Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Chronic Medical Conditions

The concern is often expressed in the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, that if a medical condition has been suffered with for multiple years, and perhaps even “pre-existing” the time of Federal Service, and further, since the Federal or Postal employee has been able to perform the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, how can it be characterized as a medical condition which prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job?  

The answer to such a concern is actually quite simple: The Federal or Postal employee has been able to manage life, activities and the essential elements of one’s job for multiple years; the chronicity of the condition is simply an inherent part of the nature of the particular medical condition; whether because of age, or slow, progressively deteriorating impact upon the body or psyche, the medical condition has ultimately taken its “toll” upon one’s physical, mental and/or emotional capacity of the Federal or Postal worker.  

Sometimes, there comes a point where the wall of tolerance to stress, pain or other increasingly debilitating symptoms can go no further.  The fact that the Federal or Postal worker has been able to perform the essential elements of the job for so many years is simply a testament to the endurance of the Federal or Postal Worker.  This is why it is important to maintain a blunt, honest and forthright line of communication with one’s treating doctor.  Often, the doctor will be the one who, for years, has encouraged the Federal or Postal worker to seek disability retirement.  

It may be that the time has come to take the doctor up on his or her advice, and to begin talking about the type of narrative and administrative support needed to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esqire

OPM Disability Retirement: Awareness after a Respite

Memorial Day weekend, like other extended weekends, provide for a temporary respite, where an interval and delay from returning to work provides for some relief in order to recuperate.  Yet, for those Federal and Postal employees contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, the temporary nature of the respite becomes apparent as there is an increasingly shortened period of return, such that the ratio between “rest” and “benefits of rest” become increasingly and progressively disproportionate.  

As one’s chronic and intractable medical conditions require a greater amount of rest, the benefits returned as a result of such rest become less and less apparent.  Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit which is available to all Federal and Postal employees who prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.  

One must prove one’s eligibility, and to that extent, it is not an “entitlement” but a benefit that must be accessed.  If the benefit and rate of return through rest on weekends and evenings becomes disproportionately and exponentially overshadowed by the need for such times of respite because of one’s medical conditions, then it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  

It is precisely why the benefit is available — in order for the Federal or Postal employee to obtain the benefit which will be most beneficial of all:  an extended period of time for recuperation, commonly known as “rest”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire