Federal Disability Retirement: Random Happenstance

A determination concerning the random nature of a material and unconscious universe can only come about in contrast to a recognition that there is a comparison to be made, to its opposite corollary — that of a teleological state where will, consciousness and deliberation of action occurs.

Thus, one can bemoan the random happenstance of events, but to complain of an inherent “unfairness” becomes a self-contradiction, precisely because to do so is to declare otherwise than to acknowledge its aimless appearance and entrance into the consciousness before one who recognizes the arbitrary realm of an otherwise impervious and unfeeling world.

Further, while inanimate objects and their movement within the universe may further establish the arbitrary catapult of nature’s actions, when human decisions, and acts engaged by animals who are clearly aware of deliberative encounters interact within the arc of intersecting symmetries, one must always consider the history of how things came about, before determining whether or not the lack of teleological consequences betrays a truly random happenstance.

Medical conditions tend to prove the point.  Why does X occur to Y, but not to Z?  That is a question which involves an underlying sense of declaring the “unfairness” of a circumstance.  Whether genetic inheritance, an excess of negative and detrimental exposures, or perhaps an aimless accident resulting in injury, most often one will never know.  Doctors can discuss the contextual historicity of origins, but in the end, the medical condition must be accepted, and engaged.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose lives have been impacted by a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the time to consider the random happenstance of one’s condition, or whether there is behind it a purpose or lesson to be gleaned, is best put off for another day.

Instead, the practicalities of life’s mandates should prevail, and one such deliberative consideration is to determine whether filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should be one of the options to entertain.   Federal Disability Retirement benefits allow for the Federal and Postal worker to maintain health insurance, continue an income based upon an annuity of 60% of the average of one’s highest 3 consecutive years of service for the first year of being an annuitant, and 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point it becomes automatically converted to regular retirement; and, moreover, the number of years one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of Federal Service.

Yes, life’s random happenstance can sometimes appear unexpectedly, and seem unfair in a universe where we map out our existence from birth to death; but it is important to recognize that beyond the laws of physics allowable in the physical world of an impervious nature, there are no rules of the game except the ones we employ through devices concocted within the artifice of our own imaginations.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Uncertainty and Confusion: The Federal Employee’s Sense of Identity

It is through ascription from third parties, over extended time periods, where the development of self-identity takes root, through subtle, incremental ways, until one day, unnoticed, without fanfare and unheralded, it becomes a known quantity of acceptance within one’s social circles, professional associations and the greater macrocosmic world we encounter.

The day or the time can never be pinpointed; having a name plate designed and placed upon one’s desk does not provide it; and calling yourself repetitively the title or nomenclature doesn’t quite satisfy the requirements of the sought after.  That is the anomaly; one’s identity is who one is; yet, it cannot be established by the is-ness of being; it is dependent upon the declared identification of that is-ness by others who recognize the being-ness of the individual seeking the is-ness of the person within a specified time, constrained by the community of place, and bordered by the parameters of choice. “Oh, that is so-and-so”; “Yes, Linda is the Director of ____”; “Our Letter Carrier? He’s John ___”; and so does one live within the identity of third-party ascriptions, and how we develop the self-reflection of who we are.

When lost, the crisis of self-identity comes to the fore. When it is stripped prematurely; when choices must be made to abandon the identity; when external circumstances necessarily dictate a change of identity; the crisis is exponentially quantified.

For the injured Federal employee or the chronically ill Postal Worker who must file 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 crisis of identity is often inseparable from the anxieties driven by an overwhelming sense of fear, loathing, and anxiousness over a future unknown and unanticipated. For, having a medical condition which suddenly dictates the terms of one’s choices, is essentially a negation of all that one has worked for; and to top it all, one’s very identity which has been ascribed — almost without thought, presumptively and assumed throughout without daily payment or homage for retention or reapplication to maintain the worth and value of that title — is about to be stripped, lost, taken away, and thrown into the greater heap of forfeited titles.

Abandonment, release, and sudden absconding from a known and identifiable context of life; that is how it often feels when one loses one’s identity. The medical condition itself, however, must dictate the terms of disengagement; filing for Federal Disability Retirement is a necessity and the urgency of doing so will allow for that plateau of rehabilitation in order to attend to the priorities of life; for, without life, there can be no identity, whether one’s past, present, or future ascription of the honorific title is grand or insignificant. In the end, one needs to recognize that the title most prominent and of greatest priority, is the given life as recognized in one’s reflection, and not the fleeting glory attained through accolades from others, no matter how great it all felt at the time.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire