Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Indelible Mark

In our younger days, we all began careers with the intent of achieving that “indelible mark” — that fingerprint upon history, or perhaps in a microcosmic way, upon our local community; with grandiose plans of accomplishments; of recognition among our peers, family & neighbors.

In a theological context, the concept of an “indelible mark” represents a sacramental presence; in the secular world, one expects money, fame and public recognition to be the fruits of one’s labor.  In either event, it is that mark which cannot be erased, will not be deleted, and must not be ignored, which people strive to attain.  But in the course of maturing, one realizes the essence and priorities of life; that fame is fleeting, if relevant at all; and the mark which one truly desires is based not upon a transcendence beyond history, but of human relationships which are formed in the here and now.

Thus, for the Federal and Postal employee who has put in the long and heavy work hours in order to accomplish the mission of the agency, the poignancy of those important things in life come to the fore when a medical condition begins to impact one’s daily living.  The struggle just to survive makes for a magnification of the priorities of human relationships.  No longer is the “indelible mark” of much importance; rather, one begins to feel that those who attempt to make such a footprint in history are the very ones who contribute to and exacerbate one’s medical conditions.

Sometimes, it is the wise course of action to be willing to admit that grand visions of greatness were merely artifices left for youth and those who dream of things beyond human relationships.  When a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability/inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, it is time for the Federal or Postal employee to consider taking a Federal Disability Retirement, and to walk away from the very forum which may have contributed to one’s decline.

Federal Disability Retirement allows for a person to start a “new beginning”, to have a time of reconstituted period of rehabilitation; and to move forward in another, separate vocation in life. Leave an indelible mark upon one’s family, friends and community, by emphasizing that which is of value:  life, health, relationships and empathetic interactions; for, in the end, that mark which brings a momentary smile upon another, is the mark which is truly indelible.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: Avoidance of the Close Encounter

Ultimately, preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management requires a “setting aside” of a direct encounter with one’s acknowledgment and concession that one has an intractable medical condition which is directly impacting one’s ability to perform the essential elements of one’s job.  It is to come face to face with the realization that the hard-fought career goals, the years of schooling and education; the overcoming of the inevitable learning curve during one’s youth and inception of a career — are ending not as a result of actualizing one’s dreams and goals, but because of an intermediate cause:  a medical condition.  

The struggle to continue working despite the chronic pain or deteriorating cognitive capabilities is the natural attempt to prolong that which one worked so diligently to strive towards; but at a certain point, such a struggle to continue working despite the increasing manifestation of the medical symptomatologies becomes an “avoidance” issue — of avoiding having to face the inevitable decision-making process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.

At some point, however, prolonging the avoidance issue for too long leads to the inevitability of a flashpoint — of an emergency resulting from a crisis, where the Agency itself will propose an adverse action, or the medical condition itself will dictate the terms and conditions which necessitate filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Avoidance will force the close encounter; too long of an avoidance will make the encounter not just close, but a direct impact requiring emergency actions.  


Robert R. McGill, Esquire