Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Stamina

The Latin origin refers to “threads” and the foundation of a fabric; of endurance, strength and the power to resist.  It is the energy that is sustained, propelling the essence of a person’s illuminated core that lasts despite the destructive tears and moth-eaten wear that may slowly deteriorate the woven fabric that slowly untangles the aggregate of the cloth.  Fabrics are peculiar entities; there are enough analogies made of them, of the correlative concept that the singular threads poses the threat of weakness and inability to survive, but the collective aggregation with each additional reinforcement provides an almost invincible compendium of strengthened stalwart.

How does one cut through such a wall or obstacle?  By going back to the origins and roots – by cutting one thread at a time where the fray is shown or the weakness manifested; and thus do illnesses, viruses and medical conditions begin to deplete the human stamina that once possessed the power of endurance and energy to resist.  It may begin with a short period of illness, where the system’s immunity is attacked.

At first, the body still has the collective energy of reserve to easily fight off the infection.  Then, however, work, life and responsibilities compel one to do the very opposite of that which the body requires in order to recover – instead of resting and allowing the reconstruction of one’s immunity, the body is forced to undergo the stresses of modernity by going back to work, being compelled to endure despite the weakened state, and by sheer power of will, to ignore fatigue, sleep and the call for peaceful rest.

Then, by the body’s internal mechanism of using stored spurts of petrol, with the internal coursing of adrenalin to become the lifeblood of fueled turbo-infusions, a functional state of recovery is felt; except that, by chance, fate or bad luck, a regressive second stage is brought on by a subsequent attack, a recurrence of the illness or some other foreign invasion, and further debilitation occurs.  It is at such a critical juncture that we often make the mistake of trying to get a “quick fix” to the problem, and either ignore it, push through or fail to recognize the danger-symptoms.

Stamina requires rest and restoration in order to maintain the warehouse of vitality; it is meant for the long haul and the constancy of endurance for the period of human life.  By abusing the privilege of the woven fabric gifted, we allow for the edges to fray and the vulnerability to become exposed.  The natural need for rest is a luxury we can no longer afford in modernity, and so we push onward despite the warning signs imminently cautioning such paths of self-destruction.

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 dual challenge must be faced:  First, the acceptance of one’s medical condition and disability, and the use of one’s stamina to endure that new state of acceptability; and, second, to push through the lengthy process of preparing, formulating, filing and waiting upon the administrative morass of a Federal Disability Retirement procedure.

In the end, the Federal and Postal employee who by necessity of a medical condition must undergo the complex bureaucratic process of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, will have to utilize the stored stamina that is the fabric of life, and continue to maintain the frayed threads of that vital energy which is the essence of beginnings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Which Forms, How to Fill Them Out, and What to Put

Filling out forms is a part of life.  At some stage in our lives, we are required to complete forms.  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 positional duties as a Federal employee (which encompasses the full spectrum of positions, from secretaries, administrative assistants, to scientists, Information Technology Specialists, 1811 Law Enforcement Officers, etc.) or a U.S. Postal worker (including Craft employees, Managers, Postmasters, Supervisors, etc.), preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity.

Thus, the act of “form filling” must be confronted.  On computers, of course, if you have been completing online queries, the “autofill” option may be presented.  But the limitation of such an option, and the unavailability of that choice, should become readily apparent when attempting to complete the various “Standard Forms” required of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For any remaining CSRS employees intending to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, the series embodied under the designation of SF 2801 must be completed, along with the SF 3112 series.  For all of the rest of the Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who came into Federal or Postal Service after around 1985, and who are under FERS, the SF 3107 series must be completed, and as well, the SF 3112 series of standard forms.

Thus has the question, “Which Forms?” been answered.  As for the remaining two questions:  How to fill them out and What to put —  the “how” is, to put it mildly, with care and trepidation; the “what to put” is too complex to elucidate in this forum.  The series of “informational” forms — SF 2801 series for CSRS employees and SF 3107 for FERS employees — are fairly straightforward (e.g., full name, date of birth, Social Security number, agency name and location, military service, etc.).

It all comes back to the SF 3112 series which becomes problematic — for that is where the Federal and Postal employee must “prove” the nexus between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions by which one is prevented from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  For that, the Federal and Postal employee must go “outside” of the boundaries of the forms themselves, and consult documentation obtained from the doctor, and make legal arguments based upon wise counsel and advice.

As with much of life, it is never as easy as a bureaucracy promises; indeed, the complexity of life is in the very bureaucratization of administrative forums.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Law: How Does One Know the Age?

It cannot be by counting wrinkles, or the number of gray hairs; for, some people never develop them, and in any event, new methodologies of plastic surgery, hair dyes and other cosmetic creativities can easily override such superficial eruptions of telltale signs.  Photographs can no longer be evidence of aging, for airbrushing and digital modifications can dispense with such irritating characteristics.

But when there is a personal encounter, how can one judge, and fairly and accurately assess?  Is it the eyes?  That “window to one’s soul” — does it reveal a depth of depravity over time, such that the hollowness revealed in innocence at an early age is replaced by a coldness and cynicism of reflective hurts?  And of the greater age — of this epoch, the generation and historicity of time; how does one know it, too?  Older generations tend to cling to the past, and it is through that prism of past time that the present is viewed, the future foreseen; but does such a perspective differ from those who are young and never experienced the discomfort of lack? And medical conditions and their impact upon one’s ability and capacity to continue a career — how does one know?  The subtlety of warnings can be non-decipherable when asked to describe in words.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is fairly early on that one has a sense of where one’s career will be going.  Doctors can talk about surgical intervention and medical regimens and their supposed efficacy in treating a condition; but in the end, the Federal or Postal employee who experiences the medical condition itself, knows in one’s proverbial “heart of hearts” whether the Federal or Postal employee will be able to continue in one’s career.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a process which is daunting, and thereby delay of diligence is often a factor which is merely engaged despite having known for some time.  It is like guessing the age — whether of another person, or of the historicity of being a stranger in a strange land — it is the subtlety of telltale signs which reveals the future course of an already-determined process of inevitability.  And like aging itself, the fight we pretend to engage is merely an act of futility, and we know it; we just don’t want to look in the mirror and face it, lest those lines of time show us who we are, what we did, and where we are going.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The Beast of Burden

Is there a limit to the capacity for a draught animal that engages in the heavy toil so assigned?  Like the proverbial reed of hay which breaks the camel’s back, what is the limit, the absolute capacity, the outer stretches of what the psyche can absorb, the ultimate strain upon the human physical endurance and the will to survive; until the beast of burden crumples upon an exhausted heap of fatigue and loss of hope, a broken mass of bones, organic matter and mindless assemblage of shattered void?

Is that not how one sometimes feels, when the strains of daily toil aggregate to such an extent that stress is no longer merely an acceptable medium of daily work, and information is no longer a tidbit of enlightening accentuation; rather, too much means that the system is overloaded, beyond the acceptable parameters of mere survivability, and enters into the unknown universe of meltdowns and nuclear fissions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that the balance of life which was so delicately maintained throughout one’s career, can come careening down an uncontrollable chasm of chaos, when once the medical condition becomes that proverbial piece of hay upon the beast’s back.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are not just an “out” for the faint-hearted; rather, it is part of the compensation package which all Federal and Postal workers are accorded, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is filed (ultimately) through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and it is not one’s own agency which makes the determination of approval or denial.

For some, it is the only solution remaining; for others, it may be a godsend; for all, it is merely a benefit which allows the Federal and Postal worker who finally recognizes that priorities in life must include, first and foremost, attending to one’s health and well-being, to actually effectuate the balance of life once maintained, but temporarily lost.

For, in the end, while we all like to think that the beast of burden is some mythical creature on a farmer’s pasture in a foreign land, it is often the one who imagines that about the “other”, who is the subject of toil; one needs to merely look in the mirror on a morning when time, stress and stretching of tolerance exceeds the point of no return, and realize that the beast of burden is the one with eyes looking back at you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire