Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Perspective versus reality

One may counter that the contrast is no different than that which we encounter daily, especially in this universe of millennials and post-millennial era – of opinion versus fact, or truth versus falsehood (and now the new one, of “news” versus “fake news” or “facts” versus “alternative facts”).  But “perspective” versus “reality” has some subtle nuances that need to be explicated.  For one thing, one’s perspective may be identical to the reality one possesses a perspective upon; or, more likely, it is merely an interpretation that may differ from someone else’s.

One could, of course, argue that all of reality is merely a perspective, and this would comport with the Kantian view that our phenomenological experiences can never depict the “noumenal” universe (Kant’s verbiage) that is outside of the categorical impositions of our human make-up, and that therefore the human perspective is something that cannot be avoided, anymore than a dog’s perspective can be assumed or challenged, or a bat’s perspective (refer to Thomas Nagel on that) would be understood or comprehended by a human’s perspective.

In other words, we can never completely disown the perspective imposed by the innate structures of our own “kind”, and thus it may be an error to ever represent a contrast between “perspective” and “reality” (thus the misnomer of the title above, “Perspective versus reality”), but should always encompass and embrace a commensurate connection of “Perspective of reality” (a consonance of the two) or “Perspective and reality” (a conjoining compatibility of both).

Yet, we know that certain people interpret things differently from what we believe constitutes an accurate portrayal of “reality”.  However, so long as we stay within certain confines of accepted normative interpretations, we rarely contest or openly disagree with alternative depictions, unless it is to obtain a consensus that somehow disproves the validity of the other’s portrayal (i.e., “Yes, but John, Joe and May agree with me”, as if quantification of perspectives somehow diminishes the accuracy of another’s; as opposed to saying, “Well, Copernicus thought otherwise while the rest of the world continued to maintain a geocentric perspective of the universe” – unless, of course, you are ignoring the “rest of the world” to include China, Japan, etc.),

Yet, there are factors that have to be considered when discussing the distinction between “perspective” and “reality”, and one of them often involves medical conditions – an element of reality that often skewers perspective.  That is why, for a Federal or Postal employee who is considering 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 importance of relying upon accurate information, good and sound legal advice, and a straight and narrow path towards a successful outcome with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (no matter the length of time it may take these days), is important.

For, medical conditions will often alter the perspective of an individual as to the reality of one’s situation, and so it is an “outside” source (the medical condition itself) which needs a counterbalancing force (otherwise referred to as an “objective” advocate, i.e., a lawyer) in order to present an effective, objective, persuasive representative in order to “re-present” the perspective of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant.  Thus, in short, it is a perspective versus reality issue, and thus not entirely a misnomer as previously stated.


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


OPM Disability Retirement: The Happiness Goal

Whether human happiness is the goal to strive for, or as a byproduct to savor in those moments of sudden revelation, is for each individual to ascertain and abide by.  One can study the sages and philosophers and realize that there is a distinction to be made between joy and happiness, of contentment and satisfaction, and from a sense of peace as opposed to the turmoil of anxious foreboding.

Life is full of moments; but is it for those moments we live, or do such ethereal segments compel us to greater achievements?  From Aristotle’s Eudaemonism to Confucius’ focus upon maintaining the balance between family and normative behavior, or the extreme nihilism of Nietzsche and the existentialist’s embrace of the absurd, the modern approach has been to ensconce happiness as the principle of highest regard.  But life has a way of interrupting every neat packaging of human endeavor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, whether of physical pain, the chronicity of progressive deterioration, or the overwhelming psychiatric conditions which impact mental acuity, cognition, with symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., the desire for the “happiness principle” is sometimes merely to have a day without the symptoms of one’s medical condition.

Filing for Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal workers is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, can be an intermediate goal, and not an “ultimate” one.  For, in the end, if the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the loss of job satisfaction will be exponentially heightened either by the agency (through disciplinary procedures or termination of employment) or by one’s self (through frustration of purpose, increasing recognition and acknowledgment of one’s inability and incapacity, etc.).

In the end, the “happiness goal” is often defined by who controls what; and in taking the first steps toward preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, one asserts control over one’s present and future endeavors, and fights against the winds of time and mortality by controlling the undetermined destiny of a period of life yet to be deciphered in this complex world of mysteries wrapped in a chasm of conundrums.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Medical Retirement: Recalibrating the Reset Button

Preparing for life’s vicissitudes can be a daunting task.  Some never acquire the skills necessary to accommodate the winds of misdirection; others stumble through like a drunken sailor walking down fate’s gangplank, seeing the end but failing to adapt in time to prevent the calamities forewarned.  The very few somehow manage to engage the transformation, like a chameleon who responds to the surrounding environment by becoming invisible within the subtleties of life.

Change is the inevitable essence of life.  From alterations occurring from growth — from birth to adulthood, then to aging decay — to the physical universe of constant transformation; the world is represented by the various metaphors and symbols of permanence and change, of Yin and Yang, of Parmenides and Heraclitus, and in modernity, of the recalibration of the reset button.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find themselves with a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to continue in his or her present career, it is precisely that fear of change which precludes one from engaging in the necessary steps required to adapt, transform, and reset.

If insanity is defined as performing acts of failure repetitively, then the world must by definition be insane, and the Federal or Postal employee who continues down the same path despite all of the headwinds and warning signs present, should be placed in a straightjacket and confined to the halls of antiseptic whitewashed rooms.  Change is always difficult; but it is a necessity of life.  It is the life spring of a vibrant community; and its opposite is a parallel universe of decay, decrepit degradation, and destructive degeneration of death and desperate deterioration (and so, why is the alliteration of negation so rampant with the letter “d”?).

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for the Federal or Postal employee under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a step in a changing direction.  It takes the Federal and Postal employee out from the insanity of repetitive failure by allowing for a recalibration of the requisite reset button, and to potentially engage in a future which leaves behind a past replete with hostility and increasingly adverse attitudes.  It secures a base annuity such that one can survive; then, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to work in the private sector and make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.

As change is necessary to the survival of any organism, so stagnation is the result of resistance to transformation; and like the putrid waters of stillness filled with microorganisms waiting to destroy the abdominal walls of the unsuspecting traveler, the Federal or Postal employee who refuses to recalibrate the reset button is merely waiting for the day when the external order will force the change involuntarily, as opposed to he who chooses the day, time and moment of an inevitable fate which awaits us all.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Systemic Problems

When the residual impact of a crisis goes well beyond cosmetic concerns, the usual and customary description is that the “cause” involves “systemic” problems.  Such foundational fissures can occur both in organizations, as well as in individuals.

For Federal agencies, it may require a need for new leadership, or a restructuring of internal chains of command, and sometimes even outside intervention.  More often than not, a call for greater funding is demanded; then, once approved, we walk away as if the problem has been fixed, until the next crisis calls our attention.

For individuals, the systemic problems can involve a medical condition.  Symptoms are normally mere warning signs portending of greater dangers; like organizational eruptions of systemic concerns, individual crisis of systemic proportions often result from neglect, procrastination and deliberate avoidance of the issue.  But medical problems have a tendency and nature of not going away; they are stubborn invaders, like the hordes of barbarians from epochs past, who keep whittling away at the weakest points of an individual’s immune system.  Then, when the medical condition progressively deteriorates until the spectrum of symptoms exceeds a threshold of toleration, suddenly, a crisis develops.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who has reached that point, where the symptoms are no longer superficial, but prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, then it is time to begin considering 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, time is of the essence, as the administrative process must meander its way through a complex system of bureaucratic morass, and the timeline is often of importance in securing the future of a Federal or Postal employee.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is an arduous, lengthy task, and one which is a tool against a systemic problem; for, in the end, the best fight against an invading army is to utilize the elements of the marauders themselves, and this is true in medicine, in law, as well as in individual and organizational restructuring.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Application: Eligibility & Entitlement

The two concepts are often confused; for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Service worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the frustration is often voiced precisely because of the misapplication of the legal import between them.

Eligibility is determined by the contingencies which must be met, the thresholds of prerequisites which must be satisfied:  The Federal or Postal employee must be either under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; the minimum number of years of Federal Service must have been accrued; the Statute of Limitations must not have already passed; further, then, some age limitations need to be considered as a practical matter, to allow for pragmatic justification to even apply.

Entitlement is based upon proof.  As the law is set by statutory authority, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requires that the Federal or Postal applicant meet certain preset standards of acceptable proof, based upon that which constitutes sufficiency of satisfaction.

The legal standard is based upon a “preponderance of the evidence“; the evidentiary requirement provides that a tripartite nexus be established between (A) the medical condition, (B) the Federal or Postal position which the Federal or Postal employee occupies, and (C) evidence showing that as a result of A, one or more of the essential elements of B cannot be satisfied.  Further, there is the “D” component, and that involves the issue of “reasonable accommodations” and whether the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can reassign the Federal or Postal employee to a similar position at the same pay or grade.

It is only upon the initial satisfaction of eligibility requirements that the Federal or Postal employee can then further investigate whether entitlement is feasible or not.  Thus, “entitlement” in this sense is not based upon meeting eligibility requirements; rather, satisfaction of eligibility prerequisites allows for entrance into the gateway of establishing entitlement.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire