OPM Disability Retirement: The hospital bed

It is a lonely and demoralizing state of affairs; they poke, prod and insist upon ruling out every sector of one’s body as the culprit of diagnosed maladies.  The hospital bed is a barbaric contraption next to a mediaeval torture chamber, and one can only imagine what such inventions were like in those olden days, when antiseptic means meant the possibility of washing one’s hands every now and again, and where pain and death were part of everyday living.

It reminds us, above all, of our own vulnerability and mortality; and what a blessing health and life are.

Oh, it is true – we take such issues for granted, and barely get beyond the tripe and inane statements like, “Oh, health is such a blessing,” or, “We are so thankful for our health.”  It is when one is in the hospital, alone in a bed, in the darkness of those twilight hours, that the reality of one’s own Being is revealed:  the projects we cling to; the significance we place upon the work we perform; and the extra credit we think we deserve when we work late into the wee hours.

We have heard all of those wise remarks, either in novels, essays or even movies:  On your epitaph, you do not get a special mention for ignoring your health.  Work is great, but that needs to be placed in its proper perspective.  The projects we engage and embrace – is it, as Heidegger reminds us, merely a means to avoid the inevitable outcome of our fate?  Do the gods laugh from above, pointing to our mortality and the fruitless attempts we cling to in order to avoid facing our future?

It is, in the end, the hospital bed that reminds us starkly of who we are, where we are heading, and what this all will mean.

Retirement is not meant to be a time to spend in a hospital bed; Disability Retirement is not meant to be filed at a point when a Federal or Postal employee is so debilitated that once it is approved by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, that one merely “retires” to a hospital bed.  It is, instead, a system whereby a person is recognized to no longer be able to perform some of the essential elements of one’s job, but that there is an implicit understanding that there can be a time in the future where productivity can be applied to a different vocation or another career.

Yes, there are jokes that abound – of Federal Disability Retirement annuitants being Walmart Greeters or engaged in other similarly menial and lesser jobs, but those are not the only stories to tell.  There are many Federal annuitants who have found private sector jobs where the pay scale comes perilously close to the 80% limit – and, while that can be a problem, isn’t that a “good” problem to have?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits does not require the “higher” standard of being debilitated or “totally disabled”; rather, it is a standard which recognizes that there is an inconsistency between the position one occupies, and the medical conditions from which one suffers.  If consideration in filing is arrived at in a hospital bed, it is still not too late; but a reminder it is, and the next steps are to begin the long and complicated process of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: Clueless

We are, for the most part, clueless in most things.  Those very limited subjects of which we are deemed an “expert” or having some partial knowledge about, are merely one in a million, and so we walk around thinking highly of ourselves, yet clueless in 99.9% of everything else.

Fortunately, there is no criminal statute that can be imposed upon being clueless.  Life is complex enough without having to acknowledge that we walk about without any real idea as to how to tackle the problems; but as braggadocio wins the day for most people, most of the time, so long as the next guy believes that we know what we are doing, it counts for much of life’s conundrums.

Most people aren’t even barely competent in their chosen fields until they have been engulfed in the technicalities presented for 20 – 30 years; then, just when competence is assured, we are fired or otherwise dismissed summarily.  Knowledge and wisdom in this country is never valued; rather, the cult of youth, plastic surgery to extend the appearance of it, and the irrelevance reflected in casting aside those who have passed the halfway mark reveals much about this society.

That’s the problem with Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service; they believe that Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers are essentially fungible goods, replaceable with youth or some other inexperienced and clueless individual.  Look at the entire issue of “accommodations” and Federal Disability Retirement law; agencies rarely put in the effort, other than a simple computer search to try and do a “match” between skill-sets and position descriptions (sort of like a corollary to internet dating sites), and the entire process and procedure reveals much about the value that Federal agencies and U.S. Postal workers place upon experience and wisdom.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering 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, the questions surrounding SF 3112D and the Agency’s efforts to reassign or otherwise “accommodate” the Federal or Postal employee’s medical disabilities, is a rather complex issue to explain in full.

Suffice it to say, however, that a truly viable, legally-acceptable accommodation rarely, if ever, happens, and therefore is almost never a roadblock to filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.  It is just another indication of how clueless even the Federal Agencies are, as well as the U.S. Postal Service; and as we all step into the general cauldron of cluelessness within the confines of a clueless universe, preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can serve to be an escape into the next phase of a clueless process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire