Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Agony of Beginning

Somehow, the agony of beginning a process is the most excruciating; why that should be so is a mystery, when the prefatory phase leading up to actually starting and engaging an activity is probably the period where most people experience the greatest anxiety.  By “beginning” is often a milestone of a mental nature, as in coming to a decision to initiate an activity.

Then, the question remains of bridging the chasm between the thought and the physical action of “doing it”.  Thus, one can “decide” to perform X in one’s own mind, but never actually implement any objectively ascertainable steps to manifest any signs of having begun the process in order to reach point Y. Beginning the process must follow a sequence of steps.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important to close the gap between thinking about it, and actually doing it.  Agencies often get frustrated with mere words; they want to see some evidence, some progress; and even if it is information regarding having retained a Federal Disability Retirement attorney, or some communication concerning the process and the progress made, will often delay an administrative action or sanction contemplated.

As OPM takes an inordinate amount of time in making a decision on any given case, it is important to take the necessary initial steps, and to submit a Federal Disability Retirement packet within a reasonable period of time, and to shorten the period of agony and anguish, by initiating the administrative process of Federal OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Career-ending Event

One often reads and hears about a traumatic injury which suddenly and unpredictably ends the career of a certain sports figure.  Such stories evoke sentiments of empathy, for the potential which was never entirely fulfilled, and for the personal tragedy which befalls the individual, the family, and those who admired the talent which failed to reveal its fullness.  

But in everyday life, such tragedies occur in less spectacular ways; perhaps not as sudden and unexpected incidents or injuries as to bifurcate between the day before and the day after; rather, through a chronicity of time, over months and years of struggling, until a day comes when one must admit to one’s self that the chosen career-path must be reevaluated.  

The trauma of the life-changing event is no less significant to the Federal or Postal Worker than to a star NBA, NFL or NHL player.  For the Federal or Postal worker who has worked diligently, if not quietly and unassumingly, in the chosen career path — a recognition that his or her medical condition will no longer allow continuation in the vocation, has the identical reverberations as those more notably identified, in terms of financial, economic, personal and professional significance, relevance and impact.  

In fact, sometimes even more so — because one never witnesses the long and arduous struggle for the months and years prior to making the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, through the “quiet years” of using Sick Leave sparingly; of trying to maintain a semblance of competence and work-completion in the face of medical conditions which are never told, never spoken of, and never acknowledged.  

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel management, is tantamount to that “traumatic injury”; it’s just that such an event is rarely, if ever, written about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Government Disability Retirement: Another Year Passing

Because the administrative process of preparing, formulating, and filing — then waiting for a decision — a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, can take several months for the Initial Stage of the bureaucratic procedure alone, it is important to plan ahead for the future.  

New Year’s eve, for Federal and Postal employees contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, is merely a reminder that another year has passed.  For those waiting for a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is another indicator of the frustrating wait which the potential Federal or Postal annuitant has been through, is going through, and must still endure.  And this is only for the “First Stage” of the process.  

The waiting time is extended if the Federal Disability Retirement application is denied at the First Stage, and must be appealed to the Second Stage of the process, or what is identified as the Reconsideration Stage of the process.  Then, of course, if it is denied by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management at the Second Stage, one has a right to appeal the case to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.  

Waiting is a necessary part of the administrative, bureaucratic process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Filing soon after one has recognized that one’s medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, is the only “cure” for the long wait. As with everything else, it is better to get in ahead of the line, and have someone help you with the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Confronting the Change

The transition from being a Federal or Postal employee to one of a disability retirement annuitant will inevitably spawn questions — not only concerning the process itself, but the impact, response, reaction and collateral events with which an Agency will engage the Federal or Postal employee.

The process itself can never be entered into, or participated in, within a vacuum.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is a complex decision, and one which involves so many facets — impact upon one’s economic circumstances; the transition to a different career or vocation; the severing of ties to coworkers and supervisors; a change in the way one lives one’s life, etc.

Thus, it is not merely a matter of filing paperwork; it is not just a recognition that one has a medical condition such that you cannot any longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, although that is also a large part of it.  Rather, it involves the emotion, mental, and physical toil and turmoil of “change”.  And, indeed, change itself is a stress; change of any sort means an end of something, and a beginning of something else.

It is often that “something else” — the unknown of the future, which represents and greatest fear and challenge.  But the question one is left with is often:  What choices and alternatives do I have?  Once that question is asked, the road through Federal Disability Retirement often takes an easier path.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Life Changes

Major life changes occur at some point for everyone —  new births; deaths; marriage; major illnesses.  The trauma of a life-changing event such as a medical condition which impacts one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, is further exacerbated because of the financial impact that such a life-event can have upon a Federal or Postal employee.

While Federal Disability Retirement benefits do not fully make up for the loss of income (for FERS employees, it pays 60 percent of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years the first year, and 40% every year thereafter until age 62, at which point it gets converted and recalculated to regular retirement; while the Federal disability retirement calculation for CSRS employees is slightly more complex), it is at the very least a point of security — a base amount of income in which one can rely upon.

This is important, because with a major life-changing event, it is essential to focus one’s energies upon resolving, attacking, or otherwise handling that life-event, and not have the worries or distractions which take one’s energies away from focusing upon the one life-changing event.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Changes & Transition

Change is a necessary part of life; indeed, this is a time of change for many, as schools end, young men and women graduate from college; people often get married in the months of spring & early summer, etc.

As one grows older, and one becomes more “entrenched” in one’s career, finances, and daily routine & family life, “change” becomes a greater hardship.  Indeed, for those filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, it is precisely “change” which is the hardest aspect of the entire process of transition.

For, the contemplation of filing for Federal Disability Retirement means the formal beginning of the transition of one type of daily living, with a transformation into a completely different set of paradigms of daily life.

This is often the hardest part of the entire process.  It is hard enough financially and medically to deal with many of the changes.  One way in which to deal with such changes and the difficult period of transition, is to take an affirmative view of things when beginning the process of preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS — to begin the process on your own terms, by speaking with an attorney for guidance and advice, and by refusing to allow circumstances under the control of others — especially your own agency — to dictate the time, terms, and conditions of this major life change.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire