Medical conditions are often accompanied by the necessity to engage in certain forums, to initiate particular legal actions, and to file for alternative means of compensation. Actions of necessity often come in bundles, and this is natural, as a single event can spawn multiple avenues of legal relief, and reflect various responses by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service.
Thus, a medical condition — whether work related or not — can result in Agency retaliation, persecution, adverse actions, subtle changes of attitudes, etc.
It is therefore not a surprise that a Federal or Postal employee who is filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, also has parallel actions which may include the wide spectrum of a simple Grievance, to an EEO Complaint; a concurrent OWCP/Department of Labor case (for an application of compensation based upon a medical condition or injury resulting from an on-the-job incident or on an occupational disease claim, etc.); a claim of hostile work environment, retaliation; assertion of the whistleblower provision, etc.
As an attorney who specializes in obtaining Federal disability retirement benefits for Federal and Postal employees, one observes the following: there is often a mistaken belief that being involved in parallel or alternative routes of litigation somehow delays the need — whether practically speaking, or in terms of the 1-year Statute of Limitations — for filing of Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.
This mistaken belief often stems from a “comfort zone” that arises — whether because OWCP is paying on a regular and monthly basis, and so the financial concern is not presently and immediately existent; or because one is continually engaged in some form of contact with the Federal Government through alternative litigation, that the 1-year requirement to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is automatically delayed. The Statute of Limitations is not a sympathetic statute.
A personal comfort zone is not a basis to delay what the law requires. Immediacy of an event should not be the basis of whether to file for a claim or not. Planning for the future is the important basis to act, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is something which every Federal or Postal employee should be considering concurrently with all other forums and avenues of compensation. A man can do more than one thing at a time, and preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should be one of those multiple issues to be embraced.
Don’t let a present comfort zone deny you the right of a secured future.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire