OWCP & FERS Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees

Can both be approved concurrently?  Is there any disadvantage in filing for one “as opposed” to another?  Do they “cross over” and impact one another?  Can you receive payments concurrently, or must you choose one over the other and, if one is chosen, does it “negate” or otherwise dismiss the other?

These are all practical questions which can come about if an injury or illness results from a workplace incident or caused by an occupational hazard.  First and foremost, it should be noted that the two “pockets” of compensatory resources are different in nature: OWCP is not a retirement system; OPM Disability Retirement is. OWCP is a compensatory resource created and established as a temporary measure (although there are many, many cases where an OWCP recipient stays on and receives compensation for decades and beyond) — as a means of allowing the Federal worker to receive treatment, recuperation and rehabilitation, with a view towards an eventual return to work.

The paradigm of a FERS Federal Disability Retirement, on the other hand, is just that: It is a retirement system — essentially, starting your retirement “early” because of a medical condition or injury resulting in one’s loss of capacity to continue to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  The latter (FERS Disability Retirement) does not have to possess any causal connection to the employment itself — in other words, the medical condition or injury does not have to be “occupationally related” in order for a Federal or Postal worker to become eligible for its benefits.

Remember, however, that under a FERS Disability Retirement, a Federal or Postal worker must file for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of being separated from one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  The fact that a person has been “placed on the rolls of OWCP” does not excuse the 1-year rule for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For further information on the intersection between OWCP and FERS Disability Retirement, you should consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about both, and make your decision upon factual and legal information, and not from such sources as, “I heard from Joe that…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement Benefits: Fatal Regrets

There are those that allow for reflection, constructive application and corrective adjustments that remain as a positive goal to achieve.  Then, there are such acts that become entrenched, atrophy with time, and perform activities of futile repetition unresolved and unattainable.  Regrets are what we all carry about in the deep recesses of unstated and unresolved sub-consciousness; fatal regrets are those haunting clouds that follow without being seen, cling without capacity to decapitate, and progressively dominate because we are unable to let go.

The conceptual coupling cannot easily be bifurcated; regrets unresolved become fatal precisely because of their lack of resolution, and fatality is compelled by the very nature of past wrongs that touch consciences without forgiveness.  How many of us shuffle through life, with trepidation, fear and conscience blemished by malfeasance unresolved, and because of the paralysis overwhelmed by our own creation, we are never able to get beyond the folly of our own devices.

Fatal regrets are those old clothes, moth-eaten and smelling of mold from past lives, that clings to the odors that remain in the nostrils of unforgiving memories; or of that gnat, mosquito or other pest that irritates beyond mere discomfort, and pushes us over the edge to destroy joy, comfort and conscience of peaceful repose.  Opportunities present themselves, and we ignore them; warnings abound, and we become distracted; conditions ripen, and we deflect to defer.  Regrets are those hauntings that we often have no control over; fatal regrets are those remembrances that we knew we could have, but did not have the will to proceed.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the key is to recognize and cleanly bifurcate those issues you have control over, from those that cannot be managed.  Medical condition are a reality; you may regret such events, but they are beyond your control.

If you do nothing about them, such regrets may become fatal; and for Federal employees and Postal workers who may need to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, you never want to allow for delay, procrastination or unnecessary extension by reason of paralysis, to leave yourself in the regrettable position of allowing non-action to get beyond a regret, to an irreversible state of a fatal regret.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire