FERS Disability Retirement: The Meaning of Incompatibility

We hear the word often — used in conjunction with “irreconcilable differences” (in a divorce proceeding), or perhaps in an electrical engineering context where voltages and circuitry are “incompatible” with this or that mainframe, or some similar language game involving technical issues which don’t work well together.

It is a peculiar word; stated in a certain way or tone of voice, it is a declaration of finality, as in, “Nope!  These two [blanks] are incompatible!”  And ascribed to human beings?  How about: “Jane and Joe were married for 20 years.  They have separated and are going to get a divorce because they are no longer compatible”.  Does the phrase, “no longer compatible” mean the same thing as being “incompatible”?  Can two people, like two components of some mechanical processes, become “incompatible” when previously they were not?  Are people like widgets where parts can be irreplaceable in one instance, but are no longer so in the next?

It is, as well, a legal term.  In the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law, incompatibility is the “fourth” criteria that can be met if the first three (deficiency in performance, conduct or attendance) cannot be satisfied in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Some medical conditions cannot so easily be described in terms of a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal job that cannot be met.

In their aggregate and totality, the compendium of medical conditions may have come to a critical juncture where they are no longer compatible (i.e., incompatible) with continuation or retention in the Federal Service, and that is when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a necessary function of one’s future goals and plans.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: Finishing a Novel

There is a great sense of accomplishment in finishing a novel, just as there is in completing any task or endeavor begun and ended.  Reading is a peculiar and unique endeavor: Of being able to become transported into a fantasy world created for no other reason than to become lost.  You can travel to other countries, become a part of a stranger’s life, or enter into a universe where time matters not, space is of little value and worlds can be quite different from the one you are familiar with.

Reality can jolt you out of the imagination of your mind created by the mere reading of a couple of pages, and then after the chore is done, you can pick right back where you left off, by picking back up the novel left — and upon rereading that sentence you had left behind, get right back into the world of the author’s tale.

Compared to the actual cost of a plane ticket, hotel and expenses, reading a novel which takes place in a country of your choice is relatively inexpensive.  The novels we read tell much about the person we are, just like the novels we create reflect the lives we live.  And just as in fictional storytelling, there is much in real life that we cannot control — one’s health being one of those circumstances over which we have little, if any at all.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it may be time to finish that “novel” which tells of a story of struggle and despair, and to begin a new one beyond a career with the Federal workforce.

Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, and write the ending to your own novel — one that finishes with a theme different from the harassment at the hands of an agency or Postal unit that cares not for happy endings.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire