Federal Disability Retirement: Options

Often, in life, we believe that others walk around with esoteric knowledge unavailable and unreleased; it is considered from the viewpoint of what is, in philosophy, identified as an “epistemological privilege” — that as others have private thoughts which are inaccessible to us, so there must be a vast array of knowledge similarly situated.

Experience teaches us to become suspicious of others, as somehow the inner workings of power and wealth tend to bypass most of us, and the list of uninvited guests to cocktail parties reserved exclusively for the select few parallel a privileged club of partisan divides.  But the truism of life’s encounters also unleashes another candid tautology:  most things are quite self-evident, and Ockham’s razor is the general principle of prevailing determinism.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are puzzled, dismayed, confused and confined by a lack of awareness concerning one’s options when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, information gathering should always be the first step in the process.

Perhaps conundrums will still arise, or confusion may develop resulting from a compounding aggregate of “too much” information “out there”.  Further investigation may be warranted; but in the end, most Federal and Postal employees realize that the options are limited, and the choices relatively uncomplicated.

Federal Disability Retirement remains a preferred option for many, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, over OWCP-based claims (because Worker’s Comp is not a retirement system, ultimately); beyond staying with the job (because it will normally turn out that doing nothing will only make the situation worse, in most instances); or expecting an accommodation or reassignment (not likely to happen, as agencies and the U.S. Postal Service rarely look out for the best interests of the Federal or Postal worker first).

In the end, options depend upon knowledge; for, as the corner ice cream shop of yesteryear had but two flavors, vanilla and chocolate, so the modern-day chain sensation may tout 50 or more; but we tend to always come back to the basics, where we find that multiplicity of additives does not make for real alternatives in life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Fear, Anxiety, Loathing and Acting

To “act” can have multiple meanings; one can be engaged in “make believe”, or merely doing something as opposed to talking about it. One can participate in a pretense (“he was putting on an act”); but perhaps engaging in pretense is not dissimilar (forgive the double negative; it sounds phonetically pleasing — but, then again, to say “sounds” and “phonetically” requires further forgiveness for unnecessary redundancy; and finally, is it not a double redundancy to speak of unnecessary redundancy?) to being on stage, or in a movie, and acting as actors do, except in an unpaid status.

In that sense of the word, we all engage in such semblance of who we are or what we want to appear to be.  Further, such pretense and concealment of one’s essence is often based upon the fear one imagines; the anxiety one experiences; and the loathing one encounters if such outward appearances are not performed.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must be hidden from public view because, to fail to conceal would mean that one would become subjected to an agency’s or Postal Service’s reactionary retaliation in dealing with such issues — the emotional turmoil of fear, anxiety, loathing and acting is a commonplace, daily experience.

Fear of what the agency will do; anxiety from the constant fight against the medical condition and the concealment in order to continue working; loathing of what may have to be faced today; acting in order to cover and hide to get through another day. But it is often in the secondary meaning of the verb, “to act”, which finds the penultimate resolution of such a quandary.

Acting — “doing something” — as opposed to engaging in pretense, is the solution.

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 or CSRS, is the concrete step from mind-to-matter. It is often the act itself which resolves the turbulence of a crisis.

For, it is the actor on the greater stage of life, in real time, in genuine situations, where pretense and make-believe are shoved aside for masks and make-up artists, and when the reality of the essence of what is important in life comes to the fore — that is where action intersects with the artificial world of acting, and where one must walk off the stage of make-believe and instead cook one’s own meal, as the reality of necessity overtakes us all.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Mourning for Things We Never Knew

We often reminisce for things we never knew, but imagined we once had or hoped to have; of small towns and neighborhoods where caring concern characterized a sense of community and belonging; or perhaps it was from our remembrances, formed and solidified from old television shows we grew up with, when once innocence of times of yore remained with us to form dreams of a brighter future.

Health and monotony tends to have a similar effect. The former, because we take it for granted; and the latter, because we mistakenly believe that crisis equals excitement, when in fact security of daily living without eruptions of emergency management is the quietude which most of us seek, though we fail to appreciate it.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, the times of yore when a life without pain is barely remembered, and where the lingering effects of an extensive medication regimen was once comprised of a single multivitamin pill, the thought of wanting to return to a “time prior to” is often at the forefront of daily reminiscences, and constitutes the limited hope for the future.

At some point, however, as medical conditions continue to deteriorate, and as the surgical interventions, palliative medical procedures and list of countermanding medication regimens increase in volume and expand in extent, it becomes clear that the impact upon one’s attempt to maintain an appearance of normalcy can no longer be tolerated.

When the Federal or Postal employee’s medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, it is time to consider preparing the steps to formulating a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Such a Federal Disability Retirement application must be ultimately filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and because the waiting process can be quite lengthy, the initial steps should be contemplated fairly early in the recognition of medical condition-to-impact upon one’s job.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit there for Federal employees under either FERS or CSRS, and is a compensatory system enacted precisely for those Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform one’s job.

Longing for a time once remembered is an activity of comforting reminiscence; the reality of the present, however, awakens us from the slumber of such daydreams of an era once blinking on the horizon of a time long passed.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: Watchful Eyes

The falcon flies in our midst; with an unknown distance of its perimeter to prey, it suddenly appears, perched with watchful eyes for squirrels, rabbits, other birds, etc.  Its flight is silent and graceful, and long before people realize its presence, the silence and sudden muteness of wildlife activity reveals the fear imposed by its mere appearance.  It flies silently, swiftly, and with a grace which demands awe and respect.  From its high vantage point, the targeted prey below rarely stands a fair chance of avoidance.  Those eyes are focused, with a singular vision operating to corner, catch and consume.  Organisms under a microscope must feel a similar sense, if indeed they become aware of being studied and prodded.

People, too, who are being surveilled and inspected; there is often a sixth sense of being constantly and vigilantly watched.  Federal and Postal Workers who are under the onerous burden of a Performance Improvement Plan (the acronym of a “PIP”) have that same sense.  It is not a positive or productive feeling; it is, instead, a dread of knowing that the “watching” part is merely a prelude for further actions forthcoming, like the noiseless glide of the hawk above.

Being under the constant gaze of a predator often requires preventative action on the part of the prey; for Federal and Postal Workers who come to recognize that his or her job performance is deteriorating because of a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may be the best option and course of action to take.  Because it is taking such a long time to get an approval these days, preparatory steps should be taken early.  Waiting for a separation from service, while still allowing for time thereafter to file, is normally not the wisest course.

As it is always better to be the “watcher” than the “watched”, so the Federal and Postal employee who needs to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should take the affirmative steps to prepare for an eventuality — that time when, like the hawk who has made a decision to target its prey, the Federal or Postal Worker has a place of refuge to enter.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Anxiety of the Unknown

It is a testament to the complexity of human intelligence which brings about unsolvable medical mysteries such as panic-induced physical manifestations and chronic, progressively deteriorating somatic illnesses which reveal no clear organic orientation.

Anxiety is a permanent feature of our culture, now; for, with so much uncertainty pervading our lives, with the growing complexities of changing economic circumstances, greater intrusion of technology and violations of basic privacy issues, the onslaught of stimuli for which Man has had little time to adapt, portends of a response both by one’s psyche as well as the body, to react to the unknown and unknowable.

The contradiction is inherent in our nature; on the one hand, human frailty is the basis for a community’s sympathy and empathy; but as we become more and more removed from our communities and disjointed by the medium of technology and the virtual world, those who can withstand the coldness of the world are “fit” for survival in the new world.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition such that the illness or chronic, progressively deteriorating disability prevents the Federal and Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, it is often the anxiety of the unknown for one’s future which further exacerbates the medical condition itself.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often a first step in attaining a level of stability in one’s life; for, with a Federal Disability Retirement approved, it allows for some semblance of certainty for the future.

Unfortunately, the anxiety of the unknown is a characteristic of our society which will remain, and the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must contend with that feature as best they can, and it is often the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement which is the first positive step in response to the frightful uncertainty of our times.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Pretending to Be Healthy and Fit in the Federal or USPS Workplace

Pretending is a game considered healthy for children, in almost all societies.  It allows for the expansion of “creative energies” inherent in the growing psyche, and to allow for children to take on roles, encounter other situations of fictionalized circumstances, and confront fears without actual harm or potentiality for damaging the growing psychological turmoil which constitutes the make-up of each child.  Besides all of that, it’s fun.

But at some point in the growth of a human being, pretending has to become dominated by the reality of daily living.

Some have suggested that the world of stage, actors, movies and entertainment shows, reflects an individual and a society which never emerged from the state of pretend.  On the other hand, anyone who has known or been associated with those who prepare for an acting career, recognize the harsh reality of long days and hard work necessary for engagement in such a career.  It is, rather, the individual in our society, who continues to pretend long past the time when such pretending is fun, which is of the greatest concern.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, pretending that something is otherwise than that which is the harsh reality of one’s situation, will only exacerbate, magnify, and worsen the circumstances surrounding one’s case.

Pretending that one’s agency will not notice; pretending that one’s medical condition will go away; pretending that all will get better; pretending that…

The fantasy of pretend was to create a world of fun and laughter, and perhaps with some sprinkling of escapism; but when escaping the reality of the world results in the slow deterioration and destruction of what one has worked so hard for, then it is time to set aside the childish ways of pretend, and roll up those proverbial sleeves to contend with the world of reality.

If it takes pretending to go out and fight a battle to slay a dragon, at least such pretending will prompt one into action.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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

Language is the vehicle by which self-justification is established.  Think about it; if we assume that there is a conceptual void in the mind of other animals, that the consciousness of a squirrel, a raccoon, an owl, etc., is devoid of language as we employ it, then how can procrastination or delay occur?  It is precisely language and the tools of conceptual constructs which provide for an “excuse” for response to a stimuli, and allows for human action to be prevented.

The will to act or refrain from acting is often considered the hallmark of higher intelligence; but intelligence itself can be a detrimental quality, allowing for self-destructive actions resulting from a string of illogical but persuasive reasonings.  Where lack of intelligence provides for the immediacy of response to a presented encounter, so the presence of it in elevated forms will allow for justifying delays to such responses, even if it means a magnified danger to one’s own survival.

Excuses and self-justifying declarative sentences allow us to maintain a false sense of security by providing foundations for continuing on a path of self-destruction.  That is precisely why the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a progressively deteriorating medical condition can maintain a semblance of normalcy despite physical and cognitive indicators to the contrary, sometimes for months, and even for years.  But pain and cognitive dysfunctions have a funny way of reminding the body and mind of danger signals.  Brain synapses communicate the growing danger, and they continue to alert until the time comes when no more linguistic justifications will maintain that false sense of security.

When that time comes, the Federal or Postal worker must consider the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There is always time for being excused, and sometimes it is well-justified; then, there are other times when the exhaustion of excuses comes to a crisis point, and one must consider a different path.  That “different” path is the need to have a restorative period of recuperation in order to attend to one’s impending medical condition.  Federal Disability Retirement, under FERS or CSRS, is just that allowance for recuperation, and is a path of difference for many Federal and Postal employees.

There are excusable considerations, which last for a time; but time is a linear movement of bodies, and on the universal scale of progression, there comes a point when both time and excuses run out their course of self-justifying efficacy.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire