Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Agencies and Their Response

Compassion and empathy are commodities discovered rare in form and content, and even scarcer in the wrappings of timeless sincerity.  Individuals in the era of modernity lack any sense of communal obligation, precisely because of the fractured existence which naturally flows from a society built upon independence and self-reliance.

Further, when one encounters an entity, organization, corporate structure, or agency, it becomes that much more removed from any sense of personalized emotional contact, and instead we can deal with unwanted and unwelcome concerns by speaking in neutral platitudes; “the mission of the agency”; “it detracts from the team concept”; “performance-based incentives have not been met”; and on and on.

In the end, it is an antiseptic existence of an impersonal kind, but one which constitutes the reality of who we are.

For Federal and Postal workers who must face the daily grind of working within a bureaucracy which engulfs tens of thousands of workers, the need for simple kindness may be easily rebuffed when a crisis occurs such as the development of a medical condition.

There is, however, “the law” — of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, offered to every Federal and Postal employee under either FERS or CSRS.  Where compassion ends and the law begins, that available option is considered by a faceless entity as its replacement of the former, in order to neutralize the need for personalization.  Utilizing it and taking advantage of that which is available, is all that one can expect in terms of a human response from one’s agency.  So it is that the Federal and Postal employee, whether under FERS or CSRS, at least has the option at all.

It is a benefit which is filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and can allow for the individual to regain one’s foothold back into the world of sanity, and perhaps onto the pathway of one’s local community.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Agency Stubbornness

The quality and characteristic of “stubbornness” encompasses a refusal to be persuaded by logic, reason, or any other similarly acceptable criteria of linguistic methodology normally employed in discourse, conversation or discussion on a matter.  Federal Agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are both equally notorious for retaining, maintaining and adhering to such a characteristic, and that is true in circumstances involving termination, medical disability, and agency actions governing administrative actions and sanctions, whether neutral or punitive.  

Often, because a Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition will need to begin the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, a parallel set of circumstances begins to develop —  more absences; more need to file paperwork requesting leave, whether Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay; and the concurrent events which begin to coalesce involve the conflicting needs of the Federal or Postal employee and the requirements of the Agency to continue to meet and accomplish the goals of Federal Service.  

The result is often one of adversarial clashing:  a removal action by the Agency; potential loss of Health benefits (more often than not temporary, but nevertheless of concern) for the Federal or Postal employee; a rush to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits; a sense of “emergency”; a stubbornness on the part of the Agency in its adherence to remove the Federal or Postal employee once its heels have been “dug in”.  

It is important to try and address such issues and attempt to head them off in as predictable a fashion as possible.  However, when such a clash between Agency interests and Federal or Postal employee needs come to an inevitable confrontation, it is important to at least establish a “paper trail” for future use.  Annotating the facts is an important tool to utilize — in shorthand, it is called “evidence“.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire