Federal OPM Disability Retirement: Life’s Spare Parts

They are left as insignificant cast asides, unused and unusable until an urgency of need mandates their sudden relevance; and in a changed moment, their utility determines the worth and value of existence and retention in the clutter of overabundance.  Like the spare tire that is never used, spare parts imply potential need, but the actualization of relevance occurs only when necessity dictates; otherwise, they are like the proverbial bench warmer on a sports team replete with talent and competitive excess.

Most people are seen and treated like spare parts; irrelevant entities taking up limited space, occupying a determined confluence of time, and enjoying the dimensions within a universe where black holes of irrelevance and clutter enjoy an overabundance of regularity.  If utility is the criteria of significance in a materialistic world, then most of us are relegated to irrelevance and uncompromised anonymity.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who suddenly find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability and capacity to remain relevant in the Federal Workforce, a primary concern is often the loss of status and stature within the employment world.

We all want to belong, to be making a “difference” of sorts; and even in the midst of a faceless bureaucracy, it is nice to be appreciated and receive periodic accolades for accomplishments otherwise unknown and undetermined.  But a pause tells us that relevance is short-lived and rarely endured; the terrain of untended graveyards throughout the world echoes the quietude of forgotten hopes and dreams, and in the end, it is only family and private relationships which matter.

OPM Disability benefits is a necessary venue of purpose; for Federal employees who cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is a needed benefit in order to escape the toil of employment and allow for recuperation from one’s medical condition, and then to find greater relevance and opportunity in the private sector, and be allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently compensates.

Persisting in an occupation which one can no longer do, is a foolhardy endeavor, at best; clinging on to a mistaken identity of significance, to the detriment of one’s health, is a death sentence determined by one’s own vanity.  For Federal and Postal workers who have a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, filing for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the choice of wisdom, given the utilitarian perspective of the employment world.  It is a benefit which must be proven, and one must meet the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Considering the perspective of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service, wherein individuals are mere spare parts to be discarded at the behest of those who consider themselves royalty within a universe of mediocrity, it is best to recognize that life’s spare parts find best their meaning and value when once a person escapes the treadmill of monotonous insignificance.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: The Rocking Chair and the Never-Ending Story

The myth about retirement has long receded; once upon a time, there was an idea, a concept, an ethereal potentiality, of reaching a point of quietude where reflection, dispensing of wisdom, and calm gardening and tending to the passing of time would be the status of choice; but modern life has wreaked havoc upon such a notion.

It was perhaps engendered by the character, Mose Harper (the sidekick of John Wayne) in John Ford’s, “The Searchers”, who only wanted a “rocking chair” at the end of his troubles.  But the never-ending story in these times of modernity, is that one must always claw and fight for maintaining the high standard of living which we enjoy and have become content with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must take an early form of retirement — a Federal Disability Retirement — because of his or her ongoing medical conditions, where the medical conditions no longer allow for the continuation in one’s job because they prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the job, the battle to first prove a Federal Disability Retirement application, then to retain and maintain it, throughout all of the complexities of the bureaucratic and administrative process, is a daily chore and toil.

First, there is the right to get it approved; then, there may be periodic Medical Questionnaires which are issued and which mandate a response; then, if Social Security Disability is approved, the offset between FERS Disability benefits and SSDI must be calculated; then, if you become employed and lose the SSDI benefit because of income, the FERS Disability annuity must be recalculated; then, at age 62, recalculation because the Federal Disability Retirement annuity effectively ends, based upon the total number of years of service, including the time one is on Federal Disability Retirement; and then the need to maintain income sources because of the reduction; and so the never-ending story continues.

Indeed, it is not from the rocking chair which the retiree tells a story, like Mose Harper must have done in his old age; rather, the modern retiree from the Federal sector, whether as a former employee of a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must tell his or her never-ending story to an empty chair with rhythmic movements to and fro absent an occupant, as the old man remains away, trying to figure out the further complexities of this age of modernity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Delaying the Filing of Your OPM Disability Retirement Application

Delay temporarily suspends for a time in the future; sometimes, at the cost of immediacy of pain, but the human capacity to ignore and obfuscate allows for procrastination to be an acceptable act of non-action.  But certain issues defy the control of delay; medical conditions tend to remind us of that, where attempted suspension of dealing with the pain, the progressively debilitating triggers, or the panic attacks which paralyze; they shake us to the core and pursue a relentless path which betrays procrastination.

For Federal employees and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement becomes an employment option.

When to file has some room for delay; it is, after all, the underlying issue which must be attended to first and foremost — that of the medical condition.  But the Statute of Limitations in a Federal Disability Retirement case imposes a structural administrative procedure which cannot be ignored.  The Federal and Postal worker who is separated from Federal Service must file a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service.

So long as the Federal or Postal worker is on the rolls of the agency, the tolling of the statute of limitations does not begin; but once separation from service occurs, the 1-year clock (with some exceptions, but ones which you should not rely upon to subvert the statute of limitations) begins.

Delay for a specific purpose is sometimes acceptable (if one is still on the agency rolls), as in undergoing a medical procedure or seeing if a treatment regimen will work; but delay beyond the bureaucratic imposition of a statute of limitations is never one which should be allowed, as the benefit of a OPM Disability Retirement annuity will be barred forever.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire