Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: On the other hand…

Do other species engage in the same games of options and alternative scenarios?  Does the Lioness, just before the charge and race to overtake its noontime meal, say to herself, “Yes, that one looks good; but on the other hand…”?

Or, does the fact that a subjective state of consciousness fails to include verbal statements or conceptual constructs coherent by human standards constitute an absence of such option-choosing methodology of thought processes?

Or, do we accept its silent substitute, where there is an antelope, a wildebeest and a wild boar , and as the lioness surveys the prey before her, the fact that she looks, views, takes into account the ease of capture as to each – in a silent, non-verbal manner – constitute the identical cognitive approach as that of murmuring to one’s self?  “On the other hand…”

Does everything have to be verbal in order to reach a level of “thought”, or can the silent surveying of a predator reach the same level of intellectual coherence as that of a verbalized statement?

What about pain?  If you go to a doctor’s office and the MRI shows multi-level degenerative disc disease and the nurse says to you, “You must be in considerable pain,” and you respond with, “Yes, but I haven’t ever said anything about it” – does that mean that you never had pain, or merely that you did not verbalize it?  Can existence of X remain in a private, insular and singular world, or must it be communicated in order to have a “reality”-based existence?

How is it different from the child who says, “I just saw a purple monster hiding behind the couch”, and the parent smiles and says, “What an imagination!”  The fact that the child saw it and no one else, but failed to verbalize it at first – does it make a difference?  And when the child declared its existence, do we doubt it any more than the admission of the non-stated pain because we don’t believe in purple monsters?  On the other hand…

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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, is it better to constantly be a complainer and whiner and keep telling your supervisor and coworkers that you have a medical condition and the medical condition prevents you from doing essential elements X, Y and Z?

Or, like most Federal and Postal workers, do your remain silent for years and even decades, enduring the pain of physical deterioration or the tumult of psychiatric turmoil, and then get “penalized” for it when you file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, merely because “no one knew about it” until it became so bad that you had to file?  On the other hand…


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of true discourse and debate

A title immediately becomes “suspect” when the prefatory insertion of the word “true” is necessitated.  For, the noun which it is meant to enhance should be able to stand alone, without the reinforced embellishment that it is somehow more genuine than with the cousin’s uninvited presence.  It is like referring to a gemstone as a “valuable emerald” (what, one queries, would constitute an invaluable one?), or that such-and-such is a “very religious priest” (as opposed to an irreligious one?); and so to refer to the methodological approach of discourse and debate as one which is “true”, is to immediately undermine the very meaning of such a beginning.

But in modernity, where meaning has lost its efficacy and the elasticity of language has become epitomized by mindless You-Tube videos and an endless stream of nonsensical declarations preceded by a belief that, as pure relativism is rampant and presumed, it matters little who holds what opinion, the content of what is said, and not even the tone of intended consequences.

Once, in years past, there were “rules of engagement“, but three (3) foundational precepts needed to be followed in order to engage a valid discourse and debate.  First, that a distinction could be made between truth and falsity.  Second, that there existed a “superior” argument, based upon the combination of facts and rules of logical argumentation, in contradistinction to an “inferior” one.  But third — and this is the missing component in today’s endless shouting matches on television and radio waves — that each participant possessed a level of humility such that upon recognizing the inferiority of one’s one argument, a voluntary concession would be made, admitting to the superiority of the opponent’s argument.

While everyone recognizes and acknowledges the structural weakening of the first element, it is this last one which has devastated the entire process of today’s discourse and debate.  Of relevance to 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 or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the extent, content and relevance of making a legal argument, and to what effectiveness and efficacy of substance, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

In the end, bureaucracies are based upon the power of its established conduit of administrative complexity, and OPM is no different.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is made up of ultra-competent individuals who take their jobs very seriously, as well as with a mixture of some who are less than stellar.  That is the general make-up of all such organizations and governmental entities.

The structure of the right to appeal, however, is why a cogent discourse and debate must be prepared.  If the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application twice (at the initial stage of the process, then again at the Reconsideration stage), then the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant can file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  There, the Administrative Judge will hear all of the arguments made, afresh and anew, and consider the lack of constructive engagement and “weak points” of OPM’s arguments.  That is where all true discourse and debate must begin — before an audience with a listening ear.  And there we have that complementing and undesirable cousin again —  the “true” X, as opposed to an untrue one?


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Of the politics of human discontent

Long ago, it was figured out; by men and women smarter than the general population, the ingredients of democracy and seizing of power became fixed in a formula of compromise; in politics, discontent is the source of unrest, and change is the power switch that turns the electorate around.

Rousseau over-romanticized that mythological “State of Nature“, but accurately recognized the human tendency towards the need to accumulate the leisurely graces of societal accouterments.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” was a nice, pithy way of putting it; the sardonic undertone has outlived its meaning, and today, economic survival has overwhelmed most of us.  The fact that the greater gods in back rooms of whispered consciences have recognized the need for portraying the hope of stability in exchange for demagoguery and cultish following, has even the power players wishing for a time of yesterday before a week hence.

Ultimately, human discontent has to do with the spectrum of a chasm between expectation and reality; when that pose of separation divides too far, an abandonment of common sense, historical lessons, and an approach of rational foresight becomes the blaring trumpet of the vaunted white knight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in the Federal or Postal position because it intersects with the ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the interceding reality of the politics of discontent come to the fore.

Left in the quandary of false choices, the chasm between “what the law says” and how the power structure at the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service reacts to the news of the medical condition, is tantamount to the poverty of expectations in the face of reality.  The Federal bureaucracy can pay lip service to the touted declarations of fairness, efficiency and good government, but people will always be people — a tautology which everyone knows the meaning of, especially if you are a Federal or Postal employee.

Fortunately, the law also allows for the benefit of 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.  And of the politics of human discontent?  Leave that for the next generation of brave souls who may enter into the realm of Rousseau’s elevated sense of the Social Contract as the foundation of society’s misgivings; but just remember that the French Revolution resulted in the beheadings of many, and a change for none.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire