Federal Worker Disability Retirement: Interruption or Interlude

Life is full of interruptions which push the pause button upon our grand designs for linear progression; how we view such events, whether as something bothersome, or as a respite and opportunity, a platform for the next stage of life, will determine the extent of character-building foundations needed to forge forward.  Taking care of aging parents is now considered a bother, and not a privilege; mentoring a young person just beginning in a chosen career is seen as a predatory challenge, as opposed to a chance to mold for the future; and revealing a fissure in the otherwise impenetrable public face of constancy is a chance to take advantage of the weakness of the opponent.

How one views a particular event; whether it is seen in the best light possible and anticipated for lessons to be learned; or instead, as a crisis point of quashing all hope for the future, never to be spoken about because of the devastation wrought, reflects both upon the present state of one’s character, as well as the potential for the future. Things are merely bothersome to us, now. Perhaps it is the result of a leisure society, where things once earned are now expected as givens; or, of greater probability, that the antiseptic isolation of our society engenders a certain aura of incomprehensible turmoil.

For Federal and Postal Workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, Federal Disability Retirement should be considered as a viable option. Filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (and available to all eligible Federal and Postal employees who meet the minimum criteria of years of Federal service), it should be considered precisely for two (or more) reasons. First, it allows for a foundational annuity in order for one to move forward with one’s life. Second, it allows for the Federal and Postal employee to embark on a second vocation, and make up to 80% of what one’s former Federal or Postal job currently pays, on top of the base annuity.

As such, there is a built-in mechanism which recognizes that the event of a medical condition is not merely an interruption, but an interlude for the second and subsequent stages of a person’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: The Career-ending Event

One often reads and hears about a traumatic injury which suddenly and unpredictably ends the career of a certain sports figure.  Such stories evoke sentiments of empathy, for the potential which was never entirely fulfilled, and for the personal tragedy which befalls the individual, the family, and those who admired the talent which failed to reveal its fullness.  

But in everyday life, such tragedies occur in less spectacular ways; perhaps not as sudden and unexpected incidents or injuries as to bifurcate between the day before and the day after; rather, through a chronicity of time, over months and years of struggling, until a day comes when one must admit to one’s self that the chosen career-path must be reevaluated.  

The trauma of the life-changing event is no less significant to the Federal or Postal Worker than to a star NBA, NFL or NHL player.  For the Federal or Postal worker who has worked diligently, if not quietly and unassumingly, in the chosen career path — a recognition that his or her medical condition will no longer allow continuation in the vocation, has the identical reverberations as those more notably identified, in terms of financial, economic, personal and professional significance, relevance and impact.  

In fact, sometimes even more so — because one never witnesses the long and arduous struggle for the months and years prior to making the decision to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, through the “quiet years” of using Sick Leave sparingly; of trying to maintain a semblance of competence and work-completion in the face of medical conditions which are never told, never spoken of, and never acknowledged.  

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, from the U.S. Office of Personnel management, is tantamount to that “traumatic injury”; it’s just that such an event is rarely, if ever, written about.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Early Retirement for Disabled FERS & CSRS Workers: Federal and Postal Employees

With the benefit available to Federal and Postal employees, of a Federal Disability Retirement under either FERS or CSRS, there is often a perception on the part of the non-Federal Sector public, that Federal and Postal employees have benefits which are extravagant.  In these times of economic turmoil, with the Federal deficit exploding exponentially, one might wonder about a benefit which pays an annuity for not being able to work at a specific type of job, yet encourages people to become productive members of society in some other job. 

Yet, in this snowstorm which has just hit the East coast, I see the Postal delivery vehicles making their way through the residential neighborhoods, and Federal Workers going into work.  Federal and Postal workers are the most dedicated workers I have come across.  To a person, each Federal and Postal employee I have represented to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, never wanted to file for or become eligible for the benefit.  They would rather have worked in their career and choice of Federal or Postal job.  But because they suffered from a medical condition such that they could no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of the job, they had to file.  It is a benefit well worth the cost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Labor Day Weekend and the Federal Employee

Labor Day is traditionally viewed as the end of summer, the entrance back into the routine of the work world, where the lazy days of camping, spending additional time with one’s family; of the soft, lapping sounds of waves rolling as one attempts to squeeze the last remaining hours of leisure and tropical enjoyment.  Then, on to the rushing days of work, and more work.  It is, moreover, a celebration of the laboring exercise of a productive economy — one which has sputtered and stalled in the last two years.  

For the Federal or Postal worker who has filed, or is contemplating filing, for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the celebration of Labor Day comes whenever there is the recognition and acknowledgement that one can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  At that point of recognition, the time to plan for a secured future comes into play.  The days of full labor and productivity may be coming to an end; but that does not mean that one cannot go out and be productive in some non-Federal, non-Postal capacity.

Remember that Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS does not mean that you cannot work at any other job, ever.  Indeed, the opposite is true.  You may, after securing your Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, go out and get another job in the private sector, and make up to 80% of what your former Federal or Postal position currently pays.  While it may be difficult to do that in this tough economy, brighter days are hopefully ahead, and the time to begin preparing for that brighter future is now.

Sincerely, Robert R. McGill, Esquire