Legal Representation on FERS/CSRS Disability Claims: What isn’t known

There is often that final question during a consultation — of “any other advice” that can be given, or whether something else was forgotten, or the generalization of “Anything else I should know?”  That is where the particulars of a case must be known, and the wide chasm that exists between “being a client” and merely receiving an initial overview of a person’s case.  For, what isn’t known is often the element that can harm or injure, and the question asked but left unanswered is the one that no one thought about but should have.

Lawyers like to enter an arena of legal battles well-prepared; all questions asked, normally already are presumptively answered, and no lawyer worthy of his opponent asks a question that he or she already doesn’t know the answer to, or at least has a fairly good idea about.  In a Federal Disability Retirement case, where there are multiple stages of an Administrative Process to tackle and prepare for, the First Key to success is to not submit that which will be harmful to one’s case.

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal workers in preparing, formulating and filing 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, the primary issue is obviously upon the medical report and records to be submitted; followed by the legal arguments to be presented and established, normally through an extensive Legal memorandum, which provides a kind of “road map” for the assigned OPM Specialist to review and (hopefully) become persuaded as to the validity, incontrovertible legal basis, and the substantive qualification of the Federal or Postal employee in meeting all of the legal criteria in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

For the Federal or Postal employee who attempts this complex Administrative Process without legal representation, the obstacles, pitfalls and potential hazards are many, and it is often what isn’t known that defeats a Federal Disability Retirement case.

Sure, there are cases where the presented facts, medical conditions and evidence constitute an undeniable, “slam-dunk” case, but those are few and far between, and we can all recognize such cases and a competent attorney would normally advise such individuals to go ahead and complete the Standard Forms, attach some relevant medical documentation and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

Then, of course, there are cases on the far side of the spectrum that constitute a “weak” or otherwise invalid case, and those, too, are easily recognizable.  Most cases, however, fall in the middle, within the spectrum where one must affirmatively and by a preponderance of the evidence “prove” one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  And for all such cases that fall in that “middle” area of the wide spectrum, what isn’t known is the lynchpin that must be identified and prepared for further assessment and formulation, whether by addressing it in a medical document or reinforcing it by legal argumentation.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The retirement itch

It normally doesn’t come until late in life; of that picturesque paradigm of the old man sitting in a rocking chair beside a crackling fire, a dog or cat, perhaps, on the floor just beside, reading a novel or looking through a picture album; where is Norman Rockwell, and is he still relevant?

In modernity and more recently, the picture depicted is of the old couple, or in solitary state of affairs, climbing the mountains in the Himalayas or traveling to exotic lands beyond; for, the advertising agents have figured out that if old people sit around in rocking chairs, mutual funds merely sit idly in accounts without becoming subject to trading fees and other expenses, and it is best to alter the mindset for future sources of income rather than to allow for stagnation to determine the course of a past.

Is that too cynical a view to posit?  Of course, events outside of one’s control will often determine whether or not activity in old age can be embraced, or will a more placid, sedentary lifestyle consume one’s retirement?

The “retirement itch” is one that often comes late in life, after a lifetime of toil, strain, stresses and “dealing with” problems.  Is “retirement” a concept that developed only in the last and present centuries?  Did not most people just work and work and work until one “died in one’s boots” – the proverbial preference of most people who have been productive all of their lives?

Then, of course, a medical condition can cut short and impose an early retirement upon a person – and that is what Federal Disability Retirement allows for, 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.

It is that lack of a “retirement itch” that often makes the Federal or Postal employee pause; for, he or she is simply “not ready” to file for Federal Disability Retirement.

Yet, it is not any “retirement itch” or longing to rest and relax that leads one to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Rather, it is the recognition that there are more important things to prioritize in life besides one’s work and career – such as one’s health.

It may well be that you are too young to have any sense of a “retirement itch”; but that sensation may be lost forever unless you focus upon your health and well-being, such that you will live long enough to scratch that itch that tells you that tomorrow may yet bring a brighter hope for a future yet untold.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: The key

It is both a tool of utility in order to gain entrance and accessibility to an otherwise abrupt encounter with an obstacle barring further forward progress, as well as a well-worn metaphor appropriately applied to miracles, magic and moments of mandatory martyrdom.  It is a wonder that a slight defect in the metallic shaving of the implement can allow for the turning of it, and opening into the entranceway, but for that additional indentation; or of a barcode smudged which refuses to make an allowance.  In either case, whether as a physical tool or an electronic pass embedded in the plastic sheen of society’s muse, what it opens is the foundation for its very existence.

Accessibility is the key, or so we are told; and the key, well, that is what must be sought, earned or otherwise stolen by stealth or whatever other means of perpetuity engaged in order to embrace the incantations of eternal youth.  It is that mythological “fountain of youth”, after all, which we seek; and the key to gain entrance into the club of rubbing elbows can only be obtained by smarts, good looks and intellectual prowess.

Time was that we were all sold on the idea that education and hard work was the “key” to success; but then, it turns out that the system itself was somehow unfair and weighted in favor of one class or group over another, and so the tinkering began, to right wrongs which otherwise wrongfully righted past and historical wrongs, by asserting rights previously unknown to have existed, but which now could be miraculously discovered in the subtext of originalism where intentionality could be denoted through greater concentration and willpower to discern.

The greater key, then, became who you know, what levers of power could be pulled, and the insider trading of such greater knowledge, while all the time throwing breadcrumbs to the greater masses in order to appease the rumblings of starvation times yet to arrive.

It is always a key of which we seek; whether by force, by protest, by assertion of rights unearned; and when we lose them, we scream with frustration at the unfairness of the gods of fate whom we turn to only when destiny denies the promised predetermination of an outcome-based society lost forever in the hollow utterances of vote-getters, who also seek the public arena of keys revealed in goodie-bags dispensed with public funds.  For, when doors close and open by devices of mysterious barcodes, the suspicion that something else is going on behind such closure and obstacles to accessibility somehow reverberates with a truth left undeniable.

The truth is, there is no single “key” to life’s puzzles or perennial questions remaining without answers; life itself is too wide an expanse, too great a concept, and too generalized a thought to allow for a device to insert into an emptiness of soul in order to turn and open for a final solution to a door otherwise unopened but by those who expend the greater effort.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who seek the “key” to questions unanswered in 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, there is no “master key” to uncover in order to understand the complex administrative process in such a greater bureaucratic morass.

Instead, the fundamental key to first determine is to prove that the medical condition suffered by the Federal or Postal employee prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  From there, the unlocking of inaccessibility will be determined by the key of legal criteria, opened only by those who possess the barcode of cogent argumentation upon uncovering the keyhole allowing for a nexus between the medical condition and the legal penumbras of technical application.  And, like all keys, it is that extra little shaving and indentation which will allow for accessibility, and turn the tides of a life otherwise barred.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Medical Retirement Benefits: The Diary

Many begin the process at an early age, then abandon it with little remorse or afterthought, as a worthless project discarded for want of inherent value; and when, years and even decades later, it is discovered behind a bureau or a secret cubbyhole where trinkets and memorabilia retaining an eternal aura of privately precious remembrances are stored away, we shriek with joy as if the lottery had been won, a proposal has been declared, or a camouflaged vault containing the mysteries of gemstones and valuable cadavers had been pried open with but the wishes of gold pots at the end of a rainbow.

Then, as we turn the pages and delight in the innocence of bygone days, we regret that early abandonment turned away the gleeful idealism of a youth now a stranger, a mind intimately once known, but somehow forever a mirrored reflection of an identity of the same historicity in time and element, but yet in a parallel universe now non-existent but for memories kept securely in the destined vault of youthful summers.

Blank pages which abruptly reveal the terminal secrecy of thoughts and activities recorded once as sacred incantations of mysteries foreboding; whether of loves begotten or turmoils annotated in cloaked tears when others had retreated to the privacy of a house appearing in mirth, but ignoring the secret lives even in the midst of intimacy; now from the perspective of wisdom and maturity, do we laugh, or yearn for that innocence lost and the extinguished glow of naive eyes now dim with the experience of calloused beatings?

In more recent times, of course, we are told that one can actually lie to one’s self in a diary; but our own experiences tell us with greater certainty than the world can accord, that the tattered pages of bygone memories reveal truth as never before declared, and moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than the self-confessions of a heart once pure, only to be consecrated into the malignancy of a world which cares little.

It is, indeed, that transition from writing to the imaginary character of one’s own creation, to the intermediate level of testing the waters of reality, then to be pushed into the manifold chaos of the greater world, that constitutes the sin of destroying the human soul.  But that we could turn back the hands of time and reenter the hallways of innocence; but, no, that would mean that the womb of our essence would be revisited, and the soil of our own impurity would desecrate the purity of those precious memories we safely tucked away.  Then, one day, we open our eyes and we have “grown up”; and nowhere is there any room for such foolishness as hearts which once poured out for yearning of innocence betrayed.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer the inequities of workplace hostility, harassment — no, let’s just use the singular word which is simple, outdated, but still relevant — “meanness“, as in the child who has just had enough, screws up his face and cries out, “You are just plain mean!” — know of the experiential desecration of humanity, when a medical condition becomes revealed, and others who were perhaps identified “friends” and coworkers suddenly turn the proverbial “cold shoulder” upon the vulnerability opened, as a wound wrapped but now exposed.

Filing 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 not unlike the youthful abandonment of the innocent diarist from bygone days.  For, like that abandoned project scoffed at for want of perseverance or perhaps plain boredom, it is the treasure found at the end of the process which resuscitates the goals once considered and the future to be embraced; and, in the end, there is a difference between regret for a childhood forever gone, and a later stage now delivered, but where broken promises are ignored with a twinkle of a child’s forlorn gaze.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The loss of linguistic efficacy

If words are to have meaning, then the care in using them must be protected.  It is, of course, the conditional which must be accepted as true, in order for the contingency to be acted upon.  In a society where populism prevails, and in accepting a false sense of what “democracy” and “equality” have come to mean, the suffering consequences of a nation’s language becomes destroyed in subtle tones of disengagement.  Words lose their efficacy by multiple methods: overuse; misuse; refusal to allow for an expected impact to occur; or non-use by neglect and disregard.

Are there negative consequences for the loss of linguistic efficacy?  Or, perhaps such concerns are merely esoteric turmoils relegated to the intellectual temper tantrums reserved in ivory towers, and not of any significance or relevance to the greater population at large?  The English of Shakespeare is certainly not the mother tongue of modernity, and the volume of utterances fail to replace the lack of cogency in today’s discourse.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who intend to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the care in the selection and positing of words is important, despite the loss of such status and stature of their force and effect in general.  To prepare an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application — one which is both persuasive, as well as “true” — requires the careful crafting of a cogent compilation of multiple narratives, appealing to logic, factual coherence, and force of comprehension.  It must defy that which we see in today’s society — of the loss of linguistic efficacy.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Service: Profiles in Discourage

It is, of course, an obvious play off of the 1957 Pulitzer Prize winning work (publication date of 1955), describing 8 U.S. Senators who displayed courage in the face of criticism (an inherent oxymoron?).  Whether or not, and to what extent, Kennedy himself wrote the work (Ted Sorenson, John F.’s speechwriter, finally conceded in his 2008 autobiography as much) has become historically irrelevant, for the legend has become the man, and has replaced the truth of clear lines that once constituted the demarcation between fantasy and reality.

Ancient references to “Camelot” and metaphors about some obscure “torch” being passed through a generational transfer of linguistic fluff, have all cumulatively obscured the stark nakedness of that which makes people and events accountable.  The irony of real life always goes well beyond any fictional attempt to deceive; at least, by designation ascribed, we know what to expect of the latter; but then, there wouldn’t be anything like irony without the absurdity of the former.

Look at the recent allegations of the murky money-trail from Malaysia as the source of funding for the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; how much more deliciously ironic can it get, where a movie depicting blatant corruption is paid for by the very manner in which the moguls of Hollywood are allegedly attempting to make a point about?  What prompted the short-cutting which undermines the title of the work credited to the 35th President?  Is it merely the old adage that the “ends justify the means” — and that not writing a work but claiming its authorship is allowable because the greater good of fame and the road to the presidency will account for such deception?

It is, in the end, the title itself which makes for the irony; for, in a work which describes the integrity and character traits of the subjects within, it is precisely the lack of such which presumes a contradiction without.  And that is the connection with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers of today — for the entities which employ them represent the “official” face of this country, and yet the way they treat Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers when Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, reflects upon a discernible and palpable profile in discouragement (the suffix is added to make the sentence grammatically correct, although poetic license has been taken in the caption of this blog with the title, “Profiles in Discourage” in order to remain consistent with its alter-ego of the work by JFK and Sorenson).

One could argue, of course, that because there is the statutory right of all Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers 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, therefore any maltreatment or mistreatment of a Federal or Postal worker based upon the medical condition becomes a moot issue.

But that is precisely the point — treatment of the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker in the process of engaging the long and arduous bureaucratic process of filing an OPM Disability Retirement application, should reflect an integrity of cover-to-content.  For, in the end, it is not the cover, nor the first impression which matters, but like the historical characters which are insightfully described in the book itself, the title should always match its claimed authorship.  But, then, of course, we would be left without the delicious irony of man’s daily folly.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Separation from Federal Government Employment: The uncommon denominator

Why is it that the common denominator is always represented by the basest of related factors?  The answer is simple, of course, and a tautology of sorts; for, that which is uncommon, by definition, constitutes a rare and prized feature, and through sheer economic application of supply and demand, the latter is heightened when the former is scarce.

Thus, in issues of character and human essences, the core of an individual is represented by the base elements of evolutionary Darwinism, and would therefore constitute the most simplistic of instinctive drives; whereas culture, refinement and societal structures are developed beyond the commonality of base factors.

Rousseau could be said to disagree with such a perspective, as his romanticized postulate of man’s vaunted “state of nature” reflected a penultimate, idealized condition of peaceful coexistence; but as no one has yet discovered an actual sociological enclave where such existence of sympathetic amplitude resides, it is doubtful that such defiance of the general view of man’s iniquitous soul provides the greater factor for an uncommon denominator.

For most, then, it is that which we share with all others; and, indeed, the element which interrelates everyone, is that which we publicly declare to abhor, but summarily engage in within the confines of law, societal mores, and acceptable norms of behavior. Except, of course, when the weakest of victims display the wounds of life, and the predators circle and abound like vultures encircling high above in the wind streams of timeless watchfulness, waiting upon a crumbling civilization as the decay of flesh and dying carcasses fume in the heat of the midday sun.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the feeling of the common denominator; it is often that factor which brings everyone together in a semblance of denoted behaviors.  And it is precisely the uncommon factor which brings about the circling birds of prey; for, the Federal or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition is “different”, and therefore steps outside of the perimeter of commonality; and that which is separated and isolated becomes the focus of the threatening predator.

Filing 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, makes the Federal or Postal employee an uncommon denominator, and thus the target of baseness precisely because such a person has become the anomaly.

Evolutionary Darwinism requires the killing off of DNA structures which threaten the whole; and for the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, preparing and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM constitutes the uncommon denominator for a future set for tomorrow, beyond the pale of those predators of antiquity whose self-extinguishment is bound by the fate of a shrinking pool of genetic predisposition.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire