OPM Disability Retirement: Cycles of reality & unreality

The linear model of life is the preferred perspective for the Western world; the cyclical, for the traditional Eastern sector, as well as the indigenous cultures of the Americas; whether such an outlook alters the way in which we live is debatable.  In either or for both, however, it is the passing through of various realities and “unrealities” that is often overlooked, and not whether or not there is a straight and linear road as opposed to a cycle of returns and reenactments.

Reality is the being we encounter; unreality, the life within our minds and souls, depicted by thoughts, emotions, daydreams and nightmares.  How the two interact, whether in cyclical form or in a linear continuum, often defines how well we are able to adjust in maneuvering through the difficult passages of life.

We encounter “others” in the reality of our being; but as to the “other” person’s thoughts, feelings, history of life and other subjective issues, we know nothing about them except what we are told.  We could work beside another individual in an office setting and never truly know the “unreality” of his or her life, and when we retire, the office throws a party, and we depart and suddenly realize that the cycle of reality was a limited one, and the subjective unreality of another person’s life never really touched us.

Or, one is married to another for a decade, two decades, perhaps even three, and a cycle of reality is embraced where life becomes a routine, taking each other for granted through habit of form, monotony of repetition and predictability of actions.  Yet, after some decades, the significant other does something completely “out of character” – suddenly dyes his or her hair purple, goes bungee jumping or unannounced gets his or her nose pierced without telling anyone.  When asked, the reply is: “Oh, I got bored and decided to do something different.”

That is when the cycle of unreality suddenly surfaces into the boundaries of reality, and we suddenly realize, again and again, and are reminded fortuitously, that there is a subjective unreality that we can never quite pierce or fully comprehend, just as others cannot of our own.

That is what often happens with a medical condition.  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 question often asked is:  “When do I tell my agency”?  Isn’t that a peculiar question – as if no one at the agency knew or knows about your ongoing medical condition, and that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is going to be a complete surprise to everyone?

But that is, indeed, the reality of the unreal, where those around you are completely oblivious of the pain, the turmoil and the complications of those medical conditions you have had to deal with for so many years.  It is, in one sense, rather sad; but it represents the cycles of reality & unreality in an uncaring universe which prompts such an empty feeling when the question asked doesn’t quite have an answer to be given.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



Federal Employee Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: “The End”

Those two words are often appended upon the last word, the final thought, the grammatical period marking the denouement of a narrative; sometimes, an ellipsis leaving the reader to ponder a missing word, concept or continuation of an event.

Why it is not stamped in bold print at the end of a biography or a non-fiction narrative; or even a short story, an essay or a philosophical treatise; perhaps, as a factual account presupposes a reflection of correspondence between truth and reality, it is only in the literary world of make-believe that we must apprise the audience of the terminal nature of virtual reality — that, like Pavlov’s dogs in responsive salivation for experimental purposes, we become conditioned to a realization that a blank page following the grammatical finality of a period is simply insufficient to constitute an obstructive wall separating fantasy from reality.

Or, does convention merely mark the climax of the unreal, where the breathless pursuit of becoming lost in an imagined universe leaves us panting for more, only to be pulled ruthlessly back from the lost quietus of our penchant for more?

But that reality gave us a final warning, an appended duality of words in order to forewarn of the terminus of trials, travails and tempestuous tantrums of tactile tandems; then, like the eyes which scout a few pages hence, where we nervously flip forward in disbelief as we approach the thinning culmination of paper remaining, we would know when to cease trying, how much more effort to expend, and the time of fruition left as an afterthought, like windowed houses empty in a neighborhood abandoned by loss of industrial flight and more importantly, of hope left remote in the hearts of soulless men.

Reality never gives us that warning, of course; and so we are forced to trudge onward in spite of that lack.

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 the Federal or Postal position, the approach of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often one encompassing an attitude that, like the novel’s culmination, the act of filing is somehow tantamount to “the end”.  It is not.

Instead, it is merely a pause, an extension, a comma and a prosaic interlude, and nothing more.  The narrative of the human soul does not so cleanly enter the blank pages of demise; rather, life goes on, and like the thoughts which pursue the sentence marked by a period of finality, the beauty of it all remains with us like the residue of golden dust left sprinkled upon the twilight of life, trailing behind by an angel’s wings fluttering noiselessly upon the dawn of a hopeful tomorrow.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement from Federal Government: Berkeley’s House

He was an Irishman, and if one were to “rank” philosophers, he would likely be considered a “second tier” thinker — not quite at the level of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes or Heidegger — but certainly contributed to the Western Philosophical tradition of engendering even greater questions than solving any problems or settling any queries.

A little tidbit which is not commonly known: Bishop Berkeley came to the United States and purchased a plantation at Middletown, intending upon living there, until his expectation of funding failed to be forthcoming.  That is probably what he is least known for; the Latin phrase for which he gains the greatest notoriety, is esse est percipi — to be, is to be perceived.

An absurd and uncharitable interpretation of this foundational phrase, would be to attribute to Berkeley the idea that things in the objective world exist only to the extent that we perceive them; the moment such perceptual pervasiveness disappears, then, existence becomes extinguished.

A more rational view of his postulate, however, is to attribute Berkeley to the tradition of British linguistic philosophers, and to consider the following “implied” but silent intentions:  “The definition of what it means to exist, can only have meaning if, and only if, there is a perceiver for which the object is there to be perceived, and as such, existence as a concept of any meaningful import must by necessity have a perceiver”.

Without this kinder, gentler version of interpretive connotations, all manner of ridicule and scoffing have been thrown at the good Bishop — in the form of:  “So, when I leave a room, does it vanish?  And when I return, does it suddenly reappear?”  And in the days of Star Trek:  “Beam me up, Scottie, or in philosophical circles, Bishop Berkeley”.

It is, in the end, the absurdity of linguistic interpretation which ultimately relegated Berkeley to the “second tier” of philosophical thought; and from that unintended consequences resulting from an attempt to resolve a complex issue of metaphysical discourse, we can learn and discern much:  complexity sometimes cannot be circumvented with simplicity of declarative assertion; often, there is a reason why such a conundrum of linguistic inelasticity exists.

Thus, for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Service worker who is intending upon preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key point here is that, yes, your case may be quite complex, but the route to making it comprehensible to the administrative specialist at OPM, is not to try and simplify the core essence of the case, but to state the complex in simple language.

That is often the greatest difficulty with a Federal or Postal applicant in preparing one’s Statement of Disability on Standard Form 3112A — the narrative in response to the various questions will often meander and fail to achieve a coherency because everything from Dickens’ childhood details (which, as you may recall, Salinger scoffed at in his famous work, The Catcher in the Rye) to peripheral issues involved EEO complaints and workplace harassment concerns are thrown in for good or seemingly better measure, when in fact a simplified version based upon good habits of editing would produce a more effective statement of compelling narration.

For, in the end, postulating a Federal Disability Retirement application is not a matter of compiling a voluminous or complex treatise for persuasive discourse; it is to tell a coherent story of one’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal job or Postal position, and we need not defer to Berkeley’s House — whether as a historical tidbit or as the confounded thought processes extracted from his complex works — in order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Meaning, Value and Worth

The last in the tripartite of this conceptual construct possesses a relational significance, where fluctuation of the assigned designation may occur based not upon extrinsic objectivity, but upon a personal sense of attachment, and thus the influence on a spectrum may artificially go up or down depending upon whims of fancy.  The middle term, on the other hand, is often seen to characterize an intrinsic scope, where the assignation of pricing can be determined by market forces, such as the capitalistic paradigm of scarcity of supply and increase in demand coalescing to determine the monetary stability of an essential rating of specified consideration.

The first in the series, then, encompasses both — where derivation attaches to an intrinsic specificity for a given item, but may also alter and amend based upon an intrinsic, personal aura.  It is, in the end, the first for which we strive; for it is meaning that gives fodder to our actions and persistent struggles, while value is that which we attach based upon the objective world around us, and worth can alternate between the historicity surrounding our relationship to the object or the cold detachment we can impart when loss of feeling results in despair.

Of what value does that which we do, have to us, or to the greater society?  That question is often determined by pay, promotions and accolades attributable to accomplishments recognized and applauded.  What is it all worth?  The unstated addendum to such a query, of course, is encapsulated in the following:  “…to you?”  For, worth is often clouded by a sentimental attachment or clouded histories of unknown psychosis; that is why auction houses and bidding wars attempt to portray an impervious face of dispassionate aplomb.

But for meaning, well…  Meaning is what we bring to the fore, embellished by our own sense of bloated narcissism, and derived from childhood dreams and sophomoric pretentiousness.  We attach too little to true value, and too much to sentimental worth.  And when it all comes crashing down because of the fragile house of cards upon which we built our lives, we sit in amazement and wonder, “What did it all mean?”  Such questions will often arise in the midst of a crisis.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with a similarly troubling tripartite of parallelism — of meaning (corollary of the medical condition which erupts in questions of why); of value, where the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service attaches extrinsic obstacles which signify the course of one’s future within the Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; and worth, which must emanate first from the Federal or Postal worker within the standpoint of whether continuation with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is even practical, given the loss of meaning and the reduction of value to the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

In the end, the striving of life is encompassed by the tripartite of human mysteries; we search for meaning in a world devoid of determinable value, and must yet come to terms with the worth of ourselves in relation to the things we do.

That is why, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, 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, is merely an intermediate step towards finding the next phase in the search for meaning in life, the value of the search, and the worth for which we struggle.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The reservoir of vitriol

Do you ever wonder at the seemingly inexhaustible volume of time people spend on expending and expiating their reserve of malice, hatred and sheer meanness of being?  Time and energy spent on gossiping about others; of planning conspiratorial devices to undermine fellow coworkers, or to initiate harassing administrative sanctions and bureaucratic snafus in order to make life tougher, more miserable and uncomfortable for someone else.

More modern cars have a warning indicator informing the driver that the low fuel has resulting in the use of the “reserve tank”; for those whose carelessness can result with inaction ad infinitum, perhaps the depletion of such should require a further reservoir, and on and on — except for the impracticality of finding room for further gas tanks.   Ultimately, it all amounts to the same source, doesn’t it?  Whether you call it a “reserve tank” or from the primary one, depletion results from the aggregate of all, and the warning is merely a reminder to the clueless, and an excuse to nudge.

Similarly, at what point does a reservoir for vitriol need a warning indictor to light up for the source of such malice?  Or is human nature such that his or her depth of evil is irrepressible, and possesses an infinite chasm of depravity?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have suffered at the hands of an agency or the U.S. Postal Service, through harassment, intimidation and sheer vitriol, and merely because the Federal or Postal employee has committed the crime of suffering from a medical condition and therefore is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, it is time to consider the innate nature of human malice, and determine whether it is even worth staying in an environment and atmosphere of negative returns.

Yes, careers are important, but at what cost?  Of course financial certainty provides a semblance of comfort, but to what end?  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 a step not just to “get away”, but further, to reach for a goal in which health and human sacrifice are not exclusive possessions of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.  Understand the essence of human depravity; the reservoir of vitriol is inexhaustible, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the malice of man is only beginning.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire