It is often the spouse, or even the unnamed friend, who comes to recognize the need — even before the Federal or Postal employee. Whether because of the distance between the person and the medical condition, or out of pure empathy, the “other person” knows that it is time to file for FERS Disability Retirement. When that knowledge is conveyed to the person who actually suffers from the medical condition itself, then it is beyond the point of filing; it is, indeed, time to file.
In preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the truth of the matter is that shirkers are rare, and a premature filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application is rarer still.
Federal and Postal employees who file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits wait until the point at which self-destructive continuation has already passed. In fact, in many cases, the applicant’s own treating doctor has already repeatedly advised to “change jobs”, “switch careers”, “do something else in life before you really damage yourself“, etc.
That is why there is a (rightful) sense of injustice and unfairness when the agency itself is taken aback, and acts as if there is some nefarious motivation underlying the filing of the Federal Disability Retirement application. However, what is important, as in all matters of importance, is the self-knowledge that it is indeed time, and those who question one’s motive know not what one’s family, friends, and caring “others” have already determined.
Robert R. McGill
OPM Disability Attorney