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


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The centrality of fringe

In whatever definition one wants to adopt, the meaning is clear:  It is that which is on the outer periphery, and not central to the essence recognized.  But what if the reversal occurs?  Can that even be imagined?  Can the fringe constitute a substantive centrality, and yet retain the stability of its essence?  And, once the mirror conversion occurs, does the identification remain as it was, or do we accept the fringe elements as the convention, and the formerly known staid components as outside the normative foundations of an acceptable core?   Can that which was once considered unacceptable, metamorphose over a sufficiently quantitative linear heritage to the extent that the bizarre can become the best and brightest?

In Darwinian evolutionary hypotheses, the concept of a sudden mutation occurring as a result of environmental pressures forcing an alteration for the benefit of the organism’s survival, is often rejected because, as a general rule, nature does not favor large-scale transformations, unless there is a concurrent catastrophic need arising with little time for adaptation.  Yes, in cultural transformations, where artifice of choosing may occur by the quiet assent of a silent majority, the fringe elements may dominate by sheer vocal exuberance in drowning out any meek protest by will of volume.

Most people want quiet lives uninterrupted by forced decay of choosing; the sheep follow in drones of silent consent, if only because each can see only the limited perspective of the backside inches before, and stoppage of movement would mean being accosted in the rear by another follower of mindless assent, where discomfort is the greater evil in comparison to refusing to take another step.

At what point does an insignificant minority take upon an appearance of greater dominance, where the cacophony of shrill voices exceeds the disproportionate echo of seamless quietude, and we simply give in because the comfort zone of silence is shattered by the discomfort of resistance?  Those threads which flow freely – the ones which give an added “touch” to a piece of clothing, the Persian rug or the shawl which warms; what distinguishes that from a frayed mind, a singed material where residue of ashen leftovers appear as dangling limbs from a cauldron of confusion?

At some point, each of us becomes mere fringe elements, despite our best attempts at remaining relevant.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has cast the Federal or Postal employee into that pot of “otherness” because of an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job – it is time to do something about having been re-categorized as a “fringe” element.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the only way in which to cross back over into the essence of what it means to be central to the essence of life’s hope, and not allow others to castigate us into being the centrality of fringe, when that is not where you belong in the first place.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle

Dismissing all substantive imperfections, the phrase connotes that which we are left with:  a trope of magnanimous inanity.  The classic scene, of course, if one’s memory serves one well (and, concurrently, if one wants to reveal the generation from whence one came), is where “The Fonz” in the popular but antiquated sitcom, “Happy Days,” enters the bathroom at the local diner, and as he is about to comb back his grease-filled hair, stops, pauses, looks again, then declares with but a barely intelligible word, confirming the picture-perfect reflection of the image in the mirror, affirming that no amount of further effort would improve upon an already self-evident apogee of creation.

There are, of course, numerous excuses in life, some valid, others derived from pure laziness.  Somehow, the linear perspective of historicity makes of us a frozen frame in time.  Whether the line of demarcation is upon graduation from high school, or a community college, or perhaps even upon being awarded a university degree; we think it is acceptable to stop growing, cease learning, pause further development.

Leisure is often the powder-keg which explodes; the essence of human nature as encompassing the character trait of laziness — but what does that really mean?  Does it imply and denote that there is a genetic predisposition to refuse further growth, or merely an observation that, given the bifurcated duality of false alternatives, most of us would choose the easier path with the least amount of resistance?

If the latter, then it is merely a harmless tautology of observation, for it is self-evident that work and toil, as opposed to pleasure and enjoyment, are the lesser models of preference.  Emergencies; crisis; traumatic events; these, of course, constitute an entirely different category, altogether.  And, in a greater context and larger perspective, one could argue that such intersecting and often interrupting life-events in fact spur greater growth and maturity, by the experience of encountering death, tragedy or tumults of great struggle and endurance against odds stacked against one.

Life is full of challenges, and having a medical condition is one of the greatest of all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from continuing in one’s chosen career-path, and where preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessity because of the inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the endeavor to maintain a semblance of balanced perspective will often become a contentious force in and of itself.

It may sometimes seem as if the linear progression of one’s life has come to a stopping point, and that further growth is no longer possible.  Yet, the answer to a dilemma is often the process of the turmoil itself, and further growth and opportunity may be in some future arena yet unseen, after one has won an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity and left the Federal or Postal workforce.

What one doesn’t want to do, is to remain stuck in a situation of stagnation, where all that one can look forward to on a daily basis is to hear a dismissive comment from the guy sitting next to you, who says, “Hey, at least he has a nice hairstyle.”


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


Federal & Postal Employee Medical Separation: The abstract concept of “the other”

Existentialism could only have arisen from the ashes of nihilism; Western Philosophy, spanning the spectrum of metaphysics, epistemology, Rationalism, Empiricism and the tradition of questioning origins, essences and the compendium of who we are and what it all means, does not lead to the natural annihilation of intellectual curiosity.  But Existentialism, does.  Why?  Because Existentialism is an emotional reaction, rather than a rational rebuttal.

From the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the denigration of human dignity reduced to mere abstractions, the philosophy of negation of which it is characterized, is more of a “sense” approach than a logical methodology of comprehension and understanding.  Thus, while traditional philosophy was always denoted by a curiosity towards abstraction, Existentialism was pulled back by a retractive revulsion because of the alienating impact of conceptualization.

That is why the most powerful explication of the philosophy of Existentialism is found in a novel by Camus (reference, The Stranger or The Plague), and not in reading Sartre’s meandering explanation (Being and Nothingness) of a confused attempt to systematize the emotive side of man.  Thus, in reading Camus, one gets the “sense” of abandonment, separation, distance and alienation of man from the community of others; whereas, in reading the traditional philosophical works — take any page from Plato, Aristotle or the Medievals — one enters an universe of order, systematized approach, and methodological rationalization emanating from curiosity and questioning.

The two approaches, however, are not unrelated; for, it is precisely because of the traditional training of discussing concepts in abstract form (and thereby separating the thought-process from human touch and interaction) that disregarding the humanity of a living being could be achieved.  In more provincial terms, it is easier to be cruel to a concept, than to one’s own child or spouse.  And, indeed, that is how we survive in advancing our purposive actions of harassment and sheer meanness; by objectifying “the other”, we can bifurcate our minds and categorize the subject into something less.

Supervisors do it to workers and underlings; no longer is the worker a fellow human being, but “that ## % !!”.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the lessons learned and gleaned from the reactive lens of Existentialism may be twofold:  First, don’t expect sympathy from the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service because you have a medical condition (that, unfortunately, is probably self-evident and a “given” already), and Second, do not expect cooperation or efficiency to suddenly prevail when engaging the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, merely because the need to obtain Federal OPM Disability Retirement should in and of itself touch a sense of empathy.

In neither case will a positive response be evoked.

Ultimately, the bureaucratic process of 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 a surreal experience, and one in which the sense of alienation felt by Existentialism is encountered throughout.  That is because, in the end, the Federal or Postal applicant in a Federal Disability Retirement case is none other than a mere “other”, and no more than an abstraction to be gotten rid of, like the distraction you became when once you were no longer fully productive on the assembly line of life’s refuse of illegitimacy.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Incantations of Modernity

Each generation believes itself to be the pinnacle of knowledge, wisdom, evolutionary apex and sophistication of fashion, open-mindedness and technological brilliance.  All previous generations are either mere residue of antiquity, caught in a dust-bowl of stale sentiment or stuck in a muddle of disproven superstition.  Yet, within the deep psyche of individuals, as opposed to the collective mentality of the herd, there remains wishful soliloquies of incantations marveling at the wonder of hope and fate yet in the hands of gods, gnomes and elven lineage.  “Perhaps, if I do X, then…”; “If I wait long enough, then…”; “Maybe I just didn’t say the right words…”

There is always that sense and belief, despite daily evidence to the contrary, that the objective world remains impassive, that technology is the invention of man’s imagination and fearful inner soul, revealing itself in torturous tumults of hidden consciousness; and yet we hope and wish.  That is what we impart and project upon others, no matter the extent of evil, and in spite of the manifested scorn of others.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that a change must take place in one’s career and plans for the future, this encounter and clash between one’s inner wishful thinking, and the reaction of those around — including coworkers, supervisors, managers, and the collective cold shoulder of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service — is nothing short of devastation to the soul.

Hope extinguished by unwarranted dependency becomes the root of cynicism.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who thought that a sympathetic reaction or an empathetic emblem of responsiveness would be forthcoming when a 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 disappointment felt becomes palpable.

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, often becomes the only alternative remaining.  It is certainly a better pathway to one’s future endeavors, than to wait upon the silence deafening from the incantations of modernity, which fall upon deaf ears to the gods of yesteryear and the dwarfs who have long ago abandoned the hutches of time.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire