OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Dawn’s Transition

In the calm of morning darkness, when the stillness of winter whispers a hushed tone of quietude just before the first break of dawn, one’s perspective falls askew amidst the shadows and desolation of winter.  Is that a rock or a dead bird, frozen in the stillness of winter’s despair?  Was the movement behind the trees a reflection, or just the first faintness of dawn’s exposure?  Perspectives are funny glazes; a once familiar landscape can be frighteningly unfamiliar within the dark chasms of one’s own mind.

Then, almost imperceptibly, the light of dawn begins to pervade, and that which once appeared strange and foreboding, takes on the familiarity of known objects, recognizable forms, and identifiable shapes.  We live by light, and light is the friend of our fanciful imaginations gone awry by fear and loathing.

Medical conditions have a similar subtlety, much like the light of dawn:  they slowly creep upon one, until the debilitating impact is revealed when just a moment before, the fear of darkness was overwhelming.  But just as the morning glow of the rising sun will bring warmth and a promise of openness, so the hope underlying any conflict in life must be placed within a context of future castings.  Hope is for the future, as light is a diminishment of a present or past darkness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition,  present circumstances are often like the overwhelming and foreboding sense of morning darkness before the dawn of the rising sun; it portends yet of a future unknown, and a fate yet to be decided.  That is why it is important to “let go” of those things of which one has no control, and concurrently, to affirmatively take steps towards the familiarity of that which is known.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a “known” quantity.  Yes, it is a difficult administrative process and procedure to engage; yes, it is a bureaucratic morass of unquantifiable proportions; but it is a necessary step for those Federal or Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the positional slot of one’s Federal or Postal job.

As the allegory in Plato’s Republic tells the story of the enslaved shadows struggling in the darkness of the Cave, so the Federal or Postal employee who looks up at the opening beyond, to the light of dawn, must surely recognize that the fear and loathing felt in the shadows wavering in that moment before dawn’s glory, is but a temporary point in fate’s cradle, just before the brightness of one’s future is revealed in a time and place yet to be destined for the glory of summer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: The Bygone Era of the Single Photograph

It sits upon a private pedestal, prominent for its centrality and foundational focus; it is that which lives are built upon, like the cornerstone which, if withdrawn, unravels the structural integrity and shatters the countenance of teleological significance. But with time, they fade; that which was thought to be timeless and withstanding of mortality, as with all things less than angels but stewards of God’s gifts; and the chemical admixtures which created the bright sheen in the first days thereafter, are now but fading glories of past experiences gathered through a lifetime of memories.

It used to be that photographs were special captives of a moment in time, frozen of significance, and encapsulated by relevance in the important event of a greater life.  The wedding photograph — that serious pose of two people, strangers but for a period of courtship, who stare into the lens where, in a flash of a frozen eternity of bliss, the images reflected upside down represent a commitment beyond mere contractual combining of lives.

Today, with digital cameras, the world is viewed through virtual reality, where experiences are no longer preserved for posterity, but where the perceptual “now” parallels the receptors of immediacy.  An event is no longer captured in a singular photograph; rather, the exponential explosion of the volume of images outpaces the memories which embraced them. But it is the singular moment which is remembered; its importance and relevance constitutes the uniqueness of who we are, what we strive for, and the future foundation upon which we build.

When medical conditions impact a person, the intervening event is a milestone of sorts, for those whose purpose of serious endeavors throughout a lifetime was captivated not by self-interest or preservation of ego, but because the pedestal of relevance mattered.  For Federal employee who suffers from an injury or other disabling condition, where the medical condition impacts the very foundation of a career, and therefore tears apart the fibers and filaments which bind the relevance of a lifetime of accomplishments, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the event itself — of having to acknowledge that one’s medical condition can no longer be consistently maintained and managed while working at all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal duties — often represents a fading of that singular photograph kept safe on a corner pedestal of time.

The medical condition itself is a trauma; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be a further time of turmoil, precisely because it is an event of significance: of change, of foundational shattering, and an admission of mortality. Like the bygone era of the single photograph, the career which one chose when once youth beckoned with rash confidence, sits fading with time upon the acknowledgment that one’s medical condition has revealed the extent of one’s vulnerability in a world less caring than once promised.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire