Lawyer Representation OPM Disability Retirement: The yearning for yesterday

On the spectrum of life, as one advances forward, it is the residue left behind that begins to look so much the better; and in old age, the long expanse of the clouds of memories trailing behind becomes refined with time and faded recollectionsYesterday keeps looking better and better in proportion to the difficulties faced with the present and anticipated for the future; and the yearning for yesterday is that delicious taste for that which remains resplendent with the memories of nostalgia but may never quite match the reality of that which was left behind.

Memories are funny animals; they are selective, and in our subconscious we tend to erase and extinguish the harsh realities that accompanied the sweetness of childhood joys.  Of that summer day when the winds were warm with the breath of gods and the cackle of laughter filled the air as the ocean waves lapped lazily upon the toes of innocent feet, did the disruption of tiredness or the grumpiness of fatigue remain forgotten as memories became ensconced with jaded perspectives?

The turmoil of today makes yesterday appear as the reflective light of perfection – like the dying star that emits light for us to witness, when in fact death had already occurred billions of years ago.

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 the Federal position or Postal craft (or of a position as a supervisor, manager, etc.), it is that yesterday when the medical condition was yet unknown and the innocence of a future still to be anticipated becomes yearned for.

Federal Disability Retirement is not a “total” solution, by any stretch of the imagination; yet, it does allow for the discontinuation of a feature in one’s life that has remained to create havoc and turmoil – of the mismatch between one’s medical condition and the type of job one is engaged in.  For, is not much of yearning for yesterday exactly that – a sense that there was a continuum of hope and anticipation for a future bright and exciting, and the daily toil of knowing that one can no longer be the same by remaining in the job that has become inconsistent with medical conditions endured and suffered – which is the basis of human tragedy and sadness.

The yearning for yesterday becomes unnaturally magnified the more today is a toil and tomorrow is a basis for angst and sadness; and it is when the Federal or Postal employee recognizes this, and begins to take steps for securing a future with anticipation of tomorrow’s hope, that then filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes a no-brainer.

The yearning for yesterday needs to be replaced with an anticipation for tomorrow’s hopes and dreams, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first steps toward an anticipated tomorrow that can still be brighter than today, and still better than yesterday, as if the yearning for it fades into memories once undecided.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Attorney Representation Federal Disability Retirement: Stress tolerance

More and more, the psychology of human endurance is being studied, evaluated, assessed and judged upon; but in the end, the complexity of the psyche may never be fully known, and even of that knowledge which we think we know, we may be completely in error about.

We perform “stress tests” upon metal beams and overpass bridges in order to determine their viability and structural integrity; and through various engineering tools, we are able to determine whether or not a certain limit of tonnage or pressurized capability to withstand extreme changes in temperature can be “tolerated” before serious damage is done, or modifications, reinforcement or complete replacement becomes necessary.

Why are we unable to gauge the capacity of the human psyche, as well?  What is it about the complexity and endurance levels of the human mind that refuses to provide an objective capability of acceptable levels of stress?  Is it because it will always be individualized, restricted by childhood, adulthood and other hooded experiences that refuse to explain the levels of tolerance otherwise able to be discerned in a beam of wood or a concrete structure?  What does it mean, anyway, to have a “high” stress tolerance level, as opposed to a “low” or “medium” one?  Is it like possessing a gemstone that you carry around in your pocket?  And does it depend upon the “kind” of stress being experienced, or can it all be lumped into one?

Money and debt problems; traumas imparted by the behavior of others; family and marriage difficulties; workplace hostilities and adversarial and contentious encounters; do these all constitute different “kinds” of stresses, and do different people react to them and “deal” with them in variegated ways?  Does it matter whether or not the source of the stress emanates from an outside origin that does not “personally” involve you – such as the danger-based stresses experienced by police officers and firefighters that encompass saving others or deescalating “situations”, but at the end of the day, does not pervade beyond the clock that ticks down to end one’s shiftwork?

And medical conditions – how much of an impact does the physical have with the psyche, and to what extent is the interaction likened to a vicious cycle, where a physical ailment influences the capacity of the psyche to tolerate stresses, and where the mental or emotional stress triggers a person’s physical condition?

Science and medicine have never been perfect disciplines, and it is doubtful if we will ever fully comprehend the complete picture of the impact of stresses in our lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and have come to a point where that medical condition no longer allows the Federal or postal employee to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the question often asked is whether or not “stress” is a viable element or basis for a Federal Disability Retirement application.

That query is a complex one, and can only be answered within the context of a medical diagnosis, the prevailing law, and the options left in the complicated process of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and consultation with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement law is essential to enhance a successful outcome.

Like so many questions of any level of complexity, “stress” is a complicated issue that cannot easily be addressed without a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirements: The predetermined, “Let’s discuss it”

You can often tell from the eyes and the mannerism whether the opening prelude is meaningful, or predetermined to merely manipulate to an intended end.  The opening interlude which allows for the conduit of engagement:  “Let’s discuss it”; does it next encapsulate an ear which listens, or pauses which allow for conveyance of communication – or merely a diatribe of invective meant to dissuade and demean?

It is a rare character, indeed, that states and means in a coalescence of sincerity; instead, the danger signs should be evident at the outset:  The end has already been predetermined; your words are merely allowed to provide a setting of appearance, or to give you the rope in order to coil it and hang yourself.

Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing (or does that metaphor even apply, today?); there is rarely a cast of shadows without the darkness elongated, and it is indeed a rarity to find sincerity in an insincere world.  Discussion requires a prefatory contingency of openness to logical argumentation (or even emotional appeal), persuasion, dissuasive comportments, and a sense of listening.

Is there a fine line between that, and a preset paradigm of an already-established course?  Take the following hypothetical:  Some figure of authority – the “boss”, or a manager, supervisor, etc. – grants a forum for a “discussion” of the “issue” (whatever they may be), but during such an exchange it becomes readily apparent that the counterpart shows no signs of actual interest – the fidgeting, the proverbial “looking at the watch”, the furtive eyes, the yawn; all together, showing a complete disinterestedness in the process.

But something during the discussion sparks, and an unintended consequence (to paraphrase the well-worn American Lore from Adam Smith and the economic entrails of systematic chaos) suddenly rears its beautiful head; eyes sparkle; the head and chin tilt slightly back, and intelligence (which heretofore was merely a dark abyss of eternal vacuity) gleams in the eyes of the “boss”; “Now, that is an interesting proposal…” comes the refrain.

In such a scenario, was the fact that predetermination of outcome altered during the course of the foray, changed the entire episode into one which embraced a sincerity of motives?  Or, is it merely that the counterpart changed his or her mind, and “openness” to such an exchange was a farcical prelude to an otherwise meaningless exchange?  Does the mere fact of allowing for a discussion – an opportunity to voice one’s concerns or to “vent” through a diatribe of invectives – establish a sincerity of allowances, even if the original intent was otherwise left unstated?

Which brings us to the point of this exchange – for, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the thing that many Federal and Postal employees fail to realize, is that there is contained within the bureaucratic system of the administrative process, a procedure which essential does constitute a “Let’s discuss it” trigger.

For, that is precisely why there are multiple stages of the administrative process – of the “Initial Stage” in filing a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement application; then, if rejected and denied at the First Stage, a second “opportunity” of a “Let’s discuss it”, represented by a “Reconsideration Stage”, where additional medical documentation and legal argumentation can be empowered; and, then again, a “Third Stage”, where the Federal or Postal employee may disagree with OPM’s determination, and file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Additionally, there is even a Fourth Stage – of a Petition to a panel of MSPB Judges for a legal review of the process.

Such an Administrative Procedure reveals and establishes an aversion to what most people experience, in that there is a process of listening, appealing and persuading in a Federal Disability Retirement application – something which is rarely found in the world at large, where the refrain, “Let’s discuss it”, is normally anything more than a prelude to a predetermined course of action.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: What we believe

Belief is a funny animal.  So long as what one believes is never uttered, one can change them from day to day, or even from one hour to the next, without consequences attached.  Of course, you can do that, anyway, and many do in this day and age.  Once spoken, however, a belief takes on the figurine of a furnace-fired ceramic piece; to change is safe only in engaging the linguistic language-game with those who never heard of the belief, but there is a danger that such third parties could report back to the first party to whom the belief was conveyed.  Then, of course, there is the potential charge of hypocrisy.

On the other hand, there is always the disarming disavowal that it was all merely a “misunderstanding”, or perhaps that the other person didn’t get the “nuance” of the utterance; or the catch-all detachment:  “I was joking”.  Facts, of course, can alter beliefs, and that is supposedly acceptable because one has evolved through maturation of knowledge (unless, of course, you are running for political office, in which case you are reserved the allowable space to maintain the cognitive bifurcation like a schizophrenic, concurrently holding a “private belief” while concomitantly stating a “public stance” on certain sensitive issues).

Further, beliefs can become transformed via genetic, life-stage or “aha”-moments; the first because of some recognition that the wired-DNA that constitutes the “real” self has finally been revealed; the second, because there are recognized stages of living – of those prepubescent years, of middle-aged crisis and menopausal breakdowns, or in the end, just because a spouse and his or her lifetime commitment “grew apart”; and the third, by religious conversion and the “road to Damascus” experiences which allegedly justify a transcendent transformation.

In many ways, they are like opinions, though purportedly of a higher order.  Of opinions, it is often said that we all have them – of no greater consequence than the urgency to utilize the bathroom, with the latter having greater significance than the former; but of beliefs, they were once contingent upon study, reflection, coherence and rational methodology.  Somehow, in the linear progression of Darwinian evolution, the higher order of thought processes lost its way, and the meandering of human folly became the prominence of epic conundrums.

We have come to a point in human history where, what we believe is of an irrelevancy based upon our lost hope in discarding reverence.  For, the “what” must have a prefatory methodology, and that foundation was the reverence for creation.  We no longer believe “in” anything, because we no longer have any faith in anything of consequence.  Without awe, the human factor of hope, and therefore of belief, becomes a vacuity of thoughtlessness.  As all of creation is constituted by material equivalence, so our beliefs are of no greater worth than the gaseous ethereality emitted from the guy sitting on the next stool.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate filing an effective 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, the loss of belief is an important factor to recognize – for, the one saving constancy throughout is that there still remain “laws” which people, agencies and even the U.S. Postal Service must abide by.

Adherence to the law is often the only saving grace in the craziness of this world, and knowing it, applying it and arguing it in meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, is the best way to avoid that catch-all dismissive, that it is all merely “your opinion” as opposed to “my belief”, when in fact pointing out the precedential case-law and arguing the statutory basis is precisely what is needed to get beyond the irreverent assertion of that which we believe.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The cadence of coherence

There is truth, then the ring of truth.  The former may extract a pound of flesh or a quart of blood from the reader, yet allow the subtle entrapment quietly releasing the cornered soul merely by being unpersuasive.  The latter, despite often lacking in some essential details, will nevertheless engulf the audience, whether intended or indirect and unaware, into a comatose purring of half-conscious slumber, where acceptance of an argument because of a danger of violating the pleasantry of the moment is more important than embracing the facts themselves.

That is, of course, what is ultimately “wrong” with the writing style of a diatribe; it is the seething, subterranean anger in the undercurrent of a volatile eruption like the bursting lava from an unconstrained volcano where civilizations perish and survivors flee with but the clothes on their backside, which fails the purposive teleology of a barrage of words.

The persuasive outlier must possess the heart of a musician, the humor of an invited conversationalist, and the soul of a philosopher; otherwise, the dinner audience may begin to yawn and request to excuse themselves for various reasons, including an early exit for want of company.

The truth is, truth itself is boring.  It needs sugar, spice and all that is nice; wrapped in paper which stands out, but refuses the ostentatious condiments of vulgarity in a universe surrounded by stellar vacuity.  Convincing truth, on the other hand, possesses a disposition of a rhythmic melody, orchestrated with precision by a master with a conductor’s baton not made of any particular wood, but where the waving and weaving flows in consonance with the confluency of nature, artifice and linguistic pablum.

In any effective narrative, there must always retain the cadence of coherence.  That is often the “trouble” with Federal Disability Retirement applicants who formulate his or her own narrative of persuasive concoctions; will the U.S. Office of Personnel Management drink of the vitriol seething beneath the surface of turmoil?  Will the obvious diatribe translate into a persuasive cadence of coherent ideations?

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, have a dual whammy of obstacles to face:  They themselves must be the focus of the narrative; and, moreover, they themselves must present a voice of objectivity.  Both are immediately undermined when the medical condition itself is the very reason, rationale and underlying foundation for which the entire Federal Disability Retirement application must be prepared, formulated and forwarded to one’s Agency (if not yet separated, or separated from the Federal sector but not for more than 31 days) or directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Preparing the answers required on SF 3112A (Applicant’s Statement of Disability) requires a quiet, rhythmic cadence of coherence; to do so, the origin, source and inception of the narrative must emanate from a composite core made of materials tougher than metal, yet sensitive enough to touch upon that human yearning which defines the empathy of timeless angels.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire