OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Was it all worth it?

It is that penultimate question – the one that has multiple cousins and unwanted siblings, illegitimate off-springs and uninvited guests, like:  What is the meaning of my life (refer to previous posts concerning Russell’s quip that such pedantic queries are often the result of indigestion)?  Did I do the right thing (such lines of interrogatories often emerge from a guilty conscience, so you might not want to ask that one)?  Did I spend enough time with my kids (almost always, “no”)?  Did I remain true to my marriage vows (sadly, according the statistical analysis, most people would have to answer in the negative)?  Have I behaved honorably throughout (it would depend upon the definition of the term, and of by-the-way, we tend to have private dictionaries defining words these days in a subjective, self-serving manner)?

“Was it all worth it” goes in so many directions, it is like the catch-all phrase or the “general aegis” over which all other questions and queries reside.  To whom?  By what measure?  In contrast to what other “it”?  And the more important one: Can we clarify and “flesh out” what the “it” refers to?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prompts a need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the interrogatory itself often means that the point of “worthiness” refers to the delay and loyalty shown by the suffering Federal or Postal employee before taking the next needed steps in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Often, to the detriment of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant, such a query means that you have already pushed yourself well beyond that which is actually for your own good, and while loyalty, faithfulness, hard work and such similar attributes are laudable and “example-setting” characteristics reflecting well upon the one who asks the question, the answer may be – at least from a medical perspective – formed in the negative.

For, isn’t part of the point in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application to do so before the medical condition gets to such a severe crisis point of deterioration so that there is actually a retirement to enjoy?

Remember that the standard of proof in obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement is not to reach a state of “total disability” (which is the standard in a Social Security case); rather, it is to show that the Federal or Postal employee cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position.

Thus, when you ask the question, “Was it all worth it?” – it is indeed important to know what the “it” refers to, both in the second word of the question as well as the fifth and last.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Cosmic Intransigence

The complaint is most often heard in a converse manner — that because of the minutiae and daily details required of one’s energy, focus and concentration, the “larger picture” fails to be seen.  But the reverse is just as true:  we often overlook the significance of the mundane, justifying such neglect by arguing that it is the cosmic and universal principles which are of greater relevance; mere human beings within the aegis of humanity, are but flies in a smattering of a decaying universe.

And while grand principles are indeed noble, and provide for paradigms upon which notable historical movements have been based, it is ultimately the monotony of hopes and dreams, as held and projected by youth in turmoil and wanting, which create the sprinkling of golden dust blowing by to sparkle the dreariness of daily toil.  The cosmic will always be intransigent; there is nothing to be done with it, as natural laws, the fate of karmic forces, and the ethereal foundations of the universe will continue to move history, economies and world events forward, with or without the input of ordinary people.

The world is a mere playground for the wealthy and powerful, and the gods which play with the cosmos are already intransigent in their own brutal way.  But that is precisely why the personal problems of individuals amount to so much more than the aggregate of a single life; the “greater picture” will always be there; it is the seemingly insignificant life which makes for beauty and worth.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who become disheartened because of the cosmic intransigence of the “greater picture”, it is precisely the focus upon one’s own life, family, future and time yet left for greater endeavors, which should be the focus of today, the dream of tomorrow and the concentrated efforts of past remembrances.  When a medical condition begins to impact one’s capacity and ability to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal or Postal employee needs to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, precisely because the “larger picture” will always be there, but the smaller details of necessity call for one’s effort in securing one’s place in that greater context.

When one’s health is threatened, the fragile nature of one’s being, the sense of insignificance and loss of place and relevance in society, becomes overwhelming.  But it is precisely within that context that the importance of carrying the burden forth becomes all the more relevant; if not for grander principles, then at least for one’s own self, family, and friends who care.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may seem like another mundane detail of bureaucratic life which one must pursue, but it is what one can do in the next phase of one’s life that will matter, while all the while the cosmic intransigence of an impervious universe coldly stares back with the laughter of fate and determination to destroy.  It is up to each of us to defy such willfulness of intransigence.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The Deeper Recesses of Unwanted Caricatures

Caricatures often depict an exaggerated degree of undesirable characteristics, whether for comic effect or sleaze of meanness.  The totality of the person or entity described is rarely the reality of the grotesque aggregate of the negative characteristics, but one can still see the relative truth of validation in the aspects shown.

Such caricatures, too, can be either internal or external; the latter being the depiction from the perspective of someone “other”; the former comprised of the totality of one’s self-image, how one projects from the perspective of the other, and the reflective thoughts of one’s self.  When others describe one in caricature form, you may laugh, but inwardly shy with horror and fright; and in the deeper recesses of one’s privacy, the truth and impact of such unwanted caricatures may pull one into a psychological chasm of despair.

Medical conditions, especially, can exacerbate an already-existent fear and loathing, precisely because they attack and undermine those areas of the physical, emotional and psychological vulnerabilities most open and revealing.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who becomes impacted by a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the unwanted caricatures which frighten and demean are often twofold:  Loss of productivity (resulting in reduction of income), and devaluing of self-worth, both in the eyes of coworkers as well as from the deeper recesses of one’s own perspective.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement may not seem like the perfect solution in dealing with a medical condition, but as this is not an infallible universe, so we must accept the imperfections offered.

The generous parameters promulgated within the legal regulations of obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement, allows for the Federal and Postal worker to entertain a second vocation or career beyond the Federal Disability Retirement annuity (one may earn income in the private sector, up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal salary was, in addition to the Federal Disability Retirement annuity).  More importantly, it allows for the Federal or Postal worker to first and foremost focus upon attending to the medical condition itself, while receiving a base annuity during the crisis point in determining the course of future actions.

Unfortunately, what often holds us back in securing one’s future is not the actual realities of an imperfect universe, but rather, the deeper recesses of one’s perfect world, as depicted in an unrealistic caricature within one’s own imagination, precluding progress where pantomimes may perform.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Seasonal Rhythms

We are completely disconnected from the imposition of nature’s imperatives; through artificial means, we extend the light of day in the name of productivity, and prevent and shut it out for the sake of lengthier restorative sleep; we defy slumber and seasons of cocoon-like hibernation with unnatural heat, and resist the middle of the day where scorching temperatures and required siestas in other countries are ignored and scoffed at.

The rhythmic beat of breathing and hearts, like the seasons of change or vicissitudes of weather, are mere obstacles to be overcome; and whether successful or not, we forge onward in any event, ignoring the cost of defiance and neglecting the reality that once, we were sons and daughters of a primordial world, part and parcel of the natural order, but like the two figurines who left and traveled east of eden, the past we abandoned behind became a burden quickly forgotten for the price of ransoming the ransacking of the world we rejected.  But the rhythm still remains, despite our best efforts to control and command.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the disruption from the artificially-created confines of the work environment is likened to the rejection and resulting turmoil from the natural rhythm of life.

In abandoning and becoming disconnected, we have created a different rhythm of living; and when that manufactured one is interrupted, where does one return to?  Medical conditions are often considered as mere irritants to our goals and teleological make-up; when, in fact, they are precursors and warnings foreboding nature’s tap on one’s shoulder.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may appear to be another artificial means of escaping, sort of like leaving the proverbial frying pan into the fire; but once we left behind the mythological state of nature, and into the social contract of a burdensome bureaucracy, the necessity in engaging the administrative process itself becomes our inevitable fate.

Federal Disability Retirement, for the Federal and Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a benefit accessible precisely for those whose rhythmic entourage has been interrupted by the self-immolation of a disease or injury; and as rhythms go, the beat of the drummer which leads one away from the discordant band which plays upon the deterioration of one’s body, should provide the pathway towards preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to head west back to the garden of eden one left behind, once upon a time.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Incremental Destruction

It is the slow, destructive force of incrementalism which presents the greater danger in life.  Most people can respond to a full-blown crisis; those are events where the human chemistry of adrenaline flow and reactive thoughtlessness results in heroic acts as told in epic narratives.  But what of the slow and deliberate acts of daily sniping?  How well do we respond, and in civil discourse where physical challenge to such cowardly encounters is no longer acceptable, what does one do?

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must contend daily with supervisors, co-workers, managers, etc., in the deliberative incrementalism of destructive criticism, heightened hostility, and the slow churning of pressure by the drip-drip method of administrative sanctions, actions and reprimands, the cost of remaining in an atmosphere of toxicity is high, indeed.

When the medical condition begins to impact the capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service engages in a fairly routine manner of acting — of ostracizing, impeding and obstructing.

One would think that, with all of the laws and public awareness concerning disability discrimination, that society — and especially the Federal sector — would be sensitive in the treatment of Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition; but, alas, civilization rarely progresses in response to genteel laws reflecting intellectual advancement; rather, they remain within the constraints of the origin of one’s species (hint:  the reference is to the Darwinian paradigm of evolutionary determinism).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best choice remaining for Federal or Postal workers who must contend with the incrementalism of sure destruction.  For, in the end, one must always reflect upon the priority of values — of health, continuation in a toxic environment, and whether it is worth it in the end.

It may be years before the adverse effects surface, or mere months; but that is the legend of the age-old torture methods which are most effective; the ones who administer the pain have all the time in the world; it is the victim who must live with the consequences.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire