OPM Medical Retirement: The Categorical Imperative

It is, of course, the foundation of Kant’s moral philosophy; of the unconditional call to act in a certain way, accepted and mandated precisely because there is no room for question.  But that life were so easy; automatons would simply act in mechanistic ways, driven by moral certitude; free will could be determined by the comforting thought that universal codes of conduct shall always confine and direct.  And bureaucracies would always make decisions within a framework of computational algorithms.

But Federal Disability Retirement is not a matter of a diagnosis; unlike Social Security Disability, which does contain a semblance of categorical imperatives when it comes to certain medical conditions, the preponderance of the proof needed in becoming eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is threefold: First, the minimum number of years under FERS (18 months of creditable Federal Service) or CSRS (5 years, which is presumably already met by everyone in that retirement system); Second, a medical condition which came into existence during the time of Federal Service (with some arguable exceptions within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service); and Third, a nexus of relevant impact between one’s medical condition and the essential elements of one’s positional duties one performs for the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

It is this third step in the process which effectively compels one to step outside of the identification of Federal Disability Retirement laws as containing an element of the categorical imperative; for, in the end, it is not simply an evaluation of “which category” one falls into, but rather, how significant and persuasive is the bridge built upon between the two primary land masses:  one’s medical condition (land mass #1) and the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job (land mass #2).

That metaphorical “bridge” must be constructed with care, clarity, and concrete argumentation of persuasive force in order to withstand the inspecting scrutiny of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Look upon it as if OPM is walking through the construction site with a hard hat, pen in hand and taking notes furiously in attempting to discover deficiencies in the qualification standards imposed.  Jumping up and down and screaming at the inspector that the bridge fits into a pre-defined category will not suffice; instead, the categorical imperative must be argued for by pointing to the medical evidence, the law, and the connective tissues which form the effective and persuasive confluence of all of the elements which comprise the ultimate imperative of life:  that of a methodology of argumentation that one is “right”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Life’s Alterations

Spring comes and we clean out old hoardings, discard past articles once thought to be valuable and inseparable from our identity; or perhaps what pop culture has deemed a justifying course of decision-making because there is an inevitable “mid-life crisis“, or some other equally biologically-driven, primordial determinism which compels one to act in one way, as opposed to another.

Life’s alterations are often considered with no greater thought than having the local tailor shorten the seams, or tuck in the waist, like face-lifts and other procedures which attempt to beautify an otherwise insufferable soul.  But in the end, it is always the innocent ones who suffer; it is well that children possesses greater than indexes of fragile psyches; otherwise, the emergency rooms of hospitals across the country would be attending to them around the clock.  But with euphemisms and a can of fresh paint, we may still remain viable cores as stellar pillars in the community; it was a “friendly divorce”; the kids are “better off”; and other such platitudes to justify the devastation wrought.  But some alterations in the cycle of life cannot be attributed to fault; they are, indeed, brought about by fate, nature, will and the indifference of a mechanical universe.

Medical conditions tend to be in that category; they force alterations in life’s choices, without a deliberative involvement on the part of the participant.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who recognize that he or she suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the U.S. Postal Service or a Federal agency, it may be time to consider filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  For, while the medical condition itself may indeed be a life-altering circumstance, it is what you do, how you react, and what affirmative steps you take, which will determine in the end whether you allow for the tumult of fate to rock and roll you without oars up the proverbial creek of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a way to steady the unsteadiness, to steer where once you traveled directionless, and to secure a future where once uncertainty prevailed.  While the process itself is a long and arduous bureaucratic morass, the direction once taken allows for a compass to prevail, and a path to be taken.

Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit accorded and offered to all Federal and Postal employees with the minimum of 18 months of Federal Service, and should be considered if and when life’s alterations have determined that a change is necessary; and like the tailor who skillfully makes the suit or dress fit more eloquently upon a body forced into disquietude through years of untended gardening, so applying for a benefit to secure one’s future is merely to respond wisely to the unexpected vicissitudes of life’s offering.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire