OPM Disability Retirement: The buttons we believe accomplish

We believe, on faith alone, that pushing a button does the deed; and then we go on with life, and nothing really has changed but the belief in our own self-satisfaction.  It is that virtual world of computers, light switches, garage door openers and even the disc-like appendages to our shirts and sweaters that lead us to conclude that all such contraptions are of equal weight and value.

We see the cause-and-effect of the garage-door opener — of pushing a button and seeing the door slide open, then another push and it reverses course.  We push buttons on the computer keyboard, and with each tap the screen changes, or concludes with the deed completed; and of “buttons” on a shirt or sweater, we appreciate the invention that holds two sides of a separated apparel together to enclose our bodies with a warmth of a material embrace.

What does it mean to accomplish a deed with a mere pushing of a button?

We have been habituated into such thinking, and it is this disconnectedness that allows for society to continue to move “as if”.  It is only when we encounter the counter – belief that all of a sudden the world of buttons begins to sow some seeds of doubt — as when the boss comes and says, “Why haven’t you sent me X” and you respond, “I emailed it to you last week “ (it isn’t quite the same to say, “I pushed the button that accomplished the deed”).  “But I never got it” is the response which prompts you to go back and re-press the button, hoping somehow that doing so a second time will make a difference that the first time did not.

This time, however, just to be doubly sure, you go back and ask your boss whether he received it (not, again, “did my second button-pushing work?”), thus verifying the causal connection that had failed to occur previously.

What made the difference?

Somehow, in the ethereal universe of circuitry and magic we have no clues about, there exists a causal chain that “works” and “accomplishes” deeds — just like the garage-door opener that issues an immediate gratification of causation.  But that all of life would allow for such instantaneous confirmation — and of buttons we think accomplish.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a consideration to 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, the buttons we need to push are many, varied, and long in waiting.

Whether they comprise of the metaphorical “buttons” to get people moving, or of emails that need to be sent, confirmations that require a response — what we do know, throughout, is that the reality of one’s medical condition has a discernible difference both of reality and of urgency when it comes upon the need for causation to occur.

The buttons we think accomplish remain somehow in that “other world” of magic and the unknown; the medical condition that remains is somehow the reality of the “now” that constitutes pain and suffering; and that is why preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is of greater importance than the buttons we believe accomplish.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Between balance and perspective

Between the two is a chasm often unnoticed, where the preface to either and both may be a skewed outlook or a myopic view of an issue, a trope of a trolley of hardships gone uncontrollably berserk; and once a person “gets over” the emotional turmoil of a reaction steeped in feelings, sensibilities and angst, then a certain condemnation of “balance” may arise, which then allows for a different “perspective” to develop.

Balance is often thought to come after perspective, as if the former is the more important conclusion to arrive at, whereas the latter is merely likened to the prefatory problems encountered to begin with.  But balance merely provides the spectrum; the weights at each end may now allow for a proper judgment and determination, but only as to the quantitative bunching of problems to be faced.

Perspective, on the other hand, allows one to take a step back and review the qualitative potentialities of a consortium of issues otherwise unavailable without the weighing of all issues simultaneously, to be evaluated, analyzed and judged upon.

It is that pause and moment between the two, however, that allows for the former to result in the productivity of the latter, and without that split, abbreviation and semicolon of reality, we may jump from the proverbial frying pain into the fires of our own making.  For, we like to think of ourselves as “rational” (whatever that means) and imbued with a capacity to view things in a “balanced” way, thus allowing a reasoned “perspective” upon all matters of importance.

In the end, however, do we ever follow the advice of sages long past, dead anyway, and suspected of gross negligence by the incomprehensible garnishment of society’s lack of empathy and understanding?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suddenly, or over a period of time, suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue is often one of balance and perspective – how do I make a “right” decision that balances all of the issues involved?  And what is the “proper” perspective to arrive at, given all of the jumble of issues – whether legal, real, imagined or feared?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important decision to make from any perspective, and in order to arrive at a “balanced” judgment on the matter, the Federal or Postal employee needs to allow for that pause between balance and perspective to include a third-party voice to intervene and provide some advice; the only question is, will that comma or semicolon that allows for soundness of judgment be from a friend or cousin who may not have a clue, or from an experienced attorney who may be able to fill in the gap between the balanced perspective in making a proper decision?


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Foreground-background

Perspective is always an important component in all that is seen, done and accomplished.  For, without it, a self-contained sense of importance in light of irrelevance and insignificance always seems to dominate.

Seen from afar, standing in the background, can we always determine that which constitutes the background, as opposed to the foreground, of an individual or perspective some distance away?  Does a myopic vision constrict and further complicate, where we miss the details some distance beyond and make assumptions and presumptions to the detriment of a more “balanced” viewpoint?  Or, what of “tunnel vision”, where the peripheral views are restricted, and we are left with a centrality of focus but lacking in taking into account the contextual surroundings often necessary to determine a more accurate assessment?

In appreciating a painting or a photograph, does shifting one’s vantage point make a difference, even when the reality of the object observed reflects a one-dimensional canvas covered with colors and pigmentation which alters not despite nearness or farness of viewpoint?  Of the child who has not yet figured out the difference between a bucket and a photograph of a bucket – and raises himself on his tiptoes to view what is inside of a bucket upon a table, and does the same when viewing a picture of one (or in a supermarket line in trying to discern the cleavage of a magazine’s cover), is it important to recognize the distinction between foreground and background, and if so, at what age and why?

How does one attain a level of balanced perspective, and who determines when such achievement is arrived at?  Are we just born with the capacity and ability to calculate, assess, evaluate and analyze, and the natural outcome of conclusions derived are to be entrusted merely because “it is so” and the innate character of inherent superiority of man’s solutions can be applauded?  Does unwavering certainty by tone of voice and utterance of words deserve no suspicion of questioning?  Or, if a person comes along and says confidently, “Trust me”, we are to do so merely because – what?  If we walk through a dark forest and see afar a clearing where the sun has opened a spot of visual beauty, does it matter what constitutes a foreground as opposed to a background when the undisturbed scene asks not a question of impertinence or care?

In every situation, one’s background should be taken into account, in determining the relevance of the foreground to be assessed.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who intends on preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the importance of “how much” background to impart must be balanced with the foreground to be detailed, and it is always the combination of both which will determine the ultimate effectiveness in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Foreground provides for the content of a background inserted with instrumental brevity, and too much background can dominate to make the foreground appear less compelling.  Perspective is always important, and a reasoned balance between background of a case, providing contextual information to understand the foreground of the narrative, is essential in the effective formulation of a Federal Disability Retirement application before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Mercenary

Why is it that money taints with toxicity of motive?  If a person does something with no compensatory demand, does that fact alone make it less suspect?  Does the professional soldier who gets paid by one’s own country show a level of patriotism unblemished, but the one who hires out for monetary rewards by another, belie a code of honor?  What gives the scent of blemish, the hint of a soul’s impoverishment, and the sullied character of an inner decay?

Are we merely taught to remain in silent awe at the poor woman in the story of the miserly penny, and frown if a child begins laughing and saying, “What a fool to give up the last penny!”  Are saints born, or are they taught and disciplined, when the innate signs of cynicism may yet win out over the empathy of a fool’s errand?  What good is “goodness” in an evil world?  Do we remember Bonhoeffer, or was his courage forgotten amidst the thousands of graves both marked and without remembrance, in a world where community no longer exists and friends are counted by Facebook likes and never by the warmth of human comity?

Somehow, money taints, and the toxicity of the transfer sticks like mud to the boots of a killer, leaving tracks and traces in the bogs of lives tarnished.  Yet, it is the exchange by which dreams are made, the goal for which daily toil is endured, and the chances taken in bribes received in order to attain a measure of financial security and the declarative success of an age where hypocrisy dares to utter its laughable voice of despair.

Is it because we believe that mercenaries fail to believe in that which is being fought for, and instead confuse the means for an end we misguidedly believe should be the end in and of itself?  Does engaging an individual for purposes of honor, country, faith and other tropes of a nation’s visage of vacuous promises make it any more substantive if the abandonment of a country of its own vital principles reaches a point where such terms no longer apply?

There are those who romanticize the independence of the mercenary, despite the Geneva Convention restrictions which grant lesser protections in the event of capture; and, yet, history is replete with their use and presence, from Ancient Egypt during the rein of Pharaoh Ramesses II  to the French Foreign Legion and the British Gurkha regiments, and beyond to modern warfare.  But romanticization and reality often conflict and collide, and the remaining entrails of toxicity remain with the scent of avoidance.

In more quiet arenas of modern life, the term itself is often applicable not to fields of the battleground, but to individuals who “go after” others for rewards and reasons of similar taint and toxicity.  In the employment arena, there are mercenaries aplenty, and they are predators that devour with equal ferocity.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and therefore must prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the duality of dangers must be faced.

First, the allegation that the Federal or Postal employee is merely being a “mercenary” by “taking advantage” of a generous system of medical retirements, and Second, to beware of the mercenaries of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service who aggressively go after the Federal or Postal employee weakened and unable to defend him or herself during the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, precisely because of the medical condition itself.

In both instances, it is the mercenary instinct itself which dominates, and no amount of honor or faith in country can withstand the onslaught of the vicious outliers of such gossiping geese.


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


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The last hurrah

We dream of those moments; the final word in a debate which devastates the opponent; the retort which wows the audience; the closing statement that persuades beyond a reasonable doubt; the performance of a lifetime which defines the value of life itself.  The final breath taken, the last hurrah heard, and the concluding catapult left not as a dangling participle, but as a substantive grammatical perfection, leaves the participants and viewers in silent awe in the wake of the closing curtains descending as the roar of the crowd becomes muffled because of the thunderstruck performance left with little doubt or residue for an encore.

Sometimes, however, it is better to let the silence interrupt, the pause intersect, and the non-retort prevail.

Discretion is a characteristic personality trait which rarely prevails, and less so in moments of reactive anger and tumultuous needs of flaring emotions.  For, the time elapsing between a declaration made and the thoughtless contortions of an emotional response, will often be of a split millisecond, and certainly not enough consideration for the synapses to fire within the fermented (or is it demented?) mind of the turmoil encased within.

The samurai who touches the hilt of his sword must consider the consequences; for, once unsheathed, the metal blade previously encased within the master artisan’s work must be used, lest cowardice be charged and reputation be tarnished.  In life, work, and daily living, we have multiple instances and encounters where the opportunity to speak, or not, are confronted and engaged; rarely do we reflect upon the least-favored alternative: silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 repetitive refrain is often to let everyone know, and to express one’s opinion loudly and without thoughtful editing, like the book publisher who self-publishes because no one else has seen the value of the Greatest American Novel left as an unknown and unsought manuscript, hidden in the dusty caverns of a mind secluded but for diatribes on the Internet.

The sagely advice of this lawyer: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell — don’t.  For, in the end, declared asides of fictional characters and the hubris of a Shakespearean soliloquy often result in death, destruction and dementia (and not necessarily in that order), and the last hurrah is often like the drowning sailor whose final surviving words echo soundlessly in the lapping waves of a vast ocean of Nature’s impervious imperialism, lost forever in the terminal breath of a gasping desperation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire