FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of true discourse and debate

A title immediately becomes “suspect” when the prefatory insertion of the word “true” is necessitated.  For, the noun which it is meant to enhance should be able to stand alone, without the reinforced embellishment that it is somehow more genuine than with the cousin’s uninvited presence.  It is like referring to a gemstone as a “valuable emerald” (what, one queries, would constitute an invaluable one?), or that such-and-such is a “very religious priest” (as opposed to an irreligious one?); and so to refer to the methodological approach of discourse and debate as one which is “true”, is to immediately undermine the very meaning of such a beginning.

But in modernity, where meaning has lost its efficacy and the elasticity of language has become epitomized by mindless You-Tube videos and an endless stream of nonsensical declarations preceded by a belief that, as pure relativism is rampant and presumed, it matters little who holds what opinion, the content of what is said, and not even the tone of intended consequences.

Once, in years past, there were “rules of engagement“, but three (3) foundational precepts needed to be followed in order to engage a valid discourse and debate.  First, that a distinction could be made between truth and falsity.  Second, that there existed a “superior” argument, based upon the combination of facts and rules of logical argumentation, in contradistinction to an “inferior” one.  But third — and this is the missing component in today’s endless shouting matches on television and radio waves — that each participant possessed a level of humility such that upon recognizing the inferiority of one’s one argument, a voluntary concession would be made, admitting to the superiority of the opponent’s argument.

While everyone recognizes and acknowledges the structural weakening of the first element, it is this last one which has devastated the entire process of today’s discourse and debate.  Of relevance to 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, is the extent, content and relevance of making a legal argument, and to what effectiveness and efficacy of substance, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

In the end, bureaucracies are based upon the power of its established conduit of administrative complexity, and OPM is no different.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is made up of ultra-competent individuals who take their jobs very seriously, as well as with a mixture of some who are less than stellar.  That is the general make-up of all such organizations and governmental entities.

The structure of the right to appeal, however, is why a cogent discourse and debate must be prepared.  If the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application twice (at the initial stage of the process, then again at the Reconsideration stage), then the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant can file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  There, the Administrative Judge will hear all of the arguments made, afresh and anew, and consider the lack of constructive engagement and “weak points” of OPM’s arguments.  That is where all true discourse and debate must begin — before an audience with a listening ear.  And there we have that complementing and undesirable cousin again —  the “true” X, as opposed to an untrue one?


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Hangman’s Knot

The perfect knot is the most effective, and development of its features occurred over time through a science of art and an artistic employment of science.  The placement of the knot behind which ear; the number of coils before they became an impediment; and the avoidance, at all costs, of trespassing upon superstitious beliefs and potentially supernatural reverberations — these were all taken into account in perfecting the science of the art.

Its corollary, the art of the science, disregarded the efficacy of the knot; it was only the former which concerned itself with an objective evaluation of the results after each occurrence.  Like parachuters who pack and fold their own devices with a systematic routine of sprinkled superstitions, the hangman would often approach his craft with a religiosity and fervency of monotony such that any detour from the iconoclasm of repetition could delay or abandon the anointed time of impending doom.

In modernity, of course, any discussion concerning the hangman’s noose turned into a historicity of adages and proverbial wisdom; we construct our own knots, like the beds we make in which we must sleep, and the messes we create which we direct our children to clean up.

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 performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the issue of when to file, how to file, the whys and whereabouts must always be taken into account; and like the hangman’s noose which is coiled slowly and deliberately, the Federal or Postal worker who prepares for the inevitably end must take care in the preparation and application for submission and filing.

It is, in the end, only the superficial features of the world which change; the essence of everything substantive remains constant, and that is precisely the point of Plato, Aristotle and the entire linear heritage of Western Philosophy — that the underlying meaningfulness of the world around us is that which is captured in truth.  And, like the hangman’s knot, what we do in preparing for the event of a lifetime is just as important as the incident itself, and that is why preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is essential to securing a future of stability and security, where the process is just as crucial as the substance underlying.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire