Federal Disability Retirement: Vows and Contracts

People take vows for various reasons: vows of silence, as a satisfaction of a prerequisite for initiation into a religious order; vows of marriage, for the union intended for a lifetime of commitment and self-sacrifice; vows of revenge, for a personal vendetta in retribution for actions suffered against one’s self or on behalf of another; and similar vows of unremitting focus until the satisfaction of such enduring commitment is accomplished.  Similarly, contracts are entered into each day, across the globe, between individuals, corporate entities and groups formed specifically for business and personal reasons.

Is there a difference between a “vow” and a “contract“?  On a superficial level, the former is viewed as a “higher order” semblance of the latter.  In a deeper sense, that is not only true, but all the more so — or, in erudite form, a fortiori.  For, to vow is to give of one’s self in totality of being; it is a gift of one’s self, often without any expectation of a similar receiving.

In contract law, of course, it is precisely the comparative analysis of a “consideration” provided and received, which determines the viability and sustainability of the agreement itself.  Far too often, Federal and Postal employees see their commitment to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service as a “vow” in employment, as opposed to a contract freely entered into, and just as freely abrogated when the need arises. This is seen when a Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition and must consider the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS.

The Federal or Postal employee treats the job as one of a “vow”, as if the significance of clinging on to the position is of greater importance than the detriment manifested to one’s health.  Federal Disability Retirement benefits, offered to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS, is merely a contractual annuity accorded based upon the status of the individual as a Federal or Postal employee, and further proven by a preponderance of the evidence.  No vows have been exchanged — neither of the silent type, implicit, nor explicit, and certainly not of an unequivocal or unremitting nature.

Contractual terms are meant to be asserted; and one of the provisions of the “contract” for all Federal and Postal employees, is that when the Federal or Postal employee suffers 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 the Federal or Postal job, then eligibility for Federal Disability benefits may be invoked.

To accept a contractual provision is never to take advantage of anything, unfairly or otherwise; rather, it is merely a satisfaction of terms. To do otherwise, and to confuse X as Y, as in mistaking a contract for a vow, is merely to bathe in a puddle of muddle-headed thinking.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Consciousness and the Linguistic Divide

Throughout the wide expanse of Western Philosophical debates, the tension of truth has always been the subtle, often unspoken, surreptitious thread underlying the waging war of words.  As the writing of history is left to the victors, so the linguistic divide between truth and falsity belongs to the mastery of words. The modern subtext to the greater debate encapsulates consciousness and whether the wholeness of one’s being can be adequately described in scientific terms comprised of physically-oriented language — i.e., synapses, cells and serotonin levels.

Can one adequately capture the wholeness of a person, and the uniqueness of the individual, by the expungement of non-objective language and transference and translation of reductionism to physically-oriented descriptions?  And what of Ryle’s perennial problem of that “ghost in the machine“?  Of course, Dennett would explain away the issue of consciousness by a series of component divides — of sectional surgeries which, in their individual pieces, would reveal the lack of the greater elements beyond the individual parts.  But in the end, does the adoption of such science-based language adequately present a true picture of man?

On a human level, in every society, the problem is seen in how agencies and organizations view and treat individuals with medical problems.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the issue of being “lesser” than coworkers becomes a problem of actions, how we view our fellow man, and the greater linguistic divide which impacts treatment of individuals.  Language is important in capturing the fantasy of fulfillment.  It is the seed of creativity.  Reduction of language and expungement into mere metabolic processes will ultimately dehumanize society, and equate maltreatment with mere surgical precision.

Federal and Postal Workers who confront the issue of daily abuse in the workplace because of a medical condition suffered, recognize how insensitive conglomerates can be.  For the Federal and Postal Worker who has come to a point where one’s agency no longer views him or her in the wholeness of one’s being and the worth of being a productive individual, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is an option to consider, and to take one’s abilities and capabilities elsewhere to another vocation.

History is replete with man’s capacity to dehumanize; language is the key to expunging the very humanity which society possesses in the treatment of individuals; and in the end, consciousness is the last bastion of unexplained beauty in the greater linguistic divide of social conscience.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: Cognitive Dualism & the Two Incommensurable Paths

Cognitive dualism is the concept that one cannot hold onto two competing and contradictory beliefs while maintaining a life of integrity and consistency. It is tantamount to suffering from a form of intellectual schizophrenia, potentially resulting in dire consequences and paying the price for attempting to force the cohesiveness of two incommensurable paths.

The anxieties which exponentially magnify; the undue stresses which naturally result from attempting to retain the impossible; at some point, the natural divergence of both will force the split, or in modern domestic parlance, determine the “uncoupling” in a nasty divorce of ideas.

For Federal and Postal employees who must contend with the inconsistency of attempting to address a medical condition while at the same time keeping control over one’s employment, such cognitive dualism becomes a harsh reality which is confronted daily. How does one deal with the serious medical issues, which should always be the priority, while at the same time address the impact upon one’s inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job?

The two incommensurable paths may come to a crisis point, where both cannot be adequately maintained.  It is at this point that the Federal or Postal Worker must consider the option of Federal Disability Retirement.  For, Federal Disability Retirement benefits are precisely those employment benefits available for the Federal or Postal Worker who finds him/herself in such a situation of cognitive dualism, where two incommensurable paths must necessarily be addressed, and one must be chosen.

The stark reality and the harshness of the choice would be: one’s health, or one’s job. But for Federal and Postal employees, there is a “third” path — that of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, and filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Thus can cognitive dualism be reconciled where two incommensurable paths may seemingly diverge, and allow for a compromise of sorts, by fighting for an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Not all paths must split into two, where choices are bifurcated into an either/or; instead, sometimes one must find the hidden path through the grassy knolls less traveled.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Old Barn

It sits like an eyesore and can be seen from the main road; dilapidated to some, while bringing warm remembrances of bygone days from real or imagined childhoods.  The edges of the roof have curled upwards, revealing rotting slats and welcoming sunlight, rain and birds to nest where previously it provided shelter for domesticated animals and field mice who took refuge on cold winter nights.

It needs refurbishing.

Strangers who pass by daily on their commute to important jobs, who carry impressive leather briefcases and wear finely knit suits adorned with cufflinks and driving in vehicles which speak in crisp, electronic voices of modernity and technology betraying the rural setting of that aggregate of rotting lumber, sometimes dreamily suggest that perhaps purchasing that tract of land and putting money into fixing up that old barn would be worthwhile.  But such thoughts are fleeting and become quickly overwhelmed by the busyness of the day.

But old barns reflect a metaphor for people who, like the deteriorating structure, need a pause in the middle of the day to consider specialized attention.  And people with medical conditions, especially, require that segregated time and peace.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from being able to fully perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that one has merely become an old and dilapidated barn becomes a daily sensation.  Perhaps it is just a new coat of paint, or a more expensive tin roof.  Whatever the needs, people barely give a second glance, except perhaps in moments of guilt-filled but short-lived days.  The old barn always stands alone.  For the Federal or Postal Worker, waiting on others to “refurbish” the old barn is to procrastinate the inevitable.

One must take charge of one’s own destiny.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often the only and pragmatically viable option for the Federal and Postal Worker.  Like the old barn that sits out in the harsh sun surrounded by imposing structures of modern life, that lonely feeling of being isolated will only grow more poignantly with time, until one day the developers come to tear down the old structure, leaving only a memory of bygone days.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Precipices, Edges and Flat Earths

When the earth was believed to be flat, to venture out beyond the known and navigable waters was deemed to foolishly challenge an inevitable fate; and to reach the precipice and totter carelessly at the edge is to defy and challenge the gods of fate, as Macbeth does repeatedly throughout the Shakespearean play.

Fate itself is a concept which has lost its meaning; that which is no longer believed, is erased through lack of usage, soon departs unnoticed behind curtains of anonymity.  For most people in the world, lives are lived as unmarked gravestones without headlines, fanfare or public accolades; and that is how it should be.  Seeking out one’s 5 minutes of fame; propelling one’s face in front of a news camera; stepping conspicuously in the background where a camera is being shot and waving furiously to get noticed; somehow, loss in belief in fate has been replaced with an urgency to be noticed for the moment.

For the Federal and Postal employee who quietly suffers from a fate hidden, unknown, or yet to be known, reaching the precipice, feeling like a tottering child on the edge leading to a deep chasm, or venturing beyond the safety of known waters, is a daily occurrence when facing a medical condition which threatens one’s livelihood.  Living on the edge is more than mere metaphor of tempting fate; it is a sense that the world is in turmoil, is uncaring, and is a harsh residue of human complacency.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an avenue which allows for the Federal and Postal Worker to escape the daily sense of being in those situations of remote dangers, by allowing for a base annuity, securing one’s future, and giving an opportunity to remain productive in a private-sector vocation.  Most importantly, it allows for one to recuperate from the physical and mental ailments which lead us into unnavigable waters of dangerous precipices and jagged edges, for the safer paths of secure fates.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire