Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: Pain as a Reminder

Pain is a reminder that the physiological state of one’s body is in need of rest or repair; it is tantamount to an error message on the computer, with the analogy of our brain being the software component.  Chronic pain thus constitutes a system shutdown; continued non-response and delay will either result in systematic error messages or progressive deterioration where the entire system will begin to be impacted with reverberating consequences.

It is well that the largest organ of our body is our skin; for, as a concealing covering, it contains the inner workings — and malfunctions — of our other organs and systems.  But within the constellation of the composite of organs and systems functioning in coordinated fashion to keep us alive, the “software system” allows for error messages to be relayed to important information centers, of warnings meant to be heeded.

Pain is such an error message; chronic pain is the heightened alert system to keep us informed.

For the Federal or Postal worker who experiences such continuous and persistent relays of error messages, the failure to heed merely delays the necessity of responding to the system shutdown.  Federal Disability Retirement is meant to be a compensatory system whereby a restorative period of recuperation is allowed for, with the possibility of engaging in employment in a different capacity without losing one’s base annuity.  It is a long and involved administrative process.  Such preparations must be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS or CSRS; further, if you are a separated Federal or Postal employee, you have only up until one (1) year to file from the date of separation.

Allowing the error message to be sent repetitively and ignored out of hand may constitute malpractice on the part of the recipient — the Federal or Postal Worker who does nothing but continue to be dedicated to one’s job, while ignoring the basic rule of life:  self preservation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Pain Problem

The problem with pain is that, quite simply put, there is only one person who “owns” it — the pain-feeler.  One can describe it, ascribe adjectives which somewhat make it come alive for the listener; and even attempt metaphors and analogies that expand upon the limited universe of words as opposed to the physical sensation which creates havoc and turmoil in a person’s life.

There are numerical designations (“she consistently feels pain on the scale of 7/10 daily”) and words like “chronic”, “intractable”, and “severe” capture a sense of what a person undergoes; but in the end, these are merely word-games in comparison to the agonizing physical trauma which the person experiencing the pain must endure.

In preparing a paper presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the form of a Federal Disability Retirement packet, whether under FERS or CSRS, chronic pain and the extent of how such pain prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, is often problematic for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating such a venture.

It presents a challenge for two primary reasons:  First, because of the difficulty in translating a physical sensation into a clear and effective conceptual modality; and Second, because the audience to whom such a descriptive analysis is conveyed is quite likely attuned to, and therefore somewhat indifferent to, thousands of such descriptions, and thus may have a somewhat calloused view of such statements.

Overcoming the roadblocks and gaining the attention of an OPM case worker requires more than the mere meeting of the law; it demands overcoming the problem of pain — both medically, and administratively.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Runt of the Litter

It is interesting watching the behavior and interaction between the runt of a litter and the rest of the “healthy” puppies.  The runt is cast aside; the others, for no apparent reason other than because he is a runt, will focus upon the weakling and mercilessly attack him and take advantage of the vulnerabilities and weak spots.  For the runt’s part, it is a test of endurance and survival, and perhaps it is the very isolation and aggressiveness from others which tests the prospects for survival.

We humans like to think of ourselves as (to paraphrase Shakespeare), far above such animalistic behavior, and closer to the angels of heaven in our demeanor and virtues.  But in engaging the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is clear that we are not far from the “runt-behavior” and the target of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.

Loyalty and camaraderie prevails on the surface so long as everyone is healthy; once a medical condition is revealed, the behavior of the aggressors manifests to the forefront.  Agencies comprise a collective and organic whole in their behavior and treatment of employees who exhibit a medical condition requiring the filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Once the medical condition becomes apparent, and begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the test of survival begins.  Empathy, a somewhat human quality, rarely prevails; and laws and rights must be invoked.

Think about it this way:  Do angels need laws to regulate their behavior?  Yet, human beings must have laws, and a vast abundance of them in order to ensure the protection of disabled individuals.  FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement is fortunately a compensatory system which provides some protection for Federal and Postal employees; and it is a system based upon laws — ones which are necessary to protect the runts of the world.

Far from being angels, we are closer than we think to the pack of dogs who wait patiently to see who the next runt is, and which one can be attacked.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Weeds in Our Lives

Weeds are irritants.  Ecologically, they contain erosion and the loss of soil; but in the suburban paradigm of our lives, they represent the unruliness in an otherwise pristine and antiseptic face-lift of our artificial lives.

Weeds also represent an unwanted intrusion into the image we create; further, they have deep roots, and even if torn out and discarded, have the ability to regenerate.  In that metaphorical vein, they stand for the very things which we desire to uproot, but continue to cling to, despite our best efforts.

In considering the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal worker will often cling to the weeds which have overwhelmed one’s life.  Once, perhaps, in years gone by, such weeds may have been the beautiful flowers one had planted and tended to with affection and care; but the weeds have now invaded and enveloped the areas which once were the showpiece of one’s life.

The acknowledgement itself may be the most difficult; to admit that one’s career, job, vocation, etc., with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service is now the weed which must be uprooted and discarded, is often the most trying and difficult of decisions to make.  But like the weed with the vast and endless root system beneath the terrain of appearance, merely breaking off the stem will not solve the problem.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Medical Disability Retirement: The Leisure of a Painless Life

For Federal and Postal employees suffering from a chronic medical condition which impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the times of “leisure” have little or no meaning.

Leisure implies the ability to enjoy a world apart from the everyday world of work and worry; it is a short respite from the treadmill of life, obligations and duties, which we all have.  The “Holidays” are also such a period; a time to set aside in order to attend to those meaningful compartments of personal relationships, family ties, and friendships once formed, lessened over time, and fractured through life’s daily struggles.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether physical, psychiatric, emotional — or a combination of a compendium of all three — “leisure” is a foreign concept precisely because the escape into a surreal world of pausing the anxieties of the universe cannot ever be achieved.  Such a point in life indicates the necessity of considering Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, precisely because the escape-hatch is a human need.

The deterioration and progressive pounding of a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is a red-light indicator.  Listen to it; as leisure is a world of solace, so the medical condition is a voice which shouts for a change.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: After the Storm

Particularized geographical locations will have differing stories.  Rarely are two stories the same, and indeed, that can be the case even between neighbors who are twenty feet apart.  It is the uniqueness of each situation which defines the situation.  A storm can come — whether in terms of the “objective” world, or perhaps through psychological and emotional turmoil —  without but a passing notice to a friend, neighbor, or coworker.

For the Federal or Postal worker contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the “storm” which must be endured is the medical condition itself, and its impact upon one’s livelihood, one’s life, and future stability for one’s family.  It is a process which is independent of one’s geographical location.  It is a condition which, often, coworkers only suspect, and is unfortunately hidden and kept from supervisors and managers, for obvious reasons.

The physical storms which come and go will leave behind a trail of visible devastation; what agencies and supervisors do will often leave residual damage far greater than physical devastation can betray.  It is the storms of daily life which need attending to, as opposed to a one-time life-event.  If that “storm” of a medical condition has come to a flashpoint where one can no longer work at a Federal or Postal position, then it is time to begin preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Only the individual who suffers — silently, and in fear — can make that determination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Pain, Anxiety & Exacerbation

Medical conditions tend to “feed upon” one another.  Maintaining a balanced perspective on anything is difficult when one is in pain, and the nagging, incessant presence of pain, diffuse and radiating, extending to areas and points of the body where one can no longer specify a particular area because of the widespread extension, makes it impossible to have the requisite focus and concentration necessary to perform one’s job.  Further, the profound fatigue which results from the daily fight against the pain, where one’s energy and reserve of patience for daily social and professional encounters is expended and exhausted such that one must choose between being civil or countering the pain, is something which many cannot understand.

At some point, consideration must be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether now, or a few weeks from a stated point, becomes an irrelevancy when one suffers from chronic pain, for the Federal or Postal employee who has endured such medical conditions already knows — whether the doctor concedes it or not — that one cannot continue in this manner.

The physical pain, of course, only serves to exacerbate and feed upon the anxiety — anxiety which projects future events, financial security (or insecurity), and whether and for how long one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service will look the other way as performance deteriorates and the pervasive whispering campaign by coworkers and supervisors begins.  Pain of a chronic nature only invites anxiety; and when the two combine, they serve to exacerbate to an extent where an exponential result is attained, neither explained by the pain alone nor the presence of anxiety, but where the sum of the total exceeds any ability to maintain the balanced perspective needed to continue to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire