OPM Disability: Demythologization of the Process

Beyond being an ugly word, Spinoza attempted it, but closer to the heart of a flawed hermeneutical approach, the theologian, Rudolf Bultmann spent his career attempting to separate the conceptually inseparable narratives encapsulating historical content, context and the meaning behind miracles and metaphor.

All processes are mysterious, until detachedly analyzed, devalued or debunked.  Some merely throw up their hands and reject a subject in its entirety; others spend a lifetime in trying to understand it, and thus do cottage industries emerge.  The peril of pursuing a discipline of futility is that, in the end, the process of one’s own actions may be just as inexorably a conundrum as that which one attempts to unravel; read a single, random paragraph from Heidegger, and one immediately understands such a declaration of frustration.

Often, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the prefatory statements of confusion abound:  ” I’ve heard that…”; “OPM always …”; “Is it even worth it to…”  But there is indeed a practical difference between the bureaucracy itself, and the bureaucratic process; the former is merely a juggernaut of an agency which is impenetrable because of the nature of the Federal system; the latter is an administrative process replete with multiple layers of statutory and regulatory devices which are complex in their compendium of requirements.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the lay person, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a complex, puzzling and often overwhelming process.  It can be likened to handing a complex transactional law case involving multiple Fortune 500 companies attempting to merge for purposes of avoiding specific legal entanglements to a first-year associate; mistakes are bound to be made, as one fails to recognize the inherent complexities or the need to draft preventative safeguards.

Further, when a medical condition already weakens the physical stamina of the Federal or Postal employee, and tests the limits of one’s cognitive acuity, the ability and capacity to engage a large and complex bureaucracy can be, at best, a challenge.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is analogous to the hermeneutical approach of attempt to demythologize a sacrosanct text of unyielding historical import; the difference from theology, however, is in the pragmatic need and practical residual consequences foretelling; and as they say in the fine-print warning of some advertisements, you should probably not try this on your own.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Rhythmic Interruptions

A simple alteration such as moving the clock forward or backward one hour, in accordance with daylight savings time, can interrupt the rhythmic habituation of daily living.  Such minor tinkering has greater impact than we care to concede, and to which we fail to respond appropriately.

Man enjoys the pinnacle of technological snobbery; daily, he lives “as if”; whether lost in the insular privacy of his own thoughts, or deliberately in the parallel universes created through video escapism, virtual universes of linguistic scaffolds high atop the animal kingdom, the ignoring and averting of biological rhythms is to the detriment of health, whether mental or physical.

One can get away with dismissing a singular incident of feeling out of coordination because of a long day, a tiring embattlement with work, or a protracted convalescence from unexpected turmoil. But medical conditions which are progressive in nature, chronic in defying avoidance, and deteriorating to a degree which cannot be denied, are all greater exponential forces beyond mere rhythmic interruptions of daily routine. Some things, we can ignore; others, we do so at the cost of paying a greater price by procrastination.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are available for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who decides, after long and quiet deliberation, that an impasse has occurred between one’s health and one’s physical or cognitive requirements of the positional duties required by the Federal or Postal job. Rhythmic interruptions are one category; medical conditions which have an interceding impact upon the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, quite another.

Fighting the good fight does not mean that one should expend to the end of time at the cost of one’s health.  When the Federal or Postal employee recognizes that the fictional fantasy of being at the pinnacle of the animal world does not include being exempted from the biological reality of injury and disease, and that rhythmic interruptions resulting from a health issue need to be attended to, then the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement will be appreciated, as it is an employment benefit available to all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum years of creditable service with the Federal Government.

One can lie to one’s self only for so long; and as the species of Man can survive with the blanket of surreal condiments by asserting exemption from biological entrapment, so the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, can endure pain and rhythmic interruptions only for so long.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire