Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, for most Federal and Postal employees, is tantamount to attending one’s own funeral: the time spent at one’s job constitutes the larger portion of one’s waking life, and to dissociate and sever the ties to an organization comprised of people, coworkers, missions and a daily sense of accomplishment, results in the same sense of finality and irrevocability.
That is why, even for those who have a feeling of elation in being able to “get away” from an agency — whether because it had become a poisoned atmosphere of acrimony and contentiousness; or perhaps one’s own sense of conscientiousness left one with a sense of guilt; whatever the reasons — the filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits means that the struggle to continue on, despite a medical condition which is preventing one from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, is coming to an end.
That is why, for Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is psychologically a difficult decision to make. But it is a necessary decision, in order for one to have that period of recuperative calm, to regain one’s health in order to move on to the next stage in one’s life.
It is difficult to move on precisely because there never was a funeral to attend. As with a death, others in the community continue in their daily routines after the funeral; the memories fade, and time heals all wounds.
When one departs an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a Federal Disability Retirement, a similar continuum of life occurs; others go on about their business; mean and depraved people seem to linger on the longest. There just never was a funeral to formally declare the date of finality; instead, as with MacArthur’s famous quote: “They just fade away”.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire