OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: Sunshine, briefly

Life is mostly dark clouds, with a ray of sunshine briefly upon a small patch of wet grass.  Yes, yes – such a perspective is a mirror reflection of the conflict between the “half-full” versus “half-empty” outlook; but is it helpful for young people to posit a world view, a paradigm or, in the philosophical realm of ivory towers, that king of all royalties in linguistic sophistication that is dropped nonchalantly to impress and raise eyebrows –  Weltanschauung (since when did a German word rise to the level and replace Latin phrases, when one can barely clear one’s throat in enunciating such concepts?) – when reality doesn’t quite parallel such a fairytale ga-ga-land of fantasy reserved for bedtime stories and dream-filled comforts?

Do we not restrain children from engaging strangers?  Do we not warn of criminals, conmen and conspirators and step cautiously into dark alleys and isolated parks in twilight’s eyesight because the world lurks with malevolent intentions and evil thoughts?

There is no questions, of course, that there are periods of respite; of sunshine, briefly, by rays of telescopic precision warming for a time, before the inevitable clouds rub out the finite orientation of a limited gap emitting brightness of hope.  Is balance the stain of righteousness, and if so, where on the spectrum of both extremes does one draw the line of correctness, and is there a singularly myopic perspective where no other can claim moral equivalency?

Cynicism is attributable to the extreme of the “dark clouds” perspective, and naïve idealism to the other end of limitless sunshine; and somewhere in the middle is where reality protrudes into the conceptual realms of unease:  daily living, the encounters with meanness, harassment and unmitigated callousness that must endure the diminishing dereliction of youth’s untarnished cavity of hope.

It is, in the end, that ray of sunshine, however brief, that we live for, even if it only comes about once in a proverbial blue moon.  It is likened to the 80/20 rule:  Eighty percent of people you meet are not worthy of your time; it is the other 20% that you hope to encounter and engage; the identical proportion applies with work – much of it is monotonous and mindless repetition; it is for that remaining sliver that you do the treadmill stuff in order to apply the relishing technicality of challenging concerns.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the idea of life’s sunshine, however briefly, is precisely the point, isn’t it?

The medical condition that shortens one’s promising career is but the dark clouds which have gathered and overcast upon your life, career and ability and capacity to enjoy; Federal Disability Retirement – thought as “negative” in the sense that it replaces that which you worked so hard to attain – is that sunshine, briefly, so that you can go out with an annuity, a semblance of security, and focus upon the priorities of life:  Health, family, friends and tranquility.

Now, if that is not sunshine, however briefly, no one can fathom what is.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



OPM Disability Retirement: Urban decay and the relevance of rye

There is a reason why phoniness cannot survive or endure for long on a farm, as opposed to the urban decay of mass population centers; the animals won’t stand for it, and there is no one to be pretentious for, when hard work, sweat and toil replaces the incessant striving for acceptance, consumption and coercive condescensions.  It is not an accident that Caulfield spends his time in the decay of urban life, amongst people who display a duality of faces and concealed motives, while all the time dreaming of an imaginary existence in a field of rye, catching all of the children who may run astray in the innocence of their blinded youth.

It is because the pastoral settings of American lore have always had a fascination of timeless yearning; as only a few generations ago saw the destruction of most of human existence, before the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the desertion from rural countryside and mass migration from bank foreclosures and independence wrought and molded from self-sufficient living, so the age of modernity witnesses what the aggregation and amalgam of mass population intersection does to the soul of the individual.

Like the composite alloy which fails to fuse, the dental fillings crumble with time and decay by sheer inability to blend; the only means of survival is to pretend that all is well, that the ivory towers built, the emperor’s clothes which fail to fit, and the harmful toxicity which destroys — they all work, except behind closed doors in cubbyholes of private thoughts when the night no longer conceals and the truth of ugliness pushes to the forefront.

On a farm, or in the fields of rye where the crops must thrive and children may run in the innocence of their unpretentious exuberance, only the silent stares of barnyard animals look for judgment of purpose, and as pretending never gets the work done, so the need to put on a face of concealment does nothing but waste time and needless effort.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who witnesses the daily bifurcation between truth and reality, sincerity and concealed hostility, it is the openness of a medical condition which often breaks down the barriers of pretentiousness.  Suddenly, you become the target of meanness unspoken, of harassment barely veiled, and small-mindedness partially concealed.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, looked upon this way, is really no big deal when contrasted to what has occurred just before the act of filing; for, the sores which erupted and the boils that ruptured, were already seething beneath a mere veneer of civility, and the actual submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application is to bring out the obvious.

Whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the act of filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application —  first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s own agency if the Federal or Postal employee is not separated from Federal Service or the U.S. Postal Service, or even if separated, for not more than 31 days; otherwise, if separated for 31 days or more, but less than 1 year, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — is to merely unveil the phoniness of niceties and civility engendered, but now to openly see whether the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service will remain true to its promise of non-discriminatory treatment of a Federal or Postal employee with an identified medical disability.

And like the job of the catcher in the rye who stands guard for those wayward children innocently running through the fields, oblivious of the lurking dangers just beyond in the urban decay of unconstrained emptiness, it is the lawyer who admonishes with the laws to enforce, which often prevents the weakness of the nets that fail to catch that heavy tumble over the cliff of a bureaucratic abyss.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Wear of Medical Conditions

Some words have constrained, limiting and restricted meanings, available only in esoteric whispers of academic thunderings; others, of common and every day usage, but through monotony of repetition and sheer ordinariness, loses any luster of royal patronage; and yet others, because of the expansive and varied contextual applications, can be applicable afresh, when needs require service of exposure.

One can “wear” clothing; “wear” glasses or a smile; or pass the time tediously, as in, “The minutes wore onward with a tired sense of sadness”.  The word applies also when a person or object begins to diminish, to fatigue, or to slowly fade.  Medical conditions tend to do that, like worn furniture in a house dilapidated by time, where the tiredness of untempered souls and toils of life’s encounters begin to tear at the timeless tokens of tapestries, and one begins to give in to fatefulness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who wear the face of normalcy, but who must contend not only with an underlying medical condition, as well as the hostility of a workplace and a world which grants no empathy, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often seen as a surrender of sorts, a wearing of the proverbial white flag, and an admission and acknowledgment that time has worn the welcome of a bright future.

The wear of medical conditions indeed warrants a respite from the world of turmoil, and a more positive outlook is to simply grant the world its due, and instead to realize that filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is merely to access an employment benefit which is merely part of the larger employment compensation package signed on to at the beginning of one’s Federal or Postal career, and in accessing the benefit, as nothing more than to assert what is available.

To contend with the wear of a medical condition is a weary challenge; to wear one’s welcome is to withstand unnecessarily.  Wisdom is to recognize one’s time and to wear the wisdom of time when welcomes wither.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Medical Retirement: Of Vultures Riding the Currents of Time

Watch the vultures float the currents of time, gliding high above, awaiting a trail of destruction behind.  Universally, across the globe, they have similar outward appearances; with wide wingspans for the ability to soar and patiently await high above, watchful for death and decay to progressively come to fruition.  Is it the scent of decay, or the fading gaze of death which attracts?  Or, perhaps, weakness and state of debilitation has a natural aura which draws?

The weak among us becomes a magnet for prey; the scavengers of time become the savagery of timelessness.  Despite our declaration for civility and sophistication, the brute essence of man comes to the fore when elements of weakness manifest. Sympathy and empathy constitute window dressings for civilization’s social contract; a concession to effeminate yearnings voice that of the spectacled class.

Look at the brutality of Federal agencies when once a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker announces an intent to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Suddenly, the skies are filled with gliding wingspans of watchfulness.  No one seemed to care before; now, the sunlight is blocked by widespread fans of feathery flurries.

Federal Disability Retirement is a rightful benefit which can be asserted by any and all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum of Federal Service (18 months for those under FERS; 5 years for those under CSRS).  But as with every contingency in life, there are residual consequences in filing for a benefit, and such resulting ends will often involve the hostility of the Federal agency, the sudden shying away by one’s coworkers, and a subtle (or not so hidden) loss of camaraderie among peers and supervisors.

But what are the choices? For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the path to escaping the slow and progressive deterioration of one’s health condition.

That the vultures may circle during the wait, may be an inevitable consequence; what one wants to prevent, however, is for such creatures to land and begin the pecking process of maggot-laden flesh.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Be Wary of the Non-Substantive

The evolution of words, their meanings, the subtle connotations and implications gained or lost over time — these are all of interest, if only because they reflect changes to society, often in tumultuous ways, as earthquakes which shatter and create fissures within human normative designs, and in the midst of the rubble, a sense of loss and shattering beyond the mere tragedy of linguistic ruins.

In Aristotle’s time, the term “substance” had a specific meaning; and any superficial reading of Plato and his concerns involving appearance versus reality, the mysterious substratum which follows upon the continuity of what we see, what we suspect to remain unrevealed beneath the surface of visual phenomena; and, indeed, the history of philosophy is a dialogue of content verses context, from Descartes’ search for certitude rendering the entirety of Philosophy impotent by turning inward towards the self; of Kant’s consolation of such self-immolation by bifurcating the universe into a known and unknowable void; and into the modern realm of Deconstructionism, post modernity, Derrida’s meanderings, and the modern hermeneutics of non-religious definition of truth, reality and the condition of man.

Within that greater context, we are left with the devastation of a simple truth:  The essence of man rarely changes; we merely make way for new window dressings.  But through it all, we must always be wary of the non-substantive, and harken back to Aristotle’s concerns; that which we create and leave behind, we want to ensure that it survives with some rock-gut matter that makes a difference and actually matters.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are suffering from a condition, such that the medical condition impacts the capacity of the Federal or Postal worker to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal job, it is often that sense of loss, the discontinuity of what they were accomplishing, and the “leaving behind” of unfinished business, which pulls them from filing for what needs to be filed.

We like to finish what we began.  We want to leave a legacy, a memory of who we are, what we were, where we ended and how we got there.  The unfinished fabric of unwoven material leaves a fluff of scattered cotton fibers scattered for the winds of time to disperse.

For the Federal and Postal worker who has dedicated his or her life to a career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, leaving is a trauma upon a trauma of medical conditions.  But the Federal and Postal worker must always remember, that the substantive course of life must always begin with the impetus of self-motivation, and within the shark-infested waters of the undersea in lands and foreign worlds where human calamity coalesce, the self-preservation of one’s health must begin first, and only then can one step forward into the universe of the next career, the next life, the follow-up inning of future legacies.

Taking care of one’s self by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the move of wisdom if one is to secure a future of accomplishment and actualization of any remaining potentiality.  We all have reasons for not doing something.  Be wary of the non-substantive.  Focus always upon the true meaning of who we are, what we have become, and where we are going.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: To Lose a Kite

It is that loss of innocence; of a childhood cut and let go, a bifurcation of sorts, where the fluttering tail fades into the misty distance of time past, eternity unfulfilled, and the present moment shattered by a loss not valued by economic standards, but by the negation of that which was, will never be again, and won’t be coming back. The loss of anything is valued by the attachment of human passion, the trembling fear of future consequences known and yet to be determined, and the expectation of a hope left as a residue of hard work and toil.

Do we remember that loss of a kite, at a critical moment in time when the champion of winds clapped and cheered as we controlled the destiny of an artifice so flimsy in manufactured quality and yet defying the aerodynamic laws of the greater universe?  Neither the Law of Newtonian physics nor the quantum theories compromising Einstein’s theoretical constructs could defy the persistence of levitational determination, coupled with a coil of thread in the stubby little hands of a child, with but a tug and a pull; and then, suddenly, it was gone.

Is not the future of an adult like that fleeting moment? What a qualitative difference a day may make; when once free of pain, then to experience the excruciating agony of debilitating onset; or where rationality and promise set the course for future happiness, only to be overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Life is tough; but when a medical condition intervenes and tears apart the very fabric of living, that compromised life becomes almost an unbearable mesh of a twisted cathartic of impenetrable jungles of psychological, physical and emotional turmoils. For many, there is no escape, and that snap of a thin reed which left the child’s hand empty of promise, is all that remains.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have the minimum years of service under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is often the best — if not the only — recourse out of a madness undeterred. Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees as part of one’s compensation package, and allows a person to stop working, receive what amounts to a lifetime annuity, while accruing more years in building towards a final retirement converted from disability retirement to regular retirement at age 62; and all the while, to live upon that rehabilitative plateau in order to attend to one’s health and well-being.

For, when a Federal or Postal worker is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the choices become stark and limited: To continue in pain and agony; to walk away with nothing to show for one’s efforts and toil; or to file for Federal Disability benefits.

It is like the child who once felt the pleasure of life through the flight of a kite, only to experience the tenuous reed of promise when the snap of the thread leaves the twirling object uncontrolled and uncontrollable, left to the nuances of turmoil and trauma; but to move on is to forge a different path, with the echoes of regret howling in the memories of our childhood consciousness, never to be regained but for a semblance of fated warmth.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset: To Fly a Kite

It is the epitome of a pleasurable moment, of engaging a mindless activity which spurs thought; and so to fly a kite is to soar with winds beyond our reach.  Does a life lived vicariously live life lifelessly?  As the flapping breeze at heights unreachable carries it airborne with but a thread to preclude its sudden spiraling away and into an abyss of telephone wires, treetops and treacherous heights of threatening snags, it is that hand which holds steady the coil of connection which controls length, movement, and steadiness of stability.

How tenuous is the reed of life?  When once youth masked the viscosity of existence, where mortality seemed but a yarn of empty rocking chairs and tall tells in the shadows of the flickering embers of a warm fireplace; and how the tenacity we maintained with vigor and vitality concealed those fears we harbored as we set about to conquer the challenges of an uncertain world; but when the fanfare subsided, and the promises of unspoken ceremonies fell silent before the finish line, the realization that life is but a short span of eternity where worth and value can be embraced only by measuring the momentary warmth of a hug or holding a gaze with a loved one for a millisecond beyond the practical, then does one finally achieve a balance of peace in a universe of turmoil.

The holidays tend to bring such realizations to the fore; so do medical conditions and their impact upon body, mind and soul.  If by “soul” we attribute, just for a moment, not that controversial component of man where existence beyond the ephemeral world of matter must by belief encompass eternity, but instead, the aggregate of man’s complexities:  of mind, physical body, consciousness, the heart and vegetative divisions, etc. — then it is indeed the totality of man who is impacted by a medical condition.

For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the tenuous reed of life becomes exponentially magnified because of the stoppage of career, intervention of life’s goals, and interruption of all of the “things” that need to be done.  An interrupted life is like the proverbial ship without sails; the moorings have been damaged, and one senses a drifting without control.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pragmatic step for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker who cannot perform each of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.  When a medical condition impacts a Federal or Postal employee, it is the pragmatic steps — the ones which can actually realize a practical outcome — which counts for something.

If you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, and you have at least 18 months of Federal Service, then you have already met the minimum eligibility requirement to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  If you are a dinosaur under CSRS or CSRS Offset, then you have likely already met that requirement, anyway.  All that is necessary is to put together a case of proving that one’s medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by a preponderance of the evidence.

For, in the end, it is that thin thread which guides the pleasure of flying a kite which stands between chaos and connectivity; letting go should not be the only option; it may just be a little tug which is all that one needs, in order to steady the flight of life and retain that childhood sense of invincibility.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire