Disability Retirement from Government Employment: The Beat of Life

Have you ever had a dream (or nightmare) where you are the only one out of sync?  Whether in a choir or perhaps playing an instrument, and everyone around stares with irritation or dismay, and no matter what efforts you expend, nothing seems to allow for a synchronization of movements, sounds or stylistic applications?

Or in other similar circumstances, whether in sports, dance, or other events requiring coordination of efforts and timing of actions, the personification of self reflects a complete lack of capacity to become a quiet pendulum of rhythmic beats.  And much of life is like that; there is a rhythm and a beat, and one day we wake up and everything seems out of sync, out of kilter, and no matter what we do, how hard we try, the beat of life seems to go on without us.

The phrase itself, “The beat of life”, of course, has a sense of double entendre; the first implying the rhythmic march of one’s existence, and the other denoting the thrashing inflicted through the existential encounters experienced daily.  Both, in either form, connote the consequences of the spectrum felt and the degree effectuated upon the soul of an individual.  Medical conditions tend to do that independently of any control we attempt to exert upon the environment surrounding us.  Control and our ability and capacity to determine one’s fate, is not confined or unique to the proverbial “Type-A” personality.

We all desire to be the master of our defined universe.  To lose control is to relinquish the beat and rhythm of life.   It is to be banished from the comity and security of the fiefdom we have ascribed and announced our liege to, and for which we have dedicated out lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the discovery of a medical condition which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, is tantamount to a moment in a dream when the beat of life begins and ends.  The old rhythmic consonance of mellifluous comity terminates, and the new and adversarial relationship, both against the medical condition itself and the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which fails to accommodate and refuses to cooperate, must be endured and confronted.

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, must be considered, precisely because a new beat must be found, and the band which played the tunes before can no longer comprehend the stylistic differentiation which you have now experienced, like a religious awakening expanding beyond the horizon one may have expected at the beginning of the journey.

But whether one lives a life in a small town and never leaves the security of the neighborhood born, or one travels through and traverses the cultural divides of the world, the beat of life one carries is somewhat like the backpack of the pilgrim, and for the Federal and Postal worker who must move on to the next phase of life, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM becomes a necessary step to allow for the beat of life to continue, lest you allow life itself to beat you down.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire