Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: OWCP & the Short Sale

Americans are often looked upon as short-sighted.  Lacking historical longevity, both in terms of an enduring civilization as well as culture, the economic, mercantile (some would say ‘mercenary’), materialistic approach of the American Way lends itself to criticism for the emphasized focus upon short-term gain and profit.

For those questioning whether or not a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, in comparison with compensation received or being received through the Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (FECA), would be beneficial, may be suffering from the American-Way syndrome — of viewing the higher pay alone and in a vacuum, without considering the superior benefits of the longer view of life.

Indeed, under an annuity from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, one may continue to receive the Federal Disability Retirement annuity, and yet work and receive income on top of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity, up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal job currently pays.  Under OWCP, of course, one cannot work while receiving temporary total disability payments.

Further, it is important to understand that the time that one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts towards the total number of years of Federal service, so that when it converts to regular retirement at age 62, all those years on Federal Disability Retirement are counted.

Short term sale or long term goals and benefits?

Whether lacking in culture, history or an enduring civilization, it is always beneficial to review the present, in order to plan for the future.  Short sales often sell one short, and that is something which the Federal and Postal employee must take into account in preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: The Concern of Age

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a multiplicity of factors must be considered in coming to the initial decision of deciding to proceed forward — some concerning the immediate impact; others focusing upon an intermediate journey of some years hence (for example, a future time of a year of two, of whether to find another job, whether to seriously apply for SSDI with its offset provisions and its restrictive components on outside earned income, etc.); and still other issues with ultimate “end-goals” in mind.

As for the latter issues, the concern of age can be a tripartite one:  Is being young, with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service (or 3 – 5 years, say) a concern when it comes to the scrutiny of OPM?  The short answer to such a question is that, whether one is 35 years old or 55, the primary basis of a Federal Disability Retirement application is whether one has the proper and effective medical support in order to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

A secondary concern regarding age focuses upon the other side of the spectrum — if one is 59, 60 or 61 years old, is it worthwhile to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, if only because at age 62, when OPM recalculates the Federal Disability Retirement benefit based upon the total number of years of Federal Service, is it monetarily worthwhile?  This is a simple issue of calculating the options — Can one wait until regular retirement?  Does the comparison between regular retirement and disability retirement warrant filing for Federal Disability Retirement?  What is the financial comparison, and since OPM Disability Retirement takes 8 – 10 months to get (minimum), is it worthwhile?

A third factor to consider concerning age, has to do with the longevity of a worker’s lifespan:  since the time on disability retirement counts towards one’s total number of years of service, the extra percentage of annuity — even if it amounts to 1 or 2% — will compound exponentially over the course of a person’s lifetime, if a person lives to be 80 or 90.

Age is always a concern — one which is never reflected upon in the reckless days of one’s youth; and one can only hope that as youth fades and age creeps upon us, a parallel universe of wisdom also accompanies the wrinkles of time.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: Relative Costs

In preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, there is always the question of costs involved — of the time frame it takes to get from point A (the initiation of the process) to point B (the conclusion of the process — but more importantly, the receipt of actual payment from the Federal Treasury for one’s disability retirement); of being on LWOP for so long; using one’s savings; etc.

However, one needs to also take into account the “relative” cost for the long-term — such as the slow and progressive deterioration of one’s health if one continues to work at a job which is clearly exacerbating and progressively impacting one’s medical conditions; the cost of early retirement as opposed to being on Federal Disability Retirement, where the number of years that a person is on Federal Disability Retirement counts toward the total number of years of Federal Service, such that when Disability Retirement is converted to “regular retirement” at age 62, those years on Disability Retirement are calculated into the total number of years of Federal Service — and thus the cost of not taking that into account, especially if one lives for many, many years thereafter; the cost of having a Federal Disability Retirement application be denied at the First Stage, and thereby necessitating going to the Second, Reconsideration Stage, or the third stage, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and beyond.

Thus, the definition and conceptual meaning of “cost” can be relative, and can be viewed in terms which go beyond the immediacy of one’s monetary resources.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire