In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through one’s agency, en route to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under whichever various retirement systems (FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset), the inherent dangers of revelation, violation or dissemination, whether intended or otherwise, becomes a focused concern for every Federal or Postal employee engaging the administrative process.
The idea that a stranger may view one’s medical information is one thing — for, in that event, we have become used to the discomforting acceptance that strangers at a records copier service may inadvertently “view” such medical documents; or, that the necessity of the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must analyze and evaluate the medical information provided; and such instances are unavoidable and therefore marginally acceptable.
It is, rather, the viewing and dissemination of those whom we are familiar with, which tends to concern. But to focus too obsessively upon such issues can distract and detract; the scent of vulnerability — a euphemism for people being nosey — is a natural result of bureaucracies, and Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are rampant petri dishes for uncontrollable spread of viral prurient interests. Fear of imaginative consequences can harmfully present an obstacle for progress.
Assume that the worst will happen, and when something less actually occurs, acceptance of such lesser results will be easier to embrace. Medical conditions and information about one’s disability are indeed matters of privacy; but when a Federal or Postal employee voluntarily files for Disability with the Office of Personnel Management, the road from Point A to Destination B should be a straight line of focus, and not marred with distractions which ultimately have little consequential impact.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire