Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The persistent tinnitus of life

The root word that contains a valid diagnosis of a medical condition, sometimes comes about gradually, others at a persistent rate of uncommon urgency; and whether by emanation of a serious, primary condition such as Meniere’s Disease, a brain tumor or cardiac elements impacting upon the heart or blood vessels, or mere residuals from a short-lived ear infection, the low, persistent ringing can interrupt and disrupt focus, concentration, attention to detail, and lead to depression, anxiety and panic that the idea of sounds being heard without the objective world recognizing or acknowledging them, can indeed be disturbing.

Tinnitus is a serious medical condition; yet, while we seek treatment for such a state of health deviancy, we allow the persistent tinnitus of life to surround, abound and confound us throughout.  The persistent tinnitus of life is almost an unavoidable juggernaut in modernity.   Yes, we can make the inane argument that, as we are the gatekeepers that can allow, deny or limit the access granted on any given day, who can withstand the active and passive onslaught of daily and onerous, oppressive bombardment of the multitudinous spires of high-speed jettisoning of such information overload on a daily, consistent basis?

From blaring headlines screaming while standing passively in a grocery store, to gas pumps that speak back to you with the selective entertainment headlines of the day; from unsolicited advertisements personalized to one’s computer based upon information provided and shared despite every precautionary steps taken, to mediums of electronic communication that are depended upon and mandated in this day and age just to remain employed; we cannot put a wall between the need for a soul’s quietude and the persistent tinnitus of life.  If not completely, then how about in some limited form?

The trick, then, is not to succumb completely, nor attempt to sequester one’s self in a hermitage of complete abandonment; rather, to selectively distinguish between information of useless human detritus from that of relevance and significance; in short, between Orwellian linguistic garbage and that which constitutes “wisdom”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, the importance of limiting the persistent tinnitus of life applies to the process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, especially by recognizing the distinction between truth and falsity, between objective facts and inaccurate innuendoes; for, in the end, the medical disability retirement application must contain the facts to persuade, the evidence to establish, and the legal arguments to consider, and in order to do that, one must resist the persistent tinnitus of life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Minding the ‘happiness principle’

Is there such a thing?  Certainly, enough authors, gurus and faith-healers have claimed it, packaged it and sold it as a commodity to be prepared, marketed and purchased.  Somehow, we are all gullible enough to believe in it:  Just as sorcerers of old possessed powers beyond human comprehension, so we hold on to the hope that such secrets of soothsayers mixing the concoction in a cauldron of expectations may boil over with fumes and aromas we can smell into oblivion.

That secret incantation; those mysterious sequence of codes (yes, which is why the Da Vinci Code was so popular – until it was made into a movie and the audience realized the farcical nature when bad literature is transformed into an ever worse media script); or perhaps it is a deal of Faustian proportions – of one’s soul for the hidden principle, the fountain of youth, the corridor down timeless ecstasy; instead, of course, in this mass-marketing world of consumer gullibility, we cling to the anticipation – despite all historical evidence to the contrary – that there exists a fortune-teller’s abracadabra comprising a happiness principle.

Principles are the foundational guidance for understanding the causal connections of events that occur in the objective world; first principles, as Aristotle liked to point out, are important in their revelatory powers to comprehend the operational mechanisms of this world of Being.  If you don’t know first principles, or the paradigmatic principles that operate behind the scenes – much like the Wizard behind the curtain —  then you will always only know that it happens, not why it does so.

And so we go through life, walking and wandering the streets, seeing others smiling, laughing and seeming to enjoy life, while we stew in the solitude of our private misery, perhaps outwardly attempting to feign such emotional brightness while inwardly decaying with each day’s tumult of angst and anxiety.

In minding the existence of the ‘happiness principle’, we are everyday falling into the statistical trap of that famous quip attributed to the 19th century Showman, P.T. Barnum, that there’s “a sucker born every minute.”  Even if everyday empirical evidence refutes the existential reality of such a principle, we nevertheless hope against fading hope for such a white knight in shining armor – that armor of protective fallacies based upon a nonexistent principle wrapped in the cloaking of hopes unearned and never to be attained.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are down in the dumps because of a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the reality that one’s career may be cut short and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may be a necessity, must fight against the false hope that a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is the “be-all” and “end-all” of life’s miseries.

Medical conditions may continue to remain chronic; there will likely remain many challenges in the future; but the point of filing for Federal Disability Retirement is to allow for one to attain a plateau of hopefulness where one can make one’s health and well-being a priority, without necessarily minding the ‘happiness principle’ or believing in P.T. Barnum’s secret to success.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Football, Fair Play, and Federal Disability Retirement

Obviously, with the Super Bowl upcoming this weekend, any references to the game itself, whether by forced analogy or metaphor, is nevertheless an appropriate one.  I will play the politically safe game by not offending any of my clients — current, former, or future potential — by declaring, “May the best team win”.

I often wonder at people who claim to “never watch sports” — how an individual in this society, in this day and age, learns about what it means to distinguish the conceptual paradigms of “fairness” and “unfairness”.  As Wittgenstein consistently reminds us, much of what we learn is through repetitive observation and application; applying and utilizing the elasticity of language is merely an afterthought.  But when a person declares that “X is unfair”, in a generic, universalized statement of admonishment, the proper response before any further reaction is provided, is to ask the pre-textual question:  What are the rules of the game?  Thus, if a particular play in a football game is questioned as to its fairness, the proper response is to identify the “rules of the game” which delineate and define whether or not there was a violation of such rules.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, fairness or unfairness in the evaluation, analysis and determination of the application — as well as the timeliness and the amount of time that an entity takes in making such a determination — can be assessed based upon the “rules of the game”.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, such rules have to do with the Statutes, regulations and court cases which evolve, which define the limits and boundaries of decision-making.  Thus, if a Federal Disability Retirement application is denied, it is appropriate to respond with, “It is not fair,” if the Office of Personnel Management has failed to apply the rules, statutes and case-law in an appropriate manner, thereby violating the very rules which define whether an action is “fair” or “unfair”.  This requires knowing the “rules” of the game.  It is ineffective to merely declare that Action-X is “unfair” if one fails to understand and properly evaluate Rule-Y which applies and governs such actions.

Now, back to football:  whichever team one roots for, I predict the following:  the supporters of the losing team will declare:  “Unfair”.  Why?  Not necessarily because of a violation of rules, but because losing, in and of itself, has been accepted in society as being a state of unfairness.  So it goes (as that prominent author, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once said).


Robert R. McGill, Esquire