Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Of August Reminders

As an adjective, the accent is placed upon the second syllable, and recalls of supreme dignity and grandeur, with images of a Roman Centurion with his breastplate shining in the full sun of power and prestige.  As a noun, it is the doldrums of the eighth month, but where a breath of coolness always invades and reminds us of the possibilities, and of the coming winter still to arrive.

The inflection upon the first syllable makes all the difference; yet, the word remains the same, and only the harkening echo of a meaning concealed by mere intonation of voice.  What reminds of possibilities yet to be revealed?  Do smells, sounds and memories of potentialities unseen but foretold by parents, uncles and relatives, of the limitless anticipation of a world still before us?  Or of that cool respite, when the heat of summer turns suddenly a winter’s reminder, and allows us to bask in the sweat of our own memories, when toil was but a lazy dream in the midst of shadows by the stream’s edge?

There are times in life when possibilities seem endless, and the potentiality for happiness, joy, and sheer pleasure are limitless but for the darkness of our inner essences; when childhood memories once granted the wishes of a butterfly’s dream, and love was still the scent of flowers yet blooming in the valley below. But life tends to intrude and intercede; interruptions of august dreams in the doldrums of August nights; but for us, dreams are the escape from the reality of today, where tomorrow only brings sorrows but for lonely nights where the unity of solitude interrupts the daily grind of reality.

We never could precisely pinpoint when childhood ended; only, that adulthood “is”, and forever was.  Those summer dreams when the first kiss awoke our inner stirrings; when innocence was lost forever; and, somehow, we grew up with august reminders in those lazy August days when the fireflies died, and darkness enveloped the universe of possibilities.  There will still be days when we believe in ourselves; but as lives pass by, we watch and listen, and rarely see.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who feel the heat of summer’s suffocating dawns, those few days when the blast of reminders come our way, we relish and believe that the August doldrums are now behind us, only to realized that the days ahead will still embrace the sweat and toil of endless streams of treadmill repetitions.

When a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s positional duties, it is time to harken back to the days when august thoughts pervaded, and leave behind the August doldrums of sweat-filled concerns.  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 often the best option left as a reminder that August is the month of possibilities yet unfulfilled, and where august thoughts must emphasize the syllable following the doldrums of past reflections.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Sometimes, Even Squirrels Fall from the Sky

Nature is not the penultimate paradigm of perfection.  Think about it: the entire apparatus of evolutionary advancement is based upon the theory of accidental genetic alterations of incremental imperceptibility, over great expanses of time, as opposed to the disfavor shown to sudden mutations.  Survivability of a species depends upon environmental adaptations and genetic flexibility in the hereditary accrual of alleles, favoring small and progressive steps of advancements dependent upon environmental pressures and factors of change.

Grand mutations and the fictional existence of the “missing link” are rarely successful; mistakes are successful if accomplished in small portions; but they are accidents of reliable anomalies, nonetheless. It is thus upon missteps, accidents, and mutations which we rely for advancement, and not a teleological drive towards a perfect being, like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover.  And squirrels do sometimes misjudge a branch, and fall from the sky.

That is why it is anathema for the Federal and Postal employee to refuse to accept one’s vulnerability because of a medical condition, as if he or she did something wrong.  Youth tends to begin life with a view that upward mobility and progression is always to be expected; but the reality of life is that the principle underlying the universe favors interruptions and interludes. Having a medical condition is simply an event which is a natural part of life; and as mortality proves an organism’s existence, so a medical condition is merely its temporary reminder.

Thus, for the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, there should be no cause for embarrassment or shame in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS. Yes, filing for the benefit is an admission of one’s vulnerability and susceptibility to nature’s admonitions; but as we agreed at the outset, nature is not the penultimate paradigm of perfection, and our bodies and minds are part of the macrocosmic universe of nature. To defy the natural degeneration and imperfection of nature is to ignore reality.

Sometimes, it is only when a quiet walk through the woods is suddenly interrupted by an unexpected thud, and we turn and see a dazed squirrel looking around as it limps off in confusion, do we recognize that perfection is a fiction created by man, and refusing to file for Federal Disability Retirement is a stubbornness that borders on ignorance.

Even the squirrel knows that much.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: A Reminder of Sorts

Pain is a reminder of sorts; but then, so are alarm clocks, speed bumps and the presence of law enforcement personnel.  All around us, through signs, advertisements, smart phone apps, and sticky notes which we write to ourselves, we are surrounded by reminders.

The plethora and abundance of such reminders have never been the issue; rather, it is the responsiveness, or lack thereof, which determines the future course and orientation of one’s life. And so it is with the signals which are transmitted through out biological system; of that nagging hip pain which won’t simply go away; of increasing panic and anxiety attacks which paralyze one with physical manifestations of chest pains, difficulty breathing, etc.

Doctors can treat the symptoms; sometimes, medicating the symptoms lessens the strength of signals; the weakened reminders try desperately to find an alternate route to raise the alerts in more poignant and insistent form; but we humans are adept at ignoring such signage and alarms.

For Federal and Postal employees who have come to a point where the reminders can no longer be ignored, Federal Disability Retirement is an option to pursue.  It is available for all Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS, and where it can be established that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Reminders?  The Federal and Postal Worker has already long been aware of them, through the personal experience of one’s medical condition.  It was never a question of whether there were reminders; it was always the “when” — when would we finally acknowledge and respond?  It is, and always was, just a matter of time.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Gov. and USPS Disability Retirement: Pain as a Reminder

Pain is a reminder that the physiological state of one’s body is in need of rest or repair; it is tantamount to an error message on the computer, with the analogy of our brain being the software component.  Chronic pain thus constitutes a system shutdown; continued non-response and delay will either result in systematic error messages or progressive deterioration where the entire system will begin to be impacted with reverberating consequences.

It is well that the largest organ of our body is our skin; for, as a concealing covering, it contains the inner workings — and malfunctions — of our other organs and systems.  But within the constellation of the composite of organs and systems functioning in coordinated fashion to keep us alive, the “software system” allows for error messages to be relayed to important information centers, of warnings meant to be heeded.

Pain is such an error message; chronic pain is the heightened alert system to keep us informed.

For the Federal or Postal worker who experiences such continuous and persistent relays of error messages, the failure to heed merely delays the necessity of responding to the system shutdown.  Federal Disability Retirement is meant to be a compensatory system whereby a restorative period of recuperation is allowed for, with the possibility of engaging in employment in a different capacity without losing one’s base annuity.  It is a long and involved administrative process.  Such preparations must be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS or CSRS; further, if you are a separated Federal or Postal employee, you have only up until one (1) year to file from the date of separation.

Allowing the error message to be sent repetitively and ignored out of hand may constitute malpractice on the part of the recipient — the Federal or Postal Worker who does nothing but continue to be dedicated to one’s job, while ignoring the basic rule of life:  self preservation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Pain Problem

The problem with pain is that, quite simply put, there is only one person who “owns” it — the pain-feeler.  One can describe it, ascribe adjectives which somewhat make it come alive for the listener; and even attempt metaphors and analogies that expand upon the limited universe of words as opposed to the physical sensation which creates havoc and turmoil in a person’s life.

There are numerical designations (“she consistently feels pain on the scale of 7/10 daily”) and words like “chronic”, “intractable”, and “severe” capture a sense of what a person undergoes; but in the end, these are merely word-games in comparison to the agonizing physical trauma which the person experiencing the pain must endure.

In preparing a paper presentation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in the form of a Federal Disability Retirement packet, whether under FERS or CSRS, chronic pain and the extent of how such pain prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, is often problematic for the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating such a venture.

It presents a challenge for two primary reasons:  First, because of the difficulty in translating a physical sensation into a clear and effective conceptual modality; and Second, because the audience to whom such a descriptive analysis is conveyed is quite likely attuned to, and therefore somewhat indifferent to, thousands of such descriptions, and thus may have a somewhat calloused view of such statements.

Overcoming the roadblocks and gaining the attention of an OPM case worker requires more than the mere meeting of the law; it demands overcoming the problem of pain — both medically, and administratively.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Reality, Fantasy, and the Medical Condition

One often reads about sociological studies which purport to show a corresponding significance between the genres of movies made, and the particular time period, economic circumstances, and general societal mood, anxieties and concerns. Thus, in times of economic hardships, there may be an exponential explosion of fantasy-based movies produced, reflecting a need to escape the harsh realities of day-to-day living; or in times of war, movies about fidelity, valor, value-empowering men and women, perhaps revealing the self-questioning of whether one’s country is engaging in a moral choice in waging war, etc. Pseudo-Freudians enjoy the interpretive challenges of such a thesis, and successful academic careers are often based upon such intellectual studies.

Beyond movies, however, each individual walks around daily within a self-contained fantasy world; whether in daydreaming a specific set of thoughts; or of a self-created image which one carries with you in the depth of one’s psyche; such worlds of escape are often healthy mechanisms for surviving the harsh realities of daily drudgery. The bifurcation between reality and fantasy, so long as they are contained within appropriate spheres of thought-processes and are not mistaken in daily application, are harmless and allow for mysterious smiles from total strangers. But some in society are unable to have the luxury of daydreaming, or of phantasms of momentary escape; for, when an individual suffers from chronic pain, or medical conditions which daily aggravate and impede either cognitive abilities or physical movement, then the capacity to possess a private chamber of escape becomes an impossibility itself.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, should be entertained. Daily struggles aside, the inability to enjoy the fantasy of one’s imagination merely magnifies the hardship. Beyond that, if you can’t even go to a movie because your medical condition impacts you so severely as to prevent you from sitting through a couple of hours of escaping, then it is time to begin preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Pain, Anxiety & Exacerbation

Medical conditions tend to “feed upon” one another.  Maintaining a balanced perspective on anything is difficult when one is in pain, and the nagging, incessant presence of pain, diffuse and radiating, extending to areas and points of the body where one can no longer specify a particular area because of the widespread extension, makes it impossible to have the requisite focus and concentration necessary to perform one’s job.  Further, the profound fatigue which results from the daily fight against the pain, where one’s energy and reserve of patience for daily social and professional encounters is expended and exhausted such that one must choose between being civil or countering the pain, is something which many cannot understand.

At some point, consideration must be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Whether now, or a few weeks from a stated point, becomes an irrelevancy when one suffers from chronic pain, for the Federal or Postal employee who has endured such medical conditions already knows — whether the doctor concedes it or not — that one cannot continue in this manner.

The physical pain, of course, only serves to exacerbate and feed upon the anxiety — anxiety which projects future events, financial security (or insecurity), and whether and for how long one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service will look the other way as performance deteriorates and the pervasive whispering campaign by coworkers and supervisors begins.  Pain of a chronic nature only invites anxiety; and when the two combine, they serve to exacerbate to an extent where an exponential result is attained, neither explained by the pain alone nor the presence of anxiety, but where the sum of the total exceeds any ability to maintain the balanced perspective needed to continue to perform the essential elements of one’s job.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire