FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: The Weekend Illusion

The problem with relying upon weekends is the imbalance of perspective which results therefrom.  

For the universal man (or woman), work constitutes a disproportionate segment of one’s “identity“, and the weekend is often a rush of activity in order to perform those chores which “need” to get accomplished, as well as to engage in some recreational activities to “recharge” one’s battery.  This cycle of work-to-weekend-to-work is acceptable for most individuals, because it allows for some leisure activities.  

For a Federal or Postal Worker who is facing a chronic, sometimes debilitating, and often progressively deteriorating medical condition, the added factor of having a medical condition which forces one to utilize the weekends to merely recuperate and return to a level of mental or physical functionality just to be able to return to work for another week, such a cycle becomes distorted and out of balance.  Such a cycle simply cannot last for very long.  Thus, Federal Disability Retirement is an option to consider.  While the monetary return is negligible (60% of the average of one’s highest three consecutive years the first year; 40% every year thereafter), it is a basis upon which one can hopefully “break the vicious cycle” of using the weekends to recuperate for the work-week.  

The universal man and woman needs time for leisure, recreation and reflective thought, and weekends must allow for such time.  For Federal and Postal workers who have a medical condition which impacts one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, OPM disability retirement under FERS or CSRS must be a consideration in order to obtain that which is necessary for long-term healing, and not just for temporary periods of recuperation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Influences

The fear that failure experienced in one path & process will impact and influence another process is one that is often of concern.

When a Federal or Postal employee files for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, there are often concurrent and parallel paths which are undertaken — whether it is concurrently filing for OWCP (Worker’s Comp) benefits; SSDI (which is a requirement under FERS, anyway); a third-party personal injury claim; application for unemployment benefits, etc.  And then, of course, there are EEOC Complaints which may be filed; collateral lawsuits, and other administrative and judicial processes which may be entered into in parallel fashion.

Do any of these other processes impact or influence a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS?

Fortunately, Agencies are like uncoordinated hands appended to multiple personnel with different brains and different neurological centers; rarely do they communicate with each other.

Even assuming, however, that some sort of communication does occur, because the applicable laws and criteria which govern each independent administrative process is different from each other, it is rare that a denial in one administrative process will adversely impact a Federal Disability Retirement application for a Federal or Postal employee under FERS or CSRS.  Imagine that — Federal agencies not coordinating with each other.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: The Patient/Applicant

Before even thinking about starting the process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS, it is important for the patient/applicant to approach his or her doctor and get an initial commitment of support. For, ultimately, the most essential lynchpin of a disability retirement application hangs on the support of a doctor — from the first and initial stage, all the way to the Merit Systems Protection Board (where live telephone testimony may be necessary).

The “patient” needs to approach the doctor with sensitivity. It is probably not even a good idea to talk about anything beyond the first stage of the process — instead, the focus should be about how “support” for a disability retirement application is actually part of the rehabilitation and healing process of medical treatment. For, ultimately, a disability annuitant under FERS or CSRS is not asking to be “totally disabled” by the doctor (and, indeed, most doctors do not want to release their patients into the retirement “pasture” of full disability); rather, it is simply a medical support of reasoning that a particular patient is no longer a “good fit” for a particular kind of job. Don’t scare the doctor off with a view of the “long process”; rather, the initial commitment is all that is needed — for the first stage of the process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire