CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Funeral that Never Was

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, for most Federal and Postal employees, is tantamount to attending one’s own funeral:  the time spent at one’s job constitutes the larger portion of one’s waking life, and to dissociate and sever the ties to an organization comprised of people, coworkers, missions and a daily sense of accomplishment, results in the same sense of finality and irrevocability.

That is why, even for those who have a feeling of elation in being able to “get away” from an agency — whether because it had become a poisoned atmosphere of acrimony and contentiousness; or perhaps one’s own sense of conscientiousness left one with a sense of guilt; whatever the reasons — the filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits means that the struggle to continue on, despite a medical condition which is preventing one from performing all of the essential elements of one’s job, is coming to an end.

That is why, for Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is psychologically a difficult decision to make.  But it is a necessary decision, in order for one to have that period of recuperative calm, to regain one’s health in order to move on to the next stage in one’s life.

It is difficult to move on precisely because there never was a funeral to attend.  As with a death, others in the community continue in their daily routines after the funeral; the memories fade, and time heals all wounds.

When one departs an agency or the U.S. Postal Service based upon a Federal Disability Retirement, a similar continuum of life occurs; others go on about their business; mean and depraved people seem to linger on the longest. There just never was a funeral to formally declare the date of finality; instead, as with MacArthur’s famous quote:  “They just fade away”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement for Federal and USPS Workers: Fridays & Brief Cessation of Pain

It is an American tradition to look forward to Fridays — for the leisure which comes after; for the casual custom which is often invoked by corporations, both in dress codes as well as in demeanor; for the plans which are made with friends, family or with the pleasure of solitude and quietude.  But where such a tradition is violated by an insidious pall, where expectations of fun-filled activities are replaced by the need for recuperative slices of immobility and sleep, then it may be time to consider a different option in life.  

Chronic medical conditions; medical conditions which are progressively deteriorating; degenerative conditions which impact and prevent one from looking upon Fridays as the bridge to leisure, and instead is merely a temporary respite for recovery back to a functional level of capacity where one may merely operate and endure for another week — these are indicators that alternatives to the present way of surviving must be considered.  

Federal Disability Retirement from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a benefit which is intended to allow for the Federal or Postal employee to embrace a time of recuperation, and yet to consider the option of working at a second vocation in the future.  It may not be the “perfect” solution to all, but it is certainly preferable to the life of Fridays and beyond which merely encapsulate a dreaded sense to foreboding for the subsequent Monday.  

OPM Disability Retirement, whether under FERS or CSRS, is an option which is viable, and one which is part of the compensatory package that all Federal and Postal employees signed up for when they became Federal and Postal employees.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal Worker Disability Retirement: After the Storm

Particularized geographical locations will have differing stories.  Rarely are two stories the same, and indeed, that can be the case even between neighbors who are twenty feet apart.  It is the uniqueness of each situation which defines the situation.  A storm can come — whether in terms of the “objective” world, or perhaps through psychological and emotional turmoil —  without but a passing notice to a friend, neighbor, or coworker.

For the Federal or Postal worker contemplating preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the “storm” which must be endured is the medical condition itself, and its impact upon one’s livelihood, one’s life, and future stability for one’s family.  It is a process which is independent of one’s geographical location.  It is a condition which, often, coworkers only suspect, and is unfortunately hidden and kept from supervisors and managers, for obvious reasons.

The physical storms which come and go will leave behind a trail of visible devastation; what agencies and supervisors do will often leave residual damage far greater than physical devastation can betray.  It is the storms of daily life which need attending to, as opposed to a one-time life-event.  If that “storm” of a medical condition has come to a flashpoint where one can no longer work at a Federal or Postal position, then it is time to begin preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.  Only the individual who suffers — silently, and in fear — can make that determination.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: The Weekend Recuperator

Is the weekend merely the intervening time in which to recuperate from your chronic medical conditions in order to drag yourself into work?  Is Friday the day which “releases” the pent-up exhaustion and profound fatigue as the body attempts to tolerate the fifth day before the intervening weekend?  It is indeed amazing how the body (and the mind) can tolerate the palliative attempts to regenerate itself as it suffers through a chronic and often progressively deteriorating medical condition.  

While the Office of Personnel Management systematically argues that pain is a subjective condition and persistently (but wrongly) makes the conceptual distinction between “objective” medical evidence as opposed to “subjective” medical evidence, the fact is that pain is a physiological mechanism in which the body is trying to “inform” the pain recipient that something is wrong, and that something needs to be attended to.  

Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS is a benefit in which a Federal or Postal Worker can receive a base annuity, in order to allow the pain and chronic medical condition to begin to repair itself.  Under the law, the medical condition must last a minimum of 12 months — and, indeed, it will take that, and many more years for most people, in order to recuperate.  The present period of weekends used to recuperate is never enough.  The body and pain receptors are speaking.  The Federal and Postal employees are receiving such “messages” for a reason.  It is time to listen.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire