OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Life as a frown

Is most of life a frown, with a few smiles which make it all worthwhile?  Or is it perceived as its opposite – of predominantly smiles, with some frowns interspersed throughout?  Is that like the test-question for psychological health, of whether the glass is seen as half empty, or half filled?  Does the answer to the question depend upon the mood of the moment, the ethereal pattern of the day, or the fabric of that which is woven into our DNA by a matrix of unassailable conventions?  There is, to be sure, a weight of paradigms and an interwoven context which cumulatively aggregates into a “personality” of who one is; but can a Rorschach test unravel the depths of a psyche, or does it determine the course of one’s future actions because of the embedded nature of an anguished soul?

One wonders, ultimately, whether language is the conduit of the perception we possess, and that is why the Hindu guru or the Zen monk admonishes to seek silence, and to quell the obstacle of words and voices.  For, does an animal engage in unspeakable atrocities?  Of self-harm or self-immolation, or worse, of mass executions?  Is it not because of the conveyance of language, in communicating thoughts created and linguistic strings of previously-unimagined evils, that we reach the pinnacle of banality (to borrow a phrase from the Philosopher, Hannah Arendt)?  Would a man of such mediocrity as Eichmann have concocted the horrors of mass extermination, but for felicities directed by a conspiracy of greater evils?

Life as a frown; it is to approach the world with a certain perspective.  Life as a smile; it is to reproach the universe for being too downtrodden.  Is there a difference, or merely a play upon words where the distinction is lost once we wipe away the blur from our morning eyes and begin to engage in the work of the day?

Leisure is needed for the miscreant to employ the folly of a wasted day.  Time was that we all had to survive by physical toil, and worry involved how to eat in order to survive.  That is what consumes all of the rest of the Animal Kingdom; to survive, one must eat; to eat, one must toil; and the rest and residue leaves one too exhausted to consider, but for the technology of leisure where thoughts may invade and pervade, in order to create malevolent constructs of linguistic artifices.

For the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the “approach of life” is an easy matter to conceive of:  the medical condition itself has made the determination for you.  Life becomes a frown, with nary a smile to intercede, when the work of each day is beset with anguish, pain and sorrow.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, actually has a constructive goal and purpose:  To alter the course of a future yet undetermined, and make life as a basket of smiles, to the extent possible in this universe of frowns.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hesitant Hole

The famous one, of course, and the one which draws the imagination, is depicted in Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice and her journey down the rabbit’s abyss; another, the one which determines the relative shortcomings of weather predictability, but that one is guided more by shadows and perceptions from above, as opposed to the one dug below; or, there is the one which we dig for ourselves, and the proverbial timelessness of our foolish deeds.

Of the first, we remember the endless stretch of our imaginations which is expanded by the creativity of the author and the world of fantasy; the second, the reality of the dread we feel for the weather, the cold and the shortened days of winter when we yearn for the coming lull of summer warmth; and of the latter, it reminds us that the consequences of our own misdeeds continue to haunt us despite trepidation and timidity.

Do holes have a character?  Are some holes dug with delight?  Like deep caverns reaching beneath sandcastles on dreamy days of childhood laughter echoing against the wind and waves of salted air; or of the deep crevices and potholes in roads of concrete and steel, when the shifting tectonic forces of nature collide with man’s attempt to construct artificial barriers against timeless changes of fortitude and fear; and the one’s we claw at.

The large ones created by bulldozers and other machines, do they not unravel the once-concealed arrogance of man?  And the careful pawing of the delicate hand in the timeless sand, where castles crumble with trepidations of joy?  But it is the grownup’s attempts at escape, of creating a hiding place where adulthood no longer allows for Alice’s wanderings into a virtual world of imagination and creative loss, and the dread of reality bearing upon the fearful universe we cannot understand, fail to navigate and refuse to negotiate.

The world is indeed a fearful place, and we wish there would always be a rabbit hole to fall into, if only to escape the harshness of our own misgivings.  But beyond that hole into which we inadvertently fall, it is the one’s we dig for ourselves — hesitantly — which create the greatest of calamities.  For, when we do it with trepidation and fear, it is the slow and incremental depth and vastness of it which escapes our immediate attention.

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 positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is that hesitation which continues to create the deepened caverns of choices for future security and certainty.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is always a difficult decision to make; indeed, filing for OPM medical retirement means that a change is forthcoming, both in career and in finances.  But because the entire administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a long and arduous road to take, it is the hesitant hole which we dig by procrastinating, delaying and obfuscating that often makes for that seemingly endless fall from grace which Alice kept wondering about; but for her, at least she knew that the hole she fell into was the creation of the rabbit she pursued, and not the hesitant hole of one’s own making into which we cannot dig ourselves out from.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Static Divides

Most of our lives are struggles to maintain the status quo; for, as change results in turmoil, so rectitude of unchanged repetition requires the least amount of effort, but mere monotony of action to forego any greater expenditure of further efforts.  It is when the static longevity of identical mirroring of life begins to harm, that it then divides us.

Doing the same thing daily, over and over again, with slight variations to accommodate life’s vicissitudes, allows for the peaceful quietude of daily living; but when such repetition of activity may potentially lead to self-immolation through inactivity of thought, then that is what some term as “insanity”.  When the static calm of daily living results in a division of spoils, it must spur one to a different way of thinking.

Medical conditions tend to do that to us.  For, it is those “outside forces” which we cannot control, which mandates activity previously unforeseen.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a time of disquietude, precisely because change is now imminent in the projected future of our own imagination.  It means that one must take affirmative steps and actively engage in the process of that very division which we delayed, procrastinated, and persistently disregarded, and perhaps even lied to ourselves about tomorrow, next week, or next month.

The future is always upon us; and when we ignore the perils of tomorrow, we pay for it at the price of today.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is never an easy matter; it is disruptive, a bureaucratic nightmare, and an agony of engagement with a distasteful palate.  But as the time of static division pervades even unto our very soul, it is time to take that step for change and begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, bringing change into our lives in a world often unchanging but resistant to the enemy of ourselves.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire