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 from Civil Service: Envy without hope

Can a footman in former times, or a scullery maid while scrubbing the floors, experience envy when class structures forbade any hope of advancing beyond?  In days before of rigid demarcations of social and class differentiations, where terms in modernity like “upward mobility” or “moving up the ladder” (have you ever wondered at the condescending connotation of such terms, where “up” is the direction of the movement, as if one were ascending to the heavens, even when such barometric activity often corresponded to moral degradation and sacrifice of one’s character?) were unheard of, was there an inner intimation of envy between watchful eyes by servants who observed the plenitude of decadence and obscene abundance of wasteful riches?

We can, of course, comprehend such sensations of jealousy and comparative desires in our times, for there is no inherent cultural device firmly implanted within the normative constraints, anymore.  As stories abound of the proverbial “rags-to-riches” narratives; and whether by intensive efforts of self-will and do-good stories, or of Wall Street wolves clawing and cheating, or even of the occasional lottery winner who accidentally wandered into a corner mart and took a chance with a last dollar, the conceptual animation within the realm of possibilities exists as to changing one’s circumstances, and with that comes the concomitant feeling or awareness of comparative lack.

But can such a sensation exist in a universe, both in the material realm as well as in the cognitive recesses of one’s imagination and creative thought processes, if one has not a concurrent concept of the possibility, or even the minimal probability, of hoping for an expectation of change?  If there is such hope, how then can there be envy, unless nature allows for an emotion of pure futility where hopelessness can incentivize a pathway towards an unfulfilled nothingness?

Nature is purposive; the teleological sense within us requires that instinctive sensations inherently existent follow the rule of Ockham’s razor, and refuse to allow for futility’s baseless conduct of entrance to nothingness.  Now, one might argue, as Rousseau did, that evils created by society’s influence beyond man’s natural innocence while in the state of nature, engendered by malevolent devices surfacing as appendages upon convoluted addendums not otherwise found except in complex civilized settings, go counter to such arguments; and, certainly, just as H.G. Wells and all dystopian writers since, and others such as Jules Verne possessed imaginations beyond the societal constraints imposed upon the creative mind, and so one might still be able to project such negative feelings without hope or expectations.

Again, however, it would be one based upon a deep chasm of futile exchanges.  That is the question and concern that the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker must contend with, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  Can the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker project into the future, a life without the chosen career to keep one occupied, and still remain happy?

Envy is the killjoy of distracted minds, and hope is the antecedent nectar that allows for poverty and discontent to continue.  For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker, however, it may not be a question of envy without hope; rather, it is often just a pragmatic choice compelled by circumstances of chronic and debilitating medical conditions, and the hope resides in the promise that a Federal Disability Retirement application, filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, will be approved and allow for the Federal or Postal employee to focus upon the priority of a future not without hope – that of regaining one’s health, stamina and capacity to regain one’s equilibrium.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The narrative we write

Each of us carries a narrative within; the David Copperfield segment of our otherwise unrevealed lives.  It is who we are; the past that enlivens or diminishes; the memories of yesteryear or just a fortnight ago; and it resides continually until that day of atonement or the diminishment though dementia of fated unkindness.  What we say; how it is written; how it is related through the handed-down oral traditions of storytelling and bemused tales of a Dickensian happy endings (excepting Little Nell and other debatable few unnamed); and how it is told, in what manner, with what punctuations and unctuous phraseology applied; these matter, especially when others are listening.

Perhaps, in modernity, the oral traditions of storytelling have disappeared, like graveyards unvisited because of loss of faith.  Once, family members were buried on the plot of land in the pasture behind; now, that plot is another suburban home, easily fungible and sold if profits justify enough.  Lineage is irrelevant, except to search one’s genealogy in order to establish the bloodlines unique to resist disease and incest; and as children listen not to the storyteller at dinnertime, but to rap singers on iPods and Smartphones, and digitized voices in virtual fields of games and electronic media; even they get their sense of who the “I” is, by songs uttered with vitriol and You-Tube clips streaming for self-aggrandizement.

We lament that which we have no control over, yet do nothing to exert but a trifle of influence.  The standard adage should remind us:  “Garbage in, garbage out”; and, yet, who among us steadfastly maintains the duties of the vanguard who must imperviously maintain a standard of who is invited and what is kept out?  Or, does “popularity” rule, and the old edict by a shoe company trying to dominate the cutthroat world of sales and profitability, “Just do it” – is that the philosophy we follow?  Or, how about, “If it feels right (or good), then…”

The narrative we write is the storyline that follows, and the byline that stamps its approval at the bottom of the tale acknowledges who we are, what we believe in and where we intend to go.  What would your response be if a child suddenly came upon you and asked, “Who are you?”  Would the narrative that bespeaks include struggles encountered, battles engaged and promises kept?  Or would the story be a confused delineation of a skeletal clutter, barely recognizable as a unique reflection of the angels we fly with?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are 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, the narrative we write, especially on the Standard Form 3112A, is perhaps the penultimate component of the essence of the effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  How it is written; what information it should contain; the relevant period of discourse; the proper delineation in answer to the queries; these must all be taken into account before submitting it to OPM.  And, just as the response to the query by the curious child should give one pause, greater reflection before submitting an SF 3112A to OPM should be taken, lest the narrative we write reflects that which we no longer want to own.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: The Methodological Approach

Many call in a frenzy of confusion, admitting openly of being lost and not knowing where to begin.  That is always the starting point, as even Socrates conceded — of the hope of knowledge beginning upon a recognition of not knowing (though, if one looked carefully and scrutinized the face and eyes of the old sage, one probably gleaned a twinkle of sly naughtiness).

Philosophy began in ignorance, and from there, attempted to ascertain a methodology of approaching problems in a systematic way, in order to overcome the shortcomings of man’s frenetic inclinations.  Identifying and ascertaining a knowledge of a criteria, a system of approaching problems, and an applied methodology of solving, is the preferable way than that of plugging holes where leaks appear.

Thus, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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, it is often necessary to formulate a sequential strategy at the outset, before embarking upon the dark abyss of preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Should certain information be gathered prior to completing the standard forms?  Yes.  What forms are “central” to a Federal Disability Retirement application?  Certainly, all of them, but if timeliness is an issue and the 1-year Statute of Limitations is suddenly upon the Federal or Postal employee attempting to file, then the SF 3107, Application for Immediate Retirement, including Schedules A, B & C, as well as SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, must all concurrently be prepared for immediate submission.

Identification of the essential as opposed to the bifurcated peripheral must be realized; compilation of the proper information, and the laws governing supplementing a Federal Disability Retirement application is essential for a successful outcome.

In the end, as it turns out, Socrates knew much more than he revealed; but the sly sage was wise enough not to engage in the solipsism of later years, like Descartes and the French Existentialists, and by recognizing that lack of knowledge and the admission of such vacuity is the first step towards wisdom, he was able to initiate the prefatory questions in the quest for knowledge in a world devoid of both.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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 Disability Retirement: Pursuing the Daily Divide

The bifurcation of our lives is a habit of accepted normative behavior; for most, it is the simple divide between one’s personal life and professional endeavors; then, there are sub-categories of complicated spectrums, where criminal activity is pigeonholed from a daytime semblance of respectability, or deviant behavior is concealed from one’s reputation and facade of societal refinement.  Those separations make for ease of transition, or used to.

More and more, in modernity, the dividing lines have become obscured; work is performed from home, and personal, more private affairs are discussed and disseminated in the workplace.  The great equalizer of the daily divide is a medical condition.  For, when one leaves one’s home, you cannot leave behind the condition and pursue your professional life untouched; instead, because a medical condition is pervasive, remains with one until cured or kept in control or concealment, the stigma of the condition remains throughout.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it becomes apparent quite quickly as to whether one can maintain the daily divide, to what extent, and whether effectively or not.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service have little room for patience, and less space for empathy or an accommodating outlook (used in a general sense, as opposed to the term of art which “accommodation” implies in the legal field of OPM Disability Retirement).  It becomes apparent quite quickly that the daily divide — of separating one’s personal life from the pursuit of professional endeavors — cannot be maintained, and it is time to divide the daily divide by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Life is rarely a neatly-packaged ordeal, and the many years that we were able to fool ourselves into thinking that the daily divide would allow for an undisturbed bifurcation between the two universes, reveals the fragile nature of our own creations of artifices that remain shaky in their very foundations.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is often the approach of a pragmatist; the divide between one’s professional endeavors and one’s personal life was never anything but a cognitive dualism concocted by clever cheats; life was, and remains, the bundle of complexities entangled in the web of unpredictable mysteries, as is the human being.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire