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 Medical Retirement Attorney: The Cauldron of One’s Past

The oversized iron pot hangs over the open fire, and the gurgling of ingredients steams and burps the lid in predictable sequences of rhythmic timing; the aroma is an admixture of sweet and mysterious combinations of one knows-not-what; perhaps of bones, marrow and herbs, here a whiff of something which touches upon the dark recesses of one’s memory, and there a hint of harboring horrors, reminding us of past deeds and loathsome reminiscences.

The figure who stands hunched over the source of pervading uprisings, is covered in a dark shawl; a bony hand gripping the large wooden ladle, mixing, turning, crouching over to sniff and taste; and from the chasm of the figure’s hollow mouth, toothless and echoing a chamber of snorting chafes, the sigh of satisfaction emits, as the cauldron of one’s past is ready to be served.  And so the story goes.

Who among us would want the fullness of one’s past and history of deeds to be revealed?  What pot would hold the full taste of one’s misdeeds, private concerns and actions engaged?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the process itself sometimes feels like one is forced to partake of a witch’s brew — who will be in the mix?  What private information will have to be revealed?  When will the pot of information be ready?  Who will mix the ingredients?  The mysteries contained within the mixture of the witch’s brew is indeed terrifying.  Every process which is unknown and, moreover, unknowable, is one fraught with concerns and trepidation of purpose.

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is like the witch’s cauldron — it must bring to the fore one’s current circumstances (the medical condition), the impact upon the future (finances, future job prospects, etc.), and potentially the confrontation with one’s past (agencies love to do that).

The key is to understand the complexities of the administrative process, and to maneuver through the bureaucracy of the witch’s brew.  In doing that, one must always be cognizant of the cauldron of one’s past, and keep out of the reach and grasp of those bony fingers which reach out to encircle one’s throat, lest you become an ingredient in the admixture of the skeletons found at the bottom of the pot.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement Laws: Confirmation and Affirmation

The former is both a religious sacrament in Church doctrine, as well as a state of establishing that something is true or correct; the latter, an act or statement of support for that which was previously thought to be so.  Both imply a previous state of foreknowledge, or at least an indication of some prior existence of validity; it merely needed a further stamp of approval or attestation of verification.  And that is how most opinions are sought, aren’t they?  In our own minds, we already know the answer; the search for counsel is not for new revelation, but merely a confirmation of that which we know, and the affirmation of what is needed to be done.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the capacity and ability of being able to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the recognition for the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is determined far in advance of any phone call to an attorney for guidance and counsel.

The search for “advice”, as the term is loosely presented, is often to merely confirm that which is already known, and to affirm the process which has already been discovered.  For, the medical condition itself already tells the Federal or Postal employee of the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, and the agency’s unfriendly and often hostile response has established the harbinger of one’s future.

Like secrets between nations and skeletons in one’s proverbial closet, the preparation, formulation and filing of Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is somewhat of a formality; it was known already for quite some time, but the Federal and Postal employee just needed to confirm and affirm the inevitability of necessity already revealed, but wanting of declaration.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The Bygone Era of the Single Photograph

It sits upon a private pedestal, prominent for its centrality and foundational focus; it is that which lives are built upon, like the cornerstone which, if withdrawn, unravels the structural integrity and shatters the countenance of teleological significance. But with time, they fade; that which was thought to be timeless and withstanding of mortality, as with all things less than angels but stewards of God’s gifts; and the chemical admixtures which created the bright sheen in the first days thereafter, are now but fading glories of past experiences gathered through a lifetime of memories.

It used to be that photographs were special captives of a moment in time, frozen of significance, and encapsulated by relevance in the important event of a greater life.  The wedding photograph — that serious pose of two people, strangers but for a period of courtship, who stare into the lens where, in a flash of a frozen eternity of bliss, the images reflected upside down represent a commitment beyond mere contractual combining of lives.

Today, with digital cameras, the world is viewed through virtual reality, where experiences are no longer preserved for posterity, but where the perceptual “now” parallels the receptors of immediacy.  An event is no longer captured in a singular photograph; rather, the exponential explosion of the volume of images outpaces the memories which embraced them. But it is the singular moment which is remembered; its importance and relevance constitutes the uniqueness of who we are, what we strive for, and the future foundation upon which we build.

When medical conditions impact a person, the intervening event is a milestone of sorts, for those whose purpose of serious endeavors throughout a lifetime was captivated not by self-interest or preservation of ego, but because the pedestal of relevance mattered.  For Federal employee who suffers from an injury or other disabling condition, where the medical condition impacts the very foundation of a career, and therefore tears apart the fibers and filaments which bind the relevance of a lifetime of accomplishments, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the event itself — of having to acknowledge that one’s medical condition can no longer be consistently maintained and managed while working at all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal duties — often represents a fading of that singular photograph kept safe on a corner pedestal of time.

The medical condition itself is a trauma; filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management can be a further time of turmoil, precisely because it is an event of significance: of change, of foundational shattering, and an admission of mortality. Like the bygone era of the single photograph, the career which one chose when once youth beckoned with rash confidence, sits fading with time upon the acknowledgment that one’s medical condition has revealed the extent of one’s vulnerability in a world less caring than once promised.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire