Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Oh, but That Youthful Sense of Invincibility

In the beginning, that sense of potentiality was seemingly endless; while the actual constraints, whether based upon one’s own educational or intellectual limitations, or perhaps that proverbial glass ceiling of nepotism, favoritism, or exclusivity of previously-formed bonds and relationships; but ignorance can indeed be blissful, and youthful vigor and enthusiasm makes up for that lack of reality-based experience which transforms us all into crusty old men of cynical negations floating in a universe of perverse ill-will.

The world was full of hope and opportunity, and nothing could stop that bundle of positive energy, naive anticipation, and future-oriented and exhaustive optimism. Even health was of no concern.  Disabilities?  Nary a thought.  Inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job?  Not to be considered, for youthful vigor and unbounded energy could not contain the late hours and extra, unpaid dedication reflecting loyalty and meticulousness of purpose.

But at some point the reality of the human condition prevails upon us all, and the limitations of the human body, the frailty of one’s psyche after years of abuse, deliberate attacks and unfettered stresses — they take their toll. Time marches unperturbed, but the response of the human body, mind and soul is one of deterioration and decay.

Did that youth consider what benefits were part of the compensation package? Not initially. But later, Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, can become an important discovery for those who are beset with a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.

It applies to all Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, and is ultimately decided upon by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  While such considerations may not have been thought of in one’s youth, such naive indiscretions are fortunately forgivable, and despite such thoughtlessness, the availability remains for all Federal and Postal employees to consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Time and Age

Two old people on a park bench; and, of course, the image is one of time passing, of coiffed cauliflower clouds lazily drifting above, bringing passing intermittent shadows on a windblown fall day. A man and a woman; as the jogger passes by, seeing these two elderly figures sitting near, but not intimately so, to one another; the identifying passing thought: an old couple; grandparents; old people from another time. Such thoughts are often fleetingly dismissive; for some reason, each generation believes that theirs is “the one”; that those who are old are irrelevant; that grey hair and wrinkled foreheads; that deeply etched lines showing decades of smiling; of accordion-shriveled upper lips; of canes revealing painful arches and arthritic knees somehow diminishes one’s being.

The young are too busy with projects, plans and purposeful pursuits; Heidegger recognized the profound lobotomized bifurcation of our lives: old age and death are the penultimate ontological end; how we divert our focus upon that telos is the singular key for the young; for to ruminate upon our death is to become overwhelmed with existential angst; of the Prozac generation that we have become; for it is indeed our projects and hobbies which provide the diversion from such ruminations; and so the old have endured and survived, only to come ever so closer to that end which they spent their lives attempting to avoid; for death comes “like a thief in the night”, and all that we can do is hope that our projects and diversions will keep us occupied until the time of eternal slumber.

But it is still a puzzle, is it not, why the young view the old as irrelevant? The old are a source of wisdom, or should be; as Confucius once stated, By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is the bitterest. But to imitate would be to remind one of impending death; to experience would take us away from our diversions; and to reflect would mean we would have to face ourselves. And so the old are passed by; as joggers see the world peripherally, in a whisk of blurred images, of trees and rectangles of sidewalks; of pets being walked and automobiles passing; and two old people on a park bench. Lovely couple. Old. What’s my schedule for this afternoon?

Time passes; the daily engagement of diversions must be attended to. Otherwise, we may be forced to reflect upon the very worth of our being, and the worthiness of those very diversions which are meant to occupy our thoughts.

For, who among us can freeze time at any given moment of our lives, and honestly declare that we are acting as worthy stewards of such a precious commodity?