The Admixture of Incremental Deterioration of Health Conditions While on Federal Employment

Destruction rarely comes as a sudden, tumultuous event; that is why tornadoes and hurricanes are noteworthy news items.  Instead, it is the slow rot of incremental deterioration which represents the commonplace thread of destroying lives, sort of like the metaphorical water torture where the progressive drip of each drop of destructive degeneration defines the dilapidation of deferred degradation (have we now engaged in enough alliteration to satisfy one’s amusement?).

Life itself is complex; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits must contend with such complexities, and it is often prudent to “separate out” the admixture of various issues in order to arrive at the best decision for each particularized life and circumstances.  Like splitting a cluster of atoms, separating a neutron can result in an unexpected implosion if one does not have a clear path and exit strategy, including having full knowledge of the consequences potentially resulting from each action engaged.  To the extent possible, one should never begin a bureaucratic process without knowing the resulting impact, whether foreseen or unforeseen.

The decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management by the Federal or Postal Worker, whether under FERS or CSRS, can never be taken in a vacuum; the medical condition may have had its inception several years before; the agency may have undergone multiple changes of supervisors, where previous bosses signed off on liberal use of SL, AL & LWOP; where travel was curtailed with a wink-and-a-nod, and a loosely-held network of implicit understandings allowed for continuation in a position despite one’s inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job.

Then, one day, in walks a fresh face, and the other side of humanity suddenly disappears.  Complaints are whispered, or perhaps even officially filed as an EEO suit.  Stress levels are increased, and suddenly medical conditions which were previously managed and quietly maintained flare up into major impediments and life-events bordering on crisis and turmoil.

One must understand, however, that the progressive and incremental deterioration was always in existence; it is precisely because of the slow, almost imperceptible nature of the rotting which was occurring, that few noticed.  Federal Disability Retirement is often the most prudent exit strategy in solving the problem of the incrementalism of havoc wrought by years of aggregated difficulties.

The first step in the process of preparing to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, however, is to sift and separate the relevant from the ancillary, without unintentionally splitting the proverbial atom, and to recognize that the crisis point is less of a singular event, and more likely a flashpoint resulting from years of neglect.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Transfinite Cardinals

It is a concept invented in order to avoid the inherently problematic implications of the “infinite”; yet, it clearly means that it is “not finite”. It is meant to avoid a type of exclusive disjunctive and attempts to equivocate and obfuscate, implying that it somehow goes beyond the finite but refuses to become embroiled in the complexities of the infinite, thereby allowing for a compromise by remaining forever in the limbo of mathematical purgatory.

Such conceptual word-games save us for a time; and, sometimes, time is what is needed. Thus, for universes of pure theoretical constructs, where application has little or no impact upon the reality of life, conceptual language games can be daily engaged and walked away from, without any practical consequences. It is, however, when theory intersects with reality, that qualitative reverberations become felt, as in the application of theoretical physics upon the pragmatic application of nuclear fusion.

Advancing from Thought to Action

Advancing from Thought to Action

For the everyday Federal and Postal Worker, the theoretical existence of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is likened to transfinite cardinals: until the intersection between thought and action occurs, it remains safely in the universe of theory, mind, and limbo; but when the reality of a medical condition hits upon the physical universe of the real, and impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability/inability to maneuver through the employment sector because of physical limitations or psychiatric obstacles imposed by the medical condition, then one must reach beyond the theoretical and take pragmatic steps of prudent applicability.

Like boilerplate legalese in multi-paginated contractual agreements, theoretical constructs exist for potential applications in the real universe.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits remain in existence for all Federal and Postal employees, and must be accessed by submitting an application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is like the Platonic Ideas of Greek philosophy “out there” in the ethereal universe, but of no consequence but for ivory tower constituents. And like transfinite cardinals, Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits remain in a parallel universe of theoretical constructs, until that time when a particular Federal or Postal employee accesses the need to ignite the fuse of pragmatic intentions.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



Pretending to Be Healthy and Fit in the Federal or USPS Workplace

Pretending is a game considered healthy for children, in almost all societies.  It allows for the expansion of “creative energies” inherent in the growing psyche, and to allow for children to take on roles, encounter other situations of fictionalized circumstances, and confront fears without actual harm or potentiality for damaging the growing psychological turmoil which constitutes the make-up of each child.  Besides all of that, it’s fun.

But at some point in the growth of a human being, pretending has to become dominated by the reality of daily living.

Some have suggested that the world of stage, actors, movies and entertainment shows, reflects an individual and a society which never emerged from the state of pretend.  On the other hand, anyone who has known or been associated with those who prepare for an acting career, recognize the harsh reality of long days and hard work necessary for engagement in such a career.  It is, rather, the individual in our society, who continues to pretend long past the time when such pretending is fun, which is of the greatest concern.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, pretending that something is otherwise than that which is the harsh reality of one’s situation, will only exacerbate, magnify, and worsen the circumstances surrounding one’s case.

Pretending that one’s agency will not notice; pretending that one’s medical condition will go away; pretending that all will get better; pretending that…

The fantasy of pretend was to create a world of fun and laughter, and perhaps with some sprinkling of escapism; but when escaping the reality of the world results in the slow deterioration and destruction of what one has worked so hard for, then it is time to set aside the childish ways of pretend, and roll up those proverbial sleeves to contend with the world of reality.

If it takes pretending to go out and fight a battle to slay a dragon, at least such pretending will prompt one into action.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Apparent Normalcy

One can venture and maneuver through this world with a semblance of normalcy, where from all outside perspectives, a person is untroubled and unencumbered.

There are multiple complexities inherent in such a perspective, of course: what constitutes “normal”; to what extent do individuals have a responsibility in assessing and evaluating a person’s private world; as well as the problem of infringing upon the privacy of others, and the desire of the other to allow for any intrusion, whether consciously or subconsciously.

For, each person constructs multiple layers of privacy zones — from the proverbial picket fence, to one’s own private bedroom; to the gates of a home; but always, the foundation begins within the walls of the skull of one’s brain.  For, the gatekeeper is always maintained by the individual, as to what is allowed in, and what is manifested for others to observe.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who is beset with a medical condition, such that he or she must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is often the preparation of the actual forms which is the first manifested evidence of an impacting medical condition.

All throughout the previous many years, the apparent normalcy has been closely protected; great performance ratings, minimal leave taken, and daily smiles and platitudinous greetings; until the Federal or Postal worker arrives at a crisis point.

This is the apparent face and semblance of normalcy — the surprise of others, of the regretful and remorseful comment, “I just never would have realized.”  Or, perhaps it is the indicia of the busy world in which we all live, which allows us to lack any compassion to notice.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Incrementalism

Gradual decline or ascendancy is a concept which is difficult to grasp, precisely because one’s training to render judgements is based upon viewing an object or issue in its entirety.  Darwinian evolution is a paradigm based upon minute, incrementally selective alterations, imperceptible in any slice of time, but which slowly and progressively alters the genetic make-up of a species.  The question of consciousness and the Cartesian mind-body problem also involves the idea that, beyond the compilation of complexities inherent in the human brain, there is something more in existence than merely the physical in the wholeness of man.

Such concepts are also applicable in the administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement claim submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  For, on the one hand, the very reason why many Federal or Postal workers remain in the position at their agency is precisely because of incrementalism — in progressive decline, or in hopes of ascendancy.

Often, medical conditions are characterized by a gradual decline, increasingly debilitating, and imperceptibly deteriorating over time.  If one views one’s medical condition at the beginning of the year, then again at the end of the same year, the progression may well be noticeable; but on any given day, because of the incremental nature of the disease, one may perceive the condition as merely static.

Conversely, the hope of ascendancy — that “tomorrow brings a new day” — is likely an evolutionary paradigm built into human nature for survival benefits.  But the reality is that most people who suffer from chronic and progressively deteriorating medical conditions need to reach a period of rehabilitative rest in order to get better.

Recognition of the subtle but insidious nature of incrementalism is vital to survival.  It may be time to consider thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS before it is “too late”; for, while time passes in gradual ascendancy, the deterioration and decline of the human body and mind waits not for a better tomorrow.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Tying Together the Loose Strands

When a medical condition impacts a Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS or CSRS, and prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management begins.  

One may conceptually distinguish between a “formal” beginning of the process, as opposed to an informal or “real-time” beginning; but in any event, from a retrospective vantage point, it is clear that the “beginning” occurred at that point when the coalescence of medical-to-job impact manifested itself and it became obvious that the Federal or Postal employee could no longer continue in the same fashion as before.  

During this initial part of the process, when the Federal or Postal employee is simply struggling to survive — by going to medical appointments; attempting to continue to work; trying to ignore the reality of the medical condition by striving to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job as before; attempting to maintain the same balance of work-to-personal life, etc. — there is rarely a coordination of efforts, and the disparate strands of life’s compartments never come together in any comprehensible manner.  

But at the “formal” point of preparing and formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application, it is important to engage in the “tying” together of the disparate strands of life — if only to package a cogent and coherent presentation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  

Life may be a series of messes; a successful Federal Disability Retirement application, however, should be a serious compilation of proof, evidence, argumentation and logical structure.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Chekhov’s Short Story, “Old Age”

Anton Chekhov is perhaps the singular master of the genre known as the “short story”, and it is owing to his background as a physician that he possessed the insight and sensitivity to be able to capture the plight of the human condition, with all of its suffering, loss of hope, and emotional turmoil, through cruelty, disregard, unforeseen circumstances, and unintended pathways to disaster.

In his short story, “Old Age,” there is the point where one of the two old men shook off a moment of feeling, setting apart and brushing aside a poignant and appropriate time when the shedding of tears would have allowed for the humanity of the old man to show, to reveal itself, and to expiate himself of the pain of the past.  Instead, because of pride, or perhaps shame, because he stood before the other old man, he hid the emotion and went about his business.  Later, when he comes back to the same spot, the old man tries to recapture the moment, to replicate and reconstruct that lost emotion.  It could not be done.  It is a lesson for all, that there is an appropriate time, place, and moment for everything.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is the “appropriate time” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Each Federal or Postal employee knows that time.

Indeed, each “feels” the time, but will often just shake off that nagging sense.  One always hears of the hope for a miracle — “perhaps I will get better”; “perhaps it will be better tomorrow”; perhaps…   But when the time comes, to procrastinate is merely to compound the problems of the day, only to revisit the same issue later, but encountering an exponentially magnified issue:  time is running out; that moment of doing it with optimal circumstances has passed; and now we must deal with the greater problems of the present.

Chekhov is relevant because, while human beings — whether in Russia or here, whether years past or today — change in names and appearances, the essence of humanity remains constant.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire