OPM Disability Retirement: The inconspicuous individual

Some cannot fathom that role; anonymity in modernity is replaced with the trolling Internet personality; for, there, where one can allow for multiple personalities, schizophrenia and megalomania to rule and manifest, the instinct of the aggressive dominates.  What is it about Facebook, Forums and Fortuitous Forays into Freedom’s Foundation that vanquishes modesty in the face of hiding behind the curtain of anonymity?

There is a conceptual distinction to be made between the inconspicuous individual who desires to remain in the background and enjoy the role of observant but inactive participant, and those who act with modesty and decorum by all appearances, but beneath seethe with the acrimony of jealousy, envy and inadequacy who then utilizes the power of impersonation and trolls the Internet to ridicule, criticize, harass and intimidate.

Traditional discussion and debate required four components:  (1) An unspoken concurrence to engage in the exchange of ideas within a context of gentlemanly decorum and behavior of self-restraint (i.e., in more modern parlance, to not take things personally); (2) To listen without interruption when another is speaking; (3) To understand and apply the rules of logic when positing an idea or introducing a conceptual paradigm; and (4) To recognize a superior argument to one’s own, and submit/admit to it gracefully.

There is, moreover, a fifth element that is never addressed, because it is one that used to be accepted by everyone:  Don’t raise your voice, as it is the quality of the idea pursued and not the excessive volume of debate that matters, and recognize that not everyone is of equal intellectual capacity, such that silence is sometime preferable to a mouth opened merely to make sounds.

Do any of those traditional “rules” apply today?  Are there, in modernity, those who win medals for bravery, or championships in the sports arena, without a subsequent ride upon the lecture circuit, the television appearance and the book-deal that demands an advance of remuneration?  Is there, in short, the existence of the inconspicuous individual in this day and age?

Perhaps modesty is an outmoded concept; humility, a dead characteristic of arcane quality destroyed with the diminishing influence of religiosity; and as empowerment has been replaced by the tortured utterances of the shouting voices on the Internet, so the extinction of the inconspicuous individual is a reality in today’s cackle of overriding voices.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts, prevents and interrupts the ability and capacity of the Federal or Postal employee to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the ability to remain inconspicuous is something that is sought after, but unfortunately, unable to be maintained.  In the context of suffering from a medical condition, the desire to remain inconspicuous (i.e., staying “under the radar”, so to speak proverbially) is that rarity of modernity, but a necessity by compulsion; for, the alternative is to become a target of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Thus, the word of advice from this lawyer is that, in the process of preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the better time to inform one’s Supervisor, Manager or the Agency in general, is “later” rather than sooner, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise; lest, of course, you desire the accelerated extinction to occur for that dying breed identified as the inconspicuous individual.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Latent dignity

There are people who, by their very carriage, command respect and deference; it is like the royal crest without intimate knowledge of lives or spoilage in whispers behind shuttered windows – it is just presumed.  Does man possess a latent dignity beyond the carrion of an eagle’s flight?  Are we, indeed, just below the angels, and above the fray of predatory delights?

Ah, but lest we forget the devastation wrought upon the concept of man, history and the inheritance of lineage, when materialism became the birthright of man and the genetic predisposition as espoused by the paradigm proffered by Darwinism became the penultimate penumbra of the image we carry forth of ourselves; and when we discarded faith in angels, affinity to the noble character of man, and association in the exclusive club of rationality as the essence of being – once these were ignored, dismissed and derided, then we refused the rightful inheritance of our rich ancestry.

Of what dignity, latent or expedient, may we claim, now?  How, and with what birth right, can we stake the soul of a mere mortal who reaches as the epitome of being nothing more than the cadaver upon which vultures feed?  Once discarded, the metaphysical lineage of man disappears, and any transcendence of being – whether of the three parts of the soul or even the road to Mecca – they have been forsaken for the eternal gluttony of human appetite.

Once, when wars were fought not for oil nor the glory of mercenary satisfaction, but words of honor and fidelity, for family, country and salvation of souls; and not of mere seedlings left for others to starve upon, but for things we once believed in, had faith of, and sought the worth of sacrifice in a universe otherwise left to others and countless ineptitude of bureaucratic morass.

There was, once upon a time, a story for mythology to fill; for giants to slay, dragons to conquer, and pathways to forge without fear of retribution.  But, somewhere along the way, something strange happened; we lost faith, left behind tradition, and allowed the foolishness of youth to prevail and rule upon the rationality of man’s heritage.  Beauty was accepted as the glamour of a television show; substance was interpreted as a funny one-liner on a late-night comedic episode; and instead of Western Civilization’s tradition of gratitude, humility and love of neighbor, we were suddenly left with nothing more than the emptiness of materialism and the promise of nothing more than death, decay and an unmarked tombstone with etched markings which merely revealed the beginning of life and the end of living.

In what promise, then, do we knock upon the door for that latent dignity we define as man?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from engaging in that most meaningful of projects – one’s career, work and vocation of choice – because of the very medical condition itself, there comes a time when the harassment, intimidation and demeaning conduct perpetrated by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service must be stopped.  Sometimes – and often enough – that plan of stoppage can only be sought and embraced through the effective preparation, formulation and filing of 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.

Only by moving beyond the arena of demeaning venues of life can we attain a status and stature of latent dignity; for, it becomes clear in this age of modernity, that such dignity is no longer latent, but remains for the individual to assert and declare, and not allow the silence of the lambs to drown out the pureness of one’s soul.


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