Federal Disability Retirement: The Trinkets We Hold Dear

If value of item determines retention of possession, then few trinkets would survive the test of economic viability; but a quick perusal of one’s home will often discover large caches of sentimental liabilities strewn throughout.  What determines value, then?  Is it the monetization of an item?  Or perhaps the psychological attachment, combined with the economic forces in capitalism of supply and demand?

Real estate values soar and plummet daily, and when one considers the “high end” fluctuations where market reductions may comprise differences in the millions, one wonders about “true value” and “false valuations” of goods and services whether small or large.  If you go through your house and begin to account for the trinkets we have amassed, is it because of the monetary value attached that we continue to retain it, or the memories and golden threads of psychological ties which bind?  Is it not often the same with other issues in one’s life — of even friendships, pets and jobs?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the question one needs to ask at the outset is:  Why are we holding onto this trinket for dear life?  Is it really worth it?  At what cost?  What are the ties that bind?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is always a traumatic event; for, it is a dramatic change, often within a context of caustic and hostile circumstances.  But to remain is rarely an option; to walk away with nothing is not a wise one; so, one is often left with the best alternative possible:  to prepare, formulate and file 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.

And like the trinket which holds one bound to memories of yore unblemished in their reflective delights of past warmth, they remain so, like the pitter-patter of a soft summer day’s cloudburst, stopping only to reveal the misty haze of a childhood dream.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Predictable Pantomimes

Most of life is simply lived.  One engages, works, plans, deliberates, initiates, completes chores, gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, etc.  Little reflection or thought is required; much of it, like an automaton on a conveyor belt of cursory convenience, requires but mere human movement.

Perhaps in the mythological State of Nature, as described by Rousseau or Locke, the predatory environment creating a necessity of alertness just to survive, required greater cognitive involvement; or, as a corollary, an utopian condition of peace and tranquil coexistence with other forces of nature.  It is when one pauses for a brief moment, reflects, and has a sudden awareness of one’s self in the presence of others, that the very knowledge of acting within the confines and context of “doing”, becomes a consciousness of self-realization.

Self-awareness — that level of consciousness beyond mere recognition of one’s surroundings, but involving a direct acuteness of “being” but simultaneously “being in the world”, is what makes for human uniqueness.

Heidegger tried to describe it through linguistic mechanisms which turned out to be beyond the common realm of understanding or comprehension, and thus became relegated to the esoteric halls of academia.  Sartre and Camus attempted to capture it through fictional depictions, and indeed, it was more the texture of the novel, The Stranger, than the actual words, which came closest to successful conveyance of the experience of the absurd.

For the daily person, medical conditions tend to starkly bring out the reality of the experience.  Medical conditions suddenly reveal one’s vulnerability, and the fragile nature of one’s being.  Mortality becomes a reality beyond mere distance-reflection of some unknown future intent; it becomes the freshness of the now for a being within a body of decay.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suddenly realizes that life, career, future and the boredom of constancy can be but a moment in time because of an impending medical condition which threatens one’s security and livelihood, 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, becomes a reality of immediacy, precisely because of the urgency of the medical condition upon one’s life and livelihood.

Suddenly, the priority of “being” presents itself.  What one did before the crisis of vulnerability was merely a predictable pantomime; the reality of life and the significance of relationships becomes the true being of living.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like a mere act of administrative convenience, but for many, it becomes the avenue of necessity in order to deal with the reality of illness, disability, and medical urgency.  And, as with all aspects of life and being, other predictable pantomimes will become apparent:  the agency’s hostile reaction; the looks of suspicion from others; unfriendly attitudes displayed by coworkers and supervisors; they are all merely actors on a larger stage, but yet to realize that “being” and “being-in-the-world” are one and the same, when tragedies befall and humanity acknowledges the fragile nature of life, like the soft petal from a dying flower which drifts soundlessly upon the earthen dust from which we were born, and to which we return.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire