Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: It’s a Dog’s Life

Animals are entities we encounter as subjects in a world of objects, but with whom we can have relationships and interactions beyond mere utility; the affection of a dog or similar pet, their importance in one’s life — these are beyond measurable quantification of significance.  But there is a difference in the “other” species; of the immediacy of need, the lack of concern for tomorrow, and happiness determined by thoughts of future occurrences or predicted circumstances.

Trouble makers

Looking for trouble (don’t try this at home … these puppies are trained professionals).

That difference is often what determines the linear intractability of human anxiety, as opposed to the fullness of joy seen in a dog or a cat.  Dogs are happy because they are; the present immediacy of their satisfied lives is contained within the existential presence of the here and now.  Worries about tomorrow, or next year; how will we get on with life? What is the meaning of…   These are not tangible concerns which dogs and cats, or other similar species, concern themselves with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, those anxiety-filled question impacting future security come to the fore, and begin to haunt.  But that life could be like that of a dog; yet, on the other hand, one need only visit the many animal rescue facilities to conclude that a dog’s life is not always a metaphor for endless joy.

For the Federal or Postal worker, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should have some weight of relief as an option for the future.  It is, after all, a benefit which is part of one’s employment and compensation package, but one which is often not emphasized at the initial stages of one’s career.  It provides for an annuity while allowing for employment outside of the Federal Sector, within certain guidelines and limitations.

Sleeping puppy

After a long day terrifying JWs, girl scouts and mail carriers, this puppy needs to take a much needed nap. (This model is the nephew of a former client and Postal employee).

During a time of medical need, the priority of concerns should always be:  attend to one’s medical conditions; get through each day to the best extent possible; secure one’s future, including filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits if one is a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, as soon as the need becomes known.

For the Federal and Postal worker, such priority of circumstances is what determines the present and future happiness of one’s existence; for the dog, it is the second of the three which matters, but then, as long as the meal is served, and the after-dinner treat is offered, the wagging tail tells the tale of contentment at the end of a long day’s journey.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

The Self-Image of a Postal or Federal Employee after a Disabling Injury or Other Medical Condition

Thurber’s Walter Mitty is not an anomaly; each of us carries a fiction within our insular souls, of lives extended into a world of fantasy, trespassing between daydreams and thoughts of heroic deeds beyond the mundane routines of daily living.  Perhaps there are those in the world whose lives are so adventure-filled that such retinues of alternative parallelism within universes of imaginations becomes unnecessary; but that is a rarity, as human beings are partly unique because of the creative outreach beyond the present circumstances of life.

It is only when such creative imaginations directly encounter and contradict the reality of life; where one begins to imagine beyond the imagination, and talk and act “as if” the virtual reality constitutes the real reality, that problems can occur.   The fragile demarcation between sanity and insanity may be arbitrarily imposed by an unforgiving society, but it is a boundary wide enough to entrap the unwary.  Medical conditions have a tendency to stretch that line.  Whether because of the stresses encountered in this age of modernity and technological complexity; or perhaps the inability to adapt, where evolutionary tools have not been able to keep up with the pace of change; whatever the reasons, medical conditions force the facing of reality, the starkness of our mortality, and the need for change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the primary need is often the time of recuperation.  But the unforgiving nature of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service will often refuse to grant that necessary time in order to reach a plateau of recovery.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through one’s agency (if you are still on the rolls of the agency, or have been separated but not more than 31 days has passed) and ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a means to an end.

Often, one thinks of “disability retirement” as an end in and of itself; but because Federal Disability Retirement allows for, and implicitly encourages, the Federal and Postal worker to consider employment opportunities outside of the Federal Sector after securing Federal Medical Retirement benefits, it should instead by seen as an intermediate component of one’s life.

Making a living is a challenge enough; the loss of one’s self-image through the impact of a medical condition can be a devastating interruption to the challenge; but for the Federal and Postal employee who can secure a Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefit, the interruption can be seen as a mere interlude, for greater opportunities extending into the future, and thereby allow from the daydreams of Walter Mitty to be enjoyed as mere reflections of pleasure, instead of wishful swan songs of a closing chapter as the curtain descends upon the epilogue of one’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Interruption of Tradition

The common remark against the American culture is that it lacks any stabilizing force of tradition.  That is a fair criticism, given that it has emerged from a recognized “Old World” and designated as the “New World”; and, indeed, it is where cultures and traditions were left behind, in search of a fresh beginning and open opportunities to remake one’s self, the future, etc., and thus leaving behind the past and old ways of living and thinking.

That is the macro-cultural perspective; but within the microcosm of one’s insular universe, the privacy of small pockets of traditions form.  Individuals and families perform acts, engage in daily living and embrace repetitive forms of normative establishments, thereby creating private dwellings of tradition.  Yes, the concept of tradition normally is comprised of the transmission of an established set of values, beliefs, etc., from generation to generation; but if there exists none, and freedom and liberty continually interrupts the constancy of cross-generational transference of the old ways, can one “create” a tradition within a family, a group, or an individual?

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, the vacuum of a lack of tradition necessitates finding security and refuge in one’s family and the daily, repetitive connection with one’s Federal or Postal employment. That is why filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often an extremely traumatic event.  Where values and self-identity are formed within the context of one’s employment, and where such identification of self extends for years and decades back to one’s family, the sudden interruption and dismantling of a lifetime of daily routine in performing the essential elements of one’s job, is indeed a trying and difficult time.

If “tradition” is likened to “routine”, and instead of inter-generational transmission of values, it is replaced with a set of constancy of actions over an expansive period of time, then the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be likened to the sudden uprooting of a person who must travel from the “Old World” to the New World.

What devastating impact upon the psyche must have occurred upon arrival to a strange land.  But then, such psychology of trauma must be similarly experienced by the Federal or Postal worker who loves his job, but where a medical condition suddenly necessitates the sudden demise of working for a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and where one’s self-identity must now change because he or she can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job. Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset, the Federal or Postal worker who, as a result of a medical condition, can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, can file for, and become eligible to receive, Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Yes, it can be a traumatic event; and, yes, it can be the destruction of a tradition of years of established routines in one’s life. But like the immigrant of old who had to uproot from a land where opportunities faded and starved, the Federal and Postal worker who files for Federal OPM Disability Retirement must look to the future, and follow the sage advice of old, as Horace Greeley is said to have quipped, and to “Go West, young man…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire