Much of life is spent in avoidance and protective retreat; it is only in the ignorance of youthful exuberance that we recklessly run into the streets without looking for oncoming traffic. Sports reflects the truth of that human essence; it is not an accident that we witness the repetitive folly of gaining an early lead, only to act in fear of losing and thereby fulfilling the prophesies of our own making.
The question, then, 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 — is it an option to remain?
If the answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, then the two other choices harken: File for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or wait until the agency fires you or forces you to resign. If the latter, then the Federal or Postal employee still has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the date of separation, whether through termination or separation by voluntary (or “forced”) resignation.
Avoidance of the issue will not do; at some point, either the decision to move forward in life will be made by the central actor in the cast (you), or by the supporting residue surrounding the play (the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service).
In the end, the vibrancy of one’s life is not determined by blindness or disregard of one’s circumstances, but by recognizing the steps necessary to enliven daily value. One’s career and the extension of worthwhile work is always important to one’s life, but when a medical condition begins to exacerbate and devalue the substantive content of one’s life, then it is time to move beyond and search for an extension of that vibrancy of life.
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 often a “first step” in achieving and resetting that youthful exuberance we once felt, but lost along the way, precisely because it allows for a base security of the foundational needs of living: an annuity obtained, then time to recuperate from one’s medical conditions and determine a course for the future.
One need not be looking back with fear of losing the game, as the repetition of sports history will reveal; rather, the future still can hold the key to extending the vibrancy of life once grasped, but somehow lost in the morass of our busy lives.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire