OPM Medical Retirement: Between balance and perspective

Between the two is a chasm often unnoticed, where the preface to either and both may be a skewed outlook or a myopic view of an issue, a trope of a trolley of hardships gone uncontrollably berserk; and once a person “gets over” the emotional turmoil of a reaction steeped in feelings, sensibilities and angst, then a certain condemnation of “balance” may arise, which then allows for a different “perspective” to develop.

Balance is often thought to come after perspective, as if the former is the more important conclusion to arrive at, whereas the latter is merely likened to the prefatory problems encountered to begin with.  But balance merely provides the spectrum; the weights at each end may now allow for a proper judgment and determination, but only as to the quantitative bunching of problems to be faced.

Perspective, on the other hand, allows one to take a step back and review the qualitative potentialities of a consortium of issues otherwise unavailable without the weighing of all issues simultaneously, to be evaluated, analyzed and judged upon.

It is that pause and moment between the two, however, that allows for the former to result in the productivity of the latter, and without that split, abbreviation and semicolon of reality, we may jump from the proverbial frying pain into the fires of our own making.  For, we like to think of ourselves as “rational” (whatever that means) and imbued with a capacity to view things in a “balanced” way, thus allowing a reasoned “perspective” upon all matters of importance.

In the end, however, do we ever follow the advice of sages long past, dead anyway, and suspected of gross negligence by the incomprehensible garnishment of society’s lack of empathy and understanding?

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suddenly, or over a period of time, suffers 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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue is often one of balance and perspective – how do I make a “right” decision that balances all of the issues involved?  And what is the “proper” perspective to arrive at, given all of the jumble of issues – whether legal, real, imagined or feared?

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important decision to make from any perspective, and in order to arrive at a “balanced” judgment on the matter, the Federal or Postal employee needs to allow for that pause between balance and perspective to include a third-party voice to intervene and provide some advice; the only question is, will that comma or semicolon that allows for soundness of judgment be from a friend or cousin who may not have a clue, or from an experienced attorney who may be able to fill in the gap between the balanced perspective in making a proper decision?


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of consideration and comity

The singular identifiable factor that destroys is the very reflection which elevates; for, it is power which undermines the source of comity.  With it is accompanied the shedding of a need for appearances; that which genuinely festers beneath the surface can bubble up into the tyrant which we all can become, and of that which we suppress and repress throughout our miserable lives.

Why does “winning the lottery”, in whatever proverbial form that can take, destroy lives, divide marriages and deconstruct lifelong friendships?  How often does a promotion crumble the fragile structures of co-working symbiotic relationships within an organization?   When has empowerments resulted in the disseminated good of the organic whole?

An appearance of comity within a societal structure can endure for a time, given conventions which protect, preserve and punish; but the tendency of consideration will crumble when the normative constraints collide with freedom and forgetting; and, in modernity, where self-expression trumps the towering temperament of talking tantrums, any semblance of putting forth an appearance of comity and consideration can quickly evaporate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who often ask the question, When should I inform the agency (or the Postal Service)? — the general answer given is:  Only when there is a compelling reason to do so.  For, when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the urgency of a need to inform should be proportionately weighed against the likelihood of the disintegration of any prior structure of consideration and comity shown in the past.

Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are bureaucratic structures of power centers; while the symbiosis of a working relationship with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service may have served well both the worker and the organization in past terms, once it becomes known to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service that the Federal or Postal worker is about to file a Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately to be received by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is likely that the fragile structures of consideration and comity will quickly and decisively deteriorate and deconstruct.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: The Soliloquy

For the stage actor, it is the consummate moment of the trade — the opportunity to reveal the depth of character before an audience whose attention is monolithically focused upon the singular pinnacle of highlighted speech.

Shakespeare’s monologues of anguish and despair, of the most private of thoughts spoken through an accepted device of artistic asides which allows for the viewing public to listen in on reasonings otherwise hidden but for conversations with others or the ravings and rantings of the fool who sputters.  Yet, how reflective of true life such moments are, of the soliloquy which we engage but in the quietude of unspoken words.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer in silence because of the medical condition which is revealed, or hidden but painfully debilitating for fear of supervisors, managers or coworkers suspected of unwarranted viciousness of behavior, the unspoken thoughts and processes of rational discourse within should ultimately be bounced as against expertise and guidance for one’s future.

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 indeed a lonely endeavor and reaches into multiple issues which are the most private and intimate of details — one’s medical condition; the impact of the medical condition upon the Federal or Postal employee’s personal and professional life; and, as well, the fears, hopes and concerns emanating from the loss of career, income and financial stability.

Having a medical condition such that the medical condition impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, possesses indications of a spectrum between calm acceptance and calamity of livelihood.

That being said, the pragmatic steps to be taken must be fully considered, and preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM is one path upon which to seek advice and wise counsel.  For, remember that the artistic device in a soliloquy requires that the hearing audience remain silent, and not reach out to the performer on stage to interrupt, disagree or engage; yet, in hearing the actor reveal the most private of inner thoughts, it is precisely the failure of considering other options never offered or heard, which results in the disastrous outcome of the proportion constituting a Shakespearean tragedy.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire