Disability Retirement for Federal Employees: On the other hand…

Do other species engage in the same games of options and alternative scenarios?  Does the Lioness, just before the charge and race to overtake its noontime meal, say to herself, “Yes, that one looks good; but on the other hand…”?

Or, does the fact that a subjective state of consciousness fails to include verbal statements or conceptual constructs coherent by human standards constitute an absence of such option-choosing methodology of thought processes?

Or, do we accept its silent substitute, where there is an antelope, a wildebeest and a wild boar , and as the lioness surveys the prey before her, the fact that she looks, views, takes into account the ease of capture as to each – in a silent, non-verbal manner – constitute the identical cognitive approach as that of murmuring to one’s self?  “On the other hand…”

Does everything have to be verbal in order to reach a level of “thought”, or can the silent surveying of a predator reach the same level of intellectual coherence as that of a verbalized statement?

What about pain?  If you go to a doctor’s office and the MRI shows multi-level degenerative disc disease and the nurse says to you, “You must be in considerable pain,” and you respond with, “Yes, but I haven’t ever said anything about it” – does that mean that you never had pain, or merely that you did not verbalize it?  Can existence of X remain in a private, insular and singular world, or must it be communicated in order to have a “reality”-based existence?

How is it different from the child who says, “I just saw a purple monster hiding behind the couch”, and the parent smiles and says, “What an imagination!”  The fact that the child saw it and no one else, but failed to verbalize it at first – does it make a difference?  And when the child declared its existence, do we doubt it any more than the admission of the non-stated pain because we don’t believe in purple monsters?  On the other hand…

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, is it better to constantly be a complainer and whiner and keep telling your supervisor and coworkers that you have a medical condition and the medical condition prevents you from doing essential elements X, Y and Z?

Or, like most Federal and Postal workers, do your remain silent for years and even decades, enduring the pain of physical deterioration or the tumult of psychiatric turmoil, and then get “penalized” for it when you file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, merely because “no one knew about it” until it became so bad that you had to file?  On the other hand…


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Parsing words and convoluted sentences

Choosing the appropriate word in linguistic expression is the corridor for comprehension; like weapons in the wrong hands and the capacity to push the proverbial button to initiate a first strike, the modern proponent of the elasticity of language has been accused of taking the parsing of it a bridge too far.  Of course, the general consensus is that lawyers “are to blame”; for, in engaging the fine-print and analysis of syntactic components to their exponential extremes, the convoluted manner in which meanings are twisted, coiled and folded into multiple layers of annotations, denotations and connotations, implies a loss of symbiosis between words, reality and the correspondence between the two.

Do words have any meaning at all, anymore?  Or, put in a different way and from a variegated perspective, must the word remain static, or be subjected to the interpretive emotional status at any given moment?  In a different context, such a question posed embraces an implied argument for the hermeneutical approaches that form the wide chasm in Constitutional theory — of “originalism” as opposed to the “living document” school of thought.

Whether one places significance upon the authorial intent, as opposed to the reader’s unconstrained translation of the contextual discourse, tells a lot about a person, his approach to life, and the manner of one’s capacity to evaluate and logically think.

In the end, it is perhaps the compromise between the two extremes which will hold sway with the ordinary person who happens to pick up a Shakespearean play and begins plodding through the double and triple entendres contained within, beneath, and every which way — that the greatest delineation of words and compilation of sentence structures must, however formulated and concisely aggregated, reflect a mastery of the word such that the here and now can be understood, but with a malleability open for playful interpretation.

This is an important point to understand — and for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who is preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, every applicant must write up a Statement of Disability in response to Standard Form 3112A, and while the questions necessarily and somewhat delimit the context and content of the substantive form provided, it is the careful parsing of words and the need to refrain from a convoluted discourse which must guide the Federal or Postal employee into presenting a cohesive narrative, a logical and methodological argumentation of persuasive weight, and a clarity of deliberative purpose which sways the reader — the administrative “specialist” at OPM — into granting a Federal Disability Retirement application with a responsive (but merely a “template”) letter stating with unequivocal and unmistakable bluntness: “Approved“.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


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