FERS Disability Retirement: President’s Day 2022

There have been many of them.  Originally, this holiday was meant to commemorate and recognize our “first” — George Washington, born on February 22, 1732.  It is a habit for nations to acknowledge “firsts”, as well, we do so in our personal lives.  The “first step” of a toddler; the first day of class; the first kiss; the first time-X; and many more, besides.

More recently, the day has come to recognize all of our presidents, good, bad or indifferent.  In modernity, it has come to be a contentious point of conflict: From whether we should celebrate the life of a slave owner, to why we should give recognition to those presidents considered as less than honorable — the spectrum of opinions on the matter remains vociferous and vibrant.

For a democracy (yes, yes, we can quibble as to the difference without a distinction in contrast to a “Constitutional Republic”), perhaps that is a healthy matter, for the raging debate and intellectual discourse is always a positive characteristic reflecting involved citizens.  Regardless, let’s take the day for what it is worth, and enjoy the time remaining in each of our lives by pausing to reflect in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill
Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Happy New Year — 2022

By now, it should be clear that our lives are forever changed.  A return to normalcy — however that can be defined, now – is not possible.  Covid-19 and its variants have changed society, its interactions, its character and ability to respond, in ways which will never allow for a “return” to who we once were.  As each year advances and passes, as 2019 turned into 2020, 2020 into 2021 — and, now, with the dawn of the year 2022, our expectations and hopes keep changing and adapting.

The bright side is that our species has always been an adaptable one; otherwise, we would not be where we are today.  On the dark side, this ongoing pandemic has revealed the fissures of our global economy — the inadequacy of our healthcare system to handle this crisis; the divisions within our society which are deep and irreconcilable; the political stalemate which reflects our country’s past historical evils which have never been faced or properly debated and resolved; and the growing division between the privileged and the underclass, both in terms of wealth as well as by education.

2022 will be a revealing year — with midterm elections foreboding, a pandemic which will further test our economic and political stability, and a populace fatigued by it all: a year when the character of our nation will be tested as never before.  As we enter into this new year, there are many “negatives” to note; but the one positive which we should all focus upon, is that despite all of the divisions and differences, the yearning for a return to families getting together, celebrating the Holidays and needing to meet that basic human desire — of actual human contact as opposed to a virtual encouner via computers and smartphones — remains unextinguished and magnified in exponential measures of human satisfaction.

In the end, it is the simple act of a hug which will get us beyond the misery of these past few years.

Happy New Year, 2022 — may we all be able to fulfill that basic yearning of a return to normalcy, by the simple gesture of a warm hug to welcome the new year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill

 

Federal Disability Retirement: Happy Holidays — 2021

Each year, every season, they all have their unique “flavors”.  This was supposed to be the year and season when the pandemic came to be resolved; when economic and social uncertainty would be repaired; when the power of science through technological innovations of quickly-adapted immunization advances would defeat nature’s attempt to subvert the dominance of the human species, the insatiable consumption of available resources and ongoing destruction by encroachment of our environment — except for the disruption by a virus.

Covid-19 and its mutated forms turned out to be more resilient than first thought.  It has brought out the fissures within our society; of eruptions in political divisions; of questioning the infallibility of science and their spokespeople.  Political wrangling; scientific limitations; and ultimately — fear.  Fear of death; fear for the future; fear that our economy and the health-care delivery system will collapse.

The virus itself, as with all invisible forces which cannot be controlled by human means — words, argumentation, human discourse, appeal to empathy, etc. — evoke responses based upon irrationality and emotional instability.  The virus — nature’s revenge — is merely an amoral entity which is the penultimate paradigm of evolutionary design: adaptable; able to mutate in order to survive; a ravaging force which is unconcerned with human lives of any age group, and will facilitate to indiscriminately take advantage of any and every vulnerability exposed.

With that, what are we left with?  What we have always been left with: The comfort and joy of family and friends.  For, in the end, the “Holidays” are nothing more than the voice calling from afar, of a hug, a shared story, and a gathering around meals to share that sense of belonging and return — of the Holidays as a tradition, a force, a warm memory.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, 2021.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill

 

FERS Disability Retirement: Thanksgiving 2021

The pandemic of 2020 yet haunts us; and while everyone would like for it to become a vestige of a past nightmare, the reality is that the virus will likely be a part of our daily lives for the next decade or more.

Still, there is much to be thankful for — not the least of which, those who have survived the pandemic can gather together and celebrate Thanksgiving 2021.  Then, of course, there is the ongoing controversy surrounding the holiday event itself — of whether or not Bradford’s depiction of the original meal is historically accurate; of America’s history of genocidal maltreatment of indiginous peoples; of ultimately what the meta-meaning of Thanksgiving will bode for the future, etc.

Through it all, Thanksgiving has become, for most, a special time and a good excuse to prepare an elaborate meal, to get together with family and friends, and to celebrate the year’s events and experiences.  For those who believe that the “traditional” story of Thanksgiving must be “conserved” at all costs, just remember that history is never a static story, but always a vibrant telling of a past which evolves with each storyteller.

This is, in fact, an exciting time where new facts are being discovered about our storied past, and whatever the “official” story of Thanksgiving is, becomes, or is fated to be, it is the telling of stories around a dinnertable exploding with conversation, injected with love and joy, which makes for the meta-Thanksgiving of 2021 — survivors all, where blessings can actually be counted.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2021.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill,
Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Have a Happy 4th

Happy 4th of JulyHave a happy and safe 4th of July!!!

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Happy New Year, 2021

With the tock of the clock, a New Year is welcomed.  The previous tick glanced upon the year prior — the one which everyone wishes would fade from our memories (or almost everyone, as there are allegedly some high-riding investors who have enriched themselves upon the backs of the rising markets).

It has been a tumultuous year — from the Pandemic to the daily numbers of those who became sick, hospitalized or died as a direct or indirect result; to the national elections; the devastation of economic shut downs and partial restrictions; and of the growing isolation, depression and loneliness from forced social distancing; the loss of job, identity and financial ruin; these, and many more issues, define the year of 2020.  We find great comfort in bifurcating the two years — 2020 from 2021.

The reality, of course, is that time is a continuum, and any division is merely a mental discipline of compartmentalization involving the artifice of “before” and “after”. Yet, it is a necessary separation which neatly divides and comfortingly categorizes. The “new” in the “year” is a welcome change, and the tock following the tick will surely bring forth cheers of declarative relief. Happy New Year — 2021.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Have a Merry Christmas

No one likes to be the grinch of any Christmas — even of 2020. It will not soon be forgotten. Christmas is about relationships, and the pandemic of 2020 has devastated the personal connections so integral in forming, establishing, maintaining and developing personal and professional relationships. One could, of course, be an optimist and make the argument that if there is to be social distancing, extreme care of contact, etc., then the compensation accorded by this technological age (Zoom and other types of video-conferencing, etc.) makes 2020 as the best time for a viral and infectious disease. It is the “at least” argument — at least we can still stay in contact; at least we can “see” each other; at least… Ultimately, optimism is the best feature of humanity, for it allows for a hopeful outlook to the future; and so we tip our hats to Christmas of 2020, close our eyes and dream of fairies, gnomes, Santa Clause and his helpers, and bid everyone a Merry Christmas, 2020.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS Disability Retirement: Happy Thanksgiving 2020

2020 has been a tumultuous year.  From the COVID-19 Pandemic to the rancorous political season; from shutdowns, the constant misery of disease, death and debilitating after-effects of this virus to a government paralyzed by partisanship; from the political turmoil of the recent election to the incessant drumbeat of a democracy tested by its own words; throughout, there has been little pause to consider the basis for our thankfulness.

Yet, this is the time to take stock of the things we appreciate.  We can be rocked by the daily blast of news cycles, but when we sit down for Thanksgiving — whether alone or with our immediate family — are there not moments of joy in considering what we have, as opposed to what we have lost? Loss is a part of living; recognition of what we have retained, a slice of joy; and always, to be thankful for a future yet hopeful, and of little things to cherish. Stay safe; stay healthy.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement: Have a Happy 4th

Happy 4th of JulyDuring this pandemic, when concerns continue to abound about the spread of the Covid-19 Virus — of the potentiality for infecting others, as well as becoming infected yourself — it is difficult to step outside of the yearly rituals of embracing family traditions, celebratory events and the customary activities which one is used to.

Tradition is important; family events, more so; and of ritualistic habits — well, that is precisely what children look forward to. Such yearly family traditions result in precious memories and provide the foundation for a stable and happy childhood. But this year is different. With the shadow of the virus all around us, let’s try and maintain traditions and habits, but in a safe and responsible manner. Have a happy — and safe — 4th of July.

Sincerely, 

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS Disability Retirement: Merry Christmas – 2019

Another year, gone.  It is the time of festivities; of families traveling great distances in order to gather together and engage in traditions created, memories served and food plentifully prepared; and then to share in the gift-giving — a secular occasion, to be sure, but with roots spanning centuries and across cultures and religious roots and customs. Remember always that perfection is not the goal and failing to achieve it is not a reason to despair.  In the end, it is also not a contest to receive the most “stuff”, but rather, to reestablish relationships frayed or otherwise strained, and to enjoy the company of those who would make the effort to join in the singularly-appointed time of coming together.  Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year.
Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire