Our identity is often bundled up and inextricably intertwined with the careers we have chosen. It is therefore understandable that, even with a medical condition that begins to debilitate, we would want to extend the chosen career to the furthest extent possible. The question then becomes one of performing a cost-benefits analysis: Does it make sense to try and make it to the proverbial “finish line” of retirement if the cost of doing so is to end up in such a debilitated state that any enjoyment derived in those “sunset years” is minimal, at best?
Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are, as a whole, a committed workforce dedicated to accomplishing the mission of the Federal Agency or the Postal Unit — often at the cost of one’s health. There comes a point, however, when the cost of one’s health is not worth one’s contribution to the mission identified, and when that critical juncture is reached, it is time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS. Extending one’s career at the cost of one’s health is one thing; to do so where the cost means accepting an actual harm to one’s well-being and a permanent loss of enjoyment in one’s retirement — well, that is often termed as a decision that only a fool would make.
Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and consider retiring early so that the cost of one’s health doesn’t become the payment overdue for one’s over-zealous commitment to the mission at large.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
FERS Medical Disability Counsel