Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Life Choices

We all have to make them; and though we may alternatively want to curl up into a fetal position and wish the blunt world to stop bothering us, the decisions we make, and take responsibility for, reflect the state of maturity which binds us to age, experience and level of moral maturity.  It is, to a great extent, a superficial and shallow connotation and reference point; for, as the inevitability of choices to be made result from living in circumstances of our own making, so to imply that there is anything “substantive” in speaking about them undermines the very relevance of implication itself.

To live is to be confronted with daily choices; only the dead remain silent and require not the paths to pick.  Thus do mundane and pithy sayings originate.  Life is full of choices; the choices we make in life determine the future course of events yet indeterminate, but somewhat foreseen and predictable. Often, we avoid them not because of consequences untold, but for knowing the folly of our decisions.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition foretells of impending signs which the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service have, or will, impose and initiate, the time to begin preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is “now”.  Yes, the Federal and Postal employee has up to one (1) year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to meet the Statute of Limitations for filing an OPM Disability Retirement; but as it often takes many, many months to prepare, submit and get an approval from OPM, so the decisions we make today will have future consequences untold but foreseen if choices are not embraced in a timely manner.

Life presents many choices, alternatives, and lists of items like entrees on a menu; but in the end, the choice made means that when the plate of food arrives, a check for payment will follow soon afterwards, and it is the expectation of the price to be satisfied which should prompt and motivate any decisions of delay for the Federal or Postal Worker who intends on procrastinating in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from the USPS and Other Government Agencies: Construction

Meaning and value are attached to building, and watching the construction of end-products resulting from an assembly-line of incremental, almost imperceptible progression of composite aggregations of artistry.  To build, and to witness the progress of effort expended, is to reveal advancement and accomplishment; and so the evidence of our cleverness is determined by the accumulation of that stuff which represents and constitutes a lifetime of endeavors.

We add children to our family, and watch them grow; we are satisfied when bank accounts enlarge; puppies become dogs; houses are built; office spaces are rearranged and furnished; the empty space is filled.  We witness the building of things, and it is the completion of that which we construct that provides for satisfaction and value upon the end product, before we go on to the next, and the next.

But what of human value?  Is the pinnacle death, or some intermediate vortex where the progression on a graph reaches an apex, then trends downward towards a demise?  Can we analogize the construction of an inert object and extrapolate an anthropomorphic value in comparison with a person’s life? Medical conditions and their interruptive characteristics have a tendency to suddenly bring questions encapsulating value, meaning and futility to the fore.  One can spend a lifetime building, only to watch the fruits of such labor become diminished, or destroyed, through the intervening unexpectedness of a medical condition.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits by the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is often viewed as a stop-gap measure which fends off the tides of change. Change is unfortunately an inevitability of life.   For the Federal and Postal worker who has spent a lifetime building for the Federal Sector, who suddenly finds that a medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, and must therefore face (a) resignation, (b) termination, or (c) the alternative option — whatever that may be; it is the last of the three options which possesses the potential for future construction.

Federal OPM Disability Retirement is the option available for all Federal and Postal workers who meet the minimum time and age criteria, in the effort to stem the downward spiral of a dismantling effect upon a lifetime of value, meaning, and teleological progression of building and construction.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Three Little Pigs

We are all familiar with the fable of the anthropomorphic three little pigs and the materials used in building their respective houses.  The point of the story itself, however, concerns not the elements used, but the craftsmanship employed, and the effort expended, which reveals the underlying values and provides for fertile fodder in teaching the importance of hard work, careful application and sufficient preparatory labor in securing one’s future.

It wasn’t as if there was any justifying rationale for the first two pigs to have built such insufficient shelters; the moral lessons to be drawn can include:  laziness; lack of orientation for the future; insufficient imaginations; a desire for momentary pleasures as opposed to delayed gratification for future gains; the importance of care and craftsmanship; or, to leave it as just a good story.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the lessons gleaned from the fable of the three little pigs can be replete with guiding principles:  building the foundation through the proverbial block-by-block methodology; care in the crafting of the linguistic bridge between one’s positional duties and the medical conditions impacting one’s health; deliberation and agonizingly detailed effort expended to formulate one’s Statement of Disability in SF 3112A; compilation of a sufficient legal basis and argumentation in presenting one’s Federal Disability Retirement application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, etc.

For, the house that the third pig built withstood the multiple onslaught of  attempted subversion not because the adversary failed to expend sufficient effort, but because one’s own work proved worthwhile.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Wotan’s Spear

It is the spear engraved with runic laws, captured in Wagner’s opera cycle, and Norse legend has it that it never misses its mark regardless of the ability of the wielder.

In health, that is how many feel, and come to believe.  In ill-health, or declining and deteriorating health, one’s mortality, susceptibility, and vulnerability come into question; and all of those walls of invincibility begin to crumble.  Suddenly, Wotan’s spear is held with wobbly hands; the grip is unsure, and the mark is unclear.  Present circumstances become a muddle of uncertainty, with past accolades unaccounted for or of little to no significance; and the future is not the bright star guiding one’s course of current actions.

Lebenswelt constitutes the totality of subjective-to-world experiences in phenomenology; when a medical condition engulfs one, the sensitivities to all of life’s experiences comes to the fore, such that the desire for life’s fulfillment and all that it offers becomes exponentially magnified in relevance, importance, and significance. For the Federal and Postal employee who begins to suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the capacity to survive economically, financially, and physically, as well as maintaining a semblance of cognitive and mental normalcy, takes on a fresh urgency.

Filing for Federal & Postal Disability benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a pragmatic step which must be taken in order to attain a level of security and peace, and to attend to one’s health.  Health is the hallmark of who we are and how we are destined to live.  While filing for a benefit may seem like a mundane event when turmoil abounds, for the Federal and Postal employee who must continue to contend with the daily toils of life, the ability to throw Wotan’s spear and accurately hit the bullseye is still a needed goal despite one’s loss of stature in the Federal sector.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


The Ritualistic Void Found in Postal and Federal Employees Who Continue Working in Jobs That Further Deteriorate Their Health

It is precisely the repetitive identity which provides for comfort.  Thinking is an endeavor which requires effort; ritualistic actions require merely attendance and presence, and the mechanical motions of responding.  When the mind becomes bifurcated from the task at hand, whether from being “lost in thought”, ruminating upon problems afar, or disengaged because one is contending with physical pain or psychiatric anxieties and lethargy, ritualism becomes a zone of comfort because the physical body can engage while the mental processes can embrace a parallel universe.

This ritualistic void is often what becomes of work when a Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition, such that this health condition begins to prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  How long one can continue in such dualism of actions is often dependent upon the type of Federal or Postal job which one holds.  Being a Letter Carrier or a Mail Processing Clerk while in progressively agonizing pain will often compel a stoppage of work, precisely because the pain directly and intractably interferes both in the physical actions of ritualistic behavior, as well as in the dissociative mind to deal with the pain.  Office and computer work can sometimes delay the inevitable.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for the Federal or Postal employee, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is a decision to be made resulting from the cessation of the ritualistic void which occurs.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded to all Federal and Postal Employees, and is filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. When the tripartite coalescence of work, health and capacity begins to crumble and disintegrate, it may be time to reassess the ritualistic void presented by a job which no longer offers significance and meaning, but further contributes to the daily deterioration of one’s health.


Robert R. McGill, Attorney


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Preparation

Observing competence in action often results in the disarming effect that all endeavors are easy and effortless, and that the price to be paid, the admission fee for fame, is merely based upon luck, whom you are associated with, or what school you attended.  And while it may be true that meritocracies are fading into the oblivion and sunset of historical anachronisms, and the new and acceptable approach to societal fairness is to implement the distribution of wealth via Piketty’s proposed paradigm in his compendium work, Capital in the Twenty First-Century; nevertheless, there are some things which one must still prepare for, and formulate a road-map for a successful outcome.

GPS devices tell us what to do, where to turn, how many miles the journey will take; administrative and bureaucratic facets of life still lack any such electronic directional voices.  For Federal and Postal employees who must consider the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, the reality of preparation must be faced and confronted.  Preparation must involve: obtaining effective medical reports (how does one go about doing that?); what are the legal parameters which increase the chances of a First-Stage successful filing (is this based upon the law or some other factors?); what are the procedural steps which must be adhered to (is there a sequence to be followed, or can one approach the process through multiple avenues and tentacles simultaneously?).

The fact that one pays a single admission fee to watch a symphony or ballet does not mean that players perform based upon the singularity of the fee; that would be an absurdity. Preparation constitutes multiple actions behind the curtains, far in advance of the final performance displayed for the seated audience. It is up to the Federal and Postal employee to go backstage before the performance begins, and to unravel the hidden devices, the invisible threads, and the wizard behind the proverbial curtain.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Complexity in the Hidden Background

To prove one’s eligibility for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is seemingly an uncomplicated matter.

As one’s medical condition impacts the ability to perform one or more of the essential element of one’s job, it is up to the treating doctor to establish the nexus and provide an opinion as to the connecting bridge between the medical condition and the positional requirements of one’s Federal or Postal job.

How does one do that? Must it be comprised of a 1-to-1 ratio between job elements and medical conditions? How important and prominent are “symptoms” considered, as opposed to the mere clinical declaration of the diagnosis, in persuading the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that a particular medical condition should qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits? To what extent is one’s own statement of disability, as described on Standard Form 3112A, important in establishing the foothold towards gaining an approval from OPM?

Also, what algorithm or comparative analysis does OPM use in evaluating a case, and how does one enhance the chances of success at the First Stage of the process? If denied at the First Stage of the Federal Disability Retirement process, does the basis of the denial (often characterized by a plethora of multiple reasons given) require a point-by-point refutation, and is the Reconsideration Division at OPM using the same standard of review, or a different application of laws in evaluating the additional evidence submitted at the next stage?

If one watches a gymnast, a ballerina, or even a mathematician at work in solving or unraveling a complex problem or exercise, one is immediately struck by the ease with which the feat is performed. But it is almost always the unseen preparation which has preceded the actual performance that sets the stage of an uncomplicated presentation.

It is that mystery of the uncomplicated, which tends to trip us all, and that is no different in the preparation, formulation and submission of a Federal Disability Retirement application, applied through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether you are under FERS or CSRS.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


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