Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Escaping reality

In some sense, everyone does it; in another, no one can.  For, in a general, generic meaning of the term, to “escape reality” is to merely engage in an activity that allows one to take a break from the ordinary and mundane, as in going to a movie, watching television, playing a video game or engaging a game of chess. In the same vein of meaning, however, one could argue that such leisurely pastimes constitute a reality no less real than working, dealing with life in other ways and attending to one’s daily duties and obligations – it is simply in a different “form”.

Daydreaming, getting lost in an imaginary world through reading a book, of even sleeping – these also constitute a form of “escaping reality”, if the term implies a narrow meaning manifesting the daily grind of work, family and surrounding obligations.  Going to school, surfing the internet or concocting plans for grandiose schemes – these, too, can be considered “escaping reality”, inasmuch as they do not put food on the table or pay bills; and thus do we face the reality that people possess different meanings when they make critical remarks that are triggered to demean an activity by making the charge that engaging in X is nothing more than an attempt to escape reality.

There are, of course, true escapes that are harmless, and those that, if entertained over too long a period of time, can become an entrenched harm that may be irreversible.  Taking a dream vacation to an isolated island deep in the Caribbean Isles can be a healthy escape from the daily reality of work and exhaustion; imagining a life different from one’s own, through a limited period of daydreaming, may be an acceptable form of transcending the turmoil of a day’s trial; but creating a world where one’s loved one, lost from the reality of this mortal world, is still present through one’s imagination and will of existence, may be considered a sickness when it begins to impede the ability and capacity to take care of one’s own needs.

There is a fine line between healthy escapes and detrimental plunges into the surreal world of the imagination.  How one takes upon the challenges of a medical condition is often a delicate teetering amidst the boundaries of health and unhealthiness.  We would all like to will away medical conditions, but the reality is that the real-ness of the injured, sick or otherwise deteriorating body, mind or both, cannot ultimately be avoided.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the idea of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is often a step towards recognizing the reality that there is no curative power that will allow the Federal or Postal employee to continue to work in one’s chosen career, and that preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely a matter of inevitable time.

Delaying the process, procrastinating the preparatory steps, or avoiding the issue altogether – all are a form of escaping reality.  Whether such an escape is a healthy precursor to the reality which must be faced, only the Federal or Postal worker who is engaging such an escape can tell, as the reality of one’s future may rest upon the very escape afforded by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Comfort in regularity

There are those who relish the seas of daily change and the excitement of altered circumstances in daily discourse.  But as the rhythms of a seasonal perpetuity teach us of Nature’s need for regularity, so the biorhythms imparted can often form avenues of predictable patterns.  There is comfort in regularity (no, for those with singular minds, we are not here referring to the constancy of utilizing bathroom facilities; although, there is also some truth in that perspective, as well); of engaging in the monotony of expectations, unchanging circumstances and boredom of daily redundancy.

If we interpreted Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy to the extreme, each time we were to leave a room, the physical world we left behind would vanish; upon our re-entrance into the “same” room, it would again materialize, but who knows if the armchair in the corner with the slight tear in the seam of the cushion has not been moved several inches to one side or the other?

Wasn’t that always the fear in Star Trek, when Scotty would push the lever for the transporter, and the molecular deconstruction of the individual would occur – but the danger involved the potential interference within that short timeframe, when the reconstitution of matter might bring about a missing limb, a lesser intellect, or leave on the dinner table in the previous location one’s eyes, nose or mouth?  But the digression into science fiction merely points out the obvious; whether via molecular transporter or physically walking from one room into another, the expectation of “sameness” is what we rely upon, in order to maintain a sanity which otherwise would be lost in a sea of constant change.

It is, ultimately, the paradigmatic confrontation between the age-old perspective of two old philosophical grouches – of Parmenides and Heraclitus; of permanence seen in a world of a singular whole as opposed to the constancy of an ever-changing universe.  Note that, in either perspective, there is a regularity that is sought and discovered:  the expectation of consistent change constitutes that regularity we seek; and the regularity of a singularity of permanence reinforces that comfort in the same.  That is what we forever sought and continue to seek – and it is in the comfort of regularity that we maintain our balanced perspective.

That is why the turmoil of change is often devastating 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 one’s Federal or Postal position.  The inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties is frustrating enough; such alterations often require accommodations, but when such requests are rejected, it is like a verdict upon one’s worth by the agency or the Postal facility:  You are not worth the trouble of change.

Yet, that change or alteration in the schedule, flexibility of attendance, or other minor adjustments, are often of no greater effort by the Agency than Scotty pushing the lever to initiate the power of the transporter.  But, then, Captain Kirk was quite good at making adjustments and ad-libbing as he went along – something that most Federal agencies and the Postal Service are unable to do; and that is when preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes an ever-present need that will ensure the comfort in regularity of purpose, goals and future security.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The complexity of human experience

We take for granted much, and dismiss with careless appreciation the residue of crumbs begotten.  The idiom that refers to the final straw which breaks a camel’s back — why does the foreign species have an impact upon a culture which is unfamiliar with such a beast of burden?  Is it that, despite the images produced against the background of pyramids and pharaohs of a bygone civilization, the essence and theme of the proverbial statement resonates, whether replaced by a horse, a donkey or an ox?

The idea that tolerance to, and capacity for, a seemingly limitless weight of workplace bombardment, whether in translated terms of physical endurance or cognitive stress, is encapsulated by that transcendent cultural expression that there is, indeed, an invisible boundary of and for the human experience.

It is complex; the physical deterioration can presumably be witnessed because of the appearance exhibited; but it is the inner psyche and psychological harm, over untold times and lacking of precision of limit, which tests the stress points of fractures barely visible and likely detrimental.  Stress fractures may be subtle and sometimes inconsequential; but the incremental aggregation if left unreinforced will refuse to withstand an eternity of disrepair.

The complexity of human experience begins with the narrative carried by childhood memories; advances in fits and starts during the “difficult” period of transition from innocence to adulthood; and becomes cemented within the casement of early independence, where the spectrum and balance between love and hate, idealism and cynicism, and a mixture of hope denied by reality, coalesce to form the compendium of what the essence of a person becomes.

On that journey of filling the narrative, some become tested by greater or lesser traumas; and whether one ascribes “fault” to actions which result in consequences otherwise foreseeable, the reality is that those experiences encountered mold the character of the human narrative exposed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may cut short one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is the complexity of the human experience which preceded that moment of realization that a medical condition may prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, which will determine the future course of actions and lay the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow.

Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the central point of idioms which transcend time, cultures and limitations of perspectives in modernity, is that we refuse to become relegated to a mere statistical footnote by allowing for that last straw which breaks the camel’s back, and instead insist upon allowing for that beast of burden to survive another day, if only to impart some wisdom to a world which no longer recognizes the complexity of human experience.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The mere asking of a question

In modernity, the asking of the question in itself raises a suspicion.  Being curious no longer kills the cat in some obscure, proverbial manner; to inquire immediately brands the individual and categorizes the questioner based upon the query of conventional consciousness.  Thus is debate of any kind quelled; for, to engage in a dialectical process requires a prefatory landscape of imaginative fertility; but in an atmosphere of poison and shallow interests already consecrated, there can be no classic form of “give-and-take”, of a level of intellectual inquiry required for the pursuance of excellence, improvement or uncanonized thought processes.

Can society ever escape from this cycle of self-immolation, where intellectual integrity is questioned, when speakers are shouted down at quiet lecture halls of solicitations for a teleology of thought, and at a level of purposive questioning, as in the days of yore when the pestering Socrates questioned every convention of the powerful and influential?

It will be difficult, if only because the widespread de-coupling of thought from information, separated by the force of modern technology, where deviation from identity is difficult to maintain, has made drones of us all.  Fortunately, law is, and remains somewhat in a sacrosanct manner, an arena which allows the simple query to survive, if only within the compound of argumentation for a cause.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who becomes the victim of one’s own bureaucracy, where a medical condition requires an accommodation but the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unable, or unwilling, to pursue avenues to allow for the continuation of one’s chosen career, preparing 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, is often the best and only alternative to pursue.

The battle of inquiry and improvement — for, if you think about it, they go hand in hand in that the only way to “improve” anything is by questioning the status quo — may have to come to an end; and as it takes effort to expend to question and contend for greater heights and levels of excellence, so the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — the energy expended in other areas must now be preserved to attend to one’s medical condition and the deteriorating health of one’s body, mind and soul.

Sometimes, the mere asking of a question must be left alone, where silence is the golden ray of future radiance, and where youth may be the proper province to leave behind a generation of upstarts who never had the opportunity to ask that ever-childhood query, “Why?”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire