Legal Representation OPM Disability Retirement: A good turn

At what point does a “good” turn transform into a negative?  Can one help so much so that dependency becomes the habit and negates the “goodness” that was once always a part of the deed?  Isn’t “going to work” a “good” thing?  When does it turn bad?  Is there ever a point where the quality of X becomes diluted so much so by the quantitative increase of the primary identifying ingredient of X to where the essence of X becomes negative-X because of too much X within X?  Can there be, in the simplest of terms, too much goodness where goodness itself turns bad because of the overwhelming goodness involved?  Why is it that the following syllogism doesn’t quite work, and where is the fallacy involved?

Water is a necessary component for life
Life requires water in abundance in order to survive
Therefore, the more water, the greater abundance of life

But we all know that consuming too much water can kill a person.  And, isn’t that the complaint that we have in almost all aspects of living — that we come back to Aristotle’s essential wisdom that there is a “mean” or a “middle ground” of moderation where the extremes on either sides — neither too much nor too little — is the balance in the life that one should always strive for.

That is the basic component of happiness reduced to its pure essentials: of the porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”; of leisure time that relaxes but doesn’t rob from sustained periods of productivity; of a nap that satisfies but doesn’t make one groggy; and of entertainment that borders just to the edge of credibility but stays within the boundaries of allowing one to suspend disbelief, such that one can enjoy it without sighing, turning to a loved one and declaring, “That just isn’t believable.”

But where technology comes into our lives, perhaps we have come to a saturation point where we no longer believe that the “next new innovation” is going to save us any more time or enhance the quality of our lives anymore than the last version of our Smart Phone give us the promise of nirvana that we all stand in long lines to attain.  And so the question again turns full circle: When does a “good” turn into a negative?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers whose medical conditions have come to a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, the vicious circularity of the circumstances makes it into a paradigm where a good turns into a negative: Coming to work exacerbates the medical condition; the stress of being unable to perform the full essential elements of the Federal or Postal job further increases the stress; the Agency or the Postal facility begins to turn upon the Federal or Postal employee; and the job itself — once one of the many “good” things in life — now becomes a detriment and a negative.

It is then time to consider preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and thus turning that which was once a “good” but had transformed into a negative, back into a good turn.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: Trust

Is it by actions followed by words, or by mere words spoken that it develops, solidifies and concretizes? Can we really go by appearances alone, or must there be a history of words followed by actions, followed further by assurances, then again by more actions, until a sense of comfort and solidarity of feeling comes together to form an aggregate whole where we declare within our inner consciences, “Yes, I trust him (her)”?

Trust is a peculiar human emotion –for, it is an emotion, in the end, is it not?

Not quite like smiling or crying; not nearly a cousin to a shriek or a wail; but more akin to a calm, a peace of mind or a self-satisfying sigh.  Once earned, it can last a lifetime and beyond into off-springs and surviving relatives; once betrayed, it may be that it can never be restored, no matter how many apologies, the innumerable “make-up” actions and the irrelevancy of gifts galore.  For, how can you restore that which was meant to be inviolable?

If a spouse cheats once, will the suspicion of another time ever disappear?  If a person abandons his or her post and absconds in the middle of the night, does that not hint to a character flaw that he or she can and likely will do the same thing again?  Would an embezzler be invited to be employed as the head treasurer once accused, convicted and imprisoned?  Can trust shaken once ever be regained?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the issue of trust will need to be met head-on at some point.

When should the Agency be told of one’s intentions to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits?  Who should be told and who will be the one to tell?  How will confidential issues – gleaned from medical records and the Applicant’s Statement of Disability – be handled, and by whom and by which prying eyes?  Should the issue of confidentiality be magnified, be concerned over, and which employees actually have a “right to know” concerning all such issues?

These and many other legal entanglements constitute the encompassing purview of a Federal Disability Retirement application, and for answers to these complex questions, queries should be made in consultation with an expert in the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law.  For, in the end, it is the lawyer who is the advisor and counselor who gains the trust of the client through his experience, specialty and knowledge of the law.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Civil Service: By what measure?

Does a formula, a paradigm or a standard instill in us the direction we so desire?  How is it that we compare X to something, and is the contrast a necessary prerequisite to achieving and accomplishing, or is that some artificial, societal construct that we have manufactured in order to sell ourselves a “bill of goods”?

Yes, yes – Western Civilization (remember that middle-school subject taught under the general aegis of that title?) always begins with the philosophical precept of Aristotle’s, of “First Principles” and the “causes” of events and occurrences, but where is it stated that we must have a “measure” by which to compare and contrast?  By what measure do we apply ourselves, or is not the evolutionary will to survive and the genetic predisposition to propagate a sufficient factor in the drive to excel?  Like peacocks during mating season and robins that reveal a ferocity of savagery in the spring months, is there a measure by which we are deemed a success or failure, and by a standard where comparisons are made, conclusions are reached and judgments are rendered?

Rare is the solitary figure who abandons all implements of societal judgments and goes it alone without the condoning nod of an authority figure.  Lone wolves are figments of mythological fables; the rest of us follow the herd by the measure set by others in a society of gossipers and watchdogs set upon us without warning or consistency.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the standard of measure has always been some unstated and unfairly predetermined set of rules that are governed by a bunch of words we never agreed to – i.e., “productivity at the cost of health”; “loyalty to the mission of the Federal Agency without regard to medical conditions”; “repetitive work leading to stress injuries where proving causation is nigh impossible”, and other such silent statements of accord – but where the last bastion of hope often resides in 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.

All of these many years, the Federal or Postal worker has toiled under tremendous pressure by the measures set by the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal facility; fortunately, the standard by which OPM Disability Retirement benefits are granted is predetermined by statutory authority, and not by arbitrary fiat by a supervisor, manager or some other head of the department or agency by will of authority or changeable character of an individual.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM must follow certain eligibility guidelines and statutory confinements, as with most other set standards; but by what measure you may live your life after winning an OPM Disability Retirement annuity – that is set by you, the lone wolf.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Civil Service: The topic of conversation

How does it come about – that “topic of conversation”?  Is it merely and completely randomly selected, and in a spurious manner caught like the quiet embers that ignite an out-of-control wildfire?  Or, does someone Google on the Internet, something like, “Good dinner conversation topics”, and then proceed to print them out so that silence does not pause the ebb and flow of a party’s chatter?

If you listen carefully at conversations (which, by the way, are becoming a rarity these days, as one becomes ensconced in one’s own insular world of smart phones and Facebook postings, Instagram obsessions and Twitter feeds of inane utterances), you realize the randomness of subjects embraced, and how they often travel like a drunken driver meandering without lights or signals to brace the passersby.  Is that how Darwinian evolution looks like as an analogy of sorts?  A senseless, meandering coveting of erupting utterances without guide, meaning, direction or purpose?

But what if you become the topic of conversation – does it suddenly change, where the ear is suddenly turned red, the interest enlivened, and the aura of disinterestedness suddenly lifts?  And what if you are not in the room, but left to freshen up or take a break, and upon your reentrance, the silence suddenly pauses and the topic of conversation reveals a fissure and a gravitational shift that suddenly embarrasses and shames?  The ears burn – is that merely an old wives’ tale, or does that really happen?

Isn’t that what occurs with Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management?

As an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, the undersigned is often asked as to when the agency or the Postal Facility should be informed, prior to submission of an OPM Disability Retirement application, of one’s intent to file. It is a rather complicated question, and can have consequences unforeseen and not always positively received, and thus should be specifically tailored to each individual circumstance.

But do not be fooled:  The Federal or Postal employee who files a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, at some point during the process will inevitably become the topic of conversation; whether that should bother you, or you should care, depends upon many factors, and not the least of which is often influenced by sound representation by a Federal Disability Retirement lawyer who has guided the Federal Disability Retirement process throughout the gambit of the administrative process.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer: The Language of Choice

There are certainly other “languages” for conveying information, including (but not limited to):  foreign, other than English (but in this cosmopolitan world, where technology has made such barriers a moot point, it becomes almost provincial to speak of one’s native tongue); body; emotive; forms, including written or oral; other body, such as facial; coded; and others not listed here.  The choice of language one uses, is often determined by the context and circumstance mandated for various reasons, not the least of which would be the efficacy of the option taken.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have, for many years, had to endure the “language” of hostility from one’s Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service, it is perhaps a self-evident point that it is the “written” form of language which must be opted for in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  But it is not the obviousness of the issue which one must accept; rather, it is in the very transition from one’s milieu to filing with another bureaucracy which must be directly recognized and altered.

There is a natural tendency for the mistreated Federal and Postal worker filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to react to another bureaucracy and administrative process (OPM) in a similar vein as one is used to because of the mistreatment for so many years.  But one must mentally transition from the reactive methodology of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service which one has become accustomed to, and approach the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a different light.

As such, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, one word of caveat:  let the foreign language of professionalism prevail, and approach OPM with a singular focus of linguistic content which sets aside all of those wasted years of workplace harassment and hostility one may have experienced in a previous life, and adopt the language of choice — of an effective OPM Disability Retirement application devoid of the garbage of past malice.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Attorney: Playgrounds and the Collective Institution of Fair Play

We learn it early on; the unstated rules, the lines which may not be crossed, and to be weary of those whose reputation precedes them for the blatant disregard of both.  How they are learned; what they are; whether explicitly stated or impliedly conveyed; few, if any, have a memory where the Head Mistress of the Universe of Playgrounds sat us all down and said, “Now young ladies and gentlemen, here are the 10 rules of fair play.”  Regardless, we all somehow came to recognized and apply them.

Wittgenstein provides some valuable insight into the way we learn the language games involved in game-playing; much of it is through sheer doing, an ad hoc manner of practical reasoning and applied rationality.  And then, of course, we become adults (yes, at least most of us do; some, left behind on the playgrounds of life, remain as infantile cherubim, clueless and naive to the cynical ways of the world); and it always seems as if the same ones who violated the rules of the playground are the ones who flaunt the normative constraints of the greater universe.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are formulating a strategy for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one falls under the general aegis of FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often must be confronted as to the Supervisor, Manager, or even a fellow coworker who is pining for a confrontation and direct disregard of the collective institutional enforcement of what everyone else knows as “fair play”.

This, despite the fact that there are multiple Federal laws governing treatment of individuals with known medical disabilities.  But the Federal “system” of retaining workers with medical conditions and disabilities, and the perfunctory requirement of accommodations and the search to provide adequate accommodations, undermines any compelling force to restrain the playground bully.

OPM Disability Retirement benefits, filed either through one’s own agency if one is still on the rolls of the agency; or if separated, but less than 31 days since the official date of separation, in either case must be filed through the Human Resource Department of one’s own agency, or through H.R. Shared Services for Postal Workers (located in Greensboro, North Carolina); or, if separated for more than 31 days, then directly to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

In the end, things rarely change much, if at all.  Those collective institutional enforcement mechanisms learned on the playground — tattling to the playground monitor or to one’s teacher; talking to one’s parents, etc. — end up with a snicker and a sneer.

Yes, society has become well aware of bullies and mean people, but they have been around longer than the oldest profession in the world, and the collective institution of fair play and the playgrounds upon which they played out, will continue to witness backstabbing and surreptitious violations, transferred universally to the places where adults play, and where the most vulnerable in need of the greatest protection, still must do things the old fashioned way:  reliance on sheer luck, or to seek the best legal advice possible.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire