OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Footprints in the snow

Snow makes a flashlight irrelevant.  Even without a moon to shine, and of clouds to mask the twinkling stars, somehow the pure whiteness allows for visual acuity.  At dawn, the footprints betray the activity that once was; and the current inactivity shadowed by the early morning yawn makes one wonder: who noticed, and what if I were standing quietly under the elm tree, making myself a part of the stiff objects in the wintry twilight?

It is similar to the Zen query of the Sixties — of a falling tree with no one around, and the pondering: Was there a noise?  And then the rush of activity as the daylight dominates and the darkness recedes and the purity of the blanket of white that once betrayed the footprints in the snow is replaced by human trudging, winds blowing and the mere vestiges that are now only images in one’s memories.

People are born daily, live their lives and die; and like footprints in the snow that appear for a moment in history’s unmentioned footnotes, they disappear with barely a trace but a few words in the obituaries. Oh, try as we may in our futile attempts at being remembered — of graveyards with larger stones; of “memorials” pasted on the back windows of cars; or even of yearly vigils; the fact is that we are mere footprints in the snow.  Yet, what is important is that the footprints did, in fact, once exist, even if the windswept vanishing of once-seen imprints disappear like vapors of steam curling into the midnight sky.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is sometimes like footprints in the snow — you realize that you were once “relevant” in this world and that the Federal Agency once looked upon you as a “valuable member of the team”; but now, you are treated as the windswept footprints that were once clearly visible in the snow, and now no longer.

Filing for FERS Disability Retirement benefits is the last act before the wind sweeps away the footprints; it is a means of recognizing what is important in life, and to focus upon your health and well-being and to leave behind the footprints in the snow that are so easily forgotten in the hubbub of the world’s daily activity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Footprints

This winter, inclement weather has befallen us with a vengeance.  Snow remains on the ground, upon ice, upon frozen ground; and more is expected.  Under such circumstances, footprints of unidentified creatures traversing the loneliness of the dead of night are left behind.  Some, we quickly dismiss as representing a known animal; others, one is less sure of.  They tell us of their presence the previous evening or nightfall, after everyone is tucked away and the dog went out for her last run.  They reveal to us that things occur even in the absence of our presence.

We often fail to realize that life continues on a linear path despite our exit from a particular place, scene, or the world at large.  Whether in gradual dissipation from everyday presence to sporadic appearances, or a sudden and immediate departure with never a return, the rest of the scene continues on, and life and livelihoods proceed on a progressive path of history.  What footprints we left behind may remain as an impression for a day, a week, or perhaps longer; but never for eternity.  It is always difficult to depart from the daily course of patterned lives.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who has been regularly involved in the daily operations of an agency, a department, etc., with interactions with supervisors, coworkers, and multiple others just by appearing and being there each day, the pattern interrupted by a medical condition is a devastation beyond words.  Federal Disability Retirement is not something which Federal and Postal Workers want to pursue; it is, instead, a benefit which is applied for through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, most often with hesitation, trepidation, and as a last resort.

Remembrances of footprints are not what lives are lived for; rather, it is the impressions left behind by those who have toiled hard to the very end, and who are remembered for their humanity, that makes all the difference in the world.

For Federal and Postal Workers who have left such a mark, those footprints remain in the minds of those who cared.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire