OWCP & FERS Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Employees

Can both be approved concurrently?  Is there any disadvantage in filing for one “as opposed” to another?  Do they “cross over” and impact one another?  Can you receive payments concurrently, or must you choose one over the other and, if one is chosen, does it “negate” or otherwise dismiss the other?

These are all practical questions which can come about if an injury or illness results from a workplace incident or caused by an occupational hazard.  First and foremost, it should be noted that the two “pockets” of compensatory resources are different in nature: OWCP is not a retirement system; OPM Disability Retirement is. OWCP is a compensatory resource created and established as a temporary measure (although there are many, many cases where an OWCP recipient stays on and receives compensation for decades and beyond) — as a means of allowing the Federal worker to receive treatment, recuperation and rehabilitation, with a view towards an eventual return to work.

The paradigm of a FERS Federal Disability Retirement, on the other hand, is just that: It is a retirement system — essentially, starting your retirement “early” because of a medical condition or injury resulting in one’s loss of capacity to continue to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  The latter (FERS Disability Retirement) does not have to possess any causal connection to the employment itself — in other words, the medical condition or injury does not have to be “occupationally related” in order for a Federal or Postal worker to become eligible for its benefits.

Remember, however, that under a FERS Disability Retirement, a Federal or Postal worker must file for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement within one (1) year of being separated from one’s Federal Agency or the Postal Service.  The fact that a person has been “placed on the rolls of OWCP” does not excuse the 1-year rule for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.

For further information on the intersection between OWCP and FERS Disability Retirement, you should consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about both, and make your decision upon factual and legal information, and not from such sources as, “I heard from Joe that…”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: That Moment of Opening

Whether of a book, a secret or a personal relationship, there is always that moment of opening.

The pause of anticipation before the reading of the first word of a novel announced to be a masterpiece of literary discourse; or of a secret, long lost and hidden in the family closet, now to be revealed where eyes and ears pierce with trembling knowledge that one’s self-identity may never be the same once the revelation has been heard; or of a relationship that suddenly takes on a serious tone, where once friendship may have been the placard of ease and comfort, but when that moment of opening emphasizes an intimacy that creates a bridge beyond a mere casual acquaintanceship.

There is that moment of opening; and whether we punctuate it with a declarative, “Aha!” — or perhaps a quiet fluttering of a heart’s murmur, or even a quickening of one’s breathing; and then it is over and past.

Revelations of any kind come to us like the door that was once locked but is suddenly a passageway once the right key is discovered; or is forced open with a blunt kick or pried open slowly but with persistent cunning; and then the other side of midnight reveals that which we once thought was closed to us, remained a mystery, until that very moment of opening.

Suffering; medical conditions; even a realization that things must change in our lives — they all happen upon a moment of opening.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who struggle to continue in careers that can no longer be maintained because of a medical condition that prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job — it is often upon that moment of opening that a decision must finally be made about preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Don’t, however, let that crucial moment of opening suddenly close by allowing too much time to lapse, where conditions worsen to a point of creating a crisis.  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits requires careful planning and thoughtful strategies.  Consult with an experienced FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, preferably at the moment of opening where the pathway of realization meets the dawn of recognition.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Disability Retirement under FERS: Balancing the Unfair Advantage

It is the advantage itself — whether by one side or of the other — which creates an imbalance to occur, and it is thus the greater weight on either side defines and constitutes the unfairness of it all.  A weighted scale; a pair of loaded dice (it was once the case that such a phrase — “pair of dice” — was unnecessary, because the singular of “dice” was die, and to identify ”dice” was to necessarily state the obvious that it was a pair; but in Modern Standard English, the word “dice” now represents both the singular as well as the plural; but we digress); a biased referee; a bribed umpire — do these all have something in common?

No, this is not an IQ Test (remember those questions where you are given a series of words and you had to either choose the one that would fit into the same category or exclude the one that was a misfit?), but it does symbolize the state of affairs in so much of life.

Where unfairness abounds, it is often the concealed aspect which tips the balance in favor of one side or another.  Thus do politicians allow for silent exceptions within the detailed language of legislation; undeclared biases determine advantages otherwise unidentified; insider information gives the unfair advantage to stock traders and members on financial boards and subcommittees; and the team which steals the rubric of the other’s signals and signs gains the advantage both in predicting future behaviors and battles.

In law, who has the unfair advantage?  Is it the entity who fails to explicitly define the criteria which determines success?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, just remember that filing a Federal Disability Retirement application guarantees nothing.

The legal criteria inherent in the process; the administrative procedures which must be advanced; the supporting documentation that must be submitted; the answers on standard forms which must be completed — these are all within the purview of knowledge by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and is not easily comprehended by the unwary applicant. Seek the counsel and guidance of a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law and begin to balance the unfair advantage that OPM naturally and already possesses.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Adapting to Change

Survival of the species depends upon it; the paradigm of evolutionary theory mandates it; and the human propagation for advancement thrives through it.

Change is difficult.  It was once believed that the malleability of youth allowed for greater resistance to a damaged psyche; yet, from the plethora of late-night confessions, it has become clear that divorce and family divisions left residual scars upon children no matter how “friendly” the split-up was, no matter how much love, co-parenting support and so-called theories of “if I’m happy, you’re happy” blather was pasted thick upon the self-justifying reasons given; in the end, the trauma of change, upheaval, disruption and interruption have their lasting effects upon the shaken foundations wrought by the earthquakes of human existence.

Change; how we respond to it; what adaptive measures are taken; where the vulnerabilities appear; and the manner, timing and susceptibility to reverberations of lasting consequences — they all take their toll, don’t they?

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, change is inevitable, and adapting to change — a necessity.

But, then, adapting to change has already been a reality, if one pauses and thinks about it — to the change in one’s health through the chronic and debilitating medical condition; the need to have adapted to the growing sense of urgency as the medical condition has worsened over time; these, and many more changes have already forced the Federal and Postal employee contemplating further changes to adapt at each step of the way.  But that “final step” — of preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application — is an important one, and to make the best of the changes that are inevitable, it is a prudent idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire