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


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The complexity of human experience

We take for granted much, and dismiss with careless appreciation the residue of crumbs begotten.  The idiom that refers to the final straw which breaks a camel’s back — why does the foreign species have an impact upon a culture which is unfamiliar with such a beast of burden?  Is it that, despite the images produced against the background of pyramids and pharaohs of a bygone civilization, the essence and theme of the proverbial statement resonates, whether replaced by a horse, a donkey or an ox?

The idea that tolerance to, and capacity for, a seemingly limitless weight of workplace bombardment, whether in translated terms of physical endurance or cognitive stress, is encapsulated by that transcendent cultural expression that there is, indeed, an invisible boundary of and for the human experience.

It is complex; the physical deterioration can presumably be witnessed because of the appearance exhibited; but it is the inner psyche and psychological harm, over untold times and lacking of precision of limit, which tests the stress points of fractures barely visible and likely detrimental.  Stress fractures may be subtle and sometimes inconsequential; but the incremental aggregation if left unreinforced will refuse to withstand an eternity of disrepair.

The complexity of human experience begins with the narrative carried by childhood memories; advances in fits and starts during the “difficult” period of transition from innocence to adulthood; and becomes cemented within the casement of early independence, where the spectrum and balance between love and hate, idealism and cynicism, and a mixture of hope denied by reality, coalesce to form the compendium of what the essence of a person becomes.

On that journey of filling the narrative, some become tested by greater or lesser traumas; and whether one ascribes “fault” to actions which result in consequences otherwise foreseeable, the reality is that those experiences encountered mold the character of the human narrative exposed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may cut short one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is the complexity of the human experience which preceded that moment of realization that a medical condition may prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, which will determine the future course of actions and lay the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow.

Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the central point of idioms which transcend time, cultures and limitations of perspectives in modernity, is that we refuse to become relegated to a mere statistical footnote by allowing for that last straw which breaks the camel’s back, and instead insist upon allowing for that beast of burden to survive another day, if only to impart some wisdom to a world which no longer recognizes the complexity of human experience.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Employee Medical Separation: The abstract concept of “the other”

Existentialism could only have arisen from the ashes of nihilism; Western Philosophy, spanning the spectrum of metaphysics, epistemology, Rationalism, Empiricism and the tradition of questioning origins, essences and the compendium of who we are and what it all means, does not lead to the natural annihilation of intellectual curiosity.  But Existentialism, does.  Why?  Because Existentialism is an emotional reaction, rather than a rational rebuttal.

From the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the denigration of human dignity reduced to mere abstractions, the philosophy of negation of which it is characterized, is more of a “sense” approach than a logical methodology of comprehension and understanding.  Thus, while traditional philosophy was always denoted by a curiosity towards abstraction, Existentialism was pulled back by a retractive revulsion because of the alienating impact of conceptualization.

That is why the most powerful explication of the philosophy of Existentialism is found in a novel by Camus (reference, The Stranger or The Plague), and not in reading Sartre’s meandering explanation (Being and Nothingness) of a confused attempt to systematize the emotive side of man.  Thus, in reading Camus, one gets the “sense” of abandonment, separation, distance and alienation of man from the community of others; whereas, in reading the traditional philosophical works — take any page from Plato, Aristotle or the Medievals — one enters an universe of order, systematized approach, and methodological rationalization emanating from curiosity and questioning.

The two approaches, however, are not unrelated; for, it is precisely because of the traditional training of discussing concepts in abstract form (and thereby separating the thought-process from human touch and interaction) that disregarding the humanity of a living being could be achieved.  In more provincial terms, it is easier to be cruel to a concept, than to one’s own child or spouse.  And, indeed, that is how we survive in advancing our purposive actions of harassment and sheer meanness; by objectifying “the other”, we can bifurcate our minds and categorize the subject into something less.

Supervisors do it to workers and underlings; no longer is the worker a fellow human being, but “that ## % !!”.  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, the lessons learned and gleaned from the reactive lens of Existentialism may be twofold:  First, don’t expect sympathy from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service because you have a medical condition (that, unfortunately, is probably self-evident and a “given” already), and Second, do not expect cooperation or efficiency to suddenly prevail when engaging the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, merely because the need to obtain Federal OPM Disability Retirement should in and of itself touch a sense of empathy.

In neither case will a positive response be evoked.

Ultimately, the bureaucratic process of 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, is a surreal experience, and one in which the sense of alienation felt by Existentialism is encountered throughout.  That is because, in the end, the Federal or Postal applicant in a Federal Disability Retirement case is none other than a mere “other”, and no more than an abstraction to be gotten rid of, like the distraction you became when once you were no longer fully productive on the assembly line of life’s refuse of illegitimacy.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Help for Federal Employees: Slices & Wholes

Short stories provide a slice of life; novels, a genre which attempts to provide a picture of a greater whole, and when it falls short, will often be an opportunity to manifest a trilogy of works.  But fiction never quite captures the essence of entirety, and we are left with the part, a necessary void, and a missing piece of the puzzle.

Every narrative of a life is merely a portion; the microcosm rarely captures the significance of the whole.  And, indeed, there are large chunks of human living which need not be repetitively revealed, as they are presumed to occur during the lapses and jumps of time:  That the character in the story (or insert:  television show, movie, novella, etc.) has gone to the bathroom multiple times during the day; has eaten more than in the restaurant scene and traveled in some kind of a transport vehicle in order to reach a given destination, etc.

At the dawn of movies, it was a common question for the audience to ask, “How did he get there all of a sudden?”  Real life was still being projected upon the new screen of depicted stories, and the loss of continuity assumed that the audience would make certain jumps of logical conclusions; time, acquiescence and acceptance of convention would yet take some getting used to, and the slice of life revealed often mistook the viewer for the wholeness of true living experienced by all.

Thus do we accept, in watching a play, the convention of a character declaring an aside but where the rest of the stage does not hear; in real life, such declarative innuendoes would result in a slap in the face.  But that is precisely the problem with people, isn’t it?  We all accept and assume, and presume that the slice of life is representative of the whole, and thereby typify and stereotype the individual, beyond mere first impressions.

The Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition and therefore is unable to accomplish all that needs to be done, is now the nuisance and the “lazy one” who puts the burden upon everyone else, without considering the long history of dedication and service, or the turmoil and devastation wrought upon the greater whole of his or her life.  That Federal or Postal employee is merely known for the slice of today, and rarely appreciated for the whole of yore; for, it is easier to condemn with the tongue of today, than to take the time necessary to understand the contributory trails of yesteryear.

Thus are we left with little choice but to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  And the dusting trails of memories left behind?  Let such clouds of regret and remorse remain within the slice of a former life be, and enter instead into the panoramic view of a true whole, where the next stage of life is beyond the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and the combination of slices and wholes can once again be put together for the Federal or Postal employee who must regroup for a better tomorrow.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire