Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The festering mistake

There are mistakes; then, there is the compounding one where we fail to identify X for what it is, and continue to make excuses by deflecting with Y, excusing with Z or replacing it with XX.  This is called the “festering mistake” – that mistake which, like a wound that could easily have been attended to, is allowed to become infected, then spread, then become so serious as to require further and drastic means to save a life.

Think about it: it may have begun with a minor cut; it is dismissed and ignored; and from there it can develop into a spreading infection, sepsis, incurable and incalculable damage.  That is what often results from ignoring a mistake; failing to recognize the mistake and attending to it; refusing to identify the mistake and attend to the symptoms; avoiding the direct confrontation and culpability of it with unintended consequences of greater reverberations beyond that which was originally the core of it.

We all make mistakes; it is the festering mistake that leaves us devastated – not only for the mistake itself and the growing complexity of trying to make up for lost time in failing to attend to the mistake itself, but further, for the failure of identification.  Just as the seat of wisdom is the recognition of one’s own ignorance, so the engine of success is the identification of mistakes early on.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the key to a successful outcome – no matter how long the process, and regardless of the difficulties to be faced – is to recognize the mistakes potentially there to be made, identify the pitfalls to be avoided, and realize that you cannot put “blinders” on OPM once they have seen that which was neither necessary nor any of their business to review or entertain, and to never allow a festering mistake to occur in the first place.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Making it Easy for OPM

Whether inadvertently or not, an Applicant who has formulated, prepared and filed a Federal Disability Retirement application either under FERS or CSRS will make it easy for the Office of Personnel Management to deny a case.  

Thus, for instance, on the Applicant’s Statement of Disability, where the applicant is asked concerning the status one is in at the agency, if the applicant agrees with the Agency or the Supervisor that the Agency has “accommodated” the individual in his or her employment, then the Office of Personnel Management will often focus selectively upon that answer and argue that, inasmuch as X has stated that the employee has been accommodated, and Y (the employee — you) has agreed with the agency, therefore Y is not eligible or entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits because Y has been accommodated.  

But, as it has been previously stated on multiple occasions, the term “accommodation” is a technical term of art, and if one fails to appreciate the nuances of the term, the applicant who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS can fall into the trap of using the term in a non-technical, general way, and thereby defeat one’s own application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Correcting a Misconception

I will have to write an article entitled, ten mistakes people make in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Or, better yet, perhaps it would be helpful to point out Ten Things Federal and Postal Employees should do to prepare to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.  

In either event, in speaking to multiple individuals over the past couple of days, common and recurring misconceptions have arisen, as they inevitably do, and when such mistaken notions concerning FERS or CSRS Disability Retirement benefits — the process, the benefit itself, the legal criteria for eligibility, etc. — it is necessary to immediately correct the mistake.  

Often, the mistaken idea comes in the form of, “I read somewhere that…”  Now, assuming that the mis-statement was not read on my website or in any of my related articles; and assuming that, even if it were read by something I had written, but had instead been mis-interpreted or somehow taken out of context, the only way in which to clarify or otherwise “correct the record” is to repetitively and incessantly state and restate the correct law concerning the matter.  The point of mistaken conceptual confusion was: That in order to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, one has to be separated from Federal service.  That is simply untrue.  In fact, for obvious economic reasons, most people continue to try and work while awaiting the approval of his or her Federal Disability Retirement application.  Furthermore, if one is separated from Federal Service, he or she has only up to one (1) year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, from the time of separation.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire