Federal Disability Retirement Process: The Farcical Foray

It is the complexity of the absurd which tends to amaze; whether, in this day and age, we have lost the subtlety of the ludicrous, is sometimes to be held with awe.

Shakespeare’s Court jesters, clowns and fools all had that capacity to meander with linguistic pointedness; and it was in the very contrast between a character taking absurdity too seriously, and the juxtaposition of seriously expressing the absurd, that truth of circumstances often emerge. Within the context of such satire, there is a seriousness of purpose, and though we often become lost in the travails of life’s challenges, were we able to step back and consider the farcical, the foray would transcend between the mundane and the heavenly.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who engage the bureaucratic process of preparing, formulating and 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, the patience shown is a tribute in and of itself.

Yes, the bureaucratic process can often be likened to a farce; and yes, the lengthy administrative procedures and legal maneuverings reflect a complex process of the absurd; and — but for the medical condition which is the foundation of it all — the encounters with life’s obstacles throughout the administrative process would often make for laughter and mirth.

Be not distracted, however; filing for, and obtaining, Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, is neither a satire nor a pleasurable play to witness; rather, it is a serious endeavor which must be taken seriously; and though King Lear was a serious play whose Court Jester revealed the absurdity beneath, preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits should be approached and engaged with the full comprehension that behind the curtains of life, the foundation of every Federal Disability Retirement application stands a human being waiting upon the human folly of man-made bureaucracy and administrative turmoil.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS Disability Retirement Attorney: The Social Security factor

For Federal and Postal employees under FERS, who now comprise the majority of the workforce in the Federal government, the issue of when to file for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) while concurrently filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is often a recurring question.

On SF 3112A, at the very bottom of the standard form, there are two boxes to check with respect to whether (A) Social Security disability benefits have been applied for, and (B) whether the receipt has been attached and included with one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

Since most FERS Disability Retirement applicants are still on the agency’s rolls as either active employees, on Sick Leave, Annual Leave or Leave without Pay, the filing for Social Security disability benefits becomes an anomaly, a puzzle and a conundrum, precisely because of the following: Ultimately, the reason why Social Security disability benefits must be applied for, is to see whether or not a coordinating “offset” between FERS Disability Retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits will be appropriately imposed (a 100% offset in the first year of concurrent receipt of benefits where the annuity rate for the FERS Disability Retirement annuitant is set at 60% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service; then, every year thereafter, a 60% offset during each year of concurrent receipt of Federal Disability Retirement benefits at the Federal Disability Retirement annuity rate of 40% of the average of one’s highest-3 consecutive years of service); but presumably such an analysis leading to an offset would occur if an approval by the Social Security Administration is based upon information concerning the severity and extent of the medical condition and disability, and not because a denial of Social Security disability benefits is based upon one’s status of employment.

But here is the “rub”:  Human Resource Offices often will demand and insist that Social Security disability benefits must be filed for, before the Federal Disability Retirement application can be forwarded to OPM.  Nothing could be further from the truth; but then, as gods, dictators and other power-wielding fiefdoms comprise the vast expanse of authoritative sources in the universe, it is often a good idea to go with the flow, file (with minimal effort expended), obtain a receipt which shows that one has filed, and be asked at a later date to duplicate the effort, if needed.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire