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

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: Preparing for the Future

The problem of a “good worker” is that they rarely prepare for a future in which he or she is not as productive as in the present time.  Good workers don’t think in terms of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, and instead plow ahead despite the medical condition(s) , the pain, discomfort, or other signs of impending future consequences.

Federal and Postal employees work hard on a daily basis; many continue to work through their medical conditions, despite signs that they should heed, and despite warnings and protestations from their treating doctors.  Yet, preparation and groundwork for a potential Federal Disability Retirement applicant is often helpful.

Some simple tips:  Don’t try and mask or hide the symptoms of a medical disability or condition from your doctor.  It is important for the doctor to annotate such complaints or symptoms which have manifested themselves, first for purposes of treatment, and secondarily for purposes of establishing a history of the condition.

Further, don’t think that hard work in and of itself will engender irreversible loyalty from your Agency.  If a future time comes when you need the support of your Agency in filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, don’t expect the Agency to suddenly show an undying sense of loyalty for all of those years of work and sacrifice; more likely, an Agency will show an acute sense of selective amnesia.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: The Right Questions

Often, a person who is contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS doesn’t know the “right question” to ask in order to make a proper decision.  Because a medical condition often leaves a person with daily and profound fatigue  (both physical and cognitive), it is enough just to get through the day, come home and attempt to recuperate and regain enough strength to try and make it back to work the next day.  Then, of course, there are the financial worries — whether or not the disability annuity will be enough to support a family; whether a person will be able to supplement his or her income with a part-time job in this tough economy; or whether Social Security Disability benefits can be approved and, even with the offset, allow for enough income for some semblence of financial security. 

All of these questions — or concerns — are clearly legitimate ones, and provide a good foundation for determining the viability for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  But there are others, also:  What will happen if you don’t file for disability retirement benefits?  Will you be placed on a PIP?  Will you receive an unsatisfactory performance rating?  Will you last until retirement age?  If you last until retirement age, will you have the health necessary to enjoy your retirement?  Is it time to start a small business venture in this tough economy, and if so, when the economy begins to recover, will your small business grow with a growing economy?  Will your supervisor support your extended absences or over-use of sick leave for much longer?  Is the work that is getting backed up placing more pressure on you, such that it is exacerbating your medical condition further?  Think through the questions seriously.  It may be time to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire