Filing for FERS Disability Retirement: The identity of choice

In the end, do we?  That is — do we have a choice when it comes to our identity?  Of course, in this day and age where word-play has become completely malleable, and where Truth and Falsity rarely matter except when tested against the exigencies of the objective universe (i.e., as when crossing a street and someone says, “Be careful, a bus is coming”, and you suddenly realize that the truth or falsity of such a statement can actually have real-life consequences), the question becomes: How does one define one’s use of the word, “identity”?  Is it based upon the aggregation of objective and subjective statements, beliefs, opinions and perspectives?

In other words, are we merely the compendium of cumulative voices based upon: Our birth certificate; the driver’s license in our wallets; the memories retained by our parents, grandparents and relatives; how our friends view us; what our spouses believe us to be; what the neighborhood dogs recalls from sniffing at our feet — the cumulative aggregation of all of such factors?  Is who we are — our “identity” — different from who we believe we are?  If everyone believes X to be such-and-such but X believes himself to be a secret agent working for a mysterious foreign entity, what (or who) determines the reality of our identity?  Or, is “identity” based upon the collective perspective of a community that “knows” that individual?  Can we “choose’ our identity, and if so, completely or only partially?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to continue to work in one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a concomitant “identity crisis” that accompanies the medical condition.  No longer are you the stellar worker for the Federal Agency; no longer are you the reliable provider who slogs through the daily toil as a Postal employee; instead, your identity is one of having a medical condition that limits, prevents, subverts or otherwise alters the way in which you live.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement becomes an alternative that must be chosen, and that “choice” may alter who you are and what others may think about you.  But in the end, you do have a choice: The essence of who you are remains always within; the identity of choice is not altered merely because you file for a benefit that must be pursued because of a medical condition that was incurred through no fault of your own; and anyone who thinks otherwise never knew you to begin with.  For, in the end, the identity of choice was and remains always within the purview and power within each of us; we just didn’t know it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: Loss of Identity

It is often the fear of losing one’s identity which prevents one from moving forward and doing what one must, what one should, and what one needs to do in life.

For some, it may involve the complexity of human interaction and involvement with people; for others, a sense of accomplishment and goal-oriented tasks; but for all, the identity of self developed through reputation, interaction, subjectively-held viewpoints and objectively-determined statements of fact: “others” see you as the Federal Air Marshal, the Auditor, the Mail Carrier, the Electronic Technician, the Air Traffic Controller, the Budget Analyst, the Attorney-Advisor, the Administrative Officer, and a multitude of other identifiable positions which grant to the Federal or Postal employee a defined role in the mission of a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is precisely that objectively-applied identity, developed through years of self-identification combined with being defined by others, which in their cumulative aggregation, forms the knowledge of self over the years.  Such an identity becomes threatened, however, when loss of position becomes a reality in the fact of a medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal employee or the Postal worker from continuing in the role of the defined position.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who discover that the intersection of life’s misfortunes cannot be fully resolved in favor of what one wants, but must consider what is needed and required, the realization that loss of identity often raises the specter of roadblocks preventing the building of necessary steps, which then results in procrastination and greater loss due to delay, is a daily encounter with contradictions and conflicts which cannot be compromised.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, for the Federal employee or Postal worker who is under either FERS or CSRS, is a necessity mandated by circumstances beyond one’s control. It is when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that consideration needs to be given to filing for disability with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The fear of loss of identity-through-job is ultimately an imaginary one, and one which belies the true essence of a person’s identity. One can get caught up in the “mission of the agency” or the camaraderie of corporate functions; but in the end, but for one’s health, very little retains meaning or significance; and to sacrifice one’s health for a bureaucratic entity which will survive long after one’s life, is a folly encapsulating tragic proportions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire