Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Watchful Eyes

The falcon flies in our midst; with an unknown distance of its perimeter to prey, it suddenly appears, perched with watchful eyes for squirrels, rabbits, other birds, etc.  Its flight is silent and graceful, and long before people realize its presence, the silence and sudden muteness of wildlife activity reveals the fear imposed by its mere appearance.  It flies silently, swiftly, and with a grace which demands awe and respect.  From its high vantage point, the targeted prey below rarely stands a fair chance of avoidance.  Those eyes are focused, with a singular vision operating to corner, catch and consume.  Organisms under a microscope must feel a similar sense, if indeed they become aware of being studied and prodded.

People, too, who are being surveilled and inspected; there is often a sixth sense of being constantly and vigilantly watched.  Federal and Postal Workers who are under the onerous burden of a Performance Improvement Plan (the acronym of a “PIP”) have that same sense.  It is not a positive or productive feeling; it is, instead, a dread of knowing that the “watching” part is merely a prelude for further actions forthcoming, like the noiseless glide of the hawk above.

Being under the constant gaze of a predator often requires preventative action on the part of the prey; for Federal and Postal Workers who come to recognize that his or her job performance is deteriorating because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option and course of action to take.  Because it is taking such a long time to get an approval these days, preparatory steps should be taken early.  Waiting for a separation from service, while still allowing for time thereafter to file, is normally not the wisest course.

As it is always better to be the “watcher” than the “watched”, so the Federal and Postal employee who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should take the affirmative steps to prepare for an eventuality — that time when, like the hawk who has made a decision to target its prey, the Federal or Postal Worker has a place of refuge to enter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and USPS Disability Retirement: Change within Flux

The anomaly is that change occurs only within the context of constancy; for, if everything was perpetually in a state of flux, the very concept of ‘change’ would lose its meaning.  It is similar to the argument often made in philosophy where one posits that everything we perceive ‘is merely a dream’; yet, one cannot even arrive at a concept of dreaming until and unless we first acknowledge the reality and existence of a mind which dreams.  We therefore often confuse that which comes after by forgetting the preconditions which are required for positing the subsequent argument.

Ultimately, what is necessary is the foundation of any argument, in order for the flurry of changing activities to flourish.  But a balance must always be sought, and it is when change itself becomes a constancy, and overtakes the undergirding of stability, that one’s life becomes one of chaos and turmoil.

Medical conditions tend to do that to people.  The lack of relief from constant pain; the upheaval of psychiatric conditions, of panic-induced attacks and racing minds; of insomnia and non-restorative sleep; of medications which are necessary but have serious side effects; and the interruptions from stability by the necessity of doctor’s appointments, loss of time at the job, etc.

All appears to be in flux and turmoil.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from such a treadmill of turmoil, consideration should be given in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is offered to all FERS & CSRS employees.  Where work was once a column of stability, during a chronic and progressively deteriorating medical condition, it can become the source of increased stress and anxiety because of the lack of understanding or empathy from coworkers, supervisors and the agency in general.

Preparation of a proper and effective Federal Disability Retirement application is essential; flux, turmoil and change should be the intermission, and not the main event.  As such, reversal of course in order to establish the principle of life should be the goal:  of stability first, and changes thereafter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Automatic Pilot

There is the classic story of the man who sued the seller of his Recreational Vehicle:  Having been told that his RV could be driven on “automatic cruise control”, he proceeded to follow the directions, then got up and walked towards the back of the RV in order to make some coffee.  He mistakenly interpreted what the salesman had said, that the vehicle “drives itself”.

While partially true, what he failed to understand is that the “pilot” of the vehicle still needed to steer the vehicle; it was merely the forward motion which was on automatic pilot — not where the vehicle was going.  The two distinguishing features — the “what” of X (the occurrence of a running engine and movement) and the “where” of X (the direction in which the vehicle is going) — should never be confused.

Similarly, the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, should never confuse the fact that he may still have a job, with the danger of not knowing what direction the agency is considering with respect to the employee.

Smiles and inquiries about one’s medical condition are niceties which are often indicators of a deeper motivation.  What the Supervisor “says” in showing concern about one’s medical condition, may betray a directional change which may never be overtly stated.  Waiting to suddenly one day have a collision with the agency may not be the best approach in preparing for one’s future.

While it is true that all Federal and Postal employees have up to one (1) year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM from the date of separation from service, you might consider being the pilot of that endeavor, instead of waiting for a sudden crash with the agency to occur.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire