Enter a gift shop and see the generic photograph inserted within a picture-frame for sale. Who is it? Why was the photograph taken? Was it merely to help sell the picture-frame? Enter an antique shop where one sometimes comes across old photographs — perhaps even a daguerreotype — often faded, normally of a stilted figure; perhaps of a young woman, an old man, a soldier in uniform; a family on an outing; of a city scene where horses and carriages fill the streets; or of a father and son smiling, a daughter and mother staring impassively at the photographer in a still-life of unknown origins and an unverified date. Who were they? Why was the picture taken?
For the casual visitor to the store, who merely glances at the collection of old castaways, the images mean little, if anything at all. Yet, there is a story behind each image — one which may be forever lost. For, why else would such photographs end up in an antique store, out of the safekeeping privacy where they once belonged, where once words and memories attached unassailably with the photographs which told a story.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the career of one’s choice, the disjunctive between words and images becomes poignantly clear within one’s own mind: Who were we once, and do the words others use in describing you match the story between words and images?
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step toward re-matching the image one has of one’s self — of vibrancy and accomplishment — and the words others use to describe you, as well as the words you use to describe yourself. For the moment, however, the words used are necessary in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — one of being in a lesser, debilitated state because of one’s medical conditions — must be carefully chosen in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A.
Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in FERS Disability Retirement Law, and make sure that the words and images utilized in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application accurately portrays the state of present mind experienced.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
OPM Medical Disability Retirement Attorney