Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The distant bark

A lone dog barks in the distance.  We cannot determine where, or even from what direction, but the echo of wailing, sometimes of whimpering, reverberates like a mist in the early morning that quietly pervades but can never be grasped.  Perhaps it persists, and we leave the safety of our own home in search of the cry, as the forlorn sounds made wavers between a spectrum of hurt, pain, loneliness or urgency of need; no matter the reason, the bark is desperate.

We begin the journey in one direction, but suddenly the winds of voices heard shifts, and we believe it may be coming from a completely different direction.  We shift course and walk in the exact opposite direction. The barking continues, now with greater tones of reverberating alarm, drifting from over there, somewhere out there, never to be determined.  The barking stops.  You pause, listen; but only the quietude of the midnight air breaks the stillness of the echo that now sounds within one’s imagination.

You begin to doubt yourself; was it my own fears, my own fantasy?  Did the sound ever break upon the dawn of objective reality, or was it something that originated from deep within my own needs and wants?  You go home.  Then, a few minutes later, after turning off the lights and drifting off into the slumber of night’s call, a lone dog barks in the distance.

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 the Federal or Postal job, that Federal or Postal employee is the distant bark, and the help that never arrives reflects the situation that so often describes the events that unfold.  Federal Disability Retirement, as the analogy may be stretched, is the person who reaches out to try and find the source of the barking.  Failing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the metaphor where the searching man and the barking dog never meet.

Federal Disability Retirement is not just another “benefit” or a “give-away”; rather, it is part of the employment package that the Federal or Postal worker signed on to, and once obtained, allows for the Federal or Postal worker who is on disability retirement to pursue other careers and vocations, and more importantly, to focus upon regaining one’s health in the process by being separated from the work that has become problematic in the meantime.

And like the lone dog that barks in the distance, the Federal or Postal employee who fails to take the next step by not preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will end up like the dog that wails pitifully deep into the recesses of midnight regrets.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The perfect person

By all accounts, he or she doesn’t exist, except perhaps in theoretical constructs of theological paradigms; and of academia, where one may argue some alternate version of Anselm’s argument by positing that, because the concept of perfection could not be thought of without the reality of a Being constituting perfection, ergo a perfect Being – God – must by necessity exist.

Yet, we live “as if” the perfect person exists – either imposing such a standard unknowingly, unwittingly and unwillingly upon our own selves, or by thinking that movie characters actually exist somewhere in the ephemeral world of Hollywood, Instagram and Facebook concoctions that only put forward to the public’s eye the image of perfection.

We overlook the distorted concept of perfection when we say of a movie character, “Oh, he’s not perfect; he drinks too much, cheats on his spouse and is violent.”  Yet, the make-believe character still solves the mystery, is philosophically coherent when drunk, and somehow remains an attractive character despite all such character flaws.  In other words, despite the appearance of flaws, we make gods of characters we create.

It is the same on the Internet – despite the knowledge by all that there does not exist the perfect person, nevertheless, we allow for Facebook postings and Instagram photographs of meals, dogs, kids, families, selves and neighborhoods as the perfect depiction of unblemished lives.  And of ourselves, perhaps the greatest of culprits alive – for perpetuating the mythological depiction by engaging in the flim-flam of projecting the existence of the perfect person.

Yet, what is the alternative?  No one wants to hear the perpetual whining of the constant apologist – that person who points out his own failures and shortcomings at the drop of the proverbial hat; of he who apologizes for the slightest of errors, the scent of a mistake and a hint of failure to reach perfection.  Name a movie character or a movie, excepting a comedy, where the character is merely a bundle of imperfections and unattractive to boot.  Even Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther series, played long ago by Peter Sellers and by others more recently, captured the culprit in the end, despite all of the blunders and pitfalls.

In the end, we all participate in the grand larceny of perpetuating the existence of the perfect person – until we are hit with a medical condition, and the façade then suddenly falls apart.  Yet, everyone else continues in the charade.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who can no longer keep up with the make-believe world of the perfect person because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the appearance of the perfect person to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it may be time to admit imperfection by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the imperfect Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, in the end, it is the perfect person who embraces the imperfection of this world, and that is at least a beginning for the Federal or Postal employee who must continue to face the Federal Agency or the Postal Service in facing the reality of living imperfectly in this all too perfect universe.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability: The constant struggle

It does appear never-ending, doesn’t it?  And what of that dream – of some windfall, or perhaps the lottery pick of numbers that somehow keeps people coming back to the corner Mart and purchasing tickets despite the astronomical chances that defy the odds of probability?  Why is it that people are more apt to believe in conspiracy theories that the moon landing or aliens from Mars have been concocted and coopted by some nefarious government, but no one believes that those “winners” of multi-million dollar lotteries have been a “set-up” to keep people enticed into buying more and more worthless tickets?

Is it because life is a constant struggle, and so long as there is some fantasy to believe in, some pie-in-the-sky probability to reach for and dream about, the misery of today’s misfortune can be borne with aplomb “so long as” … so long as there is some hope for tomorrow?  And even if the lottery were to be won, by some unforeseen whim of a chance begotten, would life no longer be that constant struggle, and does financial freedom guarantee happiness, joy, freedom from the struggle and liberty from the daily fetters of life?  Why is it that we believe that winning a treasury trove of sudden infusion of financial depth will suddenly resolve all ills of life?

And then, of course, there is the medical condition.

What most people would not trade for good health – and, for some, even a day’s worth, an hour’s splice of that day, or even a few minutes free from the pain, the anxiety, the worry of ill-health?  It is one of those statements of proverbial “throwaways” that we all pay lip-service to, isn’t it?  That one that goes something like: “Oh, I would trade in all of my wealth, status and everything I own to get my health back.”

We hear other people say it, and nod with quiet agreement, but somehow, we don’t quite believe it – until our own health begins to deteriorate.

The key to wisdom in life’s journey is to come to a point of recognition that the constant struggle never ends; and by such recognition, to savor the moments of beauty and those “little joys” of life.  Yes, yes, that is the basis of another “conspiracy” or sorts – of the wealthy and powerful to make the “little people” believe in such joys as flowers, children and puppy dogs, while they go out and sun themselves on the extravagant yachts of life.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose health has been deteriorating, who recognize that one’s career is more than just the constant struggle of daily living, it may be time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, you cannot any longer do all of the essential elements of your job; yes, life is a constant struggle, and your medical condition makes it all the more so; no, you are not going to win the lottery; and finally, even if you did, it won’t make the pain or depression go away, and winning the lottery, in the end, won’t make the constant struggle disappear, and probably won’t even make it any more bearable; and thus the need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The dead, the dying and youth

Have you ever seen a flower arrangement that weaves together deadwood with bright and colorful summer explosions?  They tell us of that which reflects modernity:  The dead are forgotten in the background; the sick and dying are mere echoes fading quickly into a distant past; and it is only the vigorous who dominate and forcefully remain in the forefront.

How a society coordinates the interaction between the triad of life’s complex ingredients reveals the extent of its inner soul and character.  For, how many of us truly want to live in a pure State of Nature, where only the brute strength of predatory behavior would rule?  How many of us would survive in such a dystopian world, and for how long?

How we treat the remains, vestiges and memories of those gone; what we do with the ones still alive but deteriorating, suffering and lonely in their abandoned abodes; and whatever is left for the youth, what value of transference is imparted from the traditions longstanding, the obligations imparted, and the core values embraced – these determine the viability of a society in turmoil.

For, the dead reveal in constancy as to who we are by giving us a past; the dying, what we are made of by the example of how we treat the least of our community; and the value of youth is inherent in the lineage existent for the future continuation of a viable and vibrant tradition; and it is always the interrelationships between the tripartite worlds that determine whether and how.

We tend to want to compartmentalize, then to isolate each into their individual components such that one never interrelates with another.  But reality often will force a society to reflect upon such an artificial manner of conceptual isolationism, and sometimes it is by mere change of perspective that can lead to a paradigm shift of sorts.

Thus does this happen when we see a flower arrangement that artfully weaves the deadwood of winter with the vibrant colors of spring, and allow for even the panorama of fall leaves to still reveal beauty and breathtaking insights, and allow for the youth of summer blossoms to radiate, while at the same time giving deference to the others in the haiku of life.  It is often through a metaphor like this on a macro-scale that we can then glean a reflective outlook upon the microcosm of our own lives.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees him or herself as “less than worthy” – somewhat like the dying twigs in a flower arrangement otherwise filled with vibrancy and youth – all because a medical condition is becoming chronic and debilitating, one needs only look upon a flower arrangement that encompasses the triad of life’s natural flow.

Perhaps the agency is like those exploding blossoms of summer; and, more likely, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service will relegate the deadwood into the trash heap of corner offices and ignore those who are less productive.  But that is not a reflection upon the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; rather, that is an indictment upon the Federal Agency and the Postal Service itself.

Filing 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, is merely another way to maintain the constancy of society’s unstated promise – much like the flower arrangement that intersperses the dead, the dying and youth – by asserting that legal rights still matter, and a medical condition does not necessarily mean that one’s career is just more deadwood at the back of the arrangement, but can still reveal a promising future for greater productivity in the private sector of life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire