FERS Disability Retirement Benefits: The Resistance

The initial reaction to such a title is the obvious one: To what?  Of course, Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes immediately to mind — of every action having an equal and opposite reaction; thus, when one posits a “resistance”, the natural query must refer to its opposition, as in, “What is it that we are resisting?”

Throughout our “stages of life”, we either comply, conform, “go along with the crowd” — or resist doing so.  There are “middle” ways, of course, and yet to compromise and resist “half-way”, or in a half-hearted manner, often seems to ruin the whole point of any resistance, doesn’t it?

If one is to be a revolutionary, the point is to be one completely, or not at all.  During the Sixties, there was the famous line (often misattributed to Abbie Hoffman, the Beatles and others) which declared that the movement’s participants would “never trust anyone over 30” — spoken by Jack Weinberg in response to a hostile interviewer.  The underlying point of the statement is quite clear: By the age of 30, most people have “sold out”, conformed, lost their youthful vigor to resist; or, put more simply, accepted the status quo and have become cynical.  Yet, isn’t there a natural inclination to “belong”, to not stand apart from the crowd, and to be able to live a quiet, unassuming life?

“Resistance” can thus have a duality of meanings — it can imply that one is part of a movement involving resistance to the status quo or, even its opposite; that one resists change and is integrally a participant of the status quo.  Resistance to change is the greater dominating force.  Change is a fearsome entity where the unknown is to be avoided at all costs.  To be a part of “the resistance” that refuses to conform — well, that is best left to those under 30, unattached and without obligations and responsibilities.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, resistance to change is often the factor that procrastinates, and keeps a person in a “muddle of the middle” where conditions deteriorate but one stubbornly insists upon maintaining the status quo.

But as medical conditions deteriorate and as the Federal Agency or the Postal Service persists in seeking change — by forcing the issue and initiating adverse actions in order to fill the position with a person who is able to perform all of the essential elements of the position — resistance to change must be replaced with becoming a part of the resistance: By preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with OPM and forging ahead into a future yet unknown.

Remember —even Jack Weinberg became a class of individuals that he resisted, and went on to become a consultant and an adjunct faculty member; in other words, he was once in the “Resistance”, then became that opposite and equal force to fulfill Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Sincerely,

Robert R.McGill,Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Parting grace in silence

Does grace extend even when the intended recipient is unaware of its attachment?  Can the undeclared withdrawal of revenge justified have its own inherent rewards, without the unsolicited admission left silent by anonymity undaunted?  If given the choice between leaving the scene where injustice prevailed and dominated – of wreaking revenge or parting grace in silence – which would we choose?

Of course, there is a greater contextual awakening to be narrated before such an event would occur – of quietly enduring the daily harassment, the constant criticism and demeaning remarks; of refuting, rebutting and reacting, as against an agency that initiates adverse actions one after another in sequential persistence of unfettered meanness.

From that erupts the natural tendency in thinking:  “They can’t get away with this”; or, “If I have to spend my last dime, I am going to get even with them.”  Yet, is the cost of revenge worth the time, effort and expenditures depleted?  What does it mean to attain “justice” in an unjust world?  If a verdict is rendered or a settlement reached, what is the barometer by which one has regained one’s reputation, reestablished that one was ‘right’ or recuperated the toil of anguish and angst expended?

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not a surrender of one’s soul to an agency that has not, will not or otherwise cannot accommodate one’s medical conditions.  Rather, it is an admission that there exists an incommensurability between the particular position occupied and the medical conditions suffered.

That is the point made in the case of Henderson v. OPM, in which the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board reiterated the alternative but equally valid approach in proving a Federal Disability Retirement case by a preponderance of the evidence:  a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal position is not the only methodology in establish a medical condition such that the Federal or Postal employee becomes eligible and entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits, but additionally, a showing that there is an incompatibility generally between the position occupied and the medical conditions suffered is also a basis for granting a Federal Disability Retirement benefit.

Whatever workplace issues have been a part of the content and context of a Federal or Postal employee needing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, once that decision is made to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement, one might consider this:  The past has passed; the present must be endured while waiting upon a decision by OPM; the future is based upon the decision of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and in the meantime, where do you want to expend your energies?  You may want to consider parting grace in silence, instead of spinning the proverbial wheels heaping reactive acts of futile counterpunches upon those who know not the terms of justice.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire