Filing for OPM Disability Retirement: The Novel Approach

The genre represents the highest form of literature.  Poetry possesses its eccentric beauty; the short story its ease of brevity for the reader to pick up and finish in convenience of time, and thus its popularity; the biography and the epistemologically privileged cousin, the autobiography, its authentic historicity; and others by design of self-promotion, as Truman Capote’s “non-fiction novel” (an oxymoron?).

But the novel is the king of prose; of a narrative form which allows for many rooms in an endless castle of hidden trap doors and secret galleys full of antiquities and doorways yet to be revealed.  Perhaps that is why, used as an adjective, it defines a uniqueness of approach, akin to the traditional use of the word as a noun representing the highest form of art.

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 positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, engaging in a “novel” idea may be the best and only option left.

Where the medical condition no longer allows for the continuation of one’s career, and yet the Federal or Postal employee believes that he or she can still remain productive in the employment arena, it is indeed a novel approach for a benefit to pay for one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and yet allow concurrently for the Federal or Postal employee to enter into the private sector, obtain a second vocation, and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering 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, it is precisely that allowance of continuation of productivity which fairly recognizes that there is not necessary incompatibility between a medical condition and contribution of talents.

Like the novel genre and the novel idea, they both acknowledge the penultimate value of human creativity, and allow for the characters to develop in the unfolding saga of a story yet untold.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Light & Darkness

Darkness is the absence of light; and whether “black” is a color, or the complete expungement or its very opposite, the aggregation and mixture of all colors into a single cauldron of rainbows, is a concept often debated, based upon philosophical paradigms of objective criteria.  But darkness is not the same as color, or the lack thereof; rather, it points to the subjective capacity to perceive; and thus do we attribute the word, the concept, and the ideation not only to sight, but to moods and feelings.  And of its antithesis, do we embrace a similitude:  of lightness of being, having light-headedness, and of metaphors involving shining bright lights upon dark corners of moods and metabolic disturbances.

Medical conditions and situations which entrap moods and mental mindsets, are often enveloped in what can only be described as “darkness”.  One may discount and serve with ironic suspicion the use of anthropomorphic metaphors and analogies to describe circumstances and moods of pervasive negations, but the fact is that the mode of communication we primarily use — of linguistic tools through words and stringing together of words — can sometimes only inadequately express the profound and overwhelming sense of one’s being.  “Darkness” and escape from such a situation through the shining of light, is a concept which individuals understand when medical conditions, whether chronic pain and physical debilitation or psychiatric measures of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., impact one’s life in untold ways.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions, where the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, know well the mood of darkness — of the insecurity because of one’s employment, and sense of foreboding because the end of one’s career is within sight of a shortened plateau of accomplishments.  And what will the future hold?  What will my family, friends, and peers think of me?  I am not doing this to “game” the system, but because it is necessary to preserve what is left of me; but will others understand?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a traumatic event in and of itself; it is, as the proverbial concept implies, a darkness in a period of one’s life; and until an approval is received from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management determining the validity and acceptance of a Federal Disability Retirement application, such darkness will only squeeze out any potentiality of a lightness of being.

For, “light” is not merely the opposite of “darkness”, nor darkness the pure expungement of light; rather, the one follows upon the other when a recognition of awareness is achieved, that the flowing stream from a hidden spring of hope can only be tasted when the trickling water finds its way down rocky paths to the tributary of life’s meaning which is unraveled for significance and unconcealed mysteries of human suffering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire