OPM Disability Retirement: Imperceptible light shifts

They are almost imperceptible; in any event, we would not otherwise notice them but for the altered hue in morning’s glory of pink shades and yellow gleams of delight.  From one angle and perspective, one might miss the subtlety of a purple shade not otherwise naturally given to observation; from another, a shift, quite impossible to grasp and declare, but there nevertheless, and that is precisely what occurs with the imperceptible light shifts we miss in the daily lives of busy modernity that destroys and in incremental deterioration withdraws from grace.

But that we had the time, or made the way, for viewing and studying the changes of a world’s color; but we act as though we are colorblind, and rush through each day without noticing the alterations of the sensory universe we occupy.

Nature itself is a deceiver of sorts; from the sun’s rise to its apex of brilliance to the fall into twilight behind the arc of earth’s perimeter, we are unable to view the brightness directly, lest we blind ourselves in such a foolish attempt, or otherwise try and comprehend such source of solar energy in a figurative sense like the Cave Analogy in Plato’s Republic, of that chained soul who lives only within the shadows of appearances not reflective of reality.

No, it is the inability to feel the rotation of the ground beneath us that first welcomes the rising sun, then imperceptibly travels the distance to give us the gift of light, only to incrementally and with deliberative direction progress towards the pathway of twilight’s descent that allows for event a glint of the nether world.

Imperceptible light shifts may be seen in the refractive beauty upon a crystal’s gleam, or upon a clearing in a forest after a burst of rain; but it is in life generally that we must keep an eye out for the beauty of change, in order to be in consonance with a universe that is divorced from our instinctive sensibilities as the animals we once were in roaming the earth like the American Indian who followed the migration of the buffalo herd.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are impeded in life by 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 position occupied, those life-startling but imperceptible light shifts are like the subtle hints of the body’s agony:  They tell us things that we already know, but are too stubborn to see.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is never an easy perspective of a long and arduous road to take; but like those imperceptible light shifts, it is the gleam of a future’s hope that must pave the way in prompting that which is necessary, as opposed to what we merely desire out of life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: The transgression of indifference

The combination creates an oxymoron of sorts; as the former implies aggressive behavior of a violative act, while the latter is a response of apathy and neglect, so the two in their cumulative aggregate creates an inherent conflict of conceptual countenance.  It is, however, how most of us act, behave, and arrive at the essence of one’s being, at more points in our lives than we would like to admit.

Life has a way of defeating us.  Whether by tumults of crisis untold; loss of family or loved ones; medical conditions that debilitate and gnaw at the humanity and dignity of simple living; or perhaps because of the tiredness which we feel just from the sheer weight of responsibilities and cares which eat away, slowly and progressively, at the youthful energy from whence we began.

As a child, the hopes and dreams imparted from stories of granddad’s escapades during the war; or of the warmth of love felt in a furtive look stolen when whispers barely discernible but for the quite giggles which unveiled a love forlorn in the midst of midnight clairvoyance; but as we grew older, we shed the dust of an angel’s residue, left as sparkles of gold which brightened our future with plans and purposes, like the teleology of gods unrevealed in their codes of Thor’s thunderous commands.

Somehow, somewhere, along the road of life, we began to be indifferent.  Transgressions from others — from Postal Supervisors or of Agencies that constantly harass and attempt to intimidate — began eating away at the hopes of a career once bright, but now suddenly threatened by a medical condition.  Of all of the sins in the world, the worst is the transgression of indifference; for, what such a state of existence reveals, is that the person afflicted with it no longer cares, and has come to a point of being where such indifference becomes the defining solace of inactivity in a world which requires acting.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who has come to such a point in life — where the medical condition is just about to defeat, but not as of today; where the harassment and intimidation of the agency is just about to destroy, but there remains a glint of spark in the belly of one’s soul; and when the energy to respond still remains, but like a dying ember falling down an endless chamber of eternal abyss; for such a Federal or Postal worker, it is time to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and wait for an approval in order to step out of the transgression of indifference, and begin to live life again in a way that matters.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Elevation of the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD) to a Cabinet-level status

It first came to light in August, 1974, just prior to Nixon’s resignation from Office.  A young reporter by the name of Dan Druthers asked the President:  “Have you considered the exponential factor of time wasted in consumer affairs concerning crushed toilet paper rolls during transport and delivery?  What has your Administration done about it?  The American People demand an answer!”  The White House Press Corps was aghast.  No other journalist had had the temerity to heretofore question the Presidency with such forcefulness.  The President, of course, was stumped, and shot back, “Mr. Druthers, what do you think you are running for?”  To which Mr. Druthers shot equally back, “Well, I’m not sure.  What are you running from, Mr. President?”

The rest is history, as they say.  From there, that journalist of slight anonymity and notoriety went on to become the anchor of Prime Time T.V.; the President resigned (what many people fail to understand is that Watergate had little to do with moral turpitude, and much to do with messy toiletry); the 18-minute gap in the secret White House Tapes, people suspected, had to do with deleted expletives concerning Toiletgate; and as for the greater issue of crushed toilet paper rolls — well, it took a few more years hence before the political fallout would take its toll.

First, there were whispers of grumblings, of esoteric nuances which could only be fully understood in Senate closed door hearings where titular heads of states whispered in royal functions.  How many people spend time in straightening out a roll of toilet paper, such that it rolls smoothly on a roller?  If, as a conservative estimate, 30 seconds are spent for each crushed roll of toilet paper, multiplied by the total number of people inhabiting the United States, how much of an economic impact would that have on an annual basis?  How much time would be saved if such crushing of toiletries could be prevented, reverberated a thousandfold — nay, ten thousand fold — by mere and simple preventative measures?

The question itself failed to take hold upon the American imagination, until some years later, at a Town Hall Meeting, a woman asked a Congressional Candidate a similar query, in a rather accusatory tone of voice:  “Do you not care at all?”  That got the goat of the candidate, as they say in proverbial parlance.  There were subsequent cries for immediate passage of legislation.  Republicans wanted a budgetary offset for any monies expended for the creation of a new agency, the Federal Consumer Product Compliance Directorate (FCPCD). Some questioned the need for the new agency, and whether it couldn’t just be handled by the EPA; but such queries were quickly quelled when the Senate Majority Leader declared:  “The issue itself is too important to ignore.”

In the end, the FCPCD was created by Executive Order.  Some years later, because of the very importance attached to such preventative measures — “experts” referred to the greater impact upon global warming, and some at the NSC declared that it was a matter of “national security” — the FCPCD was elevated to a Cabinet Level Department post haste, in order to ensure that the President was daily informed as to the importance of the issue and so the American People would not be ignored. The staff at the FCPCD grew from 2 in 1984 (comprised of the Executive Director and the secretary), to over 5,000 today and currently growing (you know, inspectors, analysts, policy experts, etc.).

Meanwhile, those Federal and Postal workers who had filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, continue to wait for their Federal Disability Retirement applications to be decided upon.  The fact that OPM is understaffed and overworked has not been brought to light, yet.  Of course, OPM does not have the ear of the President, and the issue was never queried by the likes of a crack reporter back in the days when reporting was actually occurring.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Of true discourse and debate

A title immediately becomes “suspect” when the prefatory insertion of the word “true” is necessitated.  For, the noun which it is meant to enhance should be able to stand alone, without the reinforced embellishment that it is somehow more genuine than with the cousin’s uninvited presence.  It is like referring to a gemstone as a “valuable emerald” (what, one queries, would constitute an invaluable one?), or that such-and-such is a “very religious priest” (as opposed to an irreligious one?); and so to refer to the methodological approach of discourse and debate as one which is “true”, is to immediately undermine the very meaning of such a beginning.

But in modernity, where meaning has lost its efficacy and the elasticity of language has become epitomized by mindless You-Tube videos and an endless stream of nonsensical declarations preceded by a belief that, as pure relativism is rampant and presumed, it matters little who holds what opinion, the content of what is said, and not even the tone of intended consequences.

Once, in years past, there were “rules of engagement“, but three (3) foundational precepts needed to be followed in order to engage a valid discourse and debate.  First, that a distinction could be made between truth and falsity.  Second, that there existed a “superior” argument, based upon the combination of facts and rules of logical argumentation, in contradistinction to an “inferior” one.  But third — and this is the missing component in today’s endless shouting matches on television and radio waves — that each participant possessed a level of humility such that upon recognizing the inferiority of one’s one argument, a voluntary concession would be made, admitting to the superiority of the opponent’s argument.

While everyone recognizes and acknowledges the structural weakening of the first element, it is this last one which has devastated the entire process of today’s discourse and debate.  Of relevance to 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, is the extent, content and relevance of making a legal argument, and to what effectiveness and efficacy of substance, in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits with OPM.

In the end, bureaucracies are based upon the power of its established conduit of administrative complexity, and OPM is no different.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is made up of ultra-competent individuals who take their jobs very seriously, as well as with a mixture of some who are less than stellar.  That is the general make-up of all such organizations and governmental entities.

The structure of the right to appeal, however, is why a cogent discourse and debate must be prepared.  If the U.S. Office of Personnel Management denies a Federal Disability Retirement application twice (at the initial stage of the process, then again at the Reconsideration stage), then the Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant can file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  There, the Administrative Judge will hear all of the arguments made, afresh and anew, and consider the lack of constructive engagement and “weak points” of OPM’s arguments.  That is where all true discourse and debate must begin — before an audience with a listening ear.  And there we have that complementing and undesirable cousin again —  the “true” X, as opposed to an untrue one?


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: Of the politics of human discontent

Long ago, it was figured out; by men and women smarter than the general population, the ingredients of democracy and seizing of power became fixed in a formula of compromise; in politics, discontent is the source of unrest, and change is the power switch that turns the electorate around.

Rousseau over-romanticized that mythological “State of Nature“, but accurately recognized the human tendency towards the need to accumulate the leisurely graces of societal accouterments.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” was a nice, pithy way of putting it; the sardonic undertone has outlived its meaning, and today, economic survival has overwhelmed most of us.  The fact that the greater gods in back rooms of whispered consciences have recognized the need for portraying the hope of stability in exchange for demagoguery and cultish following, has even the power players wishing for a time of yesterday before a week hence.

Ultimately, human discontent has to do with the spectrum of a chasm between expectation and reality; when that pose of separation divides too far, an abandonment of common sense, historical lessons, and an approach of rational foresight becomes the blaring trumpet of the vaunted white knight.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition no longer allows for continuation in the Federal or Postal position because it intersects with the ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the interceding reality of the politics of discontent come to the fore.

Left in the quandary of false choices, the chasm between “what the law says” and how the power structure at the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service reacts to the news of the medical condition, is tantamount to the poverty of expectations in the face of reality.  The Federal bureaucracy can pay lip service to the touted declarations of fairness, efficiency and good government, but people will always be people — a tautology which everyone knows the meaning of, especially if you are a Federal or Postal employee.

Fortunately, the law also allows for the benefit of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.  And of the politics of human discontent?  Leave that for the next generation of brave souls who may enter into the realm of Rousseau’s elevated sense of the Social Contract as the foundation of society’s misgivings; but just remember that the French Revolution resulted in the beheadings of many, and a change for none.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire