OPM Medical Retirement: The Bygone Era of the Single Photograph

It sits upon a private pedestal, prominent for its centrality and foundational focus; it is that which lives are built upon, like the cornerstone which, if withdrawn, unravels the structural integrity and shatters the countenance of teleological significance. But with time, they fade; that which was thought to be timeless and withstanding of mortality, as with all things less than angels but stewards of God’s gifts; and the chemical admixtures which created the bright sheen in the first days thereafter, are now but fading glories of past experiences gathered through a lifetime of memories.

It used to be that photographs were special captives of a moment in time, frozen of significance, and encapsulated by relevance in the important event of a greater life.  The wedding photograph — that serious pose of two people, strangers but for a period of courtship, who stare into the lens where, in a flash of a frozen eternity of bliss, the images reflected upside down represent a commitment beyond mere contractual combining of lives.

Today, with digital cameras, the world is viewed through virtual reality, where experiences are no longer preserved for posterity, but where the perceptual “now” parallels the receptors of immediacy.  An event is no longer captured in a singular photograph; rather, the exponential explosion of the volume of images outpaces the memories which embraced them. But it is the singular moment which is remembered; its importance and relevance constitutes the uniqueness of who we are, what we strive for, and the future foundation upon which we build.

When medical conditions impact a person, the intervening event is a milestone of sorts, for those whose purpose of serious endeavors throughout a lifetime was captivated not by self-interest or preservation of ego, but because the pedestal of relevance mattered.  For Federal employee who suffers from an injury or other disabling condition, where the medical condition impacts the very foundation of a career, and therefore tears apart the fibers and filaments which bind the relevance of a lifetime of accomplishments, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the event itself — of having to acknowledge that one’s medical condition can no longer be consistently maintained and managed while working at all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal duties — often represents a fading of that singular photograph kept safe on a corner pedestal of time.

The medical condition itself is a trauma; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be a further time of turmoil, precisely because it is an event of significance: of change, of foundational shattering, and an admission of mortality. Like the bygone era of the single photograph, the career which one chose when once youth beckoned with rash confidence, sits fading with time upon the acknowledgment that one’s medical condition has revealed the extent of one’s vulnerability in a world less caring than once promised.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Life’s Spare Parts

They are left as insignificant cast asides, unused and unusable until an urgency of need mandates their sudden relevance; and in a changed moment, their utility determines the worth and value of existence and retention in the clutter of overabundance.  Like the spare tire that is never used, spare parts imply potential need, but the actualization of relevance occurs only when necessity dictates; otherwise, they are like the proverbial bench warmer on a sports team replete with talent and competitive excess.

Most people are seen and treated like spare parts; irrelevant entities taking up limited space, occupying a determined confluence of time, and enjoying the dimensions within a universe where black holes of irrelevance and clutter enjoy an overabundance of regularity.  If utility is the criteria of significance in a materialistic world, then most of us are relegated to irrelevance and uncompromised anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suddenly find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to remain relevant in the Federal Workforce, a primary concern is often the loss of status and stature within the employment world.

We all want to belong, to be making a “difference” of sorts; and even in the midst of a faceless bureaucracy, it is nice to be appreciated and receive periodic accolades for accomplishments otherwise unknown and undetermined.  But a pause tells us that relevance is short-lived and rarely endured; the terrain of untended graveyards throughout the world echoes the quietude of forgotten hopes and dreams, and in the end, it is only family and private relationships which matter.

OPM Disability benefits is a necessary venue of purpose; for Federal employees who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is a needed benefit in order to escape the toil of employment and allow for recuperation from one’s medical condition, and then to find greater relevance and opportunity in the private sector, and be allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently compensates.

Persisting in an occupation which one can no longer do, is a foolhardy endeavor, at best; clinging on to a mistaken identity of significance, to the detriment of one’s health, is a death sentence determined by one’s own vanity.  For Federal and Postal workers who have a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the choice of wisdom, given the utilitarian perspective of the employment world.  It is a benefit which must be proven, and one must meet the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Considering the perspective of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service, wherein individuals are mere spare parts to be discarded at the behest of those who consider themselves royalty within a universe of mediocrity, it is best to recognize that life’s spare parts find best their meaning and value when once a person escapes the treadmill of monotonous insignificance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire