Federal Disability Retirement: The never-ending series

Once upon a time, the three seasons of the sporting world seemed fairly defined into three neatly-trifurcated periods; of Summer to Fall for Baseball; Fall to Winter for football; Winter to Spring for basketball; and so the seasons followed the general consensus of a happy delineation for the enthusiast, the couch-potato and the sounds of rhythmic lull, where the major sports aligned in sequence upon the seasons of change like nature’s bugle that toots the horn with nary a break between.

Then, greed set in.  Advertising dollars could be extended just a few more days, perhaps even weeks, and maybe even into further months.  An extra “wild card” to be added; an “inter-league” period in the middle of the season; let’s also change it from the “best of five” to the “best of seven” — or, maybe for the future, the best of nine?  What difference did it make that seasons overlapped — with widescreen television sets and simultaneous multiple-screens streaming, one could watch regular-season games and season-ending series combined without missing a heartbeat or a blink that forgot the fumble of the century; we can “have it all”.

Then came the problem of “soccer” — that hated foreign-born immigrant that kept insisting upon pushing into the American conscience, mostly through the public schools that boldly continued to inculcate our kids with an incomprehensible game that wouldn’t let a person do that which instinctively we are all born to do — of touching the ball with one’s hands.  What kind of a sport doesn’t allow you to hold the ball and run with it?

Basketball requires ball handling, with letting go of it to move forward, except by milliseconds of palm-to-ball dribbling; football requires large hands that, until one grows older, results in that wobbly spiral that is laughed at and scorned; and baseball follows the snugness of the glove, the perfect pitch by the positioning of fingers upon the stitching that propels the beanball into a fastball or the sudden drop just as the batter swings to miss, and the thrill of the umpire shouting, “strike!”  To not even be able to touch the ball?  What kind of a sport is that?  And where does it fit in to the never-ending series?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the never-ending series may include three “major league” games — the Initial Stage of the application for Federal Disability Retirement; the second, Reconsideration Stage of the process, if denied at the first level; and the third stage — an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

There is, if necessary, a “Fourth Stage” — a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB; but like soccer and the never-ending series of the first three sports, the key is to make sure that proper preparation is completed for each of the stages of the process, before anticipating the outcome of any of the others; and like soccer and a Petition for Full Review, the best bet is to prepare well for any and all of the 3 stages of the process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement Program: Word Piles

The etymology connotes the Biblical narrative found in Genesis, generally referred to as the Tower of Babel; in that case, not of words, but of civilizations attempting to reach the heavens in order to breach the power of the universe.  But Babel was more than the diaspora of a rebellious cabal of God’s children gathered to defy and deface; it had to do with evil, impure intent, and the conspiracy of human depravity in the face of a pure heaven and the violation of man’s sacrosanct relationship implicit after the metaphor of the Great Flood.

Words, likewise, hold such a contractual connection.  They were meant to convey the differentiation between Truth and Falsity, and to correspond to the objective universe in communicating the worth and beauty of a sanctified world.  The defamation of that level of spiritual relationship was violated not because of the tower’s construction; rather, Babel’s unanswerable sin had to do with the depravity of the human heart, and the essence of a soul’s darkening.

Whatever the motivation of the gathering’s aggregate will never be known; and of individual reasons for participating in the construction of such a structure, we can only guess at; but what is clear is that the response was one of anger, and such reaction must have had a reason:  the dispersion was both an explanation of the state of current affairs, a forewarning for any who might consider future similar actions, and a consequence of man’s violation of a once-sacred right.

Modernity suffers from a parallel state of affairs.  Though clinging to the paradigm of a Darwinian explanation of human history, and devoid of everything spiritual, mythological or generational transfers of traditional narratives, the metaphorical pile of words we amass reflect not just an attempt to become gods ourselves, but in the very process, to rebel against the very foundation of what words were meant to accomplish.

Once upon a time, in the flickering shadows and glow from fires where the village gathered to hear the storytelling ancients of the town historian, sorcerer and magic healer, the traditions carried forth from the inception of timelessness into the mysteries of the heart would pierce like the spear of the warrior, and children listened with wide-eyed wonder at the shaman who effortlessly rolled the tales from tongues emitting not mere sounds, but images and shadows of pictures more frightening than the lion’s roar or the wild boar’s tusks.

Words spoken, meant something, then.  Truth was bundled in the very telling of the tale; and falsity reflected the depravity of man’s heart, confounded by the loss of innocence in a world gone mad.

We can still get a sense of that — that encounter with words, meaning and truth; and, indeed, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must convey facts, circumstances and narratives of human experience when preparing, formulating and 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, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the piling of words upon words must convey a test of reality, and a dose of the shaman’s storytelling.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is, in the end, not just creating a word pile; it is to communicate the essence of the human condition in a world which often fails to listen, and refuses to hear.  That is why it is important to formulate it effectively, accurately, and with a coherence beyond mere word piling, lest the fall be a cloud of dust greater than the collapse of the Tower of Babel.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The power of dialectical shrewdness

The Middle English noun form of the term connotes a conniving and negative tone, as in the focus of Shakespeare’s play, “The Taming of the Shrew”; but the adjective form merely denotes a practical astuteness in utilizing scarce resources in creative and constructive ways, whereas the altered noun form of “shrewdness” simply extends upon that kinder, gentler meaning.  When truncated as a compound concept with the term encompassing language and communication, however, it is meant to imply a practical force of conveying which sheds itself of unnecessary embellishment and unrequited force of utterance.

We live by narratives.  They form the foundation of who we are, the essence of that image which we carry about, and we readily push the proverbial “button” of the subconscious when queried about our past.  It is not so much that Grandpa or Uncle Ben are getting senile when they repeat the same stories, tell the parallel jokes, or convey the identical remarks from the previous merriment of holiday cheer; no, the narratives kept deep within the treasure troves of the inner soul and psyche are mere traces of a recording played with repetitive muse.

Can they be altered or amended?  Of course.  Can corrections occur? Always.

That is why, when a third party is invited to dinner, who by happenstance was present to confirm or deny a shared and common experience, or to correct a detail not heretofore known (it turns out that Grandpa wasn’t quite at the “first” landing of D-Day, but arrived a few days later as part of a “clean-up crew” in a more “administrative” capacity), the sudden need to rearrange and reorder the ensconced narrative forever frozen in a timeless eternity of thought, historicity and remembrances, becomes more of an irritation than a grudging concession.

That is why it is vitally of importance when a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who is preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application, to recognize a need to depart from the automaton-workings of life’s daily routine.  Language is more than a conveyance of directions and recipes to prepare a meal; it is the manner of osmosis for higher animals and angels unseen in a universe of trolls and trollops.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must 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, recognizing the power of linguistic shrewdness, wrapped in the methodology of forceful dialectical argumentation — of that combination of words, facts, forming narratives of undulating emotional sensations which reach down into the depths of souls unmoved, and yet pragmatic to the core because of the sufficiency of correlating and confirming documentation gathered and research unearthed — these are what make for the fine gold dust which must sprinkle from the wings of angels when the flight of the Phoenix must arise from the ashes of a Federal or Postal career ended by no fault of your own, but through a medical condition unplanned for and unnerving to the unknown exponent of a future to be followed.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The reservoir of vitriol

Do you ever wonder at the seemingly inexhaustible volume of time people spend on expending and expiating their reserve of malice, hatred and sheer meanness of being?  Time and energy spent on gossiping about others; of planning conspiratorial devices to undermine fellow coworkers, or to initiate harassing administrative sanctions and bureaucratic snafus in order to make life tougher, more miserable and uncomfortable for someone else.

More modern cars have a warning indicator informing the driver that the low fuel has resulting in the use of the “reserve tank”; for those whose carelessness can result with inaction ad infinitum, perhaps the depletion of such should require a further reservoir, and on and on — except for the impracticality of finding room for further gas tanks.   Ultimately, it all amounts to the same source, doesn’t it?  Whether you call it a “reserve tank” or from the primary one, depletion results from the aggregate of all, and the warning is merely a reminder to the clueless, and an excuse to nudge.

Similarly, at what point does a reservoir for vitriol need a warning indictor to light up for the source of such malice?  Or is human nature such that his or her depth of evil is irrepressible, and possesses an infinite chasm of depravity?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered at the hands of an agency or the U.S. Postal Service, through harassment, intimidation and sheer vitriol, and merely because the Federal or Postal employee has committed the crime of suffering from a medical condition and therefore is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is time to consider the innate nature of human malice, and determine whether it is even worth staying in an environment and atmosphere of negative returns.

Yes, careers are important, but at what cost?  Of course financial certainty provides a semblance of comfort, but to what end?  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 a step not just to “get away”, but further, to reach for a goal in which health and human sacrifice are not exclusive possessions of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Understand the essence of human depravity; the reservoir of vitriol is inexhaustible, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the malice of man is only beginning.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The Extrapolated Life

Originating from mathematics, the concept of extrapolation works well within numerical or statistical restrictions, because the inherent precision constrained by present trends versus application to unknown quantities, poses a self-correcting device not otherwise discovered with linguistic flexibility.

But what of a person’s life?  Most descriptions possess mere “slice of life” indicators.  An employment application; information gathered on a background check; security clearances obtained; personal financial statements; a family discussion about an incident which involved a relative; these are all moments in time, partial reflections upon a wider context of a complex life.  But that is how we are viewed, and how we view others; for, it is simply an impossibility to convey, or to hold with accurate assessment, the entirety of a person’s life, leaving aside the lives of everyone and anyone we encounter.

And so we are left with designating labels of convenience; that is John who works in IT; Mary, the office manager, and oh, by the way, she has two kids, one of whom had the flu last week; and so it goes.  Are such categorical delegations adequate?  For specific purposes, and in defined ways, they are useful in their own methodological curtailments.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are intending to 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, it serves well to understand the relevance of contextual extrapolation.  For, people have a tendency to want to tell the fullness of one’s life story.

Where to begin?  How to introduce one’s self.  What to include, and what to exclude.

Such is the contrast between David Copperfield and Holden Caulfield; the lengthy version of a biography, or the brevity of a pointed narrative.  Most want to divulge the former; the listener normally desires the latter.  To divulge too much is to indulge in needless chatter; discretion is, indeed, often the greater part of valor.

Thus, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, in the writing of one’s narrative, one should try and apply the precision-methodology of extrapolation in mathematics, but with a linguistic application sufficient to relate the relevant facts.

In the end, Caulfield’s concerns were probably overstated, and Copperfield’s remembrances of past childhood hurts could have been somewhat abbreviated; and a compromise between the two in all likelihood would have produced the best of narratives, at least for purposes of an OPM Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire