Federal Disability Retirement Representation: The pecking order

Watching birds fly and cavort around a bird-feeder, one realizes that the term as applied to human conduct is not too far from the reality of the natural order of things.  There is, indeed, a “pecking order” in the world of birds and fowls aflight; it has to do with size, aggression, quickness and desire to survive. In other words, how birds behave is not too far afield from the way in which humans interact.

As children being thrown together in various institutions called “public schools”, we all recognize the concept of “the pecking order” – the sequence of priorities, of who dominates, which cliques attain a level of status and recognition, what is allowed and not, where one is invited to enter before or after others; it is the purest form of Darwinian natural selection, no matter what societal and cosmetic impediments and safeguards are put in place in order to engage in social engineering of one sort or another.

People think that this pecking order ends upon graduating from public school; that, somehow, release from high school ends this natural order of survival only for the fittest.  Yet, such pecking orders continue throughout – college; the military; the workplace; families.  They all require a pecking order of one kind or another, precisely because it is “natural” and the selection process is innately driven.

In the fowl world – both as “foul” and “fowl” – birds get to feed from the best and choicest sources based upon size, aggressiveness, and bravado displayed in standing one’s ground.  It is often the same with the human world of foul interactions, despite our claim to having become “civilized” and sophisticated, beyond reproach, somehow now asserting our independence and detachment from the genetically determined patterns of behavior.

More and more, however, it becomes clear that we are never exempted from the essence of our natures.  Aristotle may have asserted the grand stature of man with his rationality and capacity to cogitate, but the reality is that the ancient Greek civilization would soon become overpowered and dominated by the most basest of human instincts – of conquering by might and strength.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to manifest, to reveal, to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it becomes clear that the old “pecking order” approach again will dominate.

Federal agencies and the Postal Service will assert its cold dominance and indifference to the weak of this world, and weakness is never shown with greater vulnerability than when one must admit that he or she suffers from a medical condition.  Just as the fowls begin to take advantage of shown weaknesses in the pecking order of Darwinian natural, so Federal Agencies and U.S. Postal facilities show no remorse in treating their workers who show weakness with cruelty and aggressive lack of empathy.

Filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is an aggressive step to “fight back” against the rise of the pecking order that is, unfortunately, an inevitable consequences of who we are and continue to be.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Systems: The sacristan

There was once such a job.  Now, of course, the closest we can come to it is forever hidden in the secrecy of our own private lives.  For, there is nothing sacred, anymore, and everything private has been allowed to be revealed in the public domain of electronic declaratives.  Whether of protecting holy oils, ensuring that decretals are unblemished in their interpretation; of maintaining the decorum, orderliness and cleanliness of the altar and the implements of worship; and initiating the timeliness of church bells to call upon the loyal throng to approach with the sacraments of piety.

When did such an important position become extinguished?  How did it become an anachronism and extinction of necessity, and who made such a determination?  Was it with the conflagration of the public domain upon the private – when formerly private deeds, of the sanctity of intimacy behind closed doors reserved by those who commit themselves into a tripartite unity of matrimony?  Was it when youth allowed for the destruction of dignity and defiance of decorum and all manner of discretion, of sending through electronic means photographs of acts beyond bestiality merely for prurient interests and chitter of laughter and good times?

The sacristan is unemployed; he or she is now merely a vestige of an arcane past where holiness, purity and the sacred have been sacrificed upon the altar of inconvenience and guilty consciences replaced by the King of Human Folly:  Psychology.  What do we hold sacred, anymore, and behind what closed door can we find the remains of a past forever absolved?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical conditions prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the question related to one’s own circumstances with the obsolescence of the sacristan, comes down to this:  In the course of dealing with my medical conditions, what altars of holiness have I compromised just to continue my career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service?  For, as the desecration of the public domain has increasingly harbored the sacred into the domains of private thought, so those reserved altars of inner sanctuaries concern the essence of one’s soul and the inner-held beliefs that remained forever the last vestiges of a sacred self.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is always just a means to an end.  The means is comprised of extrication from an untenable situation; the end is to reach a plateau of life where the sacristan may be reemployed, if only within the inner sanctum of one’s own conscience.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Past wrongs obsessed over

We cognitively compartmentalize, despite the fact that life doesn’t quite work that way.  Yet, if we do not categorize, relegate by priority of issues, the mirroring of the objective universe in a parallelism of societal constructs can result in the same messiness that life itself reveals.  We certainly do not want to manage and operate a household in the same way that nature works – where events can suddenly dictate emergencies, and when life and death decisions sound alarms whenever predators lurk about.

Reaction to the immediacy of necessity is how nature must operate; such an approach, however, is not always the best way for the office worker, the architect or the laborer to engage the projects of the day.  Yet, life sometimes requires reactive discourse and engagements; we cannot always be contemplative, distant, removed from the concerns which the objective world imposes upon us.

What is the “middle ground” – that proverbial height of mediocrity which all men and women pride themselves for:  the center between the two extremes, the “compromise” position that reflects rationality and reason, where vice is never to be completely refused and virtue too alien a concept such that we relegate it to angels, madmen and those who have lost their souls for a celibate fantasy of isolation.

Then, of course, human beings have the strange capacity to obsess over past wrongs committed – either by ourselves upon others, but more likely of those which have been perpetrated upon ourselves.  Hurts and wrongs penetrated leave room for vengeance and premeditation; we are admonished and given the tools to forgive, but harboring carefully concealed slights is a delicious means of fantasizing upon wreaking revenge upon those we secretly abhor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, part of the key to writing an effective SF 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability – is to refrain from engaging past wrongs obsessed over.

Yes, the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service has “done you wrong”; yes, they have gotten away with this, that and the other things; and, yes, in a perfect world, the individuals involved and the entity perpetrating the wrongs should pay a price and justice should prevail.  But the messiness reflected in the objective world reflects an imperfect human pathology, and trying to attain a Platonic Form of Justice otherwise nonexistent, will not help you “move on” with your own life.

Better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and move on so that you can focus upon your health and future, than to constantly become entrenched in past wrongs obsessed over; for, in the end, the smile of self-satisfaction should be when one’s OPM Disability Retirement application is approved, and you can wave goodbye to the messy cauldron of human detritus you are leaving behind.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement Help: Caught in the world in-between

It is a purgatory of sorts; of the netherworld where twilight is a constancy of confusion, and when neither dawn nor dusk, between summer and winter, or of cognitive clarity and conundrums of confusion reach the pinnacle of an infinite maze.  Do we prefer clarity to confusion, or the light of dawn to a period “just before”, when consciousness of thought is suppressed or prevented by a darkness befalling thoughtful perspectives impeded by streams of dancing oracles upon a seamless stupor?

It is often uncertainty which tires the soul.  For, while wealth is preferable to destitution, and employment to its opposite, it is being caught “in-between” which engenders uncertainty and angst of future plans, and that is likened to a form of hell.

When a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker first learns of a medical condition — whether from an accident or injury on the job, or during a foray into uncharted recreational activities, it matters not for purposes of meeting the criteria for eligibility in a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — the weariness of time and the toll of uncertainty is often worse than the failure of resolution encountered through therapy, medication regimens, surgical intervention and the long delays in recuperation and rehabilitation.

It is that “waiting” which becomes the agony of life, for the questioning and incessant pondering resulting therefrom haunts the soul:  What will the future hold?  What will my job do?  What are they planning?  The “what”, the “when” and the ultimate “why” becomes a reverberating echo of repetitive songs unwavering in their monotony of questions forever unanswered.  For, it is the unanswered question and the unstated discretion of silence which makes for waiting to be just another agony of life’s challenges.

To be caught in the world “in-between”, where future plans are delayed because the present remains in a muddle of soft mush, and when past actions fail to concretize a pathway for mapping current stability, is a state of existence which is tantamount to a purgatory of eternal uncertainty.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, it is thus important to take some action and begin the process of filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement.  Wishful thinking will not make the medical condition go away; and while hope is always a basis for future planning, one often knows early on, within the core of one’s soul, whether the injury or medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties will resolve to an extent possible in order to return to full duty.

It is not knowing which is the true hell of existence; and to remain caught in the world in-between is often a choice — albeit a bad one — which is based not upon want of certainty, but enmeshed in the essence of human tragedy, when delay prevented that split-second decision that could have avoided the disaster.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Those Fall Leaves

The time of change and spectrums of colors beyond mere rainbows of solitude; it is often poetically described as the season of deterioration, of old age before the winter of mortality.  Fall brings about a freshness of cooler winds, a precursor of foretelling that those dog days of summer have come to an end.  Ever look at the fallen leaves and mistake them for something else — an animal, perhaps, or a figure of caustic imagination?

Such projections erupting from our own fears and hesitancy reveal the true state of our being.  The leaves bring color to an otherwise dreary existence; once fallen, they can take on whatever hopes, dreams and fears we wish to accentuate.  Looked upon from a distance, shapes of crinkling leaves can take on forms enhanced through our imaginations.  It is only when we deliberate, walk up closer, and verify, that we can ascertain with a semblance of certitude that it was not what we thought, or that it constituted nothing more than our fears gone awry.

Fear and imagination tends to do that; until we take affirmative steps to ascertain, verify and concretize, what is left in a muddle remains so.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who sit and fret over one’s future because of a medical condition which has begun to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the fear of future forebodings becomes an exponentially-enhanced subject of terror and trembling, so long as pragmatic steps of self-affirmation are avoided and neglected.

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, may seem like a small step, or perhaps a too-large one in supposing an end to an otherwise successful career.  But sitting in fear and loathing is never a solution; one must, by affirmative steps and bounds, break the isolation of fear and move forward with life.

As the fallen leaves of Fall are merely a season of change, and the colors which surround the spectrum of life’s spector, to remain as a spectator to the vastness of change is to allow for the vicissitudes of misgivings to shake the essence of purpose.

Like the crinkled leaf which sits afar and takes on a gargoyle-like appearance, it is only when those first steps are embraced towards ascertaining, verifying and establishing that the very fears we once took comfort in, are but mere wisps of whispers dissipating into oblivion, once we take those initial steps in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, in order to defy the foreboding of the winter season yet to come, but where our future lies not in fear but in securing a semblance of stability through a benefit available but for want of hesitation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: A Return to Basics

Every few decades, there is a “new” movement which upholds the divinity of returning to the foundational core of one’s existence:  of going back to being a farmer; living a life of an ascetic; stripping away all “unnecessary” accretions and accoutrements deemed as vestries of comfort and “bourgeois” by definition (whatever that means); or, in common parlance and language more amenable to the ordinary person, living more “simply”.

The perspective that such a “movement” is somehow “new” is of itself rather an anomaly; but then, each generation believes that they have discovered and invented the proverbial wheel, and all such past epochs were mere ages of primitive imbecility.   And, perhaps, we are once more in that familiar circle of life, and such a movement has beset the quietude of modernity, again.  As such, let us return to the basics:

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the Federal or Postal employee may need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the “foundational” eligibility criteria needs to be met:  For those under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System — or the “new” system sometime around 1986 and thereafter), the Federal or Postal employee must have a minimum of 18 months of Federal Service in order to apply.  For those under CSRS, the accrual time is 5 years — and, as such, anyone under CSRS would presumably have met that basic requirement, although a CSRS employee with a long “break in service” could potentially fall short, but that would involve a unique set of circumstances rarely seen.

Further, the Federal or Postal employee who sets about to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must either be (A) a current employee (in which case he or she would file first through the agency’s Human Resource Office, then to be forwarded to OPM, (B) if not a current employee, then separated from service not more than 1 year (as the Statute of Limitations in filing for Federal Disability Retirement requires that a former Federal or Postal employee file directly with OPM within 1 year of being separated from service), (C) if separated from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but not for more than 31 days, then to file with one’s former Agency, and (D) if separated for more than 31 days, but less than 1 year, then refer to (B) and file directly with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, Pennsylvania.

These are some of the “basics” in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  There is much, much more to the entire process, but then again, if one were to expand too far astray from the foundational core of the “back to basics” movement, one would be a hypocrite for allowing the complications of life to accrue beyond the essential elements of life — of water, food and shelter or, for the Federal and Postal employee filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the bridge between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.  Go figure.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Benefits: The Eyes Which Betray the Laughter

Plato noted the significance of the eyes; as windows of the soul, they reveal the depth of emotion, character, empathy, interest, boredom, meanness, etc.; and just as true, the lack thereof.  Laughter provides the concordance of mirth to context; cacophony occurs when the harmony between the two somehow fails to connect.

The pinnacle of sadness is represented when one looks upon an individual, hears the laughter, and sees the revelatory sadness deep within the eyes of the soul.  The discordant contrast takes us aback; it is perhaps the height of self-contradiction, where the parallel universes which are never supposed to transect, suddenly violate the very content of definition, and betray the consciousness of self-doubt.

What has transpired?  What tragedy has befallen?  It brings to mind the poignant story by Chekhov, entitled “Grief” (or otherwise translated as “Misery”), where the death of the son is magnified by the haunting question, “With whom shall I tell my grief?”  As the world he continues to encounter is filled with passengers who laugh and carry on with life, the father must continue within the disharmony of his own tragedy.

Medical conditions tend to do that to people; it remains silent, but for the sharing beyond the perfunctory response to the passing, “Hello, how are you?”  We are expected to say merely, “Fine, thank you,” and move on.  Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know about the emotional disjunctive between the eyes and the emitting laughter.  When the sound of mirth and the sight of pain clash, it is probably time to make an exit by filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

While often not the “best solution”, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to leave one’s employment, secure a disability annuity, and seek a restoration of one’s health, in order to reinvigorate the soul behind the eyes of tragedy.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a long and arduous journey through a bureaucratic maze.  There is the process itself; the need to substantively put together and formulate an effective and persuasive disability retirement packet; and then the long wait before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Every Federal and Postal employee must make the decision of when and how; but as to the “why” of the foundation, it is when the eyes begin to betray the laughter, that affirmative steps need to be taken to begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire