Federal Disability Retirement benefits exist for Federal and Postal employees, whether under FERS or CSRS, for two primary purposes: (A) to allow a Federal or Postal employee who has a medical condition which prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of his or her job, to receive an annuity because of one’s service to the Federal Sector, based upon minimum qualification criteria (18 months of Federal Service under FERS; 5 years under CSRS) and (B) to encourage that Federal or Postal employee to continue to contribute in the private sector, but working at some other job, and begin a “second” career, if possible.
It is not an entitlement; it is a benefit which is progressive in the sense that it recognizes a compassionate need to compensate in return for the many years that the Federal or Postal employee has contributed to the work force, as well as recognizing the intelligent paradigm of encouraging continuing contribution in a different career path. Most Federal and Postal employees do not “want” to file for, or become eligible to receive, Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
It is not a “choice”. Rather, most Federal and Postal employees, after many, many years of service, have come to a point of recognition in both the extent, severity and chronicity of their medical conditions, as well as the progressively deteriorating impact upon his or her ability to perform all of the essential elements of the job, that continuing in the same daily struggle with life is inconsistent with retention and continuation in the Federal Service.
It is a benefit which is part of the total compensation package that one signed onto when one became a Federal or Postal employee. No apologies are needed to file for the medical benefit; it is merely the consummation of a contract, agreed to and signed for at the beginning of one’s career.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire