Attorney Representation OPM Disability: Analogies and life

Life is lived by analogies.  It is how we understand, comprehend and make sense of a world in turmoil.  By identifying a resemblance between two or more particulars while perhaps remaining somewhat different in other aspects, we are able to relate things, understand them, comprehend the isolation of differentiation between X and Y and yet embrace those differences despite the lack of commonality in all other respects.

Without the tool and transporting impact of an analogy, most of the objective world would remain isolated, irrelevant and separated from the subjective coherence that we bring to the world.  Explanations and argumentation would often lack any comprehensible understanding; scientists would simply speak in technical languages that non-scientists (i.e., laymen like most of us) would fail to appreciate; and life would continually remain a series of isolated islands of conceptual conundrums that would be separated from civilization as a whole.

That is essentially why the administrative laws governing Federal Disability Retirement must by necessity be spoken of in analogic terms – precisely because, in order to make sense in the greater context of life, everything in particular can only be “explained” and “made sense of” through analogies that we can relate to.  Without relational contexts and reference points, life’s various complexities would remain in isolation from one another.

Thus, analogies, life and Federal Disability Retirement benefits all share a common perspective – that of human beings who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, and that a particular “condition” or life shares with all other conditions of life the reference points that we can all understand: Law, Complexity, Human suffering, Pain, The fear of change, The need for change; Confusion; Trauma; Medical conditions, etc.

Analogies allow for understanding; life, left in isolation, is confusing as it is, and even after a lifetime of trying to understand and simplify, still remains a mystery.

And for the Federal or Postal employee who is at a point in one’s career where a medical condition impacts the ability to continue in that career, the reference point that needs to be kept in mind is that there are lawyers who specialize in getting Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and we are here to help.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from OPM: Dreams, daydreams and nightmares

Of the first in this triplet trope, the concept can envision two distinct avenues:  in a state of somnolence, to have them with minimal control of appearance; or, in another sense, to possess aspirations beyond one’s station in life or current circumstances that may impute dissatisfaction.

The second in the series is somewhat connected to the second concept branching from the first; it is a moment of reflective escape, where the reality of “now” and the encounter with Being is temporarily averted and subsumed in a meditative silence of self-repose.  Some have the capacity to embrace and become lost in such quietude of an alternate universe, despite a clutter of noises or the distraction of tumult.  Then, some would counter that it is precisely in such moments that fleeing into a parallel universe of a mental cocoon is necessary in order to maintain one’s sanity in a world replete with a curiosity shop full of random violence.

And, of the third, we again branch into a duality with the proverbial fork in the road; for, such infamy of uncontrolled images and voices while in a sleeping slumber constitutes the primary definition; but, whether in metaphorical terms or engaging in trifling hyperbole, we attribute traumatic and frightful events by describing it precisely by the term at hand.

Dreams, daydreams and nightmares are all part of our daily lives, whether awake, half-aware, conscious or sub-conscious in multiple and mysterious modalities of living; but they serve a purpose which, whether explained away by psychologists, therapists, pseudo-intellectuals or just plain people of tremendous insights and uncanny foresights, they continue to remain the foundation for maintaining the sanity preserved within the insanity of the greater universe.

Without nightmares, how would the inner psyche expiate the images and sense datum we have involuntarily ingested?  Without daydreams, what would man hope for, live for, in circumstances of squalor and decadence?  And of dreams, how would the subconscious sift through the visual and information overload experienced daily and in voluminous onslaughts of quantitatively overwhelming constructs?

Or of the second branch, where aspirations and hope for a better tomorrow, though derailed by screams of destitution and unhinged by crying babies, drunken realities and unsavory circumstances, yet to dream for a better tomorrow is sometimes the only thread which separates the crumbling heart from a tinge of a fading smile.  It is precisely these that allows for man to wake up the next morning and seek a better tomorrow.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with shattered dreams, escaping into a greater cauldron of daydreaming, or rustling in sleepless fits of nightmares unavailing, all because one’s career is on the proverbial “line” resulting from a medical condition which may cut short one’s dreams, daydreams and creating a chaos of nightmares, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may be the first step in the aspirational discourse needed to regain one’s equilibrium.

The importance of trifurcating between dreams, daydreams and nightmares is a prescient step towards recognizing that the reality of one’s present circumstances may be described as a “nightmare”, and perhaps those sleepless nights are filled with them; but in order for the Federal or Postal employee to dream of a better tomorrow, the leisure of daydreaming must be allowed, but always tempered by pragmatic steps which must be undertaken in the reality of day-to-day living, in order to reach a specific goal:  That of getting an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to reach that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, which is neither defined by dreams, nor attained by daydreaming, and certainly not a nightmare to avoid.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Leaving without a Blip

Remember those old films, of silence, submarines and sonars (an acronym we have forgotten from the combination of terms, SOund, Navigation And Radar)?

There were those tense moments of complete silence, where heartbeats and perspiration could be palpably heard when life and death depended upon it, and the moment when someone coughed or dropped an object at the crucial moment; then, the sudden entrance of old Navy footage of depth charges being flung like spitballs from a rubber band, splashing into the ocean, then the angst of awaiting the slow sinking until the violent detonation of that camera-shaking explosion.

Was it close enough to have caused damage?  Can the heavy metal doors be shut in time to prevent deadly flooding?  Can the engineer fix the dent in the tin can just enough to chug along to the nearest base for further repair?  In the end, it all depended upon the blip on the screen, as the clockwork motion of the round screen revealed the positioning of the enemy vessel as the ghostly residue of existence left behind one’s presence, if only for a brief moment in time.

It is, in many ways, a metaphor for all lives; as merely a blip on a screen, and whether we are noticed, to what extent, by whom, and if one’s location deserves the catapult of a depth charge, or to be ignored as not warranting an adversarial response.

That is often how Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers contend with a medical or health condition which threatens to cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service:  Has enough of a blip been made?  Will a greater blip, or a longer presence of that ghostly residue on the clock-like screen, make up for the difference of extinguishment of existence?

There are those who enter a room quietly, and leave without notice; others, who must make a splash with each entrance, and falter in the exit because they have extended their welcome beyond polite niceties; and still others, who refuse to leave until formal recognition has been wrought from gated societies of diminished returns.  Which is preferable —  a blip which returns with a detonating device, or barely a yawn with the resulting quietude of an unnoticed exit?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates a filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, a OPM Disability Retirement application — the question of being noticed or leaving a lasting mark is often a subconscious pull which unknowingly damages or delays.

But like the submarine in those old films, it is always the capacity and ability to control that moment of anxiety and fear which propels the successful endeavor of formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM; and lest we forget, avoidance of the depth charge is just an indicator of how much of a blip we really were, and not a precursor of what ghostly residues the Federal or Postal worker may become on the clockwork screen for the future.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Peripheral Centrality

We often think that, by pushing the core importance of those matters out into the periphery, whether in our minds or in the practical application of daily living, by merely touching upon them we have attended to a relative extent in satisfaction for the time being.  Another way to put it is encompassed in the reference of kicking the proverbial can down the road into that distant and obscure future.

Centrality of necessities can only be pushed aside for so long; before you know it, they come back with a roar to crowd out those insignificant interests which are easier to focus upon, become pleasurable distractions, and tend to become magnified as representing greater significance and relevance than what their revealed status should deserve.

Distractions of daily living — perhaps a hobby, or following a sports team with greater exuberance than deserved; then, of course, there are the modes of virtual reality in modernity, of internet, video games and spawning friendships via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  At some point, however, the core of that which was pushed aside must come back and become the centrality of purpose it was always shouting out to be.

Pain, and the avoidance of pain, is somewhat akin to that.  For how long can a medical condition be disregarded, before the periphery to which we relegate it makes an end-run and becomes the central focus of one’s life?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether considering the impact of the medical condition upon one’s greater health and well-being has been ignored, pushed aside and relegated to the peripheral concerns of daily living — the centrality of its consequential residue must be considered at some point, and the remaining decisions about filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must become the option to entertain.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is never an easy decision to make, and thus do we relegate such considerations into the outer periphery of one’s thoughts — until that day when reality cannot be escaped, distractions can no longer be delayed, and the centrality of our lives must come first.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a major decision which cannot remain in the peripheral accoutrements of a life; at some point, it must become the peripheral centrality of one’s decision-making process if you are a Federal or Postal employee whose medical condition has begun to prevent you from performing one or more of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal positional duties.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The language of law

Wittgenstein recognized that there exists various forms of languages within a community of a shared language — with words everyone understood, sentences all were familiar with, but the usage and meaning of which were unique to a particular group or set of individuals.  Such comity of meanings and esoteric application of language were designated as “language games”.  Information Technology groups have their own set of insulated meanings; advertising agents, insurance companies, and children who form an exclusive club may formulate within-community code words exclusive to the group alone, and alien to all around.

What, then, is the language of law?  Certainly, analogy and hypothetical models of similar situations and transactions are a part of it; and the methodology of argumentation is to show the familiarity of classes of subject-matter issues and identical-sounding situations which penetrate the judge’s capacity to accept and anticipate precedent-setting citations of prior acts.  Why the language game of the legal arena accepts as a primary basis of interaction similar-sounding prior fact-scenarios is often a mystery to “outsiders” (i.e., non-lawyers), and confounds with frustration the enormous expenditure of time and money in engaging such circuitous narratives of persuasive argumentation.

What about my case?  What difference does it make whether or not a decades-old case applies in an analogical manner to the facts at hand?  But that is precisely the point of the language of law; for, it is consistency of application and perpetuation of stability which makes for reverence for “the law”.  Arbitrariness and malleability creates suspicion of motives, and justice requires the fair constancy of applying “the law”.

This is important to understand in all arenas of the “language game of law”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who may need to entertain the potentiality for 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 entrance into “Administrative Law” (which is what filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM falls under) is no different.

Precedent-setting cases develop over decades and epochs of lifetimes; and whether the OPM Disability Retirement applicant is aware of it or not, the compendium of rules, regulations and decision-setting conclusions are all guided by, constricted within, and influenced throughout, by prior cases handed down by judicial opinions rendered “on high” by administrative law judges and Federal Court of Appeals mandates.

Should case laws be cited in the submission of a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application?  As the law is the hinge upon which society survives, so the question of persuasive argumentation may live or die based upon the vocalization of precedents.  But always remember that the language of law is a specific type of language game, and the exclusive club of legalese requires some training of usage, where applicability may sound like gobbledygook unless formulated with an ear towards coherence within the insular language game of law.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Resigning from Federal Employment and Filing for OPM Disability Retirement

Resignation is what the adversary wants; it is rarely an innate condition of the human animal.  Whether one believes in the evolutionary process of incremental genetic adaption, progression and determinism, or that the gods of traditional theology puts forth a teleological foundation, the concept of “giving up” possesses an inherent shrinking away, a repugnance and a natural inhibitor to an act which constitutes surrender and, in some corners of thought, betrayal to self.

But the will of human beings is what separates from the genus of that which we derive; and as monks can defy instinct and sit in burning bonfires of self-immolation, and sheer determination of will-power can overcome fear, the rush of adrenaline and the propulsion of compulsive irrationality through reasoned guidance, so there may be times when resignation carries with it a compelling basis which justifies the action.

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 issue of resignation is often at the forefront for multiple and varied reasons:  the agency often suggests it (which, in and of itself, should not be a basis for acting, as the self-interest of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service should not be the paramount concern during such a time of turmoil when a medical condition is impacting the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service); where all Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA rights have been exhausted, and the inability to maintain a regular work schedule has resulted in the initiation of disciplinary actions by the agency (here, the language contained in any such action proposed by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service may be of some use in a Federal Disability Retirement application); or where other pragmatic decisions may be contemplated, such as the ability to access one’s TSP in order to financially survive during the process of waiting for a decision on a pending Federal Disability Retirement application, as well as multiple other unnamed reasons too numerous to discuss within the confines of this limited forum.

Whatever the underlying reasons and rationale, there is often an instinctive reaction, a repugnance and resistance, in engaging an act which is tantamount to surrendering one’s career and “walking away”.  There may, in the end, be compelling reasons to perform such an act, and not all actions involving resignation constitute a reflection of a desperate need.  If reviewed calmly, and decided rationally after due consideration of all of the factors and elements involved, such an act of apparent self-destruction may in fact be the most prudent course of action which perpetuates the genetically-determined embracing of evolutionary survivability, or the voice of gods long whispering in the echoing reverberations of Dante’s concentric circles of ever-impending escape from the fires of hell.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire