FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Casuistry and Sophistry

It is often used to described “applied” ethics — that branch of moral questioning which evaluates and analyzes an actual case, as opposed to a theoretical artifice constructed for purely pedagogic purposes, devoid of flesh and substantive import.  No longer constrained by the ivory tower of hypothetical unversality, and thus vacuous of feeling, real empathy and true relationships, casuistry naturally devolves into sophistry, where self-interested motives become ensconced.

Devolution denotes a denigration of sorts; such a statement is not deliberate in its alliterative force, but an antidotal utterance in contrast to the Dawinian consort of progressive genetic advancement; and it is precisely because self-interest betrays itself in such instances, by attempting to justify the very basis of its validity in a flawed methodological argumentation.

Sophistry, of course, connotes bad logic; moreover, it often implies a deliberate self-knowledge of utilization of such flawed rationale, despite “knowing better”, precisely because the debater wants to conceal the self-interested motive by engaging in a cover-up by effusive elongations of elaborate textiles of tactless show-boating housed in linguistic gymnastics of confounding conundrums.

Russell was good at this; Wittgenstein, better; and Heidegger the ever superior in concealment of his underlying Third Reich connections.  It is, indeed, difficult to demarcate the two; for it is casuistry which necessarily devolves into sophistry, and sophistry forming the foundational basis of casuistry; but as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, one can only guess at.

When self-interested motivations are involved, where justification of actions cannot be bifurcated from the involvement of the personal pronoun, the devolution of antagonism by self-preservation into anarchy for protective reasons will naturally follow.  Can an individual separate the underlying insinuation of self-interestedness from a discussion involving one’s self, if the outcome will impact the life, livelihood and living circumstances involved?  Perhaps.  But unlikely, and rare in its substantive occurrence.  For, the very conceptual constructs involved are oxymoronic at best, and blatantly self-contradictory, at worst.

To maintain integrity where self-interested motivations follow, and then to engage in valid logical argumentation devoid of a devolved sense of self, is a high price to pay, and a higher standard to bear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must prepare, formulate and file 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, this conundrum is indeed the flashpoint of being able to prepare such an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, it is precisely the “self” which must be discussed, the “I” which by necessity be inserted, into the discussion of attempting to justify the nexus between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

In doing so, an expansive delineation must be posited on SF 3112A, where by a preponderance of the evidence, the Federal or Postal employee must prove the formulated connection between the medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the job.  In doing so, take care to guard against a casuistic argument devolving into a sophistry of incalculable innuendo of self-interested flaws.  It is the hubris of man, as Shakespeare always reveals throughout his tragedies.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Simplifying the Complexity of a Case

Have you ever had a technical person explain things in the mysterious jargon of his or her specialized field?  Or, the one who breaks it down into coherent components and translates it into a language game which is comprehensible?

Those in the former category are usually quite impressed with themselves, and are happy to hear the sound of their own voices as the supposed explanatory interlude maintains a semblance of technical competence superior to the audience of targeted turmoil.

The latter populace does what few have come to recognize:  competence is not determined by mere superiority of technical knowledge, but the ability and capacity to apply the knowledge, reduce it to its simplified contents, then provide an explanatory foundation through reduction of complexities into manageable form.  Otherwise, the esoteric nature of any discipline will be governed by every schmoe who can master the language game, without actually acquiring the technical expertise in the application of select knowledge.  For, in the end, the test of sincerity of words is not a compounding of further words, but of actions following up with a revealed understanding of both what was said, as well as done, in any given context.

Similarly, the fact that the salesman can talk the lingo of technology does not mean that he or she can fix a broken computer; it just means that the salesmanship is a learned volume of nice-sounding paragraphs.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the entrance into the universe of Federal Disability Retirement may be an option which must be entertained.  It is a surreal world of new terms, technical contents and definitional strangeness which constitutes a complexity beyond mere words, simply because the consequence of decisions made today will impact choices governed by tomorrow.

Can the complexity of the Federal Disability Retirement process be simplified such that comprehension of the bureaucratic procedures can be understood for its administrative context in the importance of both process and substance of content?  Because Federal Disability Retirement involves statutes, regulations and court case-laws of precedence from previous cases challenging various aspects of the process and substantive issues, the complexity of the entire venue is based upon the cumulative aggregate of decades in the making.  But of that larger universe of process and procedures, what splinter and slice is actually relevant to one’s particular case?  Probably a very small portion.  That is the focus which should be taken.

When one enters an arena of mystery, it is difficult to determine the relevance within the context; and relevance requires selective content and re-creating of one’s own context.  For Federal and Postal employees who need to file 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 importance of simplifying the complexity of one’s own case should be governed by information, knowledge, and selective application of relevance and required completion of necessary content.

Try this for a change, as a test of the principle of knowledge and application:  enter one of those chain-gadget stores and hand the know-it-all salesman a gadget needing repair, and see the language game of competence turn to a stuttering paragraph of excuses and explanations about how the complexity of the component is simplified by the simple justification:  Not my Department.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: Time Was, When…

Reminiscences represent a harbinger of the state of existence and the mental attitude of individuals; once engaged, they reveal the past-oriented focus, as opposed to the future dreams of youth.

Do young people reminisce?  At what point does one engage in such leisurely exercise?  And the spectrum of historical context, or the lack thereof — does the limited span of a past life determine the narrow course of future remembering?

It is always a danger to place too glowing and positive a light on the past; for, as present circumstances may be a pocket of discontent, so the warped perspective may, by contrast, create a fictional scenery of the past by unknowingly diminishing and extinguishing less notable events once experienced.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are subjected to the hostility of one’s own agency because of the manifested impact of a medical condition upon one’s capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is natural to embrace the refrain, “In the good old days”.  Health often brings that careless attitude of flippant fortitude; it is when we have something that we unknowingly take for granted, and when it becomes diminished, or is suddenly gone, the human tendency of regret and return of rectitude begins to pervade.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the pathway out of the muddle of reminiscence; there is, perhaps not yet known to the Federal or Postal employee, life beyond the Federal government or the Postal Service.  If too much time is spent in the past, then the robber barons of yesteryear pervade in the present, to rob one’s future.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is not merely for escapism from a current “bad” situation; it is to secure the future such that there will be one, where one day in the twilight of a life, one can look upon the current negative circumstances and begin with the reminiscence of, “Time was, when…


Robert R. McGill, Esquire