OPM Medical Retirement: The Process of Decision-making

Have you ever wondered how decisions are made?  What is the process, and who determines whether or not the methodology engaged is the “right” one or the “wrong” one?  What data is analyzed?  How is the evaluative input assessed, and to what extent does “missing” information impact the process?

On a spectrum of decision-making, there is on the lower side of an imaginary graph the “process” of choosing a flavor of ice cream.  Most would agree that it is based upon a purely subjective, appetitive basis, where the foundation of the process of decision-making (if you can even call it that on such a rudimentary level) is based upon one’s taste for a particular flavor, and whether or not one has a present desire for the intended food.

Can other factors come into play?  Of course – for example, say you just read an informative article that all flavors in category X contain a carcinogenic compound, however slight in volume, that over time may cause harm, whereas all other flavors (“Category Y”) are exempted and are considered “safe”.

Now, how much of that data enters into the decision-making process of choosing the ice cream flavor?  For, in order for such information to enter into the equation, one must first engage in the prior decision-making process upon the article itself – i.e., is it factual or does it contain unfounded opinions?  How “scientific” is the evidence?  Does the author have a conflict of interest – i.e., is he being paid for writing the article, and by whom?  Perhaps the author works for the industry that produces all Flavors Y and wants to advance a competitive edge over all Flavors X by harming or destroying, or placing seeds of doubt into the minds of customers who might consider those other flavors?

Placing weight and credibility upon the article itself must first involve a process of decision-making; then, even after such a judgment on the information received, how much of it will impact upon the decision-making process of choosing a flavor of ice cream?  One might conclude, for example, that the article on carcinogenic ingredients is pure bosh and disregard it – but even in that instance, if you chose the category of Flavors Y, can you ever be sure that you discarded it completely, or perhaps in your subconscious mind you attached your allegiance out of fear and caution?  How will you ever know?

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 job, the process of decision-making in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can be a complex and complicated one.

One’s future is involved; one’s investment in a career; the health concerns, the deteriorating capacity to continue in one’s chosen line of work, and the increasing difficulty of hiding the medical condition – all, and so much more, must be considered before initiating the process of a Federal Disability Retirement application.

With all of this in mind, of the jumble of information and the complexity of the process itself, the best and first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law, in order to gain a balanced perspective, receive all of the necessary information, and to begin to gather the foundational data necessary in order to ultimately make the “right” decision in the process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Of good humor

Can it last, and for how long?  Are there such people in this world, who wander about and retain a sense of good humor no matter what egregious worldly circumstances devastate and make destitute the trying soul?

Or, like that chime that attracts little children to run with abandon into the streets upon hearing the approach of the good humor truck – you know, the company that was sued for creating an attractive nuisance, because children respond like cats and dogs to sounds associated with tasty ice cream (come to think of it, not just children, but all of us as well) – are there people as well who are like the memories of lazy summer days just waiting with that nickel to spend upon to soothe the saliva that drips with the heat of bygone days?

Of good humor – is it merely a human trait, or do dogs, cats and even undomesticated animals possess it, as well?  Have you ever met an individual of whom we say, “Oh, he is the guy possessed with an unalterable and unique advantage in life – of good humor”?  There is something attractive, is there not – to be able to smile despite tragedy, to find the satirical side to every turn of a trial, and even to consider a chuckle in the midst of a painful encounter?  The person who can smile throughout the tides of life is one who can withstand the tsunamis of unbearable pain and tragedy.

Certainly, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with the lengthy bureaucratic trials in waiting upon a Federal Disability Retirement application filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, possessing a sprinkling of good humor is somewhat of a “must” in order to endure the administrative procedures involved.

For, the choice is somewhat clear – of being the good humor truck that brings satisfaction to mouth-watering children running for relief from the heat of summer, or being that child who gets run over by the good humor truck.  In the end, the goal of getting an OPM Disability Retirement annuity is not for the purposes of good humor, but to be able to ring the chimes of life in order to step into a brighter future and a better tomorrow, no matter what flavors of ice cream may be hidden behind the panels of the good humor truck.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The immovable individual

Aristotle’s unmoved mover is an interesting conceptual posit:  it is based upon the cohesive compromise between the Pre-Socratics as paradigmatic examples encapsulated by Parmenides and Heraclitus – of the universe as seen in a singular “oneness” as opposed to embroiled in constant flux and change.

The unmoved mover consolidates into a synergistic compromise the pendulum between the two extremes:  Here is the apex of perfection representing unchangeableness, surrounded by the universe of flux and constant metamorphosis striving towards that paradigm of perfection; and so the world of alteration and the oneness of the infinite are balanced in a yin-yang of a complete whole.

Within this universe of the immovable and inconstancy reflects the types of individuals roaming the world – of the indecisive and hollow man without a moral compass, to the principled and uncompromising stalwart whom some would characterize as narrow-minded and radical in holding extremist views unshaken by cultural alterations and daily vicissitudes of undermined normative paradigms.

But history portends of change, and it is the mounds of human detritus that combine to reveal that flux is the foundation of successful adaptation for survival in Nature, as well as in human society – of business models that must follow the trends of cultural metamorphosis, to the embracing of a changing society and structures of sociological tremors throughout.  Yes, having principles to abide by is important; but Man is neither perfect like the Unmoved Mover, nor touching upon the residue of angels and gods who pride in the near-perfection of heavenly bodies.

The immovable individual – while principled and relied upon for foundational support – is often the one left behind because when life clashes with the ivory tower of conceptual constructs, not moving is tantamount to seppuku – the traditional honor-killing by disembowelment by the samurai.

That is often the problem with life, living and beliefs that one clings to; and for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has a view that one’s Federal or Postal career path must by necessity strive towards the Unmoved Mover, the problem is when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers often will continue to work until it is detrimental to his or her own self-interest – i.e., to the cost of one’s health.

Yes, having a paradigm of principled beliefs is important, and yes, living by a moral compass can maintain the important foundation for integrity, loyalty, uprightness and reflecting all that is good in human nature.  But when reality clashes with principle – as when one’s view of working for “the mission of the agency” or for the good of the U.S. Postal Service begins to contradict one’s medical condition, then it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and not worry too much about being the immovable individual whose paradigm as reflected in how Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover may – while being a stalwart of perfection – be left behind in the dustbin of history’s irrelevant collection of ideas showing the vaunted state of angels no longer believed in, and gods removed because of the errors of myths and fantasies once created to tell the narrative of human folly.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Separation and Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The stick figure across the street

We all drew them.  They are simple figures, one-dimensional, created not only by children and uncreative hands, but by sophisticated artists who convey complexity through their uncomplicated depiction.  Upon such lack of depth, we can project an unending dearth of fillers, precisely because the simple lines invite us to increase the servile skinniness by piling a composite upon the lean figures which are mere caricatures devoid of substance.

The neighbor across the street, whom we have never met, and who is but a figure the size between forefinger and thumb, and remains the remnant of a stick figure, and continues to convey, so; and when the annoying bark of a midnight dog awakens the sensibilities of insomnia and a sleepless night, or of such a thin veil of loss of restorative slumber that wakefulness becomes a better alternative, then we can fill in the gaps of the stick figure, add some meat and substance, with diatribes of invectives piled upon curses and unimaginable energies of words rarely considered and never previously uttered.

Coworkers used to be nothing more than such stick figures — before they earned that status of enamored stature.  That is why leaving a career, cutting short a lifetime of accomplishments, and turning away from the vindictive familiarity of a workplace once loved, is so difficult for the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset.

Once upon a time, the stick figures were mere appendages and afterthoughts in the life of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker; but over time, they gained substance, girth, and an unmerited significance merely by osmosis of daily encounters.  Thus, when a medical condition hits the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker with a force of plenitude such that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be considered, it is not just the separation from mere commerce and economic entanglement which must be considered, but rather, extrication from a social network of figures who have evolved, over many years and sometimes multiple decades, into caricatures amassing and aggregating personalities, comradeship, shared sense of missions accomplished, and much more.

So long as they had remained mere stick figures from across the street, the distance of time, the separation of dimensions, and the wall of strangeness allowed for an ease of abandonment.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, however, the process is no longer merely a wave of goodbye to the stick figure across the street; no, instead, that has become the unwanted uncle who has no other home to go to, and must by obligation be evicted despite the relationship which has developed beyond the formless caricature painted upon our own minds.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The Question of Worth

Whether animals consider the question or not, they certainly make judgments based upon prudence, calculation and quantification of effort involved; but perhaps not in some conceptually systematic approach.  “Worth” can involve multiple meanings: of time expended; monetized value; quality; but always involving the evaluative process of comparative analysis.

It is this latter process which is important for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker in determining whether to proceed with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. The comparison may be on different levels, and pitted against and between various elements: priority of values (health versus continuation and persistence in present circumstances); current financial condition in contrast to future reduced benefits; the penalties imposed by taking an early retirement as opposed to a Federal Disability Retirement; the length of the process in contrast to one’s age and cost of hiring an attorney; and many such similar factors to be analyzed.

Perhaps the only comparative analysis which need not be engaged is the one which the Agency implicitly compels: The worth of self, derived from the manner in which the agency or the U.S. Postal Service treats the Federal or Postal employee once it becomes evident that the Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition such that it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and thereby consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Other animals never ask that question of self-worth, as survival and Darwinian principles prevail and overtake the inherently nonsensical nature of such a question; it is only the human being who ever questions the worth of self, and only within the greater context of a society which places a premium upon questions unworthy of consideration.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Devising Escape Routes

What a person spends his or her time doing away from work, reveals much as to how one’s work will be accomplished.  If one attempts immediately to build protective walls around the core of a project in an effort to stave off potential marauders, as opposed to focusing upon the substantive essence of the idea itself, then perhaps the vulnerability of the project itself will begin to manifest.

Our own fears often overwhelm; but healthy fear can be a positive use of an evolutionary tool meant to apprise and alert.  It is only when it becomes an impediment and obstacle for progress and advancement that our own self-immolative actions begin to impact our capacity to grow.  There is a delicate balance between healthy fear and that which lends itself to self-destruction.  Proper evaluation and analysis of a circumstance or situation is required in order to establish the former; for the latter, a groundless allowance without facts or evaluative input.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, the question often becomes, At what point do I begin to consider escape routes?  Do I need to devise them, or are the mechanisms already in place?

Escape routes are devised in response to dangers present; and often it will appear as if the manifestation of a medical condition will bring out the worst in others.  Isn’t that an anomaly in and of itself — that one’s own deterioration of health will impact the behavior of others, in a derogatory manner?  But that is precisely what a “stress test” is for, is it not?  It is never in the best of circumstances that reveals the true nature of a thing; rather, it is under adverse conditions which unravel the artificial appendages with which we camouflage.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is somewhat like an “escape route”, in that it allows for the Federal or Postal employee to exit from the adversity of circumstances, and plan for one’s future.  One need not “devise” it, to the extent that it is “already there” — a benefit for all Federal and Postal employees who have a minimum number of years of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).

For the Federal or Postal employee considering such a route, the priorities of life should always prevail:  Focus upon one’s health in an effort to remain (for those who are beset with a medical condition which is “work-related”, filing for Federal Workers’ Compensation benefits may be the first option to consider); then, if it becomes clear that one’s medical condition is impacting the ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and that the medical condition will last a minimum of 1 year (and it should be emphasized that one does not need to wait for a year in order to determine this aspect; rather, it is merely a medical prognosis that the medical condition will likely last at least 12 months or more that is required), consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

In the end, it is not a matter of devising escape routes, but rather of recognizing the limits of human endurance, evaluating one’s place within the context of growing adversity, then acting upon those exit points available and allowable — then to make a proper decision for one’s self, and for one’s family and future.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Limbo Eruptions

Of certain politicians, it has become commonplace to expect such occurrences, but with a slight change in consonants in the first word.  As it stands, however, the word as left alone is a state of another kind; not of relational states of erotic ecstasy, but rather a border on the region of heaven or hell, where an intermediate state of oblivion exists in a transitional state of suspension.  To that extent, perhaps the two concepts are similar.

Such eruptions of inactivity and suspension are intangible and untenable; human beings, by nature, are vibrant beings constantly “on the move“, and wanting always to advance, progress and contribute to the aggregation of societal cauldron of accomplishments.  That is why, when a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker finds him or herself in a state of rancid and stale waters, where a medical condition paralyzes any progress and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing the requisite and essential elements of one’s Federal position, it is tantamount to experiencing a limbo eruption.

How long it lasts; to what extent it freezes; and when it will end; these are questions which only the paramour of time would know; and the bed which is being made is the price of warmth or cold one must endure if the Federal or Postal employee insists upon staying in that relationship.  For, like the “other” such similar-sounding concept, the limbo eruption can become a permanent feature of one’s transitional state, unless one files for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Federal Disability Retirement is not only an option, but a benefit one can fight for, if one meets all of the eligibility criteria as revealed in the Federal Disability Retirement laws governing the state of affairs.

Filing it may seem easy; obtaining it is not so easily accomplished; securing it for one’s future can sometimes be daunting.  But like the illicit eruptions which are sure to come for unnamed but otherwise well-known individuals, the limbo eruption of the Federal or Postal employee 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 Federal positional duties, must surely be overcome, lest the bed made is suddenly discovered by the jealous spouse who suspects more than a mere hug in the middle of the night.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire