Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The futile treadmill

If an alien from another universe came to visit the world of Humans and somehow landed within sight of a gym or some semblance of a physical fitness facility, and remained invisible to the watchful eye, the single contraption that would puzzle and befuddle would be the treadmill.

For, ambulation upon the mechanical device would surely be observed; and upon a certain amount of time, the alien visitor would reflect that the person who remained upon the contraption would suddenly depart and actually go from Point A to Destination B, and so the puzzling conundrum of query might be: What in the world (or universe) was this person doing walking upon a revolving platform without going anywhere, then leaving it behind to then go somewhere?

All geared up with wires and headphones, with digital monitors that made beeping noises and flashing signals — but going nowhere; whereas the alien, who is dependent upon sophisticated time-warp technology in travel and transport, would consider the exertion of physical ambulation to be a primitive form of an inconvenience to reach a destination point, but would be quite enthralled by this act of futility upon a treadmill.

It is, indeed, an absurdity when one pauses and reflects: of a contraption that moves as if one is traveling, but without an individual who has any intent of reaching any particular destination point.  Or, what if the alien visitor were to view a randomly selected community from above — comfortably watching from its invisible spaceship hovering with telescopic devices — and sees the hundreds, nay, thousands of joggers and runners who begin from destination Point-A and…returns to destination Point-A.  Would that not similarly confound, confuse and befuddle?

From the perspective of the outsider, the futile treadmill has no purpose, no rationale, and certainly no cogent explanation that would account for the manner in which many of the human species behave.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are on a similarly futile treadmill — that of attempting to continue to work despite having a medical condition that tells you otherwise — it may be time to begin contemplating preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Federal Disability Retirement is precisely that benefit that is meant to get you off of the futile treadmill, and to begin to allow you to secure your future, as well as focus upon your health.  Getting off of the futile treadmill is the difficult part — of your dedication to your work and career; of the comfortable salary or wage that is being earned; and of the sense that, so long as you remain on the treadmill, somehow it will get you somewhere beyond the point of your medical condition.

Sometimes, however, the alien’s perspective is the more objective one, and remaining on the futile treadmill will continue to go nowhere or, worse, it may speed up and knock you off of the treadmill itself; then, what will you be left with?

Filing a 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, is a daunting bureaucratic process, and the time is likely ripe to begin it now by consulting with a seasoned attorney specializing in Federal Disability Retirement law, lest the futile treadmill begins to leave you behind.


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


Federal Disability Retirement: Medical conditions and the “to-do” list

We often approach everything in life in a repetitive, systematic manner; of a routine which engenders habituation of comfort, and of identity harkening to obsession of similitude.  It is said of Kant that his neighbors set and corrected their watches and clocks according to the regularity of his walks, as his life maintained a predictability of precision so reliable that error could only be ascribed to a mechanical defect, and never to his human constancy.

It is as if there is an internal “checklist” in order to attain a progression of human development, and in an effort to achieve that advancement, both of thought and of physical growth, we must be assured of completion and fulfillment.  But medical conditions are never like that; we cannot “do something about it” and expect to “check it off” of our “to-do” list, only to move on to the next item on the itinerary.  A pastor once quipped, “Where there are people, there are problems.”  True enough; although, there could have been an addendum:  “And where there are problems, you can always find impure motives.”

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 one’s Federal or Postal job, the problem is one of duality of purpose:  For the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, the approach of attempting to “check off” the medical condition as another item on a “to-do” list is always rebutted by the stark reality of the medical condition itself; and from the Federal agency’s perspective (or the Postal Service’s), the thought-process of “when will it go away” simply avoids the issue, and fails to address the problem of the conflict which arises.

Thus, the benefit of OPM Disability Retirement is there for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely to allow for those circumstances in which (A) the medical condition no longer allows the Federal or Postal employee to be able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, (B) the medical condition will last a minimum of 12 months — not that one must wait for 12 months, but rather, that the prognosis by a doctor or medical provider is willing to state that the medical condition will, within reasonable medical probability, last for that long, and (C) accommodation of the medical condition is not possible, and reassignment to a position at the same pay or grade will not ameliorate the situation.

In the end, medical conditions defy the human attempt to treat it as merely another obstacle to overcome, or an irritant to set aside.  It is a condition of human existence which represents a trial for a linear life we attempt to manage, when in fact a change of course is often the remedy, and not the repetition of comfort found in the thoughtless quietude of habit.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The Question of Worth

Whether animals consider the question or not, they certainly make judgments based upon prudence, calculation and quantification of effort involved; but perhaps not in some conceptually systematic approach.  “Worth” can involve multiple meanings: of time expended; monetized value; quality; but always involving the evaluative process of comparative analysis.

It is this latter process which is important for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker in determining whether to proceed with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. The comparison may be on different levels, and pitted against and between various elements: priority of values (health versus continuation and persistence in present circumstances); current financial condition in contrast to future reduced benefits; the penalties imposed by taking an early retirement as opposed to a Federal Disability Retirement; the length of the process in contrast to one’s age and cost of hiring an attorney; and many such similar factors to be analyzed.

Perhaps the only comparative analysis which need not be engaged is the one which the Agency implicitly compels: The worth of self, derived from the manner in which the agency or the U.S. Postal Service treats the Federal or Postal employee once it becomes evident that the Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition such that it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and thereby consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Other animals never ask that question of self-worth, as survival and Darwinian principles prevail and overtake the inherently nonsensical nature of such a question; it is only the human being who ever questions the worth of self, and only within the greater context of a society which places a premium upon questions unworthy of consideration.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Uniqueness & Comparisons

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, then submitting the presentation either through one’s agency (if one is still on the rolls of the Federal or Postal Service, or if separated, it has not yet been 31 days or more) or directly to the Office of Personnel Management (if one has been separated from Federal Service for 31 days or more), it is then the entrance into the dreaded “waiting period” where the dead zone begins of increasing anxiety, angst and upheaval of awaiting “the decision” from the Office of Personnel Management.  

During this time of waiting wasteland, it is difficult to remain productive if one is no longer working at the Agency, and it is easy to fall prey to the mentality of comparison — of attempting to obtain information on other filings, of other Federal or Postal employees, either current, fairly recent, or in the far past, and attempting to gauge the success or failure, the waiting period, whether some have been preferentially treated, etc.  

The problem with engagement in such comparisons, of course, is that it is almost impossible to recreate an apple in order to compare it to another apple.  Whether because the internal procedures of OPM have changed (which it has), and comparing it to a time passed when procedures reflected a more systematic methodology of review; or whether one attempts to figure out if there is a non-arbitrary system of review at OPM (there isn’t); or whether the case has been assigned to a more experienced case-worker as opposed to one who has newly come on board at the Office of Personnel Management; or whether the strength of one’s medical and other substantiating documentation makes the initial review for OPM to grant the case immediately — all are factors, and many more not delineated herein, which make for differences between cases which cannot be compared.  

Each case is unique; uniqueness is the differentiation between cases; the cases, because of each individual uniqueness, fails in all attempts at quanitification of comparative analysis.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire