Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: House versus home

What is it about terms that possess those subtle distinctions that evoke emotions that can be differentiated between “objective” and “subjective”, or distant versus close, impersonal as opposed to affectionate?  Advertisers, of course, play upon such words, and pollsters apply research results as to the emotional input received by throwing in certain words, terms, concepts and voice inflections as opposed to others.

Thus, a “house” is some impersonal structure that may or may not be occupied; whereas, a “home” is where one’s memory resides, of warmth and gaiety, cookies fresh out of the oven and a swift kiss on the forehead when a boo-boo occurred that brought tears to the little child’s rosy cheeks.

“Friends” are reserved for the special smile that knows the secret; an “acquaintance” is still the arms-length feeling of perhaps, but not just yet and maybe; and the tear that is shed in the quietude of a theater’s relative darkness is the one that is let loose when amongst those who are close and secure; but the house that sits beyond can never be the home that warms one’s memories unless the childhood memory runs through the kitchen where aromas of love and cookies can embrace the hurts that were left behind long ago.

What words we use; the emotions which accompany the choice of our language games; and the vehicles of communication that leave hollow the empty vessels within out hearts; these are the breadcrumbs that fall to the wayside and leave us empty within the souls of our being.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the feeling that one’s Agency or the Postal facility one works at has suddenly become a “house” versus a “home” is a natural one.

No longer are you the valued employee, but just “that one” who takes too much sick leave or LWOP; you are not the golden boy or girl who did a great job last year, but the one who is placing a burden on other workers because you have been absent; and while your performance reviews remain as they were, it is only because apathy continues to prevail, not because anyone has actually noticed how you are struggling despite your medical conditions.

Preparing, formulating and filing 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, may be the only option left, in order to return to one’s home, as opposed to the house that is visited and has become empty of any feelings or fond memories of childhood dances through the empty halls of a soul that is left hollow by the cruelty of those about and around.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Identifying the time for change

At what point does a person finally realize that it is time for a change?  That things cannot go on “as is” much longer, and certain modifications, “accommodations” (there’s that fearful word, again) and alterations must occur, or else you feel that your head will explode or something dire will suddenly befall.  Inside, daily, your thoughts turn to the knowledge that “this cannot go on forever”, and that something must occur.  But what?

Then, the voice of hope keeps whispering that, well, perhaps circumstances will change, alterations to the objective universe may come about in the morning thereafter, and the world will somehow shift and things will get better.

We have been fed upon from infancy until the cold winds of adulthood that folklore and fairytales occur, but the reality is that unless we initiate the pathways of change, they rarely occur except in fables of miracles and mythologies told in dusty old books.

First, it should be clear that the need for change has already been identified when one recognizes that it is time for change.  That identification, however, is often not enough.  For, it is the further sub-identification in recognizing what it is that needs change, and more importantly, why?

If the reasons underlying the need are within the purview of one’s control and destiny of choices being made, then the second step in the process can be initiated by the need identified.  That is the critical juncture in the decision-making process: Of identification, the reason, the underlying need, and then the steps taken to initiate the change in order to satisfy the need identified.

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 job, the need for change often comes about incrementally, insidiously and without great fanfare.

The “need for change” can often come at a critical juncture where frustration of a sense of impending doom collide, and necessity arises because no other alternative pathways appear to exist.  Moreover, it is the identification of the time for change that is often overlooked — that point in life where one is scrambling about desperately not quite knowing the “why” of the need, but only that it must come about.

Speaking to an experienced attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law may be the first step in sorting it all out.  For the Federal or Postal employee who must by necessity consider filing a Federal Disability Retirement application , the need for change is likely now; identifying the time for change may only require the time it takes to have an initial consultation with a lawyer who has guided many Federal and Postal employees through this process before.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Other worlds

We can imagine other worlds in which things are different; science fiction does it all the time, and even traditional literary fiction – though the differentiation between “science fiction” and “regular fiction” can often be lost in esoteric and academic ways – can depict other worlds not quite familiar, though recognizable enough to keep it apart from fantasy or that of the bizarre.

We can imagine, for instance, a world in which a pot of water sits upon a burning stove, but the pot never boils because the heat from the burner never transfers its element to the water; and so the isolation of each entity remains unmoved, as each fails to influence the other.  Or, that rain falls, but nothing gets wet.  What about people?  Of a persons who talks and talks and everyone hears, but no impact results.  You say to your friend, “A skunk has climbed up on top of your head,” and the friend responds, “Yes, thank you,” but does nothing and goes on with his or her life.

It would be a universe where we are consumed and subsumed within the universe of our own thoughts, and the world around us remains separate, isolated and without influence upon entities remaining placid, implacable, undisturbed and without any capacity to embrace the causality of an effect that remains otherwise unperturbed.

Come to think of it, that somewhat describes the world we actually live in, doesn’t it?  It started out as some science fiction genre – other worlds – and yet the universe that was described, of a world where people talk and no one listens, others hurt and no one helps, and the gravitational pull remains isolated to the planets within a galaxy, but never extending beyond to the human lives that populate this earth.  Isn’t that what occurs in this world, today?

People lie to themselves thinking that they have hundreds of “friends”, and yet sit alone in an apartment staring at a glowing piece of machine called a computer, and converse quietly on Facebook and through other social media outlets, yet never say a word; and the “conversations” on the medium are merely a series of rants and raves, and at the end of the late evening, everyone goes home.  People live with great wealth – of extravagance of living never seen heretofore in this or any other universe – while others barely make a living; and the impact felt moves not a teardrop or a sigh of resignation.

Federal and Postal employees live in such a universe, especially when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal position.  The agency doesn’t care; the postal facility is indifferent; no one says, “Ah, we need to do everything to help you out so that you can get better!”  Instead, we rely upon quiet laws to be enforced, so that our “rights” can be protected and compelled.

Other worlds are not mere fantasies that we dream up; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must take the next step in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, welcome to the bizarre universe of an administrative process that cares little about injured or hurting people, but one in which the cold bureaucracy of laws and rights must be enforced in order to assert that which remains unmovable in the face of a medical condition that won’t go away.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Lawyer Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Biding time

Inmates in correctional facilities do it; criminals in wait; patients in doctor’s offices who have been informed that there will be a short delay because of an emergency procedure that the physician had to attend to; and most of us in general who live life anticipating disasters, tomorrow’s unfortunate events or the next day’s calamity to come.

We all bide our time in living our lives, and it is the time of biding that is wasted away until, near our deathbed, the expected outcome of disaster never came, the calamity never developed and the corrosion of life never materialized.  It is one thing to wait on another person; another altogether to engage in the patient virtue of sitting motionless or passing the time away in anticipation of something beyond; it is quite another, and perhaps unique, that human beings actually actively engage in the activity of “biding time” in order to start a process.

Vengeance often takes biding of time; planning for a future definitely requires biding time; and old men and women in nursing homes have nothing better to do than to bide one’s time.  To live life biding time, even at the horizon of one’s twilight in elder states of despair, is no way to exist.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are beginning the process of, have already begun the procedural steps to, or otherwise are in the middle of the administrative process of preparing, formulating or filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “biding time” during this complex administrative process is to have “a plan”.

It is a long, arduous, difficult and time-consuming process.  Even after it is successfully filed, the time waiting upon a decision just at the First Stage of the administrative process can now take a very, very long time, and how one plans to bide one’s time during this long process is something one needs to consider.

Will you remain on LWOP during this time?  Will you resign, get terminated, and will you work at a private-sector job while waiting for OPM’s decision?  Will temporary loss of health insurance be a consideration?  If it is denied at the Initial Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, will that mean that you can endure the lengthy second Stage, the Reconsideration Stage?  And if you have to go and have a Telephonic Hearing before an Administrative Judge at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which will take a minimum of 120 days beyond, will that still be within the plan of attack in biding time?

Hopefully, one’s Federal Disability Retirement filing with OPM will go smoothly; but in the event that all of the proverbial bumps on the road are encountered in your particular journey, it is important to consider the extent of biding time during the process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: A remnant of bygone memories

Memories are funny animals; they travel and traverse endless miles of countless eternities, over fences artificially constructed and through tunnels built within the deep caverns of one’s mind; and in the end, they represent only a slice of accuracy in the whole of what really happened.

Sometimes, even after decades of being together with a “significant other”, a remnant of bygone memories erupts.  Perhaps some scent, or something someone said, or a picture that jarred and shook one’s cobwebs from the recesses of the brain occurred without a deliberative consciousness to do so; and we say, “Oh, yes, when I was six years old, I remember…”  And a remnant of bygone memories surfaces, like a corpse buried with a tombstone long forgotten behind the churchyard overgrown with weeds, and a flood rushes in and ravages the soil by erosion of natural forces and digs up the caskets rotted by time, whispers and hidden secrets.

Were they ever forgotten, and did we simply allow them to remain in a corner of closeted images? Does a truly forgotten memory ever resurface by accident, or is it by fate, destiny, karma and coincidence that at a given place in time, we are suddenly forced to relive a time period buried deep within the unconscious triggers of a soul haunted?  Do we bury memories like we do to the dead, because to not do it would mean to allow the stench of decay to fester within the sensitivities of our inner health?

Encounters with reality and the problems of the day often provoke a remnant of bygone memories; it is, in the end, the present that we must face, within a context of past wrongs committed and previous difficulties perhaps too easily avoided, that come back to haunt us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job duties, a remnant of bygone memories can include serious medical conditions that trigger PTSD, depressive symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks.

Are they a valid basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Yes.

Do they need validation from a medical doctor to affirm the foundation of a valid case?  Yes.

For, a remnant of bygone memories can impede and prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and it is that medical nexus between human memory, job elements and psychiatric capacity that in the end creates the foundational paradigm of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, based upon a remnant of bygone memories.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The elixir of life

Is the substance we expunge necessarily the opposite of the positive?  Does the mere fact of expiation denote that which is unwanted, or merely no longer of utility?

In ancient times, an elixir was considered to be a substance of great desirability; it possessed multiple meanings, including a reference to that substance which was used in alchemy to alter base-metals into the gleaming riches of the natural order found deep beneath the chasms of the earth – gold.  Or, alternatively, it meant the potion or mysterious concoction that prolonged and extended life into an eternity of ecstasy; and in other definitions, a curative medicine that attended to all diseases, corrected every malady felt and balanced the unbalanced humors within the human body.

A further meaning has encompassed the concept of an essential principle – that core of something that provides an Aristotelian connection of all first causes such that when one discovers and comprehends the elixir of life, one has attained a pinnacle of wisdom next to the gods who otherwise mock the foolishness of human suffering and striving.  But back to the original query: What about the waste that is squeezed from the substance we desire – of human detritus, urine, scatological excretions and the leftovers of those thought to be unproductive; are they not necessary in that, without the capacity to expiate, it would rot within the cavities of the human tissue and destroy the very fabric that retains them?

We often fail, at the expense and detriment of our own thoughtlessness, to consider an inversion category of the original posit; we accept, at face value, that human functions of expiation and riddance constitutes just that – of throwing away, expunging, extricating and discarding – as a categorization we simplify into elementary concepts: what we consume and embrace is “good”, and that which we expiate is “bad”.

Thus do we build toilets in unassuming locations within a residence; outhouses are just that – some dilapidated structure constructed away from the home, and somewhat upwind from the wind currents that carry the daily odors of life’s contrariness.  But is that the proper way to view things?  Should we not, instead, liken our activities to that which a messianic proverb once elicited: How we treat the least among us reflects the true character of our inner nature?

Inversion thinking is a process that is too often overlooked, and because of this, we often walk through life passing by opportunities and gifts otherwise there to be accepted.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for one to continue with the present course of a Federal or Postal career, it was once believed that the elixir of life was intricately wrapped up in continuing the Federal or Postal job because it allowed for a certain career, standard of living and measure of self-worth.

This is where inversion thinking needs to be considered.  For, at what cost, and what price to be paid?

Preparing 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, is often a necessary step in order to attain a level of continence such that the proper balance and focus can be reached – of one’s health, as opposed to continuing in a job that has become harmful; of separating from Federal Service or the Postal facility in order to escape from the daily harassment of somehow being “lesser” because of one’s medical condition; and all of the other garbage that is thrown at the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition.

For, the elixir of life is not always that substance we thought was the pathway to a mythological fountain of youth, but an inversion of that thought – of removing, as opposed to taking more on; of separating, in contradistinction to enduring the pain; and of expiating, in contrast to accepting.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Analogies

It is the greater concept often developed through metaphors and similes; but to the extent they are now of use depends largely upon the shared cultural context within which we live.  If Classical literature is no longer the common thread of meaningful discourse, can references to them in creating analogies work?  To share that a person’s tragedy is more Shakespeare than Milton, or that the individual’s circumstances remind one more akin to The Road to Wigan Pier than Brideshead Revisited, can such conversations take on a relevant pathway if the intellectual divide fails to be crossed?

You can, of course, always Google and quickly get the quick rundown of the literary reference through electronic Spark Notes, or some other venue of shortcutting the arduous endeavor reserved in former times; but even that may reveal an inadequacy that cannot be overcome.  For, of what part of the book or author is being referred to?  Is it any particular play or poem, or the entirety of the work itself?  Is it any specific character or scene?

Some philosophers have posited that, by and large, we comprehend and make sense of the objective world through the use of analogies, built upon by metaphors and similes; for, language itself is a conglomerate of such literary devices.  To face the universe purely for survival’s sake is to forego the need for imposing the ordering through language; animals do not require it, but in the most rudimentary of mechanisms that advance warning signs and preemptive communications; it is only in the arena of human constructs where categorical imperatives need to be assigned in order to filter the world into more palatable and circumscribed entities for processing the complexities we have created.

Analogies thus communicate through the medium of shared conceptual constructs, where we draw in the recipient and spectator, the audience of our targeted comparisons, by relating a shared, known and familiar encapsulation of linguistic constructs.  It is only when the strangeness of the metaphor, the unfamiliarity of the reference, creates further puzzlement and loss of connection, that problems occur and relationships become fissures of language games gone awry.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees 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 positional duties, the applicability of providing a foundational construct of relating one’s story to an “administrative specialist” at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will often involve – and require – analogies by default.

Use them sparingly; utilize discretion; and, in writing up one’s narrative in response to the questions posed on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability), remember that this is not the time, the context or the best place to try out radical, untested metaphors, similes or analogies.

Thus, while those who have read Orwell’s work, The Road to Wigan Pier, as well as Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, may find a clever and appropriate place in one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability to make some brilliant literary reference, it may be more prudent to stick to the medical facts and incorporate those supportive documents in dealing with analogies of life, health, and the nexus between the latter and one’s Federal or Postal job duties.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire