OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: Future uncertainty

It is a peculiarly human endeavor to reflect upon and ruminate; to consider that which has not yet occurred, and to worry about it, turn it over, consider the options, become so ensconced in the details of that which is still yet to become, if at all, and to will anxiousness and even harm one’s health over it.

Does the dog that one has known for many years engage in such conceptual angst, and project one’s self towards a time yet to become?  Well, yes — there can be a similar sense of anticipation; of prefatory behavior in response to an approaching hour.  If, on every Sunday at noon a tremendous noise is heard, dogs and other animals can be ‘trained’ into becoming anxious for several hours before the event, and act accordingly.

Is that merely an inculcated imprint, or is there some lengthy thought process — reflection, rumination or anticipatory consternation — involved in the anxious behavior exhibited?  Is there a distinction to be made in the manner in which human beings behave towards future uncertainty, or is the difference merely one of degrees?  Does our capacity towards an insular universe, self-contained within thoughts and boundless tangential roads that lead to greater depths of despair and self-inflicted despondency differ from the trained responses as exhibited by other species?  Or, is our capacity simply of “more”, and the extent of our means merely one of exponential exhibitionism?

Future uncertainty — what is it?  Is it a learned response or a human peculiarity of untold evolutionary need?  How does one engage in it, and are there better coping mechanisms than others?  Does life’s experiences grant any reprieve, or are we all subjected to its devastating effects?  Do the wealthy experience it in the same manner, or does it merely take an extremely selfish personality — one that cares nothing for others and thus feels no sense of obligation in forestalling any belief in future doom that may befall family members — to avoid the angst of foreboding tides?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have that sense of future uncertainty because of a medical condition that has begun to prevent the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the obvious antidote to such feelings is to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Yes, the future may appear uncertain at this moment; yes, the sense of not knowing gives a recognition of anxiousness that seems never-ending; and no, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application is not the answer to all problems presented.  However, it is at least a start — to refocusing one’s attention to the priorities of life’s foundational precepts: of health and in securing some semblance of a future yet to be determined, but to be anticipated not with a foreboding sense of gloom, but of a tomorrow that may yet promise a day after.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Implicit Questions

In many questions, there are multiple sub-questions.  Take, for example, the question:  Why are you so tired?  You may respond first by answering the unasked but implicit question by declaring:  “But I am not tired”.  That is not what the question asked.  Such an answer is a response to the implied question within the question, of:  “Are you tired?”  To the question actually asked, the proper response might be:  I stayed up late last night reading.  The presumptive sub-question unstated and silent but implicit in the major question posited in duality of a contingent combination, is precisely what is often termed as “lawyerly”, and thus somehow deceitful, tricky and attempting to subvert by having the responder accept a non-explicit presumption of facts.

The classic example, of course, is the cross-examination query stated variously as:  “When did you stop beating your wife?”  Before an objection is launched, the unwary witness might respond, “I didn’t” – meaning (from the witness’ perspective) that he never beat his wife in the first place, when in fact such a response evokes a different meaning – that the individual never stopped beating his wife, and continues to do so up until the present.  There is, in such a duality of question/sub-question combination, the presumptive prefatory inquiry, stated as:  “Have you ever beaten your wife?”

It is, in many ways, the capacity and ability to dissect and recognize the need to bifurcate or even trifurcate linguistic bundles that require thought, reflection and insightful methodologies in order to help define existence as successful or otherwise challenging.   Life is a tough road to forge; language opens the world by allowing for avenues and pathways of communication, but it also compels constructing obstacles that deflect and defeat the reality of Being surrounding us.

In the linear historicity of language and the explosion of thought, conceptual paradigms and communication inventories, the commingling of questions, the looseness of language and the careless ways in which thoughts are provoked, may lend itself to confusion, puzzlement and an inability to solve problems.  That is, of course, the strength of argument impounded by the British Empiricists, and while their collective denial of any substantive issues inherent in philosophical problems is itself suspect, their contribution in attempting to identify peripheral, “non-substantive” issues arising from the imprecise usage of language, in contradistinction to central and essential conundrums, helps us all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to formulate 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, a word to the wise:  SF 3112A contains multiple implicit questions, and bifurcation – nay, trifurcation – is an important element to consider and resolve.  Be cognizant of the implicit question – lest you answer the major question without considering the prefatory query.  Standard Forms are replete with compound questions, and the unwary will inevitably fall into the trap of answering the question posed on the surface, and in so doing, admit to facts presumptively “hidden” in sub-questions unasked.

Preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application requires the effort of untangling such compounding and confounding queries; it is up to the unwary Federal or Postal employee to bifurcate and trifurcate such attempts, and to dissect, with precision of purpose, the questions unasked, and answer those which are both prefatory and sequential.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Other people’s misery

Why is it that the misery of others tends to soothe our own?  Yes, yes – we grant the common and appropriate responses of heartfelt empathy and facial frowns and perhaps even some tears; but in the end, is it because of the resulting comparative analysis – of a cold, rational and logical methodology of responsive behavior – that we appease the gods of fate in some primitive form of sacrificing others, knowing that so long as the traveling karma has not yet noticed our own plight of devious accord, we are safe for another day?

Or is there some false paradigm upon which most of us operate – that economic prosperity is based upon a limited “pie”, and we must take a set portion before it disappears, or protect the leftovers we have salvaged against the ravenous predators who seek to deprive; or that chance and statistical ascription of proportional divides mandate that there is only a predetermined reach of human misery on a macro-level, and so long as that preset number is satisfied, such tragedy of suffering will leave us untouched?

We certainly have a history of such mythological adherence; whether of man’s historical conduct by religious fervor and slaughter in the name of heavens unreached (which has still not quenched its thirsting pinnacle of folly, as current epics attest to), or in the silent quips and prayers uttered to protect ourselves from nature’s fury; we believe, somehow, that but for the grace granted by an unfathomable other, we would experience the plight of those whom we would rather avoid like the plague.  Or is it much more basic – somewhat like the epidemic which takes the life of another, and the thought is, so long as the infectious predator busily devours and destroys the next guy, you are immune to its distracted attention?

We certainly find relief, and even enjoy the consternation of discussion, in other people’s misery; to stand around and about gossiping of trials and heartaches inflicted (with the distinction appropriated that, because the point of such exchanges are meant to be “helpful”, so the difference between “malicious gossip” and what we engage in must by definition allow for the momentary lapse from decorum) upon “poor Joe” or “Aunt Emma”, all the while making sure that the concealing mask bordering upon frowns and distraught distractions would not betray the sense of relief felt that it is the “other” guy whose misery remains.

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 one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the thing that must be known and recognized at the outset is that the human need to embrace, discuss and “do something about” other people’s misery, is that the “other” person is you.  Thus, whether in a small department or a larger agency where anonymity prevails, or in a small post office or larger postal facility, the gossip which runs throughout will be like an untamed fire where no amount of extinguishers will control the spreading of it.

Preparing, formulating and 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 only way to control the discussion of that which once was the subject of another, when the “other” of other people’s misery becomes the object directed at you.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire