OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Dawn’s Transition

In the calm of morning darkness, when the stillness of winter whispers a hushed tone of quietude just before the first break of dawn, one’s perspective falls askew amidst the shadows and desolation of winter.  Is that a rock or a dead bird, frozen in the stillness of winter’s despair?  Was the movement behind the trees a reflection, or just the first faintness of dawn’s exposure?  Perspectives are funny glazes; a once familiar landscape can be frighteningly unfamiliar within the dark chasms of one’s own mind.

Then, almost imperceptibly, the light of dawn begins to pervade, and that which once appeared strange and foreboding, takes on the familiarity of known objects, recognizable forms, and identifiable shapes.  We live by light, and light is the friend of our fanciful imaginations gone awry by fear and loathing.

Medical conditions have a similar subtlety, much like the light of dawn:  they slowly creep upon one, until the debilitating impact is revealed when just a moment before, the fear of darkness was overwhelming.  But just as the morning glow of the rising sun will bring warmth and a promise of openness, so the hope underlying any conflict in life must be placed within a context of future castings.  Hope is for the future, as light is a diminishment of a present or past darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition,  present circumstances are often like the overwhelming and foreboding sense of morning darkness before the dawn of the rising sun; it portends yet of a future unknown, and a fate yet to be decided.  That is why it is important to “let go” of those things of which one has no control, and concurrently, to affirmatively take steps towards the familiarity of that which is known.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a “known” quantity.  Yes, it is a difficult administrative process and procedure to engage; yes, it is a bureaucratic morass of unquantifiable proportions; but it is a necessary step for those Federal or Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the positional slot of one’s Federal or Postal job.

As the allegory in Plato’s Republic tells the story of the enslaved shadows struggling in the darkness of the Cave, so the Federal or Postal employee who looks up at the opening beyond, to the light of dawn, must surely recognize that the fear and loathing felt in the shadows wavering in that moment before dawn’s glory, is but a temporary point in fate’s cradle, just before the brightness of one’s future is revealed in a time and place yet to be destined for the glory of summer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Of Capillary Constancy

Capillaries represent the smallest of the body’s blood vessels, which cumulatively account for the greater part of the microcirculatory means of reaching extremities and body under-surfaces beyond the reach of major veins.  Bursting or damaging a few here and there have little effect; cutting a capillary or bruising resulting from a blow to a branch of them, will have residual reverberations of unnoticed proportions.

But then, that is how most lives are considered, and treated; not as major arterial avenues of pumping stations, but way stations and secluded outposts visited only when mandated by necessity, and even then sporadically and with grumbling trepidation. But it is the very constancy of the work of capillaries which uphold the arterial integrity of the major vessels of society; and while most Federal and Postal workers go about their business in a daily routine within the quietude of unnoticed efficiency, it is when an interruption of a major event interposed upon a singular individual, that one must take pause and notice the otherwise uneventful event in a life of a capillary-like existence.

Chronic injuries and disabling conditions tend to do that to us.  For the individual who suffers from a medical condition, the traumatic life-event become a major obstacle; for the rest of society, it is the mere interruption and inconvenience of a capillary’s constancy being cut off.  The major vessels of life continue to pound away, pumping with rhythmic efficiency and barely taking notice of the lack of lifeline to the outreaches of peripheral concerns; but for the individual capillary, the crushing of life represented by a medical condition is a major event of exponentially significant proportions. Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and whose medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, need the respite of recuperative time; but like capillaries damaged or otherwise severed, they are often forgotten immediately following the event.

Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, may be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; but one must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, the nexus between the medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job. It is, in the end, the relevance of the whole organism and the efficiency of the body entirety, that matters; and to that extent, of the capillary constancy that results when significance is discovered for each outpost in the life of a human being.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire