OPM Disability Retirement: Outward appearance, inward thoughts

It is, of course, the core of Western thought, originating from Socratic arguments against placing one’s faith in the “appearance” of things as opposed to the Platonic Forms that represent true Being; and through Aristotelian arguments of a “substratum” that underlies the outward appearance, to the certitude of Cogito, ergo sum; then, the inner reliance where subjectivity and objectivity coalesce and the distinctions became undoable by Wittgenstein’s standards of banishing all Philosophical problems to mere linguistic confusion, and the belittling scoffs of Russell’s mischievous analysis; these, and many more in the history of contemplative reflection that has haunted the aggregate of outward appearance versus inward thoughts.

All of which brings us to the core of so many medical conditions – where so much cannot be seen and we often have to “exaggerate” just to get people to believe us.  Take “pain”, as an example – one can be in excruciating pain, and yet remain unemotional about it.  Even if an MRI result shows that there is a physical basis for which the pain is experienced, nevertheless, pain by definition is a subjective component, and cannot publicly be quantified.

That is why conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain syndrome, Failed Back Syndrome, not to even mention Major Depression, Anxiety, panic attacks, etc. – how does one persuade others of the “real-ness” of the condition?  Broken bones, malignant tumors, catastrophic injuries; these, inward thoughts (believability) are consistent with outward appearance.

There is, in the end, a distinction with a difference that must be acknowledged, between “having a medical condition” and “proving a medical condition” – especially when it comes to preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  There are, moreover, certain factors that “favor” the Federal Disability Retirement applicant – such as the standard of proof (Preponderance of the Evidence, as opposed to higher legal standards out there); the weight and validity of a treating doctor’s opinion; and certain clinical evidence that moves the chess pieces beyond mere subjective opinion, thereby bridging the gap between outward appearance and inward thoughts.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application requires more than just gathering a pile of medical documents and submitting it. In the end, the Federal Disability Retirement applicant must PROVE one’s case, in order to get beyond mere outward appearance and inward thoughts.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Magnum Opus

It is applied as the masterpiece and pinnacle of achievement, but is more generally referred to as the identifying crown for an individual of some notable accomplishment in the various fields and disciplines.  There are looser forms of using the term, of course, in common parlance, in a half-joking, half-serious manner; as in referring to one’s spouse with greater humility, or events that occurred with greater consequences than expected or foreseen.  Like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, the Magnum Opus represents the pinnacle of one’s achievement in the career of a chosen field, or within a discipline one was merely destined for.

Most of us, of course, never reach that height of human achievement recognized and lauded by a standard of excellence the world around; mediocrity is the lot of most, and that is okay, so long as the achievements made within the confines of private lives are accorded a similar standard striving to reflect the apex of human worth.  For, the Magnum Opus can be in the simple act of kindness in daily living – of bringing in the garbage can of an elderly neighbor too frail to wander out on a snow-fallen morning, or giving a shelter animal a chance at some semblance of happiness and contentment, and diminishing the violent memories of prior mistreatment and maltreatment.

In the end, it is not the marking of graves with epitaphs of grandeur that matter – though we may fantasize of jealousy and envy overwhelming relatives we disliked, visiting the tombstone of our own creation and smirking at the largesse accorded by a public never quite knowing but the public figure of accomplishments we deign to applaud – but of unmarked ones that are visited by a family left behind, empty with an aching heart for the laughter that we brought, the joy we helped enliven, and the fleeting moment of happiness that encompassed the otherwise dreary lot of a population confused between sex and love.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who has believed that the Magnum Opus of one’s fortunes were somehow tied up inextricably in the career path of a Federal agency or Postal facility, rethinking the paradigm is tantamount to a heretical utterance of unfathomable delay.  There is life beyond a Federal agency’s mission (though you may not discern it well from the attitudes of coworkers and Supervisors), and there is importance and relevance beyond the Postal facility one has worked for.

When a medical condition comes to a point where one cannot meet the expectations of that grand “mission” that has been a constant drone of contention, it might be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  Don’t let the Magnum Opus of one’s career be on the downturn of one’s accomplishments because blind fealty to an agency or the U.S. Postal Service has stopped any forward progress; instead, it may be for the next phase of one’s life that the unmarked grave is visited upon with an epitaph still to be written.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Exchanging pleasantries

Some possess the greater patience for it, and enthusiastically embrace the inherent gamesmanship and accompanying pleasures derived therefrom; while others merely forego even the most basic of such prefatory considerations and condescending patronization that commonly attaches.  Still others mechanically, thoughtlessly and with automated responsiveness, emit the utterances with aplomb and a wave of hands, never pausing to even consider the discourteousness of violating that fragile sheen of neighborly discourse.

— “Hello, how are you.”
An introductory glance inviting suspicion and possible rebuttal

—  “Fine weather, isn’t it?”
Can a mere nod be sufficient?

—  “Hello!”

Can we get by this person with silence?

Have we become more cynical as a whole, and have the constant warnings by governmental agencies concerning scams, frauds and insincere malfeasance taken its toll?  Or, are there still visiting angels among us, whom we ignore at our own peril?

Are there exceptional salutations that demand a presence of mind, or do they all fit into a mold of complacent irrelevancy?  “Merry Christmas”, or its more neutral form of “Happy Holidays”, and even “Happy New Year” – is it the occasion itself which is evocative of a positive response, or does the Scrooge that lives within each of us allow for a grunt and a nod?  When exchanging pleasantries becomes reduced to a mere foresight of impending hostility, does it lose its efficacy, or is the “break-down” of superficial civility revealed in the acrid intonation of a voice which fails to match the salutation itself?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have come to expect the common resources of exchanging pleasantries, the line of demarcation where civility devolves into acrimony and harassment often boils to the surface when the Federal or Postal employee begins to become less productive as a result of a medical condition that prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS of CSRS Offset, it is often a good indicator of things to come, and thus it is important to gain a “step ahead” by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Time was that exchanging pleasantries was always taken for granted; but for the Federal or Postal employee who is witnessing the deterioration not just of one’s own health, but the superficial health of common decency and discourse with coworkers, managers and supervisors – it may be time to exchange those pleasantries with a reality check, and begin preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: The end of Act I, Scene I

Whether it is in some obscure off-Broadway play, or in a Shakespearean tragedy presented with lavish costumes and elaborate affectations, the end in Act I, Scene I sets the stage for the narrative following.  Yes, yes – one can argue that there are “other” scenes, acts, pivotal moments and significant slices which also formulate the argument for such commanding cohesion in a story; but that misses the point – for, if everything is relevant, then nothing is important; and if nothing is important, then it negates the pointing out of relevance itself.

The great Chekhov is the one who pointed out that, if you are going to introduce a shotgun in the first scene, then you must use it sometime, somewhere, later; otherwise, you have left the audience with a titillating artifice with no signification of purpose, thereby failing to be true and honest with your viewers and violating the sanctity of that most important of connections:  the collective belief of the audience of the constructed trust in you.

There are always pivotal moments in every life lived; of remorse and regret too burdensome to live out, or minor irritants of projects left undone and cast aside both in memory and in discourse of behavior.  We often treat the end of Act I, Scene I “as if” – and that is the mistake which the metaphor fails to embrace.  For, there are always many scenes to follow, and when we make too much of a slice of one’s life as that “pivotal” moment of despair and regret, it robs the rest of the narrative and creates a vacuum and extinguishment of life’s subsequent moments of linear significance, like the proverbial skeleton in the closet of one’s hidden past, echoing with haunting sobs of silent regrets, always pulling back into a time of past remorse, when a wider expanse of future hope still resides.

One should always keep a proper perspective, both in living a life as well as in learning of another’s; for, it cannot be that any single slice constitutes the entirety of the greater whole, and to make it so is to miss the opportunities of subsequent events by relying too heavily upon prior travesties.   To dwell on the past and to set a given moment as a sort of eureka event where an epiphany is attained is to remain forever stuck in a quick sand of self-delusion.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are intending upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, but who – for whatever reasons of regret, remorse of affectations of reaching a seeming epiphany, and thus hesitates for fear of living that regret or remorse – the important thing to consider is that, while the end of a career may well constitute a change of present circumstances, it should merely be likened to the end of Act I, Scene I, and not the end of the play itself.

There is much to do beyond receiving a Federal Disability Retirement – one can, for instance, find a different kind of job, vocation or work in the private sector, and make up to 80% of what one’s (now former) Federal position currently pays, and continue to receive such pay on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  As such, the Federal or Postal employee should never simply pack up and go home after Act I, Scene I – as there is much left to the narrative, especially when it comes to living the real life of one’s own play.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirements: The Cynic’s Tavern

It occupies a dilapidated building on the edge of town.  The sign that once overhung the entrance is faded and barely noticeable; but, then, the patrons who enjoy the end-of-workday glass or the occasional wanderer who mistakes the place for the origins of exotic mixtures need not a neon of invitation, but merely a marker that beckons.  Laughter is allowed; speaking is optional; rude behavior is not tolerated.  Silence is golden.  People go to the place of drink and merriment because it lacks the pretentiousness of the world outside; and the large man with a stubble of a week’s shade serves with nary a word, and respects the look of fatigue and demeanor of defeat foreshadowing the heavy sigh accompanying the hunched shoulders of the breathless customer.

The Cynic’s Tavern is the place where old men gather, young men and women cluster, and those somewhere in between loiter.  The younger ones have not yet been tainted by life’s travails, and hopeful dreams still clutter the naïve souls of untouched innocence; the one’s who have moved through some years of agony, still retain a glint of smiling faith; but it is the elders of the universe who sit at the bar and despair of lives wasted, wars endured and years forgotten but for the joys of friendship and solitude.

Cynicism is like a virus infecting a town’s essence; it destroys by incremental advances of insidious fatefulness, and never returns the gift of life once gained but lost forever.  If it has not yet prevailed, then wait a few years; life itself guarantees it, as fairytales of beauty, essences of love and mythological lands embracing inclusion and empathy, exist only in the minds of children, the duped or the meandering demented of society’s wasteland.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to fight against joining the Cynic’s Tavern, the issue is often one of withstanding and withholding for so long, until succumbing is merely a matter of time.  If the daily harassment, deteriorating health and constant detours down the alley of worsening conditions has led to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, then it is time to take the next step and formulate the proper and most efficient strategy in order to increase the chances of an approval before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is one thing to enter through the doors of the Cynic’s Tavern for an occasional drink; it is quite another to find one’s seat there warmed by the constant occupation of one’s unmoved derriere.  The best antidote to prevent or curtail cynicism is to keep moving; otherwise, the stale drink and smoke-filled room will ultimately become a part of one’s vacant stare into a future less hopeful.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The effect of nature’s muse

The connotation is often in the quiet reflection of silence; but other references can embrace any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, and as each presided over various arts or sciences, so the inspiration or guidance we receive is spiritual or otherwise from an unknown source of creativity.  Have you ever walked through a forest and come upon a clearing where the light suddenly opens upon a spot of heaven?  That is the effect of nature’s muse.  Or of a sudden realization that the darkness overwhelming as a burden upon a donkey’s back, is lifted without explanation and released with but an unspoken pardon?

Much of life and living involves sadness, decay, dominance of fear and trepidation of anxiety; and so when deliverance from devastation comes in slices and paper cups of limited portions, we drink thirstily as if the starvation of life’s travails imprisoned our very existence for an eternity of hell.

We often suspect that gods and goddesses laugh at us from on high, behind corridors shuttered and tree limbs cascading; and in the hint of nature’s muse, we wonder whether it is all “worth it”, as if value is embedded in the secrets of Tibetan mountains.  But as the guru who drives a Rolls Royce but speaks the language of a spiritual monk winks at the followers who would grant comfort and bespeak of secret incantations reserved for the spirit of folly, so the rest of us suspect that there is something inherently wrong with the world at large.

There are always “dark forces” gathering, conspiracies mounting, and greater inequities planned for the lives of the “common folk” – who almost always includes you and I, but never the guy on television.  Does nature indeed have a sense of humor, a glint of glee or a mirth of pardonable satire?  Or is it as cold and impervious as Darwinians would have us believe?  Better were those days when hobbits, goblins and elves could be believed; where the moon was more than just mere lifeless rocks and dirt; and unnamed spirits roamed the earth.  But of nature’s muse, we can still attach our own joy, the inner warmth we still possess and the jewel of a private soul we still retain.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who yet seek to become released from a private hell involving a medical condition and the persistent deterioration wrought from an inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the preparation and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often like a realization that the effect of nature’s muse is like that sudden clearing one accidentally wanders upon in a forest full of darkness; it is only when there is a spot of light which provides for hope, that value is rediscovered, and that search and discovery may be attained in the very process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Private hells

It is a familiar refrain to note that everyone has a self-contained “private hell”; and an even greater understanding that it is well that such thoughts of other hells are both private, and for the most part, left silent without conveyance or communication.  But that is changing, in large part, because people believe that mass dissemination of information has now unleashed any unspoken decorum of dignified discretion.

We believe, now, that everyone should “tell all”; that private matters once left as remnants of shameful self-confessions should be publicized because it is healthy for the inner soul to be uncovered.  But if that were really true, wouldn’t utopia have descended upon the Western World by now?

Revolutionary experimentation is often a good thing – at least, in limited dosages of consumable quantities with tolerable levels of tenacity.  But the mass acceleration of unlimited informational discharges, as evidenced by the Internet, Smartphone usage and widespread hacking and release of information of such great quantities that we cannot even begin to sift through the volume, has resulted in less, than more.  Is it because of the consumer age of technological advancement in which we all presume that “more” equates to “better”?

Once upon a time, in the quietude of an asceticism viewed with reflective consternation, the serious young individual considered shame, hesitation and discretion of public pronouncement; now, however, we have lost faith, abandoned decorum, and relinquished sovereignty, such that we have sold our souls for a mere pittance in return.

We can “tell all” so that expiation of sins once reserved for Dante’s circle of hell could be replaced with and substituted for a therapeutic society which never quite treats effective, rarely cures and always costs.  The cost of what we have given up never returns that which we have invested, and what was once sacrosanct is now mere fodder for comedians and irreverence for late night chatter and laughter of the belly-aching kind.

Somehow, private hells no longer exist; instead, they end up being confessed on a daytime show by a host who is deemed to be a doctor, but of what kind, we are never told.  Private hells imply two consonants of behavioral conflicts:  of a secret and limited access of information (privacy) combined with a torment unimagined and unfelt by others (hell).  Does the former (privacy) exacerbate the latter (hell), such that there is therapeutic value in publicizing that which is private, which would then allow for hell to become transformed into heaven?

We tend to believe so, and this generation of modernity has begun the journey down that path without any empirical evidence to support its belief-system.  Whether it will work, or not, time will tell.  For the time being, however, the private hells which consume the islands of individuals will result in the devastation of souls and psyches, as it has throughout the history of mankind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who endure through such private hells, suffering from a medical condition only exponentially creates a greater hell than the earthly one which most people already experience.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a means to an end.

The means is the administrative process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  The “ends” will come about in order to escape that private hell, which is the slice of heavenly gratuity we are given with the birth of an unasked-for life, impeded by uncalled-for harassment, by unapproachable supervisors and managers unabashedly unconscious of the private hells they themselves have created.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire