OPM Disability Retirement: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

The 1956 version of the film (the only one worth watching) was in black & white, and created a sensation among French Existentialists for the greatest horror committed upon a human being:  to strip one of all human emotion, and transform the person into a robotic automaton of sorts.

Camus’ novel, The Stranger, reveals a similar theme through the titular character, Meursault, where the absurdity of life, the indifference of humanity, all serve to compel him to commit a murder without reason or rationale, in a universe without emotion — until the very end when, faced with the certainty of the guillotine, he responds with rage at a chaplain who wants him to atone for his sins.

Life itself can be the slow drip-drip-drip of stripping one of emotions, somewhat like spores which fall and turn into seed pods, and slowly attaches, drains, and diminishes the uniqueness of the individual; or like the greater absurdity of performing apparently meaningless tasks, where a sense of separateness and division occurs as a chasm between worth and work, as when Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, only to see it slither back down the other side.

Medical conditions sometimes awaken us from the slumber of absurdity.  It is in and of itself an anomaly of sorts, to have to face the mortality and fragility of one’s life, thereby unraveling thoughts of worthiness in a world devoid of care, empathy or concern.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, is a step taken to climb out of that chasm or void of dissipating meaningfulness.  For, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to continue bringing meaning and purposefulness to a job, within a context of an agency which shows indifference and outright animosity, it is time to escape the alien pods and devise an escape route from the invasion of the body snatchers.

It is like Sartre’s quip that Hell “is other people” — of that moment when a person looks through a keyhole and views another as a mere object, then senses someone else behind, and realizes that you were being watched watching others as an object, only to be considered as an object as well.  Similarly, when a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service begins to treat the Federal or Postal employee as a fungible object of nominal worth, it is time to seek and monetize one’s worth at another location, another context, a different venue.

Medical conditions demean and diminish in multiple ways:  one’s own consciousness recognizes the devaluation of being “less than whole”; others begin to approach and treat with trepidation; and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service fail to accommodate according to the laws already in place.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.  The “means” requires an affirmative step by the Federal or Postal employee to traverse from the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service by beginning the preparation and formulation for filing of an OPM Disability Retirement application; the “exit” is the concerted effort to run afar from those spores from heaven, as the body snatchers who drain life and vitality through the keyhole of sanity where absurdity and meaning clash in a titanic battle for human worth.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government: The Run

Stockings and watercolors do it; time, with quietude and solace of a steady march, moving with predictable sequence like the consistency of a drumbeat; and, of course, the rhythm reminiscent of cardiac health, as do joggers and concerned citizens chasing down a purse snatcher to retrieve a possession of identity.  And life, too.

Sometimes, there is a good “run” of something — a lengthy period of calm and productivity, where all of the pistons of a complex and interactive mechanism akin to a turbo engine are firing away in tandem, and life is good, fruitful and positive.  But the inevitability of a breakdown can always be around the proverbial corner; a medical condition, suffered by a Federal or Postal employee, is not merely a stoppage of such a “run”, but can be a disruptive cacophony of ceaseless interruptions, both to career and to personal contentment.

The key is to get beyond, over, or around the obstacle which lands in the middle of one’s pathway for future well-being.  The child who fails to see the watercolors running; the invention of the stockings that never run; the life that seemingly runs smoothly; all, a perspective wrought at a price of neglect or deliberate ruse.  The fact is, life always has interruptions.

A medical condition can be a major one, and when it begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset may need to consider an alternate course and begin anew a run of a different sort.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is indeed a change of course.  It involves a complex bureaucratic strategy to get from point A to destination B, and the administrative obstacles are many, but not insurmountable.  And, like the verb itself, it provides many meanings for differing circumstances, but the one and central root of the process involves embracing the paradigm that life is never as easy as one thinks, and like the child who believes that he is the next Picasso in training, the run of the unpredictable always betrays the truth of our condition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire