut putting down and out a rebellion by some wayward bandits; and so when it is conjoined and combined with another word – one that denotes hope for the future, a flicker of light for something positive – that has a positive connotation, it becomes an oxymoron of sorts, or a compound concept that cancels out one another.

The first word allows for a future hope and anticipation of things yet to come; the second, a denial of the first, a negation of that which one lives for.  Dreams quashed is an admission of defeat where once victory was in hand; a resignation to the reality where warmth of hope yet remained; and a bowing to a reality where the subjective universe perhaps allowed for thoughts beyond that which the objective world would dictate.

The compound concept of dreams quashed, when applied to a young soul just starting out in life, is perhaps a tragedy; as one gets older and reaches towards the dusk of life, or of the old man in a rocking chair rocking the finals days of breath away into the sunset, perhaps less so.  Yet, for everyone, whether young, old or in-between, dreams constitute the fiber of life’s worth, the filament that connects between despair and a will to move forward.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent, impede and block the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the recognition that a career may be coming to an end, and anticipation of that “dream job” one finally obtained after college, and the realization that the camaraderie of working on a team, of having a unified purpose and a singular mission that always moved towards the future, to fulfill mini-dreams and projects that leaped into the beyond such that tomorrow was worth living and the next day was an anticipated victory of some proportions, perhaps microscopically relative to the greater universe, but nonetheless a platform that reflected upon one’s self-worth; these constitute those very “dreams” that appear to be in danger of being “quashed”.

Sometimes, however, the dreams of yesteryear need to be adjusted, such that it is not truly a quashing, but merely a modification.

Federal Disability Retirement is a recognition not of a dream quashed, but of a priority realized – that health is not always a given in life, and that which we took for granted was never to be freely accepted, but a gift received by a token of one’s sense of mortality.  Dreams quashed are merely hopes deceived, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the applicant is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to merely delay the inevitability of another dream revived but perhaps left forgotten in the rush to make a living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, the question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Conversation of one

Are we the only species which engages in it?  Do we ever see a dog standing aside and participating in such a phenomena?  Or a cardinal pausing in its morning melody of exuberant sing-song in order to address a non-existent other?  And, it isn’t even an artifice or convention for which the actor is being paid, as in an “aside” or a “soliloquy” where private thoughts are spoken aloud for the benefit of the audience, but where others in the drama act “as if” such thoughts are unspoken and shared not.

But we engage in such dialogues of diatribes:  with friends whom we practice in order to share; of spouses concerning the most intimate of matters; of bosses and coworkers to whom we failed to respond at the crucial moment, but now vent by a conversation of one of that which we wished we had said, desired to rebut, and cared to ponder.

The proverbial quip, of course, is that we are “okay” so long as we have such unilateral dialogues; it is only if the imaginary “other” begins to respond, that we then must consider the state of our own sanity.  But such colloquies occur daily, and throughout life; in quiet moments of reflective self-searching; of what we “would” have said, could have uttered, and in retrospective fashion, desired to have conveyed.

The conversation of one is often never shared; once exhaustively vented, it withers away like the ashes from a once-roaring bonfire, consuming all of the human detritus piled in anger, disgust and resentful remorse, then with watchful eyes applauded as the engulfing flames consume the aggregation of the collective angers, hurts and inflicted bruises of a shattered inner self.  It is sometimes the tool in preparation for a necessary confab; or an exchange with a worthy opponent; and where ad libbing without proper preparation is acknowledged to result in likely disaster.

The conversation of one — we have all had them; with parents and siblings; of sons and fathers; and for cardinals who chirp in the morning glory of a dew-filled mist in the obscured world of linguistic artifices constructed upon vacuity of purpose, it is the beauty of a filled universe without the complexities of human drama unfolding, that makes for worth and value.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, however, the need to have that conversation of one is often a prerequisite precisely because medical conditions comprise the most private of concerns, and absolute confidentiality must be adhered to and the strictest of trust kept.

Attorneys have an inviolable rule for trust, confidence and confidentiality, and privacy concerns should never be a question.  At some point, that conversation of one needs to be expanded to include an exchange involving proper medical documentation, the statutory criteria, the legal strategy to pursue, and the content and context of what must be included in order to prepare, formulate and file for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will often begin with a conversation of one, and that is understandable; but if it remains a mere soliloquy, as in a Shakespearean play where each in an audience believes that he or she is the sole soul who heard it, then it will remain merely as the unconquered thoughts of countless past warriors who gave up lives for a cause left in futility, and where the present is never confronted, and the future left unsecured.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of consideration and comity

The singular identifiable factor that destroys is the very reflection which elevates; for, it is power which undermines the source of comity.  With it is accompanied the shedding of a need for appearances; that which genuinely festers beneath the surface can bubble up into the tyrant which we all can become, and of that which we suppress and repress throughout our miserable lives.

Why does “winning the lottery”, in whatever proverbial form that can take, destroy lives, divide marriages and deconstruct lifelong friendships?  How often does a promotion crumble the fragile structures of co-working symbiotic relationships within an organization?   When has empowerments resulted in the disseminated good of the organic whole?

An appearance of comity within a societal structure can endure for a time, given conventions which protect, preserve and punish; but the tendency of consideration will crumble when the normative constraints collide with freedom and forgetting; and, in modernity, where self-expression trumps the towering temperament of talking tantrums, any semblance of putting forth an appearance of comity and consideration can quickly evaporate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who often ask the question, When should I inform the agency (or the Postal Service)? — the general answer given is:  Only when there is a compelling reason to do so.  For, when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the urgency of a need to inform should be proportionately weighed against the likelihood of the disintegration of any prior structure of consideration and comity shown in the past.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are bureaucratic structures of power centers; while the symbiosis of a working relationship with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may have served well both the worker and the organization in past terms, once it becomes known to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service that the Federal or Postal worker is about to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately to be received by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is likely that the fragile structures of consideration and comity will quickly and decisively deteriorate and deconstruct.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic extinguished

Once, we were all children.  Of dreams once entertained, and roles of play-acting embraced; when once lines between reality and fantasy blurred like the fireflies burning brightly against the midnight sky, only to disappear and reappear, then fade into the quietude of dawn’s inevitable encroachment; and we, like fairies and angels on wings of carefree butterflies, wrapped in colors unimaginable but for unfettered naiveness and fenceless pastures of creativity, ran through the fields of time unconcerned with the worries and tumults of adulthood and the withering trials of timeless eternity which one day, not long hence, would come to gather up the faces of consternation, because we had to “grow up”.

There was magic, then, unextinguished even for the child with forlorn eyes who was constantly yelled at, heard through the walls of societal ingratitude, and when friends and neighbors huddled and shrugged, hoping against fear that Emily would not be spanked and Benny would not be kept behind.  That magic became extinguished — not because we didn’t care, or that grownups can’t remember what it is like to be childlike and innocent; but because life intervenes, interrupts, and disrupts the flow of humanity; because meanness prevails and technology assails; and because, while we say we care, and some of us do, we just don’t care “enough”.

Then, there are the “realities” of life — of making a living, embracing a career, getting married and doing all of that “stuff” that entanglements with another soul comes bundled with, and suddenly the uncomplicated mind where a stick becomes a sword, a pasture becomes a battleground, and the short, fat kid is named Napoleon, disappears like the wisp of willows bending at the easterly winds suddenly snaps, and we are back to facing the problems of life.  And medical conditions.

That is often the tragic mold of the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who must cut short his or her career because of a medical condition; fortunately, however, under FERS & CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Does attaining an OPM Disability Retirement annuity bring back one’s childhood?  No.  Does it guarantee happiness? Nothing ever does.  But that is the telltale sign of adulthood — of recognizing the chasm between expectation and reality.  The process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Employee OPM Disability Retirement benefits is a long and arduous one, and it is beset with potential bureaucratic entanglements and complex legal challenges which must be faced with calm rationality.

Brave hearts and vanguard souls must always face and endure, but it is often the best course of action in order to attain the next phase for one’s life, in order to care for one’s medical condition and achieve that level of equanimity for life’s future challenges.  Yes, perhaps the magic of childhood lore has been extinguished forever, and the adult life’s “stuff” has replaced those yawning days of make-believe; but of the future, what remains is that which we make of it, whether in making it up as we go or mucking it up further.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Affirmation, Affiliation and Affectation

But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.

The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.

As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.

It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts.  Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life.  Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.

Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.

If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.

If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.

But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire