OPM Accepted Disabling Conditions: Suicidal Ideations

It is perhaps the final vestige of societal taboo; for, at what point the human animal realized that self-destruction became an option is open for debate.  In the Animal Kingdom, it is rare to find species openly seeking to end life; the struggle to survive and the Darwinian inherency for self-preservation and survival remains as vibrant as ever.

Being diagnosed with “suicidal ideation” is normally associated with psychiatric conditions of Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety, where the acceptable level of stress-tolerance exceeds the capacity to withstand.  Each individual is a unique creature; in this cookie-cutting mold of society where people get lost in the importance of position, fame, accolades and a false sense of admiration, it becomes commonplace to question one’s sense of worth and value.

Psychiatry has never been a perfect science; some even question the validity of its approach, as it has now become overwhelmingly a pharmacological event, with some semblance of therapeutic intervention thrown in as an afterthought.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service 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 even CSRS Offset, the existence of suicidal ideations (or otherwise simply known as “having suicidal thoughts”) is often lost in the compendium of diagnosed psychiatric conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where a significant event has intervened which has resulted in traumatic reverberations in one’s life; Anxiety (or more officially identified as Generalized Anxiety Disorder); Major Depression; Bipolar Disorder, with spectrum symptoms of manic phases and depressive states; as well as schizophrenia and paranoia.

For relevance to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the existence of suicidal ideations is often one more indicia of the seriousness of the diagnosed psychiatric conditions, but should never be determinative in whether one’s psychiatric condition is “serious enough” in order to be eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Indeed, there are many, many Federal and Postal employees who file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, who suffer from Major Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and other forms of psychiatric conditions, without ever suffering from suicidal ideations, and yet are fully qualified for, and become entitled to, Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Further, as Federal Disability Retirement is based upon the algorithm of showing the nexus between one’s medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the impeding aspect of suicidal ideations may be negligible.  Rather, from a medical standpoint, it is one more factor of concern and consternation within a long list of diagnoses and symptoms which cumulatively form the basis for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Problematic Loss of Confidence

Confidence is an ethereal character trait; in some ways, it is self-perpetuating, as success relies upon it, and feeds it, which in turn reinforces any lack thereof.  At once fleeting but full, the loss of it can be devastating.

For some, a mere look of doubt or suspicion from others can undermine the fullness of possession one may have had of it just a moment before; for others, whether lack of competence or never having had any reason for possession of it appears to matter not, and like self-esteem in the generation of modernity and “me”, a complete void of accomplishments seems not to overturn those who accumulate an abundance of it.  But weakness or negation from outside sources can be the final straw in undermining that sensitive sense of self, and a medical condition which attacks the body, mind and psyche of an individual can be devastating.

Thus, when the Federal or Postal employee who has confidently strode throughout a long and satisfying career, whose performance has raised eyebrows of accolades beyond mere efforts of competence, and where performance reviews have always included adjectives and superlatives searched out beyond mere templates previously applied with thoughtless automation, the introduction of a medical condition into the life of such a Federal or Postal employee can be like the Martian Chronicles revealing the strangeness of alien cultures clashing in a battle of titans heard beyond the roar of civilizations long lost and forgotten.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle with this, resist the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, precisely because the disbelief is overwhelming that, somehow, this loss of what was once taken for granted, could possibly be.  But as “possibility” includes the building of concrete structures in thin air, whereas “probability” involves the hard computation of one’s life and “reality-living” in a harsh and uncaring universe, so the Federal or Postal employee must take into account that past foundations of accomplishments may not uphold the confidence once shared and held by a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Confidence, indeed, is like the golden dust sprinkled sparingly by the fluttering angels of yesteryear; and today is a dawn of dying expectations, where the harsh realities of a medical condition must be faced with a freshness of purpose, reserved for that fight which may require one’s presence on a day in future pasts, unforseen and as of yet unfought.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Cost of Character

Being daily denigrated is an expected course of treatment for some; for those who perpetrate it, the sport of demeaning is often thoughtless, reactive, and toxic to the core, and reflects a fundamental void in one’s own life; and for the victim of such caustic characterization, the incremental pounding to one’s ego, self-esteem and capacity for abuse results in diminishment of the identify of worth by small slices of reduced stature.  Such attacks may be overt and direct, while others may be subtle, privately targeted, and intentionally out of the earshot of witnesses.  In both cases, the damage can be devastating.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must confront this type of daily abuse in the workplace, the avenues of outlet are complex and varied.  Complaining or filing lawsuits often results in the mere circling of the proverbial wagons around the perpetrators, and suddenly an invisible fence appears where the victim is the “outsider” and the caustic character the one needing protection.

For those Federal or Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, and who receive the brunt end of such ill treatment because of the medical disability which impacts one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the need to deal not only with the toxicity of a hostile work environment, but concurrently with the underlying medical conditions, makes for an admixture of overwhelming circumstances.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best and only course of action left.  For, to stay becomes an untenable option which impacts and further deteriorates one’s medical condition precisely because of the toxicity of the environment; to walk away and do nothing is an act of idiocy, given the years already invested in one’s career; and thus the alternative of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes the most enlightened of choices to be made:  It allows for the recuperative period away from a denigrating source of pain, while securing a foundational annuity for one’s financial security and future.

We often talk daftly about “character” and the need to “stick it out” when the “going gets tough”.  But the cost of character is the price paid by the Federal or Postal employee who must withstand the onslaught of a bureaucracy which is faceless and relentless, while at the same time dealing with the deteriorating health administered by a medical condition which will not just go away.  The cost of character means nothing if the essence of one’s worth is not protected, and filing for, and securing, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity is meant to do just that:  pay for the cost, and safeguard the character of worth.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The Environment

There is pervasive talk about the importance of containing toxic waste dumps, keeping our air and water clean; of limiting the dumping of animal feces into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.; and, indeed, there are agencies and departments created by State, Federal and Local governments devoted to enforcing laws designed to protect us and preserve the pristine condition of our “environment”.

But what of toxic environments of another sort?  What of the poison inserted through malicious intent?  Of the constant harassment and hostility used to intimidate, cower and attain submissive unraveling of defiance?  For those, there are designated courts, commissions and laws passed to protect, for purposes of prosecution and pursuit of money damages.  Of course, the results from either and both arenas of judicial relief are difficult to quantify; whether and to what extent pollutants were introduced into the environment, and by whom; or of what level of toxicity caused harm and damage to an individual; the qualitative measure of damages is always difficult to ascertain.

It is, ultimately, only from the personal perspective and experience that one can gauge the damaging results.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, there is often a parallel track of pursuing Federal Disability Retirement benefits and concurrently to go after the individuals or organization that discriminated because of the disability acknowledged and recognized.  For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts to secure some semblance of “justice” in the process, the goal of the law has been misdiagnosed:  Justice is not the stated teleological motivation of statutory relief; rather, it is a means to appease.

But at what cost?  To what end?  By whose measure?

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, sets a specific goal:  cut one’s losses and move on in one’s life.  By filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Federal and Postal employee is able to leave the toxic environment which may have even contributed to one’s medical condition or disability, or at the very least, exacerbated it; by fighting it, one must remain within the very environment which one is attempting to escape from.

Like Father Damien of Molokai who helped lepers live with dignity as a separate individual from without, but who later contracted the disease and died as “one of them” within, the Federal or Postal employee who files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may want to consider the consequences of the dual track of environmental toxicity before taking on a behemoth of mythical proportions, as opposed to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement in order to exit the poisoning atmosphere.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Dissipated Dream, Delayed

It is an enjoyment and pleasure of the highest order, and yet costs nothing; if remembered, the visual residue can be stored in the safety deposit boxes of one’s memory, “as if” it actually occurred; and retrieving the memories can be as vividly regurgitated in the virtual reality of its existence, as that of having actually been there.

Dreams, if remembered, can be as real as memories of experienced events.  No, they cannot be videotaped (at least, not yet); and the money exchanged, the actions engaged or the people we meet in the fantasy realm of our self-contained consciousness, do not translate well in the harsh reality of everyday life.  And then we open our eyes, and unless we deliberately try and remember the images so vividly splashing upon the walls of our eyelids just before the flutter of opening them, they dissipate into the ethereal universe of some mysterious universal consciousness.  But what of the other sense of a dream — that of youth’s future endeavor and plans of greatness?  Of the many places desirous of visiting, the encounter with a kindred spirit yet to be fulfilled, and the pleasures of momentary categories of accomplishments?

Medical conditions have a tendency to dissipate such dreams, to scatter them across the cold and harsh tundra of reality, and to stamp them into the frozen plains of time.  But a dissipated dream need not be destroyed; it may merely be delayed.  Federal Disability Retirement can allow for that eventuality.  What others deem to defecate, one need not accept as the final word.  No, it is not the monetary payment of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity which will burst forth with riches of dreams delayed; rather, it is the opportunity to attend to one’s medical conditions, such that the medical conditions may be somewhat resolved, the nightmare put behind, and linear progression of life’s plans restarted.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker, filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, should merely be a bump on the road.  While some Federal and Postal employees may consider the entire bureaucratic process of filing with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to be akin to a nightmare of sorts, it is the path out of one’s rut of dreamless nights.

Dare to dream; never believe that the dream dreamed is a dissipated dream; rather, dreams of one’s subconscious, just as the childhood one of unrealistic plans for the future, should merely be a delayed embracing of that which is larger than the smallness of our fears.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: An Expectation of Disaster

Most lives are lived with an expectation of unease; if things are going smoothly, we look with suspicion at what will come from around the corner; if calm and quietude prevails, we consider it merely a precursor to a major storm; and if good fortune comes our way, there is a leeriness as to the strings attached.

Perhaps distrust is based upon justifiable historical events; or, as news is merely the compilation of tragic events gathered into a compendium of daily interests, so our skewed perspective of the world merely reinforces what our childhoods entertained.  With a foundation of such natural tendencies to see the world with suspicion, when a medical condition impacts a person, the expectation of crisis is only exponentially magnified.

Suddenly, everyone becomes the enemy, and not just the few who are known to lack heart; and actions which were previously normative, becomes a basis for paranoia.  Chronic pain diminishes tolerance for human folly; depression merely enhances the despair when others engage in actions betraying empathy; and the disaster which was suspected to be just around the corner, closes in on us when pain medications fail to palliatively alleviate.

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 all of the essential elements of one’s job, the bifurcation between the personal and the professional, between play and work, often comes crumbling down upon us, and signs of potential trouble portend to indicate to us that it may be time to “move on”.  That impending sense of doom?  It may be upon us.  That calm before the storm?  The reality of what the agency is contemplating may prove you right. And the potential loss of good fortune?

Agencies are not known for their patience.  For the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer one of the “good old boys” of the network of productive employees because of a medical condition which is beginning to impact one’s ability to maintain a daily work schedule, or perform at the level prior to the onset of a medical condition, consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Time is often of the essence, and while most expectations of impending disasters are unfounded, the behavior of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service can never be relied upon, any more than the weather can be predicted a day in advance.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire