FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Resilience

One often hears about the fragile ecosystem of which we are a part.  We speak of such natural orders as if they are somehow separate and distinct from our own existence, and indeed, because we create insular communities and artificial oases of cocoon-like existences, differentiated from the rest of the natural world, we can refer to such organic systems as if they are merely textbook civilizations of another universe.

The linear line of manufacture-to-production, then to commercial commodity-to-consumption, where we pick up neatly packaged goods at the local grocery store, alienates us from the harsh reality of the slaughterhouse.  Just for academic interest-sake, look up the history of polio and how interconnected the epidemic came to be as a result of cleanliness, antiseptic living, and the desire to dominate our environment.  By separating ourselves and creating our own artificial universe of separateness, one wonders whether human frailty is another one of those unintended consequences.

The counter to such a view, of course, is the known resilience of human beings.  Even devastating and debilitating medical conditions often serve to magnify the strength of human character.  That is why, for Federal and Postal employees who find themselves in a situation where the medical condition has come to a critical point of impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job, such Federal and Postal employees have often waited until they cannot wait any longer.  While not the wisest of decisions, it shows the resilience and determination of human beings.

Yes, Federal and Postal employees often have the unwarranted reputation of being civil servants who don’t “really” earn their money; but that is merely the ignorant groans from an unknowing public.  Federal and Postal employees whom this author has had the privilege to represent, are to a person workers who have dedicated their lives to the detriment of their own suffering.

For Federal and Postal Workers who need to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, no amount of apologies for such a decision should be necessary.  For, in the end, the most important of ecosystems which needs to be preserved and protected is that comprised of the individual human body, which is a self-contained ecosystem in and of itself.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: It Is a Retirement

Federal Disability Retirement is a retirement; it is not a temporary method of compensation, and unlike OWCP under the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA), one is actually separated from Federal Service shortly after receiving an approval from the Office of Personnel Management.

Once the Federal or Postal employee obtains a Federal Disability Retirement approval, there is no “turning back” for employment or position rights; one does not have a preemptive or superior right to go back to one’s agency, anymore than a person who applies for a Federal or Postal job as a new hire.

That is why, as part of the administrative process and requirement in the filing of Standard Forms, one must include SF 3107 (for FERS disability retirement applicants) or SF 2801 (for CSRS disability retirement applicants) — the “Immediate Application for Retirement”, where much personal information is requested, including information on one’s spouse, data on health insurance, life insurance, past military service, etc.

While it is true that the Federal Disability Retirement annuity becomes recalculated and re-characterized as “regular retirement” at age 62, based upon the number of years of total Federal Service — including those years on Federal Disability Retirement (which is why switching from OWCP to OPM Disability Retirement can be beneficial in the long run, as opposed to the lesser monetary amount for the short term) — it is nevertheless a retirement in every sense of the word:  one is separated from Federal Service; one receives an annuity; there is no future expectation of rehabilitation and return to work, etc.

It is not a short-term process of rehabilitation and compensation, and therefore when the Federal or Postal employee begins to prepare, formulate, and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, one should be fully aware that in the very term, “Federal Disability Retirement”, it is a compensatory benefit based upon three (3) factors:  It is for Federal/Postal employees; it is based upon a medical condition or disability; and it is a retirement.  As the age-old adage goes:  If it walks and acts like a duck, then it must be one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire