Federal Disability Retirement: The Trail of Tears

History is replete with the metaphor of maltreatment; it is the silent graves that cannot speak, anymore, which haunts a nation’s soul.  It is a reminder, of sorts; a way of understanding and revisiting the history and essence of a nation – of the westward expansion and the decimation and systematic thievery against a civilization that was doomed from the start.  But trails soon get overrun by either settlements or city construction; and tears quickly dry up so that the agony of a peoples once felt become a mere memory told in narratives and tales by old men and forgotten women who no longer matter.

Reservations were demarcated and a defeated populace was shuttled into forgotten corners of the world, left to sputter amongst themselves in wallowing memories of defeated battles and violated treaties; and, as modernity replaced the fading residue of an inglorious past, only the diaries and annotations of eyewitnesses maintained a memory of coherent violations otherwise set aside to make room for future time.  Does each one of us, in addition, have a trail of tears?  Do we shed them in the privacy of our scorned thoughts, left to the isolation of our own destroyed lives?

The Medicine Man of yore could not stop the onslaught of that which we deem “progress” and “modernity”; and in the end, it was modern warfare that doomed any resistance to change.  The medical doctor of today, like the appeals of yesteryear to the Great Spirit, can only stem the tide of a progressive and chronic disease; the methodology may have changed, from fasting and foreboding fortunetelling to pharmacological modalities and surgical intervention, but when a diseased body or mind continues to deteriorate despite such intercession, the personal trail of tears follows a parallel course of those we once trampled upon.

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 one’s Federal or Postal position, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There are always historical travesties, as well as personal ones.  In this world where history barely catches the fancy of those who must contend with the tides of an uncaring world, it is the personal trail of tears which is most important to each individual, and not the “grand scheme” of events which we can neither control nor foresee.

History is what it is – acts committed by ancestors, certainly, but ones which most of us could neither control nor protest against.  But that which we can determine – like the destiny of a future for a Federal or Postal worker who must contend with a medical condition that continues to debilitate and constrain – should be accomplished within the confines of the laws which predominate, lest one’s personal trail of tears begins to parallel that of a past now long forgotten.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Understanding

The Master asks one of his two dogs, “Where is ___?”  If the second pet wags her tail, looks quizzically at the owner, then proceeds to go to the far end of the next room and locates the wandering misfit and barks to you that she has found him – do we disbelieve?  If the same question were to be asked of one’s child in reference to a sibling, and the identical result occurs where the first child goes into another room or runs up into the attic and locates the lost soul, would there be any doubt?

Same circumstances, identical behaviors, concurrent results; merely different mammals within the genus of species, and yet we disbelieve because of arrogance and pride of self-worth.  Why is it that we refuse to attribute understanding to non-human entities despite clear evidence to the contrary?  Is language defined by grammatical rules of construction retrospectively applied, and does that constitute a basis for refusing to allow admittance into the colony of intelligence “clubs” of exclusivity we have created based upon rules of comprehension we have paradoxically constructed?

The rules constituting grammatical comprehension and technical application came subsequent to language itself; for, no one believes that Man sat down eons ago and decided to set down rules of linguistic conveyance, upon which the growing population then began to follow.  No, conformity to such constricting paradigms were initiated, instituted and concretized when society recognized that there were differences in parochial intonations, and those who had nothing better to do decided with arrogance and ivory-tower nose-lifting that correct idioms of speech needed to be recognized, applied and adhered to.

And what of animals?  So long as the working paradigm consisted of our self-image as just below the angels and above the burdens of beasts, we refused their eligibility to the elite of elasticity in language and comprehension.  Yet, despite all of the convoluted attempts at avoiding acknowledgment and recognition that “to understand” is nothing more than the behavior following an utterance of speech, the pragmatism of daily life refutes our own methodology of exclusionary conduct.  For, in the end, it is merely the impact of speech upon behavior in a given society, whether that indicates a “human” world or a “dog” universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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 question of “understanding” before “acting” often becomes a vicious circularity resulting in non-action:  The complexity of the legal tangles in Federal Disability Retirement law tends to make the Federal or Postal employee pause; failure to act in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application serves to exacerbate one’s condition, which leads to greater stress and turmoil; non-action results.

The key is to recognize that “understanding” – not even “complete understanding” – is necessary.  Rather, it is often the subsequent initiation of acting following a verbal commitment that is the only real test of understanding.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Examples

What if we never grew up with any?  Is it not by metaphor and analogy that we all escape the citadel of ivory towers and the dangers of glass barriers and unseen traumas?  They tell us that the early years of “imprint” are crucial for stability, development and self-discipline against asocial behaviors; yet, even after the crucial years following the correlation subsequent to the first encounter with the world, and just before the turmoil of puberty and into adulthood, there are indicators that failure of examples to take hold can still be corrected in order to prevent the ghastly concretization of personality misfits, where pathological deviancy may yet be avoided.

Are examples important?  Like paradigms upon which theories are tested, and foundations that gird the architectural integrity of a high rise, they provide the basis and essence of a personality otherwise left to miscreants of changing winds and altering tides.  Tectonic shifts in the undersea of the human soul can bring out the tidal waves of cruelty and conduct unbecoming; parents hope that the midnight call from the sheriff’s office is not a reflection of any apparent failure, or the alluring eyes of guilt and condemnation when asked how the toddler learned it, and the babbling mouth which emits the torrent of shivering fright:  “My parents taught me.”

Yet, negation and trepidation of containment just so that one’s own reputation will not be sullied, are often wanting.  To “not” engage in examples of bad exemplars is merely a negation of purpose, and fails to address the positive requirement of that which an example entails.  For, negation of a positive mandate merely leaves one with a nothingness in a world of meaning where there is a plenitude of bad examples.  Not providing the positive input will merely allow for innocence to be tattered and jostled; for, where there is a vacuum, the desire to fill and load will come from influences unwanted and unwelcomed.

In a society where there is no mechanism for generational transfer of wisdom, the young are at the mercy of the whims of those who lurk in corners of bestiality and congregations of cultish canopies; there is no such thing as innocence, anymore – just stupidity clothed as symbols to be desecrated.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management “for the first time”  — how often is there a subsequent event?  — Such an act of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is always Act I, Scene I of the end of one’s Federal or Postal career.  As it occurs in the first introduction to one’s life-play, there are no “examples” to follow; except, perhaps, to consult with an attorney who is experienced in matters of Federal Disability Retirement law.

As such, where there is failure of a newborn’s imprint, and no paradigms of prodigies to follow, the effective preparation in a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, may well be in seeking the advice and counsel of an example set by a person who has previously avoided the pitfalls and obstacles of such a complex administrative and bureaucratic endeavor.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire