Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Mourning for Things We Never Knew

We often reminisce for things we never knew, but imagined we once had or hoped to have; of small towns and neighborhoods where caring concern characterized a sense of community and belonging; or perhaps it was from our remembrances, formed and solidified from old television shows we grew up with, when once innocence of times of yore remained with us to form dreams of a brighter future.

Health and monotony tends to have a similar effect. The former, because we take it for granted; and the latter, because we mistakenly believe that crisis equals excitement, when in fact security of daily living without eruptions of emergency management is the quietude which most of us seek, though we fail to appreciate it.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, the times of yore when a life without pain is barely remembered, and where the lingering effects of an extensive medication regimen was once comprised of a single multivitamin pill, the thought of wanting to return to a “time prior to” is often at the forefront of daily reminiscences, and constitutes the limited hope for the future.

At some point, however, as medical conditions continue to deteriorate, and as the surgical interventions, palliative medical procedures and list of countermanding medication regimens increase in volume and expand in extent, it becomes clear that the impact upon one’s attempt to maintain an appearance of normalcy can no longer be tolerated.

When the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is time to consider preparing the steps to formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Such a Federal Disability Retirement application must be ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and because the waiting process can be quite lengthy, the initial steps should be contemplated fairly early in the recognition of medical condition-to-impact upon one’s job.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit there for Federal employees under either FERS or CSRS, and is a compensatory system enacted precisely for those Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s job.

Longing for a time once remembered is an activity of comforting reminiscence; the reality of the present, however, awakens us from the slumber of such daydreams of an era once blinking on the horizon of a time long passed.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: The Hearty Laughter

Laughter is therapeutic; it is an expression, often spontaneous, responding to an event, a circumstance, a joke; sometimes, merely upon meeting an old friend and becoming flooded with reminiscences of mirthful times long ago.

It is a response of physical, emotional and mental totality; the body reverberates with joy and the echoes emanating from deep within; the flood of emotions are released; the mind becomes relaxed and unguarded.  Often, however, it is the eyes which are most telling.  Listen to a person laughing, and you may be fooled; watch a person’s eyes as he laughs, and it may reveal a dissonance which contradicts and raises suspicions.  For, laughter can also be the veil which attempts to conceal.

Similarly, in this economy of heartless efficiency, the Federal and Postal worker who must daily attempt to work through one’s pain or psychiatric condition in order to continue to work, despite suffering from a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, there comes a point where the capacity to present one’s self contradicts the reality of what is actually occurring.

Most Federal and Postal workers are such dedicated workers that they continue to work through a progressively deteriorating medical condition to one’s ultimate detriment.  At some point, the dissonance and contradiction will reveal itself; and it is at such a crisis point when the Federal and Postal Worker comes to realize that Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, must be considered.

Whether one should wait until that flashpoint arrives is an individual matter.  But like the hearty laughter emanating from the deep chasms of a person whose eyes reveal pain and sadness, the Federal or Postal Worker who continues to put on a brave face each day, knows that as all the world is a stage, the actors must one day face the reality of the world in which we live.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Pretending to Be Healthy and Fit in the Federal or USPS Workplace

Pretending is a game considered healthy for children, in almost all societies.  It allows for the expansion of “creative energies” inherent in the growing psyche, and to allow for children to take on roles, encounter other situations of fictionalized circumstances, and confront fears without actual harm or potentiality for damaging the growing psychological turmoil which constitutes the make-up of each child.  Besides all of that, it’s fun.

But at some point in the growth of a human being, pretending has to become dominated by the reality of daily living.

Some have suggested that the world of stage, actors, movies and entertainment shows, reflects an individual and a society which never emerged from the state of pretend.  On the other hand, anyone who has known or been associated with those who prepare for an acting career, recognize the harsh reality of long days and hard work necessary for engagement in such a career.  It is, rather, the individual in our society, who continues to pretend long past the time when such pretending is fun, which is of the greatest concern.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, pretending that something is otherwise than that which is the harsh reality of one’s situation, will only exacerbate, magnify, and worsen the circumstances surrounding one’s case.

Pretending that one’s agency will not notice; pretending that one’s medical condition will go away; pretending that all will get better; pretending that…

The fantasy of pretend was to create a world of fun and laughter, and perhaps with some sprinkling of escapism; but when escaping the reality of the world results in the slow deterioration and destruction of what one has worked so hard for, then it is time to set aside the childish ways of pretend, and roll up those proverbial sleeves to contend with the world of reality.

If it takes pretending to go out and fight a battle to slay a dragon, at least such pretending will prompt one into action.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: August, Vacations, & OPM

August is traditionally a time of vacations; a period of respite, before the onset of school and the busy schedules of parents.  Government offices slow down, and with the coinciding impact of furloughs mandated through automatic imposition, delays in work and accomplishment of cases become incrementally evident, like reverberations from the slow moan of an earthquake.

The lazy slapping waves mixed with the taste of sea salt may lull the vacationer into an isolated sense of calm and quietude; but for the Federal or Postal worker suffering from a medical condition, who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or who is in the midst of the process of formulating one’s case, or for those who have already filed and are merely anxiously awaiting a decision — that time of temporary rejuvenation is a needed escape, despite never being able to fully separate oneself from the medical condition which impacts one’s life.

That is the strange phenomena of a medical condition — unless it has been a lifelong condition, it is a part of one’s existence and being which only constitutes a minor percentage of the entirety of one’s lifetime; yet, it often consumes the greater portion of one’s thoughts, actions and ruminations, and undermines that time of leisure known popularly as a “vacation“.

Medical conditions are a reality to be dealt with; vacations are optional times of leisure; and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a choice which allows for a combination of the two:  a time of respite in order to become rehabilitated, and to recuperate in order to deal with the reality of a medical condition.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Stark Reality

Immanuel Kant was an 18th century German philosopher who recognized the imposition of human categories, structures and conceptual perspectives upon the stark reality of the world around us.  Within such levels of an uniquely human perspective, we shape the barren reality and impose our perceptual constructs.

It is not something we have any choice in; by being uniquely human, we see the world in a human way, thereby bringing to it a comprehension and order which our species can embrace, just as other animals may encounter the world from its own unique perspective.  Thus, the world according to Kant became one of bifurcation — between the “noumenal” world which was unfiltered and unknowable, and the phenomenal world of our own “making”.

For Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one must always keep in mind the two parallel universes — the one which we hope for and often “make”, and the one in which we must survive.

When a medical condition impacts a person’s life to such an extent that he or she must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the phenomenal world of our making may include:  Hope that the Federal agency will treat us fairly; hope that the medical condition may improve or go away; hope that one’s work will not suffer as a consequence.  But in the stark reality of the noumenal world, one must recognize the unknowable:  Agencies rarely show a sense of sustained loyalty; medical conditions being what they are, will often remain on a steady course of debilitating progressivity; and one’s medical condition almost always impacts the ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.

Walking about with a uniquely human perspective is something which we cannot help; gliding through life with self-deceptions is something which, while also uniquely human, one cannot afford to engage in for too long.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Settlement of Collateral Lawsuits

Appearance versus reality has been an ongoing philosophical issue within the Western Classical Tradition for centuries; it involves the very essence of the culture and heritage of the West, beginning with the Pre-Socratics (e.g., Parmenides), and continuing with Plato, Aristotle…to Heidegger; and until the dawn of modern Philosophy, where linguistic hermeneutics began to prevail, constituted the dominant foundation of philosophical inquiry. How a thing is presented, or “looks”, as opposed to what a thing “really is”, or the “essence” of being, forms the fundamental philosophical inquiry.  

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often the case that the Federal or Postal employee is involved in some collateral lawsuit or adversarial process — often directly with the agency itself, in an EEO forum, MSPB or U.S. District Court.  

Inevitably, settlement negotiations will often occur, and the issue of whether a Federal or Postal employee can be retroactively “separated” for his or her medical inability to perform one’s job may be offered.  How the settlement is formulated; what is stated in the settlement agreement; what promises are made, etc., are all important in order for such agreements to effectively assist in the Federal or Postal employee being able to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  OPM objects to the Federal Retirement fund being used as a tool for settlement of collateral lawsuits.  

Any settlement agreement must not “look” like it is merely a carrot for enticement to medically retire.  The reality of the situation is important.  As always, we go back to our Western roots — appearance versus reality.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire