FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Respite

Then there is the story of the office worker who was called in to discuss certain matters with the boss, and during the course of the conversation, boasted proudly that he had not taken a vacation in five years, thereby intimating his commitment and dedication to the company.

The boss became silent, shook his head gravely, and promptly fired the man on the spot.  In shock and dismay, the young office worker asked in exasperation why the boss would do such a thing, and the older man replied:  “Two reasons.  First, you need a vacation.  Now you have one.  Second, the company cannot afford to keep someone who fails to understand the needs of a human being.”  And so the irony of the young office worker reveals the self-contradiction of so many circumstances.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, the one truism which stands out is that those who are beset with a progressively deteriorating medical condition, can never take a “vacation” from the condition itself.  Thus, for those who are healthy, we often take for granted our state of existence.

Federal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, allows for the Federal or Postal Worker to have a period of respite, away from those very work activities which continue to exacerbate and compound the problem of the medical condition itself.

It may be that, in the end, there is little or no choice in the matter.

For, either the work will continue to suffer and the Federal agency or Postal Service will terminate the Federal or Postal worker, or the medical condition itself will dictate the terms of work cessation.  In either event, thought should be given to the future, and to a time of recuperative distancing from an activity which cannot continue forever.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Time to Make the Decision (Part 1)

Waiting until the last possible moment to start the process to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS may be commendable from the Agency’s viewpoint — but is it smart?  If you are a Federal or Postal employee with multiple years of service, and you believe that because you gave your life, your blood, your sweat, tears, and even your firstborn, that therefore you will receive what I often term as “bilateral loyalty” (i.e., an expectation of receipt of loyalty from your agency for having given your undying loyalty to them throughout the years), you might want to reconsider.

If you are exhausting all of your sick leave, using your annual leave, dipping into your TSP in order to “hope” that you will recover from your continuing medical condition, then come to a point where you need to file for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, then come to realize that you must survive for 6 – 8 months, or even longer, and pay an attorney, pay for medical reports, and _______ (here, you may fill in the space yourself), then you may need to re-think the entirety of the process, the time it takes, etc.  Most people know, very early on, whether or not he or she has a medical condition which will last for a minimum of 12 months.  The time to start planning for the future is now.  As a famous football coach once quipped, “The future is now.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement in a Tough Economy

Healthy individuals may wonder why, in such a tough economy, an individual would consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS.  This is an economy which has been shrinking and shedding employees.  Yet, for the Federal or Postal employee whose health and increasingly debilitating medical conditions directly impact one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, the choice is actually not all that convoluted. 

Where a Federal or Postal employee can no longer perform the job; where sick leave and annual leave have been exhausted to go to doctors’ appointments, or just to stay home to recover enough to make it into the office for another day; or for those who are on LWOP for greater than the time working; in such circumstances, the stark reality is that a disability annuity is better than what the future may offer otherwise.  Removal for unsatisfactory performance; being placed on a PIP; being told that there is no more work at the Postal Service; being counseled for performance issues; these are all indicators of the proper choice to make.

Yes, it is a tougher economy; but when the economy begins to rebound, the first people that private employers turn to hire are those who are essentially independent contractors; and, especially with the looming overhaul of private health insurance, a former government worker who carries his or her own health insurance is, and can be, an attractive worker to a private employer.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire