FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Old Barn

It sits like an eyesore and can be seen from the main road; dilapidated to some, while bringing warm remembrances of bygone days from real or imagined childhoods.  The edges of the roof have curled upwards, revealing rotting slats and welcoming sunlight, rain and birds to nest where previously it provided shelter for domesticated animals and field mice who took refuge on cold winter nights.

It needs refurbishing.

Strangers who pass by daily on their commute to important jobs, who carry impressive leather briefcases and wear finely knit suits adorned with cufflinks and driving in vehicles which speak in crisp, electronic voices of modernity and technology betraying the rural setting of that aggregate of rotting lumber, sometimes dreamily suggest that perhaps purchasing that tract of land and putting money into fixing up that old barn would be worthwhile.  But such thoughts are fleeting and become quickly overwhelmed by the busyness of the day.

But old barns reflect a metaphor for people who, like the deteriorating structure, need a pause in the middle of the day to consider specialized attention.  And people with medical conditions, especially, require that segregated time and peace.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one from being able to fully perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the feeling that one has merely become an old and dilapidated barn becomes a daily sensation.  Perhaps it is just a new coat of paint, or a more expensive tin roof.  Whatever the needs, people barely give a second glance, except perhaps in moments of guilt-filled but short-lived days.  The old barn always stands alone.  For the Federal or Postal Worker, waiting on others to “refurbish” the old barn is to procrastinate the inevitable.

One must take charge of one’s own destiny.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, is often the only and pragmatically viable option for the Federal and Postal Worker.  Like the old barn that sits out in the harsh sun surrounded by imposing structures of modern life, that lonely feeling of being isolated will only grow more poignantly with time, until one day the developers come to tear down the old structure, leaving only a memory of bygone days.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The Necessity of Filing

Sometimes the question is asked as to whether it is “necessary” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits if certain advantages, benefits and comfort levels have already been reached.  

Therein lies the problem, of course:  that when one has secured one benefit which one relies upon and has depended upon, the necessity of filing for a collateral source in order to allow for future options, seems (at times) to be a remote necessity.  But the immediacy of a necessity should never be the primary basis for deciding whether or not to do something; forethought, securing the possibilities for future circumstances, perhaps somewhat unforeseen at the moment, should always be factors in making a decision.  

In general, it is best to allow for as many options to remain open in life, and not allow for an option to close merely because the tolling of the Statute of Limitations has passed.  Thus, if a person is on SSDI or OWCP, the question will often be presented as to whether or not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is necessary.  The unequivocal answer is, “yes”.  

For those on SSDI (already approved), the approval itself from SSDI will have some persuasive authority in getting a FERS Disability Retirement approved.  It will not be determinative, but merely persuasive. Further, while there will be an offset between SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement, there are multiple other factors which should convince a Federal or Postal Worker that filing for FERS Disability Retirement is the intelligent thing to do.  

As for those on OWCP, while one cannot receive both OWCP and FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits concurrently, the Federal or Postal employee can get it approved, and simply leave it in an inactive statute — for, as no one knows what the future holds, it is good to secure multiple benefits for potential future use.  To unnecessarily close out options to the future is never a wise thing to do.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire