Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Rubik’s Cube

Why we spend so much time of our lives attempting to return and reattach ourselves to that which once was, is a puzzle of human nature.  Comfort zones and childhood safety sensations of warmth and security; and yet, often the reality is that, to cling to something gone is best left behind, and the romanticization of past events is the undoing of present paths of success.

The frustration of fiddling with Rubik’s Cube is an anomaly; once the cube has been rearranged out of the original order of colors, we spend countless hours attempting to return it back to its state of inception.  In life, as in virtual reality, as in the games we invent to whittle away time, we perpetually attempt to return to the origin.

For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, that same characteristic of “holding on” to the security of that which we are fondly familiar with, is often the making of our own downfall.  While we try and return to the place of bygone days, the agency moves steadily forward, but without the baggage of romantic notions of loyalty and keeping to the past.

If you are not fully productive, they will find someone else who is or will be.

Like the repetitive attempts to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube, the frustration of trying to change the lumbering course of an agency’s methodology of interaction with its employees will leave one to merely run on a treadmill which goes nowhere.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option which is available for all Federal and Postal employees who have the minimum years of service (18 months of Federal Service for FERS employees; 5 years of Federal Service for CSRS employees).

If attempting to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube is performed merely as a leisurely exercise, that is a productive distraction.  If, on the other hand, it is a metaphor for engaging in the substantive labors of life, then it becomes an exercise of frustration leading to dire consequences of epic proportions.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Things We Hold Onto

Human behavior reveals much; while we believe we are the cleverest of all species, and persistently engage in self-congratulatory endeavors, including self-esteem courses and passing laws to ensure that we cannot mistreat each other; nevertheless, leaving one deep in the wilderness to face other carnivores, even for a single night, without implements, flashlights or prefabricated weaponry, shows how we might fare against our competition.

Within the context of our own safety nets, what indicates much about ourselves are the things we hold onto.  Whether memorabilia from an era long past; or perhaps a piece of clothing from our childhood; old photographs of a friendship once thought unimpeachable, but somehow lost touch through distance, time and divergent paths of life’s difficulties.  We hold onto things, people, memories and habituated lives, because the trend of daily monotony provides a circularity of security.

There is comfort in knowing, and doing, the same things we did yesterday and the day before.  Erratic lives and daily unforeseen circumstances are rarely welcomed events.  Certainty evinces security; past patterns provide surety; and monotony allows for meaningful interludes of interrupted excitement.

For the Federal and Postal Worker who suffers from a medical condition, it is unfortunately often those things we hold onto for too long which comes back to haunt.  The old job, the past pattern, the known life; it all worked when once we were healthy.  But the uncertainty of the future dominates precisely because we tend to hold fast that which needs to be let go.

Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed ultimately through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an employment benefit available to all FERS, CSRS and CSRS-Offset employees under the Federal employment system.  It allows one to “let go” of past patterns of pain, suffering, and constant agony because of one’s medical condition, and to look to the future for a different and brighter prospect.

It may test the Federal or Postal Worker by placing him or her in situations not previously known; but, fortunately, it will not be a test against other species in the wilderness, but merely of one’s own kind.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: The Deception of Being on OWCP

“But I am on OWCP,” the caller insists.  “But that wasn’t the question.  The question is, are you still on the rolls of the agency?”  “But OWCP has been paying me for the last 2 years and…”

The deceptiveness of being on OWCP and receiving payment from Worker’s Comp results in a feeling of security and lulls one into a sense of comfort.  But receiving OWCP/FECA benefits does not mean that one cannot be separated from Federal Service.  Indeed, many people continue to remain on OWCP rolls, receive the non-taxable benefit, and believe that, because they are on OWCP, this somehow means that they have not be separated from Federal Service.  Beware.  Be aware.  While on OWCP, if the agency moves to separate you, that means that you have one (1) year from the date of separation to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.

Being “on” the rolls of OWCP does not stop, prevent, or otherwise interfere with the agency’s determination or right to separate the Federal or Postal employee in order to fill that position.  Then, of course, once a person is separated, and over a year passes, one can no longer file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether under FERS or CSRS, if over a year passes by, because under the law (what is called the “Statute of Limitations“), a Federal or Postal employee must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Disability Retirement: OPM Disability & OWCP Disability (Continuing…)

A person who is on OWCP Disability payments — 3/4 of one’s gross pay if married or with dependents, or 2/3 of one’s gross pay if single without dependents – may well find the comfort of such payments and the security of such income to be relatively “safe”.  The old adage that one does not read the fine print during times of smooth sailing, and only begins to worry about issues when things go awry, is something to be kept in mind.  If a Federal or Postal employee is receiving OWCP Disability payments, and as such, one’s financial stability is somewhat assured because of it, that is precisely the time to be considering one’s future.  

OWCP Disability payments have a formal designation — it is called “Temporary Total Disability“.  The focus should be upon the first of the three terms — temporary.  It is not meant to be a permanent feature; OWCP is not a retirement system.  If placed on OWCP for over a year, the Federal Agency or the Postal Service will often separate and remove a Federal or Postal employee from the employment rolls of the Agency.  Once removed, the Federal or Postal employee has only up to one (1) year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS.  Once that year passes, you cannot file.  Years later, when OWCP & the Department of Labor stop those “Disability payments” for whatever reason, you cannot then start thinking about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS. You will be reminded that TTD stands for just that — Temporary Total Disability. It will then be too late.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire