Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Life puzzles

Depending upon the accent or inflection, the phrase can take on differing meanings.  If stated in a monosyllabic intonation, it can be a quiet declaration that the entirety of life is comprised of multiple puzzles in an inert, non-participatory manner.  The other way of “saying it”, is to pause between the two words in dramatic form, or even put a question mark at the end of the phrase, making the second word into an active verb and the noun of “Life” into a projectile that deliberately confounds and obfuscates.

In either form, we all recognize the truth underlying the sentiment: from birth to the continuum of living daily the challenges and encounters, it is always a constant struggle to try and maintain a semblance of rationality in a universe that continually creates flux and mayhem.  That was the philosophical strain that was always taught between the contrasting foundations of Parmenides and Heraclitus; of the wholeness and unity of Being as opposed to the constant flux and change that the world imposes.

Life puzzles us in so many ways, and the life puzzles that confront us daily confound and confuse.  See the subtle difference between the two ways of using the phrase?  In the first, it is in an “active” form, invoked as a verb (transitive or intransitive), whereas in the second, it is used as a noun.  We can get caught up in the grammatical form and usage of words, and in the process, get lost in the theoretical issues surrounding words, concepts and thought-constructs surrounding so many endless and peripheral issues; but the point of recognizing such subtle differences in the language we use is precisely to avoid and deconstruct the confusions we create within the language we use and misuse.

In either form of usage, it is important to state clearly how and for what purpose we are engaging in a formulation of words, thoughts, concepts and narrations.  We all carry narratives within ourselves that we must be ready, willing and able to use in order to describe, explain and delineate.  Those subtle differences that words create must always be untangled.

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 importance of being able to distinguish between subtle forms of language usage cannot be over-emphasized.  For, Standard Form 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is in and of itself a life puzzle that puzzles even the clearest of puzzling lifetimes; it is, moreover, a legal conundrum and a language puzzle that must be carefully reviewed, discerned, untangled and responded to by first recognizing that life does indeed involve puzzles, and such life puzzles must be approached in a non-puzzling way.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Lawyer Representation for Federal Disability Claims: “Too busy to…”

It is the accent and the inflection upon a syllable that sometimes makes all the difference.  Take the following examples:

“I am too busy to…”

“I am too busy, too.”

The extra consonant in the last word makes all the difference; for, in the former statement, if it is stated in response to a call for help, it dismisses the request by informing the other person that one is simply unable to offer any assistance.  In the latter response, the subtlety of the answer should not be overlooked.  For, it is a statement of one’s own conglomeration of activities; it is not a refusal or even a rejection of a request; rather, it merely describes the current state of parallel universes that may or may not still allow for lending a hand.  Thus:

“Hey, Jim, can you lend me a hand?”

“I am too busy to.”

(Outright rejection)


“Hey, Jim, can you lend me a hand?”

“I am too busy, too.” Nevertheless, Jim walks over and lends his assistance.

Can a single consonant make such a difference?  Without the written word, can the mere inflection, intonation and syllabic accent of a lingering “o” allow for the subtlety of differences otherwise unseen except with the written word?  Would it make a difference, if it was stated in a southern drawl, a foreign accent or in “broken English”?

When one pauses and considers the consequences of language and its effects upon discourse, it makes one pause and shudder, that even in this age of Twitter and abbreviated language compositions and the irrelevance of grammar upon our daily lives, that distinctions can still cause a difference.

Are such modulated intonations significant?  Perhaps they are rarely, if ever, “life changing” events, but nevertheless can effectuate confusion or miscommunication such that disagreements may arise.

Language is the tool of communication and the effective conveyance of thoughts and conceptual paradigms.  This is important to remember for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and 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.

For, in the end, it is the written word that is the sword of a triumphant Federal Disability Retirement application, or the injury that defeats the same, and whether the extra consonant may make the difference depends upon the effectiveness of the rest of the application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Benefits: “Where is it written?”

When rights are asserted, community dissipates.  When, once in years of yore, before modernity complicated the simplicity of human interaction and integrity of society’s binding ties, a handshake was all that was necessary to ensure the continuity of words spoken and promises committed.  Of course, con men and worthless statements of vacuity unfettered in boundless dishonesty have always existed, especially when such events quickly spread word within a cohesive community such that reputations rapidly disseminated and trust deteriorated to where no one would do business with “this or that” person, and he or she had to move someplace else.

“Where is it written?” is the query of a person who inquires either because of an inquisitive motive or of a dishonest heart; the former, compelled by a sincere desire to know and to pursue knowledge perpetuated by the answer provided, and the latter as a challenge to anyone declaring that a prior commitment had been made.  But before the question was asked, most of us already knew that the promise was never going to be kept; the combative nature of the context already manifested tells us already that the words previously spoken, the condition precedents not performed, remained as chasms of vacuity never to be told, less worthy of a promise and likely never intended to be fulfilled.

Fortunately, there are laws, statutes, regulations and written commitments which are “on the books”, and while the administrative process of a Federal Disability Retirement may take forever to complete, and the waiting period with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may seem to take an eternity and a day, the positive side of the proverbial ledger is that it is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal employees under FERS or CSRS, and so long as you have the basic eligibility components in place (18 months of Federal Service for Federal and Postal employees under FERS; 5 years for CSRS employees, a dying and rare breed, to be sure); and filed while an active employee or within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service; then, the Federal or Postal employee is free from that challenge of dishonest dissipation: “Where is it written?” In the Code of Federal Regulations, Statues and case-law precedents pertaining to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, of course.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Those spaces in between

Between each word; separating being from nothingness; that which allows for something is contingent upon the void that distinguishes, and without the lack there can be no substance.  Time doesn’t exist without space for movement of bodies of mass; such stillness echoes the lack of reverberating sounds, where waves bounce from one object to the next, and where Oneness of universe means that the clock no longer matters.  Of life, we imagine the same: there are interludes, but we tend to skip the pain and sorrow between the covers of hidden privacy.

Thus do we abide by the antiseptic, sterilized version of our scripted thoughts within ourselves:  birth; a relatively uneventful childhood; completion of educational goals; a career; retirement; and, despite a last gasp in attempting to defy the rules of mortality, death and a funeral projected where weeping and wailing echoes through the indignities of relatives uncaring during the days of living, with sweet revenge of the last laugh leaving behind the mystery of the beyond.

But what of those spaces in between?

Of chronic medical conditions; of pain beyond mere superficial groans; of hospitalizations, having tubes inserted into every imaginable orifice and pricked, prodded and pummeled with tests and artificial means for purposes of extending breath, heartbeat and pulse.

Only in recent times have we breached the decorum of unspoken sensitivities, and allowed for scenes in movies to reveal private functions behind bathroom doors beyond brushing one’s teeth or combing the hair over that bald spot – not that the audience necessarily needs to view such scenes, but somehow, such depictions apparently manifest the avant-garde in each of us and reveals the sophistication we all sought, like days of old when smoking cigarettes with those ridiculously long-looking holders was the trend to follow, merely because someone else did it, and we were told that such was the fashion of the day and represented the height of elegance in posture.

It is, at least in movies, those spaces in between that the characters presumably go to the bathroom, end up in the hospital and suffer in quiet agony; we just don’t see much, or any, of it, except in recent times.  And so we are filling those spaces in between; not merely with more punctuations, or hyphenations unnecessary but to bridge the gap between words and concepts, but in real life as well, by recognizing that life rarely follows a clean sequence of uninterrupted successions of advancement and teleological awareness, but often has detours, hiccups and sometimes valleys beyond which no one else would want to venture.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, those spaces in between are already known and recognized.  For, the medical condition itself constitutes the empty pauses between many of life’s successes, and the challenges faced in deciding to end a career otherwise fruitful and productive, to be now replaced with a fight against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to force them to acknowledge eligibility and entitlement to Federal Disability Retirement benefits, is itself the “filling in” of those very spaces we all must face, in between.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



OPM Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: Recognizing Problems

Why are some better at preemptively addressing recognizable foreshadowing?  Is it a genetic predisposition related to the capacity of surviving?  Like the instinctive responses of animals, is it an inherent trait that favors those who are more “fit” with such a characteristic, and thus to the disadvantage of those who do not possess it, where recognition and preemptive engagement allows for survival and thus the genetic pool favoring by dominance of avoiding the mortality trap?  Have we replaced such instinctive abilities by relegating most problems to linguistic identification and capacity to solve?

For, in the human world where language prevails and electronic communication is now the preeminent engagement of consciousness, the “problems” to recognize are no longer the danger of an approaching predator nor the oncoming storm out in the middle of the ocean (although, a burning house or a hurricane imminent if you live on the coast are still real dangers), but for the most part, language games that need modification, curtailment or adjustment in order to correct the inconvenience of social constructs that have gone amok or astray.

Yes, the furnace may break down, the water heater may have sprung a leak, or the roof shingles may need replacing; but even those, the resolution is rarely one that is initiated by us; rather, it is to utilize the mode of communication and either by phone, email or text messaging, we make an appointment for someone else to fix the problem.  Recognition of the concern was still contained within the world of language, and the physical work attended to is relegated and delegated to some strange entity in another universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker to take the next step by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – the process begins with a “real” problem:  the medical condition itself, which will not go away no matter the treatment modalities or the constant attempt to work one’s way through the chronic and progressively deteriorating situation.

Then, from the reality of the problem itself, the jump to recognizing the further concern must inevitably manifest itself – that of the incompatibility and incommensurate nature of the medical condition and being able to do all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Thus, recognizing the problem is the first step in resolving the issues; however, resolution may sometimes need some expertise and advice beyond what the Federal or Postal employee can foresee in the foreshadowing of approaching dark clouds.  For, not all problems are equal, and certainly not all solutions, and while recognizing problems may resolve some of the concerns, the greater issue is whether the Federal or Postal employee will have all of the information available “out there” in the netherworld of an administrative and bureaucratic morass as that of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, such that the problems one cannot recognize may be the one that defeats the solution never known.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Answering Questions

How do we come to learn how to do it?  Certainly, we come across certain eccentric individuals who defy every conventional norm, and somehow manage to appear as if they have done what otherwise we recognize as not having been completed.

Have you ever come across someone who just isn’t “quite right” – such that, when you ask a question, the tangents that flood forth and the meandering thought processes make it an arbitrary conclusion as to whether it was the specific question asked that prompted the incommensurate response, or just the mere fact of a tonal posit of a question-like query that compelled a verbal reaction, even if it has nothing to do with the substance of the question itself?

How do children learn how to answer questions?  Is it natural; is there a systematized process of acceptability; is it taught in any course with a heading like, “Elementary Basics 101: How to answer a question”; and do we presume that acceptable and normative constraints are just learned effortlessly?  Certainly, the classical educational approach of dialectical methodologies – of a question posited; raised hands, chosen orders and an answer provided; then the reinforced positive feedback by the teacher in either affirming or rejecting the response – is an approach that somewhat answers the mystery.

But what of that “weird” kid?  The one where the teacher asks:  “Is the earth round or flat?”  The kid answers:  “That is an oversimplification, as the geometrical constructs require a perspective that betrays ignorance of quantum physics, where flatness is a relative concept to roundness, and vice versa.”  Now, one may smile and wonder whether, perhaps such a child prodigy reveals an intelligence quotient beyond his age or class assignment, but all the rest of the kids would just roll their eyes about as the class bullies await for recess hour in order to beat that kid to a pulp.

But was the question answered, and to that end, satisfactorily?  Or, what if another kid, perhaps half-daydreaming, suddenly blurts, “It’s blue!  It’s blue!”  Did that kid answer it any less adequately than the first?  How do we learn to answer questions?

What if the questions are essentially legalese and incomprehensible, or of a “tricky” nature and makes one pause before moving forward?  Do questions posed, for instance, by law enforcement officials evoke greater caution (as in, “To the best of my recollection…”), and if so, why?  Is it because the stakes may be higher and the suspicion of the double entendre is always there?  Which brings us to the problem of Federal Disability Retirement applications, and specifically SF 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

The questions posed on the Standard Form 3112A seem simple enough; but simplicity does not necessarily mean straightforward, and indeed, when a Federal or Postal employee is completing SF 3112A, it is best to go back to fundamentals and ask yourself, How did I learn to answer questions, and are these questions the type that may need additional help, because – though they may seem simple enough and not quite in legalese – there is some trickiness in the very simplicity of the query.

And it is the rule to remember, that the simplest questions require the greatest pause, where suspicion will warrant a more extensive pondering of reflective repose.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire