Federal Employee Medical Retirement: Where Once, the Mirror Reflected

Communities are sensitive organisms; what constitutes one, how and when it is identified as such, and whether there exist any such entities, anymore, is of valid concern.

Is a suburb comprised of mansions constructed in the middle of an outlying tract of land, formerly occupied by a farm house, but where none of the neighbors know each other, seldom say hello, and never socialize, a community?  Does there have to be some interaction between neighbors, of showing and evidencing some concern or interest in one another’s lives, hobbies, common interests and attractions, before we can point to an aggregation of homes and declare that it is a “community”?

The origin of the word itself implies a “with”-ness among and between two or more people; and, in order to call a group of people a “community”, does not the identification of a group refer to an entity separate and unique from the rest of those surrounding the identifiably distinct group?

Furthermore, communities reflected a uniques set of social characteristics; like a mirror which reflects a recognizable face, so a community manifested a pattern of social characteristics distinct from a separate group.

Once upon a time, perhaps there existed a Federal community; or, perhaps, a particular agency or department revealed a cohesive set of principles and goals which set it apart from others.  For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, and who finds him or herself no longer able to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job to full capacity, the harsh realization that one may no longer be able to continue with the agency — a community of sorts — is often a macrocosmic reflection of the micro-identifier of a mirror reflecting the future of one’s path.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, identifies the individual as somehow separate and apart; and what one saw previously in the mirror becomes a reflection upon the greater community one was once a part of, and no longer will be, like the disappearance of a social phenomena diffusely evident throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Supervisors, Agencies and H.R. Personnel

I am sometimes pleasantly surprised at Supervisors — ones who actually recognize that an individual filing for Federal Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS does so out of necessity, and not out of any personal or professional spite against the Supervisor or the Agency, and that the proper response to convey is one of support, empathy, and cooperation, without needing to compromise the goal and mission of the Agency.  Further, I am taken aback by the unprofessional and utterly unhelpful attitude of many Human Resources personnel in the processing of a Federal Disability Retirement application. 

Too often, the H.R. person finds it his or her mission in life to be an obstacle to the smooth processing of a disability retirement application under FERS or CSRS.  Yet, the law is clear (though not to many of the H.R. Departments at various agencies):  it is the Office of Personnel Management which has the sole legal authority to make a positive or negative determination on a Federal Disability Retirement application; at the agency level, the role of the Human Resources person is to try and expedite and efficiently process the disability retirement application.  Hopefully, those who have the positional designation of “Human Resources” will come to realize what it all actually means:  he or she is supposed to be a “resource” (a positive one, for that matter) with a “human” emphasis.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Disability Retirement: Agency Supervisors

Federal Agencies, and the Postal Service, can act as little fiefdoms, with minimal oversight in the use of power. There is no school which teaches the proper use of power; power is something which is too often misused, misapplied, and abused. And, those who possess power, often exponentially apply it when the focus of such power has become vulnerable. Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, who are in the vulnerable position of necessarily filing for disability retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS because of the imposition of an unwanted medical condition which impacts and impedes his or her ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, are especially in a sensitive position, precisely because they are at the complete mercy of the Supervisor. Supervisors need to understand and appreciate the great power which he or she possesses. The powerful need not misuse such power in order to show how powerful he or she is; indeed, it is in the very act of kindness, empathy, and the ability to show sensitivity and “human-ness” which is the true showing of the powerful. Supervisors should “bend over backwards” to show what it means to truly be a Supervisor — one who recognizes and appreciates the long years of loyal service the disabled employee has shown; empathy for the vulnerable situation the employee now finds him/herself in; kindness in the treatment of the employee. Such kind treatment will go a long way towards encouraging a sense of community and family within an agency, and will foster the other employees in the department, office, and greater agency to work that much harder, knowing that it is not “just a job” — but a career worthy of greater devotion.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire