OPM Medical Retirement Benefits: Of human endurance

We marvel at the cheetah, at the graceful way in which it can outrun a prey, overtake it with such effortless ease and kill its target with efficiency and purposive aplomb; but of a longer race, we all know that only endurance can defeat such focus of a killing machine.

Endurance is the unique reserve of human beings; for, what other animal can withstand the overload of stimuli bombarding each of us on a daily, persistent and incessant basis?

The city dweller who must contend with the noises unrelenting from all directions; even a drive through the countryside requires such focus and concentration to avoid pitfalls and potholes; and, of course, daily living in the modern era can no longer allow for a quiet, plodding existence in a pastoral setting where the milkman arrives to deliver morning freshness and the bells of a church can toll in the midday sun of lazy summers.

Of human endurance we think is limitless, and so technology marches on, ever creating faster and more efficient interconnections, and with each new invention we are told that — not only will it save us time and allow for greater comfort — hardships will resolve and melt away.

Certainly, the minimal technology has brought comfort to us all — you know, those things we take for granted, such as electricity, central heating, air conditioning, etc.  But of the Internet — of this constant need to be “connected”, and to amass hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of “followers” or “friends”; of human endurance, can it be withstood?

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, it is the test of human endurance that is often the issue.  For, how much more can a person stand?

Things were once going “smoothly” — if by “smoothly” is meant that one’s existence with the balance between work, family, rest and health had been maintained within a tenuous string of efficiency and lack of disruption.  But once the medical condition was added to the mix, suddenly the test of human endurance was being stretched beyond its limitations.

That is what FERS Disability Retirement is meant to alleviate — the overload of stimuli, responsibilities, the proverbial “to-do list”, etc., in order to focus upon the one thing that both cheetahs and human beings require in order to test the limits of endurance: health.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The avoidance factor

When does avoidance become a problem?  Say you found out something about a close friend or neighbor — an embarrassing fact, a hidden truth or perhaps a juicy tidbit of revelations that could topple a friendship or marriage — and your self-guiding principle of being honest and forthright scares you into believing that, were you to encounter the person, you fear that either your demeanor will reveal that hidden secret, or you may be a person who cannot control your emotions and you believe that you may blurt out the secret and damage, ruin or perhaps even end the relationship altogether.

Or, maybe you avoid something simply because you dislike doing it, or fear the consequences of finding out the truth, or even disregard knowing that if you seek it and find it, the discovery itself would merely confirm the fears of life’s travails that you believe are better left alone.

What we don’t know, we can deal with; that which, once uncovered, revealed and brought out into the open, we suddenly realize is a certainty that cannot be avoided.  Is work becoming that way?  Are coworkers likewise avoiding you, and you them, with eyes averted, speaking about the weather, the last sports extravaganza, how the Orioles never seem to make the final push or whether money ruins the equality of teams, etc.?

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 the Federal or Postal job, the issue of the avoidance factor looms large.

Everyone begins to avoid the obvious — that you have a medical condition; that your medical condition impacts, impedes and prevents you from performing all of the essential elements of your job; that, perhaps, even your own doctor has already hinted at the truth of your medical condition — that you should likely seek a change of career; that the ceiling of sympathy has been reached, already, and your agency has begun to grumble about termination proceedings; and many other indicators, besides, that showing what everyone is avoiding is actually just a confirmation of the elements needed to prove a Federal Disability Retirement case; it’s just that everyone has been avoiding the obvious.

For, in the end, the proof of a Federal Disability Retirement case is likely already in existence in the very avoidance factor that you and everyone else has been tiptoeing around, and it is precisely the avoidance factor that makes of certainty the issue itself: Now is the time, and not tomorrow; today is the first step that needs to be taken, and not some obscure time down the road, and the avoidance factor that leaves everyone in the dark is like the hidden secret that everyone knows about but believes that he or she is the only one with the truth that, actually, everyone already knew.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foggy glasses

Sometimes, we realize it at the outset and pause, take a moment to clean them, then proceed with the clarity we presupposed but were ineffectual in recognizing and correcting.  At other times, we stumble through the maze of reconditeness, failing to identify, or even to recognize, the source of our abstruseness.  Those who never need glasses, have but their imaginations to project a world of persistent perceptual perplexity; others must live with the unruly contraption encased ever so prominently upon the facial protrusion high atop the control center of one’s physique.

Of course, there are advertised surgical methods, or implantations of organic lenses upon the window of one’s soul (as Plato would describe it); but in the end, most defer to those convex lenses which provide for magnification, invented sometime during the Dark Ages and before.  But clarity of perceptual comprehension, if merely a physical defect, is at least correctible; whereas most walk through life with foggy glasses of another sort, and have greater and more dire consequences resulting therefrom.

That is precisely the problem with wisdom, or the lack thereof, but more accurately, the means to attain it.  It is one thing to walk about with foggy thoughts; another altogether, to never be able to recognize it.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are caught in a quandary of the frozen steppes of indecision, where a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and therefore one’s status as a Federal employee or Postal worker is likened to a purgatory awaiting further harassment, being forced to work with one’s medical condition despite every medical advice to the contrary, or worse, merely waiting to be fired — the time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is “now”, or perhaps even yesterday.

But if one is unable to have the perceptual clarity needed to arrive at a judgment of insight, how is one to proceed?

Advice is plentiful, as is information of irrelevance; but first, to even wake up to the most basic needs and address the elementary concerns for securing one’s legal rights, future prospects, and a promise for advancement beyond the present condition of malaise, it is necessary to wipe away one’s foggy glasses, and view the world with a level of perceptual clarity beyond the confusion ensconced in the belief that the obstacle that stops us is not a mountain to climb, but one’s own nose obscured by the device so prominently placed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Chasm Between Sanity and Twilight

Sometimes, there are moments of clarity where one is left with wonderment at the behavioral folly of individuals, organizations, and groups of collective consciousnesses (what an untenable word — the pluralization of that which ends in what appears to be the plural form of the noun).  Whether one agrees with the Supreme Court’s holding that corporations should be treated as “persons”, the fact is that organizations act in collective aggregates in similar manners as individuals and amoebas.

Group-think, herd mentality and symbiotic consciousness of behavior is not unfamiliar to us all; for Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition leads the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether that Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is a fairly routine matter that engagement with one’s agency can be characterized as one of hostility, unpleasantness or unfriendly separation.

Why this is so; what bonds of loyalty become severed merely because the Federal or Postal employee expresses an intent to terminate the employment relationship as a consequence of the onset and intervention of a medical condition; and how the contextual animosity develops into a flashpoint where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service believes that it must initiate adverse actions or punitive measures; these are all wrapped up within the conundrum of complexities which characterize the human condition, and that is why organizations and organic aggregates of individuals comprise a compendium of human behavior.

It is, in the end, an unexplained and incomprehensible phenomena; what it is; how it can be explained; where one goes to for enlightenment; these questions must be relegated to the dark corners of behavioral recesses within those chasms between sanity and twilight.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire