FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The retirement itch

It normally doesn’t come until late in life; of that picturesque paradigm of the old man sitting in a rocking chair beside a crackling fire, a dog or cat, perhaps, on the floor just beside, reading a novel or looking through a picture album; where is Norman Rockwell, and is he still relevant?

In modernity and more recently, the picture depicted is of the old couple, or in solitary state of affairs, climbing the mountains in the Himalayas or traveling to exotic lands beyond; for, the advertising agents have figured out that if old people sit around in rocking chairs, mutual funds merely sit idly in accounts without becoming subject to trading fees and other expenses, and it is best to alter the mindset for future sources of income rather than to allow for stagnation to determine the course of a past.

Is that too cynical a view to posit?  Of course, events outside of one’s control will often determine whether or not activity in old age can be embraced, or will a more placid, sedentary lifestyle consume one’s retirement?

The “retirement itch” is one that often comes late in life, after a lifetime of toil, strain, stresses and “dealing with” problems.  Is “retirement” a concept that developed only in the last and present centuries?  Did not most people just work and work and work until one “died in one’s boots” – the proverbial preference of most people who have been productive all of their lives?

Then, of course, a medical condition can cut short and impose an early retirement upon a person – and that is what Federal Disability Retirement allows for, 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 job.

It is that lack of a “retirement itch” that often makes the Federal or Postal employee pause; for, he or she is simply “not ready” to file for Federal Disability Retirement.

Yet, it is not any “retirement itch” or longing to rest and relax that leads one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Rather, it is the recognition that there are more important things to prioritize in life besides one’s work and career – such as one’s health.

It may well be that you are too young to have any sense of a “retirement itch”; but that sensation may be lost forever unless you focus upon your health and well-being, such that you will live long enough to scratch that itch that tells you that tomorrow may yet bring a brighter hope for a future yet untold.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability: The constant struggle

It does appear never-ending, doesn’t it?  And what of that dream – of some windfall, or perhaps the lottery pick of numbers that somehow keeps people coming back to the corner Mart and purchasing tickets despite the astronomical chances that defy the odds of probability?  Why is it that people are more apt to believe in conspiracy theories that the moon landing or aliens from Mars have been concocted and coopted by some nefarious government, but no one believes that those “winners” of multi-million dollar lotteries have been a “set-up” to keep people enticed into buying more and more worthless tickets?

Is it because life is a constant struggle, and so long as there is some fantasy to believe in, some pie-in-the-sky probability to reach for and dream about, the misery of today’s misfortune can be borne with aplomb “so long as” … so long as there is some hope for tomorrow?  And even if the lottery were to be won, by some unforeseen whim of a chance begotten, would life no longer be that constant struggle, and does financial freedom guarantee happiness, joy, freedom from the struggle and liberty from the daily fetters of life?  Why is it that we believe that winning a treasury trove of sudden infusion of financial depth will suddenly resolve all ills of life?

And then, of course, there is the medical condition.

What most people would not trade for good health – and, for some, even a day’s worth, an hour’s splice of that day, or even a few minutes free from the pain, the anxiety, the worry of ill-health?  It is one of those statements of proverbial “throwaways” that we all pay lip-service to, isn’t it?  That one that goes something like: “Oh, I would trade in all of my wealth, status and everything I own to get my health back.”

We hear other people say it, and nod with quiet agreement, but somehow, we don’t quite believe it – until our own health begins to deteriorate.

The key to wisdom in life’s journey is to come to a point of recognition that the constant struggle never ends; and by such recognition, to savor the moments of beauty and those “little joys” of life.  Yes, yes, that is the basis of another “conspiracy” or sorts – of the wealthy and powerful to make the “little people” believe in such joys as flowers, children and puppy dogs, while they go out and sun themselves on the extravagant yachts of life.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose health has been deteriorating, who recognize that one’s career is more than just the constant struggle of daily living, it may be time to consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, you cannot any longer do all of the essential elements of your job; yes, life is a constant struggle, and your medical condition makes it all the more so; no, you are not going to win the lottery; and finally, even if you did, it won’t make the pain or depression go away, and winning the lottery, in the end, won’t make the constant struggle disappear, and probably won’t even make it any more bearable; and thus the need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The things we leave for repair

What we attend to immediately; that which we procrastinate, and set aside; and, finally, the things we allow to falter, to deteriorate in a progressive decline of disrepair — slowly eroding, perceptibly corroding, a sight for sore eyes, as the proverbial adage goes.  And what if it is ourselves?

Of course, the cosmetic and physical fitness industry have cornered the market and turned selfishness into a virtue, and self-love into a cottage industry; something akin to, “If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others?” (or some such parallel inanity of vacuous nonsense as that); or even a better one:  Persuade the populace to eat more sugars and processed food, then blame them for nationwide obesity while simultaneously hooking everyone on the technological steroids of smartphones, computers and the acceptability of being couch potatoes; make sports into a spectator sport, video gaming into a money-generating interest, and all the while, open the floodgates of information dissemination and tell everyone how intelligent they are, or could be, because you need not memorize any facts or have the capacity to engage in critical thinking; no, you can always Google it if you need to know, and oh, by the way, a handful of individuals, unnamed, will control the bias of information on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter from which your feeds of knowledge derive.

Slowly, incrementally, rust forms on the edges of that which we leave for repair, with the admonition that we’ll “get around to it“, that priorities overshadow for the time present; and when we have more “free time”, we will attend to it.  If we counted up all of the seconds, minutes and hours promised by a new invention or a technological innovation, the aggregate would surpass the number of hours in a single day, and we should all possess the wealth of unlimited time.  But rust in the glint of morning sunshine reflects a glow of beauty nestled in the quietude of timelessness; of those things we leave for repair, it is that growing beauty which reflects our diminishing selves.

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 all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the concept of leaving thing aside — important things — is well known and knowingly engaged.  For the work accomplished reveals the extent of self-denial; the “mission” of the agency, the volume of letters, parcels and packages to be processed at the expense of one’s own deteriorating health; the need to sacrifice for the good of the whole, at the expense of one’s own health.

In the end, for the Federal and Postal worker who comes to a point where 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, the things that were left for repair are those which needed most that neglected attention; for it is the “I” disregarded, the “me” left behind despite the self-identification of a named generation, and the hollow and gaunt eyes looking back from the mirror of time, where we keep “doing for others” when the one we forgot about in the collection and vast array of the things we left for repair, calls in a desperate cry for the tools left rusting in the untouched toolbox of an undetermined future.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The mere asking of a question

In modernity, the asking of the question in itself raises a suspicion.  Being curious no longer kills the cat in some obscure, proverbial manner; to inquire immediately brands the individual and categorizes the questioner based upon the query of conventional consciousness.  Thus is debate of any kind quelled; for, to engage in a dialectical process requires a prefatory landscape of imaginative fertility; but in an atmosphere of poison and shallow interests already consecrated, there can be no classic form of “give-and-take”, of a level of intellectual inquiry required for the pursuance of excellence, improvement or uncanonized thought processes.

Can society ever escape from this cycle of self-immolation, where intellectual integrity is questioned, when speakers are shouted down at quiet lecture halls of solicitations for a teleology of thought, and at a level of purposive questioning, as in the days of yore when the pestering Socrates questioned every convention of the powerful and influential?

It will be difficult, if only because the widespread de-coupling of thought from information, separated by the force of modern technology, where deviation from identity is difficult to maintain, has made drones of us all.  Fortunately, law is, and remains somewhat in a sacrosanct manner, an arena which allows the simple query to survive, if only within the compound of argumentation for a cause.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who becomes the victim of one’s own bureaucracy, where a medical condition requires an accommodation but the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unable, or unwilling, to pursue avenues to allow for the continuation of one’s chosen career, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and only alternative to pursue.

The battle of inquiry and improvement — for, if you think about it, they go hand in hand in that the only way to “improve” anything is by questioning the status quo — may have to come to an end; and as it takes effort to expend to question and contend for greater heights and levels of excellence, so the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from 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 one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service — the energy expended in other areas must now be preserved to attend to one’s medical condition and the deteriorating health of one’s body, mind and soul.

Sometimes, the mere asking of a question must be left alone, where silence is the golden ray of future radiance, and where youth may be the proper province to leave behind a generation of upstarts who never had the opportunity to ask that ever-childhood query, “Why?”


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The implication of ‘finding happiness’

Human beings live in a duality of universes; within the linear historicity of an objective world, daily unfolding with encounters with physical objects and other beings, comprised of interactions both superficial and intimate, combined with utilization of inanimate constructs for daily living; then, there is the insular universe of a parallel phenomena, where we are subsumed by a conceptual menagerie of language, numbers, extrapolated forms of ideas and strings of thought processes; and how we coordinate and intersect the two determines the success or failure of who we are, how we thrive and to what teleological end we pursue.

The words which we use often define who we are, as well as what motivates and moves us into action or inertia of mindless behavior as science fiction describes the modernity of automatons.  In the animal, non-human kingdom, survival and the pursuit of food sources dominates to satiate the basic tendencies of the appetitive aspects of existence.  ‘Happiness‘, as a defined principle, equates to a full stomach at the most foundational of sources.

For humans, we tend to make complex of the simple, and turn an evolutionary basis into a conceptual conundrum.  Thus do we add the prefatory vacuity of ‘finding’ and attach it to the root of existence — ‘happiness‘.  Such a concept implies that there existed a time before when something was lost, never attained, or otherwise left unsatisfied.  As a result, a ‘search’ is undertaken, a lost civilization reenacted, a missing person found and a stray dog reunited with its owner.  But that life were so simple as to merely search for the confounding link to fulfillment, as if the effort merely consists in the remembrance of the location of the misplaced watch by tracing the steps previously taken but somehow forgotten during the slumber of exhaustive nights.

Is life too complex to behold?  Do the accoutrements of cultural rot pile upon us daily, such that the simple root of conceptual simplicity remains beyond the reach of most of us?

Happiness as a principle should always remain as a byproduct of the life one leads.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a meandering pool of daily suffering, resulting from a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Postal or Federal positional duties, the issue of ‘happiness’ is often quite simple:  freedom from the medical condition and stability of purpose for the future.

The former may never be quite achieved, as it is determined by factors so complex as to encompass body, soul and emotional health; but as to the latter, 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 at least a step in the proverbial right direction.  For, in the end, the insularly devoid conceptual construct of ‘finding happiness’ must be determined by the angel’s residue of sprinkled gold dust, left to sparkle with infinite radiance as we venture forth into worlds unconquered and visions yet unseen.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The last hurrah

We dream of those moments; the final word in a debate which devastates the opponent; the retort which wows the audience; the closing statement that persuades beyond a reasonable doubt; the performance of a lifetime which defines the value of life itself.  The final breath taken, the last hurrah heard, and the concluding catapult left not as a dangling participle, but as a substantive grammatical perfection, leaves the participants and viewers in silent awe in the wake of the closing curtains descending as the roar of the crowd becomes muffled because of the thunderstruck performance left with little doubt or residue for an encore.

Sometimes, however, it is better to let the silence interrupt, the pause intersect, and the non-retort prevail.

Discretion is a characteristic personality trait which rarely prevails, and less so in moments of reactive anger and tumultuous needs of flaring emotions.  For, the time elapsing between a declaration made and the thoughtless contortions of an emotional response, will often be of a split millisecond, and certainly not enough consideration for the synapses to fire within the fermented (or is it demented?) mind of the turmoil encased within.

The samurai who touches the hilt of his sword must consider the consequences; for, once unsheathed, the metal blade previously encased within the master artisan’s work must be used, lest cowardice be charged and reputation be tarnished.  In life, work, and daily living, we have multiple instances and encounters where the opportunity to speak, or not, are confronted and engaged; rarely do we reflect upon the least-favored alternative: silence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the repetitive refrain is often to let everyone know, and to express one’s opinion loudly and without thoughtful editing, like the book publisher who self-publishes because no one else has seen the value of the Greatest American Novel left as an unknown and unsought manuscript, hidden in the dusty caverns of a mind secluded but for diatribes on the Internet.

The sagely advice of this lawyer: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell — don’t.  For, in the end, declared asides of fictional characters and the hubris of a Shakespearean soliloquy often result in death, destruction and dementia (and not necessarily in that order), and the last hurrah is often like the drowning sailor whose final surviving words echo soundlessly in the lapping waves of a vast ocean of Nature’s impervious imperialism, lost forever in the terminal breath of a gasping desperation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire