OPM FERS/CSRS Disability Retirement: The Time is Now

Waiting for the perfect storm is always the most persuasive grounds for procrastination; that time where coalescence of all necessary factors come together to provide the optimal moment to do something, but which never arrives; and so there is always one issue still to point to, where one can say, “X has not occurred, yet,” in order to delay the inevitable.

The problem with allowing for perfection to prevent action, is that in the meantime it allows for the deterioration of surrounding circumstances and conditions to occur, thereby further exacerbating the allowance for any such perfection to appear.  Grounds always exist to excuse an action; and when the seriousness of contemplating a change of vocation or stoppage of a career is at stake, such grounds are normally reasonable and real.  But at some point, especially when contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the Federal or Postal employee must simply acknowledge the fact that one’s present circumstance itself is less-than-a-perfect situation, and with that admission, to weigh the factors in deciding whether filing for FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement is the only viable option left.

In a fantasy-filled virtual world, it may well be that one can wait for the coming-together of perfect circumstances; in the “real” world, one must face and decide upon options which may not always present themselves as the best of all possible worlds.

The problem with today is that many of us live in the virtual world of videos; but there is a Kantian world of objectivity out there, and the coldness of that world is often reflected in the very agencies for which Federal and Postal Workers work.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Advancing from Thought to Action

In speaking with thousands of Federal and Postal employees, it is the pervasive thread of the final step which emanates from the uniqueness of each case, where the realization of that which separates the personal circumstances from the “rest” of us, can be summarized as follows:  The career of the Federal employee; the dedication and loyalty shown; the acknowledgment of how much our ego, our self-worth, and sense of who we are is dominated by the perception of what we do in the working compartment of our lives; and as Vonnegut said so eloquently, “So it goes”.  

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, it is that “final step” which is so difficult to take — of transitioning from thought to action, from theoretical construct to practical application; of accepting a diminution, and ultimate elimination, of continuing to engage in that worthy endeavor variously called, “a career”, “one’s profession”, or the answer to the question which every encounter poses:  “So, what do you do?”  And it should be understandable.  

So much of one’s life is taken up by one’s work, that to consider the option because of circumstances beyond one’s control — of a medical condition which has come to impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of that which defines the Federal or Postal employee — is a difficult step to take.  But it is better to control the options available than to allow for circumstances to dictate one’s future; better to work out a timetable than to submit to an emergency; and better to drive a graceful road, than to be forcibly strapped into a roller coaster.

The step from thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement, to acting upon it, is a major event in one’s life.  But to delay, procrastinate, and ultimately allow for others to determine one’s destiny, is an option worse than taking the necessary step.  Indeed, it is no option at all, but an uncontrolled event.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Necessity of Filing

Sometimes the question is asked as to whether it is “necessary” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits if certain advantages, benefits and comfort levels have already been reached.  

Therein lies the problem, of course:  that when one has secured one benefit which one relies upon and has depended upon, the necessity of filing for a collateral source in order to allow for future options, seems (at times) to be a remote necessity.  But the immediacy of a necessity should never be the primary basis for deciding whether or not to do something; forethought, securing the possibilities for future circumstances, perhaps somewhat unforeseen at the moment, should always be factors in making a decision.  

In general, it is best to allow for as many options to remain open in life, and not allow for an option to close merely because the tolling of the Statute of Limitations has passed.  Thus, if a person is on SSDI or OWCP, the question will often be presented as to whether or not filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is necessary.  The unequivocal answer is, “yes”.  

For those on SSDI (already approved), the approval itself from SSDI will have some persuasive authority in getting a FERS Disability Retirement approved.  It will not be determinative, but merely persuasive. Further, while there will be an offset between SSDI and FERS Disability Retirement, there are multiple other factors which should convince a Federal or Postal Worker that filing for FERS Disability Retirement is the intelligent thing to do.  

As for those on OWCP, while one cannot receive both OWCP and FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits concurrently, the Federal or Postal employee can get it approved, and simply leave it in an inactive statute — for, as no one knows what the future holds, it is good to secure multiple benefits for potential future use.  To unnecessarily close out options to the future is never a wise thing to do.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire