Federal Employee Medical Retirement: The Calendric Term

The marking of a calendric year, and its end, is traditionally recognized by an enthusiastic celebration embracing drinking, noise and a quantity of hugging and kissing.  Whether the year contains anything to celebrate is irrelevant (some would say that all years, like puppies and aged whiskey, are inherently precious); and some years are magnified by shaping events which deserve greater recognition and celebration than other years, but it seems to matter not to the participatory celebrants.

For the Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the day before the end of a calendric year differs little from the day after and the beginning of a new calendric year.

The pain and medical condition fails to recognize the distinction between the before and after.  It is perhaps well that we celebrate when health, time and opportunity allows; for, our time within the confines of a given lifespan is short enough, and every day can therefore be viewed as a moment to celebrate.

For the Federal or Postal Worker who must contemplate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, however, the time is often dictated by events beyond one’s control, and must be seen not in the light of sequential days on a calendar, but rather, in light of today and what tomorrow might bring, regardless of the month or year.

Calendric bifurcations of time, seasons and years are meant for the sequential thought process; for others who suffer, each day is measured by what the next day will bring.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Use of Percentage Designations

The Department of Veterans Affairs does it; in obtaining a scheduled award from the Officer of Workers’ Compensation Programs, administered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), the amount determined is based upon it; and so it is understandable that confusions may arise as to its relevance, import and various applicable uses.

Disability ratings represent an attempt to quantify the extent of one’s medical condition, injury, or loss of limb or body mobility, flexion, ability to use, etc.  Such attempt at quantification, no matter what mathematical calculus or methodology employed, must by necessity involve a level of subjectivity; for any such attempt is pre-determined by the criteria which is applied, and any such criteria which purports to apply universally will be unable to accommodate the uniqueness of an individualized case.

In a FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement case, the benefit provided is a flat rate, and is set by statute.  It does not increase or decrease based upon a percentage assignation of a medical disability.  Similarly, in Social Security Disability, the amount of the annuity received does not change because of an increase in percentage.

Whether one can or should use the assigned percentage rating from the VA or from OWCP, in proving or attempting to prove eligibility in FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement cases, is a matter of discretion.  The amount of the disability rating; whether the gross number is a combination of fairly insignificant fractured percentages; the substantive discussion justifying each number, etc. — all of those factors must be taken into consideration before using it in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Numbers alone rarely mean anything; in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is not the numbers, but the words which support them, which will make the difference.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire