Identifying the Right Bridge to Reach Your Destination: Federal Employee Disability Retirement

When considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, the natural inclination is to ask the seemingly primary question of: Does medical condition-X qualify as a disability? But such a question is in actuality secondary; it is the reverse-order and counterintuitive process which is often confusing for the Federal and Postal Worker who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The primary question, making the previously-stated questions secondary, is to ask: Does medical condition-X prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job?  By inverting the primary-secondary sequence, one can then attain a better level of understanding as to the administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Further, such a switch in sequence of questions-to-answers allows for an important paradigm shift.  For, in the very asking of the proper question, one can reach a level of understanding to such a stage of comprehension that the question almost answers itself.

Medical conditions in and of themselves do not necessarily qualify the Federal or Postal Worker who is otherwise age or service-eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; it is the nexus which must be established between one’s position and the medical conditions one suffers from.  It is the crossing of that bridge which will reveal the extent of success or failure in attempting to go down this path; but first, the Federal or Postal Worker must correctly identify which bridge to cross, before even starting the long and arduous trek of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Calendric Term

The marking of a calendric year, and its end, is traditionally recognized by an enthusiastic celebration embracing drinking, noise and a quantity of hugging and kissing.  Whether the year contains anything to celebrate is irrelevant (some would say that all years, like puppies and aged whiskey, are inherently precious); and some years are magnified by shaping events which deserve greater recognition and celebration than other years, but it seems to matter not to the participatory celebrants.

For the Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the day before the end of a calendric year differs little from the day after and the beginning of a new calendric year.

The pain and medical condition fails to recognize the distinction between the before and after.  It is perhaps well that we celebrate when health, time and opportunity allows; for, our time within the confines of a given lifespan is short enough, and every day can therefore be viewed as a moment to celebrate.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, the time is often dictated by events beyond one’s control, and must be seen not in the light of sequential days on a calendar, but rather, in light of today and what tomorrow might bring, regardless of the month or year.

Calendric bifurcations of time, seasons and years are meant for the sequential thought process; for others who suffer, each day is measured by what the next day will bring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Back to Fundamentals

In any endeavor, concern or current focus of attention, one can become embroiled in the morass of complexities which comprise the peripheral penumbras of the issue, and disregard the fundamental essence of the matter.  In proverbial terms, it is to overlook the individual trees while viewing the generality of the forest.  So, back to basics.

In a Federal Disability Retirement application, a person who is under FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System — normally those who entered into the Federal Workforce sometime after 1985, and who have a Thrift Savings Plan and contribute to Social Security) or under CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System — pre-1985, with no TSP) may become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, but must have the following minimum eligibility criteria met: under FERS, you must have at least 18 months of creditable service; under CSRS, you must have at least 5 years of creditable service.

There is a hybrid status applicable for some, called CSRS-Offset, also.  Once that eligibility criteria is met, then the Federal or Postal Worker can take the next step in determining whether one may want to proceed, by asking the following questions: Do I have a medical condition? Does that medical condition prevent me from performing one, if not more, of the essential elements of my position? What are some of the essential elements of my position which I cannot perform? Do I have a treating doctor who will be supportive of my case (remember, this is a medical disability retirement; as such, one must be able to establish through proof of medical documentation, that the medical condition impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job)?

These are some of the preliminary, basic questions which should be asked and answered, in order to begin the process of determining whether Federal Disability Retirement is the best pathway for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, in order to manage and maneuver one’s way through the thick forest of a bureaucracy known as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which is the agency which ultimately receives and reviews all Federal Disability Retirement applications, whether you are under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS-Offset.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Excuses

Language is the vehicle by which self-justification is established.  Think about it; if we assume that there is a conceptual void in the mind of other animals, that the consciousness of a squirrel, a raccoon, an owl, etc., is devoid of language as we employ it, then how can procrastination or delay occur?  It is precisely language and the tools of conceptual constructs which provide for an “excuse” for response to a stimuli, and allows for human action to be prevented.

The will to act or refrain from acting is often considered the hallmark of higher intelligence; but intelligence itself can be a detrimental quality, allowing for self-destructive actions resulting from a string of illogical but persuasive reasonings.  Where lack of intelligence provides for the immediacy of response to a presented encounter, so the presence of it in elevated forms will allow for justifying delays to such responses, even if it means a magnified danger to one’s own survival.

Excuses and self-justifying declarative sentences allow us to maintain a false sense of security by providing foundations for continuing on a path of self-destruction.  That is precisely why the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a progressively deteriorating medical condition can maintain a semblance of normalcy despite physical and cognitive indicators to the contrary, sometimes for months, and even for years.  But pain and cognitive dysfunctions have a funny way of reminding the body and mind of danger signals.  Brain synapses communicate the growing danger, and they continue to alert until the time comes when no more linguistic justifications will maintain that false sense of security.

When that time comes, the Federal or Postal worker must consider the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

There is always time for being excused, and sometimes it is well-justified; then, there are other times when the exhaustion of excuses comes to a crisis point, and one must consider a different path.  That “different” path is the need to have a restorative period of recuperation in order to attend to one’s impending medical condition.  Federal Disability Retirement, under FERS or CSRS, is just that allowance for recuperation, and is a path of difference for many Federal and Postal employees.

There are excusable considerations, which last for a time; but time is a linear movement of bodies, and on the universal scale of progression, there comes a point when both time and excuses run out their course of self-justifying efficacy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Workers: “Why?”


The ability to question is perhaps the highest form of consciousness.  Without it, the next level of any narrative form would cease, and no prompting of a search for an answer will develop.

That is why effective trial work — from persuasive direct examinations to devastating cross-examinations, guided by pointedly-prepared questioning — requires thoughtfulness and contemplated direction.  Some questions, however, become avenues for paralysis.  They may, for a time, help to ease the troubles of one’s soul, but they are ultimately unanswerable ones which cannot be comprehended in the limited universe of one’s mind.

Thus, when a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition asks the question,”Why?” — it is legitimate, but one which may not have an adequate answer.  One must instead progress to a more pragmatic question: What to do about it. Where to go from here.  The “why” may need to be left aside, for another time, during a more contemplative period of recuperation.

For Federal and Postal workers, time itself can be a critical factor, and in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, because the bureaucratic process itself is a long and complicated one, it may be of benefit to set aside some questions, and instead focus upon the pragmatic questions which set one upon a path of purposive direction.

The height of man’s consciousness may be the result of evolutionary factors, but the most fundamental of questions should begin with that primitive foundation of all: self-preservation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Historical Problem

Ultimately, before the Federal or Postal Worker considers filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a number of factors need to be considered, including (but not limited to) the following:  Can I last until regular retirement?  Will continuation in the job result in further deterioration of my health?  Will my absenteeism or subpar performance result in adverse actions being initiated, including imposition of leave restrictions, a PIP, further disciplinary measures such as a suspension, or ultimately a removal?  Is waiting going to make things any better?  Do I have a doctor who will support my Federal Disability Retirement application sufficiently?

The history of most applicants who are filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is replete with unanswered questions and issues ignored or unaddressed.  But when the convergence of a medical condition with a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service comes to fruition, the clash and collision between appearance and performance will often force the questions to be answered.

Waiting for things to occur will normally not solve the historical problem; being proactive, directly confronting undesirable questions, and taking the necessary steps to secure one’s future — these are the foundational steps necessary for a successful Federal Disability Retirement application, and the key to age-old questions which harken back to the problem of history, so that history may not repeat itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire