OPM Disability Retirement: Life at the Apex

Life is on a spectrum variable; instead, we tend to view it as a linear progression, as one from birth to youth, middle to old age; death as the ultimate outcome.  The content of life is therefore arranged based upon this organic paradigm projecting towards an apex, then a steady decline thereafter.  Thus are one’s education and school days fashioned, where the traditional pathway is from high school to college, from college to graduate school, medical school, law school, etc., and then onto a career.

A second opportunity to be useful in life with a second career or vocation

Federal Disability Retirement is all about having a second opportunity to be useful and productive with another career or vocation

Whether this linear application of life contains an inherent evolutionary advantage for survivability remains a question mark; the fact is, while lives are experienced along the parallel pathways within the greater population, the more relevant question is the Kantian one: Is this a reflection of reality, or have we created another category of an imposed preconception by which we live? One often hears about having reached the “apex of life”; if that proposition is accepted, then everything beyond will merely be a downward degeneration.

For individuals who suffer from a medical condition, it is often whispered of past times of a better life, as if resignation to fate justifies remorse and regret.  For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents him or her from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, consideration in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, should always be entertained.

Such a critical juncture in the life of a Federal or Postal employee cannot be ignored. Yet, whether the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application constitutes an admission of progressive decline after an approval of a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, is entirely up to the Federal or Postal Worker who takes such a step.  Medical conditions often necessitate change; but change can be seen as a spectrum variable, and not as an inevitable decline on a linear path.

Happiness, joy, fulfillment and accomplishment; they can be charted on a graph of ups and downs, and sometimes the “ups” can occur long after the apex of one’s linear life, and embrace the Federal or Postal employee long after one has left behind the bureaucratic morass of the Federal government.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Career-ending Event

One often reads and hears about a traumatic injury which suddenly and unpredictably ends the career of a certain sports figure.  Such stories evoke sentiments of empathy, for the potential which was never entirely fulfilled, and for the personal tragedy which befalls the individual, the family, and those who admired the talent which failed to reveal its fullness.  

But in everyday life, such tragedies occur in less spectacular ways; perhaps not as sudden and unexpected incidents or injuries as to bifurcate between the day before and the day after; rather, through a chronicity of time, over months and years of struggling, until a day comes when one must admit to one’s self that the chosen career-path must be reevaluated.  

The trauma of the life-changing event is no less significant to the Federal or Postal Worker than to a star NBA, NFL or NHL player.  For the Federal or Postal worker who has worked diligently, if not quietly and unassumingly, in the chosen career path — a recognition that his or her medical condition will no longer allow continuation in the vocation, has the identical reverberations as those more notably identified, in terms of financial, economic, personal and professional significance, relevance and impact.  

In fact, sometimes even more so — because one never witnesses the long and arduous struggle for the months and years prior to making the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, through the “quiet years” of using Sick Leave sparingly; of trying to maintain a semblance of competence and work-completion in the face of medical conditions which are never told, never spoken of, and never acknowledged.  

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel management, is tantamount to that “traumatic injury”; it’s just that such an event is rarely, if ever, written about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Retirement for Disabled FERS & CSRS Workers: Federal and Postal Employees

With the benefit available to Federal and Postal employees, of a Federal Disability Retirement under either FERS or CSRS, there is often a perception on the part of the non-Federal Sector public, that Federal and Postal employees have benefits which are extravagant.  In these times of economic turmoil, with the Federal deficit exploding exponentially, one might wonder about a benefit which pays an annuity for not being able to work at a specific type of job, yet encourages people to become productive members of society in some other job. 

Yet, in this snowstorm which has just hit the East coast, I see the Postal delivery vehicles making their way through the residential neighborhoods, and Federal Workers going into work.  Federal and Postal workers are the most dedicated workers I have come across.  To a person, each Federal and Postal employee I have represented to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, never wanted to file for or become eligible for the benefit.  They would rather have worked in their career and choice of Federal or Postal job.  But because they suffered from a medical condition such that they could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the job, they had to file.  It is a benefit well worth the cost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Labor Day Weekend and the Federal Employee

Labor Day is traditionally viewed as the end of summer, the entrance back into the routine of the work world, where the lazy days of camping, spending additional time with one’s family; of the soft, lapping sounds of waves rolling as one attempts to squeeze the last remaining hours of leisure and tropical enjoyment.  Then, on to the rushing days of work, and more work.  It is, moreover, a celebration of the laboring exercise of a productive economy — one which has sputtered and stalled in the last two years.  

For the Federal or Postal worker who has filed, or is contemplating filing, for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the celebration of Labor Day comes whenever there is the recognition and acknowledgement that one can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  At that point of recognition, the time to plan for a secured future comes into play.  The days of full labor and productivity may be coming to an end; but that does not mean that one cannot go out and be productive in some non-Federal, non-Postal capacity.

Remember that Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS does not mean that you cannot work at any other job, ever.  Indeed, the opposite is true.  You may, after securing your Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, go out and get another job in the private sector, and make up to 80% of what your former Federal or Postal position currently pays.  While it may be difficult to do that in this tough economy, brighter days are hopefully ahead, and the time to begin preparing for that brighter future is now.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Freedom of Retirement

In this tough economy, many people are rightly concerned that, upon an approval for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, that it will be difficult to “make up” the income with another job, even though a person under Federal Disability Retirement can earn up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal position currently pays.  Yes, it can be tough; yes, the economy is a concern; but recessions ultimately come to an end, and while a job to make up the severe pay-cut may be long in coming, self-employment, to begin a start-up business, or to work part-time is often an excellent opportunity.  Unlike having the larger percentage of pay under OWCP-DOL benefits, a disability retirement annuity under FERS or CSRS is indeed a greater pay-cut.  But salary is not everything; the freedom of retirement, the ability to determine one’s future, and not be under the constant and close scrutiny of Worker’s Comp, accounts for much.  Where some see a severe pay-cut, others see as an opportunity to begin a second career.  And the price of freedom from those onerous fiefdoms of federal agencies is often better health, and greater enjoyment of one’s freedom and retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire