FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The period in-between

It is the squeeze that we abhor, the suspension of life during that time.  Like the craven soul that is relegated to purgatory or the mass murderer that must await the culmination of the sentence imposed, it is the period in-between that is wasted because we are frozen in time by the certainty of the past already ensconced and the future that is determined but yet to be fulfilled.  That is the rub, isn’t it?

The uncertainty; whether the future can be altered or modified; or has fate already made an irreversible decision and judgment?

When Scrooge encounters that ghostly apparition representing the future in Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, isn’t that the question posed – whether the course of future events as foretold could be altered, modified, reversed or otherwise replaced?  But while we wait, what can be done?  For, in reality, it is too often thought that only the judgment rendered can then be worked upon, worked around or somehow accepted submissively as fated karma that cannot be countered.

Thus is that the reaction of Federal and 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 position – it becomes the period “in-between”.

It is the “in-between” doctor’s appointments to see whether there is any hope of getting better; “in-between” performance reviews to see if anyone at work has noticed; “in-between” temporary teleworking arrangements to see if the Federal Agency can extend the authorization; “in-between” surgery and recovery to see if you can go back to full duty; and on and on, “in-between” the crazy universe of a medical condition and a dying hope for a future withering on the vines of other’s expectations.

It is like being stuck in mud, frozen in time, watching as the impending future comes upon you.

However, there is an affirmative step that can be taken to begin the process of altering, modifying and changing the course of an expected future event – by preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

While filing a Federal Disability Retirement application may not be a solution to the medical condition itself, it is a step towards altering and modifying the course of future events that are controlled by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, by accessing an employment benefit that recognizes that you can no longer perform the essential elements of your particular Federal or Postal job, but there may be other things in life that you may be able to pursue.

That is how the period in-between can better be embraced, by making sure that the future does not end with a definitive period at all, but merely by a comma that represents a brief pause.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement under FERS & CSRS: The worthwhile life

Is that what we are all striving for?  Is the myth that never occurs the one that urges us on?  There are multiple idioms and pithy sayings by which “wisdom” is extracted and thought to be a solid foundation for acting and reacting in certain ways.  “No one ever says at the end of one’s life, ‘I spent too much time with my kid’”.  “Live for tomorrow and you will regret a month of Sundays”.  “Time spent at work is time away from family.”

Yes, yes, all of that is true, but one must still make a living, be productive, “make something of one’s self”.  That last saying – of essentially having one’s 15-minute moment of fame (that was Andy Warhol’s generation, wasn’t it?  Today, it has been shortened by microchips and technological speeds into the milliseconds, so it is no longer applicable) – is what people do, work for, strive to attain and act without shame to achieve; and if so, does that make it all “the worthwhile life”?

What ever happened to those who made it on to some morning show or other, who were interviewed for some act of insanity, some bold moment of fame that captured someone’s imagination somewhere in some unknown sector of a now-forgotten universe?

Recently, there was a “lower-tiered” author who died, who shall remain nameless to maintain a sense of decorum for the dead; and a certain number of books of this now-dead author was obtained, which had been signed and inscribed.  Now, the inscriptions were clearly to her children, and were written with a fondness and private display of affection.  The question that is naturally posed, however, is as follows: Why were the books, inscribed by a “somewhat known” author to the author’s children with such love shown, sold to a used bookstore?  How did they end up there?

From a reader’s perspective, the author may have been deemed a person with a “worthwhile life” – for, to be published, to be well-enough-known, and to produce books that were enjoyed and read; these would, in the eyes of the world, be considered “making a mark upon the world” and deemed to have had a “successful” life.  And, yet – the sad fact of the sale of a book, inscribed to the author’s children, sold for a pittance; it harkens back the pithy saying, in whatever form, that “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I didn’t work too much’, but there are more than a few who have said with a last gasp, ‘I didn’t spend enough time with my kid’”.

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, that is the point, isn’t it – that to “hold on to” one’s job despite the increasingly debilitating medical condition because one considers the Federal or Postal job to define one’s identity as a “worthwhile” person, is mere folly in the scheme of life’s gifts.

Health, and maintaining one’s health, should be fame enough in pursuance of a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Let the others in posterity of hope determine whether the worthwhile life has been lived, and by whom, but more importantly, for whom.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement Program: Word Piles

The etymology connotes the Biblical narrative found in Genesis, generally referred to as the Tower of Babel; in that case, not of words, but of civilizations attempting to reach the heavens in order to breach the power of the universe.  But Babel was more than the diaspora of a rebellious cabal of God’s children gathered to defy and deface; it had to do with evil, impure intent, and the conspiracy of human depravity in the face of a pure heaven and the violation of man’s sacrosanct relationship implicit after the metaphor of the Great Flood.

Words, likewise, hold such a contractual connection.  They were meant to convey the differentiation between Truth and Falsity, and to correspond to the objective universe in communicating the worth and beauty of a sanctified world.  The defamation of that level of spiritual relationship was violated not because of the tower’s construction; rather, Babel’s unanswerable sin had to do with the depravity of the human heart, and the essence of a soul’s darkening.

Whatever the motivation of the gathering’s aggregate will never be known; and of individual reasons for participating in the construction of such a structure, we can only guess at; but what is clear is that the response was one of anger, and such reaction must have had a reason:  the dispersion was both an explanation of the state of current affairs, a forewarning for any who might consider future similar actions, and a consequence of man’s violation of a once-sacred right.

Modernity suffers from a parallel state of affairs.  Though clinging to the paradigm of a Darwinian explanation of human history, and devoid of everything spiritual, mythological or generational transfers of traditional narratives, the metaphorical pile of words we amass reflect not just an attempt to become gods ourselves, but in the very process, to rebel against the very foundation of what words were meant to accomplish.

Once upon a time, in the flickering shadows and glow from fires where the village gathered to hear the storytelling ancients of the town historian, sorcerer and magic healer, the traditions carried forth from the inception of timelessness into the mysteries of the heart would pierce like the spear of the warrior, and children listened with wide-eyed wonder at the shaman who effortlessly rolled the tales from tongues emitting not mere sounds, but images and shadows of pictures more frightening than the lion’s roar or the wild boar’s tusks.

Words spoken, meant something, then.  Truth was bundled in the very telling of the tale; and falsity reflected the depravity of man’s heart, confounded by the loss of innocence in a world gone mad.

We can still get a sense of that — that encounter with words, meaning and truth; and, indeed, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must convey facts, circumstances and narratives of human experience when preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the piling of words upon words must convey a test of reality, and a dose of the shaman’s storytelling.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application is, in the end, not just creating a word pile; it is to communicate the essence of the human condition in a world which often fails to listen, and refuses to hear.  That is why it is important to formulate it effectively, accurately, and with a coherence beyond mere word piling, lest the fall be a cloud of dust greater than the collapse of the Tower of Babel.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The Echo Chamber

In media, it is the homogenizing effect of drowning out all non-conforming ideas, such that truth becomes the repetition of a lie, or at least the dominant perspective envisioned via a safe environment of simplicity.  To be different is to challenge, and any disruption or potential pause to the status quo means a necessary change to present circumstances.  That is why bureaucracies tend to resist alteration, like the chameleon which stands before a world changing at a pace of warp speed, ensconced in its evolutionary rigidity, unable to adapt but for its genetic code of survivability.

Medical conditions often represent such a threat to the status quo; it is something “different” to deal with, and when asked in terms of “accommodating” an individual with a medical condition, it may mean that others are called upon to alter the staid old ways of doing things.  Further, it is a reminder of one’s mortality and vulnerability, as a walking exclamation point that “but for the grace of…”

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must contend with such a dualism of reminders, the resistance is palpable, sometimes hidden, often open in hostility and uncaring.  Does filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee who is injured or suffers from a medical condition, seem like “giving up” and “giving in”?  Is there a further point to be made by the Federal or Postal worker who continues to hang on and stay in, “fighting the good fight”, but now more towards internal acrimony as opposed to the “common enemy” of those outsiders who oppose the mission of the agency?

Once, when life was carefree, and we were caught in the womb of warmth where ignorance was bliss and the worries of our youth amounted merely to whether our moms would tuck us in at night, the shattering of reality and of “grown-up” things suddenly came to the fore, and then we stood, alone, facing that uncertain future which our forefathers whispered about, and to which we giggled and strained to hear.

But for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, beware of the echo chamber of life’s misgivings, as it may drown out the only voice of reason which calls for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits and “moving on” with life, leaving behind the rest and residue of causes long forgotten and left unopened, like a gift without a child, and a teardrop absent knowing eyes.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Evaluative Adaptability

Life is often like a boat without oars, let alone a motor which functions; and as the waves rock the water transport, one maintains balance, sanity and survival by attempting to prepare for the whitecaps and hoping for a further delay of a storm, and never a tsunami.  But those changes inevitably come, and attack in onslaughts of exponential fury.  One attempts to adapt, to remain like the chameleon who must survive by an unwanted metamorphosis, in order to maintain the delicate balance of nature as described by the brutality of Darwin’s world.

Man presumably has the advantage of possessing the dual modalities of penultimate capacity for survival:  the cognitive and the physical.  Of the latter, the human animal is neither a lion nor a cheetah; and of the former, self-doubt, confusion and intellectual arrogance often muddles the clarity of purpose shown by other carnivores.  But it is the combination of both — of the evaluative adaptability acquired through intake and filtering of information, analysis of factual and predictable processing, and shifting positions based upon real-time data reflected upon through a compendium of intellectual acuity honed and perfected by experience.

That is precisely why bureaucracies are often potholes of frustration; as systematized repetition dulls the soul, so the imposition of irrational decisions heightens the angst of man’s inner being.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition may cut short one’s career with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is with that duality of advantageous survival mode that one must approach both the Federal agency (and the U.S. Postal Service), as well as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Certainly, physical endurance is limited often by the medical condition and the deterioration of stamina and energy; but the evaluative adaptability and the capacity to change course should never be underestimated.

Medical conditions need not deter the direction of the boat; most medical conditions are mere whitecaps which rock like irritants on a summer evening where gnats and mosquitoes ravage the unprotected surface; but unlike hurricanes and tsunamis which overwhelm and destroy, the fact that one’s steering mechanism or the ability to propel oneself forward may be damaged, should never extinguish the Federal or Postal employee from recognizing that one’s evaluative adaptability is the key towards moving positively into the future and affirmatively taking steps to secure a brighter tomorrow, by beginning the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The Flavor of Our Times

Each generation has a flavor of the times — that obscure and fuzzy sense of “something” beyond which one cannot quite describe, but nevertheless leaves a distinctive aftertaste that remains and cannot be washed away.  Hypocrisy may come close to identifying it — of saying one thing, meaning another; of using words and virtual reality in order to conceal the true motive and intentions.  We see it in our politicians, in newspapers and neighborly barbecues; as truth is not the sought-after goal, and as relativism and the capacity to perform linguistic gymnastics at every turn of words, so the natural consequence of our deeds should not surprise us.  We claim empathy, but act indifferently; we teach our kids grandiose belief-systems, then act surprised when rebellion monitors the day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, the stark reality of what they hear as the “official” pronouncement of one’s agency, as opposed to the practical and day-to-day occurrence and action in “real time”, is like the echoing chasm of a hollow pit which reverberates with each unintelligible sound.  All of the rules and regulations promulgated for public consumption about protecting the rights of disabled Federal employees sound like collected baseball cards reserved for showing off to guests who are gullible enough to gasp with excitement over items of dubious value; but it is the “behind-the-scenes” reality of how individuals treat each other, which tells the true story of shame, deceit and indifference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the gap between declared public policy and the reality of that insular shame, is a daily recognition of man’s inhumanity to his or her fellow man or woman.  Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers experience this violation daily.  That is why opting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the best, only, and remaining self-preservation option, to secure one’s future and to separate from Federal Service with a semblance of dignity.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to obtain a base annuity, then go into the private sector and begin to pursue a second, or third, vocation of choice.  It is not an abandonment of one’s principles, nor a retreat from one’s beliefs. That was already accomplished years ago, when the flavor of our times became the official stance of an uncaring system which betrayed the dedicated Federal or Postal employee merely because of a medical condition beyond one’s control.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The Question of Worth

Whether animals consider the question or not, they certainly make judgments based upon prudence, calculation and quantification of effort involved; but perhaps not in some conceptually systematic approach.  “Worth” can involve multiple meanings: of time expended; monetized value; quality; but always involving the evaluative process of comparative analysis.

It is this latter process which is important for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker in determining whether to proceed with preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. The comparison may be on different levels, and pitted against and between various elements: priority of values (health versus continuation and persistence in present circumstances); current financial condition in contrast to future reduced benefits; the penalties imposed by taking an early retirement as opposed to a Federal Disability Retirement; the length of the process in contrast to one’s age and cost of hiring an attorney; and many such similar factors to be analyzed.

Perhaps the only comparative analysis which need not be engaged is the one which the Agency implicitly compels: The worth of self, derived from the manner in which the agency or the U.S. Postal Service treats the Federal or Postal employee once it becomes evident that the Federal or Postal employee has a medical condition such that it prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and thereby consideration must be given to filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Other animals never ask that question of self-worth, as survival and Darwinian principles prevail and overtake the inherently nonsensical nature of such a question; it is only the human being who ever questions the worth of self, and only within the greater context of a society which places a premium upon questions unworthy of consideration.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire