Medical Separation and Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The stick figure across the street

We all drew them.  They are simple figures, one-dimensional, created not only by children and uncreative hands, but by sophisticated artists who convey complexity through their uncomplicated depiction.  Upon such lack of depth, we can project an unending dearth of fillers, precisely because the simple lines invite us to increase the servile skinniness by piling a composite upon the lean figures which are mere caricatures devoid of substance.

The neighbor across the street, whom we have never met, and who is but a figure the size between forefinger and thumb, and remains the remnant of a stick figure, and continues to convey, so; and when the annoying bark of a midnight dog awakens the sensibilities of insomnia and a sleepless night, or of such a thin veil of loss of restorative slumber that wakefulness becomes a better alternative, then we can fill in the gaps of the stick figure, add some meat and substance, with diatribes of invectives piled upon curses and unimaginable energies of words rarely considered and never previously uttered.

Coworkers used to be nothing more than such stick figures — before they earned that status of enamored stature.  That is why leaving a career, cutting short a lifetime of accomplishments, and turning away from the vindictive familiarity of a workplace once loved, is so difficult for the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset.

Once upon a time, the stick figures were mere appendages and afterthoughts in the life of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker; but over time, they gained substance, girth, and an unmerited significance merely by osmosis of daily encounters.  Thus, when a medical condition hits the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker with a force of plenitude such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be considered, it is not just the separation from mere commerce and economic entanglement which must be considered, but rather, extrication from a social network of figures who have evolved, over many years and sometimes multiple decades, into caricatures amassing and aggregating personalities, comradeship, shared sense of missions accomplished, and much more.

So long as they had remained mere stick figures from across the street, the distance of time, the separation of dimensions, and the wall of strangeness allowed for an ease of abandonment.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, however, the process is no longer merely a wave of goodbye to the stick figure across the street; no, instead, that has become the unwanted uncle who has no other home to go to, and must by obligation be evicted despite the relationship which has developed beyond the formless caricature painted upon our own minds.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Incantations of Modernity

Each generation believes itself to be the pinnacle of knowledge, wisdom, evolutionary apex and sophistication of fashion, open-mindedness and technological brilliance.  All previous generations are either mere residue of antiquity, caught in a dust-bowl of stale sentiment or stuck in a muddle of disproven superstition.  Yet, within the deep psyche of individuals, as opposed to the collective mentality of the herd, there remains wishful soliloquies of incantations marveling at the wonder of hope and fate yet in the hands of gods, gnomes and elven lineage.  “Perhaps, if I do X, then…”; “If I wait long enough, then…”; “Maybe I just didn’t say the right words…”

There is always that sense and belief, despite daily evidence to the contrary, that the objective world remains impassive, that technology is the invention of man’s imagination and fearful inner soul, revealing itself in torturous tumults of hidden consciousness; and yet we hope and wish.  That is what we impart and project upon others, no matter the extent of evil, and in spite of the manifested scorn of others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a change must take place in one’s career and plans for the future, this encounter and clash between one’s inner wishful thinking, and the reaction of those around — including coworkers, supervisors, managers, and the collective cold shoulder of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service — is nothing short of devastation to the soul.

Hope extinguished by unwarranted dependency becomes the root of cynicism.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who thought that a sympathetic reaction or an empathetic emblem of responsiveness would be forthcoming when a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the disappointment felt becomes palpable.

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, often becomes the only alternative remaining.  It is certainly a better pathway to one’s future endeavors, than to wait upon the silence deafening from the incantations of modernity, which fall upon deaf ears to the gods of yesteryear and the dwarfs who have long ago abandoned the hutches of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire