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

 

OPM Disability Retirement: The 80% Rule — Earned Income

As we reach the end of the year, Federal and Postal employees who are receiving Disability Retirement benefits, and who are working in the private sector, should remember the 80% earned income rule.  Be aware that a Federal or Postal employee who is under FERS or CSRS, and who is receiving a Federal Disability Retirement annuity, is allowed to make up to 80% of what one’s former position currently pays.  

While it is sometimes difficult to ascertain what the current pay scale is (and the Office of Personnel Management is often completely unhelpful, whether deliberately or inadvertently), it is best to always estimate “down”, so that one is never in danger of exceeding the cap.  Further, if the Federal or Postal employee in any given year exceeds the cap, then reinstatement of the Federal Disability Retirement annuity is allowable if in any succeeding year, he or she goes back under the 80% ceiling.  It is important to keep an eye on one’s earned income if one is to continue to maintain a Federal Disability Retirement annuity.  Planning is the key to the entire process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire