Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Trains of life

There are trains that come and go daily; others, with lengthy destinations, like the Trans-Siberian Express traveling from Moscow to Vladivostok or the Venice-Simplon Orient Express visiting Paris, Venice, Istanbul, and places in-between; and others merely for the monotony of going to work and coming home.

Those who engage the latter often find that vacations utilizing trains are boring and uninviting; yet, for others who struggle through the vehicular traffic jams by rush-hour standards prefer it because you neither have to man the controls nor keep your focus upon the roads to avoid those who are inattentive to the rules of the road.

Relaxation takes many forms, multiple definitions and countless contextual feeds; we are all different, as are the trains of life.  Where it is going; the ticket we purchase; whether we have boarded the “right” train; whether the mistake was made at the ticket office or our lack of identifying the proper one to take; and, if the wrong one, can we still enjoy the scenic view or do we become consumed by the direction we are being taken?

What if we boarded the wrong train, but it turns out that the direction it is taking us fulfills every hope and dream we ever desired – do we still get off at the next stop, or do we muster courage enough to remain still and enjoy the view?  What if we stepped onto the “right” train, but knowing that we don’t really want to go that way, realizing that it has always been a mistake and nevertheless do so with reluctance and dread – do we force ourselves to continue on the journey despite our unhappiness and angst of drudgery?

Or, take it a step further – what if we buy a ticket, board a train and realize that it is not the right one expected, but upon being asked by the ticket-taker mid-trip, the official – whether intentionally or by lack of observance – makes no comment, punches the proper hole and moves on; do we sit with gleeful quietude and just let the train take us where we did not intend but are happy to experience?

That is often how life works – of trains that we intend to board, sometimes mistakenly take, and otherwise inadvertently travel upon; and that is how a Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition should view filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Sometimes, the ticket fails to match the trip; other times, while the intended destination corresponds perfectly, there is a “mishap” on the trip itself.

Perhaps the Federal or Postal employee never expected a medical condition; so be it, but plans for the ongoing train of life must nevertheless be made.  Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the next step where a Federal career must end because the Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform all of the essential element of one’s Federal or Postal position.

For, as the trains of life may be many, choosing the right “ticket” while waiting to board is just as important as identifying the train that will take you to the intended destination.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: A breach of instinct

What if? that fragile balance that exists in nature, seen when squirrels scrounge about in search of roots and nuts, moving within the tranquil space besides cardinals, woodpeckers, rabbits and robins abounding when, suddenly, birds attack the rabbits and squirrels, and in turn, the rabbits and squirrels chase one another and attempt to catch and devour the birds, and the mayhem that follows goes on for an unceasing eternity.

Of course, such a scene is not “nature” in its nakedness, but a scene from a suburban backyard, whereas in the true “state of nature”, in the distant woodlands not easily traversed by the human eye (are there such places, anymore?), such scenes of predatory confrontation held by a tentative and tacit agreement of abeyance may occur daily. Or, in those National Geographic scenes, where there is a quietude of implied ceasefire in birds standing atop the backs of hippos and rhinos pecking away calmly at whatever delectable insects abound, and their sturdy underlings happily go about their business – what if, suddenly, the hippo or rhino turns around and with a swift lunge of its massive neck, grabs that bird and devours it whole?

Was there a breach of an implied or tacit agreement, a breach of instinct, or both? When such “agreements” develop within a slow, steady and evolutionary process, over a period of time imperceptible but for the peace and tranquility it creates, and everyone is perfectly content with the circumstances ensconced by tradition and the state of current affairs, what leads to the breach, what are the consequences and is there blame to be spread about?

What if a rogue animal one day just declares to itself, “The hell with this; I was never a party to this agreement, and so I shall do as I please” – what then? Is it not true that no true “breach” has been committed, as the parties were never official signatories to the agreement, explicit, implicit, tacit or otherwise? Who determines that there ever existed such an agreement, anyway, and where is it written in the “rules of order” that certain sequence of decorum must be followed?

That is, of course, the crux of the matter; for, what is the retort of those who have no ethical or moral compass, but to sneer with the declarative, “Show me where it is written!”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the presumption is that tacit or implied standards of conduct is often tested at the outset, both by the Federal agency or Postal Service, and even by OPM.

You rely upon the rules, but the Agency may completely ignore them. If you are a Postal employee, this is to be expected.

Yes, there are laws, but so long as silence governs the assertion of rights denied, a breach of instinct becomes the rule of law and the depiction by Locke and Rousseau of that “State of Nature” devolving into a “State of War” can become a contentious state of affairs unless, in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant asserts the legal precedents controlling and constraining the fragile balance that restrains a breach of instinct.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Of the Black Widow

The subtlety of its attractiveness is often overlooked because of its mythology of potent venomousness, where it is said that its sting is more than 15 times the deadliness of a mere prairie rattlesnake, which — at least we can attribute an anthropomorphic characteristic of favorability — warns one with its loud systems resulting from its namesake.

It is often invisible, as its black and unassuming appearance allows for quiet traversing along the undersides of human existence; and the signature red or orange marking, often reflecting an hourglass on the ventral abdomen tells the frightening narrative of the limited time remaining once smitten.

Perhaps, while sitting outside enjoying the warmth of a mid afternoon pause, you reach half-asleep beneath the slats of the lawn chair, and it awaits; or the enthusiastically rapacious urban gardener who wants to feel the richness of the soil in the thawed gallows of springtime brightness, working by reaching with ungloved hands through a thicket of branches and deadwood, unintentionally grabs a bevy of clumpish organic material, and instead disturbs the habitat of this beauty of deadliness.

The mythology surrounding the Black Widow spider increases exponentially with greater study; from its sexual cannibalism to its neurotoxic potency, the innate fear towards spiders in general is magnified when encountering this particular one of is own species.  Yet, by metaphor or mere anthropomorphic analogy, we encounter similar and parallel behavior within our own species — of venom so toxic, and of seemingly innocuous engagements that barely warn, but where wariness should prevail over our lack of judgment and insight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the confrontation with an agency’s Black Widow can be shocking, daunting and ultimately fatal.

And they can — of the human kind — lurk anywhere and everywhere; from sudden eruptions of coworkers and Supervisors whom you thought were harmless, to Human Resource personnel who spew secrets of stinging, venomous sprays which can destroy the privacy and personal information of countless victims; they, like the spider of infamous beauty, can reveal greater enmity than the prairie rattlesnake.

Preparing, formulating and filing an effective 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, is often the only antidote available; but like the signature mark of the hourglass glowing in revelatory horror only after it is too late, filing for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement should be considered way before reaching into territories where unknown responses and reactions may prove too deadly or too costly.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Time, Memories and Forgetting the Never-ending Cycle

It is well that human beings have short attention spans and memories, lest the magnification of residual retentive powers should lead one to act.  Despite daily repetition of pain, frustration and humiliation or turmoil, we are ready to repeat the process, and let our memories fade into oblivion.

Perhaps it is merely another one of the genetically-engineered traits for survivability within the evolutionary context of epochs of adaptation; or, a more proverbial mis-attribution to P.T. Barnum that there is a “sucker born every minute”.  Whether the former (which merely describes a state of “how” we act) or the latter (which explains the “why” of behavior), the determination for self-immolation gladly volunteered on a daily basis, also reveals the strength of the human essence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily suffer through the physical pain of a medical disability, or the cognitive dissonance of psychiatric conditions (which is also a form of pain, interpreted through depression, anxiety, uncontrollable panic attacks and other symptoms of psychological ideations), the daily encounter with one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service can be a repetitive process of harassment, self-destructive engagements, and periodic spans of suffering.

Time is the void of space experienced throughout any given day; memories, the shutting aside of one’s experiential chaos; and the need to forget the cycle of turmoil reflects the necessary next step in order to separate one’s self from the repetition of progressive destruction.

Preparing, formulating and 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, is a means to break the tripartite cycle of daily turmoil, pain and suffering, by allowing for the Federal and Postal employee to reach a circumstance where rehabilitation of one’s deteriorating health becomes the pinnacle of concern, unlike the lack of empathy and impassive looks of unsympathetic coldness shown by the agency, the U.S.Postal Service, managers, supervisors, and H.R. Personnel.

Time is what precisely the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for the full working of all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, needs and requires; memories are those which one cherishes for the sake of longevity; and forgetting the never-ending cycle of progressive deterioration can only be stopped by taking affirmative steps to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Resigning from Federal Employment and Filing for OPM Disability Retirement

Resignation is what the adversary wants; it is rarely an innate condition of the human animal.  Whether one believes in the evolutionary process of incremental genetic adaption, progression and determinism, or that the gods of traditional theology puts forth a teleological foundation, the concept of “giving up” possesses an inherent shrinking away, a repugnance and a natural inhibitor to an act which constitutes surrender and, in some corners of thought, betrayal to self.

But the will of human beings is what separates from the genus of that which we derive; and as monks can defy instinct and sit in burning bonfires of self-immolation, and sheer determination of will-power can overcome fear, the rush of adrenaline and the propulsion of compulsive irrationality through reasoned guidance, so there may be times when resignation carries with it a compelling basis which justifies the action.

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 issue of resignation is often at the forefront for multiple and varied reasons:  the agency often suggests it (which, in and of itself, should not be a basis for acting, as the self-interest of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal service should not be the paramount concern during such a time of turmoil when a medical condition is impacting the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service); where all Sick Leave, Annual Leave and FMLA rights have been exhausted, and the inability to maintain a regular work schedule has resulted in the initiation of disciplinary actions by the agency (here, the language contained in any such action proposed by the agency or the U.S. Postal Service may be of some use in a Federal Disability Retirement application); or where other pragmatic decisions may be contemplated, such as the ability to access one’s TSP in order to financially survive during the process of waiting for a decision on a pending Federal Disability Retirement application, as well as multiple other unnamed reasons too numerous to discuss within the confines of this limited forum.

Whatever the underlying reasons and rationale, there is often an instinctive reaction, a repugnance and resistance, in engaging an act which is tantamount to surrendering one’s career and “walking away”.  There may, in the end, be compelling reasons to perform such an act, and not all actions involving resignation constitute a reflection of a desperate need.  If reviewed calmly, and decided rationally after due consideration of all of the factors and elements involved, such an act of apparent self-destruction may in fact be the most prudent course of action which perpetuates the genetically-determined embracing of evolutionary survivability, or the voice of gods long whispering in the echoing reverberations of Dante’s concentric circles of ever-impending escape from the fires of hell.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire