FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Unending Cycle of Relapse

It is merely from a perspective of combined incrementalism with an admixture of hope and self-delusion that people talk about a “relapse”.  The plain fact is, most medical conditions follow a fairly predictable and linear path of progressive deterioration, with critical junctures of static chronicity, and marked by charted moments of quietude interrupted with a fury of vengeful prose.  If a business graph were to depict the pathway of most medical conditions, the ups and downs of the jagged lines would mesmerize and confuse us with contemptuous puzzlement.

We assure ourselves that we are “getting better”, when all the while we continue to ignore, procrastinate, explain and justify all of the indicators and warning signs of downward decline.  An increase in the medication regimen, explained by mere temporary need; greater pain, with reference to some minor activity recently engaged in; and so the self-justifying conundrums are thrown as explanatory deliberations, when the bodies suffer so despite the words offered as sacrificial animals to the gods of thunder.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, this phenomena of parsing words despite facts which fly in the face of reality, is often born of necessity and a false image of self, society and servitude to the “mission of the agency” or the Constitutionally-born importance of the U.S. Postal Service (circa Benjamin Franklin, thank you).  But health has a funny way of  defying self-justifications of ineffective prose, and poetry and thought never curtails the unending cycle of relapse, precisely because what we do to our minds, bodies and souls accounts for little when misuse and unintended abuse prevail.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who fails to make one’s health a priority first, then all other considerations of secondary import, the need to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, often becomes a victim of such unending cycle.

To suffer a “relapse” is merely an attempt to justify that which the body or mind was merely telling you all along.  Yes, sometimes the quiet whispers in the deadened silence of night can be ignored and disregarded; but it is those haunting quietudes which perturb and disturb despite our best efforts to ignore, which roar back to engulf us when least we expect.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Flashpoint

The flashpoint is the temperature at which an organic compound becomes combustible; during the entire time building up to that point, the rising temperature in combination with the chemical reactiveness of the substance was all the while sitting in preparation for the point of ignition; were there options to pursue prior to the point of ignition?  If there had been a change in chemical make-up, then perhaps the point of temperature-to-combination of substance would have altered, where either a higher or lower flashpoint would occur; or, the rise of the temperature, and the rate of acceleration, could have been changed.

Whatever the needed changes in order to avoid the flashpoint, however, one thing is clear:  the options are limited, and any altered states would merely delay the ultimate event of a flashpoint occurrence.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts the performance of one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the flashpoint of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an inevitability which leaves the Federal or Postal employee similarly limited options.

One can continue in the mode of life which one finds one’s self in: of the daily treadmill of suffering through the workday with pain, profound fatigue and progressively debilitated emotional turmoil.  Or, one can wait for the Agency to initiate an adverse action, such as a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), periodic suspensions or reprimands — or removal.  Or, one can begin to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Limited options do not necessarily constitute a flashpoint of negative consequences; yes, a fire bursting in a home is a tragedy, but then there are controlled fires and even naturally occurring ones in fields of decay which benefit the environment.

It is thus ultimately up to the Federal or Postal employee to determine the point of combustibility, and therefore the timing of the event identified as the flashpoint.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement Benefits: Progressive Deterioration

The concept of progress normally implies a positive trajectory of events; but when combined with a negative idea, it reverses the trend.  To deteriorate in a progressive manner is to turn the concept on its head; it results in the upward trend spiraling downward; it reverses what should be, and transforms the positive into a negative statement.

The progressive deterioration of a person’s health can be an insidious, incremental and slow trending of the state of one’s being.  For the Federal or Postal employee who is experiencing such a phenomena, that experiential state of being becomes compounded with decision-making events which only exacerbates and complicates:  Am I taking too much time off from work?  What impact will this have upon my agency? How will the work get done while I take off?  What will be the response by my agency?

Such questions must always be in the context with the progressive nature of one’s medical condition — will it be a chronic and intractable deterioration, or will the negative trend at some point be reversible?

Cessation of the trend itself might be the acceptable point of positive inclination; reversing the trend in order to become better, healthier, stronger, etc., would be the greater goal.  But if the trending sees no end in sight, then considerations for the future must include the reality of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

The linear trending of decline is the indicator of those peripheral future actions which must be concomitantly taken, in order to help support the negative trend.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a parallel course of action in order to support the trending declination, and one which should be considered in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Time to Make the Decision (Part 1)

Waiting until the last possible moment to start the process to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS may be commendable from the Agency’s viewpoint — but is it smart?  If you are a Federal or Postal employee with multiple years of service, and you believe that because you gave your life, your blood, your sweat, tears, and even your firstborn, that therefore you will receive what I often term as “bilateral loyalty” (i.e., an expectation of receipt of loyalty from your agency for having given your undying loyalty to them throughout the years), you might want to reconsider.

If you are exhausting all of your sick leave, using your annual leave, dipping into your TSP in order to “hope” that you will recover from your continuing medical condition, then come to a point where you need to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, then come to realize that you must survive for 6 – 8 months, or even longer, and pay an attorney, pay for medical reports, and _______ (here, you may fill in the space yourself), then you may need to re-think the entirety of the process, the time it takes, etc.  Most people know, very early on, whether or not he or she has a medical condition which will last for a minimum of 12 months.  The time to start planning for the future is now.  As a famous football coach once quipped, “The future is now.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Right Time

For each Federal and Postal employee, there is a “right” time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS.  By “right time”, I do not mean as to the proper timing in the actual filing of a Federal Disability Retirement case — i.e., whether it should be before or after separation from service, whether at the end of the year, the beginning of the year, etc.  No, by “right” time, I refer to the time when a Federal or Postal employee — that person who has put in all of those many years of loyal service, managed through pain, discomfort, overwhelming stresses, anxieties, fears, chronic and intractable pain, etc. — comes to the conclusion that he or she cannot continue in this mode of existence anymore.  Whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement case is filed with an agency or at the Office of Personnel Management in one month as opposed to another, is ultimately not of great importance; whether a person who is suffering from a medical condition for months, or years, and has been adept at hiding the daily pain and suffering — whether that person has come to a decision that it is now the “right time” to file for disability retirement, makes all the difference.  Each person must find that right time.  “How” and “when” are the two questions which must be answered, and only the Federal or Postal employee who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS can answer such questions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire