CSRS & FERS Medical Retirement: The chronic life

The chronic life is the one that burdens; and, yet, does not all of life present a challenge of burdensome trials and persistent provocations?  Or, are there elements within one’s life that makes it feel as if we are merely the donkey for others to place their weight upon, like those pack animals of yesteryears that always looked forlorn and ready to collapse?

Why do some appear “as if” they have not a care in the world, and flit about like in some ballet skipping and hopping, twirling and dancing from one scene into the next, never allowing for the concerns weighing upon like the rest of us?  Is it merely born of attitude, or having a “positive” thought process; or, are some blocked by the concerns of life such that we are always infected with the chronicity of angst and worry?

The democratic manner of a medical condition seems always to be the one factor that is the exception. Medical conditions do not discriminate; they impact everyone in the same manner.  Whether one is a carefree person, a worrier, a person who is serious, or who flits about life without a thought for consequences, the impact of a medical condition cannot be avoided.

There are those who live the chronic life – always meeting one’s obligations; always fulfilling promises; forever planning for the future; and then there are those “others” who seem to care not a twit about such matters.  And yet, whether of the chronic life or of other-hood, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s health, the treatment and response is all the same: and, all the more so, when the medical condition becomes one that is termed “chronic”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition has been deemed “chronic” in the sense that it will remain with the Federal or Postal worker for a minimum of 12 months, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset.

It may well be that you have lived the chronic life, and that it is “unfair” given the seriousness of how you have lived your life.  Nevertheless, it is the chronic nature of things in general, including the medical condition that now must be attended to, that will have to be dealt with.

But the advantage is this: those who have lived the chronic life often “deal” with the chronic matters of life with greater success, and perhaps that is the reason the Federal or Postal employee who has dedicated his or her service to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service has been well-prepared for this newest fight – against the medical condition – in this chronic of all matters: the medical condition itself.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire



OPM Medical Disability: The constant fight against the negative

There are different ages in different times, designated by the dominance of one entity over another. Thus do we refer to the “Age of Dinosaurs”, or the “Ice Age”; the Age of Feudal Lords; the Age of Man, of course, is a general aegis under which everything falls, once the four-peddling quadrant of living beings became dominated by the bi-pedaling progenitor of carnivorous over-consumption that prevails from time immemorial to the present “age”.

Modernity had now become the “age of therapy”, where somehow psychiatry and therapeutic intervention has come to dominate the basic necessities of life.  Perhaps that is appropriate, as the daily stresses that govern the requirements of survival have mandated a vicious cycle of inestimable pain, both in terms of physical deterioration and cognitive dissonance, by placing an intolerable level of stresses upon daily living.

It is this constant fight against the negative that we are told, holds the key to a “happier” life.  Can change in perspective, of outlook and viewpoint, simply by inserting “positive” language games into the daily soliloquy of internal voices make such a difference?  If language were non-existent, and we became a species of grunts and grumbling noises (which, if you pause and listen around you, comprises much of what passes off as “conversation”, anyway), would we be anymore “positive” than what we are today?

What if the human vocabulary were to be reduced to only positive declaratives and adjectives that only revealed “good” things – would such expunging of negative concepts result in the net effect of everyone “feeling good”?  Or, does “feeling” precede language, such that one can be negative in one’s essence before expression of that negativity, such that thoughts are merely the natural consequence of a state of negativity, anyway?

Medical conditions tend to make liars of us all; for, we can go through life imagining that we are somehow the “exception”, and those “others” who are beset with medical conditions did something “wrong” to have been hit with a medical condition – until it happens to us, as well.  Suddenly, with the reality of pain, suffering, and the general human condition of illness, sickness and debilitating injury, we realize our mortality, our susceptibility to a viral plague, and our fragile existence.  How others view us also changes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the constant fight against the negative become a daily struggle that often takes its toll, preparing an effective 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, may become a necessary next step in such a daily struggle.

The constant fight against the negative, itself, will have its impact, and it may be that the combination of the medical condition, the adversity shown by the Federal agency or Postal facility, and the negative internal thoughts that insidiously devalue and destroy, will come to a coalescence of intolerable stress.  When that happens, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as another step in the constant fight against the negative.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The insular world of anger

It must be strange to live in a constant cacophony of anger; of a persistent and unrelenting fire pit, where demons jump from ashen glowering of hot red coals to roaring flames of unceasing rage, and back again and yet for more, ever fuming from the slights and hurts both imagined and real, but never able to escape from the corridors of one’s own making.  It is, in the end, an emotion of self-destructive turmoil, perpetrating a defiance of civility in order to engage in the ultimate self-immolation, but without honor or quietude, and thus left with the emptiness of seppuku without meditative resilience.

You see people like this all around; of venom and unpredictable vicissitudes of hate; they spew their wares on the Internet; always the first to comment, the last to leave well enough alone, and forever stalking the weary and witless in a universe of those seeking friendship.  Perhaps it is merely a show of frustration seeping from a life of powerlessness; or madmen crying desperately for help in a world devoid of empathy or compassion.

Whatever the cause, it is always the effect which is felt by all; and never merely a sidebar where forgiveness can be sought or shown, but only the moonlit loneliness of ineffectual calm where the wisp of rising smoke from the dying embers of passion unrequited remains alive, if only to survive another day.  It is seen and witnessed in the workplace, as well.  Is it the Napoleonic complex? Does the show of weakness only provide a further impetus for greater cruelty?  A quiet word of free advice: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell, don’t.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in the process of 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, it is often a false sense of loyalty and misguided honor that compels the Federal or Postal employee to “tell all” before the appropriate and necessary moment. But that is where reality often clashes with one’s own conscience; for, always remember that people are more complex than first thought, or more likely, of greater simpleton than mere deception can achieve.

The “crazies” are out there; never underestimate that your own Supervisor, Manager or co-worker is “one of them”, and may be that unidentified stalker who lurks in the shadows of midnight owls who stare with unblinking eyes in the veil of anonymity; for, in the end, the insular world of anger remains like the hidden embers kept warm under the concealment of ashes left unspoiled, waiting to singe the fingers which reach unknowingly to begin anew the raging turmoil of a vengeful heart.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Skewed Perspectives

Static constancy is never a certainty; even those things which we would bet our lives upon, change with the cultural winds of time.

Sports phenomena we once marveled at, now considered to be “immoral” to view as entertainment, as voluntary brutality and concussions resulting therefrom reflect our relative lack of empathy and humanity; the ravages of time and the images of heroes in old age who totter between dementia and decrepit shadows of a hollow former self; do we see in them the future of ourselves, and fear that if we applaud such former feats of gymnastic fluidity and beauty of ballet, we may end up like them in nursing homes smelling of formaldehyde?

Or is it that the disharmony between what we remember of their once-favored status conflicts with our image of civility and symphony of time?  Football and boxing, like the old Roman coliseums of yesteryear, will they fade into the passing glories as gladiators and spectacles of public hangings once foreshadowed?  Or, is it that cultural values change, are malleable, and shift with the tides of opinions and public shame?

That is the macro scale of life in America; on the micro scale of things, medical conditions tend to do the same thing:  the change in one’s personal universe, the outlook upon perspectives once maintained, they all bend like the proverbial willows of rustling prairies, where the arctic blast which pushes the rogue bison to seek the protection of the wandering herd bellows from harkened cries of alarm to survive.

Life is rarely as bad as we feel, and never as good as we imagine; that is a truism which allows for the maintenance of the balanced perspective.  Loss of constancy and stability often follows from a trauma unwanted and unasked for; the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition must suddenly suffer the fool for society’s uncaring ways.  The potential loss of job; the ostracized Federal or Postal worker — not through fault or inaction, but merely because one has been hit with the misfortune of a medical condition.

Again, is the treatment rendered because the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service sees such an individual as a threat, as acceptance and embracing of such a condition would mean that everyone affirms the future of one’s own fragile and delicate universe?

For the Federal and Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, the solution remaining is often to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

It is not that, given half-a-chance, you wouldn’t be able to continue performing in the career of your choice; you would.  It is that, if the agency or the U.S. Postal Service were to attempt to accommodate you, or to provide leeway and reveal a level of compassion and empathy, then it would mean an admission of the deep-seated fears and open the proverbial floodgates of doubt and error.

To embrace the disabled work on the micro scale of life, would be to admit to the callous nature of one’s being on the macro level of culture; football, boxing, gladiators of yore, and the shunning of disabled workers are all likened to the populous who once suffered the ostracizing disease of leprosy.  Skewed perspectives, indeed, as culture never follows the linear path of legitimacy, but drags people screaming and kicking despite themselves.

In the end, one must act beyond mere perspectives, and for the Federal and Postal worker who suffers 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 positional duties, the pragmatic step in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is the singular act of courage to step beyond the macro-skewed perspective of cultural malleability, and to assert one’s right to attain that level of security on the micro path of viability, as those gladiators of yesteryear failed to conquer.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Bastion and Refuge

The former is a fortress of protective repose; the latter, a shelter from pursuit or danger; in either case, both provide for an escape from harm.  And there are harms beyond physical danger, which count as “real” threats.  One need not be a refugee standing in line at the borders of Hungary or Croatia, hoping to be given asylum enroute to Germany, France or the U.K. in order to be considered a person of persecutory targeting.

Whether physical harm or by psychological demeaning, the need for safe harbor should never be determined by comparative analogies of differing circumstances, but via the perception of our needs and levels of tolerance.

In logic, there is the fallacy of mereology, where the relationship of part-to-whole can lead to conclusions wrong in substantive form, and dangerous in terms of truth and validity.  One’s own circumstances may be “merely X” in comparison to the greater encompassment of tragedies taken as a whole; but that does not necessarily invalidate the reality of the desultory situation one must face, and the loss of compass, meaning and circumference of relational considerations in determining the future course of one’s life.

Medical conditions have a tendency to skew one’s perspective.  To continue on without change or repose, because the rest of the world in comparison to one’s own microcosmic universe is merely that much worse off, is to deny the reality of one’s own hurt.  For Federal employees and Post Office workers who feel that giving up one’s career and applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step towards escaping to a bastion and refuge but one which fails to adequately compare to others in more dire circumstances, the need for a “reality check” is often required.

One needs to always start from the vantage point of the present.  What others do, where others are, and how comparatively one’s own situation is “merely X” in contrast to stranger-Y, are irrelevancies perpetrated upon one’s imagination through an overabundance of informational overload.  Once, there was a time when a local newspaper was the only contact with the greater world.  Now, with Smartphones and constant Internet access, we tap into the greater bastions and refuges of those in far-off lands.

But for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must confront the reality of the situation of contending with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the “here and now” is what must be faced, and whether one’s medical condition and the situation facing the Federal or Postal worker of today “merely” pales in comparison to others in unknown wastelands, is to concern one beyond the focus and centrality of concerns and problems encountered now, in real time, in the reality of one’s universe, today and this minute.

Other parallel universes will have to deal with their own internal problems; it is the bastion sought and the refuge take by the Federal or Postal employee of today, which matters in the most personal of manners, and what should concern the hurting Federal and Postal employee in the here and now.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Foreign Lands

There was a time when foreign lands had a sense of the exotic and prohibitive; but in a shrinking world, where technology brings images of distant scenery into homes and living rooms “as if” time and geographical dissonance matters not; and where virtual reality and computer graphics crosses the bifurcated worlds of fantasy and reality; today, it is the native who finds that being a foreigner in one’s own country is far more common than merely the inability to communicate  effectively in a different tongue.

Being in a foreign land is merely a state of mind; the pendulum swings, and swings far and wide, when first one enters a territory of unfamiliarity; but over time, with growing acclimation and recognition through daily routines, the distance of the pendulum harkens back to a beginning point, and a balance is achieved.

That is how one felt when first the career and employment entered with youthful vigor was embraced just after the school days of yore; the tingling excitement of a new venture, a steady paycheck and fresh with ideas to conquer the universe filled the cauldrons of hope, and where the future beckoned but with endless opportunity and fenceless expanse.  Crisis points have a jarring effect.  They tend to dampen spirits and shake the foundations of confidence and composure.

For newly disabled Federal employees and injured U.S. Postal workers who are hit with a medical condition, even sometimes a mildly disabling condition, the sense is often that one has entered into a foreign land, and the language spoken is one which few understand, fewer still speak well, and where only a handful are willing to take the time to give explicit directions.  Suddenly, the very people who were once comrades in coordinated efforts of missions to accomplish, act as if they no longer know you; familiar doorways are suddenly shut; people whisper, and whether they do so in hushed and incomprehensible tones, or in a language unfamiliar, all amounts to the same.

The need to apply for a visa to exit the land once loved, becomes a reality to forebear; and the Federal or Postal worker who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, must consider carefully the ramifications of leaving that land once beloved, but now distant in space, time, and geographical reality.  One has become a foreigner in a foreign land; and the exit still open is to file for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

How, and whether, and to what avail, such tragedy struck, is not as important for the time being as the pragmatic steps needed to be taken in order to secure one’s future.

When war breaks out in a foreign land, the pawns to be captured and traded for barter and advantage often involve the vulnerable and the expendable; and having a medical condition which impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s capacity and ability to perform in the workplace, often becomes like a war zone of sorts; and filing for Federal OPM Disability Retirement benefits  is merely another type of fight, of a bureaucratic sort, through an administrative maze in another foreign zone of battle.

For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the time to exit is before the borders are sealed, and to enjoy the scenery of foreign soil from the safety of one’s home.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire