The strategic approach of allowing for a route of retreat is well-known; by providing an exit option, casualties are lessened and the proportional ferocity of battle often parallels the availability or non-existence of such a pathway out.
Cornered animals behave in the same way – and why would they not? Do we think that we are somehow exempt from the genetic predisposition of Darwinian inherency? And the cornered enemy who sees no exit – with the final bullet retained for self-annihilation, the option of surrender not a reality for the traitorous residue to such an act, or of the potential for torture and mutilation naturally following revenge upon actions taken previously; or a kamikaze-like final hurrah met with a hail of bullets; it is the importance of seeing a way out, that often determines the course of future conduct.
That is how the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Service worker views the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement: as the “way out” of an otherwise untenable future course. Without it, the options are often: Die trying to get to work each day; resign with nothing to show for the many years of investing in one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.
What is so interesting in engaging Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers for multiple decades, now, is the singular and unassailable fact that is contrary to the misperception held by the general public: Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are among the most dedicated of workforce servants, putting in long and uncompensated hours beyond what they are required, and never wanting to take the “exit option” but for the chronic and severe nature of a rising and debilitating medical condition. And, how many who obtain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity go on into the private sector and “pay back” into the very system from which they are being compensated the Disability Retirement annuity? Many, if not most.
Without the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, many would struggle and ultimately lose the battle either with the agency or the Postal Service, or with the medical condition itself. Even with the benefit of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, the pay is not so enticing as to encourage any mass exodus via the vehicle of a Federal Disability Retirement benefit, and it is only because of the progressively deteriorating nature of a medical condition that finally impels and compels the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker to take that exit option, and to seek to reach a plateau of rehabilitative serenity such that a further career or vocation in the private sector could be possible.
In the end, like enemies in a fierce firefight, the importance of seeing a way out is just as relevant to the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, as it is to the kamikaze warrior who tightens the band of fate by an emblematic headscarf in preparation for the final battle.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire