Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Ordered lives

There is, first of all, chaos and disarray; and whether from a biblical worldview or the natural paradigm of a universe formed from a massive energy source that exploded with such force as to hurl a spinning residue of astronomical proportions into far galaxies that resulted in the starry heavens we witness today; it is from the opposite of a placid tranquility that we experience the ordered lives of everyday existence.

There are, of course, the extremes of the spectrum – of that person who is obsessive and compulsive about the “ordering” of one’s life, where every teacup and saucer must be placed in the cupboard within precise millimeters of one another, and no angle of a picture on a wall must be allowed to circumvent the geometric consistency with the right angles of the corners; or, by contrast, the slob who believes that pants, plants, underwear and empty pizza boxes belong in the same corner of the bedroom as expensive china and puppies who snuggle in bathroom showers.

Somewhere in between the two extremes upon the spectrum of life, exists the ordinary person of ordinary means, who wakes up each ordinary morning to go about in ordinary ways; all within the constraints of ordered lives.  All, or most of us, like, enjoy and look forward to some semblance of order in our lives.

Chaos is good for an exciting moment; monotony of discourse for the rest of the day requires that sanity mandates a certain sequence of events, and that is why dystopian stories of a universe in disarray after a nuclear war or some other disastrous consequence of political missteps left in the hands of incompetent world leaders allows for small-budget films to be successful in scaring the hell out of us all.

Divorce, death, illness and tragedies disrupt the otherwise sought-after ordering of lives left peaceful; medical conditions tend to do that, don’t they?  They interrupt the tranquility that we so seek with quiet resolve; and then the medical condition becomes a chronic state of existence, and more than just a nuisance, they interrupt our plans, our hopes, and the essence of our ordered lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. 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 the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the interruption that ensues from the disruption of a medical condition, resulting in the breaking up of one’s ordered life, often comes to a point where consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

It is an employment benefit that is “there” for Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  And, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may come at a time when the previous state of ordered lives is sought after again, if only to reach a destination where chaos is no longer the new norm of everyday existence.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Expectations beyond the norm

We begin the nascent origins of remembrances expecting greater things beyond the normal levels of reality; that is what we now define as a “good childhood” as opposed to a lesser, or even an ordinary one to bear and be burdened with.

We are admonished that we can “be anything”; that potentiality and possibility (is there even any conceptual clarity of distinction between the two, anymore, and what of the third in its trifecta – of probability?) are limitless; that, like child prodigies of yore, each of us are “special” (query:  if everyone is special, does the concept itself lose all meaning, as in the philosophical conundrum of nihilism, where if you believe in nothingness, where can there be a “something” to lend it any meaning at all?) and defined by the uniqueness of our own boundaries superimposed by society, artificial constructs and unattainable hopes and dreams.

With that baggage of certainty to failure, we begin to travel life’s inestimable travails and untried valleys of difficult terrain.  Yet, we call that a good childhood.  By contrast, we ascribe bad parenting to the cynic who treads upon the fragile soul of a child:  “Chances are, you’ll never amount to anything”; “You’re never going to be able to do that, so why try?” (said to a 16 year old who has stunted growth trying to dunk a ball); “Don’t waste your time; you don’t have the talent for it, anyway.”  These comprise, constitute and reflect emotional harm and verbal abuse, by the standards of today.

We are never supposed to discourage, but always to encourage; never to allow for the reality of an impervious universe to influence, but rather, to always create a fantasy of potentiality and possibility of hope and perspective of the impossible.  But what of encounters with strangers and angels disguised as visiting anonymity?  Do we say to the child, “You are special; all people are special; as special people all, welcome all”?  No, instead we preface warnings, admonish with goblins and ogres beneath every bed, and scare the hell out of kids – which, by the way, is also considered good parenting.  And thus do we become adults, weighed down by the baggage of heavy biases towards the realities of life.

Most of us realize, at some point, that being “special” merely means that we are ordinary human beings living quite monotonous lives, and that only celebrities, politicians and the once-in-a-lifetime Bob Dylan truly fit into that category of uniqueness.  Happiness is the expectation dashed, evaluated, then accepted; and that it’s all okay.  Then, when a medical condition hits, it makes it all the more so; for, as children, we also expected that our mortality was nothing more than something well into an obscure future, always touching others but never ourselves.

For Federal employees and U.S. 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 position, the reality of our own vulnerabilities and fragile nature begins to set in.  Expectations beyond the norm have to be compromised.  Dreams once hoped for and hopes once dreamed of require some modifications.  But that’s all okay; health is the venue for hope, and without it, there isn’t even a whiff of dreaming for tomorrow’s moment.

Prepare well the Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is okay to be ordinary, and to recognize the fragility of human life and health, for it is the latter that needs to be protected in order to dream of a future where a summer’s day dozing on a picnic blanket will fulfill all expectations beyond the norm.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The divided relic

If an ancient relic of sacred origins must always travel with wherever a community, a tribe or an individual must go, can its essence remain intact despite being divided into multiple forms?  Can a divided populace split into two its sacredly-held relic, whether for theological reasons of disputatious incommensurability, or simply resulting from an old-fashioned “I don’t like them anymore” conflict that has erupted into an irreconcilable fissure?  In other words, is the sacredness of the relic contained in the essence of the thing itself, or by the bonding influence of the people who view that item of antiquity with awe and frightful respect?

Whether a sacred scroll or a Bible (which, obviously, would be difficult to divide), or a crystalline object, an ancient arrow holding magical powers or an assortment of divinations empowered by a rich history of spiritual conquests — whether such relics can retain their efficacy for a community divided, might depend upon the strength of the belief itself, and the foundational reliance upon such antiquities of thought-processes.

That is, perhaps, one of the many problems of modernity; we no longer have the capacity to believe in the power of ancient relics, divided or not; and, instead, we put our faith into the predetermination of a Darwinian paradigm, where the gene pools of those who have survived merely contribute to the greater sense of invincibility within a genetically maladjusted populace of pure materialism.  Thus do we abandon all sacred rites of passage and living – of entrance into adulthood, marriage, the sacrament of forgiveness and the commodity of grace.

The divided relic does not lose its powers because of the division into pieces greedily and hastily fractured by human conflict, but because the very act itself merely reflects a broken heart no longer tethered by faith, belief, community or commonality of belonging.  No – it is because we have accepted fractured lives as a justification for dividing sacred relics, that the very sanctity of the relic itself has been diminished and sullied.

Indeed, that is what happens in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, with people and the workplace itself.  No, there are no sacred relics to be divided in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, but there can be – should be – a sense of commonality of purpose and an empathy undivided such that the work and missions of the entity itself can be carried forth with a purposeful intent.  The strength of that sense of cohesion, however, is often reflected when a Federal or Postal employee is beset with a medical condition, and must file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

If the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility responds with supportive empathy (rarely seen), then that sense of an undivided and worthy relic remains like a residue of bright hope; but, more often than not, it is the opposite effect that is seen – of a divided relic reflected in the pool of harshness and indifference revealed by human depravity, by harassment, intimidation and scorn within the community of Federal and Postal workers.

Such a state of affairs when responding to a Federal or Postal worker who is in the process of going through the administrative trials of filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is reflective of this state of modernity, where the divided relic can so heartlessly be accomplished without concern for the essence of one’s soul.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Understanding

The Master asks one of his two dogs, “Where is ___?”  If the second pet wags her tail, looks quizzically at the owner, then proceeds to go to the far end of the next room and locates the wandering misfit and barks to you that she has found him – do we disbelieve?  If the same question were to be asked of one’s child in reference to a sibling, and the identical result occurs where the first child goes into another room or runs up into the attic and locates the lost soul, would there be any doubt?

Same circumstances, identical behaviors, concurrent results; merely different mammals within the genus of species, and yet we disbelieve because of arrogance and pride of self-worth.  Why is it that we refuse to attribute understanding to non-human entities despite clear evidence to the contrary?  Is language defined by grammatical rules of construction retrospectively applied, and does that constitute a basis for refusing to allow admittance into the colony of intelligence “clubs” of exclusivity we have created based upon rules of comprehension we have paradoxically constructed?

The rules constituting grammatical comprehension and technical application came subsequent to language itself; for, no one believes that Man sat down eons ago and decided to set down rules of linguistic conveyance, upon which the growing population then began to follow.  No, conformity to such constricting paradigms were initiated, instituted and concretized when society recognized that there were differences in parochial intonations, and those who had nothing better to do decided with arrogance and ivory-tower nose-lifting that correct idioms of speech needed to be recognized, applied and adhered to.

And what of animals?  So long as the working paradigm consisted of our self-image as just below the angels and above the burdens of beasts, we refused their eligibility to the elite of elasticity in language and comprehension.  Yet, despite all of the convoluted attempts at avoiding acknowledgment and recognition that “to understand” is nothing more than the behavior following an utterance of speech, the pragmatism of daily life refutes our own methodology of exclusionary conduct.  For, in the end, it is merely the impact of speech upon behavior in a given society, whether that indicates a “human” world or a “dog” universe.

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, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of “understanding” before “acting” often becomes a vicious circularity resulting in non-action:  The complexity of the legal tangles in Federal Disability Retirement law tends to make the Federal or Postal employee pause; failure to act in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application serves to exacerbate one’s condition, which leads to greater stress and turmoil; non-action results.

The key is to recognize that “understanding” – not even “complete understanding” – is necessary.  Rather, it is often the subsequent initiation of acting following a verbal commitment that is the only real test of understanding.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire