FERS Disability Retirement from the OPM: Formulating the argument

How does one formulate “the argument”?  Is it merely a reaction that comes naturally, like the person who has been tagged as one who is “constantly argumentative”?  Do all arguments need to provide a foundation of rational discourse — of coherence within an invective of counter-statements, and structure countermanding a deterioration of civility?

For example, when a person begins to answer the questions posed on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS — does one pause, consider the various answers that may be provided, and establish a methodology in proceeding to satisfy the question? Does the Federal or Postal employee contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits consider first the consequences of one’s answers, and do you weave throughout a thoughtful argument for an approval?  Or, should the “argument” be filed via a separate Legal Memorandum, pointing out the relevant laws, citing the statues and quoting from various cases that have previously addressed the issues posed?

Most people who file for FERS Medical Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management fail to consider the preemptive arguments that should be made within the answers to questions posed on SF 3112A, and thus are denied at the First Stage of the process because the applicant thought that a simple question asked required a similarly-simple answer as requested.

Then, of course, when the Initial Denial of a Federal Disability Retirement application is received through the mail, the Second Stage of the process — the “Reconsideration Stage” — merits further formulation of legal arguments.  At whatever “stage” you are at — whether at the First and Initial Stage; the second, “Reconsideration” Stage; or even at the Third Stage, an Appeal with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board — formulating a coherent, cogent and rational argument that persuades OPM to approve the Federal Disability Retirement application is an important component in a winning FERS Medical Retirement application.

Remember — to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is not like having an argument with a friend or spouse; it is an argument which must be based upon facts, evidence, and legal precedents, and to have the best “shot” at it requires the hand of an Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Standard of incompatibility

How does one “prove” a standard of “incompatibility”?

Physical injuries often allow for a medical opinion to impose certain restrictions:  No lifting more than X-pounds; no standing more than 2 hours within an 8-hour period, etc.  These, then, can directly “prove” that a Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by comparing such restrictions as against the positional requirements of a given job, and “showing” that the standard required can no longer be met.

The “other” cousin of the standard, as reiterated by cases represented by Henderson v. OPM and related precedents, allow for a “different” type of proof, where one may show that there is a general incompatibility between the entirety of one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.

It might be argued that such a standard is more “nebulous” and “harder to prove”, but in fact, the opposite is often true: specificity on a 1-to-1 ratio between a given medical condition or symptom and an element of one’s positional duties no longer becomes necessary.  Rather, a general showing of incompatibility between the “type” of job and the “nature” of a medical condition is enough to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement.

The trick, of course, lies in the manner of “proving” it, but it should be of some comfort to Federal and Postal employees that there is another type of standard beyond the 1-to-1 ratio standard that applies generally for “physical” duties; for, in the end, many psychiatric conditions can only meet the “incompatibility” standard, although some specificity of inability to perform a particular function of the job may be present as well.

To meet either standard is a burden of proof that must be shown by the appellant in all OPM Disability Retirement cases; to understand, apply and satisfy such standards, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Arbitrariness of life

What defines arbitrariness?  Is it when there is a lack of pattern, or does our own input of misunderstanding or lack of comprehension determine the defined formlessness of the world around us?  Is Kant right in his implications – that the “noumenal” world that is outside of our sphere of cognitive input remains unknowable, arbitrary, unfathomable and unreachable, and it is only by the categories of internal psychological structures that we naturally impose upon the world, make sense of it, and “order” it so that we are thus able to comprehend it, that such an understanding between the bifurcated universes of the phenomenal world we comprehend and the noumenal world we can never grasp defines the penultimate concept of that which is arbitrary?

And what of the “arbitrary life” – is it merely that which we do not understand, or is there more to it than that?

Most people live lives that establish a consistent “pattern” of progression.  Thus do old sayings go: “A person is a communist in the morning, a radical in the early afternoon, but if he is not a conservative by nightfall, he has never grown up.”  Or even of the implicit response of the Sphinx: “a man who is four-legged, then two, then three” – implies a systematic progression, then degeneration of sorts; in other words, a pattern of life-cycles.

And we expect a blue-print of what it means to live a “successful” life – of education, work, family and career, where there is a consistent increase in wealth, wisdom and weariness of strangers that continues to expand and grow.  But what if there is an interruption to that “pattern” or “blue-print” that everyone expects?  What if misfortune befalls, bankruptcy is added or divorce, death or even a hurricane and flooding descends upon one’s life – does the unfortunate event suddenly make one’s life an arbitrary one? Or, what about the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must suddenly face a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for the Federal or Postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job – does that make the interruption of life’s constancy suddenly into an ‘arbitrary’ life?

The definition of that which makes X arbitrary is always related to the “randomness” of events; but for human beings, it is indeed the perspective one has and the calm within a storm that influences whether the objective basis of that which is arbitrary is influenced by the subjective approach of a person’s life.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider filing an effective 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, the initial steps in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application may determine, objectively, the future course of the Federal Disability Retirement application itself, as to whether it was “arbitrarily” compiled or systematically composed.

Like the orchestra that has an off-tune instrument, the symphony created will determine whether one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is a crescendo of progression, or merely a disturbing sound of failure.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Of garbage, debris and leftovers

The first is that which we outright discard for loss of value or unrepentant conclusion of worth; the second, what remains after destruction or usage; the last, what is set aside or left behind for multiple reasons, including everything referred to in the first and second, as well as a sense that a loss of appetite resulted in security of its existence without any judgment upon the core of its essence.  Because of our own linguistic laziness, we tend to just lump them all together; but distinctions in language-games matter, and what we do with each, how we treat them, and when we act upon them, requires more than recognizing the subtlety of differentiation we may overlook.

We associate garbage with the smells of rot and decay, and set aside vast areas for landfills to bury and cover over in the remoteness of society’s outskirts, where in lands of impoverishment and suffering starvation, the outcasts of society gather just to pick at the best of the worst.  Of debris, the wealthier people and nations as a whole simply discard and start over, again.  Those who can ill-afford to simply begin anew, will often try and salvage what debris can be reconstituted, and attempt to rebuild lives destroyed and damaged from hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes, or other such disasters pummeled by nature’s fury or man’s carelessness.

And for leftovers, it is appropriate that it should be the last in the tripartite of linguistic examinations.  For, it applies to foods, to various aggregations of detritus, and to human beings themselves.  Of entities inorganic or inert, they can represent the extra screw mistakenly inserted with the package received, or the cheap trinket purchased in a foreign land but unable to fit into the bulging suitcase and discarded under the unmade bed in the hotel room left unpaid.  Of foods and other organic matter, it is the lesson taught by an overbearing parent, where loggerheads with stubborn children evoke stories once heard and continue as mythologies which – like unicorns and 3-ring circuses, never quite match the smell-test of reality – propagate like mice in the basement of dank and darkness, where the utterance, “When I was your age, what you leave as leftovers used to be the main course!” was but a boast echoing with hollow discourse upon ears deaf with such trite admonitions.  But the more serious manner of the meaning is reflected by the human cost of how we treat one another.  For, it is the “leftovers” of society which we forget about in the teaching lessons of wealth and abundance.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are shunned aside because of 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 positional duties, the conceptual construct of what is a “leftover” is a poignant reminder of what once was, of what can still be, and a hint of hope for a future without the harassment, intimidation and constant barrage of aggressive threats propounded without concern for consequences. For, it is the lesson of the leftover which we should all bear in mind.

As any reference in this day and age of a “Biblical” concept is immediately dismissed and ignored – (remember?  Of how treating the “least” is tantamount to re-crucifying at each turn?) – we must therefore embrace the lessons of our own childhoods.  For, in the end, the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker must make a decision of self-worth, and decide whether or not it is of any value to be treated as the vegetables untouched or the morsels undisturbed; or, perhaps, to “move on” and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and become again the “main meal” as the lesson taught once recognized, in this universe where garbage, debris and leftovers are treated all in the same manner and upon the same plate of empty promises.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The pendulum swing

Time used to “march on”, and the pendulum swing was a metaphor which everyone understood.  No more.  The digital age of technological superiority has made such inane profundities left stacked upon the history of obsolescence.  But for cherished grandfather clocks in hallways of mansions forgotten, or in the mysteries of worn novels where the tick-tock represented the anticipation of the sudden death scream; the slow, mechanical device which moves to and fro, left to right, right to left, and into the eternal progression of marked time, is but an irritant for the noise it makes.

Have we outlasted the utility of mechanical complexity?  Does the software program in which we see nothing but an algorithm of undecipherable content ever transcend the fascination we glean from springs, weights and mechanisms of human innovation?

The time piece too heavy to carry about, yet never replaced the pocket watch transferred with generational delight, and reflected the craftsman’s care in perfecting the soul of a person’s worth.  Somehow, the digital face of a blinking light flashing when the electrical surge fails to protect, is not the same as the quiet peace of an undisturbed house when the pendulum ceases to swing because the owner forgot to adjust the weights.  And history now forgets, too, doesn’t it?

Are we at the far side of the extreme, never to swing back, because there is no pendulum to remind us?  Can the death of the clockmaker mean the end of reason and compromise, because there is no metaphor to realize, anymore?  We tend to believe that such metaphors follow upon a literary device of recognizing something more than the mere fodder of mechanical devices; but what if the opposite were true – that the cadence of history required the invention of the pendulum itself, and the stoppage of such back-and-forth, to-and-fro means that only the extremes of disproportionate swings will remain frozen as the epicenter of man’s egregious faults?

We assume much; and when we presume to follow history’s dialectical progression without considering the actions within our own willpower, Nietzsche’s eternal return to the bosom of our follies will surely unravel and reveal itself in the face of our reflected foolishness.  And so, as the proverbial pendulum has stopped, stuck in the timeless middle of muddled quietude, so the failure to make any progress in our own personal lives will be another lost metaphor in the eternal dustbin of forgotten concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who want to break the cycle of being stuck perennially in the quicksand of mediocrity, it may be the ripened time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  For, as time fails to move without the movement of objects surrounding, so the human frailty of non-movement and inertia is a broken mechanism deep in the recesses of the human heart.

Taking the next step – any step – in filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits with OPM, is at least a slight movement, a reverberation, of that time harkening for the pendulum to swing back to its proper place of origin.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Intrinsic Value

There is, at the outset, a question as to whether such metaphysical distinctions of esoterica have any relevance, anymore.  The ivory towers have all lost their sheen; civilizations have now embraced the comfort of relativism in the West, excepting those outliers who cling to antiquities of thought believed to merely be vestiges of a prehistoric era; and all such bifurcations of minutiae are considered mere word games designed to enhance and promote the ability and capacity for further social engineering.

Perhaps in the pragmatic world of options trading, there remains a definitional need to distinguish between “intrinsic” value and “extrinsic” value; where the nature of the option being traded constitutes the former, and the circumstances and previously-unknowable factors impacting upon the value of the trade itself defines the latter.

In real life, the philosophy of pragmatism itself has dissolved the principles once touted; the Aristotelian differentiation of ascribing value based upon its inner sanctity, as opposed to a derivative preciousness contingent upon other entities or circumstances, was once accepted as a given.  But such metaphysical distinctions have been cast aside upon the trash heap of historical irrelevance, and one rarely hears, anymore, about such highfalutin concepts, as they are now considered outmoded, irrelevant, or worse, pompously presumptuous in a world where only the politically powerful, the super wealthy, or the “beautiful” people are allowed such exemptions of conversational engagements.

One might still argue, in this present age where the force of logical argumentation has been replaced with the volume of vociferous condescension intolerable to auditory quietude, that a great work of art has intrinsic value recognized intuitively, no matter the extrinsic cirumstances.  But if a dystopic universe prevailed, and there was but one person left to visit the last burning embers supporting a museum left as a testament to humanity’s former greatness — but, where, no food was left, and starvation was the remaining mechanism for death of this last poor soul — would the salvaged Rembrandt have any “intrinsic” value, leaving aside the issue of extrinsic worth (of course, human nature being what it is, such a sole survivor may still have the imaginative inner strength to recognize that there may be a future still, and scurry off with such masterpieces in the hope that the future may hold a better day).

Metaphysical principles which once held some meaning, significance and defined linguistic purposes, have now given way to daily blatherings of “I feel” and “I sense”, where, in each such utterance, it is the “I” which defines intrinsic value, and the subjectivity of sensing and feeling enhances the contingency of external worth.  It is, in many ways, a sad loss for all of us, that we should rely upon such subjectivity of an objective-less concept.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, 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 positional duties, the loss of any meaningful discussion between the intrinsic worth of X, or even the differentiation from the extrinsic value of Y, results in a universe where we are all treated as “means” to an end, and never just an “end” in and of itself.

That is why protective laws are necessary — precisely because we have lost any semblance of viewing one another as worthy because we belong to a greater principle called “humanity”.  But that is the practical world in which we live, and to which we must abide.

Filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement is the best option left, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Thus, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the pragmatic course for future security.  It is in that, where intrinsic value will be found, in the consolation of a future security otherwise lost in the extrinsic void of an unsympathetic universe.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire