Medical Retirement Benefits for Federal & Postal Employees: Time to File

When should I file?  This is a question which is asked often; it is a telling, revealing question, because it is often a rhetorical question.  It is as if the question begs to be answered with an unequivocal, “You must file now”.  Aside from the time it takes, which is generally between 6 – 8 months from the time the entire process begins until the time the Office of Personnel Management approves an OPM Disability Retirement application at the First Stage of the process (and certainly this general time-frame needs to be taken into account because of financial circumstances, accrued sick and annual leave which may be used, and multiple other factors for consideration), the Federal or Postal worker who is contemplating when to file an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits generally knows the answer to the question.  As a general rule, if one asks the question, then the answer is already known.  If one is expecting a PIP, comes home each day dreading and exhausted, living with the anxiety that the Agency is waiting for an excuse to get rid of the employee; if each night and weekends are spent just recuperating in order to make it into the office for another day, then to ask the question, “When should I file?” becomes merely a tautology.  To arrive at that point is to make it into an emergency; it is better to project into the future; as a football coach once said, “The future is now.”

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Easter

Easter is a time of reflection and rejuvenation for Christians.  It is a designated week of Holy reflection — through capture, suffering, death, resurrection and forgiveness.  In a world where the distinction between the sacred and the profane has blurred to indistinguishable heights of platitudes and uncertainties, to reserve a week in one’s life for that which is “Holy” is indeed a phenomena worth preserving.  Christmas has become a season of celebration in a secular sense, full of traditions and shrieks of joy from the mouths of children; Christmas trees, decorations, presents and surprises; and while I am sure there will be disagreement on this matter, the assimilation of Christmas with a secularization of celebration, for whatever reason, is not disturbing.  Yet, somehow, despite the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and the attempt to merely marginalize Easter as a “time of Spring”, the awe of Easter has retained a reserved, contemplative aura with a special meaning. 

As an attorney who represents Federal and Postal employees with various medical conditions and disabilities, the common thread which I hear on a daily basis is the pain and distress which the human condition is able to endure on a daily basis. I do not equate the human condition and the clients I represent with the suffering which Christ endured; yet, those who suffer clearly have an affinity with the One who suffered on the Cross, yet forgave those who condemned and crucified, for the sake of the world.  I am daily amazed and humbled by the positive attitude and ability to endure, by Federal and Postal workers from all across the United States.  May we all have a sense of humanity within us that we can have forgiveness during this Holy Week.  Happy Easter.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire