FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The performance fallacy

The disproportionality that occurs between reality and make-believe is nowhere more apparent than in the Federal sector involving performance reviews prepared for Federal employees across all agencies and departments: of being “fully successful” and having those “outstanding” appraisals year after year, and yet….  You don’t feel that such appraisals, despite the blush that it may evoke, reflects the reality of what you have been doing.

The body that warms a position, despite its declining productivity, is the one the Supervisor or Manager does not want to lose; for, to retain a known quantity is better than to lose one and gain an unknown one.

Then, of course, there is the reality of the Federal employee who experiences a deteriorating medical condition, and has come to a critical juncture and decision-making point of what is often referred to as a “Gestalt” moment, or that “Aha!” experience, where one comes upon the realization that one is not immortal; and despite being brought up on Star Wars, the “Force” and other fantasies that human frailty can be overcome by sheer will of the mind — that, disregarding all of that childhood nonsense, we are growing old and beset with medical conditions that remind us that we are no longer the spry chickens just hatched from the warmth of a hayloft beyond the red barn’s rooster call.

Then, there is the “performance fallacy” — somehow, no matter how terribly we feel; no matter the amount of recent sick leave taken, or LWOP requested, the appraisals continue to exceed our level of productivity.

Considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS?  You have the medical condition and, more importantly, the medical support to move forward.

Then, you pause because of the “performance fallacy” — the question being:  How can OPM approve a Federal Disability Retirement application if the performance appraisals continue to reflect the “outstanding” columns of productivity?  The short answer:  That is why the foundation of a case must be built upon a strongly-worded medical narrative, which implicitly rebuts and preemptively answers all such concerns, and that is where consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law can be crucial to the successful outcome of a Federal Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Attorney: Today’s tomorrow

Yesterday’s today is different from today’s today, just as tomorrow’s imaginary today will be considerably changed from the actual tomorrow of tomorrow.  How to test that theory?  Just read a book, a novel, a short story when you are a teenager, an adult, a “mature” person or in your old age – say, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye or some other similar-type work, or even Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge or even a truer test like a children’s book — the classic Seuss series, The Cat in the Hat, etc.

Perspectives alter and become modified with time, age, experience and encounters with reality, bifurcating between the monster within one’s own imagination, the projection of fears, anxieties and trepidations, and the reality of the world that one finally engages.  The memories one holds of one’s childhood may soften and become tempered over time; the harshness of judgment one may hold of one’s parent’s – their actions, punishments meted, words spoken out of turn and thoughtlessly – may be modified as one becomes a parent as well and encounters the same difficulties, trials and tests; and so the yesterday experienced at the time may alter from the yesterday remembered and ensconced within the context of one’s own life experiences.

Today’s today, or course, is the reality we must always face, but of tomorrow’s tomorrow, can we set aside the suppress the anxieties and fears we project?  The real problem is almost always today’s tomorrow –  of that projection into the future, not yet know, surrounded by the anticipation of what we experience today, fear for tomorrow and tremble at because of all of the various factors and ingredients of the unknown.  Yes, it is today’s tomorrow that we fear most.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is the tomorrow that we consider and ponder upon today that makes for the fears to arise, the anxieties to develop and the trembling to occur.

How best to treat today’s tomorrow?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the first step towards assuaging the fears projected unto tomorrow before tomorrow arrives, is by taking affirmative steps today in order to prepare for tomorrow, and that first step is to consult with an expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement.

For, today’s tomorrow will come sooner than tomorrow’s today’s blink of an eye and bypass yesterday’s today in the memories of a childhood steeped in tomorrow’s yesterday.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: The chaos of life

Of masochism, there are indeed some who purport to invite the chaos of life, and actually enjoy it, relish in it and thrive in it.  Its opposite is considered monotonous, lacking of artistic content and without the excitement of unpredictability.  Yet, even those who thrive within the chaos of life will often need that period of respite, whether with a quiet moment of reflection, a night of reading beside a crackling fire, or just dozing in front of the drone of a television.

EMT personnel often require such a personality trait; firemen, law enforcement officers, and nowadays, teachers, professors and other educators, if only because the chaos that unruly and undisciplined children, teenagers and young adults bring into the classroom.

Perhaps it was a childhood upbringing; it is often said by learned psychologists that battered people tend to themselves batter upon reaching maturity, because they find solace in the comfort of that which they are familiar, and so the behaviors they learned and were imprinted upon as a child are the very patterns that are comforting; and thus does the vicious cycle of life – such as the chaos of life – recur and regenerate, only to imprint the same cycle upon the next generation.

Those who sincerely crave the very opposite – of a regularity in monotony of patterns predictable in their characteristic of non-change – are often criticized for failing to be able to “deal” with the chaos of life, and so the argument goes that those who thrive upon the chaos of life are better prepared for the vicissitudes of life’s misgivings.

Medical conditions comprise a sort of chaos of life, but whether one is “well-prepared” for it or not, it is something that must be “dealt” with.  It is, in the end, doubtful whether a person’s life prior to the entrance and introduction of a medical condition can adequately prepare one to “deal with it”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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 the Federal or Postal job, part of the process in dealing with such a chaos of life is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

In such a case, instead of dealing with the chaos of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application yourself, you may want to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in such legal matters.

In this vast universe that includes the encumbrances deemed the chaos of life, we must all make choices as to which portion of the chaos we want to personally handle; for, in the end, the chaos of life, how we handle it and what benefit accrues from it will all be determined by the outcome of the event – and for Federal and Postal employees, that outcome-based perspective is the resulting approval by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on a Federal Disability Retirement claim, where once the approval is obtained, the chaos of life may be turned into a respite of relief.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Game changers

Rarely do we have advantages in life.  Instead, most challenges are full of obstacles in our way, advantages tipped in favor of another’s, and an imbalance that seems to make life’s lottery of spectral choices a weighted unfairness that no amount of complaining seems to make a difference about.  We hear about them; yet, they rarely attend to our own needs nor join “our team”.

Game changers are those influences or components that suddenly make winning more favorable.  They normally become a part of the “other” team, but every now and again, life may throw a ray of sunshine down our path, and game changers become an element of one’s own “team”.  Perhaps it is a secret piece of knowledge no one else is privy to; or a piece of information that others have not yet been provided access to; or a person with exceptional talent who has given indications of sympathy to a particular cause; or even a new methodological approach that has not yet been widely disseminated.

Whatever the element of advantage, game changers open up circumstances that favor the success of one side over another, and appear at an optimum time when others have yet to prepare for the surprise addition.  At least, that is what they appear to do in novels, movies, plays and fictional life.  In real life, there are rarely such advantageous elements that make a difference.  Instead, most of life is a steady monotony of hard work, less complaining and a representation of the tortoise-like ethic as opposed to the hare that dashes off and runs ahead of everyone else.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the concept of a “game changer” should be a familiar one.  For, when the medical condition first began to impact one’s health, that– in and of itself — was a game-changer: against you.  And when your work began to suffer because of the medical condition — that, too — was a game-changer: against you.  And when you needed to take excessive Sick Leave and Annual Leave, then LWOP, that was again a game-changer – again and too familiarly, against you.

It is perhaps time to begin preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; that, too, may be a “game changer”; but this time, in your favor, so that you can perhaps begin to focus upon the changing games that need a true game changer – your own health.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Annuity after a Disability in the Federal Workplace: Formulaic writings

It is both of predictability and boredom that we seek when enjoying such genres of form and content – of the “formula” in a who-dunit, or a love story that brings together two unlikely individuals in their awkwardness and geekiness, but somehow overcomes the considerable odds and obstacles placed in their way (and we don’t ask, in a 2-hours snippet, how can so much happen to two people when not even a smidgeon of such events were faced in our entire lifetimes?) and ending with an orchestral crescendo that brings tears that raises handkerchiefs throughout the audience, which we all quickly stuff into our back pockets with embarrassing quickness when the lights are turned on.

But that formulas could be applied to real life, and not just in presentations that appear slick, without error and marketed with such efficiency that we think it is just that the “other person” is naturally good at it, and we are not.  But that’s the point, isn’t it?  Formulaic writings, formulaic plays, formulaic movies, formulaic – lives?

Perhaps it exists in the fictional world of fairytales and corporate pathways where certain individuals – whether because of the family name, the tradition of old wealth, or those “connections” that the inner circle depends upon for their very survival – are groomed towards reaching the top in some predetermined formulaic manner.  But for the rest of us, our lives are more likened to the undisciplined ocean where storms come at unexpected and unpredictable moments; strong surges and wind currents destroy that which we have so carefully built; and our ship’s rudder suddenly fails to guide or lead us towards our intended destinations.

There is no formula.  We are left without a map, less a compass, and more and more without the guidance of our parents or grandparents because, they, too, have become as clueless as the rest of society.

And for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition has interrupted their career goals, hope for the future and dreams of security – preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become a necessity.

Then, when one researches and looks at SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, one realizes that the questions posed are the same posed to everyone who files – and so the information requested is based upon some “formulaic” approach from the agency’s side of things; but what about the individual Federal or Postal employee’s side of it?  Is there, also, a “formulaic” approach to winning a Federal Disability Retirement case?

Like everything else in life, it always seems as if the slick advantage that the large bureaucracy possesses is overwhelmingly in favor of going against the Federal or Postal employee.  However, there is, indeed, a “formulaic” response – and that is the “laws” that govern Federal Disability Retirement.

Life in general may not always have a winning formulaic approach, but in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is best to at least garner the formulaic support of the laws that protect and preserve.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Loss of that subtle distinction — fun versus training

Reading older works of literature is a lesson in historical perspective; times were different, and not just slightly, but by leaps and bounds.  The linear nature of lives results in the incremental adaptation by evolutionary subtlety; that was precisely Darwin’s argument — that the metamorphosis reacting to physiological necessity in order to allow for the propagation of any given species, occurs not by genetic alterations involving sudden and drastic earthquakes, but by slow, almost undetectable nuances of change.

That is why there is no “missing link” to discover in the fossils of unrecorded history; the preservation of ancestry occurs by revealing closeness to modern kin, and the farther in time we discover, the greater the alienation of apparent relationship. Rarely does an anomaly of nature survive, for such mistakes test the forces of survivability; mutants are thus fodder for science fiction and stories about lost civilizations and catastrophic survivors of devastated ambience.  Dystopia is popular, as are zombies and mutants, but hardly reflect a reality generating scientific certainty or a foundation to base genetic discoveries for curing medical mysteries.

The aged who complain distressingly of “them good ol’ days”, have the ability and capacity to recognize the stark contrast between the ills of modernity and of the segmentation of remembrances decades ago; the comparison is not between today, yesterday, or even the day before; rather, it is by erasure of multiple middle years that we can realize the drastic alterations heaped upon us.

Thus, the slow boiling of a frog is the metaphor we can relate to; or, in literature depicting an age of innocence, where children played merely for fun, and not for training to be the next great olympian.  No longer can “playing” be for mere amusement and leisure; any and all activity must be measured as against future utility, and recruiters now roam the hallways and gyms — not of colleges or high schools, as one might expect, but — of middle schools and promising elementary classes.  There is, indeed, something drastically different between modernity and that “time before”, when “fun” is no longer allowed or allowable, and childhood, innocence and carefree disregard of world events must be a means to an end, and never a gemstone retaining value in its own right.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires consideration for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time of innocence past is like a distant memory difficult to hold onto, but ever often hard to forget.  The days of fun, like lazy summer afternoons spent on elbows supporting nodding chins and flushed cheeks full of promise, are long gone, like distant memories forgotten but for moments of reminiscences over barbecue grills and family get-togethers.  Life is tough being a grown up.

For Federal and Postal employees who must, in addition to the obstacles and pitfalls of daily living and career choices, contend with medical conditions and agency harassment, Postal disciplinary actions and other unwelcoming overtures, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best choice and option of promising resort.

Staying put, is no longer possible; simply walking away, is a fool’s act.  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is the wisest road to a tomorrow which promises a different phase.  These are no longer days of fun, and the training we received is to be applied by revealing growth, maturity and wisdom through our actions of pragmatic fortitude.  And like the crystal ball which children use as marbles in play, looking into one as a device for future insight spoils the fun of it all.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Those Nagging Questions

“What if” questions constantly haunt, and persistently undermine.  They are the questions which people repetitively ask of themselves; and yet, like questions in Philosophy spanning multiple millenniums, they defy answers, and merely trouble the mind.  Or, as Bertrand Russell once quipped, If such questions continue to bother, it is probably a problem of indigestion.

“What if I had done X?”  “What if I go in today and tell the Supervisor Y?”  “What if I ask for an accommodations by doing Z?”  “What if…”  The game of “what if” serves to delay and obfuscate; it kicks the proverbial can down the dusty road of oblivion, and rarely solves the concrete problem facing the individual engaged in the meaningless query.  Almost always, the solution is instead to take affirmative steps towards reaching a goal.

Experience serves to defy repetition of questions left unanswered, and the best way to satisfy the linguistic hypothetical is to act in accordance with one’s need.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is impacting one’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the questions of “What if” may abound:  “What if I am able to recover in 6 months?”  “What if my agency fires me?”  “What if the doctor will not support me?”

Some such questions are valid; others, emanating from fear and lack of knowledge.  As gathering information is the key to satisfying questions unanswered, it is well to make inquiries and obtain facts as opposed to opinions and conjectures.

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 major step in the Federal or Postal employee’s life; but the alternatives are often untenable and leaves one with an empty hand to continue asking those unanswerable questions which leave the stomach churning with fears, doubts and unresolved issues.

Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM as a concrete step in taking an affirmative hold of one’s life, future and undiminished aspirations.  And like grabbing a handful of sand in the dry desert of questions, to ask and query without a rudder to direct one’s efforts, is to meander through life with a blindfold.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire