Federal Disability Retirement Representation: Life’s Analogy

We make analogies of everything in life, but where is life’s analogy?  Human beings learn by analogy or metaphor; sometimes of a simile, but whatever the comparison or explanation, it is almost always by illustrative contrast that knowledge is gained.

How do you teach a child how to write well?  By starting with good literature.  How does one grasp the concept of a universe so small as to defy understanding of its basic molecular structure?  By use of models and diagrams.  And how does one realize the value of integrity and honesty?  Certainly, by reading and understanding definitions and concepts, but more effectively, by example.

But where is life’s analogy?  Or, is “life” too grand and unwieldy a concept to have an analogy — especially because “life” encompasses the entirety of all of the phenomenal experiences and stimuli that bombards us, and thus refuses to become segmented and bifurcated into bits of slices such that there can ever be anything of comparative discernment?  Or, perhaps its opposite is true — that in order to learn about “life”, one must compare and contrast it to its opposite, or near antonym, such as a medical condition that impacts and progressively deteriorates one’s life?

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 job, the question of whether there is an analogy relevant to “life” is an easy one.

There was once upon a time a life before the medical condition — then, the life after.  As the medical condition worsens, it becomes more and more difficult to remember the “time before”, and that is when one realizes that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to regain one’s “life” and to put behind the constant and unendurable struggle against a Federal Agency or Postal Facility that cares not a twit about the quality of one’s life.

Life’s analogy is thus found in its opposite — of what it once was and still can be, by comparison.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Just another bystander

There are primary characters, ancillary or peripheral personalities – and just another bystander.  Similarly, in personal relationships taken from a subjective “I” viewpoint, there are “close family members” (i.e., normally identified as the core within a nuclear family), “extended family”, and then there are “friends and acquaintances” — and just pure strangers.  Of course, the Internet, Facebook and other electronic devices have somewhat changed and altered the landscape of such relational directions, but we still know what it means to generally be “just another bystander”: to be out of the proverbial “loop” and perhaps observe, but otherwise uninvolved in the lives of those around, passing by or in the midst of a crisis developing.

Thus, when an accident occurs, a tragedy unfolds or a crisis develops, there are those who are referred to as “just another bystander”.  Or, if by tragic circumstances, that “bystander” becomes a victim either by happenstance or through “collateral” damage wrought upon surrounding neighborhoods, people, etc., we may refer to that person as an “innocent bystander” – as if the imputed adjective adds something more appropriate to engender empathy or description of haphazard events by which people can be randomly hurt.

Or, if intervention or interference imposes upon a situation by events unfolding, such an identification may be referred to in the past tense, as in, “He was just another bystander when event X occurred, and then he ran into the melee and helped the victims by…” In other words, by becoming “involved”, person X absolved himself by his very actions and thereby negated his prior status as a “bystander”, innocent or not.

The fact is, most of us are bystanders for most days of our lives; we walk through neighborhoods, streets and buildings inhabited by others, where others are engaging in commerce, relationships and interaction of daily living, and others, as well, are mere bystanders as they walk past us and bypassing our subjective interludes.  We expect others to maintain that status unless otherwise needed, and we retain with comfort such status in the courteous behavior towards strangers otherwise unnecessary for further interaction.  The problem becomes when we become bystanders within the role of our own lives.

For Federal and Postal employees 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 job, remaining a bystander when it is necessary to become an integral part in determining your own future is often a problem of self-will.  Watching the lives of others pass by is one thing; watching your own life pass by means that you are just another bystander when being a bystander is not the appropriate role to play.

Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the necessary next and proactive step in determining the future outcome of events unfolding. The medical condition you suffer from is already the “event”; what you do next will determine whether you are the primary character or a bystander – or, worse, an “innocent bystander” who then is referred to in the past tense.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirements: The predetermined, “Let’s discuss it”

You can often tell from the eyes and the mannerism whether the opening prelude is meaningful, or predetermined to merely manipulate to an intended end.  The opening interlude which allows for the conduit of engagement:  “Let’s discuss it”; does it next encapsulate an ear which listens, or pauses which allow for conveyance of communication – or merely a diatribe of invective meant to dissuade and demean?

It is a rare character, indeed, that states and means in a coalescence of sincerity; instead, the danger signs should be evident at the outset:  The end has already been predetermined; your words are merely allowed to provide a setting of appearance, or to give you the rope in order to coil it and hang yourself.

Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing (or does that metaphor even apply, today?); there is rarely a cast of shadows without the darkness elongated, and it is indeed a rarity to find sincerity in an insincere world.  Discussion requires a prefatory contingency of openness to logical argumentation (or even emotional appeal), persuasion, dissuasive comportments, and a sense of listening.

Is there a fine line between that, and a preset paradigm of an already-established course?  Take the following hypothetical:  Some figure of authority – the “boss”, or a manager, supervisor, etc. – grants a forum for a “discussion” of the “issue” (whatever they may be), but during such an exchange it becomes readily apparent that the counterpart shows no signs of actual interest – the fidgeting, the proverbial “looking at the watch”, the furtive eyes, the yawn; all together, showing a complete disinterestedness in the process.

But something during the discussion sparks, and an unintended consequence (to paraphrase the well-worn American Lore from Adam Smith and the economic entrails of systematic chaos) suddenly rears its beautiful head; eyes sparkle; the head and chin tilt slightly back, and intelligence (which heretofore was merely a dark abyss of eternal vacuity) gleams in the eyes of the “boss”; “Now, that is an interesting proposal…” comes the refrain.

In such a scenario, was the fact that predetermination of outcome altered during the course of the foray, changed the entire episode into one which embraced a sincerity of motives?  Or, is it merely that the counterpart changed his or her mind, and “openness” to such an exchange was a farcical prelude to an otherwise meaningless exchange?  Does the mere fact of allowing for a discussion – an opportunity to voice one’s concerns or to “vent” through a diatribe of invectives – establish a sincerity of allowances, even if the original intent was otherwise left unstated?

Which brings us to the point of this exchange – for, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the thing that many Federal and Postal employees fail to realize, is that there is contained within the bureaucratic system of the administrative process, a procedure which essential does constitute a “Let’s discuss it” trigger.

For, that is precisely why there are multiple stages of the administrative process – of the “Initial Stage” in filing a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement application; then, if rejected and denied at the First Stage, a second “opportunity” of a “Let’s discuss it”, represented by a “Reconsideration Stage”, where additional medical documentation and legal argumentation can be empowered; and, then again, a “Third Stage”, where the Federal or Postal employee may disagree with OPM’s determination, and file an appeal to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  Additionally, there is even a Fourth Stage – of a Petition to a panel of MSPB Judges for a legal review of the process.

Such an Administrative Procedure reveals and establishes an aversion to what most people experience, in that there is a process of listening, appealing and persuading in a Federal Disability Retirement application – something which is rarely found in the world at large, where the refrain, “Let’s discuss it”, is normally anything more than a prelude to a predetermined course of action.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: The caustic nature of disdain in parity

In human history, class structure — whether of bloodlines or lineage; of wealth or claim to title and royalty; or of validated descendants from ancestral superiority — has been the norm.

Then, along came a religious figure (unnamed herein to avoid risk of inflammatory offense and preventing the potential for implosions of alarming hashtags in fits of fear and panic) who posited the notion that the “poor” (that class of mass populace which comprises the greater part of the world) should take “pity” upon the “rich” (those in the minority of the greater class struggle who control and manipulate the invisible levers of the world) because of the difficulties inherent in obtaining the proper credentials to enter through the proverbial pearly gates.

He went further in word-pictures of masterful storytelling, painting images of hellfire, suffering and punishment for those who mistreated the former, and where rewards, awards and commendations bestowed were merely of a temporary and ephemeral nature, whereas the eternal damnation based upon pleasures enjoyed in the temporal world would last well beyond the palliative superficiality of currency beheld.

The problem unstated, however, when the concept of “pity” was introduced, was twofold:  First, the validation of such a feeling and perspective made equals of those in unequal circumstances, and one could even argue, reversed the roles maintained for societal conformity and stability, and enforced a parity of stature; and, second, the emotional and psychological make-up comprised in the very heart of “pity”, is akin to “disdain”, and is a close cousin thereof.  Yes, yes — the one attaches to charity, a desire to assist and retains elements of empathy, sympathy, etc.; but it is more than that.  “Pity” allows for parity of status and stature, just as “disdain” reverses the roles of societal convention.

That religious figure of yore (though we may impute total and complete omniscience upon the fella) injected into society a heretofore unnecessary and problematic component of societal disruption.  It is, indeed, the caustic nature of disdain, which can evolve from pity, that presents itself as the poison which kills and the infectious spreading of ill-will and discomfiture.  The feeling of unease quickly spread throughout nations and continents, and we are in the state we find ourselves in modernity, because of that uninvited infusion of dissatisfaction.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who daily toil with a medical condition, and face the onslaught of the Federal workforce and the Postal groups, the problem of pity and disdain, and their combined causticity is well-known.  So long as you were healthy and fully productive, your coworkers, Supervisors and Managers treated you within the well-defined “class-structure” of acceptable conduct and behavior.  Once it was “found out” about your medical condition, suddenly their attitude and treatment towards you changed, and altered dramatically, or perhaps (in some instances) in incremental subtleties of quiet reserve but spiteful turns.

Perhaps some “pitied” you, and you them; but such feelings have turned to disdain — not on their half, but from your perspective. Why?  How?  You are the one with the medical condition, who cannot perform all of the essential elements of your Federal or Postal job, so what right have you?

Precisely because of that historical figure of yesteryear; that the true essence of human nature is to be cruel, and thus the best alternative remaining is to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in an effort to preserve the last vestiges of a class structure quickly fading in this world where the caustic nature of disdain in parity still survives.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement: The Coherent Life

Coherence fails to take into the account the unexpected; moreover, a linear, systematic unfolding of events is rarely the rule, but rather the exception.  Look at nature and the traumatic tumult which follows daily — of predators and pendulums swinging between life and death, and the instability of future courses yet to be determined.

What do we make of it all?  Kant would posit that we bring to the objective world structural viewpoints in order to bring order into a chaotic world; but is rationality seen from within of any greater coherence than a world unfettered by human perspective?  Life, and more importantly for Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, medical conditions and the unfolding of how a medical condition is approached, treated, proven and described, often betrays a lack of coherence in the very attempt of proving its impact upon one’s life.

Lack of linear unfolding does not necessarily defeat a Federal Disability Retirement application.  Sometimes, we have to provide an exposition and explain the circumstances which resulted in the mayhem of confusion and the scattering of rationality.  And if you think that doctors and treatment modalities follow a systematic approach to cure and rehabilitate, you might want to rethink that view that precision of medicine as a science, as opposed to being an admixture of art and wisdom gained from experience.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM, it would be nice to have the sequential ordering of coherence, in a fashion of:  A medical condition; exhaustive treatment; a clean end-point where no further medical improvement can be attained; a doctor who will be supportive in the process; a “wowing” medical narrative written with little or no solicitation; finalizing, submission and approval by OPM.

Somehow, however, the sequencing of life never quite matches to such a paradigm, and we are left with coordinating that Kantian approach of imposing what we can, where we are able to, and when we have the capacity and ability.  The coherence of life reflects a parallel universe of the circumstances which we must embrace; and, in the end, we must just deal with that which we are given, and do the best in making coherent an incoherent universe of facts.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire