Disability Retirement from OPM: All problems suspended

We all seek those moments, don’t we?  A period of respite, that time of suspended ecstasy where all of life’s problems are suspended, if only for a temporary span in order to regain our equilibrium, retake the focus lost and remake the moments wasted.  Isn’t that why people become obsessed with silly arguments on the Internet, in Facebook confrontations and twitter feeds, because it provides for a temporary assertion of power, the sense of winning, of defeating and devastating another, if only for a brief moment in this timeless continuum of problems to be encountered, embraced and finally solved?

In a perfect universe, all problems suspended would be tantamount to a conceived heaven where one need not worry about the daily problems of living a life – the human condition – that confronts everyone all the world over.

All problems suspended – every financial difficulty, relational complexities, consequences intended or otherwise resulting from neglect, negligence or simply thoughtless actions; for all and every one of them to be relegated to a heavenly sequestration like purgatory without judgment.  But that life could be discovered within such a state of joyous reprieve; we would all be dancing and praying to the gods that gave us such a present.

In reality, that is what going to the movies for a couple of hours of distraction, playing a video game, going out with friends, or spending a weekend reading and taking the dogs out for a long walk – these are activities engaged in where all problems become suspended, if only for a brief stint of relief from the daily struggles we all have to confront and “deal” with.

Unfortunately, there is one problem that can almost never be suspended – a medical condition.  The medical condition pervades and remains no matter how hard we try; and though we may be successful in “forgetting” for a brief moment, the problem is never suspended, only delayed in “remembering”.  For people who are in chronic pain, one cannot even forget for a brief moment.  Instead, whether actively in thought or lulled through a sleepless night, the medical condition is always there, never suspended.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition presents an even greater set of problems – of not being able to be accommodated and beginning to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties – it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Delaying does not suspend the problem, but may only add to it; neglecting will not solve the problem, and may only magnify it; and while temporarily “forgetting” by engaging in another activity may distract from it, the brief nature of such thoughtlessness will only roar back with a greater sense of urgency, especially when dealing with the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is the agency that makes a determination on all Federal Disability Retirement applications.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The minor incident

Does history alter significance of incidents as time heals or otherwise events are forgotten?  Does the perspective of the one directly (or even indirectly) impacted make a difference upon the writing of history, or is it as some cynics have countered – that history is the written narrative of the victors, and everyone else is merely annotated as mere footnotes, if at all?

As the Great War became overshadowed by World War II, or as some historians argued that it was merely a singular war with a brief interlude between; will other wars that follow, as memories fade and the dying veterans no longer appear at parades and salute the tombs of those fallen, overshadow the epic battles fought, the bravery shown and the comrades buried beneath silent crosses of lonely nights?

The private lives that each of us live, and the minor incident that looms large within the encampments of our own minds; the designation of “minor” depends upon a perspective, does it not?

Reading history is an interesting endeavor, if only because it expands by bringing in a third-person perspective of events beyond, issues not thought of, and incidents that never took center stage.  The authors, now dead, of second and third-tier fame, who may have had a book published here or there but are now forgotten upon dusty bookshelves that librarians never notice; and most of us are merely minor incidents in the greater traffic of life’s misgivings.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, perspectives matter.  A “minor incident” at work can become a major issue – and the medical condition one suffers from, or how the agency views the interaction between the minor incident and the natural consequences of working with a medical condition – and one’s viewpoint in contradistinction to the perspective of the agency can be important.

Whatever the issues that may come about or arise during the process, this much is clear: The Federal agency or the Postal Service has one “viewpoint” about your medical condition, and you have another.  The difference is, you have to suffer the medical condition, while the agency sits idly by and scoffs at the major event as if it is a minor incident.  That may mean that it is time to file 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.

Let the determination about whether a specific incident is minor or major be left up to the historian of tomorrow; what you, as a Federal or Postal employee must do, is to contend with the issues of today, and especially the medical condition from which you suffer, and which is far from being a minor incident.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Balance and Order in a Lost World

Once achieved, death destroys; it is the anomaly of life, that the linear progression leads toward its own terminus, and by slow and incremental degeneration, its own vivacity is defined by a sense of self-immolation.  The realization of attainment almost always occurs upon surpassing the apex of an ordering of one’s life, and so the inevitable decline necessarily diminishes any joy derived from self-reflection of having achieved that balance and order for which we strive.

We can pursue a lifetime of studying Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and the goal to achieve eudaemonia by living a life of virtue in accordance with reason, and thus comply with the essence of who we are, what we define ourselves as, and thereby fulfilling the conceptual construct of our own inventions.  Or, we can “chuck it all” and attribute absurdity to the universe, genetic predisposition as the defining essence of our being, and justify the arbitrary course of our lives by deconstructing the classical ordering of our civilization’s teleology.

Few of us consider ourselves to be the master of our own destiny; and fewer still, of much influence in the steerage of our direction or course.  We tend to believe in the magic of, “If only…” while simultaneously ignoring our freedom from society’s constraints and liberty’s folly.  And when tragedy befalls, we blame the collective conspiracies of the gods who view us as mere playthings, fodder for unenlightened determinism no more complex than a belief in superstitions once thought lost in the antiquity of timeless reservoirs of forgotten bookshelves.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must suddenly end his or her career because of a medical condition, because the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal worker to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position description, the loss of balance and order is not just a hypothetical paradigm, but a reality enforced by circumstances beyond one’s control.

Indeed, the “world” within which such balance and order is lost, is not attributable to some greater concept of geopolitical significance, but one which touches directly upon the ephemeral plight of the here and now.  The striving for balance and the need for order; these are fundamental constructs required to maintain sanity and joy; and when the imbalance of life combined with the disorientation tethered by an unexpected medical condition intersects upon the rhythm of daily living, the shaking up of an otherwise tranquil life can appear to be devastating.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the necessary step in order to maintain that balance and order forever sought, and now interrupted by the gods of chance; and while the penultimate destiny of life’s striving may now appear to have lost its rationality for direction and purpose, it is always in the striving that one finds a way, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is often a means to a further end, if only to again regain a semblance of that balance and order once gained, and now temporarily lost, in a world already lost but for the insular privacy of one’s own happiness.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Our civilization of the spectacle

The concept is borrowed from the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa (there are two additional names he formally possesses, “Pedro” and “Jorge”, as in, “Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa”, which likely encompasses family traditions of heritage and linear identification of relations, but it is sufficient to identify this momentary act of plagiarism negated by referring to the common and known reference), and refers to the widespread acceleration across all societies in the public display of what we once considered tasteless and base.

The concept itself, of course, is further “borrowed” or likely evolved from a work entitled, “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord, which posited a critical Marxist theory about the evolution of Society where the greed in Capitalist societies in the hunt for accumulation of possessions naturally leads to the degradation of human dignity.  One gives away one’s age and antiquarian predilections in relating memories of childhood, when parents used to say to their children, “Johnny, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”

Nowadays, such admonitions would fail to be understood; for, it is the wish and dream of every parent to see that the very apex and aperture of opportunity remain opened to one’s offspring — to become the next spectacular spectacle in this universe of appearance, show and public display.  Have we come to a point where all conventions have been nullified?  Where discretion is no longer the mark of good taste, and humility is equated with failure and false pride?

It was once thought that when history evolved such that the Kardashians rule the levers of the universe, we would know then that human degradation had reached its lowest common denominator.  But, somehow, the shovel seems to be able to dig a little deeper, and find a lower space in which to crawl into.  For the common man (and woman, as one can no longer presume equality unless it is explicitly stated), revelations of human maltreatment are nothing new.

Look at Federal workers and U.S. Postal employees across the board, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates an “accommodation” in the workplace.  It is rare, indeed, for the Federal or Postal worker who requests an accommodation, that consequences are not imposed, results are not negated, and reputations are not soiled.  Medical conditions should, by definition, be a basis for empathy and special accommodations; but in this society and civilization of the spectacle, it merely represents another venue where the weak are taken advantage of, and the sickly are relegated to the corner stall, away from the window of display, and hidden in the crevices of windowless corners.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the treatment by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, of what it means to no longer be able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The choice is clear, and the alternatives defined:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, is the best and brightest hope for the future of an injured or debilitated Federal or Postal worker.

For, in the end, both the Society of the Spectacle and the Civilization of the Spectacle are one and the same; whether by evolutionary inevitability or description of the state of modernity, those who make a spectacle of one’s self, must pay the price of being a target for another who desires that high point of calamity, where only the strongest survive.  Darwin was right, after all; we just didn’t realize that he was describing both the human being as well as the lowest form of our animalistic essence.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Goldilocks Principle

Most of us are familiar with the fairytale; but in modernity, the principle extrapolated has been extended thus: the natural pendulum of occurrences must fall within a certain set of margins, as opposed to reaching the outer limits of extremes.  And, indeed, most things settle into a comfortable compromise of corollary constancy; it is precisely because of the anomaly of extremes that we take special note of the exceptions which develop and manifest.  And that is always the continuing hope of most individuals — for a reaching of compromise, and static settling into a middle ground, etc.

But for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition begins to impact one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, the Goldilocks Principle will often fail to apply.  Increasing pressure is brought to bear (no pun intended) upon the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who shows signs of vulnerability; perhaps an initial verbal warning, then a written admonishment; then, the placement of a PIP within the constant environment of hostility; restrictions upon leave usage, and finally, a proposal to remove.

Medical conditions require priority of purpose and attending to the medical condition itself.  Actions by agencies and the U.S. Postal Service often serve to exacerbate the medical condition.  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 an option which should be considered earlier, than later.

In the end, of course, the Goldilocks Principle is somewhat relatively determined by where those margins or goalposts are placed; for, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the realization that the middle ground of comfort is far from the fences of the extreme, depends upon where the Federal or Postal employee is standing, in relation to the medical condition, the harassment received, and the empathy shown (or more precisely stated, the lack thereof) by the agency and the U.S. Postal Service.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Calculus of Change

The title itself is somewhat of a tautology, for the branch of mathematics is defined as a study of change, divided into differential calculus and integral calculus; both, concerning the function and limits of mathematical constancy and potential quantum leaps for purposes of analyzing quantitative future applications.

We all assume some amount of change; if there is a differential to be considered, the rate of such change can be significant over an extended period of time, whereas the initial analysis can be a minimal irrelevancy.  It is the exponential rate of change applied over a lengthy period, which can produce change significant enough to enter into the calculus of future indicators.

Change is a recognized inevitability, though human expectation is often one of dependency upon the constancy of habituation and permanence.  We expect, when we open a door into a familiar room, for the interior decoration to have remained the same as the last time we entered; but who is to say that a spouse or family member did not, in the meantime, rearrange the furniture or put up new curtains?

Change has an inherent character of disquietude; it is the constancy of repetitive permanence which allows for solitary reflection and comfort.

Thus, 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 disruption posed by the change in one’s circumstances — of fiscal, professional, social, cognitive and physical (i.e., the mere act of going to work each day, etc.) — can be tremendous and traumatic.

In preparing and formulating one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, it is always a positive engagement of efforts to consider the calculus of change, and to not leave the alterations in one’s life in dismissive form as mere statistical irrelevance.

For, in the end, the biggest change of all has already occurred, in the form of an impacting medical condition which has prevented the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal sector; the rest is mere window dressing to the very essence of a changed life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The Misfit

The herd mentality must of necessity have a survivability factor; otherwise, there is little to explain the illogical repetition of the historical recurrence of human folly for behavioral anthropology.  In the modern era, being “different” is a sign of rebellion, and the cultural tidal wave of the Sixties in altering the normative landscape of music, art, religion and social customs, revealed the pinnacle of self-destructive behavior — until it became clear that being a misfit itself was merely the convention.

Behaving “normally” means that one does not make “waves”; in a highly bureaucratized society, the importance of non-innovation and complete compliance is regarded as sacrosanct.  Loud, boisterous behavior; conduct outside of the normative inflexibility of societal perspectives; that which is acceptable as quirkiness or eccentricities, as opposed to destructive explosions of tendencies bordering upon insanity; the invisible line between the misfit and clinical commitment to a psychiatric facility is a thin reed, indeed.

Often, however, it is uncontrollable circumstances which impose upon an individual the unwanted label of being an “outsider”.  Medical conditions often have a tendency to promote such a state.  It is like being labeled a plague-carrying contagion by the CDC; once whispered, the rumors begin to spread.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, being labeled a misfit becomes a “given”. Others begin to shy away from an association; some are told bluntly not to have contact with “that one”.

Loss of normative acceptance within any community or society is an important factor for success; somehow, despite all of the legal safeguards, EEO regulations and protective statutes applying to disabled individuals, the herd mentality of yore nevertheless prevails.  For Federal and Postal workers, the only pragmatic exit is to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Is it a retreat or an escape?  Not really; rather, just a means of looking out for one’s own best interests.  The medical condition itself should always be paramount in considering one’s life; attending to it properly means that one must have the time and energy to treat the underlying malady; and continuing in an employment atmosphere where acceptance is avoided, and empathy is rare, is also an unstated definition of engaging in self-flagellation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire