OPM Disability Retirement: The best we can do

We enter into a race; we finish in the bottom third.  We take a course for advancement of learning; we barely pass the final exam.  We often ask ourselves throughout the montage of life’s challenges:  Is that the best we can do?  Sometimes, the answer is a quiet but simple, “Yes”; at other points, perhaps it is a time for reassessment and revamping of the approach, the methodology, and even the key ingredients of who we are.

Self-congratulatory utterances and inane emptiness of self-esteeming servitude has often been described as the enemy of modernity.  The best we can do is always achieved if, after every project completed or half-heartedly attempted, the punctuations that follow are repetitively predictable:  “Good job!”; “Attaboy!”; “Fabulous”; and other such interjections of enthusiastic expressions.  But that misses the point – both for the spectator who cheers on, and the participant who must endure the consequences of such emptiness devoid of fortitude.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of a medical condition which has worsened, become exacerbated, or otherwise has reach a point where it prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, must often contend with the “concern” of performance reviews and ratings which have remained stellar throughout one’s Federal or Postal career.

That is often a misleading and inconsequential concern.  Here is why:  the system itself consists of a duality of misleading indicators – from the “agency’s” viewpoint, it has been set up so that the least amount of acrimony and confrontation is “best” for everyone, because camaraderie and passing everyone through with flying marks is encourage for the cohesion of the greater unit; and from the Federal employee’s viewpoint, he or she has silently attempted to endure the pain, suffering and debilitating conditions without complaining, for fear that he or she would be “thought less of” by coworkers, supervisors, managers and the rest of the cauldron of the agency and department.

But when the Federal or Postal employee comes to that critical juncture where the medical condition, the positional duties, and the tolerance level for pain and suffering all coalesce to a point of terminal considerations (i.e., resigning, filing for Federal Disability Retirement, or both), then all of that hard work in the quietude of silent suffering seems to haunt us.  That is why the foundation of a case – a narrative report of excellence that addresses and rebuts each point of potential concern – is crucial as the linchpin of a Federal Disability Retirement case.

For, in the end, sometimes the best we can do has been an overreach that comes back to pinch us; and though a rarity in the age of modernity where everyone gets a prize for coming in last, for the Federal or Postal worker who is intending upon filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it is the best we can do with what we are left with, in the residue of timeless anguish.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Postal & Federal Disability Retirement Attorney: VERAs

With spring comes the rumors of love, furtive dalliances, clandestine consummation and intrepid interludes; as well as the potential for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority for Federal and Postal employees.  What the latter (known under the acronym of VERA) has to do with the multiple listings of the former (rumors of love, furtive dalliances, etc.) is anyone’s guess; perhaps there is no connection at all or, more likely, the cognitive comparisons we make have to do with offers of change, adventure, and a need to evaluate the impact of all of the above upon the security of one’s future.

The devil, as in all things, is in the details.  Whether a VERA is accepted or not should be based upon the incentivized offer; and it is often the short term gain (a large enough sum of cash “up front” in order to make it attractive), like the adrenaline-flowing excitement propelled by a romantic interlude, which compels the Federal and Postal worker to accept the VERA.

Be not fooled; the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Worker is proposing a VERA not out of the kindness of their abundant hearts; rather, it is to streamline, strip and effectively make skeletal the overburdened bureaucracy of the Federal government and the U.S. Postal Service.  But the question, as applicable to all VERAs (as well as to romantic dalliances) is, Is it good for your future?

If the Federal or Postal worker must accept a VERA, the underlying reason and rationale is often because he or she can no longer continue in the job anyway; and, to make the point ever more poignant, that foundational reason for an inability to continue often involves a medical condition.  That being the case, it would be wise to evaluate and compare the short-term gain potentially attained through a VERA, as opposed to a long-term security of purposes accessed through filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Both a VERA and a Federal Disability Retirement application must be filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Both are ways to discontinue the present set of circumstances the Federal and Postal employee finds him/herself in.  The VERA, however, is a plan of self-indulgent action proposed for the benefit of the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service; Federal Disability Retirement is a course of determination based upon the best-interests of one’s health and well-being.  And, like clandestine romances engaged in behind the locked doors of distant roadside motels, the VERA may merely be a response to a mid-life crisis leading to an emptiness in one’s soul once the excitement has passed.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire