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.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Early Medical Retirement for Disabled Federal Workers: Intersection with VERA

Questions always abound when Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service offer incentivized programs under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) propounded by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  In accepting a VERA, the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition must take into account whether the VERA should take the place of a Federal Disability Retirement application, or whether it will merely be the first step in the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement.

Often, because Federal Disability Retirement takes many months in order to secure and procure, Federal and Postal employees considering such an option will elect to accept a VERA in order to have some income during the time of filing for, and waiting upon, a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a Federal Disability Retirement application.

Questions which the potential Federal or Postal VERA annuitant should ask themselves include: What impact does a Federal Disability Retirement application have upon a VERA? Is there an offset between Social Security and the VERA annuity, as opposed to the offset which occurs under Federal Disability Retirement, and if so, which provides greater financial sense? Are there provisions where, if the Federal or Postal employee accepts a VERA, one must repay any lump sum incentive which is offered, if one subsequently files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits and gets it approved?

While it often makes sense to accept a VERA, then to subsequently file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service as a result of the VERA, one should nevertheless do so with full knowledge and information.

As a final point, in addition to obtaining all information and basing one’s decision upon full knowledge, the fact that the years which one is on Federal Disability Retirement counts toward the total number of years of one’s Federal Service, should always be factored in — especially if one lives to be a ripe old age, where one’s retirement nest egg will be an important future consideration.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire