Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: The chasm

It is that expanse between fantasy and reality; of the indentation after the existential encounter with the world deflates the puffery that enlivened us in the first place and compelled one to test his or her mettle against the greater world; and it is the test that withstands, as opposed to mere words that fail when pushed against the substance of the universe.

Virtue is great in a vacuum; it is only when it is tested against real temptations that one can decide upon its existence, or likely not.

One can say of a husband and wife who live on an island, secluded from the rest of civilization, that they are such a “faithful” people; but if not tests arise as to the faith of their fidelity, what good is virtue in a vacuum of an untested existence?  Or of the principled individual who enters into politics — you know, the allegorical “Mr. Smith who goes to Washington” — with innocence and an unstained character; of him or her, we begin with, “Oh, such a principled person!  So unspoiled!  So unable to be corrupted!” But the test of a person is not at the beginning; it is when the chasm between concept and the wide expanse towards reality is finally bridged; then, and only then, can we make any judgments about virtue, truth, reality and one’s character.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is the reality of the current situation and the realization that one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service, and the people who one worked/works with, that comes to the fore in realizing that, NO, the world is not such a nice and accommodating place.

Others begin to whisper; you begin to feel shunned; you are no longer the star that shines upon the face of an otherwise incompetent universe.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement is often the best option available, if only because the Federal Agency or the Postal Service is unwilling to “work with you”.

The chasm between dreams unrealized and the ugly truth of others may finally be bridged; but in the end, the bridge that needs to be crossed is the health that is deteriorating, and that is why preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important next step in closing the chasm between what you would like to have happen, and what must occur in order to secure a stable future.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking

What constitutes it?  What is the evidence that it was engaged in?  When a person is charged with “premeditation” in the perpetration of a crime, and therefore ascription of full responsibility is used to convict and assign a greater length of incarceration, what methodological intricacies are involved?

Take the following hypothetical:  A man walks into a candy store and grabs a Snicker’s Bar, and runs out of the store without paying for it.  He is nabbed.  At the trial of the matter, the prosecutor gives the following summation to the judge:  “Your honor, this man clearly thought about it.  He entered the store, looked about, and deliberately took the Snicker’s Bar and ran out without paying, knowing that he did not pay it — otherwise, why would be have run?  Indeed, when the police caught him, he yelled, “I was hungry!”  That statement alone shows that the man knew he had not paid for it, for it was an admission of a motive, and thus, it is a clear indication that he thought about stealing it, walked into the store and with criminal intent stole the candy bar.  Only the death penalty would be appropriate for one with such premeditative intent, as he is a danger to society!”

Now, contrast this with the following:  The Candy Store’s automatic door opens, and an animal — a neighborhood dog — saunters in, sniffs about, and no one really notices.  The dog grabs a Snicker’s Bar, gobbles it.  Passersby watch.  The store’s owner notices, laughs, shoos the dog out the door.  Why do we not think that the dog “thought” about it?  Why is “thinking” ascribed to the human being, but not to the animal?  What is it about the actions of the two species that differentiates them?  Does the mere fact that we able able to speak, formulate words and convey thoughts, whether pre-or-post action confirm that any extent of reflective processes occurred?  Is the process of “thinking” always productive — i.e., leads to actions that are fruitful, or is much of it simply an insular activity that results in no great consequence?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are “thinking” about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to “thinking” about it is to take the next step and act upon the thought.  People often think that thinking is a productive activity, so long as it remains active and continuous.  But thought can also negate and prevent, and too much thinking, or not enough, can often become an obstacle to the necessary next step.

In order to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the key to productive thinking is not merely to engage in it as an insular, solitary activity, but to have the consultation and advice of an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement, lest merely thinking about it leads to an unthoughtful act that leads one to believe that the very thinking itself was thoughtless.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement Application: Success

How is it measured?  What constitutes it – a subjective sensation, an objective judgment, or the loosely aligned combination of both?  Is it the quantifiable reaction of others, or the measurable amassing of possessions and the value of the gross aggregate?   Is the last one atop a proverbial hill of owning stuff what determines and adjudges the success of a person?  How does one analyze a life – at what age, in which stage of the slice, and is there a specific point on a pendulum or spectrum, or is it more of a linear continuum where specificity in a point of historical categorization should be resisted in favor of looking at a wider expanse of a ‘period’ evaluation?

We sometimes state with dismay, “Oh, what a wasted life – a bum at so young an age, into drugs, imprisoned and wasting away.”  Then, if it turns out later that the same individual became rehabilitated, worked on the “straight and narrow” proverbial path and “made a name for him/herself”, we revisit our earlier assessment and declare the individual as a paradigm of success.

Or, how about its corollary or opposite:  In youth, a paragon of defining what success means, a near-prodigy of everything hoped for:  College at the top of the class; great job; early earnings of astronomical proportions; mansion with servants by age 30; self-made billionaire (an aside and a quip, and food for thought:  a couple of decades ago, we only heard of “millionaires”; now, there are countless “billionaires”; and now we are on the verge of recognizing the first “trillionaire”; query – is it because there are such people, or is it merely the result that world-wide inflation has steadily made currency more and more worthless and depreciated, or is it a combination of both?); perfect wife, near-perfect children (2 and a half by statistical standards); and the conclusion at age 35:  Success.

Then, at age 45, divorce, the kids are mere nuisances, bankruptcy looms on the horizon and criminal prosecution for embezzlement is hinted and rumored.  Do we retract the former declaration, or do we bifurcate it by saying:  Well, he was successful for the first half of his life, not so much in the middle years, and became a bum, a criminal and a miscreant in his later years?  Is it the entirety of an individual’s life to be assessed, or sliced in neat categorizations bifurcated for convenience of excluding the negative in balancing out a person’s achievements, then defining the applicability of what “success” means by sectioning off and cordoning into parts determined by subjective prioritization?

Thus, the concept of “success” is difficult to grasp in a general sense when applied to a person’s life; as an event for targeting, however, it is often focused upon a singularity of outcome.

In filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be prepared, formulated and filed by, or on behalf of, a Federal employee or a U.S. Postal worker, the narrow issue of success is quite an easy concept to embrace.  Success is to obtain an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Failure is to not receive it.  The  “middle ground” of uncertainty in coming to a conclusion is where it has been denied initially, but there are still further stages — the processing of Requesting Reconsideration, an Appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, as well as a Full Petition to the Board, and the final of all finalized steps:  an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

There, it is somewhat more reflective of life itself:  Success is still within one’s grasp, but there is still some work ahead to redeem the short-term failure in order to end up in the consequential judgment of a final assessment.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Casuistry and Sophistry

It is often used to described “applied” ethics — that branch of moral questioning which evaluates and analyzes an actual case, as opposed to a theoretical artifice constructed for purely pedagogic purposes, devoid of flesh and substantive import.  No longer constrained by the ivory tower of hypothetical unversality, and thus vacuous of feeling, real empathy and true relationships, casuistry naturally devolves into sophistry, where self-interested motives become ensconced.

Devolution denotes a denigration of sorts; such a statement is not deliberate in its alliterative force, but an antidotal utterance in contrast to the Dawinian consort of progressive genetic advancement; and it is precisely because self-interest betrays itself in such instances, by attempting to justify the very basis of its validity in a flawed methodological argumentation.

Sophistry, of course, connotes bad logic; moreover, it often implies a deliberate self-knowledge of utilization of such flawed rationale, despite “knowing better”, precisely because the debater wants to conceal the self-interested motive by engaging in a cover-up by effusive elongations of elaborate textiles of tactless show-boating housed in linguistic gymnastics of confounding conundrums.

Russell was good at this; Wittgenstein, better; and Heidegger the ever superior in concealment of his underlying Third Reich connections.  It is, indeed, difficult to demarcate the two; for it is casuistry which necessarily devolves into sophistry, and sophistry forming the foundational basis of casuistry; but as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, one can only guess at.

When self-interested motivations are involved, where justification of actions cannot be bifurcated from the involvement of the personal pronoun, the devolution of antagonism by self-preservation into anarchy for protective reasons will naturally follow.  Can an individual separate the underlying insinuation of self-interestedness from a discussion involving one’s self, if the outcome will impact the life, livelihood and living circumstances involved?  Perhaps.  But unlikely, and rare in its substantive occurrence.  For, the very conceptual constructs involved are oxymoronic at best, and blatantly self-contradictory, at worst.

To maintain integrity where self-interested motivations follow, and then to engage in valid logical argumentation devoid of a devolved sense of self, is a high price to pay, and a higher standard to bear.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must prepare, formulate and file 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, this conundrum is indeed the flashpoint of being able to prepare such an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  For, it is precisely the “self” which must be discussed, the “I” which by necessity be inserted, into the discussion of attempting to justify the nexus between one’s medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.

In doing so, an expansive delineation must be posited on SF 3112A, where by a preponderance of the evidence, the Federal or Postal employee must prove the formulated connection between the medical condition and the inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the job.  In doing so, take care to guard against a casuistic argument devolving into a sophistry of incalculable innuendo of self-interested flaws.  It is the hubris of man, as Shakespeare always reveals throughout his tragedies.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Crumbling Walls of Professional Conduct

The aged bemoan of modernity; youth view the present as merely fodder for change and future potential; and caught in between, somewhere in the netherworld of inertia, those inconsequential individuals relegated to the irrelevant category of “middle age”, who must stand by and witness the slow and progressive destruction of the past, the deterioration of cohesiveness of the future, and the present infirmity of impotence.

Medical conditions are funny animals; because they are personal in nature, the revelation of such private matters tends to scare people, because the emergence of such confidential conveyance violates the unspoken walls of professional distance; but for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to impact the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is often necessary to provide some component of one’s medical condition in order to ascertain and establish the extent of needed accommodations — for purposes of filing for FMLA, to take needed SL or LWOP, or to counter allegations of misconduct or violation of “leave policy”, etc.

Within the greater context of life, there is a sense there the walls of professional conduct which once protected privacy concerns and acceptable behaviors, are crumbling in modernity.  Anything and everything goes; there is no normative constraint, anymore, because the demarcation between private and professional have disappeared.

The same is true when applied to the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

The entire bureaucratic process engenders privacy concerns because of the sensitive nature of the information which must be submitted.  But those are merely “side issues” which should be placed in their proper perspective; for, in the end, when the final wave of goodbye is motioned, and one has obtained an approval from OPM in order to exit with a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the crumbling walls of professional conduct as revealed by one’s agency or the U.S. Postal Service will be but a far echo of past misdeeds, as one walks out into the future of a brighter tomorrow.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire