OPM Disability Retirement: Outward appearance, inward thoughts

It is, of course, the core of Western thought, originating from Socratic arguments against placing one’s faith in the “appearance” of things as opposed to the Platonic Forms that represent true Being; and through Aristotelian arguments of a “substratum” that underlies the outward appearance, to the certitude of Cogito, ergo sum; then, the inner reliance where subjectivity and objectivity coalesce and the distinctions became undoable by Wittgenstein’s standards of banishing all Philosophical problems to mere linguistic confusion, and the belittling scoffs of Russell’s mischievous analysis; these, and many more in the history of contemplative reflection that has haunted the aggregate of outward appearance versus inward thoughts.

All of which brings us to the core of so many medical conditions – where so much cannot be seen and we often have to “exaggerate” just to get people to believe us.  Take “pain”, as an example – one can be in excruciating pain, and yet remain unemotional about it.  Even if an MRI result shows that there is a physical basis for which the pain is experienced, nevertheless, pain by definition is a subjective component, and cannot publicly be quantified.

That is why conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain syndrome, Failed Back Syndrome, not to even mention Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. – how does one persuade others of the “real-ness” of the condition?  Broken bones, malignant tumors, catastrophic injuries; these, inward thoughts (believability) are consistent with outward appearance.

There is, in the end, a distinction with a difference that must be acknowledged, between “having a medical condition” and “proving a medical condition” – especially when it comes to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  There are, moreover, certain factors that “favor” the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – such as the standard of proof (Preponderance of the Evidence, as opposed to higher legal standards out there); the weight and validity of a treating doctor’s opinion; and certain clinical evidence that moves the chess pieces beyond mere subjective opinion, thereby bridging the gap between outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application requires more than just gathering a pile of medical documents and submitting it. In the end, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must PROVE one’s case, in order to get beyond mere outward appearance and inward thoughts.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The narrative we write

Each of us carries a narrative within; the David Copperfield segment of our otherwise unrevealed lives.  It is who we are; the past that enlivens or diminishes; the memories of yesteryear or just a fortnight ago; and it resides continually until that day of atonement or the diminishment though dementia of fated unkindness.  What we say; how it is written; how it is related through the handed-down oral traditions of storytelling and bemused tales of a Dickensian happy endings (excepting Little Nell and other debatable few unnamed); and how it is told, in what manner, with what punctuations and unctuous phraseology applied; these matter, especially when others are listening.

Perhaps, in modernity, the oral traditions of storytelling have disappeared, like graveyards unvisited because of loss of faith.  Once, family members were buried on the plot of land in the pasture behind; now, that plot is another suburban home, easily fungible and sold if profits justify enough.  Lineage is irrelevant, except to search one’s genealogy in order to establish the bloodlines unique to resist disease and incest; and as children listen not to the storyteller at dinnertime, but to rap singers on iPods and Smartphones, and digitized voices in virtual fields of games and electronic media; even they get their sense of who the “I” is, by songs uttered with vitriol and You-Tube clips streaming for self-aggrandizement.

We lament that which we have no control over, yet do nothing to exert but a trifle of influence.  The standard adage should remind us:  “Garbage in, garbage out”; and, yet, who among us steadfastly maintains the duties of the vanguard who must imperviously maintain a standard of who is invited and what is kept out?  Or, does “popularity” rule, and the old edict by a shoe company trying to dominate the cutthroat world of sales and profitability, “Just do it” – is that the philosophy we follow?  Or, how about, “If it feels right (or good), then…”

The narrative we write is the storyline that follows, and the byline that stamps its approval at the bottom of the tale acknowledges who we are, what we believe in and where we intend to go.  What would your response be if a child suddenly came upon you and asked, “Who are you?”  Would the narrative that bespeaks include struggles encountered, battles engaged and promises kept?  Or would the story be a confused delineation of a skeletal clutter, barely recognizable as a unique reflection of the angels we fly with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are 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, the narrative we write, especially on the Standard Form 3112A, is perhaps the penultimate component of the essence of the effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  How it is written; what information it should contain; the relevant period of discourse; the proper delineation in answer to the queries; these must all be taken into account before submitting it to OPM.  And, just as the response to the query by the curious child should give one pause, greater reflection before submitting an SF 3112A to OPM should be taken, lest the narrative we write reflects that which we no longer want to own.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: ‘Can’ and ‘Have to’

The category of the latter has diminished in recent years, as the general populace has mistakenly misinterpreted the distinctive definitions of liberty and freedom, and reassigned meanings as license and anarchy.  The blank column of the former concept has come to be full, despite the reality of the economic downturn and the shift into a global economy that, we are told, is an inevitable consequence of human progress.

We were taught that the march of progress required the destruction of the American West, where a way of life needed to be trampled upon and destroyed in the name of advancement and civilization; that each step of innovation and progressive paradigms constitute an almost Hegelian fatefulness, and resistance is merely an act of futility within the aggregation of the Leviathan called “Progress”.  The modern parlance consists in the acceptance of every innovation of technology, to the extent that Orwell’s dystopian premonitions have been surpassed by a reality now accepted as mundane and commonplace, and we fail to realize that his magnum opus of a totalitarian future could have been heeded, but now is merely embraced with a yawn and barely a glance backward.

The more that society comes to believe in that which we ‘can’, as opposed to the obligatory mandate of ‘have to’, the less likely is there of a resistance to authority.  And, until the police raid in the middle of the night or the unquestioned stop and search on a highway where others just whiz by without puzzlement or curiosity, is experienced personally by a given individual, the onerous nature of laws passed in the name of safety, security and preventative measures, will be merely a conceptual haze masked by an obscure hypothetical.

Instead, we live day-to-day in the conundrum of being told that we ‘can’ do what we want, desire and fantasize about, and there is little that we ‘have to’ do.  Thus do infidelity and divorces occur; of abandonment of family ties based upon tropes of scintillating sensations; and goals set aside in the namesake of present pleasures.

There is a category of individuals, however, where the luxury of ‘can’ cannot be replaced by mere want of ‘have to’ – a person with a medical condition.  For Federal and Postal workers who suffer 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the ‘can’ once relied upon transforms into an inability.

Once the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position becomes a reality, then the ‘have to’ is finally realized – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Do not let the muddle of incessant trope involving ‘can’ become confused with ‘have to’ – for, when one comes to a point of ‘must’, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The anomaly of insularity

Society’s steady progression towards greater insularity has been accepted as a mere inevitability that must be tolerated, resigned to, and ultimately embraced with little resistance and no objectionable diatribes, except by those madmen and social commentators who defy and decry and parade and parody of innovation as the essence of civilization’s manifest destiny, replacing the previous paradigm that engaged in the systematic genocide of the civilizations encompassing the plenitude of American Indians in a past century or so – but let us not digress and focus too much upon such a path (i.e., a small hint:  read the tragic but necessary work recently released, by Peter Cozzens entitled, The Earth is Weeping, if you want to understand the true heritage of our past “westward progress”).

Insularity goes against every grain of Darwinian truths:  Look around you (if you are not already distracted by your own Smartphone, laptop or other electronic device); who among you and surrounding you are looking at a screen of one sort or another?  Are heads pasted between eyes glazed and a few inches or feet beyond, to a fluorescent screen of inestimable attraction?

Concurrently, what is occurring in that “real world” that we so decry – of a reality that includes “others” in true flesh; of nature’s blossoming or closing, depending upon the season we are in; of planetary alignments and weather changes; and, in the end, of actual people reaching out in a world where virtual reality has replaced humanity’s quest for love.

Man has always had a differentiating and unique feature – of the Shakespearean aside in uttering a poetic soliloquy; of reflecting upon inner thoughts and seeing no further beyond than the mind’s eye as one wanders through an impervious universe; of reminiscing about a past already lost, calculating for a future which may never arrive, and foregoing present pleasures for delayed contentment.  But modernity has changed all of that.

The past is no longer relevant as old men and wisdom of what once occurred as generational transfer of lessons learned are shuttled into nursing homes where dementia prevails upon wasting souls; where future predictions of dystopian fantasies dominate through electronic entertainment and virtual realities that have replaced that singular tree that grows in Brooklyn; and how the world of the Internet, Skype, Instagram and Facebook constitute the entirety of one’s insular world.

Yet, insularity has its consequences.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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 reality of the medical condition still maintains that anomaly of insularity, in that the world of pain, anguish or anxiety-stricken psychiatric conditions reflect back upon the individual suffering, and the “outer” world cares not a twit about the individual circumstances.

But reach out, one must – for, in order to escape that anomaly of insularity, the Federal or Postal employee must step outside of him or herself, and begin to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, and that is precisely the “key” to breaking that vicious circularity that encompasses and engulfs one in the very anomaly of insularity, within a conundrum of an uncaring universe, amidst a sea of unsympathetic drones within the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire