Attorney for Federal Disability Retirement claims: The tumultuous years

The tumultuous years are often remembered with a sense of awe, if not with some fondness.  The suffering endured; the turmoil experienced; even the pain sustained and seared into the consciousness of nightmares and scarred memories.  But one often looks back upon those years and reflects: I survived, and though the remembrances are a blur of activities that generously skips over the details of the suffering experienced, it was a time of enormous productivity where things were accomplished in spite of trauma of obstacles placed.

Yet, when the tumultuous years are in the “here and now”, that is not how one describes it.  It is only when it is in the distant past, when it has already been overcome, and when that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” has already been reached. When you are still in the thick of it, fondness of memories does not prevail, and the old adage that time heals all pain is yet tested.

For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers 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 job, it may be a necessary next step to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For such a Federal or Postal employee, those “tumultuous years” are still in the here and now, and have not been overcome; and so it is understandable that you cannot yet reflect back with any sense of perspective, awe, or of fondness for those days of turmoil.  Instead, as you are still in the thick of things, the goal is to reach that end of the tunnel where the sunshine still is bright with hope for the future, and then, years later, to look back and remember, and hopefully those memories will be one with an exclamation point of having successfully met the challenge, survived it, and have put it behind you.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: ‘Can’ and ‘Have to’

The category of the latter has diminished in recent years, as the general populace has mistakenly misinterpreted the distinctive definitions of liberty and freedom, and reassigned meanings as license and anarchy.  The blank column of the former concept has come to be full, despite the reality of the economic downturn and the shift into a global economy that, we are told, is an inevitable consequence of human progress.

We were taught that the march of progress required the destruction of the American West, where a way of life needed to be trampled upon and destroyed in the name of advancement and civilization; that each step of innovation and progressive paradigms constitute an almost Hegelian fatefulness, and resistance is merely an act of futility within the aggregation of the Leviathan called “Progress”.  The modern parlance consists in the acceptance of every innovation of technology, to the extent that Orwell’s dystopian premonitions have been surpassed by a reality now accepted as mundane and commonplace, and we fail to realize that his magnum opus of a totalitarian future could have been heeded, but now is merely embraced with a yawn and barely a glance backward.

The more that society comes to believe in that which we ‘can’, as opposed to the obligatory mandate of ‘have to’, the less likely is there of a resistance to authority.  And, until the police raid in the middle of the night or the unquestioned stop and search on a highway where others just whiz by without puzzlement or curiosity, is experienced personally by a given individual, the onerous nature of laws passed in the name of safety, security and preventative measures, will be merely a conceptual haze masked by an obscure hypothetical.

Instead, we live day-to-day in the conundrum of being told that we ‘can’ do what we want, desire and fantasize about, and there is little that we ‘have to’ do.  Thus do infidelity and divorces occur; of abandonment of family ties based upon tropes of scintillating sensations; and goals set aside in the namesake of present pleasures.

There is a category of individuals, however, where the luxury of ‘can’ cannot be replaced by mere want of ‘have to’ – a person with a medical condition.  For Federal and 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 job, the ‘can’ once relied upon transforms into an inability.

Once the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position becomes a reality, then the ‘have to’ is finally realized – of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal 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.  Do not let the muddle of incessant trope involving ‘can’ become confused with ‘have to’ – for, when one comes to a point of ‘must’, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Employee Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS CSRS Disability Retirement from OPM: Fatal Flaws

Nature is harsher than the artifices created by man; egalitarianism or empathy for the less fortunate, are not found as traces of widespread encapsulation of the essence of the wild; instead, the opposite is true:  of indifference, abandonment in the face of a wounded comrade, and flight as opposed to commonality of surrender.  It is only in the antiseptic universe of human civilization that we discover character, trust and fortitude in the face of threat.

Is this a fatal flaw in the humanity of the species?  Perhaps.  Time will tell, as civilizations rise and fall, as to whether the inherent weakness of totalitarianism will succumb to the overt unsteadiness of democratic institutions, and whether kindness wins out over betrayal, truth over falsity, and cruelty above warmth of favor.  Malignancy is considered nature’s retribution against the unsettling forces of dominance and survival; but as history shows, the linear nature of our thought processes rarely reflects the reality of how man proceeds.  There are fatal flaws in every aspect of life’s misgivings; but most are merely defects correctible by substitution of lack with that of an addendum to afterthought.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, there will be times when the U.S. Office of Personnel Management requests additional information because of an obvious lack; while a response does not necessarily guarantee an approval of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application, attending to the request will often appease the desire for more evidence.  If a Federal Disability Retirement application submitted to OPM has been denied at the Initial Stage of the process, are any errors or mistakes ever fatal flaws?  Rarely.  It depends.  Likely not.

Qualification: Undoing something is often more difficult than its opposite cousin in the affirmative; blinders cannot be placed upon OPM once they have reviewed something, and we cannot pretend that they haven’t already formed an “impression” of a case.  But corrections, supplemental information and addendum to deficiency; these are all the tools available for the Second Stage of the process — the Reconsideration Stage.

Then, of course, there is the avenue of the Third Stage, if such corrections have been unpersuasive or ineffective; and that would be an appeal to the U.S. Merits Systems Protection Board, where an Administrative Judge would decide the case.  There is even a “Fourth” Stage — a petition before the full board of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Beyond that, an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is also available, though the systemic losses in all of the previous forums identified, makes for a near-impossibility to reverse course at that level unless there are onerous legal grounds to argue.

As we pointed out at the begin of this parade of verbosity, natural law is lock-step in tune with the marching harshness (to remain true to the metaphor of parades, marching, bands, etc.) reflected by genetic deficiencies manifested as fatal flaws; but in the bureaucratic universe of administrative processes such as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the safeguards allowing for a multitude of due process steps rarely follows the trumpets and trombones (there again, that metaphor overplayed) of nature’s unforgiving ways.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pipe Dreams

The origin denotes an unsavory history of imperialistic exploitation and deserved degeneration of culturally unseen and unforetold consequences; of an encounter between foreign soils bridged by greed, necessity and inevitable destinies, but where the conqueror reaped more than what it sought.  In the opium dens which followed and the devastation of addictions ensuing, the phantoms derived from the processing of a plant which otherwise concealed the deadliness of its essence, beautiful in its floral toxicity amidst the sweet aroma that diffusely pervaded an unsuspecting population — dreams, indeed, of unreachable heights and great expectations otherwise squandered.

It is from that 19th century term — of the wafting scent of doom combined with the forgotten troubles of an industrial age, when repressive measures could be meted out by colonial strength, and insulting terms denigrating the humanity of an entire population could be thrown about by the lowliest of the low, and yet with superiority by race and ethnicity merely because one nation conquered and took advantage of the subservient nature of a quietude yet open to a coming storm.

In the end, who were the victors and what vestiges of the vanquished remained — only the untold stories of unmarked graves, whispering by twilight of plunder and portage of cultures; for, is it the country which invaded, or the one who imported the pipe dreams which subjugated the populace to an addictive essence?

In modernity, of course, the term itself has been shed of its subjugated past, and merely connotes an unrealistic expectation, a pursuance of a dream devoid of pragmatism, and a picture of flightiness attached to those who express such creative dimensions of unconstrained exuberance.  Children and the insane have them; and perhaps, still, those who partake of illicit moments of addiction and self-abuse.  But reality is always where we meet again, and the loss of time, efforts and futile exertion of wasted energy ends up back to the proverbial “square one”; what we squander in labor, we make up for in foolishness.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must daily be challenged not only with the workplace hostility of repetitive annoyances, but further, work with a medical condition which progressively deteriorates and diminishes the Federal or Postal worker’s capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties — pursuing a pipe dream that it will all just “go away”, or that tomorrow the medical condition will miraculously heal itself, or the day after the harassment will cease:  these are mere phantasms of a hope diminished by reality.

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, is an acknowledgment that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer relying upon a pipe dream, and has taken a pragmatic step towards facing the reality of one’s situation.

In the end, a pipe dream need not be a mere vestige of a lost culture steeped in the wayward historicity of timeless depravity; for, as the past continues to haunt both individuals and the greater society, so the words which follow may describe a regeneration of that which was once forgotten, but still remains in the residue of unvanquished sins.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire