OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: Of mice and things

In the early morning hours or in the late twilight of night when everyone else is fast asleep, of mice and things scurrying about tells of a world beyond the days where we awaken and watch.  We all have a tendency to anthropomorphize upon a world we otherwise would fail to understand, and projecting our own characteristics upon another species has always been what we cannot resist.

Of mice — do they run about when everyone else is away because of fear, or because they, too, love the quietude of a period when all except the insomniacs and burglars tiptoe in shadows of darkness where the innocent dare not trample upon?

Sometimes, in the rush from hiding place to food source, the mouse will pause, lift up on its hind legs, look about, nibble a bit, then off again; and when they become bold enough to actually stare and look directly at the master of the house, you know that it is time to bring out the cheese and the traps, for they have exceeded their welcome and are likely becoming too comfortable in a home that they are unwelcome.

And what of the “things”?  Well, there are mice, and then of course, centipedes and spiders, and cousins of mice, and other things.  They are the ones who go “bump” in the night.  Are we like them?  If a greater master were to look upon us like we do of mice and things, would that Grand Wizard think similar thoughts?  That if we scurry about in fear and try and remain anonymous and unobtrusive, we would be left alone; but if we became bold in our unwelcomed status, a trap would be set for us and we would be cast aside into the oblivion outside of the walls of our own making?

Isn’t that how the injured Federal or Postal worker feels when a medical condition continues to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position?  Such a Federal or Postal worker begins to feel like the mouse that scurries about trying to survive, but once he or she gets noticed, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service begins to set traps, to put the pressure on and proceed to ostracize and get rid of the pesky things.

Fortunately, Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition have somewhat more protections than those accorded to creatures small and large, of mice and things.

Preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is one such “protection” that allows the Federal or Postal employee to move beyond the workplace harassment and attempts to remove and terminate, thereby ending a career where one has invested one’s life to prolong.

What the Federal or Postal employee does not want to do, is to end up like those creatures that go bump-in-the-night — of mice and things — by failing for access all available benefits, and especially a Federal Disability Retirement annuity that can secure one’s future and allow for one to focus upon the important things in life, like one’s health.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement for Federal Employees: Functional architecture

It refers to those unnecessary trappings; but of course, the immediate question which follows is:  who determines necessity as opposed to aesthetic addendums otherwise of utilitarian vacuity.

The traditional approach in functional architecture is determined by the general principle that a building should be designed by the paradigmatic governance of the underlying purpose for which the structure should be constructed.  That is likely why government buildings are essentially drab and colorless, reflecting the purposive nature of a bureaucracy and administrative conduits.  The grandeur of the wealthy in pouring money into aesthetically pleasing facades, otherwise without any meaningful utilitarian basis, is a consequence of wanting to impress, as opposed to a functional capacity to reside.

In modernity, functionalism is akin to pragmatism, which is often seen as the heart and soul of this country’s success – of advancing towards the next technological innovation, accomplishing beyond the project paid for, and getting things “done” in order to calculate the worth and value of a person’s being.  At the cost of family, neighborhood, culture and normative constructs, we go for that which works, what pays and what can be sold.

Thus does the American model function on the motto of pragmatism:  Of what does it benefit a man if he cannot make a living from it?  And so the narrative goes that waves of immigrants gave up their native country, whether because of famine, wars, poverty or persecution, and traveled to a far-off foreign soil in order to carve out a living without the trappings once enjoyed.

But the concept of functional architecture can reach into other disciplines, as well – as in the composition of words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages of stream of consciousness.  One can, for example, add all sorts of unnecessary verbiage in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in response to the questions posited in Standard Form 3112A – Applicant’s Statement of Disability.

This can get one into what is often proverbially termed as “hot water”.  For, just as the three classic goals of architecture still remain relevant today – of utility, beauty and firmness (reflecting the conceptual generalizations of use, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and structural integrity), so the same can be applied in preparing one’s Federal Disability Retirement application in the statements made:  Writing to the point of the Federal Disability Retirement application (utility); being comprehensible and coherent, with a purposive narrative (beauty); and, finally, firmness (maintaining the structural integrity of the narrative by building the proper linguistic foundation in formulating one’s answers on SF 3112A).

Thus, as with most things in life, functionalism does not merely apply to the discipline of architecture, but can easily be transmogrified into the complex administrative process of Federal Disability Retirement.  As the fullness of life is an admixture of interconnecting experiences, so the principles undergirding architectural integrity can teach us lessons in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Resigning from a Federal Position Due to a Medical Condition

To resign is often considered the last vestiges of giving up hope; somehow, it contradicts our DNA, and the resistance to it reinforces the Darwinian idea that the evolutionary drive for survival rules our choices, as determinism persists despite our best efforts to remain free.  To resign is to give in, surrender, abandon the lifelong plans and dreams for the future; it marks, for many, a decision of raising the white flag.  In life, however, sometimes the choices offered are but a few, and within that limited arena of options, the best must be taken.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing the full panoply of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it sometimes becomes necessary to “cut the losses” and move onward to other ventures in life.

When the level of harassment becomes untenable; when the best negotiations lead to the Agency’s offer of resignation in order to keep the record “clean”; when access to one’s TSP is necessary in order to survive the long period of waiting for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to decide upon a Federal Disability Retirement application; or even when the constant “fight” is no longer worth it, or is not there within one’s self; then the only thing left is the proper characterization of such a resignation, for inclusion as a short statement on one’s SF 50 or PS Form 50.

Depending upon the particularized circumstances, a resignation is not always a surrender, but merely a regrouping in order to return to resume the fight of life on another day.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The distance marker

Highways have them; sports arenas and fields are littered with their recognizable placements; and runners rely upon them.  On highways, they are often coordinated with exits upcoming, but most drivers fail to recognize their relevance, and rarely take note of them.

What most people don’t understand, comprehend, and fail to appreciate, is that their importance is not merely about the distance still left to go, but how far one has already traveled.  The former is often tied intimately to the struggles one foresees extending into the future; the latter, forgetful or forgettable, as life’s accolades are rarely declared, and seldom trumpeted.

Thus, when a career is cut short, or a change in the course of a person’s life is necessitated by unforeseen circumstances, the internal agony and angst of life is always focused upon how much further we must go, as opposed to taking a breath and appreciating what distances we have already traversed.  Perhaps that is for the best; for, if pause were to become a pattern of petulance, progress would never be permeated.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with the performance of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the thoughts are always projected towards the future, and should be, as that is a “good” thing.

Too much reflection upon past accomplishments rarely does one good; and, in any event, the Federal agency certainly doesn’t care (don’t hold your breath for an anticipated office party recognizing your accomplishments and contributions), and except for some modicum of acknowledgements in performance reviews, will not give any leeway for future considerations based upon past successes achieved.

Perhaps that is why distance markers are ignored, except by those who have a purposeful drive in reaching a designated destination.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where 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 or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, becomes a necessity and a choice for the future, the distance marker to recognize is the attaining of that Disability Retirement annuity — and beyond, where life can be lived after Federal Employment.

And of the distance already traversed?  Reflection upon past successes can be the foundation for future endeavors; mark them, and even remember their placement and location; but never pause longer than half a breath, before moving on to the coordinated exit recognized as the effective preparation, formulating and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application, lest not only the distance marker passes you by, but you miss the coordinated exit, as well.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire