Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Magic & the laziness factor

Magic is something we cling on to, if only as a last vestige of the light of hope, flickering ever so delicately against the tumultuous winds of a world gone mad.  In childhood, it was an imagination enlivened by the pure delight of fairytales, mythologies and rhymes of wands in the single sweep where the golden dust of insurmountable problems is suddenly a trail of corrective bygones with mere words of incantations mysterious to eyes agape with wonderment and awe; and in the middle-to-growing times, the words altered somewhat, the concept changed and the linguistic construct evolved to imply an attitude, a hope, an approach to future life based upon hard work, honesty and mere cannibalism of negative thoughts.

To remain positive was to overcome the vicissitudes of reality; to forego immediacy of pleasure, a pathway to self-discipline.  But time has a way of defeating and beating down even the best of men; there are few limits to the unseen enemy, and much which constrains the visible.

Is there magic to be gotten?  That hope without substance which we pray for; that lottery ticket in the face of statistical impossibility; and that verbiage we throw about by inane moments of meaningless contexts — “There is always tomorrow”.  What have we not shed but to which we cling?  To what do we cling that no longer applies?  Or is it mere laziness, the factor that we dismiss but for everyone else?

In modernity, of course, such tendencies and proclivities toward the magic of superstitions have become exponentially magnified through games of virtual reality, and the numerical chimera of Facebook “likes” replacing actual friendships and human bonds.  Then, when reality hits us square in the face, we fall apart all the more easily, for want of preparation in the face of true vicissitudes that shake the cavernous combustions of this world we live in.

Medical conditions are just one of those realities that cannot be ignored.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who one day wake up to the realization that there is no magic to impart when a 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, and that the pragmatic step of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may be the best alternative available, the conjunctive one must often face — “and the laziness factor” — is a reminder in two ways:  First, in making sure that you do not allow procrastination to impede the path towards a future for success, and Second, to not be deterred by coworkers and others who criticize ignorantly by alleging that it is all “made up” in order to “game” the system.

The law is what the law is; and Federal Disability Retirement is a system reflecting a progressive perspective on workers who can no longer perform a particular kind of job in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, but who may be able to remain productive in some other capacity in the private sector.  That is why Federal Disability Retirement annuitants are allowed to make up to 80% of what his or her (now former) Federal or Postal position currently pays, in addition to the annuity being received, and continue to retain the Federal Disability Retirement annuity — precisely because it is a recognition that the Federal or Postal employee is not “totally disabled“, but rather, disabled only from performing one or more of the essential elements of a particular job.

The “real world”, as a grown-up views it, must set aside the magic of make-believe trailing upon a disillusionment wrought in the face of experiential encounters that incrementally beat down and squeeze out the wonderment of childhood thoughts; but hope for a better tomorrow should never be extinguished, and while the flicker of a dying flame emitting light in the deep abyss of despondency overshadowing the magic of bygone days may indeed threaten the future, never allow for the appendage of the laziness factor deter the best step forward in preparing, formulating and filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Law

Technically, the law does not have to be applied at the administrative, agency-level of the Office of Personnel Management.  Let me clarify:  one likes to always think that when an applicant for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS is filing for the benefit, that the agency which oversees the application will review it with an overarching umbrella of criteria which is governed by an objective foundation deemed as “the law”.  Thus, in a perfect world, one might imagine an efficient line of technocrats sitting in cubicles, all with a reference book containing the relevant laws governing the eligiblity criteria for Federal Disability Retirement.  But that would be in a perfect world; and since such a perfect world fails to exist, what we have is an arbitrary sprinkling of various personnel, who collectively comprise the Office of Personnel Management, some of whom apply the law well, and some of whom apply the law less than competently. 

To some extent, the arbitrary methodology applied at the agency level is counter-balanced with the threat of a review by an Administrative Judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board, followed by a Full Review at the MSPB, then to be further appealed to at the Federal Circuit Court level; but it is nevertheless sometimes disconcerting that, at the Agency level, this peculiar animal called “the law” is not uniformly applied in all cases, at all times.  And sometimes rarely.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire