Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: The Door Left Ajar

The image of the door left ajar is one likened to the metaphor of the tree which falls in a forest without a human around to observe the phenomena; the question of whether the event created a sound is a conundrum, and a double-one at that, for the moment we ponder it, we insert a human perspective into the equation, and any attempt to delete our presence only compounds the puzzlement.

A door left ajar implies that someone or some animal partially opened it, or perhaps in reverse; but in either event, the image of a door neither fully shut nor widely open, leaves an impression of some presence.  Moreover, it is that partial opening which represents lack of complete satisfaction, of something left undone, which stirs the emotions of one’s imagination.

For the Federal employee who is reaching certain milestones of Federal or Postal Service, the “light at the end of the tunnel” is often seen within one’s grasp, as a door left slightly ajar, and inviting one to take hold of the doorknob, open it wide, and exit into the sunset of life.  When the door left ajar is within view and reach, the expectation of exiting becomes a magnified potentiality about to be embraced.

But often, with only a couple of years left, unexpected events can occur.  A medical condition can impact one’s ability to reach that magical age of retirement, or be cut short before accruing the years of service needed.  The door left ajar is suddenly beyond reach, and the winds of life seemingly slams shut the once-inviting entranceway.

Federal Disability Retirement, no matter how close one is to regular retirement, may be the option of choice. Whether under FERS or CSRS, Disability Retirement through the Office of Personnel Management is an option left open for all Federal and Postal employees.

The image of the door left ajar is merely a metaphor of life; how one responds to the reality of each particular situation will determine the consequences of one’s future.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Right Questions

Often, a person who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS doesn’t know the “right question” to ask in order to make a proper decision.  Because a medical condition often leaves a person with daily and profound fatigue  (both physical and cognitive), it is enough just to get through the day, come home and attempt to recuperate and regain enough strength to try and make it back to work the next day.  Then, of course, there are the financial worries — whether or not the disability annuity will be enough to support a family; whether a person will be able to supplement his or her income with a part-time job in this tough economy; or whether Social Security Disability benefits can be approved and, even with the offset, allow for enough income for some semblence of financial security. 

All of these questions — or concerns — are clearly legitimate ones, and provide a good foundation for determining the viability for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  But there are others, also:  What will happen if you don’t file for disability retirement benefits?  Will you be placed on a PIP?  Will you receive an unsatisfactory performance rating?  Will you last until retirement age?  If you last until retirement age, will you have the health necessary to enjoy your retirement?  Is it time to start a small business venture in this tough economy, and if so, when the economy begins to recover, will your small business grow with a growing economy?  Will your supervisor support your extended absences or over-use of sick leave for much longer?  Is the work that is getting backed up placing more pressure on you, such that it is exacerbating your medical condition further?  Think through the questions seriously.  It may be time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire