Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Bucket List

The notion itself has gained a level of popularity which defies the dignity of established social norms; somehow, there is underlying a suspicion that generations of staid individuals secretly desire for things they never acquired. A life of quietude is no longer acceptable; one must now traverse the Himalayan mountains and meditate in the far reaches of unexplored valleys in order to achieve a complete life; and as the virtual world of video sensations require an ever-heightened magnitude of excitement and accelerated testosterone levels, growing up and making a mere living in one’s own town constitutes a wasted life.

Bucket lists represent a proportionality of quiet desperation; for, the longer the list, the greater exponential symbolism of one’s failure to have accomplished a desired completion of life.  Aristotle’s contemplative perspective of a worthwhile life is no longer the paradigm; quantity, magnification, and romantic notions of adventure and comic book-like excitements represent the pinnacle of value.  Until, of course, the reality of human frailty and the mortality of finitude brings one back to the starkness of daily living.

Medical conditions have a peculiar way of bringing one back to reality, and humbling one into realizing that, bucket lists aside, there are mundane levels of priorities which override such artificial conceptual constructs of self-fulfilling interests. Being pain-free; having one’s short-term memory remain intact; the mere ability to walk from one’s car to the office, etc.  Medical conditions tend to force upon us the true priorities of one’s life.

For Federal and Postal employees who have come to a point in their careers where a medical condition prevents them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the “bucket list” is satisfied with one item on the list:  How best to attend to one’s medical condition.  OPM Disability Retirement is an option which must always be considered by the Federal or Postal employee, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, in order to satisfy the checkmark. Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is a long, bureaucratic process which must be waded through in order to attain the desired end.

While an arduous administrative process, it is not quite as physically difficult as climbing a mountain, nor as exciting as diving from a cliff’s edge down a ravine into the deep blue of a cavernous lake;no, Federal Disability Retirement is a mundane process which may allow for a time to attend to the needs of one’s medical conditions, and perhaps to go on to engage a second, alternate vocation.

It is perhaps not on the top of most people’s bucket list. But then, such lists were always just another creation of Hollywood, meant to be completed in storybook fashion by those whose teeth are perfectly straight, white beyond nature’s coloring, and viewed in panoramic settings with a cup of steamed latte.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: Need versus Necessity

Needs can be variegated, and can be satisfied partially, delayed for further fulfillment at a later time and event, or controlled by sheer will and self-discipline.  They can also depend upon the particular individual, circumstance and personality and/or character of an individual.  They can vary based upon the subjective perspectives of an individual.

Necessity, by contrast, implies an objective determination of a mandated requirement.  It is not to be questioned; it is unequivocally “needed”.  As a prerequisite for completion of a linear production line, a necessary cause, while perhaps insufficient in and of itself to satisfy the entirety of the sequence of events, is nevertheless a required X in order to even consider the completion to Y.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from medical conditions such that the medical illness or injury impacts one’s performance, for a time — undetermined, perhaps, in the beginning of the process — Federal Disability Retirement benefits, applied through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may merely be viewed as a need, and therefore one which may be delayed, considered, and perhaps looked upon merely as one option among others.

As the medical condition continues to progressively deteriorate, it is the seriousness of the nexus between the medical condition and one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, which ultimately begins to determine the need and transform it into a necessity.

Whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal employee must make that time of determination — that personal choice — of when the transformation occurs; but because Federal Disability Retirement takes on average 8 – 10 months to obtain, from the start of the process to its conclusion, it is well not to wait for the transformation from “need” to “necessity”, to be further characterized as the third step in the evolution — one of critical crisis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Indelible Mark

In our younger days, we all began careers with the intent of achieving that “indelible mark” — that fingerprint upon history, or perhaps in a microcosmic way, upon our local community; with grandiose plans of accomplishments; of recognition among our peers, family & neighbors.

In a theological context, the concept of an “indelible mark” represents a sacramental presence; in the secular world, one expects money, fame and public recognition to be the fruits of one’s labor.  In either event, it is that mark which cannot be erased, will not be deleted, and must not be ignored, which people strive to attain.  But in the course of maturing, one realizes the essence and priorities of life; that fame is fleeting, if relevant at all; and the mark which one truly desires is based not upon a transcendence beyond history, but of human relationships which are formed in the here and now.

Thus, for the Federal and Postal employee who has put in the long and heavy work hours in order to accomplish the mission of the agency, the poignancy of those important things in life come to the fore when a medical condition begins to impact one’s daily living.  The struggle just to survive makes for a magnification of the priorities of human relationships.  No longer is the “indelible mark” of much importance; rather, one begins to feel that those who attempt to make such a footprint in history are the very ones who contribute to and exacerbate one’s medical conditions.

Sometimes, it is the wise course of action to be willing to admit that grand visions of greatness were merely artifices left for youth and those who dream of things beyond human relationships.  When a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is time for the Federal or Postal employee to consider taking a Federal Disability Retirement, and to walk away from the very forum which may have contributed to one’s decline.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for a person to start a “new beginning”, to have a time of reconstituted period of rehabilitation; and to move forward in another, separate vocation in life. Leave an indelible mark upon one’s family, friends and community, by emphasizing that which is of value:  life, health, relationships and empathetic interactions; for, in the end, that mark which brings a momentary smile upon another, is the mark which is truly indelible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire