Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: The simple life

We all crave it; most of us dream of it; some try to implement it.  The “simple” life is the one that runs throughout the cultural history of Americana; from those days of Walden’s Pond and the life proposed by Thoreau and the transcendentalists, to the hippie communes in the Sixties and the movement back to agrarian life of more recent vintage, the desire to “downsize”, simplify and go back to the harkening calls of less complexity, less technology and less everything has always remained throughout.

Yet, “simple” does not mean “easy”, and one has to only visit an Amish farm to recognize that where technology does indeed save time (an hour’s commute by a car can be twice that in a horse and buggy), shedding one’s self of the daily convenience of modernity is no simple matter.

Do we even know what it means to go back to a “simple life”?  Or, by that concept and idea, do we merely mean the peeling away of complexities that have formed in our subjective states of mind, like barnacles that accumulate on the underside of boats over years and timeless travel through life’s trials and tumults, only to have a period of need where chipping them off becomes a necessity?

Television shows and various movies provide for nostalgic images that stir an emotional sense within all of us – of those days of lazy summer when childhoods were enveloped within a haze of timeless carefree thoughts, like so many waves rolling upon the warmth of sand dunes and castles created that only crumble once the day is over.  But that is the point, is it not – of a fictional state of things, of a world that is looked upon with fondness but probably never was, except in the imaginary memories of writers who realize the need to have a hope for a simpler life, but recognize that the reality is much more complex that they would have us believe.

Notice the subtle differentiation – between the “simple life” and the “simpler life”?  That is all we can ultimately hope for – not the former, but perhaps the latter.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer 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 the Federal or Postal job, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will often constitute the requirement of striving towards the objective of a simpler life.

The medical condition itself may be complex; the interaction with one’s agency or the postal facility within the context of that medical condition and “dealing” with them about needing to attend to one’s medical condition – all of that is complex and complicated.  And, while a Federal Disability Retirement application does not guarantee a “simple” life, what it does do is to provide an avenue to simplify the greater complexities of life’s trials by preparing for an uncertain future that only seems to be getting more and more complicated.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Life’s perverse fullness

As children, many are taught that life’s promise is unlimited in potentiality, full in its discourse of uncharted waters, and expansive in its promise for tomorrow.  Somewhere, in middle-to-late years, we begin to have a somewhat more “balanced” view: not of fullness merely painted with hope and promise, but with graffiti unasked for, undesired and unwanted: the perverse side of fullness.

Life can indeed contain and present a “full plate” (as metaphors go), but the question then becomes: What is on that plate?  When a potluck dinner is coordinated, there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs, where judgments are fairly quickly made by the systematic depletion of certain foods, and the untouched portions carefully avoided.  Anonymity is crucial to the success of the endeavor itself, but defensiveness is easily assuaged by the general rules of etiquette when asked and confronted: “Oh, I plan on getting seconds” or, “My plate is too small to get everything the first round!”

Excepting social pressures and avoiding hurt feelings, we all tend to gravitate towards that which we desire; yet, we also put on our plates the food items that “balance” the diet – with knowledge and admonitions that certain foods are “healthy” for us, while avoiding those that we have specific allergic reactions to, or otherwise leave us with uncomfortable residual gastronomic pains.

Every now and again, of course, we take on too much – or, as the saying goes and the wisdom that we impart to our children, “My eyes are too big for my stomach”.  It is then that we surreptitiously look for the hidden garbage bin, and infelicitously dump the “leftovers” beneath the mountain of other paper plates, and quickly scurry away from the scene of the crime committed.  Yet, why we fret over an infraction of taking on too much, is often a mystery; is it because waste balanced by greedy overreach combines to reveal a character flaw?  Or is it much simpler than that – that we are often too hard on ourselves?  Taking on “too much” is not a crime; it is simply an anomaly in the general dictum of life’s perverse fullness.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who are at a critical juncture where filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits – whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset – becomes a necessity, it is often the case that one’s “life-plate” has become overburdened: work, career, personal obligations, medical conditions, effects of surgery, etc. – the balance can no loner be maintained.  Something has to “give”, and whatever that “something” is, it usually ends up further impacting one’s health.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits should not be forever stuck on the “pause” button; the longer it stays in a rut, the greater opportunity for deterioration and detriment to one’s health.  We often wait until it is almost “too late”; but just remember that, where life’s perverse fullness includes one’s deteriorating health, it is never a good thing to leave that which is most important, untouched – one’s health.  And, as Federal Disability Retirement is a means to allowing for one’s health to improve so that, perhaps, one day, a second career, vocation, or further productivity can be achieved, so 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 often the portion of the potluck meal that requires first attention.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire