OPM Medical Retirement: Graven Images and Craven Homages

One concerns religious restrictions; the other, human tendencies emanating from deeply rooted psychological fears.  Both constitute acts which reflect a trepidation of purpose, and an anthropological study of human frailty.  The Commandment against graven images protects one to respect the sanctity of a singular teleological focus; homage by craven impulse, on the other hand, reveals the continuing connection to an enslaved state of mind, albeit one which may merely be emotionally binding and unfettered by physical force or threat of force.

Both make us pause; and question:  Do we continue to do this out of fear, and fear of what?  How much of human action — or inaction — is engaged in because of fear; fear of the unknown future; timidity of change; cowardly hesitation because change from the status quo may force one to alter the comforting monotony of daily routines.  Explicit adherence and unwavering allegiance to dictates of religious imperatives have conceptual distinctions to be recognized from mere secular responses growing out of a primordial foundation of fear; but still the question becomes, How does one define an image, and what are the borders which constrain that which is offensive?

Medical conditions tend to startle us from the quietude of daily repetition in life.  We tend to become even more religious in our adherence to routine, when the comfort of monotony is preferable to the conundrum of disarray.  But how much homage must one pay to one’s agency, or the U.S. Postal Service, before one’s soul has been desecrated by a blind fealty to the master of one’s employment destiny, where we begin to violate the commandment against graven images?

Medical conditions deplete and debilitate; in such a weakened state, we become even more vulnerable to the power of the agency and the harassing vitriol spewed by the U.S. Postal Service managers and supervisors.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management allows for a separation from the vestiges of foregone fealties.  It is a termination from the consoling state of known quantities; but one which may ultimately have to be done in order to save one’s soul.  So long as one remains in the state of enslaved vulnerability, of being turned and twisted by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service, there is always the serious concern of the exacerbation of one’s condition, either because of the stress or hostility of complicating one’s medical conditions.

Federal Disability Retirement may not be the be-all and end-all solution for all Federal or Postal employees, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; but it is a step towards cutting the ties which bind, and which force us to pay craven homage or maintain graven images for fealty to a juggernaut which neither cares nor, in the end, consoles our souls.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement Application and Process: The Foreign Menu

Certain processes and endeavors in life are tantamount to a foreign menu; one knows that, within the undecipherable and incomprehensible letters and symbols presented before one, amidst the evocative smells and provocative sounds emanating from the kitchen in the back, and behind the sounds and voices formed and learned in another land in distant places beyond the horizon of one’s familiarity, there is a dish of choice which one would, if one could identify it, choose for the occasion before us.  But the menu is in another language; the words and symbols are undecipherable; and the waiters, waitresses, cooks and managers speak not a word of one’s own; and all attempts at describing the wants and desires of the moment have failed, because food is an appetite of desire, and not one which finds its core in the rational basis of words and conceptual constructs.

Can such a scenario occur?  Can one find oneself in a restaurant unable to relate or communicate?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, and who must therefore engage the process of 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, the similarity to the scenario described, and the familiarity of the circumstances conveyed, can be frighteningly reflective of the reality experienced.

Perhaps it should not be such a complicated process.  Considering the circumstances — of an injured or medically debilitated Federal or Postal worker who must concurrently contend with both the complexity of the bureaucratic process as well as the confounding and discomforting issues of the medical conditions themselves — one would think that the gathering of evidentiary sufficiency, the legal pitfalls to be maneuvered, the standard forms to be completed, etc., would all be simplified to fit the onerous circumstances requiring submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  But the fact is that Federal Disability Retirement is a complicated and complex administrative process with no “short cuts” to fruition.

It is a bureaucratic procedure which much be endured — much like the untenable situation of the man who walks into a restaurant thinking only of the satisfying meal to be ordered, only to find that the menu set upon the table is in a foreign language, undecipherable and incomprehensible, except to the proprietors and those who prepare the dishes of choice, in a clattering kitchen far in the background where echoes abound but confusion compounds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire