Federal Disability Retirement from the OPM: Expectations

What are they?  Is it something that we place upon ourselves, or merely the burden of what others have said?  Are there implied ones as opposed to direct and blunt ones?  Do they scar and damage throughout our lives, based upon the haunting sense of what we believe our parents demanded?  Are expectations the cumulative juncture caught between our own dreams, the demands of parents, and what we believe society considers success or failure?

Do we carry them about without an awareness of their influence, forgotten in the closets of our memories until psychoanalytical triggers suddenly bring them to the fore and where we suddenly blurt out, “Oh, yes, that is where it all comes from!”  And what happens when reality blunders upon expectations and the two conflict within the agony of our lives — do we (or more appropriately put, can we) abandon them and leave them behind in the ash heaps of discarded disappointments?

And when do we become “smart enough” to realize that the old vestiges of expectations need to be reevaluated and prioritized, and not allowed to remain as haunting voices that we no longer remember from whence they came, but remain as unwanted guests within the subconscious purview of our daily existence?

Expectations — we all have them; but of priorities in our lives, we rarely reorganize them in order to meet the present needs of our complex lives.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job and position, it may be time to re-prioritize those expectations that one has about one’s career, one’s future, one’s…life.

Expectations can be a positive force — of placing demands that spur one towards heights previously unimaginable; but that which is a positive force can turn upon itself and become a negative influence, especially when the check of reality fails to make one realize that priorities must be reassessed based upon the changing circumstances that life itself brings about.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits because of one’s deteriorating health may not be what one ever “expected” — but, then, all expectations have always been conditional in the sense that the demands made depended upon circumstances remaining the same.  When circumstances change, expectations must similarly adapt.

Preparing and submitting an effective Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, may seem like a lowering of one’s expectations; yet, as it was always conditional upon the state of one’s health, a concomitant alteration of one’s expectations must meet the reality of one’s changed circumstances.

That is the reality of life’s lesson: Prioritize — health, family, career and the changing levels of expectations.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Rocking Chair and the Never-Ending Story

The myth about retirement has long receded; once upon a time, there was an idea, a concept, an ethereal potentiality, of reaching a point of quietude where reflection, dispensing of wisdom, and calm gardening and tending to the passing of time would be the status of choice; but modern life has wreaked havoc upon such a notion.

It was perhaps engendered by the character, Mose Harper (the sidekick of John Wayne) in John Ford’s, “The Searchers”, who only wanted a “rocking chair” at the end of his troubles.  But the never-ending story in these times of modernity, is that one must always claw and fight for maintaining the high standard of living which we enjoy and have become content with.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must take an early form of retirement — a Federal Disability Retirement — because of his or her ongoing medical conditions, where the medical conditions no longer allow for the continuation in one’s job because they prevent one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the job, the battle to first prove a Federal Disability Retirement application, then to retain and maintain it, throughout all of the complexities of the bureaucratic and administrative process, is a daily chore and toil.

First, there is the right to get it approved; then, there may be periodic Medical Questionnaires which are issued and which mandate a response; then, if Social Security Disability is approved, the offset between FERS Disability benefits and SSDI must be calculated; then, if you become employed and lose the SSDI benefit because of income, the FERS Disability annuity must be recalculated; then, at age 62, recalculation because the Federal Disability Retirement annuity effectively ends, based upon the total number of years of service, including the time one is on Federal Disability Retirement; and then the need to maintain income sources because of the reduction; and so the never-ending story continues.

Indeed, it is not from the rocking chair which the retiree tells a story, like Mose Harper must have done in his old age; rather, the modern retiree from the Federal sector, whether as a former employee of a Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, must tell his or her never-ending story to an empty chair with rhythmic movements to and fro absent an occupant, as the old man remains away, trying to figure out the further complexities of this age of modernity.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire