The news coming out on the Voluntary Early Retirement offer for Postal employees has not been very positive. My information has been gathered from multiple sources: Official Statements from the U.S. Postal Service; “insider information” from Postal employees; various newspaper accounts and website information. Recent statements from the APWU President, of course, sheds further light on the matter. Mr. Burrus warns (wisely, in my opinion) that, in this “uncertain economy, there is no reason to make a hasty decision.” That is certainly true. The loss of potential future income over a period of years or decades should be considered; the one sector of the economy which seems to be expanding at an alarming pace is the Federal government, and if the Federal government is unwilling to let AIG and banks fail, then surely it will not allow the Postal Service to self-destruct. Now, with respect to Federal and Postal employees who must, because of medical conditions which impact his or her ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, a decision to file for disability retirement benefits is a pragmatic one: either disability retirement, or risk being terminated because of the continuing decline in performance and ability to complete the essential elements of the position. An offer of a VER without financial incentives — taking into account what an individual will lose in benefits, pay increases, etc. over the next decade or two — is not a very attractive offer. Any such VER should be considered carefully. On the other hand, disability retirement is a different matter: It is a pragmatic decision to accept the fact that one has a medical condition such that you cannot perform the particular kind of job you hold, anymore. It is a decision that it may be the right time to “move on” — bad economy or not.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Can the postal service deny your application for disability retirement and force you to take the VER if you are eligible for the VER?