OPM Disability Retirement: “Doing the best we can”

Sometimes, it may be a true statement; at others, it may merely turn out to be a throwaway line that is cast about to deceive a decoy into the mix.  What is the objective criteria in determining the truth of the statement?

If a young lad is failing in school and the parents contemplate some form of incentivized punishment, does the mother who relents and says, “But he is doing the best he can” have any credibility?  Or, does the filial affection shown and the inability to disbelieve the large and pitiful eyes looking back with tears rolling down his cheeks, pleading and saying, “But mommy, I’m doing the best I can!” — does it make it true?

How does one determine and separate out the complex structures of truth, objectivity, human emotions and the arena of subjective elements all contained within the bastion of a single declarative sentence?

Or of another hypothetical: Of a man or woman who is disabled and clearly struggling, but doing everything he or she can do to extend one’s career — overcompensating by working twice as hard, twice the time expended, and three times the effort normally required; does the declarative sentence, “He/she is doing the best he/she can!” mean anything?

There are, of course, differing perspectives — to whom the declarative sentence is being addressed and the one who issues the statement, and the chasm between the two often indicates the loyalties ensconced, the self-interest concealed or otherwise left unstated, and the group-think attachments that cannot be disregarded.  That is the problem of the futile treadmill — no matter how much more effort you expend, it gets you nowhere.

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 his or her Postal or Federal job, “doing the best we can” may actually mean something — but likely only to you, and not to the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

The plain fact is that the “rate of return” on the expenditures invested will never maintain any semblance of comity or balance.  For, the very extraordinary efforts being expended are more indicators to the Federal Agency and the U.S. Postal Service that you are no longer “normal”, and people tend to have that herd instinct and group-think affinity where anything out of the preconceived norm cannot be accepted.

“Doing the best we can” — is it enough?  Likely, not.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will not betray the thought behind the declaration; for, in the end, who are you trying to please?  If it is the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, you are doing a disservice not only to your own health, but to the truth of the declarative sentence itself.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: “Starting”

It is always “new beginnings”, “new births”, “turning over a new leaf” and so many other faddish starts, stops, putters and “reset buttons”.  The “New Year” brings about a calendric initiation based upon geometrical calculations as to what constitutes the inception of a repetition we fail to understand.

Does nature care whether or not we impose upon it the cycle of restarting from the first day of the year, or does the natural world simply move on, year after year, impervious to the artifice of counting by a calendar that says that it is now a “new” year?  What does it mean to start something, to initiate, to begin to formulate and to prepare?  What is it about human beings the world over that beginning something “new”, of initiating based upon a calendar that tells us that the cycle of days will now repeat itself from the first square of life – why do we find that attractive?  Why is it considered “noble” and befitting of good character?

Resolutions to improve; changes for the new year; modifications to things previously performed “just because” it has “always been done that way” – starting something new, initiating a different approach, etc. – are they not an indicator that we can recognize mistakes and shortcomings and to realize the need for change?

Starting a Federal Disability Retirement application is like formulating a New Year’s resolution: It is first and foremost a recognition that change is warranted, and second, that unless the change comes about, the future will only deteriorate based upon the medical condition that progressively worsens.

Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the first step in a realization that there is an incommensurate anomaly between the ongoing medical condition experienced and the type of work required by one’s Federal or Postal position, and it is therefore time to start considering a change in one’s present circumstances so that the future will accommodate the deteriorating medical condition.

“Starting” – that is what is needed, and the prompt of a “new year” based upon the reset button of health concerns is certainly as good a reason as any other to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Lawyer Representation for OPM Disability Claims: The cluster of choices

Often, choices come in pairs, and the difficulty is in deciding between the binary alternatives offered.  Chocolate or vanilla?  Apple pie or cherry?  If taste were the sole determining factor, one can simply submit to the subliminal voices churning deep within the intestinal caverns of digestive tracts, and simply declare one as opposed to the other.  Of course, in such matters, one can “cheat”, and simply say to the host or hostess, “Oh, they both look so delicious, can I just have a small sliver of both?”

Why is it that if there are three or four to choose from, suddenly such a response shifts it into the category of gluttony, where people begin to look you up and down to see whether or not diet, exercise or lack of self-discipline is the problem?  Why is it, say, that there are various pies – apple, cherry, rhubarb and pumpkin, and you cannot choose between the four or more; is it okay to say at a dinner party, “Well, can I have a sliver of the apple and rhubarb”, but NOT to say, “Can I have a very small sliver of all four?” (or eight?) It is the cluster of choices that make for difficulties, almost in every sector of life.

Today, of course, the modernity of overload and the excessive, almost unlimited choices displayed, presented and given, makes for difficulties in the cognitive grey areas of the human mind.  Have human beings evolved sufficiently to be able to cope with such alternatives presented?

As a child, many decades ago, one remembers that the local “supermarket” merely had two, maybe three items on a shelf of any one product.  Ice cream shops had three or four flavors, and if there were five – well, we stood at the counter with amazed looks and couldn’t quite decide until Mom or Dad threatened to choose for us.

Does a lioness, or a cheetah, walk about through the wilds and come upon a herd of antelopes and pause because she cannot decide which one looks the most promising?  Or have the evolutionary stresses upon the fight to survive already determined the dominant characteristics that will prevail in such decision-making?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must decide when, how, and in what manner to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, ultimately to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the cluster of choices to choose from must be deliberative, with great seriousness, and with an approach that must look after one’s own best interests.

Often, however, because of the clouding of judgment wrought on resulting from one’s medical conditions – i.e., pain, profound fatigue, inability to focus and concentrate – it is difficult to separate between the cluster of choices given.  But Federal Disability Retirement requires a cogency of judgment, thought, decision-making and affirmation of choices, and in engaging this complex administrative process, it may be a good idea to consider consulting and hiring an experienced Federal Disability Retirement lawyer, in order to bifurcate between the cluster of choices presented, so that the best option and course of purposive actions can be embraced with a thoughtful and deliberative approach.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Once upon a time…

There are such fairytales, as well as reminiscences of a bygone era; or, when a traumatic event in one’s life bifurcates a “before” and differentiates from the “after”, such that we wanly smile and with eyes distant for yearning of a time now gone forever, we whisper to ourselves, “Once upon a time…

Old men do that; grouchy grandmothers relegated to nursing homes and old people’s enclaves; those who have variously been diagnosed with “personality disorders” or other such general umbrellas that allow for living in a previous timelessness of shallow memories; but the uniqueness of the phrase is that, for old people and other grouches, to whisper, “Once upon a time…” is to look backwards; whereas, for children, when the story begins with, “Once upon a time…” – it is forward looking, to a world of imagination and creativity.

Yes, the story itself may have the setting of a time before, but within the child’s imagination, he or she is projecting forward in the wayward paths of creative fantasies.

Then, of course, there are people who are beset with medical conditions – such as Federal or Postal workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position occupied, and who whisper in a soliloquy of sorts, “Once upon a time…

Such reminiscences bifurcate a time “before” and a time “after” – where there was life before the onset of the medical condition, and the living hell after the medical condition became, and remains, a chronic state of being where pain, discomfort, inability to attain any restorative sleep, and profound exhaustion and fatigue sets in.

For that Federal or Postal worker who suffers from such a medical condition, that the Federal or Postal worker can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits becomes also a kind of a “Once upon a time” moment.  For, once an OPM Federal Disability Retirement application is approved, and the Federal or Postal employee no longer needs to struggle with the essential elements of one’s job, perhaps the Federal Disability Retirement annuitant can look back and whisper, “Once upon a time…” – but like the child who states it with a forward-looking smile.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Adaptable Criterion

If a criterion is advanced at the outset, one expects that the details of its applicability will result in a fair outcome so long as the requisite subsets are adhered to.  The problem is one of generalizations, however, and the linguistic malleability of hermeneutic interpretation, and in the end, the honesty of the individual.

There may have been a time when the sin nature of man was contained, and Pandora’s box was sealed, or at least somewhat secured; but once relativism creeped into the general populace, the game of restraint was lost forever.  Once, when man was left to individualistic devices, and information concerning the world was considered esoteric and reserved for the ivory towers of science and theological hoods of mystery shorn by Jesuit Orders of secrecy and cavernous enclaves of furtive whispers echoing down dark chambers in secluded corners, the application and usage of criteria demanded knowledge beyond the commonplace. Now, with Google and other search engines, everyone knows everything, or nothing at all.

For 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, the “trick” is to review the legal criteria, amass the information in a manner which fits the applicability for eligibility, then to “make the case” for an approval.

Is it a science?  Or, more precisely, are the regulatory subsets “open to interpretation”?  And more to the point:  Do the Administrative Specialists at OPM adhere to the “letter of the law”, or is hermeneutics less than an honest methodology these days?  Where human nature is concerned, one need not stray too far from the general knowledge of the masses.

If one has lived long enough, you know that you should always walk through the busy streets of a city with one hand on your back pocket, protecting your wallet.  Pickpockets are everywhere, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, the Federal and Postal worker should always be cognizant of the fact that the adaptable criterion is not the fault of the agency or the promulgators of legal standards, but merely reflects the fact that Pandora’s box was left open long ago, and the serpents of horror and dishonesty were left to roam the earth like never before.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Medical Retirement: Predictable Pantomimes

Most of life is simply lived.  One engages, works, plans, deliberates, initiates, completes chores, gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, etc.  Little reflection or thought is required; much of it, like an automaton on a conveyor belt of cursory convenience, requires but mere human movement.

Perhaps in the mythological State of Nature, as described by Rousseau or Locke, the predatory environment creating a necessity of alertness just to survive, required greater cognitive involvement; or, as a corollary, an utopian condition of peace and tranquil coexistence with other forces of nature.  It is when one pauses for a brief moment, reflects, and has a sudden awareness of one’s self in the presence of others, that the very knowledge of acting within the confines and context of “doing”, becomes a consciousness of self-realization.

Self-awareness — that level of consciousness beyond mere recognition of one’s surroundings, but involving a direct acuteness of “being” but simultaneously “being in the world”, is what makes for human uniqueness.

Heidegger tried to describe it through linguistic mechanisms which turned out to be beyond the common realm of understanding or comprehension, and thus became relegated to the esoteric halls of academia.  Sartre and Camus attempted to capture it through fictional depictions, and indeed, it was more the texture of the novel, The Stranger, than the actual words, which came closest to successful conveyance of the experience of the absurd.

For the daily person, medical conditions tend to starkly bring out the reality of the experience.  Medical conditions suddenly reveal one’s vulnerability, and the fragile nature of one’s being.  Mortality becomes a reality beyond mere distance-reflection of some unknown future intent; it becomes the freshness of the now for a being within a body of decay.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who suddenly realizes that life, career, future and the boredom of constancy can be but a moment in time because of an impending medical condition which threatens one’s security and livelihood, 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, becomes a reality of immediacy, precisely because of the urgency of the medical condition upon one’s life and livelihood.

Suddenly, the priority of “being” presents itself.  What one did before the crisis of vulnerability was merely a predictable pantomime; the reality of life and the significance of relationships becomes the true being of living.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits may seem like a mere act of administrative convenience, but for many, it becomes the avenue of necessity in order to deal with the reality of illness, disability, and medical urgency.  And, as with all aspects of life and being, other predictable pantomimes will become apparent:  the agency’s hostile reaction; the looks of suspicion from others; unfriendly attitudes displayed by coworkers and supervisors; they are all merely actors on a larger stage, but yet to realize that “being” and “being-in-the-world” are one and the same, when tragedies befall and humanity acknowledges the fragile nature of life, like the soft petal from a dying flower which drifts soundlessly upon the earthen dust from which we were born, and to which we return.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire