OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The price of status quo

Everything has a price, whether in terms of monetized payments or through labor, effort, worry and loss of peaceful interludes.  What expansive periods of our lives do we engage and assign to “wasted” time that must be discarded, forgotten and left beside?  What is the price we pay to maintain the status quo, even though we know that such clinging to a lack of change is merely extending the wastefulness of our own making?

Change is something that most of us resist.  Yes, we hear of, read about, or otherwise are told about “venture capitalists” or gamblers who throw the dice on everything — their future, their stability, their own sense of worth, whether net or paid for in dreams lost; of how you cannot know success until you first experience the bitter taste of failure, and how the most successful of men and women in the world failed miserable many times over until that moment of victory and triumph.

The ordinary human being, however, is either unwilling to, or otherwise unmotivated in any path towards self-destruction, or the potential for such disastrous outcomes whether real, dreamed, imagined or feared.  The fact is that there is always a price to pay whether or not one acts affirmatively, or doesn’t act at all.

The former places the burden of identifiable responsibility squarely upon the proverbial shoulders of the acting agent; the latter — of “sitting tight”, not doing anything, and remaining the perennial benchwarmer who merely watches and observes as the world passes by — can always defer any personal responsibility and counter that it was “circumstances beyond my control” or that “fate had its rueful day”, or other such indifferences of neutrality.

The reality, however, is that the price of status quo is often just as expensive as that of affirmatively acting; we just fail to see it by conveniently engaging in language games that avoid such recognition of such consequences resulting from inaction.

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, preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best alternative to paying the continuing price of status quo.  What cost?

Well — the enduring of the medical condition; the constant harassment at work; the increasing pressure of disciplinary procedures; and much more, besides.  That is the price of status quo.  And of affirmatively moving forward with a Federal Disability Retirement application?  It, too, must pay a steep price — of engaging a complex administrative and legal process; of facing the chance of a denial from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; of entering into a surreal universe of bureaucratic morass.

But everything has a price to pay — whether of status quo or of affirmative movement; it is up to the Federal or Postal employee as to whether the end-product is worth that price.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The fading sheen of respect

It happens over time; and, perhaps, in marriages where discovery of once-cute characteristics become irritants, when tics of unique personalities transform into obstacles, and the surface beauty of looks gradually morph into the reality of superficiality of egocentric psychosis.  But, then, a career is like a marriage, but lacking the intimacy of misguided warmth.

Disdain – does it develop instantaneously?  Does the remark of condescension and arrogance, cutting into the soul by drips and drabs, meter the suspicion that something is amiss, that someone has been whispering untold gossips of tidbits and tadpoles still swimming but lacking the croak of the frog disguised, and never to be kissed or metamorphosed into a princess of fantasy and fairytales?

When and how does loss of respect occur?  Is it in incremental clutches of shifting sand dunes, like the mirage which appears and when we reach it with thirst and desire, disappearing without but a trace of salivating want?  The scornful expression of familiarity; is there anymore a depth of intimacy the closer we become with one another, or does the essence of human depravity prevent such soul mates to bond?

Have we become cynical, to the extent that we no longer recognize the essence of human goodness, and instead – as the Darwinian paradigm of pure materialism has pervaded every crevice of our thoughts and beliefs – we have all accepted the maxim that life is but an insignificant blip on a linear scale of colossal vacuity, where the speck of life is but a mere comma in the breath of the vast universe, and how man is not just below the angels, but nothing more than mere fodder for predators to devour?

Does relevance, significance, and purpose of living – that composite and aggregation of teleological meaning – no longer apply in a world where essence is defined by material possessions and the quantitative quality of crassness of existence?

It is often asserted that respect is earned, not by mere ascription or claim to status, but by merit of behavior and ascension to knowledge; but in this day of modernity when all opinions are of equivalent moral value, and those with megaphones can drown out the quietude of truth and logical validity, the sheen of respect for all has been diminished by the mere devaluation of the essence of human worth.

A sheen upon an object is cared for and vigorously attended to; the fading of it means that the owner or caretaker has allowed it to slowly, incrementally and progressively deteriorate; and these things always lose their brilliance over time.  Not in a day, a month, or even over the course of a year, but by subtle carelessness of constant neglect.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has impacted upon the ability and capacity to shine forth like those days of yore when energy was unmitigated, future hope was always a reminder, and where the brilliance of each hour was still to come, the fading sheen of respect shown both by the agency one works for and the coworkers’ company one cherishes, may be on the downturn.

If so, that Federal or Postal employee may want to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, if only because such loss of respect is reflective not merely upon the personhood of you, but upon the essence of human degradation.

In many ways, “moving on” to the next chapter of life beyond being a Federal or Postal employee is a step towards maintaining and guarding the residue still remaining of that respect which once was, but now fades in the sheen of devalued and obscured images of a person who once was, still is, but is seen as merely an object of derision, and not that worthy employee who forms the essence of a past now forgotten.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Separation & Retirement from Federal Employment: Existence preceding essence

Once, in the vaunted Age of Reason, when Western Philosophy reached its pinnacle as the conduit of all knowledge, wisdom and human achievement; and when other disciplines fell under the umbrella and aegis of the methodological sanctity of its pursuit; then, it was determined that time was merely a linear ladder to climb, and all knowledge would be captured like the essence of heightened fragrances in a bottle of perfume, ever sweet smelling and able to conceal the undercurrent of stench.  But then came disenchantment, pestilence, wars and human cruelty — just the regularity in the rhythm of man; you know, those things that are inevitable.

It was thought that the “philosophical approach” begun by Plato and Aristotle would garner the collective wisdom necessary to construct the artifice of a just society.  What we forgot, however, is that “man is man”, and can predictably be counted upon to do those things he has always done:  take advantage; say things he didn’t mean; engage in the cruelest of activities, but describe it as that which is not; and as despotism and totalitarianism grew exponentially in ever efficient machines of death, the culmination of the ashes of human essence resulted in World War II, the death camps and the mass extermination of targeted populations.

The search for the essence of man and other entities effectively ceased, because — while the human species was recognized to have certain tendencies — it became clear that he “made it up as he went along”.  Thus, the thinking went, why not just admit it, submit to it, no longer resist it, and let it just “all hang out”.  Modernity is the just reward for the abandonment of reason; beware of what you ask for, as it may well be gotten.  And so the popularized banner of Existentialism was born — from the ashes rose the proverbial Phoenix, and no longer did we strive to attain the “essence” of human quality, but submitted to the idea that we first come to exist, and each day create our own essence.

Thus the popularized version:  Existence preceding essence.  And we see the evidence of such truth all around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer the brunt of daily turmoil because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows him or her to perform all of the essential (there is the form of that word again) elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the idea that human cruelty and consequential suffering is a normative standard, is really nothing new under the sun.

Meursault, in Camus’ major work, The Stranger, also saw the disconnect between man’s claim to compassion and humanity, and the actual state of being.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition and who find that the Federal Agency or U.S. Postal Service will fail them in every way, including the artificial attempts at “accommodation”, need to file 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, there is ultimately life beyond the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service — and one in which you may actually be able to create a “new essence” of yourself, beyond the mere existence presently lived in within the bureaucratic morass of your Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire