Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The mouse in the night

They are heard and often unseen; a scratch somewhere from the far corner of the room; a blur along the space between the couch and the wall; and the mouse in the night scurries along, making some amount of noise more greatly enhanced when the quietude of a late evening descends upon us.

Should we put out a mouse trap?  The problem with that is that the dogs might come down in the middle of the night, smell the cheese and get his nose trapped and yowl with pain, waking everyone up.  Or, hope that the mouse in the night minds his own business, scurries about without anyone noticing, and we can all pretend “as if” he doesn’t live in the same house as you do.

Like spiders, centipedes and other crawlers, the mouse in the night is there, has been, and perhaps always will be; we only try and rid the home of it when we hear it and it becomes bothersome.  That’s how we often treat medical conditions, kids who are nuisances, and neighbors who are irritants – we attend to them only when they reach beyond a level of tolerance or a spectrum of acceptability, and then it is often too late.

When does “not yet” and “too late”, or almost too late meet on the spectrum of provocation?  Does the mouse in the night become the provocateur merely because we hear him and imagine the slow but steady destruction he imposes, or the danger of the wife or daughter in the house who may scream suddenly (or is that being sexist to think that only the female gender will react in such a way)?

The mouse in the night is very much like a medical condition, where it comes and slowly steals one’s energy, eats away at the energy one has stored, and scurries along the contours of the walls in a blur of running confusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to now consider preparing 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, the sudden realization that there is a connection between the medical condition and the slow deterioration of one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job can be likened to the mouse in the night – you always knew it was there and that it was slowly eating away, if not by the noise, then by ignoring its presence; you just kept putting it out of your mind because of those “other reasons”, like the trouble it takes, the fact of facing up to it, the avoidance, and maybe even the hope that it would just go away.

But neither mice nor medical conditions go away, but remain as problems that keep gnawing until the hole in the wall becomes too large to ignore.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Limbo Eruptions

Of certain politicians, it has become commonplace to expect such occurrences, but with a slight change in consonants in the first word.  As it stands, however, the word as left alone is a state of another kind; not of relational states of erotic ecstasy, but rather a border on the region of heaven or hell, where an intermediate state of oblivion exists in a transitional state of suspension.  To that extent, perhaps the two concepts are similar.

Such eruptions of inactivity and suspension are intangible and untenable; human beings, by nature, are vibrant beings constantly “on the move“, and wanting always to advance, progress and contribute to the aggregation of societal cauldron of accomplishments.  That is why, when a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker finds him or herself in a state of rancid and stale waters, where a medical condition paralyzes any progress and prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing the requisite and essential elements of one’s Federal position, it is tantamount to experiencing a limbo eruption.

How long it lasts; to what extent it freezes; and when it will end; these are questions which only the paramour of time would know; and the bed which is being made is the price of warmth or cold one must endure if the Federal or Postal employee insists upon staying in that relationship.  For, like the “other” such similar-sounding concept, the limbo eruption can become a permanent feature of one’s transitional state, unless one files for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Federal Disability Retirement is not only an option, but a benefit one can fight for, if one meets all of the eligibility criteria as revealed in the Federal Disability Retirement laws governing the state of affairs.

Filing it may seem easy; obtaining it is not so easily accomplished; securing it for one’s future can sometimes be daunting.  But like the illicit eruptions which are sure to come for unnamed but otherwise well-known individuals, the limbo eruption of the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal positional duties, must surely be overcome, lest the bed made is suddenly discovered by the jealous spouse who suspects more than a mere hug in the middle of the night.


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


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Relative Importance of Minutiae

Triviality is in the eye of the beholder; though, there are some aspects of certain information which almost all can agree upon to be insignificant; but in this universe of informational overload, it is often the small, precise and extended bits which make up for the connecting bridges of relevance.

For the culinary sophisticate, the fact that an octopus has four pairs of arms makes for a greater feast, and if one were to pause and consider that the loss of an arm in its flight from a fisherman’s net might be insignificant from a human standpoint, the capacity to survive in the treachery of the undersea world may depend upon that lost tentacle.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 overarching focus is usually upon the grand scheme of things — of the relative importance of the key elements which make up for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

In the rush to quickly put together a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is easy to fill out and answer the Standard Forms, especially SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, attach a compendium of medical reports and records, and hope for the best.  But it is often just as much the attention to detail — the minutiae of the little things, the world of microcosmic bits and floating information in the body of office notes and progress reports, like insignificant algae which forms as a film upon the pond’s surface, which results in the basis of a denial by a scrutinizing OPM Specialist.

Like the tentacle found in the fisherman’s net, it is only the keen eye which can tell which of the four pairs of arms it came from, except of course for the octopus, who well knows from the sensation of pain from which it derives.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire