Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Last stands

Of course, the one that always pops up in one’s mind is the most ignoble of them all, with the image from the movies depicted over and over: Of a blond-haired, straggly and wild-eyed man with a mustache of extravagant vintage taking a desperate last stand against the charging Indians.  Custer’s last stand somehow reverberates throughout the mythology of the American West, even though folly is mistakenly replaced by some view of courage or other laudable character traits.

It is the last stand of American Lore; but there are many others besides, some known, most in the private worlds that never become public.  We all have them; the proverbial line in the sand, the wall against which our backs are blocked, or perhaps the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When Federal Agencies propose a removal of a Federal employee, it is the “last stand” both for the Federal agency as well as for the Federal employee.  Or, is it the “last straw”?  Is there a difference between the two?  The latter, of course, constitutes the final act by one or the other individual or entity, and represents a reflection of having no other alternative, no room for compromise and left with no other choice.  But that also describes the former, to the extent that it reflects a situation that allows for no further room but to remain resolved in whatever hill of pride or fortitude one must consecrate the grounds with.

Last stands, however, need not result in the consequences that Custer’s famous one represents.  It need not be the final arbiter of a life well lived, and still to be lived.  Yet, Federal and Postal employees 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 job, often look upon his or her medical condition as a “last stand” of sorts – one that ends one’s career and, in some mindsets, the very life that one is gifted with.

But keeping a balanced and proper perspective is important in all matters (though, for Custer as he realized that he had been boxed into a valley where there was no escape, perhaps there was no such thing as a “balanced perspective”), and the Federal or Postal employee finding him or herself in the “last stand” position of no longer being able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is still left with some alternatives – one being, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

It is an option that should be seriously considered, for having the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement allows for a second career in the private sector or public state or local government, and allows the Federal or Postal employee to continue in another vocation or career, thus avoiding the disastrous consequences that have been historically annotated by Custer’s last stand.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Government Employee Medical Retirement: The missing comma

To what extent does language influence life?  As a mode of communication, sounds and utterances can certainly be restricted to a minimum, without threatening survivability; and in the history of our vast universe of words, thoughts and conceptual constructs embedded in dusty warehouses of discarded books, manuscripts and love letters tucked away in drawers once meant to safely keep where memorabilia of treasures remain unrevealed, does the competence of applying grammatical rules matter, anymore?

Do the dominos of historical reverberation fall in fated inevitability — like the missing comma which resulted in a lesser grade for the boy who would be king, but because of the diminished mark, failed to meet the expectations of a royal family who favored the second child, anyway, and beheaded the law of primogeniture; and thus did inevitability fade, history alter, and the child-king who would not be turned to savagery and the took revenge upon the world by becoming a little-known mass-murderer but to those whom he slaughtered.

Can the course of history be altered by the lack of placement of such a curved indentation of fate?  Where, just a fraction of a distance above, it is but an apostrophe which betrays the possessive embrace of a noun standing beside, but for the careless droppings which turn it into a comma?  Sometimes, of course, the misplaced comma can change the entire context and meaning of a sentence, and then the question becomes, do such misinterpretations have any force of impact, anymore, to the extent of interceding in the life of an individual?

Language is a peculiar invention; among other species, we recognize sounds, murmurings and signals to communicate; but to constitute the higher level of combining thought with words spoken and concepts written, requires an advancement of evolutionary uniqueness not discovered by fellow beings of other natures.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must communicate and convince because of a medical condition, where the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, trying to maneuver through the administrative chaos of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — as ensconced in SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability — is the highest of tests in the usage of language as a tool of persuasive activity.

It may not seem so, as any encounter with a bureaucratic maze will often appear to be merely an arduous chore of necessity; but, in fact, engaging a behemoth and arguing it from its slumber of overwhelmed caseload is a reflection of man’s penultimate destiny of a chance meeting between grammar and life undeservedly faced:  Of whether the missing comma is of relevance, anymore, in this age where the possessive pronoun no longer matters when a computer can delete the words left unsent.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The collision of grammar and life

The cynic will scour each entry for just such an error of punctuation or misspelling, and declare that, indeed, the author’s own actions confirm such an event; the greater question, of course, is not that it occurred, but of what import or consequence.

There was a time, of just a few generations ago, where the number of noted authors, commentators and social giants measured by pen and ink, were counted by the hands of a single individual; now, with the diffuse pervasiveness which includes paper editions exponentially quantified by electronic media, as well as the vast array of blogs, comments and Internet “conversations” on Facebook, Twitter (who ever imaged that such a limited conceptual construct would be considered seriously in a political campaign; yet, on the other hand, the limitation of the numerical volume of words likely is proportional to the intellectual capacity of the user, as confirmed by current events), Instagram, etc.

From H.L. Mencken to Hemingway; of the age of Buckley and Vidal; the heyday of the wordsmith, replacing the blacksmith who had to work in the forge where life, the torturous heat of hell, and the reality of contending with trying to mold the harshness of nature’s metals, brought to the forefront the daunting task of trying to earn a day’s wages. But as the general rule is that quantity diminishes quality, and wider dissemination fails not to embody pervasive ignorance, so the collision of grammar and life occurs less with the advancement of technology and informational overload.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the primary focus in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is in that “write-up” of one’s Statement of Disability as required by SF 3112A.  That is, indeed, where grammar meets up with life, and the manner of prose, the punctuation advanced, and the words chosen, will all coagulate to present the force and ferocity of one’s evidentiary impact.  If represented, the lawyer will likely include a “legal memorandum” arguing your case, as well, through legal citations and references to the statutory and case-law basis upon which the Federal Disability Retirement application should be approved.

In the end, life is rarely lived in a vacuum, and hermitages of yore when medieval fiefdoms were aplenty, no longer abound with plenitude of choices; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must contend with the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the preparation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is indeed a time when the collision of grammar and life may well occur.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Diaphanous characters

Like garments left little for the imagination, the thin veil we wear rarely conceals the warts and freckles which spread throughout the malignancy of our souls.  People often mistake and confuse Christendom’s barring of an impure taint from entering the gates of its exclusive club; it is not what you did, but that you did it, and refused to take the steps to expiate the uncleanliness.

Thus, from the perspective unsoiled whiteness, a speck will blemish whether the dimensions of the spot are quantifiable or not.  That is why we dress ourselves with something, or anything, thinking that behind the veil — despite its translucent and revelatory insubstantiality — will somehow provide a semblance of security in an otherwise brutal world of appearances even for lack of subtlety.  And it is with that diaphanous character — the one which allows for surface niceties, inane salutations and barely restrained disdain for one another — that we pursue our own interests, determine the selfish destiny of fated lives, and consider not the greater interests of a community no longer existing but for suburban neighborhoods lined with pristine lawns sanctified by an immaculate insensitivity for disregard of each other’s needs.

No, the character remains whatever the cosmetic superficiality we attempt to apply; and when we put too much make-up on, or inadvertently smear the eye-liner or lipstick of incommensurate measures, there will be waiting that one who is only too pleased to point it out.

And, any such veneer of empathy quickly dissipates once there is weakness revealed — as with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who fail to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, resulting from a medical condition which clearly impacts the ability and capacity to fulfill the positional requirements.  Such Federal employees and Postal workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, have the choice of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and indeed, this is often the best remaining alternative to embrace.

For, the greater society which proceeds obliviously beyond the troubles experienced by a next door neighbor otherwise unknown but for an occasional wave of the hand, nod of the chin or silent stares of impassivity as the roar of the lawnmower eviscerates the quietude of a summer’s day, merely reflects what occurs daily in the hallways and corners of offices throughout the microcosmic insignificance of what we do daily; we become mean, and only on the deathbeds of sudden conversions do we consider the consequences of our actions.

No, the diaphanous character which we pass by each day needs to be left alone, and for the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who experiences daily the subtle hints and not-so-subtle warnings of harassment and intimidation merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, it is time to shake off the trepidation of life’s cold waters, and dive into the next phase which awaits you, like a lake of welcoming freshness with open arms revealing that childhood dream on the lazy elbows of a memory once forgotten, but still remembered with the voice which beckons in a whisper, “There is still a life beyond.”


Robert R. McGill, Esquire