Federal Employee Disability Retirement: An Expectation of Disaster

Most lives are lived with an expectation of unease; if things are going smoothly, we look with suspicion at what will come from around the corner; if calm and quietude prevails, we consider it merely a precursor to a major storm; and if good fortune comes our way, there is a leeriness as to the strings attached.

Perhaps distrust is based upon justifiable historical events; or, as news is merely the compilation of tragic events gathered into a compendium of daily interests, so our skewed perspective of the world merely reinforces what our childhoods entertained.  With a foundation of such natural tendencies to see the world with suspicion, when a medical condition impacts a person, the expectation of crisis is only exponentially magnified.

Suddenly, everyone becomes the enemy, and not just the few who are known to lack heart; and actions which were previously normative, becomes a basis for paranoia.  Chronic pain diminishes tolerance for human folly; depression merely enhances the despair when others engage in actions betraying empathy; and the disaster which was suspected to be just around the corner, closes in on us when pain medications fail to palliatively alleviate.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent one from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, the bifurcation between the personal and the professional, between play and work, often comes crumbling down upon us, and signs of potential trouble portend to indicate to us that it may be time to “move on”.  That impending sense of doom?  It may be upon us.  That calm before the storm?  The reality of what the agency is contemplating may prove you right. And the potential loss of good fortune?

Agencies are not known for their patience.  For the Federal or Postal employee who is no longer one of the “good old boys” of the network of productive employees because of a medical condition which is beginning to impact one’s ability to maintain a daily work schedule, or perform at the level prior to the onset of a medical condition, consideration should be given to preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Time is often of the essence, and while most expectations of impending disasters are unfounded, the behavior of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service can never be relied upon, any more than the weather can be predicted a day in advance.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


3 thoughts on “Federal Employee Disability Retirement: An Expectation of Disaster

  1. Darlene Altvater

    I was a postal employee from 1989 to present. Injured in 2000. Put on DOL OWCP until 2011 when I wouldn’t work 2 hour commute from my home. DOL terminated my benefits in 2011. in 2010, I was working a 4 hour day modified job assignment and had to stop because the postal service was not adhering to giving me clerk training per the modified job assignment and not giving me help with sorting mail. This was my 2nd job that I found instead of not working at all with postal service. I was terminated my first modified job assignment because I had opened a business with my husband and the postal service did an investigation that I was over doing my restrictions and making money not reported. The DOL ruled no wrong doing but I was still terminated. I filed a grievance and won to be returned back to my job. The postal service cut my workers comp pay in half and never restored it after being terminated in modified job for 3 1/2 years. I lost nearly $100k in benefit pay. I found another modified assignment in 2009-2010 at same post office but this time I was suppose to get clerk training. This never happened so my doctor and I decided that I shouldn’t continue. In April of 2010, I wrote a letter to HR OWCP informing them that I had stopped modified job assignment and why. The postal HR lady was not happy. Within days of receiving letter she contacted the Office of Inspector General’s office to conduct investigation against me. The special agent (SA) for postal service contacted DOL to receive copies of my EN 1032 form where I was required to report medical improvement and any income received from a business or employment. The SA met with my main office postmaster whom I had never worked with it had no medical in the office regarding what my limitations were. He told the SA that I was over doing my restrictions and that he knew I had a business. The SA then went to HR OWCP with the postal service to get info regarding my last modified job assignment and limitations. The HR manager gave her a copy of a letter and modified job assignment that she had sent to the DOL on 4/29/10. The SA took this medical limitations and gave it to 6-8 special postal agents. For 1 1/2 years an investigation was launched and gathered. There was ONE BIG PROBLEM!! The HR manager and/or the lead SA for the postal service FRAUDULENTLY ALTERED my modified job assignment medical limitations to support its investigation against me. I did not find this out until after I was indicted, hired a private attorney whom did not investigate the DOL evidence and was convicted in 2012. This fraudulent altered modified job assignment was used by the prosecution during my trial. I took my 900 page DOL file to look into what went wrong. After two months of late nights, I finally found the altered modified job assignment. I gave it to my hired attorney and he could care less. I fired him and hired another attorney who knew about the fraudulent document from the onset of hiring him. He told me he would get it to the judge. He lied and did not file the proper motions for me and told me that if I did not act remorseful at sentencing, I would get a worse sentence. I had the document with me at sentencing. I was scared and did not know what to do. I did not mention the altered document. I was sentenced to 10 months. During trial the govt did not mention or have in evidence anything regarding money that was made but not reported. Because there was none and they knew that. All of the govts witnesses testified in connection to the fraudulent document that contained wrong medical limitations (changed medical to make me look more disabled). After my conviction and finding the fraudulent document, the postal service sent me a removal letter. They asked that I attend a displinary meeting. During the meeting they wanted me to comment about my conviction/trial. I had no legal representation with me so I declined. I did inform them with a final response/letter about what they had done by fabricating a fraudulent document. I filed grievances with my Union but my Union is worthless and decided not to go to arbitration in court due to my conviction. I filed an EEO against the postal inspectors, HR manager who retired 2 months after the investigation started and the postmaster. It was ruled untimely. Since April of 2013, the postal service has made no attempt to remove me from the postal service. I guess after me filing the first EEO, they know what’s to come and realize the evidence and harm that had been done against me. I continue to receive my pay stub every two weeks with my annual and sick leave balances. I still have medical issues that are gradually getting worse. The postal service from day 1 of me being injured has treated me like a piece of trash. There’s more to how I have been treated but I could write a book. I’m going to hire Mr McGill to file for federal postal disability, but it’s going to be an uphill battle I know, but after reading lawyer McGill’s posts about feeling inadequate, depressed, emotional and in my case wronged by conviction, I owe it to myself to move forward in filing for disability. The problem is right now, I havnt been separated from my agency due to being afraid of moving forward not trusting I will do the right thing or the postal service will lie and make this process impossible. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I need a good outcome with something!!! 🙂

  2. Carlos M Chapa

    I know for experience that once you are in light duty with the Postal Service, they really begin attacking you like a criminal (I know how difficult is to believe this last statement of mine but most Postal employees with some form of disability know that this is not an exaggeration). It’s really one of the worst organizations to work with. Anyway, Darlene, have patience and faith and you’ll see things will finally turn good for you. I think they will, and I will certainly keep you in mind in my prayers. God bless you.

  3. Carlos M Chapa

    One last thing, you are absolutely right when you said that the Post Office will lie (there must be exceptions nationwide though). But remember, it’s OPM which will decide your Postal Disability claim, NOT the Post Office; so with this good legal counseling I am sure your case will be proven. Let them say all sorts of lies about you, this is a MEDICAL issue now, so keep that in mind. You are in good hands. Keep praying that God really helps. Blessings again.

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