Early Medical Retirement for Federal Employees under FERS or CSRS: The Big 3

In basketball, it referred to the unstoppable trio; although, with the recent addition of Durant, it becomes a crowded foursome.  In baseball, of course, with whatever home team you rooted for, the term represented the first three in the lineup, with the fourth allegedly reflecting that force who would bring the spectators up onto their feet for that anticipated grand slam.  And in the third major sport?  It might refer to the quarterback and his 2 favorite receivers, or the bookends on defense with a linebacker thrown in.

Americans love triplets; whether in sports, where a fourth can never quite squeeze in despite there being nature’s four seasons; or in government institutions, where the three branches of government remain ensconced in the conscience of a collective citizenry, despite the need for that ineffective fourth estate which is meant to oversee and investigate.

In other areas, of course, the reference to “the Big 3” may be somewhat esoteric — as in the realm of hermeneutics, where the dominant theologians were once comprised of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer.  They could, by alliteration, be collectively grouped as “the 3 Bs”, but because of their relative lack of media anonymity and disparate connections, except for their European origins and the combined deconstructionism based upon dialectical theology and demythologization of the sacred text, here again we find a triad of untold force.  Of course, they never played on a basketball team, nor represented a cycle of sports spectatorship; instead, their impact was to alter the manner in which theology was approached.

Only one of them — Bonhoeffer — was executed; but not directly for his liberal theology, but for his staunch vocalism against the Nazi regime and an alleged involvement in a thwarted plot to assassinate Hitler.  In these days, history rarely marks the ghosts of those who never received the accolades of media notoriety, and “The Big 3” almost always engenders reactions to sports references.  But there are other arenas of substantive discourse, as well.

In Federal Disability Retirement law, “The Big 3” would invoke the tripod of the Federal Retirement System — of the FERS Retirement, Social Security benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan, and the interplay between the trio.  The first in the three can be “tapped into” early, by filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, which pays 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service, then 40% every year thereafter, until age 62, at which point the Federal Disability annuity gets recalculated into a “regular” retirement.

Of the second, there is an interplay and an offsetting feature between Social Security and FERS Disability Retirement, but only if the Federal or Postal employee becomes concurrently qualified with both FERS Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.  As for the third rail — the Thrift Savings Plan — it can remain in the same investment device after a FERS disability retirement is approved, but should probably not be accessed until a later age, for obvious tax reasons.

Throughout history, words have been elastic and malleable, but relevance is often determined not by the substantive meaning of a staid concept, but by the perspective of the audience.  With that in mind, “The Big 3” isn’t always about LeBron James and what other 2 players he may be joined up with; sometimes, it can refer to Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, or even to the triumvirate of a FERS Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Loss of that subtle distinction — fun versus training

Reading older works of literature is a lesson in historical perspective; times were different, and not just slightly, but by leaps and bounds.  The linear nature of lives results in the incremental adaptation by evolutionary subtlety; that was precisely Darwin’s argument — that the metamorphosis reacting to physiological necessity in order to allow for the propagation of any given species, occurs not by genetic alterations involving sudden and drastic earthquakes, but by slow, almost undetectable nuances of change.

That is why there is no “missing link” to discover in the fossils of unrecorded history; the preservation of ancestry occurs by revealing closeness to modern kin, and the farther in time we discover, the greater the alienation of apparent relationship. Rarely does an anomaly of nature survive, for such mistakes test the forces of survivability; mutants are thus fodder for science fiction and stories about lost civilizations and catastrophic survivors of devastated ambience.  Dystopia is popular, as are zombies and mutants, but hardly reflect a reality generating scientific certainty or a foundation to base genetic discoveries for curing medical mysteries.

The aged who complain distressingly of “them good ol’ days”, have the ability and capacity to recognize the stark contrast between the ills of modernity and of the segmentation of remembrances decades ago; the comparison is not between today, yesterday, or even the day before; rather, it is by erasure of multiple middle years that we can realize the drastic alterations heaped upon us.

Thus, the slow boiling of a frog is the metaphor we can relate to; or, in literature depicting an age of innocence, where children played merely for fun, and not for training to be the next great olympian.  No longer can “playing” be for mere amusement and leisure; any and all activity must be measured as against future utility, and recruiters now roam the hallways and gyms — not of colleges or high schools, as one might expect, but — of middle schools and promising elementary classes.  There is, indeed, something drastically different between modernity and that “time before”, when “fun” is no longer allowed or allowable, and childhood, innocence and carefree disregard of world events must be a means to an end, and never a gemstone retaining value in its own right.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition requires consideration for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the time of innocence past is like a distant memory difficult to hold onto, but ever often hard to forget.  The days of fun, like lazy summer afternoons spent on elbows supporting nodding chins and flushed cheeks full of promise, are long gone, like distant memories forgotten but for moments of reminiscences over barbecue grills and family get-togethers.  Life is tough being a grown up.

For Federal and Postal employees who must, in addition to the obstacles and pitfalls of daily living and career choices, contend with medical conditions and agency harassment, Postal disciplinary actions and other unwelcoming overtures, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may be the best choice and option of promising resort.

Staying put, is no longer possible; simply walking away, is a fool’s act.  Filing for OPM Disability Retirement is the wisest road to a tomorrow which promises a different phase.  These are no longer days of fun, and the training we received is to be applied by revealing growth, maturity and wisdom through our actions of pragmatic fortitude.  And like the crystal ball which children use as marbles in play, looking into one as a device for future insight spoils the fun of it all.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Pipe Dreams

The origin denotes an unsavory history of imperialistic exploitation and deserved degeneration of culturally unseen and unforetold consequences; of an encounter between foreign soils bridged by greed, necessity and inevitable destinies, but where the conqueror reaped more than what it sought.  In the opium dens which followed and the devastation of addictions ensuing, the phantoms derived from the processing of a plant which otherwise concealed the deadliness of its essence, beautiful in its floral toxicity amidst the sweet aroma that diffusely pervaded an unsuspecting population — dreams, indeed, of unreachable heights and great expectations otherwise squandered.

It is from that 19th century term — of the wafting scent of doom combined with the forgotten troubles of an industrial age, when repressive measures could be meted out by colonial strength, and insulting terms denigrating the humanity of an entire population could be thrown about by the lowliest of the low, and yet with superiority by race and ethnicity merely because one nation conquered and took advantage of the subservient nature of a quietude yet open to a coming storm.

In the end, who were the victors and what vestiges of the vanquished remained — only the untold stories of unmarked graves, whispering by twilight of plunder and portage of cultures; for, is it the country which invaded, or the one who imported the pipe dreams which subjugated the populace to an addictive essence?

In modernity, of course, the term itself has been shed of its subjugated past, and merely connotes an unrealistic expectation, a pursuance of a dream devoid of pragmatism, and a picture of flightiness attached to those who express such creative dimensions of unconstrained exuberance.  Children and the insane have them; and perhaps, still, those who partake of illicit moments of addiction and self-abuse.  But reality is always where we meet again, and the loss of time, efforts and futile exertion of wasted energy ends up back to the proverbial “square one”; what we squander in labor, we make up for in foolishness.

For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must daily be challenged not only with the workplace hostility of repetitive annoyances, but further, work with a medical condition which progressively deteriorates and diminishes the Federal or Postal worker’s capacity and ability to perform all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties — pursuing a pipe dream that it will all just “go away”, or that tomorrow the medical condition will miraculously heal itself, or the day after the harassment will cease:  these are mere phantasms of a hope diminished by reality.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an acknowledgment that the Federal or Postal employee is no longer relying upon a pipe dream, and has taken a pragmatic step towards facing the reality of one’s situation.

In the end, a pipe dream need not be a mere vestige of a lost culture steeped in the wayward historicity of timeless depravity; for, as the past continues to haunt both individuals and the greater society, so the words which follow may describe a regeneration of that which was once forgotten, but still remains in the residue of unvanquished sins.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire