Resigning from a Federal Position Due to a Medical Condition

To resign is often considered the last vestiges of giving up hope; somehow, it contradicts our DNA, and the resistance to it reinforces the Darwinian idea that the evolutionary drive for survival rules our choices, as determinism persists despite our best efforts to remain free.  To resign is to give in, surrender, abandon the lifelong plans and dreams for the future; it marks, for many, a decision of raising the white flag.  In life, however, sometimes the choices offered are but a few, and within that limited arena of options, the best must be taken.

For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal and Postal worker from performing the full panoply of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it sometimes becomes necessary to “cut the losses” and move onward to other ventures in life.

When the level of harassment becomes untenable; when the best negotiations lead to the Agency’s offer of resignation in order to keep the record “clean”; when access to one’s TSP is necessary in order to survive the long period of waiting for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to decide upon a Federal Disability Retirement application; or even when the constant “fight” is no longer worth it, or is not there within one’s self; then the only thing left is the proper characterization of such a resignation, for inclusion as a short statement on one’s SF 50 or PS Form 50.

Depending upon the particularized circumstances, a resignation is not always a surrender, but merely a regrouping in order to return to resume the fight of life on another day.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Extending the Vibrancy of Life

Much of life is spent in avoidance and protective retreat; it is only in the ignorance of youthful exuberance that we recklessly run into the streets without looking for oncoming traffic.  Sports reflects the truth of that human essence; it is not an accident that we witness the repetitive folly of gaining an early lead, only to act in fear of losing and thereby fulfilling the prophesies of our own making.

The question, then, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — is it an option to remain?

If the answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, then the two other choices harken: File for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or wait until the agency fires you or forces you to resign.  If the latter, then the Federal or Postal employee still has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the date of separation, whether through termination or separation by voluntary (or “forced”) resignation.

Avoidance of the issue will not do; at some point, either the decision to move forward in life will be made by the central actor in the cast (you), or by the supporting residue surrounding the play (the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service).

In the end, the vibrancy of one’s life is not determined by blindness or disregard of one’s circumstances, but by recognizing the steps necessary to enliven daily value.  One’s career and the extension of worthwhile work is always important to one’s life, but when a medical condition begins to exacerbate and devalue the substantive content of one’s life, then it is time to move beyond and search for an extension of that vibrancy of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a “first step” in achieving and resetting that youthful exuberance we once felt, but lost along the way, precisely because it allows for a base security of the foundational needs of living:  an annuity obtained, then time to recuperate from one’s medical conditions and determine a course for the future.

One need not be looking back with fear of losing the game, as the repetition of sports history will reveal; rather, the future still can hold the key to extending the vibrancy of life once grasped, but somehow lost in the morass of our busy lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Medical Retirement: The language of law

Wittgenstein recognized that there exists various forms of languages within a community of a shared language — with words everyone understood, sentences all were familiar with, but the usage and meaning of which were unique to a particular group or set of individuals.  Such comity of meanings and esoteric application of language were designated as “language games”.  Information Technology groups have their own set of insulated meanings; advertising agents, insurance companies, and children who form an exclusive club may formulate within-community code words exclusive to the group alone, and alien to all around.

What, then, is the language of law?  Certainly, analogy and hypothetical models of similar situations and transactions are a part of it; and the methodology of argumentation is to show the familiarity of classes of subject-matter issues and identical-sounding situations which penetrate the judge’s capacity to accept and anticipate precedent-setting citations of prior acts.  Why the language game of the legal arena accepts as a primary basis of interaction similar-sounding prior fact-scenarios is often a mystery to “outsiders” (i.e., non-lawyers), and confounds with frustration the enormous expenditure of time and money in engaging such circuitous narratives of persuasive argumentation.

What about my case?  What difference does it make whether or not a decades-old case applies in an analogical manner to the facts at hand?  But that is precisely the point of the language of law; for, it is consistency of application and perpetuation of stability which makes for reverence for “the law”.  Arbitrariness and malleability creates suspicion of motives, and justice requires the fair constancy of applying “the law”.

This is important to understand in all arenas of the “language game of law”, and for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who may need to entertain the potentiality for filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal Worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the entrance into “Administrative Law” (which is what filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM falls under) is no different.

Precedent-setting cases develop over decades and epochs of lifetimes; and whether the OPM Disability Retirement applicant is aware of it or not, the compendium of rules, regulations and decision-setting conclusions are all guided by, constricted within, and influenced throughout, by prior cases handed down by judicial opinions rendered “on high” by administrative law judges and Federal Court of Appeals mandates.

Should case laws be cited in the submission of a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement application?  As the law is the hinge upon which society survives, so the question of persuasive argumentation may live or die based upon the vocalization of precedents.  But always remember that the language of law is a specific type of language game, and the exclusive club of legalese requires some training of usage, where applicability may sound like gobbledygook unless formulated with an ear towards coherence within the insular language game of law.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire