OPM Disability Retirement: Those intersecting connections

We hear all the time about the shrinking world, the smaller universe, the global village – all metaphors to help and understand, to comprehend and be able to withstand within the insanity of a world that continues to intrude, intersect and impose itself upon every corner and aspect of lives lived and daily interrupted.  It is a way for people to cope with the fact that we can no longer avoid the reality of those intersecting connections from worlds, cultures and universes that make up the daily reality of our walking lives.

The newspapers globalize each and every issue; the television and cable news outlets care little for local news unless it, too has some national consequences; and so we live with the anomaly that the only time you might hear about your own hometown is if some horrific event occurs that other people in other towns might care about.  And, even when a story is reported about an event that occurs just around the corner from the news station, headquarters or whatever manner of identifying the central place where all of the equipment, studios and personnel gather to emit their airwaves of newsfeeds, they act as if it is occurring in some distant county or country, with perhaps a bit of weeping as an afterthought with a statement like, “And it makes it all the worse because it happened just in our own neighborhood!”

The world is indeed one comprised of intersecting connections, and we voluntarily allow for those connections to make our own perspectives molded into “theirs” by inviting various cable channels into our living rooms.  Do we really have a choice?  Can we just remain ignorant and ignore the reality of the global economy, the extended village and the universal concerns of the day?  How do we live with the complexities of intersecting connections, when we can barely deal with the local problems that beset us within the cocoon of our own lives?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the daily ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the microcosm of intersecting connections may well be magnified to a level where it competes with what is occurring on a more global scale.

Suddenly, the Federal Agency is moving to put pressure on you – like those competing foreign companies you hear about in the world economy.  Or, the Supervisor is no longer being cordial – somewhat like the world leader who doesn’t return calls to the President.  Coworkers no longer treat you as an equal – like nations that suddenly go rogue without explanation.  You have to file a complaint – like submitting to a U.N. vote for sanctions.

We have all been groomed and prepared to think in terms of intersecting connections, but for the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition such that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes a necessity, it all comes back to a more local and personal connection: one’s health, and the need to focus upon one’s personal life.

No matter how global the world has become, never forget that it is the personal life of close connections that really only matters in the end.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The character of each day

What does the day bring?  Do we awaken, put our finger up to the winds of time or the breeze of the day and ask that question before getting up, dressing and opening the door into a world beyond that may or may not fulfill the promises we believe to be granted?  Or, regardless of the indications, the barometers that forewarn or the compass that fails to direct, do we nevertheless move forward and tackle the challenges faced or otherwise deliberately and willfully avoid?

Does it make a difference, in an “objective” sense, whether we consult the horoscope or check the biodynamic calendar to see if it is an “unfortunate” day to engage in this or that activity; or to stay away from groups of people identified by certain signs or symptoms, revealed or otherwise concealed?

What determines the character of each day – the world at large, the elements within, of the person who steps out into the world?  Or, like the old puzzle that even the Sphinx could not answer, is it by genetic dominance, predetermination and the innate structure of our DNA, or the environment that one is brought up in that forms and conforms the individual personality, content and essence of an individual?

It is always interesting to observe the ritualistic tendencies of each individual that one engages in before battling the turmoil of the day’s challenges; whether one exercises before or after; does eating a meal energize or bloat; are there superstitions embraced before the car door is opened and shut and the engine of time begins the day; these and more determine the character, for many, of each day.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who must by necessity battle with the medical condition unasked for, unsolicited and without regard to a choice of superstitions allowed, the character of each day has already been somewhat determined.  The only question remaining is, can you endure the harassment from the job, the lack of respect and the constant undermining of accommodations requested by forging forward despite the lack of character in others already shown each day, or is it time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset?

Sometimes, the character of the each day is determined not so much by the content of one’s own inner strength, but by the lack thereof in others, and that is something that you cannot do anything about except to “move on” and leave behind the Federal agency or the Postal facility that fails to show any character at all, each day or any day.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Service: The cultural compass

The aggregate of knowledge as amassed by any given society does not constitute a unique culture, identifiable as distinct from all others; otherwise, as general knowledge is disseminated throughout and across national and international zones of distinguishing features, all cultures would remain the same.  Culture precedes knowledge, and is the driving force which specifies the direction of it.  The relevance; the choice between what is accepted and subsumed; the normative constraints and demarcations which preserve the very distinctiveness of any given culture; these are what focuses the idiosyncrasies of the preserve.

One may query, as in the question, Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  But that is a nonsensical approach to any such issue; for, the answer is that, in the prefatory phase of cultural origination, when language and analysis did not necessitate a reflection upon the loss of either culture or knowledge, there was a symbiotic relationship where each fed into the other and enhanced in a self-reflective manner; it is only in this time of modernity, when an evaluation of the loss and destruction of culture is occurring, that such a question is even posited.

An addendum observation to be made, of course, is that information does not constitute knowledge, and thus cannot define the distinctiveness of a culture.  All cultures retain and accumulate information; some cultures have been able to preserve distinctive knowledge; the ones which rely merely upon the aggregate of the former are fast becoming extinct and subsumed by the juggernaut of the Internet, where lines of distinguishable features become lost in the widening chasm of the vacuum void; it is only the remaining enclaves that recognize the importance of the latter which will survive in this Brave New World of Huxley’s predictable outcome.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, understand full well the uniqueness of their own “culture”; for, the bureaucracy of service, in an industry which looks after the protection of the country, providing for administrative, regulatory and social services throughout the nation; of the receipt and delivery of letters, parcels and packages throughout the country and beyond; it is, in the end, a unique subculture within the greater society of the country.

And it retains and applies a distinctive set of knowledge, disconnected in many ways from the rest of society, and thus comprises a definitive “culture”.  But even such a subculture can lose its “cultural compass”, and this can be seen when a fellow worker, whether a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition leads to the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

That is when the “ugliness” of a culture uniquely identified can come to the fore, and reveal its inner nature of wickedness.  When fellow support fails to empathize; when coworkers turn on each other; when supervisors begin to harass and demean; such behavior tends to denigrate the entirety of a cultural compass which has lost its way, and preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted ultimately to OPM, is a way not of preserving the cultural compass left behind, but recognizing that the direction pointed had gone awry, and corrective action necessitated a reorientation of leaving behind the twilight of past darkness, and into a dawn of greater opportunities.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement Lawyer: The Complexity of Unpredictability

Some view human behavioral unpredictability as a declaration of the underlying complexity; others would have it that, far from any such convoluted aspiration towards mystery and intricacy, a yawn and ensuing boredom more likely represents the determinism and simplicity of humans.

Which represents the true picture?  Perhaps youth and a naive lack of experience in encountering the universe of everyday conflict is what we discover in the spectrum of opinions; and cynicism abounds upon greater enmeshment and entanglement with the human condition.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the question often arises as to whom, when and the timing of divulging the intent to file.  As the saying goes, discretion is the greater part of valor; unless there is a compelling reason to do so, limiting the information where relevant; restricting the venue of information to the extent possible; and keeping mum until and unless necessary, should be the guiding principle.

Why?  Because, first and foremost, medical information (which is obviously the primary foundational basis of a Federal disability retirement application) is sensitive in nature, confidential in scope, and entails vast privacy concerns for all.  Further, one never knows how an agency and its representatives may react (thus the charge that human beings are complex in nature), but the predictability of big-mouths and lack of discretion (alas, the corollary charge of simplicity of humans) should restrain and constrain any urge to divulge earlier than necessary.

“Necessary” is the key word, and that applies to people, timing and context of dissemination of such confidential information.

For the Federal and Postal employee contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the general rule, always, should be to believe in both contradictory assertions:  Because human behavior is complex and unpredictable, be discreet in revealing information; and because human behavior is simplistic and unimaginative, similarly be discreet and restrained in providing sensitive information.

As one side of a coin is worth just as much as the other, it is best to feel the nature of two faces in a world replete with two-faces.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Medical Retirement System: Smiley, Ace of Hides

Similarity of consonant alliteration can evoke and prompt collateral thoughts and memories; likewise, phrases which sound somewhat familiar, yet distinctively remain apart.

Historically, spies were the masters of subterfuge, of appearing as that which they are not.  Then, of course, there is the complexity of the “double agent”, where the appearance is twofold in concealment:  acting with apparent fealty to one source, pretending to be diabolically loyal to a second, when in fact reverting back to the first; and the potential play upon an infinite multiplication of conundrums involving questionable ties of patriotism.  Smiley was the ace of them all, as the fictional character of unperturbed and unflappable creation by John le Carre.

In real life, as in the world of imagination, it is indeed the facial characteristic of the smile which hides; and it is that much more pronounced with the addition of the electronic smiley face that is thoughtlessly pasted whenever deemed appropriate.  Because the smile covers all defects, hides much reality, and conceals deportments of denigrated despair, it remains the choice of frozen acceptance.

People with medical conditions often attempt to smile more than usual, if only to hide the reality of the pain and despair of life.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents them from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the veil of a smile is often what the agency expects, and nothing more.

Agencies rarely show a fealty towards an employee who no longer can perform as days of yore; and help, guidance or assistance by a Human Resource Office should be viewed with suspicion and pause, leaving aside the question of whether actions are taken for the best interests of the Federal or Postal employee, or for the benefit of the agency.

Smiles hide realities; they can mask pain, and also present a picture of friendliness when in fact the knife has already been readied for the backside of an unsuspecting victim.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FER, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is something which should be considered by any Federal or Postal employee who is experiencing the two-faced subterfuge of an agency which purports to support, but in fact has shown signs of a hostile working environment.

Smiles are nice, and can sometimes be genuine signs of a person’s demeanor; but, more often, they hide the true deportment of intent; and while George Smiley could alter the character of the geopolitical sphere of power shifts and the passing of state secrets, it is the state of the ordinary Federal and Postal employee that is most impacted by actions of agencies which show no loyalties.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire