One often muddles through life, so long as nothing extraordinary occurs.
A medical condition may begin to impact the Federal or Postal employee, perhaps in a peripheral, non-threatening manner, at first; then, over time, a series of events occurs; perhaps, like the domino effect we witness in a causal calamity of sequential occurrences, to wit: the medical condition; a second condition, this time requiring a new medication regimen; side effects; further manifestations of symptoms; a new diagnosis; missing more work than usual; sidelong glances from supervisors and coworkers; and before one realizes the full import of what has happened, one suddenly becomes aware that no longer is one considered that “star employee” by the agency, but a malingerer, a problem-child, and one who is teated in a fashion as in the old remnants of leper colonies.
When such a time erupts, and at a moment of such awareness, it is time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.
While not offering the perfect solution, it does allow for the Federal or Postal employee suffering from a medical condition, a way out of an otherwise untenable position: a time for recuperation; a level of financial security; a potential for engaging a second vocation and earning additional money above and beyond the disability annuity. That sudden awareness is an indicator; in a similar manner to the revelation of symptoms, which is a signal of the body trying to warn a person of an impending medical crisis, so the awareness that one’s peers, coworkers and supervisors are viewing you in a different light is a triggering mechanism which should be heeded.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire