OPM Disability Reirement under FERS: Dylan Revisited

The British have the Beatles; America has Dylan.  Martin Scorsese’s ongoing documentaries covering the life of Bob Dylan (“No Direction Home” and “Rolling Thunder Revue”) reveals the obvious differences as well as depicting interesting tidbits of entertainment value, for those even remotely interested.

Dylan is the quintessential American — of the lone troubadour; the composite of a self-made star from multiple personalities, including Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters; and despite playing off and on with “The Band”, forever the loner — remote, distant and undefinable.

Bands come and go — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., and when they disband and disburse, some individually go on to similar heights of fame; but of Dylan, he has always stood apart with his soulful voice, his trance-like story-telling, and the enchanting universe of words conveyed on the airlift of music that brings one into a lyrical fantasyland.

In the end, Robert Allen Zimmerman remade himself from the outskirts of a rural town into the spotlight of musical genius over a span of a time when cultural revolutions were shaking the very foundations of a country at war.  We all yearn to be like him — if not for the fame, then for the uniqueness that becomes apparent when you listen to his voice: Not quite on beat and never able to be defined.

Whoever “Zimmerman” was, we will never know; for what we know is the folklore surrounding even the whispered utterance of “Dylan” — a name and word which provokes images, stories and memories that have cluttered the shadows of a legend like the barnacles encrusted on the underside of a drifting boat.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the tragedy of the medical condition can be likened to the duality found in Dylan Revisited — that the person who is beset with the medical condition is not the same person who once forged ahead with a promising career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service.

Consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law; for, in the end, the Dylan of today is not the Zimmerman of his past, just as the Federal or postal employee who suffers from a medical condition is not the same person as before the medical condition, and the whole point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to get back to a place where we can define ourselves within the uniqueness of who we are and were.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Claims: The Lost Wallet

It is a sinking feeling, a sense of foreboding, and a sudden realization of the empty back pocket that then leads to a feeling of panic.  Or of reaching and finding that the purse that is so carelessly hanging from one’s shoulder, or looped over a forearm — is not there.  It is the nonexistence of something that suddenly brings to existence the sensation of fear, emptiness, loathing — and resultant panic. Whether of the variety where the pit of one’s stomach becomes queasy, or of a disorientation of being, matters very little.

We can try and describe it, but we all recognize it without ascribing and identifying the precise word that depicts the reality of such extinguishment of existential reality: The lost wallet, the stolen purse, the sudden void of that which we have taken for granted each day; and the subsequent sense of the consequences that ensue.

It is not just the trouble of future replacements; the calls to credit card companies, the trip to the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the irreplaceable photograph tucked into the side pocket of the wallet (sorry for showing one’s age — of course, no one keeps such passport-sized photographs in a wallet, anymore, as the anachronism of such a deed has been replaced by the “saved” pictures in that ethereal “cloud” within each Smartphone so that, even if the phone itself is lost, it is never truly lost because it is forever kept in world of downloadable albums) — no, the loss is exponentially multiplied by a sense of having one’s identity violated, and of feeling that an event has occurred where something essential has been extracted from our very existence.

The lost wallet inevitably leads to a first impression of panic; but as panic is a natural reaction, it is what we do next that matters most.  And like the Federal employee or Postal worker who first realizes that he or she suffers from a medical condition, and over time, senses that the medical condition will not simply “go away”, it is the steps that follow upon the news first learned that will have the significant impact upon one’s future livelihood.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is that “next step” after the foreboding sense of reality has first been experienced.  And like the lost wallet that will need to be replaced, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the needed replacement for one’s career; and while the replacing features may not be as good as the health one once enjoyed or as lucrative as the career one previously pursued, it is a new identity that will be needed until the lost wallet is recovered in some future image of a past relinquished.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire