FERS Disability Retirement: Recognition

At some point in one’s life, there is a recognition that a “gap” has been established between the dreams of one’s youth, the expectations of reality embraced in adulthood, and the lack of achievement one has attained in the final stages of one’s life.  It need not be a final moment of a gestalt-like profundity, where we suddenly realize with a declarative “Aha!” at some critical juncture in our life; rather, it can be a subtle realization over time, concluding with an expectation of acceptance, or of bitterness towards life’s unfairness.

Life is, indeed, unfair.  Two people can toil and sweat at one’s work and have starkly differing results.  One may become very wealthy; the other, constantly struggling just to live from paycheck to paycheck; and yet, the extent of cognitive or physical effort expended by each may be of little difference.  One may counter: It is not the effort expended, but rather, the value of the product or service offered.  But even that is not quite true, is it?

The classic example is the pay scale of a teacher — irrefutably of greater value than the sale of vehicles or mink coats, yet of relatively paltry return.  One never hears of a wealthy teacher; one hears of wealth attained through frivolous services based upon an idea engineered in the basement or garage of a computer whiz-kid.

Recognition is an important crossroads; of the disparity between what one expected and what one has achieved; of determining early on what is of value, of how one defines “success” as opposed to “failure”; and of resisting the idea that all of youth’s folly must be realized in order to be deemed a success, leaving aside whether success itself must be narrowly defined by a person’s pocketbook contents.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, there is often a necessary prerequisite of a recognition that one’s Federal or Postal career is over.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS is not, however, a recognition that one will never achieve or attain what one originally set out to do; rather, it is a recognition that there is life after a Federal or Postal career, and that the medical condition has merely revealed an incompatibility between one’s Federal or Postal position and the medical condition that one never asked for, but a reality with which one must deal with — a recognition itself that is an important first step.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire