-The choices we make are contingent upon the knowledge we possess; thus, if we choose between a tripartite offering of x, y & z, when (as perhaps illustrated by Venn Diagrams within a rectangular border representing the “universal” set of possibilities) actual and available options may extend beyond the known quantities available, then we have made our decision based upon an ignorance of alternatives.
Offerings are generally made based upon self-centered care; in negotiating with an adversary, it is normally the option of extremes which are granted: Either X, or Y, but not both, and if neither X nor Y, then consequence-T. No mention is made concerning the availability of sub-options Xx, or Yy, to the remaining result of T1, 2 or 3. Furthermore, when the concealment or unrevealed alternatives fail to be presented, it is often the case that only the extreme of options are conveyed, which makes the entire set of non-universal choices false in their very definition. This can be exponentially quantified when a medical condition is introduced into the equation, precisely because mental acuity and sound judgment become influenced by desperation of circumstances.
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 positional duties in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, the false option of extremes can very likely be attributable to fear, lack of knowledge, combined with loss of confidence in the fair distribution of justice and good sense.
It is indeed troubling that so many Federal and Postal workers know nothing about Federal Disability Retirement, or its availability after having worked just 18 months in the Federal sector (under FERS), or 5 years under CSRS. The confusion can sometimes arise in the availability of Social Security Disability, which is distinct and separate from Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
The two are distinct and different in multiple ways: the criteria to qualify; the nature of the benefit; the rules concerning employment after approval of either, etc. Yes, if under FERS both SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement are granted, there is an “offset” tantamount to a coordination of benefits between the two, but for those who do not seek outside employment, the combination of both (despite the offset) will normally net the (former) Federal or Postal employee more in terms of a monthly annuity.
Whatever the reasons, the age-old adage (attributable to Sir Francis Bacon) that knowledge is power, and lack of it injustice and contempt (the addendum clause is merely added by this author) by those who possess but offer mere false alternatives, is but a pervasive truism abounding despite the Internet, Google and other information-searching technologies of modernity.
In the end, the false options of extremes should be countered by a deliberative intent and real curiosity to know — know that the “other side” is never truly looking out for your best interest; that in making spur-of-the-moment decisions, to take a further moment to investigate and reflect may be fruitful, and in the end, to recognize that for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, working on at the expense of one’s health, or resigning, are not the only two options available, but preparing, formulating and filing 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, is also within the subset of universal alternatives available to the Federal or Postal employee.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire