Federal Disability Retirement: The Trail of Tears

History is replete with the metaphor of maltreatment; it is the silent graves that cannot speak, anymore, which haunts a nation’s soul.  It is a reminder, of sorts; a way of understanding and revisiting the history and essence of a nation – of the westward expansion and the decimation and systematic thievery against a civilization that was doomed from the start.  But trails soon get overrun by either settlements or city construction; and tears quickly dry up so that the agony of a peoples once felt become a mere memory told in narratives and tales by old men and forgotten women who no longer matter.

Reservations were demarcated and a defeated populace was shuttled into forgotten corners of the world, left to sputter amongst themselves in wallowing memories of defeated battles and violated treaties; and, as modernity replaced the fading residue of an inglorious past, only the diaries and annotations of eyewitnesses maintained a memory of coherent violations otherwise set aside to make room for future time.  Does each one of us, in addition, have a trail of tears?  Do we shed them in the privacy of our scorned thoughts, left to the isolation of our own destroyed lives?

The Medicine Man of yore could not stop the onslaught of that which we deem “progress” and “modernity”; and in the end, it was modern warfare that doomed any resistance to change.  The medical doctor of today, like the appeals of yesteryear to the Great Spirit, can only stem the tide of a progressive and chronic disease; the methodology may have changed, from fasting and foreboding fortunetelling to pharmacological modalities and surgical intervention, but when a diseased body or mind continues to deteriorate despite such intercession, the personal trail of tears follows a parallel course of those we once trampled upon.

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 position, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There are always historical travesties, as well as personal ones.  In this world where history barely catches the fancy of those who must contend with the tides of an uncaring world, it is the personal trail of tears which is most important to each individual, and not the “grand scheme” of events which we can neither control nor foresee.

History is what it is – acts committed by ancestors, certainly, but ones which most of us could neither control nor protest against.  But that which we can determine – like the destiny of a future for a Federal or Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition that continues to debilitate and constrain – should be accomplished within the confines of the laws which predominate, lest one’s personal trail of tears begins to parallel that of a past now long forgotten.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: That sigh of regret

It is released without consciousness of foresight, or random expectation of hope to come.  Often, merely an involuntary deviation from a carefully-guarded appearance, that sigh of regret escapes with a haunting echo of mirthless exhaustion.

Is there a time when past regrets catch up to present dismay, obfuscated by the loss of any future hope to reinvigorate?  What is regret but a deed left undone, a trepidation leading to inaction when flight of carefree abandonment embraced us for a moment, where craziness of freedom from the fetters of caution allowed one to pause and jump without fear of tomorrow?  And the sigh that follows, but a mere refrain denoting the commonality of experiences, withheld, where caution pulled us back because of pragmatic considerations we once beheld to be more important than the liberty of our means.

Rare are those lives whose self-assurance in the meandering days of feckless travels reveals not a morsel of remorse, but a fullness of memories neither unrestored by neglect nor needing any touch-up or photo-shopping imputation.  Some have warranted that to regret is to die a slow death, while others accept it as merely the general populace’s lot in life.

The sigh of regret is emitted during that lapse of unguarded exposure when vulnerability is allowed to reveal, where openness – whether because of insanity, inebriation or a raw moment of “being real” – stands in line behind the impenetrable fortress of layers carefully shielded in order to construct that wall of mystery.  But the other side of regret – like the turn of midnight as the clock strikes its 12th toll – is the knowledge that something else could have been, that better tomorrows might have been, and the “what ifs” of life keep coming back to haunt, each whisper followed by a louder intonation of incessant reminders.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who having that sensation – of a pause, a consideration or even an inkling – that it is time to begin preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, there are “better times” than others where timing in filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be weighed and balanced within the greater context of all other considerations.

What one does not want to happen, is to allow for a later event to emit that sigh of regret, which is what so many people, in so many circumstances, end up doing.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee has already let loose a sigh of regret, is the best pathway forward to ensure that – whatever accumulations of life’s regrets one may already hold within the bosom of one’s soul – future actions will fail to predict the sorrowful din of tomorrow’s hope for a better future, where that sigh of regret may be muffled because an act today was taken in light of yesterday’s remorse.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Tantum ergo

It is the incipit of the last two verses of a Medieval Latin hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas is best known for his inclusive osmosis by fiat of stretched logic to accommodate and force commensurability the texts of the ancients (i.e., Aristotle) within the essential boundaries of Christian theology.  His methodology in accomplishing this feat was to posit the weakest of straw man arguments, then to systematically appear to knock them down, and then to declare a forceful conclusion as if the ergo naturally and rationally followed.  That the conclusion is followed by verses subsequent, reflects how life works as well.

Sometimes, we mistake the “Hence” or the “Therefore,” and believe (wrongly) that nothing should follow.  But such conjunctive adverbs are often confused as if they denote answers to mathematical calculations.  Life rarely works in that manner, and it is entirely right that the tantum ergo should follow with additional discourses upon the beatific vision of the hymnal’s content.  Indeed, that is how we often and mistakenly live our lives – to accept with resignation that the declarative utterance, “Therefore, so great,” results in a quietude and silence of subsequent ceremony.  We wait upon it, and when it comes, we submit and concede.  Or, as in cases more common, it never comes, and thus do we surrender.

That is how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on the verge of preparing 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, approach the impending suspicion of doom or failure; the Tantum ergo is declared by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker accepts it as gospel truth, when in fact one should always recognize a countervailing principle of life:  a lie is a lie, is an untruth, is a lie, is a mis-statement of the law, is still a lie.

This author will not go so far as to say that Human Resource offices throughout the Federal Agencies systematically engage in disseminating falsehoods; perhaps, many merely relate the misinterpretations gained through osmosis of gossip; but, in any event, whether from a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the groundless surrender based upon a seemingly unassailable declaration that, “Therefore, so great” – whether referring to itself; whether in misstating the legal consequences of failed accommodations and the impact upon filing a Federal Disability Retirement application; of failing to inform the Federal or Postal employee of the rights of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – the Federal and Postal employee should always be cautious of taking as face value a declaration by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service that single utterance of self worth:  “Therefore, so great.”

Especially when it is referring to itself; always, when ascribing motives unstated; and forever, when trying to undermine the Federal or Postal employee.  And as to the multiple verses which follow upon the Tantum ergo?  Mistake not:  there is always life after Federal Disability Retirement; and let not one be fooled into thinking otherwise.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement for Federal & Postal Employees: Clarity of purpose

It is always a burden when the passageway beyond is a mist of obscurity.  It helps to possess it, even in partial shades of inane generalizations; but lack of it, especially in youth, is neither a crime nor a blot of misdeeds upon one’s reputation so early in a life or career.  We have known them, whether as a “type” or an individual; that rarity of endangered species where the target-point of life is an unwavering straight line directly from birth to death (or at least for the moment when a career goal is sought).

Clarity of purpose is something one “ought” to have, but rarely manifested in the lives of ordinary people.  We talk of a nation’s “manifest destiny”, or of the importance of having some “foundation” in life; of faith, purpose and a desire or motivation to – what?  That is often the problem; not so much that we have no purpose in life, but that clarity of that essence is too often subverted by events unasked for and circumstances untold.

In W. Somerset Maugham’s novel, The Razor’s Edge, where Larry merely wants to “loaf” after his traumatic wartime experiences –  does lack of clarity of purpose as defined by conventional society evince a mere deviation of acceptable behavior, or constitute a complete violation and breach of man’s destined existence harkening from the residues of Puritanism and religiosity in general? (Note the comedic definition of Puritanism from H.L. Mencken:  “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”).

Modernity no longer believes in destiny, fate, or purposeful existence; and thus do we lack great figures, anymore – as Churchill who consistently defied death in war because of an inherent belief that he was destined for greater things, and thus the gods would not dare to undermine that predetermined fate of life.  Instead, the insidiousness of Darwinian belief – a foundation where reductionism to pure materialism and life lived by sensation, pleasure and tactile responsiveness:  these are the purposeful endeavors for us all.  It is, however, still a requirement that, in order to reach a destination of accomplishment, we “clarify” the “purpose” for which we engage to act.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, the need to define, refine and clarify such a purposive action is a crucial component in the successful formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Wandering and meandering with merely a general sense of what needs to be done, like Larry Darrell’s search for meaning in Maugham’s masterpiece, will likely result in a denial by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  There are legal statutes to consult; case-law that should be cited; and a streamlining of medical evidence in order to pinpoint, with circumscribed accuracy, the argument and methodology for approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application.

In sum, there needs to be a tactical and strategic clarity of purposive action throughout, in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Perspective

It is a different species from either judgment or understanding; for, of the former, it is often the basis and foundation to make one; as to the latter, it is the result from the procedural content in order to attain it.  Perspective is an admixture of multiple components:  experience adds to a balance of it; proper facts relate to the accuracy for it; consideration of judgments others proffer enriches it; and the capacity to connect all of the information gathered and provide previously unimagined ties within a historicity of intersection, relevance and significance of balance empowers it.

To possess it is to fail to react merely to a given situation while others around disintegrate in self-pity.  To apply it, is to become uplifted as a paradigm for others to follow, and to integrate the fusion between past, present and projection into future courses of action.  For, in the end, to have a proper “perspective” is nothing more than to realize the “now” in light of past experience and apply it to future predictability.  But what if the human constitution does not always allow for identical natures inherent to all?  Why do some lack it, while others are deemed to be forever secure in wisdom and reliance?  Solomon is reputed to have possessed it; the women who approached him, lacked it; and the audience surrounding had no clue of it.

In law, generally, it is the tactician who can strategize by means of understanding the applicability of precedents relevant to a given case, and if it goes before a Hearing or a Trial, to incite the emotional empathy of jurors and the sense of justice uncommonly deviated from the Judge’s aplomb of impervious fortitude that wins the day.  In Federal Disability Retirement law, perspective is often needed in order to make the right kind of judgments throughout the administrative process of preparing, formulating and 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.

Having the “wrong” perspective – first, about filing at all, and second, about the administrative process and procedural hurdles itself – can result with inaction leading to detrimental consequences.  Possessing and applying the “right” perspective encompasses a wide range of issues:  whether to file; when to file; how to file; what evidentiary annotations of facts, argumentation and laws should be included in order to implement the most effective pathway to an approval of the Federal Disability Retirement application.

Perspective:  it is something that legal counsel and experience of advice can provide within a framework of a time in one’s life when it is sorely lacking.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire