One hears the familiar refrain: trying to “game” the system; taking handouts; being on the government’s dole; and multiple similar allegations and assumptions. Perhaps there are some who receive benefits which may be considered welfare-type compensation; and, maybe there are those who attempt to obtain something for nothing — or very little. But one must be firm in making the conceptual distinction between those “others” and Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.
First, the Federal and Postal employee works — and works hard and long hours. Second, Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is part of the total compensation package for the Federal or Postal employee. Third, Federal Disability Retirement pays a pittance in comparison with the compensatory standard of living which the Federal or Postal employee has been used to, and no sane person would take a voluntary reduction of one’s livelihood merely to get on the “dole”. Fourth, many — if not most — of those who receive Federal Disability Retirement benefits pay back into the system, by getting a part-time or full-time job in another vocation, thereby paying taxes, FICA, etc. And Fifth, it is the Federal Disability Retirement annuitant who is the one who pays the price — by having endured the repetitive work to such an extent that he or she has become debilitated; or withstood the abusive mental and physical requirements of one’s position which ultimately necessitated the drastic reduction in pay and forced to take a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.
It is the one who must pay the price — the Federal and Postal employee — who should be complaining; those who stand on the sidelines merely utter words.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire