Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: OWCP Disability

Periodically, a telephone call will begin with the statement that the Federal or Postal worker has been on “Disability” for the past _____ years.  The first question that must be asked is, “Are you speaking about OPM Disability Retirement?”  If the answer is one of confusion or lack of clarity, then a further query must be made, trying to establish whether or not the Federal or Postal worker is speaking about receiving payments from the Department of Labor, Office of Worker’s Compensation.

As it turns out, most people who refer to being on “Disability” often mean that they are receiving Worker’s Compensation.  Once this is established, then it becomes important to know whether or not the Federal or Postal Worker has been separated from Federal Service; and if so, when was he or she separated (because if it has been over 1 year, then it is too late to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management).  

Receiving “disability” is often confusing to the Federal or Postal employee.  A revealing fact is when the individual states that the “Agency put me on disability”.  This normally means that the person is on OWCP.  Or, if you are receiving 75% of one’s pay.  Remember that there is a distinction and a difference between OWCP and OPM Disability Retirement.  The former pays well, but may not last forever.  Indeed, if the latter is not applied for within the time-frame allowed, you will be barred from ever applying for it.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: A Dedicated Pool of Workers

Federal and Postal workers are among the most dedicated of employees.  Yes, in this time of debt crisis and budget crunching, quickly decreasing pool of available Federal funds, the “talk around town” is about the bloated Federal and Postal bureaucracy.  But when it comes down to the individual worker, both Federal and Postal, the ones I have had the privilege to represent, are dedicated, hard-working, and to a person, never wanted to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  They simply had no choice.  As to whether or not the benefit is a “windfall” is, in my opinion, an unfounded charge and an insult.  Disability Retirement is merely one of the “benefits” in the total employment package when one signs on as a Federal or Postal employee.  Many private sector jobs offer disability insurance as part of an employment package, and Federal Disability Retirement benefits is simply a part of the employment package for Federal and Postal employees.  For all Federal and Postal employees — that dedicated pool of workers in the Federal sector — enjoy yourselves this 4th of July weekend.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire