OPM Disability Retirement: Life’s Strata

In geology and archaeology, the term strata refers to layers of sedimentary rock, soil, etc., which provides for identifiable characteristics distinct from previous and subsequent layers, such that time periods and markers can be established and differentiated.  From it evolved the discipline of stratigraphy.

The fact that we can actually study dirt and debris and glean meaning from it is exceptional in what we do in life; but on the other hand, it should not be surprising, given the extent of such debris and layers of rot which we allow to form upon our own lives on a daily basis.  We rarely even notice how much dirt we allow to accumulate; then, at the end of the day, we look at our hands and realize how dirty they are, and proceed to wash them without thought.

But what of the strata of human debris?

Of traumas and psychological harms which we allow to press upon us, leaving aside the toxic physical fractures which we ignore until it requires emergency surgery.  Medical conditions will sometimes occur suddenly; often, however, they result upon the incremental cumulative impact from repetitive laying of stresses, both physical and psychological.  And like the strata studied in geology and archaeological expeditions, in retrospective reflection, there are clearly identifiable markers during a specific time period of our lives.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions such that the medical conditions, whether physical, psychiatric or emotional, impact and prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, may allow for the next strata of life to be identifiably distinct from the previous layer, and therefore allow for the stratigrapher to engage in the true study of relevance:  an improvement in the human condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Pre-planned Life

Planning is part of our culture; from birth, to plan for old age; from the first entrance into a career, to consider the options for retirement funding; from the days of schooling, to determine the course of one’s career; and multiple intermediate pre-planning considerations, often mundane in nature, such as what to eat for dinner, how many children to have, where to live, etc.  Whether animals plan for the day, and to what extent, may be debated; what cannot be disputed is the extent and complexity in comparison to the pre-planning engaged in by Man.

But life rarely follows along the neat and uninterrupted course of a plan determined days, months or years prior; instead, the hiccups of life are what make for interesting interludes of unexpected turns and twists.  The proverbial nest egg may not have developed as quickly; one’s expectations of career goals may not have blossomed; a child may have come unplanned; or a lost puppy may have appeared at one’s doorstep.

Medical conditions are somewhat like those interruptions of interludes; they may not be as pleasant as some other hiccups, but they are realities which people have to deal with.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where medical conditions prevent them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is important to undertake two preliminary steps:  An assessment of the medical condition and whether it is likely to resolve within a year or less; if not, to investigate and become informed about Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

One of the elements which must be shown is that one’s medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months.  This can normally be easily accomplished by a doctor who can provide a prognosis fairly early on in the process.

And perhaps a third step:  A recognition that lives rarely travel along a pre-planned route, no matter what you were taught to believe, and more than that, that the value of one’s life should not be reflected by veering into the unknown.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Body

It is a mechanically extraordinary creation, whether by means of transcendental creation or evolutionary process — the bipedaling human body. The ability and capacity of balance and coordination; the acuity of the human mind and its quickness in information processing; the amazing functionality of dexterous hands and adaptability to quickly changing environments.

It is perhaps because of the success of that which is given, that we take for granted what we possess, and in the very taking for granted of something, allowing for the abuse of that which we never earned, has been one of the greatest calamities for human beings.  To test the extent of endurance, strength and limitation of capacity is one thing; to abuse beyond what a thing was meant for, is quite another.

For the Federal and Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition has arrived at a crisis point of deterioration, incapacity and intractability, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, precisely because one does not wish to cross the line into “abuse” of one’s body.

It is all well and good to come to the point of testing the extent of one’s human capacity; but once the limit is met, the need for restorative recuperation must be embraced.

Federal and Postal workers have a reputation for hard work and endurance, including patience beyond being a virtue; but there is another component beyond the human body which one is gifted with — that of one’s brain.  It is a functional component which should be used in consonance with the body, but it requires thoughtful quiescence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Indicators

The technology of automobiles has changed radically in the past 2 decades.  No longer do we rely upon intuition, the automotive “ear” for that strange sound which, when talking to the service department, we attempt with futility to reenact with absurd pitches and tones in an attempt to accurately depict that which fails to occur when brought to the attention of the mechanic.  Instead, there are electronic warning lights and the computer sensors which specifically and with great detail indicate a past occurrence, a present problem, or a needed future course of action.

If the human body is the ultimate composite of neuro-sensors and complexities of the physical, the psychological, and the coalescence of mind, body and soul (including the philosophical “ghost in the machine“), then pain must be the warning indicator for past transgressions, current anomalies, and future need for servicing.  Those who ignore automotive warning signs do so at their peril; similarly, to ignore such signs emitted by the human body and transcribed in no uncertain terms via the daily chronicity of pain, do so with a singular certainty of progressive deterioration and decline.

Ultimately, the decision for the Federal or Postal Worker to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be accomplished once warning signs are heeded, and a blunt discussion with doctors, family and friends are engaged; but it is the pure and unadulterated ignoring of all signs which results in crisis and disaster.

The warning signs are there to heed; the future course of action is still left up to the recipient of such indicators.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

USPS and Federal Civil Service Disability Retirement: Human Beings and Railroad Tracks

The metaphor of trains and railroad tracks are numerous and infinite in their applicability and relevance:  train wrecks; inability to stop; actions which proceed with a directional course towards a cliff; predetermined path of existence; and many others, some which invite ontological and teleological issues concerning free will and the ability to have an omniscient vantage point.

For Federal and Postal employees who are suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition(s) impacts one’s ability/inability to perform all of the essential functions of one’s job, the analogy to a train ride is quite accurate.  For, the course of one’s career is often one which is set at the very beginning — an upward trajectory with expected grade-promotions and regular step increases; a sense of working for an agency with a mission, a purpose, and (perhaps most importantly) a steady paycheck.  But a pre-set course has a disadvantage:  a track from which one cannot stray; yet, if continuing onward, a certainty for a collision, headlong into subpar performance evaluations, a PIP, disciplinary actions, and potential terminations.

A train wreck waiting to happen.

About the go over that proverbial cliff.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available for all Federal and Postal workers, whether under FERS or CSRS, if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements.  Fortunately, humans are not trains; free will and the ability to change course in life is an innate potentiality of the human soul.  But free will, in order to have any effect, must be acted upon.  Mere thought is not the same as action; it is, ultimately, human action which leads to change.  Just some thoughts to ponder.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Survival and the Flexibility Factor

Materialism and the Darwinian view of human history are predicated upon the idea that successful genetic propagation of a species is dependent upon the ability to adequately adapt and mutate in response to changing circumstances and environmental upheavals.

Human beings are subject to such objective laws of nature, and presumably, continue to remain so despite the artificiality of one’s present surroundings.  Given that, the idea of survival of the fittest being predetermined by the laws of adaptability, it is those who are unable or unwilling to change the course of one’s path, who potentially suffer from the highest rates of loss.

For Federal and Postal employees who have set themselves upon a career path, and who have come upon a stage of life where medical conditions impact the health and well-being of the individual, such a Darwinian view of life should be seriously taken into consideration.  Those who stubbornly defy such innate laws of nature do so at a considerable price:  the growing stress upon one’s being; the deterioration of health; the greater impact of hostility from coworkers and supervisors; an attempt to continue on a course which was previously working, but is now destroying.

Adaptability and flexibility both in thought and action are essential to survival, and not just in the prehistoric days of cave-dwelling where the elements of nature were the primary obstacles, but in present-day circumstances where the factors of artificial and created stresses upon one’s health and well-being are tested just as strenuously.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a way of getting off of the “set” track; it may well be that such a change of course will allow for survival — to come back another day to fight the passages of tested time in order to affirm or refute the Darwinian perspective of the universe.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Clarion Call that Never Comes

Medical conditions are often subtle in their subversive impact — a slow, progressively deteriorating manifestation, characterized by pain, depletion of energy and stamina, and with manifestations of symptoms which may not be immediately noticeable with a passing glance.

Most of us meet and greet each other with hardly a glance; of “hello-how-are-yous” as polite niceties which are never meant to be seriously responded to; and in the course of such brief human contact, would not know — nor care to be informed of the details — of how a person truly “is” in the context of his or her life, medical condition, or well-being.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, being ignored at work by one’s peers, coworkers and supervisors may have become a daily and expected occurrence.

In Medieval times, a clarion call represented a clear and loud trumpeting announcing an event, a call to action, or perhaps the arrival of someone of significance, relevance and importance.  For the Federal or Postal employee who may have to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, an expectation of an analogous call may never come, should not be waited upon, and likely will not occur.

Quietude is the pervasive norm in a society which is impersonal and unable to address each other with compassion or empathy.  Don’t expect a clarion call to be the focal point in deciding to act upon one’s medical condition; it is a call which will likely never be trumpeted, nor heard even if made.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire