FERS Disability Retirement: The Meaning of Incompatibility

We hear the word often — used in conjunction with “irreconcilable differences” (in a divorce proceeding), or perhaps in an electrical engineering context where voltages and circuitry are “incompatible” with this or that mainframe, or some similar language game involving technical issues which don’t work well together.

It is a peculiar word; stated in a certain way or tone of voice, it is a declaration of finality, as in, “Nope!  These two [blanks] are incompatible!”  And ascribed to human beings?  How about: “Jane and Joe were married for 20 years.  They have separated and are going to get a divorce because they are no longer compatible”.  Does the phrase, “no longer compatible” mean the same thing as being “incompatible”?  Can two people, like two components of some mechanical processes, become “incompatible” when previously they were not?  Are people like widgets where parts can be irreplaceable in one instance, but are no longer so in the next?

It is, as well, a legal term.  In the field of Federal Disability Retirement Law, incompatibility is the “fourth” criteria that can be met if the first three (deficiency in performance, conduct or attendance) cannot be satisfied in a Federal Disability Retirement case.  Some medical conditions cannot so easily be described in terms of a 1-to-1 ratio between a medical condition and an essential element of one’s Federal or Postal job that cannot be met.

In their aggregate and totality, the compendium of medical conditions may have come to a critical juncture where they are no longer compatible (i.e., incompatible) with continuation or retention in the Federal Service, and that is when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM becomes a necessary function of one’s future goals and plans.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Postal & Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The Social Security Requirement

There is often confusion.  In fact, some Federal and Postal employees think that the “Prerequisite requirement” of filing for Social Security Disability benefits means that you have to wait to get it approved before you can file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

The unforeseen consequences resulting from such a misunderstanding is that some Federal or Postal employees wait, and wait, and become separated, and continue to wait and allow for the 1-year rule (of having to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within 1 year of being separated from Federal Service) to expire, then try and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Or, others confuse the two and somehow believe that filing for Social Security Disability benefits is the same as filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

Such confusion is often based upon either misinformation or misinterpretation; either way, the consequences of acting upon, or failing to act as a result of, can result in irreversible damage.

If you are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in OPM Disability Retirement Law before trying to maneuver through the maze of confusing requirements, prerequisites and bureaucratic language.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit earned; to obtain it, however, it must be fought for and granted, and in order to do that, representation by an experienced attorney is often the best in making your way through the legal maze of confusion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire