CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Cumulative Impact

In economics, the concept of cumulative growth is important in understanding the progressive and incremental increase, no matter how minimal in the short term, over decades and centuries upon an individual’s and the greater society’s wealth accumulation.  It is based upon the theoretical construct of cumulative growth that fortunes are created and retirement wealth is amassed.

Flat sorting machines at USPS distribution centers

Repetitive type of injuries are common when working with Flat Sorting Machines at USPS distribution centers

As a hypothetical parallelism, what consequence would such incremental but cumulative impact have upon one’s health and well-being?  If repetitive physical stress of a seemingly insignificant quantity were to impact a wrist, a knee, a shoulder, etc., would such de minimis physical pressure acquire a different result years and decades down the road?

Is it not tantamount to radioactive exposure, where the human tissue or organ can have effective resistance to contained amounts, but over time, can begin to deteriorate and cause tumors and mutated cells resulting in cancer? Or like the prisoner who digs his way out of prison with a pen knife — one scrape at a time until a hole large enough to accommodate one’s head and body is created over months and years? Or of stresses resulting in anxiety and panic attacks; perhaps at first a twinge of needle pricks, then after months and years, an overwhelming inability to breathe properly, until reactions of the need to take sudden flight, or paralysis of muscle movements and an inability to speak or move?

Maintaining poor sitting postures for long periods of time

Maintaining poor sitting postures for long periods of time may increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)

For Federal and Postal employees who have had a long and productive career with the Federal Government or the U.S. Postal Service, the mystery of cumulative impact upon one’s health, through repetitive, incremental, and insidious influences withstood over time, often results in self-denial and a sense of failure.  But there is a limit as to what the human body and psyche can take on.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits are simply an employment component offered to all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, filed ultimately with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and is merely an intelligent recognition by the Federal Government that the limitations of human invincibility can be addressed by allowing for a change of careers, by providing for a foundational security to one’s livelihood. Federal Disability Retirement — a viable option in recognition of the age-old concept of cumulative impact, both in economics and in the complex world we occupy.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Taking a Trickle of Leave and Back Pay Issues

When a Federal or Postal employee files for, and is approved for, Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the disability retirement annuity which one receives extends back to the “last day of pay” of a Federal or Postal employee.  It matters not what “kind” of pay; the Office of Personnel Management merely receives the date of the Federal or Postal employee’s last day of pay from the Agency, then gives back-pay back to that date which the Agency determines that he or she was last paid.

Thus, if a person was on LWOP for a six-month period while awaiting for a decision from OPM on his or her Federal Disability Retirement application, then decided to use up the last couple of hours of Annual or Sick Leave and receive a nominal amount — in that scenario, the back pay would extend only to the payment received for the Annual or Sick Leave, and the Federal or Postal employee would lose any back-pay for the six-month period of LWOP.

With this in mind, it is important to plan — to either remain on LWOP during the entire period of waiting for a decision from OPM, or if one continues to work or to receive payments for Sick or Annual Leave, to make it worth one’s while (i.e., to continue to receive a payment rate equal to what the rate of pay for back-pay would be, which is 60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years of salary the first year, then 40% every year thereafter).  Just some thoughts.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire