OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: The picture album

Time was, every family had a picture album – that anachronism bound carefully in a large leather book-shaped monstrosity, kept safe where dust settles and mice scurry around; taken out for occasions where boredom is accentuated and friends or neighbors have stayed long past their welcome, and so it is taken out carefully, dusted off and laboriously paged through, telling of a history for each page, each photograph laid meticulously upon the thick plaster-backboard of a person’s history.

It used to be that we all had one picture for an event – or, two at most, once Peoples Drug (for those who are old enough to remember; and that, in and of itself, was somewhat of a historical marker – when “Peoples” Drug – the drugstore of the “people”, was bought out by successive entities of greater reserve until it finally became a nondescript, boringly corporate entity under the designation of “CVS”; somehow, something was lost when the corner drugstore started in a suburb of D.C. was engulfed by mergers and corporate purchases) declared a two-for-one sale.

Of course, we all kept in safekeeping those brownish negatives that neatly fit into those thin plastic columns (i.e., thrown into a drawer based upon the sequence of receipt) – you know, the ones you hated to slide out because you could never get it back in without bending them, and somehow you suspected that they were never meant to be fit within the columns of plastic in the first place.

Somehow, there was something quaint and innocent about a picture album that only had one shot of a slice of life that told a limited tale about a person’s continuum of historical detail – by contrast, today’s Smartphone and digital chip that can hold literally thousands of photographs, and the person who is willing to show all in a public display for everyone in the universe to see, by downloading, uploading, displaying and replaying, for a person barely in his or her twenties.

The picture album is an anachronism, telling in its humility, limited access and manifesting a humble origin of consciousness.  It is a relic that bifurcates a “before” and an “after” – of a time now gone and lost forever, replaced by an after that manifests a change most of us never asked for.

To that end, the picture album is likened to a Federal or Postal employee with a medical condition.  That Federal or Postal employee suffers from a history of that which most of his or her coworkers are completely unaware of.  And like the picture album that is taken out from the dusty bookshelves of a corner closet, when the Federal or Postal employee comes to a point of needing to file 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, the reaction displayed by others is often one of boredom, lack of concern or even of interest shown in forced phoniness.  For, what others know or find out about a person’s life – even of his or her medical condition – is ultimately a private slice of life that is shared with quiet discretion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hesitant Hole

The famous one, of course, and the one which draws the imagination, is depicted in Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice and her journey down the rabbit’s abyss; another, the one which determines the relative shortcomings of weather predictability, but that one is guided more by shadows and perceptions from above, as opposed to the one dug below; or, there is the one which we dig for ourselves, and the proverbial timelessness of our foolish deeds.

Of the first, we remember the endless stretch of our imaginations which is expanded by the creativity of the author and the world of fantasy; the second, the reality of the dread we feel for the weather, the cold and the shortened days of winter when we yearn for the coming lull of summer warmth; and of the latter, it reminds us that the consequences of our own misdeeds continue to haunt us despite trepidation and timidity.

Do holes have a character?  Are some holes dug with delight?  Like deep caverns reaching beneath sandcastles on dreamy days of childhood laughter echoing against the wind and waves of salted air; or of the deep crevices and potholes in roads of concrete and steel, when the shifting tectonic forces of nature collide with man’s attempt to construct artificial barriers against timeless changes of fortitude and fear; and the one’s we claw at.

The large ones created by bulldozers and other machines, do they not unravel the once-concealed arrogance of man?  And the careful pawing of the delicate hand in the timeless sand, where castles crumble with trepidations of joy?  But it is the grownup’s attempts at escape, of creating a hiding place where adulthood no longer allows for Alice’s wanderings into a virtual world of imagination and creative loss, and the dread of reality bearing upon the fearful universe we cannot understand, fail to navigate and refuse to negotiate.

The world is indeed a fearful place, and we wish there would always be a rabbit hole to fall into, if only to escape the harshness of our own misgivings.  But beyond that hole into which we inadvertently fall, it is the one’s we dig for ourselves — hesitantly — which create the greatest of calamities.  For, when we do it with trepidation and fear, it is the slow and incremental depth and vastness of it which escapes our immediate attention.

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 positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is that hesitation which continues to create the deepened caverns of choices for future security and certainty.

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, is always a difficult decision to make; indeed, filing for OPM medical retirement means that a change is forthcoming, both in career and in finances.  But because the entire administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a long and arduous road to take, it is the hesitant hole which we dig by procrastinating, delaying and obfuscating that often makes for that seemingly endless fall from grace which Alice kept wondering about; but for her, at least she knew that the hole she fell into was the creation of the rabbit she pursued, and not the hesitant hole of one’s own making into which we cannot dig ourselves out from.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The distance marker

Highways have them; sports arenas and fields are littered with their recognizable placements; and runners rely upon them.  On highways, they are often coordinated with exits upcoming, but most drivers fail to recognize their relevance, and rarely take note of them.

What most people don’t understand, comprehend, and fail to appreciate, is that their importance is not merely about the distance still left to go, but how far one has already traveled.  The former is often tied intimately to the struggles one foresees extending into the future; the latter, forgetful or forgettable, as life’s accolades are rarely declared, and seldom trumpeted.

Thus, when a career is cut short, or a change in the course of a person’s life is necessitated by unforeseen circumstances, the internal agony and angst of life is always focused upon how much further we must go, as opposed to taking a breath and appreciating what distances we have already traversed.  Perhaps that is for the best; for, if pause were to become a pattern of petulance, progress would never be permeated.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with the performance of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the thoughts are always projected towards the future, and should be, as that is a “good” thing.

Too much reflection upon past accomplishments rarely does one good; and, in any event, the Federal agency certainly doesn’t care (don’t hold your breath for an anticipated office party recognizing your accomplishments and contributions), and except for some modicum of acknowledgements in performance reviews, will not give any leeway for future considerations based upon past successes achieved.

Perhaps that is why distance markers are ignored, except by those who have a purposeful drive in reaching a designated destination.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, becomes a necessity and a choice for the future, the distance marker to recognize is the attaining of that Disability Retirement annuity — and beyond, where life can be lived after Federal Employment.

And of the distance already traversed?  Reflection upon past successes can be the foundation for future endeavors; mark them, and even remember their placement and location; but never pause longer than half a breath, before moving on to the coordinated exit recognized as the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, lest not only the distance marker passes you by, but you miss the coordinated exit, as well.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Peril of Bypassing Process

Efficiency negates process naturally; or, if not in pure extinguishment, a progressive curtailing of the methodology of reaching from initiation Point A to finality of journey at Point B.  Additionally, when American Pragmatism combined with capitalism of the tallest order sets about to attain the greatest return in the shortest time possible, with minimizing effort and curtailing human toil, it is the end-product which is the focus, and the profit to be gained.

Relational interaction is thus cast aside; craftsmanship, the care of an artisan, and the sense of community abiding in the very linear compendium of efforts expended — they no longer matter.  That was the essence of Marx’s complaint — that the disaffected worker no longer possessed any connection to the product of his or her toil, and the separation from process resulted in the alienation of meaning.  It is, indeed, a perilous journey to forego the process; for, “how one does something” is inextricably tied with “how well one does it”.

As process is the means to get to the result, so shortening the time, length of effort and expenditure of resources, is the natural inclination, and defines that for which American efficiency has been universally praised.  For bureaucratic and administrative matters, however, it may just not be possible to curtail the conditions of one’s journey.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file 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, the desire to short-circuit the process and to forego the patience needed in order to survive the bureaucratic morass of one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, then the requisite wait at OPM, is often a painful result unhappily faced and unpreparedly encountered.

Bureaucracy by definition finds its purpose for existence in the very complexities of its own creation.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS is a process which cannot be curtailed, and any attempt to circumvent or otherwise alter the administrative and procedural content of the methodology of the journey itself, is done at the peril of the person who ponders such posturing of heretical penitence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire