Often, in the preceding years before preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, there is a “history” of events between an Agency and the Federal or Postal employee. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and such a trite adage is certainly true for the Federal and Postal employee.
Whether in the form of an EEOC complaint or a response to an adverse action which promulgates an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, or multiple other legal forums and responses, actions, etc., there may be a settlement of the issue, and the settlement of such collateral issues may involve a provision concerning Federal Disability Retirement.
If in fact there is a reference concerning Federal Disability Retirement by the Agency as part of a “global settlement” of collateral issues, it is important to make sure that there is enough specificity in the language to make it worth one’s while to have the provision inserted in a settlement agreement to begin with. Thus, a generic statement such as, “Agency endeavors to assist the employee in filing for Federal Disability Retirement” would not be very helpful, precisely because the term “assist” can be interpreted in multiple ways, and normally the way that an Agency will interpret the term will not in the least be helpful to the Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. Language is a tool which must be used carefully; the effectiveness of language, as with any tool, depends upon the competence of the user.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire