Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last stands

Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians.  Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.

It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public.  We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee.  Or, is it the “last straw”?  Is there a difference between the two?  The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice.  But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.

Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents.  It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived.  Yet, Federal and 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 job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.

But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Government Employee Medical Retirement: The missing comma

To what extent does language influence life?  As a mode of communication, sounds and utterances can certainly be restricted to a minimum, without threatening survivability; and in the history of our vast universe of words, thoughts and conceptual constructs embedded in dusty warehouses of discarded books, manuscripts and love letters tucked away in drawers once meant to safely keep where memorabilia of treasures remain unrevealed, does the competence of applying grammatical rules matter, anymore?

Do the dominos of historical reverberation fall in fated inevitability — like the missing comma which resulted in a lesser grade for the boy who would be king, but because of the diminished mark, failed to meet the expectations of a royal family who favored the second child, anyway, and beheaded the law of primogeniture; and thus did inevitability fade, history alter, and the child-king who would not be turned to savagery and the took revenge upon the world by becoming a little-known mass-murderer but to those whom he slaughtered.

Can the course of history be altered by the lack of placement of such a curved indentation of fate?  Where, just a fraction of a distance above, it is but an apostrophe which betrays the possessive embrace of a noun standing beside, but for the careless droppings which turn it into a comma?  Sometimes, of course, the misplaced comma can change the entire context and meaning of a sentence, and then the question becomes, do such misinterpretations have any force of impact, anymore, to the extent of interceding in the life of an individual?

Language is a peculiar invention; among other species, we recognize sounds, murmurings and signals to communicate; but to constitute the higher level of combining thought with words spoken and concepts written, requires an advancement of evolutionary uniqueness not discovered by fellow beings of other natures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must communicate and convince because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, trying to maneuver through the administrative chaos of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — as ensconced in SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — is the highest of tests in the usage of language as a tool of persuasive activity.

It may not seem so, as any encounter with a bureaucratic maze will often appear to be merely an arduous chore of necessity; but, in fact, engaging a behemoth and arguing it from its slumber of overwhelmed caseload is a reflection of man’s penultimate destiny of a chance meeting between grammar and life undeservedly faced:  Of whether the missing comma is of relevance, anymore, in this age where the possessive pronoun no longer matters when a computer can delete the words left unsent.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Diaphanous characters

Like garments left little for the imagination, the thin veil we wear rarely conceals the warts and freckles which spread throughout the malignancy of our souls.  People often mistake and confuse Christendom’s barring of an impure taint from entering the gates of its exclusive club; it is not what you did, but that you did it, and refused to take the steps to expiate the uncleanliness.

Thus, from the perspective unsoiled whiteness, a speck will blemish whether the dimensions of the spot are quantifiable or not.  That is why we dress ourselves with something, or anything, thinking that behind the veil — despite its translucent and revelatory insubstantiality — will somehow provide a semblance of security in an otherwise brutal world of appearances even for lack of subtlety.  And it is with that diaphanous character — the one which allows for surface niceties, inane salutations and barely restrained disdain for one another — that we pursue our own interests, determine the selfish destiny of fated lives, and consider not the greater interests of a community no longer existing but for suburban neighborhoods lined with pristine lawns sanctified by an immaculate insensitivity for disregard of each other’s needs.

No, the character remains whatever the cosmetic superficiality we attempt to apply; and when we put too much make-up on, or inadvertently smear the eye-liner or lipstick of incommensurate measures, there will be waiting that one who is only too pleased to point it out.

And, any such veneer of empathy quickly dissipates once there is weakness revealed — as with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who fail to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, resulting from a medical condition which clearly impacts the ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements.  Such Federal employees and Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, have the choice of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and indeed, this is often the best remaining alternative to embrace.

For, the greater society which proceeds obliviously beyond the troubles experienced by a next door neighbor otherwise unknown but for an occasional wave of the hand, nod of the chin or silent stares of impassivity as the roar of the lawnmower eviscerates the quietude of a summer’s day, merely reflects what occurs daily in the hallways and corners of offices throughout the microcosmic insignificance of what we do daily; we become mean, and only on the deathbeds of sudden conversions do we consider the consequences of our actions.

No, the diaphanous character which we pass by each day needs to be left alone, and for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who experiences daily the subtle hints and not-so-subtle warnings of harassment and intimidation merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it is time to shake off the trepidation of life’s cold waters, and dive into the next phase which awaits you, like a lake of welcoming freshness with open arms revealing that childhood dream on the lazy elbows of a memory once forgotten, but still remembered with the voice which beckons in a whisper, “There is still a life beyond.”


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Fated Lives Intersecting

To state that, because something has happened, it was fated to happen, is to merely confess a tautology of meaningless repetition; and so there must be more to it than what the words themselves seem to logically undermine.  Thus, when Cassius lamented to Brutus that men at times “are master of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings,” he was referring to the clash between human will and the predetermination of events already set, and despite our best efforts, our condemnation by force of will, it is our own pathos that evinces tragedy.

From Classical Greek mythologies to Heraclitus and beyond, the one constant throughout is that, like the river which ever flows and shifts to erode the currency in time, there is little that we can do to forego the fated intersection of lives.

The people we sit beside in school, whether we reach out to make friends or ignore in silent disdain; the lives we impact, whether by choice or by unintended disregard; it is because we cannot live in seclusion and the profound truism of John Donne’s poetry that, indeed, the bell tolls not for everyone else, but specifically for each person, that hamlets and hermitages abound in defiance of fated encounters.

That loneliness and sense of abandonment by all around, is never more powerful than when a person is beset with a medical condition, and suddenly it is as if one is either a martyr or a person shunned for contracting leprosy; either way, the doom of fate and the promising stars have banished any history of meaningful contributions previously attributable.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 position or Postal craft, the sense that the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service will not be supportive of a filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is not just a mere chimera based upon unfounded psychosis; it is, instead, a very real dilemma.

And that is where fate, will and intersecting lives must be deliberatively evaluated and carefully analyzed; for, who is informed, at what point, and when to speak words of intended acts, may govern the future course of an Agency’s reactive motive.  For, the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the time has clearly come when one may well believe that fated lives intersecting must be viewed not merely as a tautology of inane beliefs, but where careful scrutiny must be engaged in so that the stars do not interfere in the playful laughter of gods and karma, in the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic & the laziness factor

Magic is something we cling on to, if only as a last vestige of the light of hope, flickering ever so delicately against the tumultuous winds of a world gone mad.  In childhood, it was an imagination enlivened by the pure delight of fairytales, mythologies and rhymes of wands in the single sweep where the golden dust of insurmountable problems is suddenly a trail of corrective bygones with mere words of incantations mysterious to eyes agape with wonderment and awe; and in the middle-to-growing times, the words altered somewhat, the concept changed and the linguistic construct evolved to imply an attitude, a hope, an approach to future life based upon hard work, honesty and mere cannibalism of negative thoughts.

To remain positive was to overcome the vicissitudes of reality; to forego immediacy of pleasure, a pathway to self-discipline.  But time has a way of defeating and beating down even the best of men; there are few limits to the unseen enemy, and much which constrains the visible.

Is there magic to be gotten?  That hope without substance which we pray for; that lottery ticket in the face of statistical impossibility; and that verbiage we throw about by inane moments of meaningless contexts — “There is always tomorrow”.  What have we not shed but to which we cling?  To what do we cling that no longer applies?  Or is it mere laziness, the factor that we dismiss but for everyone else?

In modernity, of course, such tendencies and proclivities toward the magic of superstitions have become exponentially magnified through games of virtual reality, and the numerical chimera of Facebook “likes” replacing actual friendships and human bonds.  Then, when reality hits us square in the face, we fall apart all the more easily, for want of preparation in the face of true vicissitudes that shake the cavernous combustions of this world we live in.

Medical conditions are just one of those realities that cannot be ignored.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who one day wake up to the realization that there is no magic to impart when a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, and that the pragmatic step of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the best alternative available, the conjunctive one must often face — “and the laziness factor” — is a reminder in two ways:  First, in making sure that you do not allow procrastination to impede the path towards a future for success, and Second, to not be deterred by coworkers and others who criticize ignorantly by alleging that it is all “made up” in order to “game” the system.

The law is what the law is; and Federal Disability Retirement is a system reflecting a progressive perspective on workers who can no longer perform a particular kind of job in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, but who may be able to remain productive in some other capacity in the private sector.  That is why Federal Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed to make up to 80% of what his or her (now former) Federal or Postal position currently pays, in addition to the annuity being received, and continue to retain the Federal Disability Retirement annuity — precisely because it is a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is not “totally disabled“, but rather, disabled only from performing one or more of the essential elements of a particular job.

The “real world”, as a grown-up views it, must set aside the magic of make-believe trailing upon a disillusionment wrought in the face of experiential encounters that incrementally beat down and squeeze out the wonderment of childhood thoughts; but hope for a better tomorrow should never be extinguished, and while the flicker of a dying flame emitting light in the deep abyss of despondency overshadowing the magic of bygone days may indeed threaten the future, never allow for the appendage of the laziness factor deter the best step forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire