Filing for Federal Disability Retirement: Life on Hold

There are periods in our lives when life is seemingly “on hold”.  Of times when we know not what to do; of careers that have hit a brick wall; of unhappiness over present circumstances; perhaps even of deteriorating family relationships that fail to reveal a glimmer of hope for improvement; and of a medical condition that becomes chronic with the realization that we must accept it, live with it, and endure the accompanying symptoms for a life-long struggle.

Filing for a Federal Disability Retirement benefit under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset (though rare are the latter two these days) is often a movement forward to break out of the mold of life being on hold.

When a Federal or Postal worker realizes that the medical condition suffered will simply not go away, and it prevents and continues to deteriorate in that aspect of preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, that sense of being stuck in a “no-man’s land” is understandable.

From the Agency’s viewpoint, it is often a period where they are unsure of what to do with you.  They act with a timid sense of empathy (or perhaps none at all); they will sometimes be somewhat “supportive” of your plight; but in the end, you know that they will replace you with someone who can perform all of the essential elements of the position.

Life on hold is a time of uncertainty and trepidation; preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset is a movement forward; it allows for some certainty to be adjudicated in a world where everyone else seems to be in a mode of “fast-forward” while you are stuck in the timelessness of a deteriorating medical condition.

Life on Hold — it is a time when decisions need to be made, and for the Federal or Postal employee who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal job because of a medical condition, a time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be ultimately submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement: Holding on

The sense of belonging — of the attraction of the communal hearth — is a powerful draw, and prevents many from traveling too far from the proverbial oak tree.  The inherent contradiction, for Americans, is the paradigm of the rugged individual, and the concomitant idea that this country was and is different precisely because of the type of individuals and individualism which formed the basis of this community we call country.

But times change.  Change itself is a concept which engenders fear, loathing, and angst beyond mere discomfort.  Habituation and repetitive comfort can be derived merely in the methodological constancy of the mundane. Being comfortable and seeking human comfort is not a crime, and is often the telos of career choices. It is when that second step of the dialectical process intercedes and interrupts, however, that the discomfiture of disruption creates havoc and one’s life can go awry.

The thesis is the life lived; the antithesis is the condition of interruption or disruption; and the synthesis is that which is potentially to be, but now not yet known.  So goes the Hegelian dialectical process.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker whose career has fortunately been gliding upon a linear path, and from start to career’s finish, a relatively smooth ride has been enjoyed, the blessing of such a continuum is one of mundane and delicious success.  But for the Federal employee or Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the possibility that one’s chosen career may need to be interrupted, is indeed a hearth-wrecking event.

Determining whether or not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a necessity, is a hard choice; knowing what the choices are, while limited and finite and therefore easily discernible, can nevertheless remain a conundrum but for good advice and counsel which can be objectively assessed and conveyed.  For the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement can be a two-edged sword: on the one hand, the mere existence of the benefit reminds us of our vulnerability and mortality; on the other hand, it is a benefit to be accessed when needed, and the need is based upon a legal criteria which must be proven to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and such need allows for an out from the quandary of one’s medical conditions.

The draw of the hearth is indeed a powerful one; one’s organization, agency or Federal department can be considered a hearth of sorts, especially when one has expended so much time and effort in building one’s Federal career. But when the embers of warmth begin to fade, and the winds of winter blow the chilling parabola of a future reflected, consideration must be given for change, and change may require the embracing of an antithesis in order to build a brighter future for tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire