Attorney Representation OPM Disability Retirement: Thinking it through

What does the concept even mean?  When we guide the child with such a statement, we are asking that the formative years of impulsive reactivity pause for a moment to try a different approach.

“Think it through” – is an admonition to figure out the tangled web of problems by applying a sequential, logical methodology where frustration should not impede, and when patience becomes the friend of success.

“Thinking it through” is a reminder that there is indeed a solution, but sometimes the problem will only be sorted out if some further time is given in reflective pose, or Sherlock Holmes-like investigative intuition based upon the scientific paradigms of rationality.  Yet, one must also be reminded of the fact that “solutions” to problems do not always lead to satisfactory conclusions; sometimes, there are a finite set of alternatives, and no one of them may be an option that one delights in.

But, then, life is often like that, isn’t it?

We are beset and faced with a challenge; we review them, thinking each one through, and in the end, we face a dilemma where the solutions offered or revealed are not necessarily the ones we like; nevertheless, we must choose, like entering into an ice cream parlor at the end of a summer’s day only to find that all of the favorite flavors are gone and we are left with rhubarb spice and cotton-candy mixed with peanut butter drops – somehow, not the best of combinations and understandably left for those who came too late.

Then, of course, there are the questions for everyone who posits the answers as “thinking it through” – does the person have the sufficient knowledge and preparatory tools to actually figure out the problem?  Or, are there necessary pre-performance insights that must be gathered first, before the proverbial “key” can be used to solve the problem?

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 one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the question of “whether” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is best left to the Federal or Postal employee who recognizes the wisdom of the incompatibility between the Federal or Postal job and the medical conditions suffered.

It is only the “how” to file that needs some “preparatory” work and knowledge; for, that part of it involves the law, the regulatory morass and the bureaucratic complexity of submitting the 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.

For the latter, “thinking it through” may not be possible without the insight and knowledge of a Federal Disability Retirement attorney who specializes in that field of law exclusively.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The traveling troubadour and trobairitz

There are vocations and careers which once were, and now forgotten.  Life cycles in endless streams of dying embers and regeneration of growth; and like the mythical Phoenix which arises from the ashes of destruction, so we tend to romanticize that which once was, is now forever lost in the forgotten residues of concealed fingerprints in timeless memories once secluded but dissipated as storytellers no longer found an audience for tales left untold, and children turned to self-amusement with videos, technological blank stares, and smartphones which glow well into the night.

Troubadours of the middle ages (and for those wondering, since this is now a gender-neutral universe and we dare not fail to include the binary aspect of such identification, the female counterpart known as the “trobairitz”), traveling under the patronage of princes in fiefdoms who showed the first signs of supporting “the arts”, and thus would allow for actors, performers and lyric poets to entertain and provide a respite of asides from a world which knew poverty beyond modernity’s capacity to comprehend, plagues which spread quickly and with devastating tenacity, and amongst rogues who cared not for the intellectual conscience recorded by scribes and religious orthodoxy of the Aquinas tradition.

They came onto the scene of history, and disappeared by the end of the High Middle Ages.  Do we even think about them, today — their careers, their imprint upon a fellow human being’s life, and even of the shadow which appeared but for a whispering moment, and with the light of day left not even a hint of prior existence?  Is that what Heidegger meant, when he described human existence as an avoidance out of fear of the ultimate fate of each man?  And so we look upon our own careers, and the choices we have made in life, and that to which we look into the crystal ball for the future.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are contemplating 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, must by necessity feel trepidation for the unknown.  That is natural.  But as necessity is the mother of invention, so the end of a Federal or Postal career should never bring pause to a hopeful perspective for a future yet undetermined, whether unknown or barely discernible.  And like the traveling troubadour and trobairitz of a past age, the career itself is but a whisper in time, and it is the substance of the life lived, and not the sacraments of a vocation we had chosen, which make for value in a life of plenty.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The lethargic state of tacit acceptance

Life has a way of beating down.  Whether it is from the constant drudgery of daily responsibilities, or perhaps the overwhelming bombardment of the harsh technological stimuli foreign yet to the still evolutionary sensibilities of nature’s slow progression for adaptability; the human body, mind and soul, while possessing a capacity for resistance greater than many other species, nevertheless is contained by limits of restrictive mechanisms tested daily beyond the tolerance of allowable endurance.

It is often said that time and age will take care of any youthful idealism; for, as cynicism is the property of the older generation, folly is the playground of the younger.  Falls resulting in laughter, as opposed to empathy; tears paused by applause, as want of sympathy; but as we grow up on morsels of victorious tales from mythology and storytellings from the warmth of loved ones, that security which we were once wrapped in quickly becomes a tattered shawl unable to conceal the victimhood which haunts our inner soul.

Acceptance of one’s plight has been, throughout man’s history, the basis for longevity and survival; and the quietude of a tortured soul, nowadays, may result in a bloodletting untold in former times for their atrocity and ferocity for purposeless mayhem.

It is that lethargic state of tacit acceptance which we always have to battle against; for, we know not when that moment of quantified bevy reaches the point of no return and the boiling level of overflow; and, for each of us, the threshold of that which constitutes “enough is enough” is variable, as the genetic predisposition for an explosive overflow depends upon birth, character, and the historicity of experiential phenomena which all of us carry within as the baggage which is unseen but which exudes like gangrene and spoiled milk wreaks of a rotting soul.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have reached that point of despondency, where a medical condition has prevented the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties at the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the time may have come, already passed, or may be nearing, when the liveliness of the inner psyche once running barefoot through the pasture of timeless childhood memories has transformed into the mummy-like vestige of what once was, and now in danger of a metamorphosis into the lethargic state of tacit acceptance.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not always seem like a “positive step”, and may have the appearance of stoppage, cessation or even a terminal conclusion pausing forward progress; but in the end, it is the health of the body, mind and soul which should dictate the priority of one’s actions, and not a career which will go on in the bureaucracy of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal worker, whether that rotting essence lives on for a more hopeful tomorrow, or remains quietly rotting in a lethargic state of tacit acceptance.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A penchant for excess

Do the historicity and context of a given time determine the individual’s proclivity for behavior otherwise deemed unnatural?  Does that concept even apply anymore, as normative constraints are denigrated, societal conventions become ignored, and new frontiers bypassing the ethos of communities are no more than mere irritants to swat away?

There has always been, of course, a penchant for excess inherent in the human essence; the British Royal Family, the French aristocracy, the Russian Czar and the modern totalitarian state where wealth and abundance allows an opening for the limitless reach of man’s appetite and predilection for excess.

Does the quiet neighbor next door — that meek and unassuming character straight out of the parallel universe of Walter Mitty’s caricature, of the bespectacled individual always referred to as “growing old with grace and a potbelly” — become a tyrant upon winning the lottery?  Is it inevitable that he files for divorce the day after his bank account becomes flush with an astronomical sum, abandons his responsibilities, denies his lineage to aunts and uncles who suddenly want to become the proverbial long-lost cousins who always loved him but were too shy to previously approach — is there an identifiable genetic code of wrap-around dimensions coiling within each of our cells waiting to embrace an inevitable penchant for excess?

And what of our behavior towards our fellow men and women — is human nature so predictable that we fear the unravelling of ourselves, and thus do we cloak our ugliness and conceal our inner motives precisely because, like the largest organ covering our bodies — the skin which provides layers of protection to make our appearance presentable and unblemished — we require constructs of artificial boundaries because we ourselves cannot abide by the liberty we are granted?

These thoughts are nothing new for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who encounters man’s penchant for excess once the Federal or Postal employee shows the signs of weakness which accompany a medical condition.  Suddenly, the camaraderie and comity previously shown by coworkers becomes an unconcealed bevy of whispering conspiracies, like the silence of horrific quietude of a man drifting in a shark-infested ocean upon an overturned boat, waiting for that first bump of a forewarning to test the reaction before the initial attack.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must by necessity lead to 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, the penchant for excess as revealed by actions of the Agency, coworkers and people you once thought highly of, is really nothing more than the unravelling of that which was always there, but forever hidden but for that invisible thread which holds the fabric of society together — of self-restraint, like the distant echo of a forgotten discipline, lost in the meditation of a Zen monastery.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire